After successfully overcoming the Balkan mountain range by the Russian army, the situation in Turkey became critical. In the battle of Shipka and Shane, the Turks lost Wessel Pasha’s army, the second of its two best field armies (the first was destroyed at Pleven). In the general defensive front of the Turks in the Balkans there was a wide gap. The link between the Suleiman Pasha group of forces and the East Danube army was interrupted and they were doomed to isolated resistance. The gap formed between both of these surviving groups of Turkish troops made it possible for the Russian army to attack Adrianople, which was not covered and allowed to go further to Constantinople.
The Russian command decided to use the favorable situation and continue the strategic offensive. The Western detachment under the command of I. V. Gurko (65 thousand people with 312 guns) was to attack the Philippopolis (Plovdiv) and Adrianople from the Sofia region. The P.Kartsev Trojan detachment (13 thousand people with 36 guns) was assigned to go from Karlovo to Philippopol, threatening the rear of the Turkish group east of Sofia. The central detachment of F. F. Radetsky (48 thousand people with 218 guns) was instructed to move from the Shipka area to Adrianople. The detachment of E. C. Dellingshausen (18 thousand people with 70 guns) was the left flank of the troops that were supposed to operate in the valley of the r. Maritsa on Adrianopol direction. The reserve (21 thousand people with 96 guns) was concentrated north of the Shipka Pass, and had to follow the Radetsky Central Detachment. In total, there were about 165 thousand people and 732 guns in the four Russian troops and the general reserve.
Our troops were opposed by the Turkish army under the command of Suleiman Pasha, which included Osman Nuri-Pasha’s detachment and the southeast who had departed from Sofia and occupied the defense on the Ihtiman mountains (part of the Sofia group had moved to Radomir and Dubnitsa), and Shakir-Pasha’s detachment who, after a defeat at the passes, was heading for Tatar-Pazardzhik. Also, a small detachment of Turkish troops was located in the area of Adrianople. In total, the Turkish group consisted of about 70 thousand people. The Turkish troops, after the Russian breakthrough beyond the Balkan frontier, were to withdraw as quickly as possible to the position of Adrianople and keep the defense there, delaying the time. However, Suleiman Pasha did not dare to take responsibility for the withdrawal of troops to Adrianople and missed the time when you could safely withdraw and take up defense. Only 29 December 1877 (10 January 1878) Suleiman Pasha received an order to go to Adrianople.
Thus, a two-, threefold superiority in manpower, a significant qualitative superiority of the Russian troops and reliable provision of the flanks gave the Russian high command a full opportunity to make the most courageous decisions for an offensive on the Constantinople direction. The general plan of the Russian command was to break up the enemy army, take Adrianople and go to Constantinople.
Offensive tasks were also set for the rest of the troops of the Russian Danube army. The Eastern detachment under the command of Alexander Alexandrovich, the heir to the throne (92 thousand people and 386 guns) occupied the foothills of the Balkans to Rushchuk with the front to the east and continued to block the Turkish army in the quadrilateral of fortresses (Silistra, Rushchuk, Shumla and Varna). The immediate task of the Eastern detachment (in fact, the army) was to capture Osman-Bazar, after which he had to take Razgrad and break the communication between Varna and Rushchuk. On the left flank, along the Danube and in Dobrudja, in three groups were deployed troops totaling 53 thousand people with 212 guns. Together with the Eastern detachment, they provided communications from the left flank to the main strike force of the Russian army operating in the Maritsa valley on the Adrianople-Constantinople area. Our troops were opposed by the Turkish East Danube Army (up to 57 thousand people).
