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Battle of Peregonovka
Part of the Ukrainian War of Independence and the Russian Civil War
Date September 26, 1919
Location Southeast of Uman, Ukraine
Result Anarchist victory
Black flag.svg Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine Russia Volunteer Army
Commanders and leaders
Nestor Makhno
Fedir Shchus
Yakov Slashchev
Nikolai Shilling
7,000–8,000 6,000–7,000 rifles & sabers
27–40 artillery pieces
Casualties and losses
Unknown Many hundreds killed. Hundreds surrendered, 23 artillery pieces and 100 machine guns captured

The Battle of Peregonovka was a September 1919 military conflict in which the Makhno Black Army defeated the White Volunteer Army. After retreating west across Ukraine for four months and 600 kilometers, the anarchist Makhno Black Army turned east and surprised the White Army. The Black Army reclaimed its capital within ten days.


In mid-June 1919, Andrei Shkuro of the Cossack White Army took advantage of the chaos between the Bolsheviks and anarchists to pillage the village of Huliaipole, burning houses, killing men, raping women, and expropriating loot to the Kuban, similar to what had been done in other peasant villages.[1] The Black Army and thousands of refugees retreated hundreds of kilometers to the west. They crossed the Dnieper at a bridge near Alexandrovsk to reach Yelisavetgrad, run by the ataman Nikifor Grigoriev.[2] Their alliance with him lasted only a month (June 25 to July 27), when the ataman was killed for refusing to fight Anton Denikin's army[3] and his participation in the pogroms.[4] The Makhno Black Army continued to Dobrovelichkovka, in southern Ukraine, where they reconciled with the Red Army in early August.[5] They launched counter-offensives that temporarily pushed their targets to the east, but Denikin soon sent reinforcements.[6] The Makhno Black Army continued its western retreat as the White Army arrived in Kursk to the north.[7]

After a month of retreat and skirmishes, leaving more than 8,000 wounded, the Black Army arrived in Uman in late August 1919.[8] Being on the border of Petliura territory, they decided to negotiate. The nationalists were also at war with the White Army and did not want more enemies.[7] They decided to cease hostilities, exchange prisoners, and let 3,000 Makhnovists attend the nationalist hospitals for two weeks before settling in the village of Tekuche, near Uman.[9] Before long, the anarchists came to distrust the nationalists. With Petliura to their north and west, and Denikin to their south and east, by September 25, the White Army had surrounded the Makhno Black Army.[10]


File:Ucrania noviembre 1919.png

After four months of western retreat over 600 kilometers, the Black Army decided to turn east and face the White Army in the village of Kruten'koe. The White Army fled in surprise.[11] The next day would be a decisive battle for the less than 8,000 remaining guerrillas.[12]

The attack began at 03:00 hours. When the White Army lines had not broken after six hours, the Black Army formed in a new assault in which the women joined. This push reduced the White Army's soldiers and machine gun fire. Makhno, who had rode ahead with a cavalry squadron to flank the defenders earlier in the night,[13] attacked from the rear and entered the village with hand-to-hand combat in the streets.[14] With this attack from both ends, the White Army fled but was pursued by the Black Army's horsemen, leaving many dead in the fields and hundreds drowned in attempt to ford a nearby river.[15]


About 4,000 White soldiers scattered into the forests to the north, where they were killed by regional peasants.[16]

After the victory, the Blacks formed three columns and advanced to the Dnieper, eliminating all enemies.[17] This offensive included 7,000 Whites killed in Alexandrovsk, including 2,500 Chechens.[18] Within ten days, the Black Army had returned to reclaim their capital, take Mariupol, Polohy, Melitopol, and Berdiansk, and other items of worth. They conquered Ekaterinoslav on October 20 and the Whites who took refuge in Taganrog.[19] At the peak of their power, the Makhno anarchists territory ran from the center of the Yekaterinoslav Governorate to the northeastt of the Taurida Governorate, an area populated by about three million.[20]

The battlezone remained under the command of Ataman Volodin and 6,000 partisans until 1920.[21]


  1. Archinov 2008, pp. 125–126.
  2. Archinov 2008, p. 127.
  3. Archinov 2008, p. 128; Mayer 2014, p. 433.
  4. Archinov 2008, pp. 111–112.
  5. Archinov 2008, pp. 128–129.
  6. Archinov 2008, p. 129.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Archinov 2008, p. 130.
  8. Archinov 2008, p. 130; Skirda 2004, p. 133.
  9. Skirda 2004, p. 133; Archinov 2008, pp. 130–131.
  10. Archinov 2008, pp. 131–132.
  11. Archinov 2008, pp. 132–133; Skirda 2004, p. 134.
  12. Skirda 2004, p. 133.
  13. Archinov 2008, p. 133.
  14. Archinov 2008, pp. 133–134; Skirda 2004, p. 294.
  15. Archinov 2008, p. 134.
  16. Belash & Belash 1993, p. 347.
  17. Archinov 2008, p. 135.
  18. Skirda 2004, p. 412.
  19. Archinov 2008, p. 136.
  20. Velychenko 2011, p. 12.
  21. Skirda 2004, p. 223.


  • Archinov, Piotr (2008) (in es). Historia del movimiento Makhnovista (1918–1921). Buenos Aires: Tupac Ediciones & La Malatesta Editorial. ISBN 978-987-1523-02-3. OCLC 916539559. 
  • Belash, Aleksandr Víktorovich; Belash, Victor Fiódorovich (1993) (in Russian). Dorogi Nestora Makhno: istoricheskoe povestvovanie. Kiev: RVT︠S︡ "Proza". ISBN 978-5-7707-3814-8. OCLC 31740208. 
  • Skirda, Alexandre (2004) (in en). Nestor Makhno–Anarchy's Cossack: The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine 1917–1921. Oakland, CA: AK Press. ISBN 1-902593-68-5. OCLC 60602979. 
  • Velychenko, Stephen (2011) (in English). State Building in Revolutionary Ukraine: A Comparative Study of Governments and Bureaucrats, 1917–1922. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-4132-7. OCLC 777948786. 

Further readingEdit

  • Telitsyn, V. L. (1998). Нестор Махно. Историческая хроника [Néstor Majnó. Crónica histórica] (in Russian). Smolensk: РУСИЧ [RUSICH].
  • Tymoshchuk, Olexandr Valentínovich (1996). Анархо-коммунистические формирования Н. Махно: сентябрь 1917-август 1921 г [Formación anarcomunista de N. Majnó: septiembre de 1917-agosto de 1921] (in Russian). Simferopol: Tavria. ISBN 9785778007673.


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