11. In Kamyanets Podilsky
At that time I suffered a relapse of my old illness, nephritis, and I was given one week's furlough, by Col. Udovychenko, to rest in bed and get well. On my way to Kamyanets, where my wife was staying, I met the Commander-in-Chief in Verbovets as he was proceeding to the front-line of our Division. After receiving my report about the situation in the Division and finding out that I was going for a rest, the Commander told me that he also wanted to speak to Col. Udovychenko about me. He wanted to transfer me to Kamyanets, the temporary capital, to take command of the 1st Recruit Regiment which was to be formed there and which was to garrison the city as a sort of guard regiment. For two reasons I felt that I should refuse this new assignment: I did not want to leave my brave comrades and soldiers; and I doubted whether Col. Udovychenko would let me go. A decision was difficult as I could not ask the Commander questions about the details of my new assignment. The Commander's aide. Col. O. Dotsenko, however, took advantage of a good moment and whispered to me: "take it, you will have the full support of the Commander and us" (this meant of the Commander's staff). I therefore gave an answer that if I felt better and if Col. Udovychenko would let me take a few of my officers from the regiment, I would be at the Commander's disposition. When I returned to the regiment after a week, Col. Udovychenko, with his usual composure and tolerance, not only consented to my transfer, but even let me take several officers, well knowing that I would pick the best and weaken the staff of my former regiment. My need, however, was also for reliable aides in forming a new and exemplary regiment. So began a new chapter in my life.
After arriving in Kamyanets I reported to the Minister of War, Col. V. Petriv, and received my first instructions: the 1st Recruit Regiment will be under the Minister of War through the Quartermaster-general of the Staff, Staff General S. Dyadyusha, who would have the rights of division commander in relation to the regiment. The regiment would be quartered in the barracks of the former Russian 45th Azov Regiment, where a nucleus of officer and noncom personnel was already available, and Capt. Kolodyazh, an officer of Moldavian descent, was provisional commander. After paying Gen. Dyadyusha a visit, I reported to State Inspector of the Ministry of War, A. Pevny, whom I knew from Kharkiv. I had a hearty talk with him about the appointment of a state inspector for the regiment, and he told me that he would make the appointment after consulting Col. Kedrovsky and Capt. Hladky, state inspector attached to the General Staff. I also visited Hladky and asked him not only for an inspector, but even for a controller, on condition that I could show some initiative and not be stopped over details. The man appointed as inspector was Capt. Harasym Drachenko of the Grey Division. He gave me full support and even defended me from all sorts of whispers coming from various party circles. In my further talks with Col. Petriv and Gen. Dyadyusha I insisted on providing the regiment with food and clothing because under then existing conditions these were of the greatest importance to the soldiers. In this I also had the support of State Inspection.
After a closer look at the personnel of the regiment I appointed Capt. Kolodyazh as my deputy, I placed Capt. Shevtsiv of the 9th Infantry Regiment in command of the 1st Battalion, Capt. Vinnytsky of the 2nd Battalion, and Capt. Sirenko of the 3rd Battalion. Lt.-Colonel Nechytailo, also of the 9th Reg. was my quartermaster and other officers taken by me from the 9th Regiment were Capt. Vodyanytsky, Lieut. Raskin, Lieut. Ovcharenko and a few junior officers. I immediately ordered decontamination of the barracks and all equipment, and preparation of food. The biggest trouble was clothing and shoes, but we managed somehow. The regimental warehouse had plenty of fine pre-war tarpaulin and the Quartermaster-General permitted its conversion to shoes and puttees, and delivered an appropriate quantity of leather for soles and trimming, but would not undertake to set up shoemakers shops. I then applied to the City Council and its Chairman, Mr. Fisher (I showed him the letter from Rabbi Feldfix), agreed to send me a master shoemaker to organize production. My condition was that the shop would be in the barracks of the regiment, for better control. In a few days we had a shop in production, turning out sixty-five to seventy pairs of shoes and puttees a day. The shoes were so good that I saw them being worn by soldiers a year later without much sign of wear! Many state dignitaries, including Prime Minister I.P. Mazepa, came to the regiment and admired the production of shoes – from that time on, I had no trouble in getting funds and goods from the Quartermaster-General. Things were difficult with uniforms which were also in charge of the Quartermaster-General and were supplied primarily to front-line units. Some were assigned to me, but it was still warm and my troops wore heavy white shirts of which there was a plentiful supply as the Bolsheviks, surprisingly, did not take them when evacuating. Because of these shirts, my soldiers were called "our white guards." There were no difficulties with food and we were soon able to organize an officers' mess. The remount Commission supplied us with a number of horses and carts, but we had to repair the wagons ourselves. Lt-Col. Nechytailo helped me greatly in all these undertakings. Our main task, however, was mustering and training troops.
