The battle at the village of Kuryuk-Dara in the vicinity of the Kars fortress. F. I. Baykov
The general situation on the Caucasus front
Winter 1853 — 1854 went quietly, except for the raids of small Turkish troops at border posts and villages. However, in winter, with the help of British and French advisers, Turkey rebuilt and reorganized its army. For the West, Crimea became the main theater of war, but Turkey was going to conduct the main hostilities in the Caucasus. The Turkish Anatolian army was brought to 120 thousand people. Zarif Mustafa Pasha, an experienced and cruel commander, was appointed her new commander in chief. The chief of staff was the French General Guyon. The Turkish army relied on powerful bases in Kars and Erzurum, had constant and convenient sea communications through Batum with the entire Black Sea coast and Istanbul.
The Turkish high command did not abandon the plans for a breakthrough to Kutaisi and Tiflis, and further to the North Caucasus. To capture the capital of the Russian Caucasus, the 50-thousandth Batumi Corps stood out under the command of Mohammed Selim Pasha. The blow was outlined through Guria, and on the coastal flank of the Ottomans the Anglo-French fleet, which now dominated the Black Sea, was to support. The Russian fleet was blocked in Sevastopol.
The situation was complicated by the fact that Russia had a poor connection with its possessions in the Caucasus. Communication by sea with Abkhazia and Redut-Kale was interrupted by the appearance of the western fleet in the Black Sea. The Georgian military road was unreliable and dangerous due to natural conditions (snow blockages, mountain landslides, etc.), and the attacks of the highlanders. The third way along the coast of the Caspian Sea provided communication only with Dagestan, and was also under the threat of attack by mountain tribes. Only the fourth route remained - along the Caspian Sea to Derbent, Baku and the mouth of the river. Chickens. With the advent of the Anglo-French fleet in the Black Sea, it was necessary to abandon the Black Sea coastline fortifications (they were too small and poorly armed to withstand the attack of the enemy fleet). Only Anapa and Novorossiysk decided to defend, strengthening their defense. However, they managed to do little.
The enemy in Batumi was opposed by two detachments under the general command of Major General Andronikov. The Guri detachment was commanded by Major General Gagarin - 10,5 infantry battalions, 2 Cossack hundreds, up to 4 thousand local police and 12 guns. The Akhaltsykh detachment was led by Major General Kovalevsky - 8 infantry battalions, 9 Cossack hundreds, about 3500 police and 12 guns.
Episode from the Battle of Kuryuk-Dara. Hood. F.A. Rubo. Source: https://ru.wikipedia.org
Battles at Nigoeti and the Cholok River
The Ottomans were the first to launch an offensive on their left flank. In early June of the 1854 of the year, the advanced forces of the Batumi Corps under the leadership of Hasan Bey (about 10 thousand people) tried to defeat the Russian Guri unit on the banks of the Rioni River. In response, Prince Andronikov orders the detachment of Eristov (two battalions and 4 guns) to occupy the Nygoet heights. On the 8 of June, in the battle of the village of Nigoety, Russian troops under the command of Colonel Nikolai Eristov routed the enemy. The Russians were surrounded, but with several decisive bayonet attacks decided the outcome of the case in their favor. The Turks lost only killed up to 1 thousand people. Our troops captured two guns and a large number of new French rifles.
After that, Andronikov’s troops moved to the Ozurgeti, where the defeated enemy detachment retreated. The Gury detachment totaled about 10 thousand people with 18 guns. The 34 thousandth Batumi corps of Selim Pasha marched towards the Russian troops. The Turks settled down over the Cholok River, erected fortifications. Their right flank was covered by a steep, impregnable ravine, the left by a dense mountain forest cut by gorges. The Ottomans' only weakness was their artillery: 13 guns against 18 among the Russians. The Guri squad went to the 3 (15) river on June 1854. Intelligence showed the strength of the Turkish position, and the Ottomans fought well on strong fortifications. However, the military council decided to storm the enemy camp.