Russian action plan in January 1878 after the transition to the Balkans
Gurko squad offensive
Russian troops launched an active offensive. The first to start the movement was the Western detachment of Gurko, who had previously crossed the Balkan Mountains. Iosif Gurko was going to force the enemy to leave the fortified positions on the Ihtiman mountains by withdrawing maneuver, retreat into the valley of the Maritsa River, and then try to completely defeat the forces of Shakir Pasha with a quick pursuit. To solve this problem, four columns were formed: Velyaminova, Shuvalov, Schilder-Schuldner and Cridener. Given the ambiguity of the situation, poor communication and disunity of troops during the offensive in the mountains, the commanders were given a broad initiative. They planned to deliver the main blow from the west with strong columns of Velyaminov and Shuvalov. Schilder-Schuldner and Cridener columns attacked from the north, threatening the enemy’s right flank, and, if necessary, had to go to the rear of the Turkish group, cutting off their escape route.
The Russian offensive developed slowly. Deep snow shackled the maneuver of the columns. The Turks, avoiding the environment, to 31 December 1877 g. (12 January 1878 g.) Withdrew from the Ihtiman positions and concentrated at Tatar-Pazardzhik. In the evening of 1 (13) in January, 1878, the city of Gurko, ordered 2 in January to launch an offensive in all columns in order to encircle the enemy troops in Tatar-Pazardzhik and force them to surrender. However, the army of Suleiman Pasha, after the detachment of Osman Nuri Pasha’s detachment from Sofia, was able to escape from the coverage that General Gurko was trying to arrange. The Turks crossed the Maritsa River, destroying the bridge behind them, and in the evening 2 (14) in January 1878 concentrated near the Philippopolis. Suleiman Pasha decided to give rest here to his troops, to put them in order.
It is worth noting that the retreat was hard for the Turkish army. It was worth as a heavy defeat in the battle. Thousands of Turkish soldiers deserted, fled south, or went home. As a result, the army has greatly decreased, in strong battalions, camps, 60 - 90 fighters remained, in others - some officers. Upon arrival in Philippopol the army was reduced to 90 - 96 battalions. The divisions were of very different composition: in some there were 25 - 27 battalions, in others - on 7 - 8. The 3 (15) of January the Turkish army was divided into five divisions of two - three brigades in each (the brigade had 6 - 10 battalions). The divisions were commanded by Fuad Pasha, Shakir Pasha, Becker Pasha, Osman Nuri Pasha and Savfet Pasha.
Thus, despite the fact that Gurko’s troops failed to encircle and destroy the Turkish army, the result was enormous. The enemy fled, leaving strategic positions, part of the army of Suleiman Pasha was demoralized and fled without a fight. Under Philippopolis (Plovdiv) in a three-day battle of 3 - 5 (15 - 17) of January 1878, Suleiman Pasha's troops were finally defeated.
General view of Sofia 1878 of the year with Russian soldiers in the foreground. In the depths - the church of Hagia Sophia
Battle of Plovdiv
The Turkish commander believed that the time of withdrawal to Adrianople was already missed, so it is necessary to bring the troops in order and give battle. Immediately after the reorganization of the troops, Suleiman's army took up defensive positions. Kadikoy was defended by three brigades of Osman Nuri-pasha's division, Karatair - by three other brigades, and the Brigades of Savfet-Pasha were stationed near Philippopoli and along the Maritsa River. These troops were the first line of defense. Fuad Pasha and Shakira Pasha divisions were in reserve behind them. The Becker-Pasha division, under the protection of all these troops, was to prepare a second line of defense in the rear.
The 2 (14) of January, the Russian cavalry, penetrated the northern part of Philippopolis, unoccupied by the Turks, with their advanced travels. Shuvalov’s column, following the highway along the north bank of the Maritsa, forded the river at Adakioja and by the evening occupied the village. Only the Caucasian Cossack Brigade was sent south of Maritsa on this day, which established contact with the enemy there. Other troops of the Gurko squadron spent the night in Tatar-Pazardzhik and its environs, and the guards' cavalry of General Klodt — in 8 — 12 km north of Philippopolis.
