17 May 2023

What is the Black Army? – Meaning, locations and main ideology

By Donald

It was a mostly Ukrainian anarchist group and one of the four armies that were part of the Russian civil war. Although the troop was not very large, it was respected due to the brutality with which they fought and their great speed in the movements they made. In addition, they ran long distances to be able to attack his enemies and retreat in the same way. So if you want to know what the black army is, we will teach you here.

What was the Black Army?

Its official name was the Ukrainian Insurrectionary Revolutionary Army, which was made up of anarchist peasants, which existed between 1918 and 1921 in southern Ukraine and also in some areas of Russia. In their clothing they had a characteristic black beret. developed what is known as free treatywhere up to a quarter of present-day Ukraine was occupied, that is, more than seven million inhabitants.

The technique used by this army was to attack with few combatants, then hit hard and disappear immediately. They even escaped in the middle of the battle, for hours later attack from behind to his enemies. This undermined the morale of the adversaries.

In addition, they were distinguished because in the open field his men fought furiously and since the majority were peasants, they risked even their lives to protect their territories, more than any other army. Although in an organized combat that was his weak point, since his weaknesses were reflected.

In the participation they had in the russian civil war, the black army fought against three more troops. On the one hand, the Bolshevik group that made up the Red Army; on the other hand, the conservative Mensheviks who made up the white army and finally, the nationalists who belonged to the green militia.

Black Army in Ukraine

During its existence, the Black Army of Ukraine had a very active and combative performance in the region. His main objective was defend the interests of peasants and workers Ukrainians and fight for the independence and autonomy of Ukraine.

Between 1918 and 1921, carried out numerous military operations against Bolshevik forces, White Russian monarchists, and German troops attempting to occupy Ukraine. He too faced Polish forces, who tried to take control of the region.

In addition, they were highly skilled in the use of guerrilla tactics and mobile combat, which allowed them to avoid direct engagements with superior enemy forces in numbers and weaponry. they also used sabotage techniques against the military and economic objectives of the enemy.

the black army fought for the independence of Ukraine and prevented with all the forces that they tried to subjugate the Ukrainian people. In particular, he opposed the creation of a centralized state and the imposition of a dictatorship of the proletariat by the Bolsheviks.

The struggle of this army had a significant impact on the history of Ukraine and on the movement international anarchist. His battle for social justice and freedom continues to be remembered and honored by many in Ukraine and around the world.

Black Army in Germany

After the First World War, Ukraine was in a state of chaos and political conflict. In this context, the Black Army carried out a series of military operations against the German, Austro-Hungarian and other invading armies that occupied Ukraine after the war.

In particular, the Black Army, was led by Nestor Majnó, who fought against Austro-Hungarian outposts in Galicia in 1918 and later joined the forces of Ukrainian revolutionary leader Symon Petliura in a campaign against the Germans in 1919. In these military operations, they used guerrilla tactics and mobilization of the local population.

In addition, they fought against the Polish forces that invaded Ukraine in 1919, with the goal of establishing an independent Ukrainian nation. In this fight, the Black Army had some military successes, including the liberation of the city of kyiv from Polish forces.

Black Army in Hungary

On the other hand, the Black Army participated in military operations in Hungary. In 1919, a coalition of socialist forces, known as the Hungarian Soviet Republic, took control of the country and established a communist government. The Ukrainians saw this as a threat to their anarchist ideals and decided to intervene in the situation.

Nestor Majnó and his followers entered Hungary and joined the white counterrevolutionary forces They were fighting against the communist government. The Black Army carried out a series of military operations against the communist forces, including the capture of the city of Szeged and the liberation of Szabadka.

In addition, they tried to establish an autonomous zone in the Bácska region, in southern Hungary. However, the communist forces launched a counter-offensive and managed to recapture most of the territory they had lost.

However, the black army was not as successful in Hungary as it was in the Ukraine, but the intervention helped weaken the communist government. He also cooperated in restoring the political power of the counterrevolutionary and conservative forces in Hungary.

Black Army in Russia

In 1918, the black army and the Bolsheviks (political party that led the October Revolution of 1917 and seized power in Russia) were in a certain way allied. In the fight against the provisional government that had been established after the fall of tsarist authority in February of that same year.

Although the Ukrainian Black Army and the Russian Red Army fought together against the White forces during the Russian Civil War, the relationship between them always became tense due to their ideological differences. Since the Black army was anarchist and opposed to any form of centralized government, while the red one was under the control of the Communist Party and sought to establish a centralized socialist state.

In some cases, the Black and Red Army cooperated to fight against the white forces, especially in the Ukraine and Russia, where both were fighting against the troops of the Hetmanate and the Germans. However, these alliances were always precarious and often broke down due to ideological differences and disputes over control of territory.

In 1920, the Ukraine and Russia found themselves in direct conflict, when the Red Army attempted take control of the regions ruled by black troops. Although the Black Army fought valiantly, they were defeated and their leaders were executed or imprisoned.

What were the ideals of the Black Army?

This army, despite being a militia force that was made up of peasants. They were very clear about their principles and organization, in this way they established three essential bases:

  • Eligibility: people who held some important position, such as commanders, members of the council of insurgents and also the General Staff. They had to be chosen by means of the insurgents of the corresponding unit and by the army.
  • Volunteer: The people who join the army, had to join spontaneously, no one was forced, since it was necessary for the feeling of fighting to be born by themselves.
  • Free and consented discipline: the rules on discipline were elaborated in a book by the insurgent commissions and then they were taken to the military assemblies to be validated.

On the other hand, regarding his military organization, was composed of units of great battle power. In addition, they had artillery, infantry and cavalry divisions, which, in turn, were made up of three regiments and three brigades with three battalions each.

However, his cavalries were considered one of the best in the world, since they had their own elite body called the Black Sotnia, made up of 150 horsemen. This army was so popular that it is estimated that by the year 1919, some 25,000 Ukrainians fought in it, where they had 4 trains and armored cars, 49 field guns and a hundred machine guns.

Regarding the combat strategy, they used troop rotation, which consisted of returning the tired soldiers to the villages to take care of the families and also to work in the fields for three week periods. Therefore, it was normal to use this method, since many peasants had combat knowledge because they participated in World War I.