Caucasian Front in the First World War. Part 3

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 3

Combat actions in 1916-1917 gg.

By the end of 1915 the situation in the Caucasus front has been measured, the Russian won the war up in several battles, stood in the opponent's area 70 km. from Erzurum. Yes, Turks returned to his strength, 3rd Turkish army closed Erzurum on Sarykamysh and Oltinskom direction. Their positions are fastened mountainous terrain and maloprohodimaya, especially in the winter. Well, he was perfectly Erzurum fortified by the Germans, transformed into a high-class fortress. In the case of Russia's coming was to be transferred from the reserves of Istanbul. The weakness of the Turks was poorly organized rear: exchanging resources and reserves of Anatolia by the sea but there it spoils the Black Sea Fleet, and animal transport path continued for several months.


Turkish headquarters did not have a clear vision of the war plan. There was even an idea to start a movement of troops who were freed after the British disaster in the Dardanelles operation, to help the Austro-Hungarian empire in Italy, or Galicia. It was believed that the position of the 3rd Army in Erzurum, unapproachable and if Russia would risk their assault, they will be discarded. In the spring, collecting a superior force, the Turks were planning to crush the Russian troops Sarykamysh direction.
Russian commanders were very concerned a number of events: 1) 19 September 1915 Bulgaria was on the side of Germany, the Turkish commander freed an army standing on the border with Bulgaria, 2) first in 1916 the British turned the Dardanelles operation, and 3) the Caucasian front in 1915, sent to Russia's Western Front significant force, and 4) the Turkish troops which acted against the British in the district of Baghdad. Because the Russian army was very unsafe to sit on the fence. 3rd Turkish army, reinforced by the freshest parts could go to the Caucasus and the coming of the army would fall into a difficult situation, because to a large extent was not fired from spare parts.
General NN Yudenitch decided not to expect "in vain" and the storm, before the arrival of Turkish reinforcements. It was decided to attack at the end of December, when in Russia are prazdnichkom Christmas and New Year, and least of all Turks are waiting for the coming of the Russian army.

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 3

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 3

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 3
Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 3

Erzurum operation (December 1915-February 1916).

By the beginning of the coming of the Caucasian army had 126 battalions, 372 guns, 208 hundred, 52 militia squads of 10 aircraft. In the Turkish 3rd Army had 123 battalions, 122 guns (400 and fortress guns), 40 squadrons, 8000-10000 Kurds.
I step Keprikeyskoe Scramble — December 28, 1915 — January 8, 1916. The main force, as part of the 2nd Corps of the Turkestan (General Przewalski) and 1st Caucasian Corps (General Kalitin), knocked over the mountains Gay dag Kodzhuh. They had to break through the Turkish position and exit to the rear Keprikeyskim fortifications. Immediately in the direction of Hnys and Mush stormed the 4th Caucasian Corps (General De Witt), Maritime detachment (General Liakhov) with the support of Batumi squadron was advancing along the coast. Przewalski Kalitina troops and the enemy broke through the defense, anchored and started to beat evenly position after position. Turkish troops counterattacked, was a fierce encounter battle, but ultimately the Turkish defense was crushed, the Russian troops came to the rear Keprikeyskoy position. Reserve Iudenich, Siberian Cossack Brigade (General Raddatz) with the go-Hasan took the fortress of feces. The Turks retreated to Erzerum.
Step II: Preparing for the assault Erzurum fortified district — 8-30 January. With the move to take the fortress, it was unrealistic, the total length of fortifications was almost 40 km. But the real moral decay and disorder Turkish army suggest that the chances of success are high. Was carried out detailed exploration areas, including aerorazvedka. Made assault units: the main areas of the shelf amplified by sappers, additional guns, machine guns. In the assault was supposed to attend the 1st Caucasian and 2 — Turkestan Corps, in reserve were Siberian and 2nd Orenburg Cossack Brigade. General Iudenich plan was whether to storm the 10th columns across the front, without annoying buzz, building up pressure. The main impact comes along the northern right-wing, Russian shock troops beating most massive forts, west of the ridge to the Virgin-massacre, coming out on the flank and rear of the Turkish army.
Step III: storming fortified Erzurum — January 30 — February 3 (16). The assault began with an artillery strike at 23.00 Russian attack aircraft in maskhalatah under cover of a snowstorm went on the attack. The element of surprise worked, Turks thrashed without seeing the enemy, the Russian soldiers stormed the Turkish advanced position and began to replace it. During the 2-days was a fierce battle, the Russian warriors took one position after another. The entire northern flank of Turkish army has been captured, the Russian went to the rear of the enemy, the Turks panicked and fled leaving the city. Advent lasted, the front stabilized 70-100 km west of Erzurum.
In the end, the third Turkish army was virtually destroyed again: it lost 66 thousand killed and wounded, 13 thousand were taken prisoner, captured virtually all of the enemy artillery. Captured Erzurum — a mighty fortress (another "impregnable" Bastion taken Russian warriors), "key" to Anatolia. The Russian army was pretty strategic position for the upcoming coming, throwing back the enemy by 150 km. from its own borders. Turkish command had to jibe forces from Iraq and the Suez Canal for the restoration of the front, the British facilitated this position. General loss of the Caucasian army were — St. 8 thousand people. Beautiful answer Russophobia love the myth that Russian fighter enemy corpses always filled up.
Then Caucasian army captured Rize, Bitlis (Bitlis scramble to his taking an enormous role played Armenian militia headed by A. Ozanyanom) and
held Trebizond operation. In connection with the coming of the vernal thaw coming braked.