Gurko had very vague information about the enemy. The most likely was that January 3 (15) Suleiman Pasha will continue to withdraw to Adrianople. On the basis of this idea, Gurko and issued orders on the night of January 3. According to these orders, the cavalry of Klodt was to bypass the Philippopolis from the north, cross the Maritsa River east of the city and stand in the way of the Turks' retreat. The forces of Kreedener, who united the command of the cavalry and columns of generals Dandeville and Schilder-Schuldner, were ordered to "go to Philippopola on the road parallel to the highway and, having rounded the city from the north, to cross the Maritsa River east of the city." Shuvalov’s convoy aimed at attacking Philippopol on both banks of the Maritsa, along the railroad tracks and the highway. The column of Velyaminov was set up to advance on the southern shore of the Maritsa to Mechkyur (Ivermelik), the Caucasian Cossack Brigade was to move ahead of this column.
Thus, Gurko’s plan was to cut off Suleiman Pasha’s armies of retreat to Adrianople and, with a favorable set of circumstances, surround it. For the success of the operation, the Klodt cavalry and the Kridener and Velyaminov roundabouts were to advance quickly and vigorously; they had to cut off the enemy’s escape route to Adrianople, to the west, and to the mountains, to the south.
3 in January. 3 (15) January Maritsa forced the forces of the column Shuvalov. Shuvalov did not dare to go on the offensive alone, since the position of the Turks was very strong from the front. He decided to wait for the approach of the Velyaminov column and wait for the assistance from the Cridener. As a result, the Russian troops that crossed the river waged an indecisive battle all day, waiting for the main forces to come and deploy. Only in the evening, when the movements of the troops of Generals Velyaminov and Shilder-Shuldner were clearly designated, did Shuvalov go on the offensive, attacking and taking Karatair.
The rest of the troops that day actually did not participate in the battle. Velyaminova's column was late with the performance, while moving slowly (she spent 21 hours on the passage of 9 km), so she did not have time to take part in the battle and began to spend the night at Karatair. The Schilder-Schuldner column was also significantly delayed with a performance - no less than at 6 hours. Airanli's column approached 17 in an hour. and here, by order of Gurko, was turned south to assist the troops of Shuvalov. However, the crossing over Maritsa was delayed until the night of January 16 (the ford reached the waist, and people had to undress in the cold). Therefore, this column also did not take part in the battle on that day. The order of Gurko and the cavalry of Clodt, and the column of Dandeville, which were to cut the Turks out of the way east of Philippopol, was not executed. The cavalry of Klodt instead of night made only about noon. In the evening, the main forces of Klodt went east of Philippopolis, but Klodt, contrary to the direct order of Gurko, decided that the Maritsa could not be crossed by the cavalry without infantry, moved away from the river to the north and stopped for the night. Column Dandevilya, reaching the Philippopolis, occupied the northern outskirts of the city and started an aimless firefight with the Turks across the river. So much time was lost on this that the column could not cross the Maritsa east of Philippopolis on this day.
Meanwhile, Suleiman Pasha ordered an immediate retreat. A withdrawal of the enemy was discovered by a squadron of guards dragoons (out of a total of 63 people) under the command of Captain Burago. Carrying out the reconnaissance task assigned to him personally by Gurko, Captain Burago entered the southern part of Philippopolis at night, and there he discovered that the Turks were already leaving the city. During this raid, Captain Burago captured prisoners and two guns, actually occupying the city and not losing a single person. Captain Burago on the evening of January 3 and January 4 reported to Gurko on the incident.
Thus, the actions of cavalry intelligence showed what success the forces of Cridener could have achieved if they had entered the Philippopolis by day, beating him from the north and becoming on the way to the withdrawal of the Turks. Due to mistakes, slowness and lethargy of the actions of the commanders of the Russian detachments, the Turkish army avoided complete encirclement and death in battle.
