Sarikamish operation: how the Russian army defeated the Turkish Napoleon

The history of Sarikamish operation 06/02/20: how the Russian army defeated the Turkish Napoleon

19 November 1914 Turkish cruiser bombarded Odessa, Sevastopol, Novorossiysk, Feodosia, and the army invaded Batumi region of the Russian Empire. In early December of the same year, the Turkish army launched an offensive that went down in history as the battle of Sarikamish. For the Turkish operation was a disaster. Despite numerical superiority and the weakness of the Russian position, the Ottomans were defeated.

the Turkish Plan of Napoleon

Turkish politician Ismail Enver Pasha was the chief ideologue of pan-Turkism, the ideology that advocates the unification of all Turkic people, of course under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Enver Pasha loved Germany, where for several years he worked as a military attaché and hated ancient enemy Ports – Russia. By 1914 he had become the unofficial leader of the nation and drew Turkey in the First world war on the side of the enemies of the Entente.

Enver Pasha loved when he was compared to Napoleon and fall of 1914, having arrived on the Caucasian front, began to prepare his trip to Russia. The result of the war was to be the rejection of the Russian territory of Transcaucasia. The commander appreciated the strategic weakness of the enemy positions and concluded that the attack must train the town of sarıkamış, which is the center of communication and supply of the Russian army.

Turkish Napoleon planned the 11th corps to link the Russian front, and the 9th and 10th corps through the snowy mountains to get at the flank of the Russian troops. A daring maneuver allowed the Turks to cut the rears and take surrounded entire of the Caucasian army of the Russian Empire. Enver Pasha had a 90-strong military group and 30 thousand Kurds. Opposed to 65 thousand Russian.

Frozen body

21 Dec 1914 Russian Ortinski a detachment of General Istomin was attacked by infantry and Turkish cavalry, of the 10th corps. The next day, the campaign hin Bardossy mountain range began the 9th Turkish corps, but the maneuver turned into a disaster. In the mountains hit 20 degrees of frost, accompanied by a Blizzard. Many soldiers dressed in fine woolen cloaks were frozen, some units got lost and died in full strength.

because of the Blizzard there was a loss of orientation of the two divisions of the 10th corps, which is staged in the mountains to war with each other. From “friendly fire” has killed 2 thousand Turkish soldiers. In the area of combat deployment of the 9th and 10th Turkish corps went out, losing frostbite and killed 30% of the personnel.

the Siege of Sarikamish

By December 25, exhausted by the cold and fighting the Turkish divisions stood at 6 km from sarıkamıs. In the city at that time was Nesterovich several battalions armed with obsolete single-shot Berdan rifle, several hundred graduates of the school of ensigns and the platoons of the reformation. The defense took over, caught in Sarikamis travel, Colonel of the 2nd Kuban Plastun brigade Nikolai Buketov, which is annexed to the consolidated detachment of a thousand local railroad.

27 Dec 9 corps camped in the field in freezing cold tents and frostbitten lost about 10 thousand people. On the same day Ottoman troops cut the railroad Sarikamis-Kars and the Turkish five divisions, under the personal command of Enver Pasha, stormed the city. Assistant to the commander of the Caucasian front, General Myshlaevsky ordered the soldiers to retreat, and threw the troops and escaped to Tiflis.

the Fighting in the city

the evening of December 28 the city entered 1st Kuban Cossack Plastun brigade under the command of General Mikhail Przhevalsky, who took over command of the defense. The next day, cold, but ready to fight the Turks, with the double numerical advantage, went on the assault charge. The most fierce battle occurred at the height of the “eagle’s nest” near the railway station, where defended the Kuban Cossacks.

the cost of huge losses, the Turks seized the garments.Estia of Sarikamish. In the evening they occupied the station and the barracks of the 156th regiment Elizavetovskogo. The situation was saved by reinforcements in the form of the 1st Zaporozhye Cossack regiment under the command of Colonel Anton Kravchenko. Cossacks secretly entered the city and attacked the Turks. Unexpected by bayonets, they completely destroyed a Turkish regiment 17th infantry division and building on the success, drove the enemy back to the foothills. It was a critical moment of the battle. After him, Enver Pasha realized that his campaign failed.

the attack of the Yudenich

While the Ottomans stormed the Sarikamish, General Nikolai Yudenich from the Rate demanded permission to attack the enemy.29 Dec command finally assessed the situation and allowed him to act. 1 January 1915 Russian troops struck the Turks, who began a General retreat. After 8 days of fighting Yudenich completely destroyed the 9th and drove in the mountains for the 10th corps. After four days in the Bid received the information about the victory in the Sarikamish battle.

Russian troops, exhausted from many days of fighting, almost did not pursue the enemy. Analyzing the battle, count Vorontsov-Dashkov wrote: “in exceptionally difficult circumstances, General Yudenich, saved the situation and contrary to the orders of General Mislavskogo his willful desire to win reached it, despite more than double the superiority of the Turks”.

Russian troops have lost 16 thousand killed and wounded, 6 thousand soldiers suffered frostbite. In the unsuccessful campaign of the Turkish 9th army ceased to exist. The Ottomans lost from 70-90 thousand soldiers, of which 30 thousand euros was frostbitten and deserters. For incompetence in the management of troops of General Mislavskogo dismissed. The campaign of the army of Enver Pasha was accompanied by atrocities and massacres of the Armenian and Greek population.

Alexander Brazhnik

© Russian Seven

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