By the middle of September noncoms began arriving every day, and soon thereafter, also recruits. We conducted an accelerated review with the noncoms for a few days, according to rules tried out in the Zaporozhian Battalion. The inspection commission headed by Capt. Drachenko rejected only a few noncoms who were suspected of Communism and they were sent back to the Chief of the Draft District. Recruits came chiefly from the counties of Mohyliv and Ushytsya, 20-year-olds in groups of 40 to 100. Two commissions were set up in the regiment, Medical and Educational, the latter charged with picking out the brighter and better educated boys to the School for Non-commissioned Officers. It was very odd that nearly all recruits, as if by prearrangement, arrived in barracks literally in underwear, sometimes just in a long nightshirt, and barefoot. When asked about this they said that they had nothing else to wear or that that was the way their parents had equipped them. Another order that the boys brought from home was "don't fight Onykyn" (Denikin) whose troops were just then moving north in Right-Bank Ukraine (Bredov). Gen. Dyadyusha and Col. Petriv often attended field exercises and offered valuable advice. Within ten to twelve days the regiment had 2,000 men who were gradually being put in uniform and intensively trained. The Commander in Chief visited us before the Feast of the Holy Virgin (October 14), and told us that a "solemn swearing in" would take place on the holiday, and the regiment should be ready for it. We even had our own band by then.
On October 14th the swearing in took place. I brought out the regiment composed of three battalions, although some companies were not full strength because we could not parade those that were still barefoot. The armed regiment marching to the main square with its band made a tremendous impression. Foreign military agents watched the proceedings. Gen. Dyadyusha introduced me to some, and they would not believe that the regiment was actually only three weeks old. The ceremony lifted us all in spirit, especially the beautiful Divine Service and the sermon of Chief Chaplain, Very Rev. Pavlo Pashchevsky.
And now, although the work in the regiment was organized, the worries of my staff and mine were increasing. In connection with the departure of our Armies and the approach of "White-Guard" Russians, desertions from the regiment were growing. We had reports that the Reds had the better of the Whites in battles, and particularly Budenny's mounted group spread fear among the Whites. Our recruits were doubtlessly influenced by the approach of the march to the front-lines while we had only one exercise with live ammunition, and moreover our troops had no winter clothing. Our soldiers also saw thousands of typhoid patients brought to Kamyanets from the front. The noncoms were in this matter "in cahoots" with the enlisted men, therefore I gave orders that one officer of each company must spend the night with his men in barracks. Obviously, Capt. Drachenko and I informed our superiors about desertions and about the situation every day. We had daily talks with the men informing them about the cause of the struggle and tried to make them conscious patriots. I requested Col. Petriv to make a proposal in the Council of Ministers that desertion be made punishable by death, but he was opposed on the ground that such a law would be undemocratic (Col. Petriv was a member of the Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries). In violation of service, procedure I appealed in this matter directly to the Commander in Chief, and the law was passed. In the meantime I formed several patrols of non-coms commanded by officers and dispatched them to the villages to catch deserters. But if one day fifty boys were brought in, the same night an equal number escaped in spite of all precautions. By early December parents of recruits came from the countryside and simply took their boys home at night. It was no use even to think about applying the death penalty.
Late in November the situation of our armed forces was precarious. Although the enemy did not attack, heavy winter did, and due to a lack of clothing and medical supplies, we had the catastrophe of the "Quadrangle of Death" in the Lubar-Ostropil region. The two united Armies which prior to the attack on Kiev had about 100,000 men under arms and 300 cannon, were reduced by the end of November to 4,000 men still able to carry arms, but unable to fight. The question arises: what happened to the rest? Uncounted thousands were dying of typhoid fever and thousands froze in the open fields. In every peasant cottage there were between ten and twenty sick soldiers, also on floors of schools, and more than 1,000 in a little hospital for 100 – all this without medical aid of any kind. All those unnamed heroes begged their comrades in their feverish ravings to shoot them and not leave them to their cruel fate. There was no water and no one to hand it around. There are no words eloquent enough to describe this suffering, and there is no one brave enough to talk about these sacrifices of our heroic soldiers.