Monument to A.P. Burago in the city garden, Plovdiv. Alexander Petrovich Burago - Captain, Commander of the 2 Squadron of the Life Guards Dragoon Regiment, who first entered Plovdiv
While the Russian troops trampled on the spot, the Turks solved their tasks. Osman Nuri-Pasha, without much difficulty, managed to restrain the weak offensive of the Russian troops. Becker Pasha, without interference, managed to prepare the rear positions at Markovo. Under the cover of these positions, Osman Nuri-Pasha began his departure to Stanimaku in the evening, and followed him from Philipopol and Savfet-Pasha. Shakir Pasha had to start withdrawing to Stanimaku in the evening and at night, and Fuad Pasha had the task of remaining with his division in the rear guard and covering the withdrawal of the entire army.
The problem was the poor organization and discipline of the Turkish troops. Parts of Osman Nuri-Pasha were late with the waste. The troops of Shakir Pasha were even more late with the passage of the rear positions of Becker Pasha. He asked Becker Pasha not to clear the rear positions of the earlier approach of the main forces of his column to Markovo. Becker Pasha agreed, and to better ensure the withdrawal of Shakir Pasha's troops, he even sprained his position. For this, the division of Fuad Pasha was also delayed. By dawn, the head of the column Shakira Pasha went to Markovo, the tail was still at Dermendere. The divisions of Savfeta-pasha and Osman Nuri-pasha drew into the foothills of the Rhodopes at dawn, and the infantry approached Stanimak, but artillery and carts on heavy mountain roads fell behind and tightly hammered the entrance to the foothills. As a result, the retreat into the mountains of the divisions of Shakir Pasha, Fuad Pasha and Becker Pasha slowed down, and in the afternoon of January 4 (16) they were forced to remain north of the Rhodope Mountains. It was these troops that could surround Gurko’s forces after the failure of encircling Suleiman’s whole army in the Philippopol region.
Monument to the Liberators of Plovdiv - a squadron of X-NUMX's Draigun Life under the command of Captain Burago
4 in January. Gurko, having considered that the main forces of the enemy had already gone to Stanimaku, ordered the troops of the generals Veliyaminov, Shilder-Shuldner and Shuvalov, under the general command of the latter, to go on Dermender. Bypassing the right Turkish rearguard in the direction of Stanimaku went only 1-I brigade of the 3-th Guards Infantry Division and the consolidated dragoon brigade of General Krasnov. Gurko decided that north of the Rhodopes, in the region of Dermendere, there was only a small Turkish rearguard, which, as it approached it from the front of the Russian columns, would immediately retreat and be then intercepted by Krasnov's detachment.
However, the course of the battle 4 (16) January showed an error in the calculations. Philippopol Russian troops occupied. Shuvalov’s troops fought with Fuad Pasha’s division at Dermendere, and he could not execute the order to withdraw the 2 Guards Infantry Division to Philippopol. Velyaminova's column launched an offensive on Dermendder and also began a battle with the enemy. The Schilder-Schuldner column has been trampling all day long, not daring to go to the rear of the enemy and leave the leading battlefield of Velyaminov without support, but without giving it direct assistance. Thus, during January 4, General Shuvalov’s troops, targeted by Gurko to meet with a minor Turkish rearguard, fought with the Fuad Pasha division. The unexpectedness of this meeting, the complete ignorance of the forces and position of the enemy, the lack of personal command of the columns from Gurko’s side led to the aimless trampling of our troops before the front of the Turkish position and the loss of time.
Meanwhile, the troops of Shakira Pasha and Becker Pasha began to withdraw to Stanimaku. On the way of their withdrawal was only a small detachment of Krasnov. Finding a Turkish convoy heading for Stanimaku, Krasnov deployed the dragoons and guardsmen and ordered the infantry to attack the village of Karagach. In the first line were the 2 and 3 battalions of the Guards Lithuanian regiment; behind them are in reserve the 1, 2 and 4 battalions of the Kexholm Guards and the 4 battalion of the Lithuanian regiments. In 1000 m from the Turkish positions, they were met with strong rifle and artillery fire. The guardsmen began to respond, but soon ceased firing and only quickened their pace. In the dark, the Turks were deprived of the opportunity to conduct aimed fire at outbreaks of shots, and most Turkish bullets and shells gave flights. In addition, by the outbreaks of Turkish shots, Russian commanders were able to determine the location of the Turkish positions and finally target the battalions at them. The Lithuanian 2 Battalion approached the village and attacked the 12-gun battery. The Russian soldiers captured her, the servants and the servants. Turkish counterattacks were repulsed by fire from short distances. At the same time, the 3 Battalion of the Lithuanian Regiment attacked three- and five-gun batteries, captured them and also fought off the enemy counterattacks that followed. The Kexholm battalions approached the village when all three batteries were already captured, and took part only in capturing the rest of the village and repelling new enemy attacks. However, in the morning of January 5 (17), the ammunition of our soldiers was almost over, despite the fact that the night Turkish counter-attacks were fighting mostly with bayonets. In addition, the positions were inconvenient for day combat. This forced Krasnov to clear the village.