In the early morning of 4 (16) on June 1854, crossing the narrow river Cholok, our troops attacked the enemy camp. The case began with a skirmish of the advanced patrols of the Gurians, Prince Mikeladze, with Turkish posts. Gurian police fought selflessly for their land. They overthrew the enemy, the Turks fled to their camp. Part of the police started a shootout with the enemy on the right flank of the Turks, creating the appearance of preparing an attack through a ravine. At this time, our main forces were preparing for the attack, an artillery duel began. Meanwhile, the Gurians, keen on their first success, chased out to the Turkish camp. From there, a Turkish battalion with a gun came out. However, the militias bravely rushed into hand-to-hand combat and unexpectedly for the enemy caused great confusion. The Turks fled to the camp, throwing a gun and a banner.
The first success was a signal for a general attack. Russian infantry rushed forward. The huntsmen, working with bayonets and butts, immediately captured the front line of field fortifications. The Turkish infantry retreated to the second line, which was above the first. The Turks repelled the frontal attack of the second line. The Ottomans stopped the Russians with strong gun and artillery fire. The jaeger regiment named after Prince Vorontsov, having suffered losses, lay down and began to shoot back. Two battalions of the Lithuanian regiment went to help the rangers. Mohammed Selim Pasha was preparing a counterattack of cavalry and infantry in order to throw Russian huntsmen into the river. However, Russian artillery covered enemy positions, the Turkish cavalry instantly got upset and fled. Then Russian gunners fired at enemy fortifications. The Turkish infantry was stunned by the strong fire attack, their artillery was suppressed.
Andronikov threw all available cavalry on the right flank and behind enemy lines. At the same time, the Russian infantry attacked again. The Russian general sent all the remaining reserves into battle - several companies of the Brest and Bialystok regiments. Meanwhile, four hundred Don Cossacks and mounted Georgian policemen made their way to the rear of the enemy. Turks lined up in a square. In a fierce battle, the commander of the 11 Donskoy regiment Colonel Kharitonov and Prince Mikeladze fell. Following the horsemen, Russian infantry also burst into the enemy camp. The Batumi corps was defeated. The Ottomans still tried to fight back in two rear fortified camps, but without success. After that they fled. Our troops pursued the enemy. Selim Pasha himself barely escaped from captivity.
It was a complete victory for the Russian troops. Turks lost about 4 thousand people killed and wounded. Many soldiers fled to their homes. The entire troop artillery became the Russian trophies - 13 cannons with ammunition, treasury, all enemy marching equipment, vehicles - 500 mules. Russian losses - about 1,5 thousand people. For this battle, Prince Ivan Andronikov was awarded the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky.
General Ivan Malkhazovich Andronikov
In the Erivan direction, our troops also defeated the enemy. A detachment led by General Wrangel attacked the enemy of 17 (29) on July 1854 in the Chingyl Heights, in the Bayazet area. From here, the Turks, with the support of the Kurdish cavalry, threatened the Erivani region. The battle ended with the complete victory of the Russian troops. In fact, the Russians completely defeated and scattered the Bayazet corps of the enemy. Only after some time, the Turkish command was able to cover this direction, hastily sending reserves from Erzurum here.
19 (31) July 1854 the Russian detachment of General Wrangel without a fight took the Turkish city of Bayazet. Rich trophies and supplies of the Turkish army were captured here.
In the central (Kars) direction, the Russian army won another convincing victory in the summer of 1854. The battle took place near the village of Kuryuk-Dara (near Mount Karayal). In the summer, the Separate Caucasian Corps was strengthened by an infantry division, two dragoon regiments and new Georgian police units.
The main forces of the Turkish army - about 60 thousand people and 64 guns were located in Kars. From here, the Turkish command launched an offensive on Alexandropol. The Turks moved in two strong columns, leaving extra carts in Kars. The right column was commanded by Karim Pasha, the left, more numerous, Ishmael Pasha (former Hungarian revolutionary general Kmet). The Turks planned to surround the Russian Alexandropol detachment. Bebutov had 18 thousand people and 72 guns. The Russian commander very carefully, conducting reconnaissance, moved towards the Turkish army. Bebutov calculated when the Turks sent back part of their convoy that the Anatolian army was beginning to withdraw to Kars. Then he decided to catch up and attack the enemy. Thus, both sides were preparing for the attack of a friend on a friend, not having reliable information about the enemy.
