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The Battle of Czarnobyl took place on April 27, 1920, near the town of Chernobyl, Ukraine, during the Polish-Soviet War. It was part of the Kiev Operation of the Polish Army, and it ended in Polish victory. Main Polish unit, which operated in the swampy area of Polesie, was the 9th Infantry Division from Siedlce, commanded by General Wladyslaw Sikorski. Its first task was to seize Chernobyl, an important Prypec river port, and a base of Soviet Dnieper Flotilla, which operated at the confluence of the Prypec, and which protected the rear of the Red Army units fighting near Kiev. To capture Chernobyl, General Sikorski created Cavalry Group of Major Jaworski, supported by newly created Riverine Flotilla of the Polish Navy. On April 25, at 4:00 a.m., the Cavalry Group left the village of Demowicze and headed towards Chernobyl. Together with the cavalry, boats of the Flotilla sailed on the Prypec. After a few hours, they were attacked by Soviet boats. Polish motor boats destroyed one Soviet unit, and forced the enemy into retreat. At the village of Koszarowka, Major Jaworski divided his soldiers into two groups: the fist one, commanded by him personally, was to attack the town from north. The other one, commanded by Colonel Kazimierz Galinski, was ordered to attack from the west. Both attacks were scheduled for April 27 in the morning. Chernobyl was defended by Soviet 61st Rifle Brigade, supported by twelve boats of the Dnieper Flotilla, which were armed with cannons and heavy machine guns. Polish columns left their positions in the evening of April 26. Nex morning, the group of Major Jaworski reached the village of Lelow, where it clashed with parts of Soviet 61st Rifle Regiment and the Dnieper Flotilla. Thanks to support of the Polish Pinsk Flotilla, Major Jaworski and his soldiers broke through Soviet positions and opened the way towards Chornobyl. Nevertheless, due to this clash, Jaworski was late, compared to the second column, which had already attacked Chornobyl on April 27, at 5 a.m. Despite Soviet resistance, infantry of the 34th Regiment, supported by an artillery battery, seized a cemetery and green areas, located west of the town. At app. 5 a.m., the unit of Major Jaworski also appeared on the spot, together with the Pinsk Flotilla. It immediately assaulted Soviet positions, forcing the enemy to retreat. The battle quickly turned into a rout, as Polish units chased fleeing Soviets. The Dnieper Flotilla retreated to the Pripyat estuary, and Polish boats returned to the port of Chornobyl. The Battle of Czarnobyl was commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, with the inscription: “CZERNOBYL 27 IV 1920”.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • J. Bartlewicz, Flotylla Pińska i jej udział w wojnie polsko-bolszewickiej 1918-1920, Warszawa 1933;
  • J. Izdebski, Dzieje 9 Dywizji Piechoty 1918-1939, Warszawa 2000
  • J. Odziemkowski, Leksykon wojny polsko-rosyjskiej, wyd. RYTM warszawa 2004

See also[edit | edit source]

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