The hapless population, chiefly the peasants in the areas of operation of our troops was also decimated by diseases. They came to the aid of our troops not as soldiers but as human beings and showed them unlimited compassion. When, in the spring of 1920, I was preparing for an offensive which we were undertaking together with the Poles, I was located with my brigade in several villages of Nova-Ushytsya county. There I saw entire villages empty of people, and tragic black boards at the entrance saying:
"Caution, typhoid wiped out the village." In one village I found the whole family of my good friend A.M. Hamaliya, an attorney in Lubni, who had been escaping to the west with the Denikin troops. They looked like skeletons and I did not recognize them, but they recognized me, told me who they were and then the brigade physician saved their lives.
I have often heard it said that our soldiers also died of malnutrition. This is true only to the extent that there was no one to take care of food supplies, but food was plentiful, there was enough to eat and all kinds of food products could be gotten from the peasants. This proves that in spite of several years' war in Ukraine, in spite of the revolution, in spite of requisitions by the Bolsheviks, Germans and Denikin, the land was still not poor, and the farmers often would refuse to take debased money, but supply food without charge. Organization of food supplies was particularly efficient in the UHA.
12. The Army in the Winter March
Then came the epic "Winter March." Early in December I received orders to form a battalion out of the remnants of the regiment and to send it to Yarmolyntsi to defend the Proskuriv-Kamyanets line from Denikin's troops. I appointed Capt. Vinnytsky commander of the battalion. He returned to Kamyanets on December 7th with only a handful of officers because all the soldiers had run away. When I received the order, I had explained the situation among the soldiers to Gen. Dyadyusha and warned that this was a hopeless gesture: the soldiers would desert. And so it happened.
On December 2nd the Commander in Chief called me and said that he was leaving to join the Army in connection with the situation at the front, and, leaving me in Kamyanets he hoped that I would keep up the action of holding up the spirits of the officers and men, and wait for spring which "might bring a completely unexpected change of our position." He told me to keep in close touch with the Minister, the President of Kamyanets University, Professor I. Ohienko whom the Government was appointing its chief delegate, and with General Kolodiy who was military aide to Minister Ohienko. At the time I did not catch the meaning of the Commander's words, but they soon came true.
At a conference of the members of the Government and of Army Commanders in Lubar it was decided that the Commander in Chief with some cabinet members, primarily with Foreign Minister A.M. Livytsky, would seek sanctuary in Poland, diplomatic relations with Poland having already been established, and the Army or the still battle-able parts of it, would go behind enemy lines, in a raid into Ukraine. The Army started on this march on December 6th and this was the historic "Winter March." General M. Omelanovych-Pavlenko was appointed commander of that army, but the real promoter was Gen. Yu. Tyutyunyk.
During that time the UHA found itself behind the lines of Denikin's Army, and the Commander of the UHA, General M. Tarnavsky concluded a truce with Denikin to save the remnants of his troops. For this, General Tarnavsky was removed from his command and put under court-martial by President E. Petrushevych, but the court-martial exonerated him. The new Commander of the UHA, General O. Mykytka was by then caught in a web of circumstances. The UHA was temporarily concentrated in the region of Koziatyn-Haysyn-Khmelnyk, and the UNR Army marched in that direction. After reorganization it counted about 3,000 men, nearly barefoot, badly clothed and without ammunition. But they were proven and chosen Ukrainian patriots. The Prime Minister, I. Mazepa was also with the Army.
It is necessary to digress into the future a little, in order to explain what reports on the "Winter March" reached us in Kamyanets, and what were the results of that march. First of all, the appearance of the army behind Denikin's lines so surprised and frightened General Denikin that he was the one to propose now an understanding and common action against the Bolsheviks. The Reds, too, when they found our Army behind Denikin's lines, proposed a truce and common action against "the imperialist, Denikin." Gen. Omelanovych-Pavlenko, however, refused to talk to either, and the Army first fought the Whites, and then the Reds. The attitude of the population to the Army was favorable because the people had already experienced the rule of both Russian armies. The people supplied the Army with food and men and helped in reconnaissance work. In connection with movements of the Army, a wave of uprisings broke out locally on both sides of the Dnipro, the Army having also made a raid to the Left Bank.
During the long winter months the Army was on the march and fought a series of battles with both enemies, capturing valuable arms from the Denikin troops. When the Reds approached Odessa, which was the supply base of Denikin, even the delegation of the Allies expressed a readiness to negotiate with the Ukrainians, but the Ukrainians demanded transfer of authority in the regions to them, and immediate removal of Denikin troops from the Odessa region. This was in January 1920. The plan was not carried out in spite of Allied consent because Odessa was occupied by the Reds within a few days. Allied ships evacuated most of Denikin's troops to the Crimea which was fortified and placed under the command of General Wrangel replacing Denikin. There were many Ukrainian soldiers in the Odessa region and they made their way to our Army, strengthening it numerically. The Reds tried to encircle and destroy our Army, but due to able maneuvering and action behind their lines our Army survived. Moreover, detachments of the UHA and individual Galicians joined our troops, so that by April its ranks had grown to 6,000 men, including over 1,000 horses.