Thus, despite the heroism shown by the Russians in the battle near Karagach, the task assigned to the Krasnov detachment remained unfulfilled and the withdrawal routes of the Turkish troops to Stanimaku were not cut. The Krasnov detachment simply did not have the strength to intercept the retreating enemy troops. This task, at least partially, could be solved by Klodt's cavalry, but the detachment commander poorly organized reconnaissance and overestimated the enemy forces, mistakenly believed that the Turks were still standing in Philippopolis. As a result, the cavalry stood inactive all day, fearing to be hit by major enemy forces, if it went ahead without the support of other troops. Therefore, on January 4 (16), the possible encirclement of a large part of Suleiman's army north of the Rhodopi foothills again failed.
Three-day battle at Philippopol. Map source: N.I. Belyaev. Russian-Turkish war 1877 — 1878
The end of the battle. By the morning of January 5 (17), Suleiman Pasha was in Stanimak with most of his troops. On the highway from Philippopol to Stanimaku, only two more rear brigades of the army departed, and in the foothills to the north of the Rhodope, the division of Fuad Pasha led the rearguard battles. The Turkish commander detained the main forces of the army in Stanimak, not wanting to abandon the division of Fuad Pasha, which was detained by the battle with the Krasnov detachment. Fuad Pasha on the night of 6 (18) in January successfully withdrew his troops, avoiding encirclement. Suleiman Pasha received a report from Fuad Pasha about the withdrawal of Ismilan and immediately after that ordered the withdrawal of the main forces of the army. Departure Suleiman decided to send not to Adrianople, but to the south, since he believed that the way to Adrianople was already cut off by the Russian troops. Russian cavalry pursued the retreating Turks, and in the morning of January 7 (19) captured the remaining Turkish guns.
Thus, the remnants of the Turkish troops, throwing all the artillery (near 180 guns), fled through the Rhodope Mountains to the Aegean Sea. The Suleiman Pasha army, which suffered great losses, weakened by mass desertion, dismembered, deprived in battles and during the flight of artillery and carts, actually ceased to exist. The Russian army opened its way to Constantinople. The defeated Suleiman Pasha was arrested and put on trial. Suleiman was sentenced to deprivation of ranks, awards and 15 years of imprisonment in a fortress. However, he was soon pardoned by the Sultan and the conclusion was replaced by a link.
While Gurko’s troops, marching on the Maritsa valley, started a battle at Plovdiv, the troops of the Central detachment marched in a few columns to Adrianople. In the vanguard was a detachment of M. D. Skobelev. The success of the operation largely depended on the speed of action. Therefore, the detachment made without unnecessary weights and wheeled wagons, with only load horses. An advanced cavalry detachment commanded by General A. P. Strukov, an energetic commander, was singled out from the avant-garde squad. Skobeleva spoke of him: “He has the highest quality of a warlord’s superior quality — the capacity for responsible initiative.”
