Southern Front
Part of Russian Civil War
Date January 1918 — October 1921
Location Southern Russia
Result White victory
Southern Russia falls under White control, Bolsheviks driven out
Flag of Russia Provisional Russian Government
Flag of Russia Russian National Army
Flag of Don Cossacks Don cossacks (1918)
Flag of Kuban People's Republic Kuban cossacks (1918)

Newly emerged states
Flag of the Democratic Republic of Armenia Armenia
Flag of Georgia (1918-1921) Georgia
Flag of Azerbaijan 1918 Azerbaijan


Flag of Russian SFSR (1918-1937) Soviet Russia
Red flag Red Army

Commanders and leaders
Flag of Russia Alexander Kerensky
Flag of Russia Anton Denikin
Flag of Russia Pyotr Wrangel
Flag of Don Cossacks Pyotr Krasnov

Flag of the Democratic Republic of Armenia Drastamat Kanayan

Flag of Russian SFSR (1918-1937) Leon Trotsky
Flag of Russian SFSR (1918-1937) Joseph Stalin
c. 1,000,000 c. 900,000
Casualties and losses
400,000 460,000

The Southern Front (Южный фронт) was a theater of operations during the Russian Civil War. It was the most active theater of operations, as the core of the White force was located here. In early 1918, the Provisional All—Russian Government was established following the Conference of Tsaritsyn. The city of Tsaritsyn was in the south, on the river Volga, and thus had to be heavily protected from the Bolsheviks, further north. The first action of the newly created "Russian National Army" was to eradicate the Bolshevik presence in the far south, the Caucasus, and the newly emerged democratic republics to the south of the mountains.

Battle of Voronezh (1918)

In January 1918, after the centralization of the white movement under the new provisional government and national army, troops that were now known as the First Army, under command of Cossack General Anton Denikin, advanced to the city of Voronezh, after clearing out the oblasts around Tsaritsyn. It was the largest bastion of the Bolshevik forces in the south, as all other remaining Bolshevik strongholds were largely just small towns with only a few defenders. The city was besieged in early February, by the 153,000 men of Denikin's First Army. At the same time, an army from the southwest, designated the Second Army, under Pyotr Wrangel, consisting of 108,000 men.

The Red Army defense was led by Major General Joseph Stalin, who commanded an army of roughly 105,000 men. Greatly outnumbered, he refused to retreat, and Vladimir Lenin told him to hold the city as long as possible. On 7 February, the attack began, with Denikin attacking from the southeast, and Wrangel from the southwest. The two armies planned to perform a pincer movement and meet up on the opposite banks of the Voronezh River. The first attacks lasted until 14 February, when they captured the central district, and began clearing out the southern districts from remaining Red Army forces. This lasted until 20 February, and they were ready to advance north the next day. On the 17th, Stalin was caught in an encircled pocket, and was killed.

Clearing of far south (1918)

Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan (1918)

In the Caucasus, the newly formed Democratic Republics of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan had began amassing defense forces to fight off the Bolsheviks. The communist revolutionaries had little presence in those regions, however, they tried to take Baku. The attacks were repulsed, and a force of about 8,000 men under command of Cossack General Pyotr Krasnov arrived to help. It had recently put down several Bolshevik uprisings in Stavropol and Grozny, being combat hardened. Krasnov and his forces aided the Armenian, Georgian, and Azerbaijani militias in putting down the Bolshevik remnants. Afterwards, in early June 1918, Krasnov and his forces returned to the north, to aid the campaign of General Denikin.

The chief of staff of Denikin, Mikhail Alekseyev, died of a heart attack in October. He was replaced with Krasnov by Denikin, as they prepared for the drive to the north.