The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

I. The Red Army’s Offensive
Towards the Ukraine and the Don (January-May 15, 1919)


By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and Peoples Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army and the Red Navy, March 2, 1919, No.80, Moscow

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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At the beginning of the January of this year, Krasnov concen trated substantial forces against the Tsaritsyn front, forced our troops back into the immediate area of Tsaritsyn, and thereby created an extremely critical situation for all our armies stationed there. At that moment the special cavalry division commanded by Comrade Dumenko was given by the army command the task of making a breakthrough in the Dubovka area and smashing the enemy in that area at any cost. Through successful manoeuvres carried out over a period of a month, from the middle of January to the middle of February, the division brilliantly fulfilled the task entrusted to it by the army command. During this period it travelled a distance of 400 versts and smashed 23 enemy regiments, four infantry regiments being taken prisoner intact. As trophies the division captured from the enemy 48 guns, more than 100 machine-guns, an armoured car and many other such items of war booty. These successes enabled the army to seize the initiative, go over to the offensive, and clear the enemy from an expanse reaching to the river Don and to Zhutovo station on the railway to Vladikavkaz. In numerous combats divisional commander Dumenko, brigade commanders Budyonny and Bulatkin, and regimental commander Maslakov [After the sack of Rostov-on-Don by the Red Army in 1920, Dumenko, then one of Budyonny’s corps commanders, shot a commissar who protested and was himself executed in consequence. He was subsequently ‘rehabilitated’. Maslakov later went over to the enemy and was killed by his own men.] not only directed the fighting but also, disregarding their wounds, remained in the thick of battle in order to carry out the military tasks assigned to them.

In acknowledgement of these exceptional services to the revolution and the Soviet republic, the division is awarded a banner of honour. Divisional commander Dumenko, brigade commander Budyonny, brigade commander Bulatkin and regimental commander Maslakov are decorated with the Order of the Red Banner. Military gifts [’Military gifts’ took such forms as specially-engraved swords, gold-mounted binoculars, gold watches and the like] are being made available to the division for presentation to soldiers who have distinguished themselves. On behalf of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic I convey fraternal thanks to all the revolutionary fighters of the cavalry division.

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006