Meanwhile the Government and the Commander in Chief had begun negotiations with Poland regarding recognition of the Ukrainian Government and aid in the fight against Moscow. The Polish Chief of State, Jozef Pilsudski was just as much aware as we of the threat to Poland on the part of Red Moscow, and, as we learned later from his memoirs, he was at that time looking for allies. Russian activities, consisting of massing huge troop concentrations along the Polish border demanded immediate Polish action to avert the danger. A Ukrainian-Polish Agreement and Military Convention was signed on April 22, 1920, under which the Polish Army was to march into Ukraine as soon as possible and help liberate Ukraine.
13. Under Polish Occupation
To get back to events in Kamyanets: Polish troops entered Kamyanets on December 8, 1919 and moved east along to Ushytsya river to Proskuriv-Shepetivka-Olevsk. In the south they held a line of defense against Denikin, but when pressed by the Reds, Denikin's troops surrendered to the Poles, the latter contained the Reds from advancing along this line any farther. There was no peace under Polish occupation in the Kamyanets region because lower Polish officials started requisitioning goods from the people who replied with sabotage. Officers of the 1st Recruit Regiment paid me frequent private visits and reported on the behavior of Polish authorities. There was a fairly large Polish population in Kamyanets and my Polish neighbors watched the comings and goings of suspicious-looking visitors to my apartment. One night several men of the Polish military police entered my apartment, searched it, and arrested me. When I was being taken into the police car I heard my Polish neighbors say: "That's he." A captain of the Polish military police interrogated me immediately and when I explained why these people had been coming to see me, he ordered my release.
Without much to do, I renewed close contacts with my high school classmates, Dr. B. Matusov and Engineer8 H. Lerner who were staying in Kamyanets. The latter was an official of the Ministry of Jewish Affairs, and he told me an interesting story. It seems that in September a complaint reached the Ministry signed by Jews of Mohyliv county which stated that "Colonel Shandruk oppresses Jews, demands money from them under threat of throwing hand-grenades into their homes, forces Jews to make the sign of the Cross and to eat dirt," etc. A secret investigation of the charges was ordered by Minister P. Krasny and conducted by Lerner and a department chief. The result was both surprising and humorous. When the investigators asked the complainants to describe Shandruk, they said: "he is short and wears a red goatee." Lerner told them in the presence of Minister Krasny that this was some kind of provocation because "Shandruk is tall (over six ft.) and has no beard, only an upward-pointed mustache." Unfortunately, nothing more was done about this matter, although I had a fairly good idea about the identity of the person acting under my name.
Late in January 1920, our Foreign Minister A.M. Livytsky came to Kamyanets from Warsaw where he also headed the Ukrainian delegation negotiating with Poland. He called a meeting of responsible Ukrainians to report on the progress of negotiations. I attended the meeting and heard all the people then present who represented all political parties, speak in favor of our Government's bid for Polish military and political aid, provided that our political position was clearly understood by the Poles.
Several days later General Kolodiy asked me to start work on a list of commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Kamyanets region. The order was issued by our Minister of War, Col. V. Salsky, then in Warsaw, and approved by the Polish authorities. There were immediate complications, however, arising from a lack of coordination: an identical order was issued to Col. O. Shapoval who was also in Kamyanets appointed to command the 2nd Infantry Brigade which he was to form. I offered my services to Col. Shapoval, promising to join his brigade with all my former subordinates. According to instructions of the Minister of War the brigade was to consist of three infantry battalions, an artillery division and a cavalry company with the provision that with growing enlistments the brigade would develop into a division, and battalions into regiments. In order to work out the details of this matter. Minister Ohienko, acting on the recommendation of General Kolodiy and Col. Shapoval, sent me to Warsaw. The trip was difficult, but very interesting. It was interesting because I went in uniform, on military travelling orders issued by the commander of the 18th Polish Division; General Krajowski, which was holding the front against the Bolsheviks on the Kamyanets sector. It was a hard trip because the passenger coaches were unheated to Ternopil, and we had January weather. My appearance in Warsaw in uniform created a sensation, and Polish officers asked me on the street of what nationality I was. During my two weeks in Warsaw I reported on the military situation to the Commander in Chief and Minister of War. They gave me money for Col. Shapoval and organizational projects.
