Battle of Bakhmach

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Battle of Bakhmach
Part of Eastern Front (World War I)
Battle of Bachmac memorial plaque.jpg
Memorial plaque of Battle of Bakhmach in Olomouc (Czech Republic). Statue of legionar in winter uniform was made by Otakar Španiel.
Date March 8, 1918 - March 13, 1918
Location Bakhmach, now Ukraine
Result Czechoslovak victory
Belligerents
Bohemia Czechoslovak Legions
 Russian SFSR
 German Empire
Commanders and leaders
Bohemia Ludvík Krejčí
Strength
... ...
Casualties and losses
145 killed, 210 wounded, 41 missing around 300 killed, hundreds wounded

Battle of Bakhmach (Bitva u Bachmače in Czech), was a battle between the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia and German forces occupying Ukraine. The battle lasted from March 8 to March 13, 1918 over the city of Bakhmach (Бахмач), today in Ukraine. The Legion managed to escape the encirclement. Thanks to Legion victory the Germans negotiated a truce, during which Czechoslovak armoured trains could freely pass through Bakhmach railway junction to Chelyabinsk.

On March 3, 1918 Russia, controlled by the Bolsheviks, signed the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with Germany in which it gave up, among others, control over Ukraine. Armies of Germany and Austria-Hungary started to occupy the land without much resistance. The Czechoslovak Legion (about 42,000 soldiers), until then engaged in retreat battles with these armies, was set up for escape from Russia via the Trans-Siberian railroad.

On March 8 Germans reached Bakhmach, an important railroad hub and Legion was in danger of being encircled. The threat was grave because captured legionnaires were summarily executed as traitors of Austria-Hungary. 6th "Hanácký" and 7th "Tatranský" Rifle Regiments, together with The Assault battalion of Czechoslovak Army Corps of the Legion set up defense at the town against incoming German 91st and 224th Infantry divisions. The fights peaked on March 10 and lasted until the last train with legionnaires left the town, continuing toward Vladivostok.

Losses of the Legion were: 145 killed, 210 wounded, 41 missing. Estimate of German losses is around 300 dead and hundreds wounded.

Similarly to Battle of Zborov or the "Siberian anabasis", the battle of Bakhmach became one of the symbols of the Czechoslovakian Legions and their fight for independence.

Sources[edit]

  • Václav Cháb: "Německý vpád na slovanský východ : kus dějin - kus boje o budoucnost", Prague, 1938
  • Václav Cháb: "Bachmač : březen 1918", Prague, 1948
  • Karel Goš: "Bitva u Bachmače byla slavnou epizodou Hanáckého pluku : největší oslavy proběhly v roce 1938", article in newspaper Olomoucký den, March 20, 1999, page 10
  • M. Vlachynský: "V březnu 1918 bojovali legionáři u Bachmače", article in newspaper Českobudějovické listy, March 14, 1998, page 12
  • Adolf Kubíček: Hanáci v revoluci (Hanakians in revolution: The Chronicle of 6th Czechoslovak Rifle Regiment), Olomouc, 1928

External links[edit]

Short overviews of the battle[edit]

Coordinates: 51°10′58″N 32°49′38″E / 51.18278°N 32.82722°E / 51.18278; 32.82722