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Encyclopedia > Battle of Sarikamis
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Battle of Sarikamis
Part of World War I

Date: 29 December 1914-2 January 1915
Location: Caucasia
Result: Decisive Russian victory
Casus belli: {{{casus}}}
Territory changes: {{{territory}}}
Combatants
Russia Ottoman Empire
Commanders
General Vorontsov
General Yudenich
Enver Pasha
Strength
100,000 90,000
(plus aprox. 100,000 auxilliary non-combatant personell)
Casualties
 ? 77,000
{{{notes}}}
Caucasus Campaign
Sarikamis – Kara Killisse – Koprukoy – ErzurumErzincan

The Battle of Sarikamis, sometimes spelled Sarikamish or Sarıkamış, known in Turkish as Sarıkamış Faciası ("Sarikamis Tragedy"), was a decisive Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Caucasus region during World War I. This is considered part of the Caucasus Campaign of World War I. Image File history File links Stop_hand. ... World War I, also known as the First World War, and (before 1939) the Great War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars, was a world conflict lasting from August 1914 to the final Armistice (cessation of hostilities) on November 11, 1918. ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... 1914 (MCMXIV) is a common year starting on Thursday. ... January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... The Caucasus is a region in eastern Europe and western Asia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea which includes the Caucasus mountains and surrounding lowlands. ... Casus belli is a Latin expression from the international law theory of Jus ad bellum. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (the Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Bursa (1335-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), Ä°stanbul (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah of the Osmanli Dynasty Population ca 40... Vorontsov, also Woronzow, (Russian: Воронцо́в) is a celebrated Russian family, which attained the dignity of Counts of the Holy Roman Empire in 1744 and Serene Princes of the Russian Empire in 1852. ... General Nikolai Yudenich Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich (Николай Николаевич Юденич) (July 18, 1862 (July 30, New Style ) – October 5, 1933), the most successful general of the Russian Imperial Army in World War I. Later a leader of the counterrevolution in Northwestern Russia during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920. ... Ismail Enver Ismail Enver, known to Europeans during his political career as Enver Pasha ( Istanbul, November 22, 1881 - August 4, 1922) was a military officer and a leader of the Young Turk revolution in the closing days of the Ottoman Empire. ... The Caucasus Campaign was fought from 1914 until 1918 in the Caucasus during World War I between the Russian Empire a member of the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire a member of the Central Powers. ... The Battle of Erzurum was a decisive Russian victory over the Turks along the Caucasus Front during World War I. Backgound Russia had won significant battles at Sarikamis and Kara Killisse but lacked the resources to exploit their victories. ... The Battle of Erzincan was a Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (the Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Bursa (1335-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), Ä°stanbul (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah of the Osmanli Dynasty Population ca 40... The Entholinguistic patchwork of the modern Caucasus - CIA map The Caucasus, a region bordering Asia Minor, is located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea which includes the Caucasus Mountains and surrounding lowlands. ... World War I, also known as the First World War, and (before 1939) the Great War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars, was a world conflict lasting from August 1914 to the final Armistice (cessation of hostilities) on November 11, 1918. ... The Caucasus Campaign was fought from 1914 until 1918 in the Caucasus during World War I between the Russian Empire a member of the Allied Powers and the Ottoman Empire a member of the Central Powers. ...

Contents


Background

Russia viewed the Caucasus Front as secondary to the Eastern Front where most of their manpower and resources had been concentrated up to this point. However since Russia had taken the fortress of Kars from the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War in 1877, Russia feared a Turkish invasion into the Caucasus aimed at retaking Kars and the port of Batum. In fact the major Turkish war aim against Russia was to recapture both Kars and Batum from the Russians. A German trench in the swamp area near the Mazuric Lakes on the Eastern Front. ... Kars (Armenian: Ô¿Õ¡Ö€Õ½) is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of the Kars Province, formerly at the head of a sanjak in the Turkish vilayet of Erzurum. ... The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 had its origins in the Russian goal of gaining access to the Mediterranean Sea and dominating Constantinople (Istanbul) and the adjacent Turkish Straits. ... 1877 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... A view of Batumi, circa, 1911, towards the mountains Batumi (also Batum or Batoum) is a seaside city (population: approximately 137,000) on the Black Sea coast and capital of Ajaria, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. ...