There I also learned that after I had left Kamyanets a considerable armed force of partisans began operations against the Bolsheviks around Mohyliv. The partisans had been organized by Col. Udovychenko who had been ill with typhoid in December and taken to Odessa. After recovering he reached Mohyliv on his way west. Col. Salsky had plans to give Col. Udovychenko command of the 2nd Division which would include the remnants of the 1st Recruit Regiment as a nucleus of a fourth infantry brigade (this was an organizational innovation because formerly divisions consisted of three brigades). Col. Salsky told me that he would put me in command of the 4th brigade, but the final decision would be up to Col. Udovychenko.
At this time Col. Salsky also informed me about the course of diplomatic negotiations with the Poles in the matter of a Ukrainian-Polish alliance, and noted that Polish parliamentary and party circles were creating difficulties with recognition of Ukraine and engaging Poland in military aid to Ukraine, but that the final decision was in the hands of Chief of State Jozef Pilsudski whose attitude was favorable. Our military Attache to the Polish high command was Col. B. Homzyn, mentioned before, who informed the Commander in Chief on all military matters.
 Engineer – graduate of Technical Institute (College).
14. The Ukrainian-Polish Alliance
I returned to Kamyanets hopeful and in good spirits. I was being awaited impatiently because everyone wanted to hear about the chances of resuming war against the Bolsheviks. Col. Udovychenko had already received orders to take command of the 2nd Division, he was in Kamyanets and offered me the post of commander of the 4th infantry brigade. The Division was to be composed of the 4th, 5th and 6th brigade, one artillery brigade and a cavalry regiment with all auxiliary units. We expected to reorganize the whole on this pattern soon. I received Col. Udovychenko's offer with enthusiasm. Col. Shapoval was given a diplomatic appointment.
I had to start assembling personnel again, and new troubles began with uniforms, food, etc. Early in April I moved a nucleus of three battalions to Ivashkivtsi-Borsukivtsi where the brigade was to get recruits from a draft of three age groups in the county of Nova-Ushytsya. The commanders of battalions were: 10th – Capt. Kolodyazh, 11th – Capt. Hrabchenko (my colleague from the 232nd Russian reserve regiment), 12th – Lieut.-Col. Bilan, and Capt. Verekha in charge of the cavalry company. The artillery unit was part of the artillery brigade, and was only tactically under my command, it was commanded by Lieut.-Col. Loburenko. Awaiting supplements, we held daily exercises with the cadres, but even here we had difficulties with lack of arms, particularly machine-guns for technical and tactical exercises. Negotiations between Col. Udovychenko and commander of the 18th Polish Division, General Krajowski, had little effect, since the Polish Division was short of arms, and in spite of the fact that Polish Chief of State Pilsudski, as we learned later, had issued appropriate orders, they never reached Gen. Krajowski.
We received information that the offensive of Polish and Ukrainian forces was to begin on April 24th. But actually we had still neither enough men nor sufficient arms. Out of the entire cadre of the Division Col. Udovychenko formed a separate detachment under my command, consisting of 350 infantry men and two cannon. Together with the 35th Polish Brigade under Colonel Lados, this detachment began an offensive in the direction of Ozaryntsi (north of Mohyliv) via Verbovets. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment of Col. M. Frolov was proceeding along the Dnister river. This regiment with its commander had left the volunteer army of Gen. Bredov, and joined us. In one day our detachment reached the Vendychany-Ozaryntsi-Mohyliv line where we stopped for mobilization and organization, and the 18th Polish Division continued east. The brigade, quartered in the Ozaryntsi region, was soon supplemented with men, armed and uniformed, and organized. The people of Mohyliv tendered the Division a grand reception, and present were also the officers of the 18th Polish Division with General Krajowski and Colonel Lados. The latter, during an appropriate moment, danced a beautiful Cossack dance to loud applause of all Ukrainians.
On May 6th, the Army of the UNR, in the glory of its legendary Winter March and brilliant victories, entered the Mohyliv regions from the rear of the Bolsheviks under heavy fighting. In this fighting, the Army completely annihilated the 14th Soviet Army in the Rybnytsya-Rudnytsi regions. Lightly guarded and without much bother from the enemy, the Army rested in Mohyliv-Yampil regions and reorganized into five infantry and one cavalry divisions and two reserve brigades. At that time our Division got back its old name from the previous year, the 3rd Infantry Iron Division because most of its officers, now headed by General Udovychenko, were the same as in 1919, and the men were from the same localities. My brigade was named No. 7.