Trebizond operation (February — April 1916)

Trebizond was strategically principal port on the coast, he went through the entire maritime supply third Turkish army. The operation was carried out by the detachment of General Maritime Lyahova (15 thousand people, 50 guns), Batumi Black Sea Fleet detachment (Captain 1st Rank Rimsky-Korsakov). From Sevastopol were also involved in several combat ships. Total was drawn 2 battleships, 4 destroyers, 2 gunboats, several minesweepers. We use a landing operation: planted about two thousand people, an amphibious landing on February 20 captured Athens, 23rd port Reese. On 25 March, in order to strengthen the squad Seaside, were planted in Rize 2-ve Kuban bellies Brigade (18 thousand), they were transferred from Novorossiysk. 1st April, Russian troops, supported by the fire of the Black Sea Fleet, broke through the defense of Turkish troops on the river Karadere and on April 5, took Trebizond (Trabzon).
Until mid-May Seashore extended squad captured the area, it increased with 2 infantry divisions (35 thousand, was transferred from Mariupol), created Platansky fortified, the squad became the 5th Caucasian Corps and held the Trabzon area until the end of the war.
In the end, the Trebizond operation was interrupted supply the Turkish army by sea, worked out in a battle interaction of the Caucasian Army, the Black Sea fleet and naval aviation. In Trabzon Black Sea Fleet base is created and the supply base of the Caucasian Army, which has strengthened its position.
Victory of the Russian guns were mounted in a secret agreement with the Entente, according to him, Britain and France recognized that the Russian Empire after the war will get: the area of Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Trabzon, part of Kurdistan.

Subsequent acts of war

By the summer of Caucasian Army captured a large part of Western Armenia. The Turks were not accepted defeat, the benefit of their reserves were for retaliation, and started transfer of the 2nd Army (10 Th divisions), for retaliation. The main goal was to Erzurum diversionary attack was Trabzon. In Trabzon, Turkish troops pushed the 5th Corps, but then the Russian counter-attack and on June 6 returned to the front.
On June 22, Turkish forces launched the main attack, they broke through the Russian positions, but were not able to develop a success, it suffered heavy losses. 4th of July Turks were stopped, and the Caucasian army retaliated, the Turks were defeated. Turkish troops were grouped and again went on the attack, after stubborn fighting by mid-August the front stabilized. By late August, the acts were stopped fighting nature, snow fell in the mountains.

Results of 1916

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 3

1) The Russian Caucasus Army fulfilled its main strategic task — to protect the Russian Caucasus along the entire front length of 1000 km. (1916), advancing down the mountain, rugged, hardened area of 250 km.
2) captured virtually all of Western Armenia, with the towns of Erzurum, Van, Erzincan, ports, Rize and Trabzon. The question of entering into the Russian Federation of the area was settled by agreement with international allies in the Entente. Already in 1916, begins the development of this country: the military administration made a neighborhood built steel road, plans are settling in Western Armenian and Russian Armenians, including refugees.
3) The third Turkish army in 1916, was twice defeated, the 2nd Army had been transferred to the third aid also suffered heavy losses. The Turks were required to flip the Caucasian front to a third of their reserves, it assisted the British in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
4) make the conditions for the coming of the victorious movement and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.


In the winter of 1917 was not big fights, exacerbated supply, the epidemic began. Caucasus Army lost diseased, frost-bitten and killed up to 100 thousand people. The February Revolution suspended victorious movement of the Caucasian army began the revolutionary ferment due to the general decline of discipline in the country has sharply aggravated supply of troops, there were deserters.
Throughout the year, the army degenerated evenly became a mass desertion. General Yudenitch, refusing to renew Coming in mind the complete disintegration of the army, the Provisional Government was dismissed. The command passed to General MA Przhevalsky. Turkish commanders had failed to make use of the situation and to organize a successful offensive.
5 (18) December Erzincan Bolsheviks signed a cease-fire, there was a massive final of Russian troops from Western Armenia at home, first in 1918 at the front there were only a few thousand Armenians and a couple of hundred officers.
In view of the complete impossibility to continue the war the Bolsheviks signed Brest-Litovsk (March 1918) on it (Article 4) and the Russian-Turkish supplementary treaty, the boundary was set as it was before the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Our homeland inferior to Western Armenia, Batum, Kars, Ardahan. Subsequent military actions took place already between Armenian troops (in the main) and the Turkish troops.

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