In his notes on the Russian-Turkish war, Russian artist and writer V. V. Vereshchagin devoted quite a lot of space to Strukov (he was during this operation in his detachment), in particular, gave him the following description: “I don’t know an officer who is more executive, disciplined, than Strukov. This is a type of exemplary, methodical cavalryman: with a small head, lean, so that the skin fits straight bones and muscles ... With a huge mustache, a melancholic look, he constantly twitches, but he is well controlled and almost never loses his level of spirits. I marveled positively at the man’s endurance and mobility. ”
3 (15) January 1877 Avant-garde performed. On the same day, the forward detachment seized the Semenli railway junction. Strukov denounced: “The Turks ran in panic from the redoubt and lit the bridge, which made it impossible to pursue. The dragoons hurried and were put on the bridge and immediately extinguished. The raid was so fast that the station was captured unspoiled. ” In 5 hours 4 (16) in January, the Strukov detachment occupied Hermanly, becoming at the intersection of the Philippopol – Adrianople highway. 5 (17) January there was already all the avant-garde infantry.
Skobelev gave the order to urgently build a reinforcement of the front to the west and east of Germanla. Exploration was carried out in all directions. The fortified position was erected in order to block the army of Suleiman Pasha from the Philippopolis retreat and at the same time not allow the enemy to push reserves from Adrianople to help her. After the victory at Plovdiv, the need to maintain this position disappeared, and the vanguard received a new task. 7 (19), January, the Chief of Staff of the Western Detachment, General D. S. Naglovsky, told Skobelev that he was subordinate to General Gurko and should go as soon as possible to Adrianople and try to take him before the approach of the enemy forces.
The offensive Skobelev was swift. There was no organized resistance by the Turkish troops. Only in some places there were clashes with bashi-bazouks (irregular Omani troops). 8 (20) January 1878, the forward detachment of Strukov, after 40 hours having passed the 88-kilometer road, suddenly appeared for the enemy at Adrianople. Taken aback 2-thousand Turkish garrison left the fortress without a fight. In the Adrianople arsenal, 22 Krupp guns and 4 large caliber guns were captured. Vereshchagin, who was in the Strukov detachment, noted: “Suleiman sent a telegram for a telegram about the preparation of wagons for the immediate delivery of his army to Adrianople. His dispatches went to Strukov in his hands, and it was possible to see from them that the Turks, driven by Gurko from Philippopolis, were waiting for us from this side, but, of course, did not imagine that we would cut their way. ”
10 (22) January, the main forces of the Skobelev squad entered the city with banners and music. In his order, Skobelev wrote: “I congratulate the brave troops entrusted to me with the capture of the second capital of Turkey. This success has been gained by endurance, patience and courage. ”
The western detachment of Gurko rested for four days after the battle of Plovdiv. 10 (22) January, he continued to move. Part of the troops was sent to the south to pursue the remnants of Suleiman Pasha's troops, some - to Adrianople, where the January 14 (26) began to arrive. The offensive continued. The vanguard Strukov 14 (26) of January occupied Lule-Bourgas, and 16 (28) of January continued its movement. 17 (29) of January, our troops took the орorlu railway station by storm, and 20 of January (February 1) occupied Chataldja. The next day, the Russian cavalry joined Rodosto and Dede-Agach.
General Alexander Petrovich Strukov (1840 — 1911)
Thus, the military disaster of Turkey has become a fact. The Turkish troops closing the path to the capital were defeated and their remnants fled in panic, all the main lines of defense fell. Turkey still had the East Danube army, but it could not block the road to Constantinople for the Russians - there was no time for that. In addition, she was not allowed to do so by the weakness of personnel and material equipment.
Russian could take Constantinople-Tsargrad. The commander-in-chief of the Russian army, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, asked the emperor Alexander the Second about the possibility of an offensive against Constantinople and its capture. However, this step was dangerous in terms of complicating international relations. The commander-in-chief was ordered to move in the direction of the Turkish capital until the enemy accepted the conditions of the world, but did not occupy Constantinople and Gallipoli.
