Gerhard's Journey

Makhno too had his hands full with the return of the White Army and fought a running battle with both the Whites and the Reds as he retreated 600 kilometres west, gathering up thousands of thieves, deserters, Ukrainian peasants, and anyone with an axe to grind. In July 1919 Makhno killed the vicious warlord Nikifor Grigoriev, who incited over 40 pogroms in which at least 6,000 Jews died, and inherited his soldiers. Now he was ready for a surprise turnaround which arguably permitted the Red army to secure control of Russia and defeat the Whites.

Incredibly, at Perehonivka [48°32’5.12″N, 30°31’19.43″E], his army 600 kilometres from its home base, Makhno told his men: now we’ve got them where we want them! His army pivoted and attacked the unsuspecting First Officers’ Regiment of Simferopol. At first the regiment retreated, then it ran. Corpses lined the banks of the Sinyukha River for miles.

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