ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

German and French Military Forces in the Ukraine, 1918

Updated on February 19, 2011

The expedition in Southern Russia was motivated by the Bolshevik uprising that threatened the Black Sea coast to Bessarabia near Rumania. The Russian Civil War had started in 1917, and the confusion still reigned when the French decided to intervene to protect their military and civilian interests. The French thought that perhaps they could create a Ukrainian colony of sorts because of its vast farmlands that could feed other French colonies.

The French General, Berthelot, demanded that twelve divisions to occupy the area: three French, six Rumanian, three Greek. In reality, only twelve French supplied battalions from the 156th Division (December 1918) and by March, 1919, the 30th Division had arrived. These battalions had been demobilized and reduced in strength. Morale was poor. Also arriving was the 11th Rumanian Cavalry Division. This was the occupying force in the Ukraine at this time. France chose to send not their best troops, but their marginal ones.

Bessarabia proclaimed itself part of Rumania (27 March 1919).  This area went into complete anarchy due to dissidents and the Bolsheviks.The Rumanian government decided, in January 1919, to interfere by sending two infantry divisions and two Cavalry divisions. The 11th Division was at Chisinau (26 January) and they suppressed (7 February) the rebels at Tiraspol. The 13th Division, aided by a river flotilla, arrived March 12th. A group of Russian volunteers (2.000 men, 1.900 officers) assisted from the White side. Two battalions, two squadrons, two batteries were the Polish contingent.

The 1st Greek Corps’ (Nider), was composed of 34th regiment (2nd Division), disembarked at Odessa on 20 January, 1919, and followed-up a month later by its second echelon. General d'Anselme commanded the groups of divisions on January 14, his headquarters was at Odessa.

The French inherited a most dangerous situation, which required a political finesse .On the one hand, the Austrian- German troops stationed in Russia were part of the armistice (about a million people).The Germans were reluctant to help the French and Bolsheviks attacked and sabotaged wherever they could.

The Austrian\German forces had been in the area since March 1918. Odessa, was occupied by the 212th and 217th Divisions. Later, the 21st Division penetrated into the Crimea; the Bavarian Cavalry Division and the 29th regiment of Bavarian infantry arrived 19 April. By May 1st,  Germans were in Sébastopol . German forces included five Corps’ with: it 7th ,11th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 22nd, 45th, and 4th divisions.  The 35th division was in reserve. By late March, 1918, the 91st, 92nd 93rd, 95th, 212th, 215th, 224th infantry divisions; three cavalry divisions had also arrived in South Russia. The Germans could have easily caused way more problems than they did, so in that sense, the French were lucky! After the French units arrived, the 15th German division moved to Nikolaïeff and the idle time proved damaging to some Germans who were influenced by the Reds. Its officers, lacking in all authority, failed to control some men. The Germans delayed sending delegates to Kharkov, to negotiate with the commissioner of Moscow. Vice-Admiral Hopman (the former commander of the German fleet of the Black Sea), was sent to delay the implementation of armistice in South Russia, and to apprise the French authorities of the state of affairs and to await instructions. Fortunately, General d'Anselme received information on the arrival of a couple of battalions from the 7th Greek Regiment hurried from Salonica. Destined for Nikolaïeff, Anselme invited Admiral Hop­man to prepare for the relief of German soldiers according to the armistice. Hopman, dragged his feet about this, allowing his men to be disruptive to its implementation.

Nearby, there was close danger from an attack by red forces. Gregorieff , controlled Red forces near Ekaterinoslav and threatened Nikolaïeff and Kherson. The Reds entered Kiev and advanced towards Kharkov opposed by White Forces near the Sea of Azov. His military equipment came from the older Austrian-Hungarian stockpiles, they were no substitute for German soldiers.

Petlioura, another Red leader, penetrated into Odessa on Dec.10 1918, but his force of 1.500  volunteers were afraid to march on the harbor  defended  by French seamen and 300 Poles.  By December 18, the battalions the French 156th division (Gé­néral Borius) took possession of the city. The French chased the Reds hundreds of kilometres to the north of the city and north-easterly to Nikolaïev. Despite the French presence, much civil unrest continued with 100,000 armed civil workers on strike in Odessa, and  the 40.000 blue-collar workers in Nikolaïev,who were provoked by the Germans; the 20.000 blue-collar workers of Kherson received their orders from  Grégorieff, all of them were pro-bolshevik. The French had stepped into a hornet’s nest and by April 1919, they would leave the Ukraine to the Reds.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)