About the middle of May I received orders from Gen. Udovychenko to proceed to woods about seven kilometers north of Yampil, and there incorporated in my brigade a Galician detachment of Lieut. Yaremych which managed to join us from behind Bolshevik lines. There were 260 men with machine-guns and equipment. This was another manifestation of the comradeship in arms of the UNR and UHA armies. Galician soldiers were joining us nearly every day, many officers among them. I remember well the fine officer Capt. Dr. Hrynevych who was all bedraggled. To me personally this was new proof of the confidence of the Galicians in me, and Gen. Udovychenko said: "you have always been a patron of the Galicians, and when they learned that you were here, asked to be put in your brigade." I attached this unit to the brigade as the 21st battalion and the rest went into the brigade police company.
Our bivouac in this region lasted until May 27th when the Division received orders to march to the front on the river Markivka line, and the brigade was to hold the Myaskivka-Haryachkivka line. On the day of departure, a delegation of Jews of the city of Ozaryntsi came to me and presented me with a scroll which stated, among others:
"We, the Jews of Ozaryntsi, never had it so peaceful since the revolution of 1917, as during the time when the 7th Brigade was stationed in our vicinity."
The position of the brigade was at the most exposed northern wing of the Army and it maintained liaison with the neighboring Polish units. The whole Army front stretched out for over eighty kilometers. News reached us that the 3rd Polish Army, which included our 6th Infantry Division formed from our men who had been held as prisoners of war by the Poles, had captured Kiev, and that our Commander in Chief had been received by the city of Kiev. At first we did not know why we were not advancing east, but early in June it became known from communiques that the Bolsheviks had massed on the southern front opposite the Poles and us, the mounted Army of Budenny in the region of Lypovets. The Polish command had therefore halted the offensive in order to annihilate Budenny on prepared positions. After several attempts, however, Budenny succeeded in breaking through the Polish front near Samhorodok, and the Poles could not stop him in spite of filling the breach with reserves. A retreat began on the entire front from Kiev to the Dnister, but in spite of the Bolsheviks' huge superiority in numbers, they failed to encircle or destroy any of the Ukrainian or Polish units. The situation became aggravated by the fact of desertions caused by our defeat. True, desertions were not on the mass scale of the previous year because the people had already experienced the Bolshevik "paradise," but nevertheless our ranks thinned. When we entered Galicia in our retreat, large numbers of Galicians went home, too. Another, fairly large part of the 5th Kherson Division crossed the Carpathians into Czechoslovakia.
The brigade experienced heavy fighting against overwhelming enemy forces, particularly against the cavalry near Sydoriv (east of Chortkiv) and along the line of the rivers Seret and Strypa, but we fought back without heavy losses. In the Sydoriv region enemy cavalry succeeded in pushing the 21st battalion out of Vasylkivtsi and it managed to hold on only to the western part of the village. We had to win the position back at all cost because the flanks of neighboring units were threatened. The 19th reserve battalion had orders to recapture Vasylkivtsi, but unfortunately, the commander of the battalion left the village unescorted and encountered enemy cavalry hiding in a land depression before the village. In flight from the sabers of enemy cavalry the battalion rushed back to the village which was only a short way off, but it lost fifteen men, a great loss at the rime when the whole battalion had only sixty men. The loss was a blow on our morale, too. At my request Gen. Udovychenko sent a cavalry company from the 8th brigade and two companies of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment from the division reserve to our aid and our cavalry restored the break. Soon, however, the enemy threw in another huge cavalry group and our Division could not hold out. But finally the Cavalry Division came from our reserve, and together we annihilated the enemy cavalry: the Red Cossack Cavalry Division and the Bashkir Cavalry Brigade. This example shows that the enemy was not superior to us. Our Division fought on this front for nearly two weeks, and orders to withdraw to the river Strypa line came only in connection with the situation on the Polish front.
On the last day before withdrawal to the Strypa line the brigade received reinforcements: a full battalion of 250 men of former POWs in Poland trained in a Polish camp under Capt. Trutenko. I left this battalion intact as the 21st battalion, dividing the 21st battalion among the 20th and 19th. Our withdrawal was very slow and during the night our brigade occupied for defense several villages on the east bank of the Strypa, Capt. Trutenko's battalion taking the whole east end of the large village of Trybukhivtsi. Being completely exhausted, I did not personally supervise placing of patrols, expecting that Capt. Trutenko, an experienced World War I officer, would take care of guarding us for the night. I felt uneasy, however, and my uneasiness was justified: the Bolsheviks attacked Trybukhivtsi during the night and panic ensued. Order was restored, however, when I came to the threatened place with my own men. The battalion held on only to the northern end of the village until morning, and then we crossed to the west bank of the river Strypa. After this event I replaced Capt. Trutenko with Lieut.-Col. Bazylevsky.
