Ukrainian Front (1919)

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Ukrainian Front formerly the Army Group of Kursk Direction was a Soviet Army Group (later front) for invasion of Ukraine (officially for helping the Ukrainian workers in struggle against the Austria-Germany occupation and Hetman forces). Created on November 17, 1918, the Army Group was primarily based on two insurgent divisions that were created on September 22, 1918 by the order #6 of All-Ukrainian Central Military Revolutionary Committee and were part of the Red Army Reserve Front at the Oryol Military District. The reserve front was originally commissioned under Commandarm Glagoliev and members of revolutionary military council Vyshnevetsky and Zusmanovich.

Army Group of Kursk Direction[edit]

On November 17, 1918 there was established the Revolutionary Military Council consisting of Stalin, Yuri Pyatakov, Volodymyr Zatonsky, and Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko of the army group of Kursk Direction. The newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of Republic Jukums Vācietis (since September 1, 1918) preferred to referred to simply as the Army Group of Kursk Direction.

The 1st Ukrainian Insurgent Division and the 2nd Ukrainian Insurgent Division in December 1918 were renamed into Soviet divisions. It was planned also to add to the group the Moscow Worker's Division, 43rd Worker's Regiment, 2nd Oryol Cavalry Division as well as the formations of Innokentiy Kozhevnikov from Ufa. The most of them however were redirected to the Southern Front. The Moscow Military District also sent the Moscow Reserve Artillery Brigade and its leading military personnel. Officially Innokentiy Kozhevnikov became the commander of the group, but the major work in organizing of it was conducted by Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko. By January 1919 he managed also to recruit several formations of border service, two Cheka and two food regiments as well as several armored trains from Moscow. Also the army group was joined by number of volunteer international formations from Kazan and Oryol, the 1st Moscow Communist Squad, the Yashvili Company and Armenian Company, all of which accounted for some 1,000 of bayonets. The chairman of the Russian Revolutionary Military Council Leon Trotsky on December 14, 1918 ordered a mass recruitment of ethnic Ukrainians.

Military Operations[edit]

On November 28, 1918 the All-Ukrainian Central Military Revolutionary Committee was transformed into the Provisional Workers-Peasants Government of Ukraine. On November 30, 1918 Vacietis was informed that the Ukrainian Revolutionary Military Council included Antonov, Sergeyev, and Zatonsky. By the end of December 1918 the Army Group successfully occupied the Chernigov Governorate and portions of the Kharkov Governorate.

On December 13, 1918 the 1st Insurgency Division took Klintsy and on December 25 - Novozybkov and Novhorod-Siversky. Some resistance it met on December 25, 1918 near Hlukhiv and Shostka. Another of its groups on December 19, 1918 took Vovchansk and Kupiansk.

After withdrawal of German forces from borders, the 2nd Insurgent Division occupied Belgorod on December 21, 1918 and started advance on Kharkiv. On December 28–30, 1918 the Ukrainian People's Army managed to halt their advance near Grayvoron and Kozacha Lopan. On January 2, 1919 Bolsheviks organized an uprising in Kharkiv. The local council of German soldiers supported the uprising and gave the Ukrainian forces an ultimatum to leave the city. On January 3, 1919 the Red Army occupied Kahrkiv. Next day the Army Group of Kursk Direction was reformed into the Ukrainian Front.

Ukrainian Front[edit]

In November 1918 significant strength retained the Russian Volunteer Army after it successfully secured the territory of Northern Caucasus and Kuban as well the Allied intervention started in regions of the Southern Ukraine.

After the formation of the Ukrainian Front on January 4, 1919, the Ukrainian Revolutionary Military Council consisted of Antonov, Kotsiubynsky, and Shchadenko. On January 13, 1919 as part of the front there was created the Army Group of Kharkiv Direction which was based on the 2nd Ukrainian Soviet Division. On January 24, 1919 there was created People's Commissariat of Military Affairs as part of the Provisional Workers-Peasants Government of Ukraine which on January 28 was renamed into the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR. On February 18, 1919 there was created Army Group of Kiev Direction which was based on the 1st Ukrainian Soviet Division. In mid February within the Army Group of Kharkiv Direction, there was created a special group of Donetsk Direction which on March 5, 1919 was reorganized into the 13th Army led by Kozhevnikov. On April 14, 1919 the Central Executive Committee of the Ukrainian SSR ratified a military union with the Russian SFSR. On April 15, 1919 all army groups were transformed into armies: 1st Ukrainian Soviet Army, 2nd Ukrainian Soviet Army, 3rd Ukrainian Soviet Army as well as Crimean Soviet Army.

On April 27, 1919 the 2nd Ukrainian Soviet Army was transferred under the jurisdiction of the Southern Front and on June 4, 1919 transformed into the 14th Army. The 1st and 3rd armies were transformed into the 12th Army and transferred to the Western Front. The Crimean Soviet Army also joined the 14th Army at the Southern Front on June 4, 1919. On July 21, 1919 the army was dissolved and transformed into the Crimean Rifle Division which in six days was renamed again into the 58th Rifle Division.

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