Forces

Turkish War Minister Enver Pasha mobilized the Turkish Third Army numbering about 95,000 with himself personally in command. However by the time the Third Army reached the Russians strength was reduced to roughly 80,000 due to frostbite and desertion. Note that actual numbers for the size of Turkish 3rd army are highly variable, the army may have been as much as 190,000 strong. Ismail Enver Ismail Enver, known to Europeans during his political career as Enver Pasha ( Istanbul, November 22, 1881 - August 4, 1922) was a military officer and a leader of the Young Turk revolution in the closing days of the Ottoman Empire. ... Frostbite (congelatio in medical terminology) is the medical condition where damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. ...


The Russian Caucasus Army, commanded by Governor General Illarion Vorontsov-Dashkov, numbered around 100,000 troops in August of 1914 but the Russians rapidly redeployed troops from this front to reinforce the Eastern Front to replace losses they were suffering against the Germans and the Austrians. By the time the Ottoman army arrived, General Yudenich, Caucasus Chief-of-Staff (and Russia's most successful general) had some 60,000 troops defending Sarikamis. Vorontsov, also Woronzow, is a celebrated Russian family, which attained the dignity of Counts of the Holy Roman Empire in 1744 and Serene Princes of the Russian Empire in 1852. ... A German trench in the swamp area near the Mazuric Lakes on the Eastern Front. ... General Nikolai Yudenich Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich (Николай Николаевич Юденич) (July 18, 1862 (July 30, New Style ) – October 5, 1933), the most successful general of the Russian Imperial Army in World War I. Later a leader of the counterrevolution in Northwestern Russia during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920. ...


The battle

In mid December, Enver Pasha entered the Caucasus region through Armenia. Enver ordered his forces to attack along many routes with the goal of arriving suddenly at Sarikamis at the same time. The chief German military advisor, General Liman von Sanders strongly argued against this plan but was ignored. Governor General Vorontsov planned to withdraw his forces to the city of Kars. But Yudenich ignored Vorontsov's wishes to withdraw and instead stayed to defend Sarikamis. Look up December in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Otto Liman von Sanders (February 17, 1855 - August 22, 1929) was a German general who served as adviser to the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V during World War I. He was born in Stolp in Pomerania. ... Kars (Armenian: Ô¿Õ¡Ö€Õ½) is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of the Kars Province, formerly at the head of a sanjak in the Turkish vilayet of Erzurum. ...


Enver's forces lost touch with one another and arrived at Sarakamis at different times from December 29 through the 3rd of January. The first divisions to arrive briefly took control of the barracks in the western part of the city but were driven off. In the following days, as more Ottoman forces arrived at the battle, they attacked without coordination and the Russians under the skillfull command of General Yudenich fought off the attacks one by one. The Ottoman soldiers reached some of their targets but they were too fatigued to fight effectively. The battle finally ended on January 4 and the Ottoman army retreated in complete disorganization back through the mountains in the middle of winter. December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... January 4 is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Results

The number of Turkish losses is unknown, estimate range from 175,000 dead out of an army of 190,000 to a low of 60,000 dead out of an army of 90,000 (Turkish sources). It is very likely that the majority of Turkish soldiers died because of inadequate winter clothing and field shelters during the attack and retreat. In any event, this was an extraordinarily costly defeat for the Turks; in losses this was the worst single defeat they suffered in the entire war. The Russian casualities were estimated at 35,000 (Turkish sources).


As one German officer attached to the army wrote later, the Ottoman 3rd army had "suffered a disaster which for rapidity and completeness is without parallel in military history."


On the other side, the victor of the battle, General Yudenich, was appointed commander of the Russian Caucasus Army and he launched an offensive of his own in the summer of 1915 towards Erzincan and Lake Van.


Enver Pasha relinquished field command to General Hafiz Hakki and never commanded Turkish troops in battle again. Enver Pasha started publicly blaming his faliure on the Armenian rebels attacking the Ottoman supply routes in May of 1915. Classmate of Enver Pasha. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...


Sources

  • Tucker, Spencer. The Great War: 1914-18 (1998)
  • Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace, pp. 120-121. Avon Books.
  • Compton's Home Library: Battles of the World CD-ROM
  • T.N. Dupuy's Encyclopedia of Military History (many editions)
  • ISBN 0898392969 - Caucasian Battlefields: A History Of The Wars On The Turco-Caucasian Border 1828-1921
  • [1]

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