Petersburg did not dare to take Constantinople and make it Russian. Although he was one step away from the implementation of the everlasting Russian strategic task on the Black (Russian) Sea. The government of Alexander II did not have the courage to challenge England and the then “world community”, despite the fact that the Russian soldier had already done everything to put an end to the thousand-year struggle for Constantinople. At the same time, England itself could not resist Russia (there was no strong land army, the British were used to using someone else’s “cannon fodder”). France was crushed to pieces in the 1870-1871 war. and has not yet recovered, she herself needed Russia to restrain Germany, which sought to beat the French once more. With the undesirable movements of France and England, Petersburg could have found a common language with Bismarck (in which Germany would not have fought with Russia) and give the Teutons the opportunity to beat France once more. Austria in this situation could not prevent Russia, fearing the German Empire and the revitalization of the Russians in the Balkans with the incitement of the southern Slavs against the Hapsburg empire and the support of the Hungarians and their desire for independence. That is, England was left alone, and its fleet could not prevent the Russians from taking Constantinople-Constantinople and the straits. However, the liberal government of Alexander II did not dare to go against the "world community" and rise to the level of solving global problems of Russian civilization.
The port was forced to ask for a truce. 7 (19) of January Turkish delegates arrived at the Russian Headquarters (headquarters) in Kazanlak - the ministers of Server Pasha and Namyk Pasha. They were informed that hostilities would cease only after signing the preliminary conditions for peace. After reviewing them, the Turks refused to sign the “Foundations of the World”. They especially did not like the point about the independence of Bulgaria, since this, in their opinion, meant the death of the Turkish Empire, the termination of its rule in Europe. However, the threat of the fall of Constantinople forced the Turks to accept the "Foundations of the World" and agree with the surrender of the fortresses of Vidin, Ruschuk, Silistria and Erzerum.
19 (31) January 1878 in Adrianople, where the headquarters of the Russian army commander was now located, was a truce. Both sides ceased hostilities, a demarcation line was established between their armies in the Balkans and in Asia Minor. At the same time, hostilities ceased between Turkey and Russia's allies - Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. The bloody war that lasted for nine months ended in a complete military defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
In the following days, the Russian army continued its movement, reaching the line of the established demarcation line. The squad of Dellingshausen 29 January (10 February) took Burgas. The Eastern 8 squad (20) of February entered Rushchuk, the 14 corps of General Zimmermann 11 (23) of February entered Silistria.
Winter offensive 1877 - 1878's. ended with a decisive victory for the Russian army. Russian troops successfully solved the extremely difficult task of overcoming the Balkan mountain range in the winter and brilliantly carried out a strategic pursuit of the enemy, preventing him from recovering and gaining a foothold in the new lines of defense.
First, the Russian troops successfully overcame the Balkans, overcoming the resistance of the troops of Shakir Pasha and Wessel Pasha in the left flank and in the center of the Turkish front line. Gurko's troops broke through the mountain passes and took Sophia, and the Radetzky squad defeated and captured the Wessel Pasha grouping. At the same time, part of the forces of the Turkish army on the left wing were distracted by Serbia who entered the war in December 1877. There was a huge gap in the Turkish defense. The Russian army continued to move, drove Suleiman Pasha’s army from positions on the Ihtiman mountains and from Tatar-Pazardzhik, and defeated Philippopol (Plovdiv). Avant-garde Skobelev quickly took jerk Adrianople. Russia won a complete military victory over the Ottoman Empire. Turkey lost the ability to defend Constantinople and concluded a truce.
The military actions of the Russian army at this stage were generally characterized by speed, courage, and decisiveness, despite the mistakes and passivity of individual generals. The troops, animated by victories, with a new force showed their high moral and fighting qualities, courage and perseverance in achieving the final victory.
The success of the winter strategic offensive of the Russian army contributed to the Allies. The troops of the Romanian, Serbian and Montenegrin armies for their active actions pinned down considerable forces of Turkey and thus helped the Russian army defeat the main grouping of the enemy. Also, together with the Russians, the Bulgarian militia and partisans (Chetniks) fought bravely. Russia acted as the main liberator of the Balkan Slavic and Christian peoples from the long Ottoman yoke.
View from Adrianople