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.
Date8–13 March 1918
LocationBakhmach, now Ukraine
Result Czechoslovak/Soviet victory

Entente Powers:
Bohemia Czechoslovak Legions

Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Russia
Central Powers:
German Empire Germany
Commanders and leaders
Bohemia Ludvík Krejčí
... ...
Casualties and losses
145 killed, 210 wounded, 41 missing around 300 killed, hundreds wounded

Battle of Bakhmach (Bitva u Bachmače in Czech), was one of the last battles on the Eastern Front in World War I between the Entente Powers backed Czechoslovak Legion, the proto-Soviet Union (Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine) and the Central Powers (German Empire and Austria-Hungary forces) occupying Ukraine after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The battle lasted from March 8 to March 13, 1918 over the city of Bakhmach (Бахмач), today in Ukraine and was the last engagement in World War 1 for the Soviets. Following a Legion victory, the Germans negotiated a truce.


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.

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.


Notable were not only fighting for Bakhmach railway junction (victory of Stanislav Čeček), but also the battle for the bridge over the river Desna, this led to bloody battles at Doch. The fights peaked on March 10. Thanks to Legion victory the Germans negotiated a truce, during which Czechoslovak armoured trains could freely pass through Bakhmach railway junction to Chelyabinsk.

The Czechoslovak Legion (about 42,000 soldiers) during truce set up for escape from Russia via the Trans-Siberian railroad. Armies of Germany and Austria-Hungary then started to occupy the land without much resistance.

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.


  • 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