The battle took place on the morning of July 24 (August 5) of the 1854 of the year near the village of Kuryuk-Dara. The Turks occupied the summit on Mount Karayal and opened artillery fire on our troops. This mountain dominated the road, so Bebutov threw a third of his forces to storm it under the command of General Belyavsky. The remaining forces of the Russian corps lined up in two battle lines, most of the artillery advanced forward. While the Russians were being built, the Turks launched the offensive in two columns. The cannons from the left column of Ishmael Pasha began shelling Russian troops near Mount Karayal. General Belyavsky attacked the Nizhny Novgorod Dragoon Regiment. Russian dragoons knocked over an enemy horse screen and captured 4 Turkish guns.
Then Izmail Pasha launched a large-scale attack with the force of 22 battalions and his entire cavalry - 22 squadron. It is worth noting that the Turks had many shooters armed with modern guns. 4 thousand of Turkish soldiers were armed with rifled guns and about 10 thousand - with fittings (shortened rifled gun). There was only one battalion in our squad, armed with rifled guns. At first, the Turkish attack was a success. Belyavsky's infantry curled up in a square. The Ottomans captured two guns of the Don Cossacks. However, the Nizhny Novgorod dragoons launched a counterattack, repulsed our guns and captured another enemy battery. Then the Russian infantry with a bayonet strike knocked over the vanguard of the column of Ishmael Pasha and drove him back. At the sight of this, the Turkish infantry battalions that occupied Mount Karayal retreated so that they would not be cut off from the main forces.
As a result, one of the columns of the Anatolian army was disorganized and began to withdraw. The fact that the columns of the Turkish army acted independently and did not interact greatly helped our troops. The Battle of Kuryuk-Dara is notable for the use of rocket machines. Missiles fired from special machines, followed by a long train in flight, terrified the Ottoman soldiers.
Meanwhile, the convoy of Karim Pasha (19 battalions, 16 squadrons) was just beginning to enter the battle. The strike of the Turks fell on the Caucasian Grenadier Brigade, but it survived until the reinforcements arrived. Bebutov took part of Belyavsky’s forces and launched an attack on the second column of the enemy. Seeing the futility of the first attacks, Kerim Pasha decided to make a roundabout maneuver. But here the Caucasian grenadier brigade, supported by the fire of three batteries, launched a counterattack. Grenadiers-Caucasians selflessly broke through three enemy battle lines. Both sides in hand-to-hand battles suffered serious losses. So, the 2th battalion of the Georgian regiment lost 450 people. Nevertheless, our troops broke the enemy’s resistance and forced him to retreat.
Map-scheme for the article "Kuryuk-Dara". Military Encyclopedia of Sytin. St. Petersburg, 1911-1915
At 11 hours, the battle of Kuryuk-Dara was already over. Both columns of the Anatolian army retreated. The last battle was the exit of part of the column of Karim Pasha on the flank of the Russian army. Bebutov had to throw into the battle the last reserves, and even a personal convoy. In the end, the Ottomans, attacked from three sides, fled. Then the pursuit of the enemy began. However, it lasted only up to 13 hours due to the tiredness of horses and people. To the Turkish camp, which was located at 10 versts from the battlefield, only Caucasian police officers reached. The rest of the troops rested. Victory was hard. The Kavkaz newspaper wrote: "The Ottomans showed such resistance as the old servants had never seen from them."
The Turkish army suffered a complete defeat. Losses of the Turks reached 8 — 10 thousand people (including 3 thousand killed). Our troops captured 15 guns. Turks fled to Kars. The losses of the Russian army amounted to 3054 man killed and wounded. For the Kuryuk-Darskoy battle Bebutov was marked unparalleled for stories Russian reward for his rank (lieutenant general) is the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called.
As a result, the Russian army again foiled the plans of Istanbul to capture the Russian Caucasus. The combat power of the Anatolian army was greatly weakened. After Kuryuk Dara, the Ottomans were no longer able to organize a large offensive on the Caucasian front.