Battle of Bakhmach

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Battle of Bakhmach
Part of the 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
Location
Result Entente/Soviet victory
Belligerents

Entente Powers:
Bohemia Czechoslovak Legions


Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Soviet Russia
Central Powers:
German Empire Germany
 Austria-Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Bohemia Ludvík Krejčí
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Nikolai Krylenko
German Empire Johannes von Eben
Austria-Hungary Franz Rohr von Denta
Strength
2,800 Czech soldiers
4,700 Soviet soldiers
6,000 Austro-German troops
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-backed Czechoslovak Legion, Soviet Russia and the Central Powers 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.

Prelude[edit]

On March 3, 1918 Russia, controlled by the Bolsheviks, signed the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with Germany, in which it gave up control over Ukraine.

On March 8 Germans troops reached Bakhmach, an important rail hub, and in doing so threatened the Czech Legion with encirclement. The threat was so grave because captured legionnaires were summarily executed as traitors of Austria-Hungary. The 6th "Hanácký" and 7th "Tatranský" Rifle Regiments, together with the Assault battalion of Czechoslovak Army Corps of the Legion, set up defenses at the town against incoming German 91st and 224th Infantry divisions.

Battle[edit]

The battle was notable because the troops were not only fighting for Bakhmach railway junction (victory of Stanislav Čeček), but also for the bridge over the river Desna, which led to bloody battles at Doch. The climax of the fighting occurred on March 10. Thanks to the 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 the 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.

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
  • PRECLÍK, Vratislav. Masaryk a legie (Masaryk and legions), váz. kniha, 219 str., vydalo nakladatelství Paris Karviná, Žižkova 2379 (734 01 Karviná) ve spolupráci s Masarykovým demokratickým hnutím (Masaryk Democratic Movement, Prague), 2019, ISBN 978-80-87173-47-3, pages 50 - 70, 72 - 100, 124 - 128,140 - 148,184 - 190
  • 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