To the north, defended by the 1st Zaporozhian Division, enemy cavalry broke through to its rear and threatened our entire front, but there again, the Cavalry Division frustrated the enemy's attempts and inflicted heavy losses on him. Meanwhile the 6th Polish Army which was in operational contact with our Army, withdrew toward Lviv leaving our entire northern wing exposed and this compelled our Command to begin a withdrawal across the Dnister. The withdrawal was completed around August 18th and 19ch after heavy fighting. The brigade, which had been covering the Division in its withdrawal, was ordered to the region of Vynohrad-Yaseniv for a rest, and then it was placed on a sector of the front along the Dnister, with the bridge at Nyzhniv as the center of defense. We had only daily exchange of shots with the enemy, but passive defense was not in the plans of Gen. Udovychenko, and during that period of seven to eight days while we were stationed along the Dnister. We made several night sorties across the river and finally secured the opposite bridgehead and our 3rd Cavalry Regiment made a raid as far as Monasteryska.
Under pressure of circumstance and on demand of our prominent high officers the matter of ranks and promotions was finally taken care of at that time. A special commission was appointed under Gen. M. Yanchevsky which compiled a register of the entire officer corps of the Army for the purpose of determining ranks, and drafted regulations for promotions. I was confirmed in the rank of Captain with full seniority with simultaneous promotion to Colonel for meritorious battle service.
The news reached us only late in August that the Poles had thoroughly beaten the Reds near Warsaw, striking from the river Wieprz against the southern wing of the Bolshevik front which reached from Demblin all the way to Torun. Our Army began preparing for attack and the 3rd Division was moved to the south to Horodenka, where it was to force the Dnister and proceed eastward to capture the line of Skala-Husiatyn. During the course of several nights and under cover of woods our 3rd Battalion of Engineers built planks and pontoons, and in the night of September 15th the 8th Brigade forced the Dnister on pontoons and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment swimming. Enemy sentries were all taken prisoner and the Reds began to retreat in panic. Within four days the Division traversed over 120 kilometers with light skirmishes and crossed the Zbruch again on September 21st. On our own free soil all soldiers not on duty assembled on a hill near Orynin attending Divine Service of thanksgiving for the happy return to the Homeland.
The brigade was in poor condition. In spite of successful attempts to destroy the enemy with the least possible losses to ourselves, our losses accumulated. Some battalions had no more than fifty to sixty men, the 12th had over 100, and the cavalry company had thirty horses. We were hoping that the enemy would not be able to prevent our mobilization of new recruits in the area, and that the Poles Would have better opportunities for supplying us with arms. The enemy was retreating in panic and our Command took full advantage of the situation. Although the Bolsheviks threw in fresh troops soon, we realized that regardless of our exhaustion we had to advance as fast as possible, taking advantage of our good morale. We had the same thing all over again: battles and forced marches, and organization work.
Unexpectedly, however, reports came in that the Poles accepted the Bolsheviks' offer of a cease-fire, and that they were ready to negotiate peace. General Udovychenko was pressing the attack, to gain as much depth in territory as possible for a "breather" and finally the Division pulled far ahead of the right wing of the front, reaching the river Markivka. Our Division and the newly created First Machine-gun Division constituted the Right Army Group of General Udovychenko.
On October 18th came the end of our fighting job on the front along the river Markivka. We had to stop the fight for the liberation of our Homeland because the Poles had signed an armistice which included the entire front of our Army. The Poles had sent their detachments to the line of our front in order to mark that all this was the Polish front. It was quite clear to me that our struggle against the Bolsheviks, considering Red Moscow's potential, had entered into a new stage of crisis. I kept all the ill omens of our situation to myself in order to lift the morale of my troops in expectation of an early renewal of operations because the armistice was valid only until November 10th. The Bolsheviks, I felt, would not keep any promises made to us. The Poles were unable to satisfy our needs for materiel and supplies. We were particularly short of ammunition for the infantry. Our Command had hopes to recover arms and ammunition from the Rumanians which they had taken from the Zaporozhian Corps during the tatter's crossing of Rumania in 1919. Negotiations with the Rumanians ended in their consent to return this property of ours in exchange for sugar which we had available from the Vendychany refinery situated in the region of the 3rd Division. This fact of the Rumanians' trading our own property should be well remembered. At the time, however, this was the only way we could supplement our stock of arms of which we were in dire need since we had several thousand draftees in our mobilization centers. With these arms, and with all the work of our armorers who cleaned and reconditioned arms and ammunition taken from the population, we had only forty to fifty rounds per man and four to six tapes per machine-gun. Rifles were in such worn condition that at a distance of 100 paces the target would be missed by several feet which I observed personally. Regarding clothing, we were somewhat better off than in 1919.
