Chortkiv offensive

Chortkiv offensive [Чортківська офензива; Chortkivska ofenzyva], also known as the June offensive. Military operation by the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA), under the command of Oleksander Hrekov, against the Polish army from 7 to 28 June 1919, which resulted in the UHA's retreat to a triangle of land in southeastern Galicia bounded by the Zbruch River and Dnister River and the Husiatyn–Ulashkivtsi–Tovste–Ustechko line. The goal of the operation was to throw back the Polish forces to the Zolota Lypa River in order to give the UHA, which numbered 19,000 combat-ready officers and men and 50 batteries, greater space to maneuver. The offensive, which began on 7 June, initially yielded a tactical advantage: on 8 June the UHA took Chortkiv, defeated the Polish army, and forced it to retreat a distance of 150 km to the HolohoryPeremyshliany–Bukachivtsi line. The UHA successfully fought engagements at Yazlivets (10 June), Buchach (11 June), Pidhaitsi (14 June), Nyzhniv (14 June), and heavy battles at Ternopil (14 June) and Berezhany (21 June), but a shortage of arms and ammunition prevented it from consolidating these victories. On 28 June the Polish forces, armed with 38,600 bayonets, 2,100 sabers, 797 machine guns, and 207 cannons, broke through the Ukrainian front lines at Yanchyn and forced the UHA, armed with 24,000 bayonets, 400 sabers, 376 machine guns, and 144 cannons, to retreat to the Zbruch River and enter the territory of central Ukraine on 16 July. The Chortkiv offensive, waged with inadequate forces, could not yield strategic gains for the UHA. In addition, the Allied Council of Foreign Ministers' decision on the political status of Galicia (18 June 1919) allowed the Polish army to conduct operations as far as the Zbruch River (both sides were informed of this decision). Nonetheless, the UHA's victories displayed its value as a military force and gave proof of its high morale, later exhibited in battles against the Red Army in eastern Ukraine.

Chortkivs’ka ofenzyva (Munich 1953)
Makarushka, L. ‘Chortkivs’ka ofenzyva,’ Ukraïns’ka Halyts’ka Armiia u 40–richchia ïï uchasty u vyz’vol’nykh zmahanniakh, 4 (Winnipeg 1968)

Lev Shankovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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