I went to Kamyanets on November 4th to take care of several matters during a week's furlough, but early in the morning of the 12th H. Roytberg (mentioned before) came running to my house in Kamyanets with the news that he barely escaped from encirclement by a Bolshevik brigade. I left for the front right away, but I could only reach Nova Ushytsya, the front being on the river Kalus line. Gen. Udovychenko was extremely busy with the new situation, but he took time to tell me briefly that early in the morning of November 10th the Bolsheviks attacked in great force of cavalry and infantry our 9th Brigade in the region of Sharhorod, made a deep breakthrough and almost annihilated our Division. My brigade suffered particularly heavy losses being attacked by Red Cavalry on the defense line near Chernivtsi, and the General sent the 8th Brigade to help. All ammunition was spent soon and the brigades held the line with bayonets. The enemy could not take Chernivtsi and went around them. In the night the decimated brigades withdrew to Luchynets-Yaryshiv. Some ammunition was supplied by our Army Quartermaster, but the enemy could not be stopped. The Army Staff dispatched the Cavalry Division against the attacking enemy groups, but it suffered heavy losses and could not contain the enemy. With ever fresh forces brought in by the Bolsheviks into battle, we could not regroup the Army and hold the enemy. The Army was in full retreat, but the retreat was orderly so as to prevent encirclement and annihilation. The group withdrew to the Zbruch on the Volochyska-Ozhyhivtsi line and was to cross into Poland on terms agreed upon in advance. For the first time in our fight for independence we had horrible losses and nebulous prospects for the future. In talks with my commanders of battalions and from reports of commanders of other divisions I could piece together the whole situation and our operational mistakes which could have been the cause of all that happened. First of all, my conjecture was quite correct that we should not have waited with launching our offensive until the very last minute of the expiring armistice, all the more so since Polish token forces had been withdrawn on November 3rd. In any event, we would have had the initiative, although, naturally enough, one could predict the outcome of such an offensive. The Army Command did not consent to the proposal made by the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, M. Frolov, to create a mobile attack group out of all cavalry units and make a deep raid behind enemy lines in October, at a time when the Bolsheviks were concentrating their forces On our front. This would also have been an action of operational intelligence which was not undertaken, we did not even engage in deeper tactical intelligence. As we learned from intelligence reports of the Army Staff, all intelligence was gathered by agents, a system which is always unreliable. The time of year was against us, but it was just as much against the enemy. In men and materiel, however, the enemy was undoubtedly superior to us.9
Thoughts were discussed that the Army might go on another winter march, but it was quite clear that neither the relation of forces nor operational conditions would be in favor of such action, the Bolsheviks being no longer busy on other fronts, as was the case in 1919.
According to data of the Army Staff, as of November 10th the Army held a front from the Dnister near Yampil through Bar to Lityn, i.e. over 120 kilometers. Our numbers were: about 14,000 infantry, about 3,000 cavalry, eighty cannon and a few armored cars. Facing us, the Reds concentrated about 25,000 infantry (the 12th and 14th Army) and about 5,000 cavalry with incomparably stronger artillery and with full technical and materiel supplies.10 Hence, with our experience in waging war against the Bolsheviks and with our determination we could count on some initial success which could have developed into something bigger in connection with the low morale of the Red troops following the defeat at Warsaw. This, however, is merely conjecture, albeit based on logical analysis.
For 11 days in heavy and unequal battles, the Army was withdrawing westward, under cover of thinning cavalry ranks and machine-guns mounted on carts. Our retreat was also covered by the so-called 3rd Russian Army of General Peremykin, formed in Poland under the auspices of the Russian Political Liberation Committee headed by the well-known Russian political leader Boris Savinkov who recognized Ukrainian independence. The forces of that army were too weak, however, to stop the advance of the Reds. Accompanying Gen. Udovychenko, I just managed to get across a bridge at Volochyska on November 21st at night under enemy machine-gun fire. The Bolsheviks did not gain much booty from us because everything that could be moved (trains, horses, artillery) was moved by us to Polish territory.
The war was over, and in spite of wholly unjustified official optimism, I did not see any prospects of a change in the political and military situation in our favor, I did not see any possibility of a new rise to arms.
 "Ukrains'ko-Moskovs'ka Viyna v dokumentakh" (The Ukrainian-Muscovite War in Documents), by General V. Salsky and General P. Shandruk. Published by the Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Warsaw, 1935.
 E. Melikov and M. Kakurin, "Voyna s belopolakami" (The War against the White Poles), Moscow, 1928.