The last commander of the Suvorov school
October 5 1933 was an unusually large number of Russian military émigrés in the French resort of Cannes. They came here to the funeral of the last truly great commander of the Russian Empire, General of Infantry Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich, who died at the age of 71 of the year. Companions of the White movement, the Russian-Japanese and the First World War found it necessary to pay tribute to Nikolai Nikolayevich, despite the fact that in exile he lived a solitary, quiet life and did not participate in any significant political event.
In the 1927 year, when influential circles in Britain and France were discussing the possibility of starting a new military intervention in Soviet Russia, Yudenich flatly refused to head the expeditionary force, which was planned to form from the members of the Russian All-Military Union. By the way, this was not the first attempt to attract him to participate in a military rally, which was supposed to rekindle the flames of civil war in the open spaces of Russia. The archive of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation keeps a summary of the Foreign Department of the GPU (now declassified) about the meeting of the top commanders of the Russian army (evacuated by Wrangel from the Crimea to the Gallipoli camp in Turkey) held in March in Belgrade, at which decisions were taken on the new intervention . The report, in particular, said: “There are plans to invade Russia of three groups: the Wrangel group from the south, the Saving the Homeland group of troops and the Western group under the command of Krasnov. All three groups will be united under a single command ... The following commanders are scheduled for the upcoming operations : Supreme Commander and Temporary Supreme Ruler - Prince (s) Prince Nikolai Nikolayevich, his assistant - gene (eral) Gurko, chief of staff - gene (eral) Miller, commander in chief - gene (eral) Yudenich, chief of cavalry - gene (eral) Wrangel ... "
As you can see, Yudenich enjoyed a very high leadership authority in the White-Immigration circles, otherwise he would not play the role of commander-in-chief, that is, the actual commander-in-chief of the invasion forces (with nominal supreme leader Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich). But the appointment was made, we emphasize, in the absence of Yudenich, besides his will and desire.
Having settled since 1922 on the Mediterranean coast of France, in the small town of Saint-Laurent du Var near the resort of Nice, Yudenich rejected all attempts by the leaders of military emigration to involve him in the implementation of interventionist plans. As Nikolai Nikolayevich himself explained the reasons for his refusal in a conversation with Baron Wrangel in 1924, the Russian All-Russia Union did not have sufficient forces, equipment, or financial means for a victorious campaign against Soviet Russia, and he no longer hoped for the disinterested help of the Western allies . Yudenich did not succumb to the persuasion of his old friends, Generals E.V. Maslovsky (former quartermaster-general of the headquarters of the Caucasian Front) and V.E. Vyazmitinov (former military and maritime minister of the government of Southern Russia) to join the activities of the military unit of the white emigration. It is not by chance that agents of the KGB foreign intelligence service consistently reported to Moscow: "The former white general Yudenich withdrew from political activity ..."
CASTING OF ANCIENT SHLIHETI KIND
NICHOLAS Nikolaevich Yudenich, born in Moscow on July 18 1862, was descended from the small nobility of the Minsk province. His distant ancestors were Polish gentry who served faithfully in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its hetmans - Potocki, Radziwill, Vishnevetsky. Although none of them occupied major posts, these dashing warriors participated in many campaigns and always fought valiantly.
After the first partition of Poland in the reign of Catherine II, the Minsk province was transferred to Russia. And Yudenichi gradually became Russified, married on Russian noblewomen. Their descendants, proud of their gentry origin, considered themselves already natural hares.
The father of the future hero of the Caucasian front went through the civil service line and rose to a collegiate adviser (according to the Table of Ranks, this rank of 6 class corresponded to an army colonel). He often told little Kolya about their ancestry, about battles and campaigns in which ancestors participated, and raised his son in the strict conviction that for a nobleman the honor of a surname is paramount; There can be no excuse for a bad deed that would sully her ... These lessons will be remembered by Nikolai Nikolayevich for life. Until the death of Yudenich, neither his comrades, nor his enemies will know anything behind him that would cast even the slightest shadow on his reputation as a sensitive person in matters of honor, a crystal-clear man, always ready to answer God and people in every perfect act ...
The neighborhood of his father’s house with the 3 St. Alexander Military School, which was located on Znamenka (now the building belongs to the General Staff of the Russian Federation; a memorial plaque on the facade reports that GK Zhukov once worked here) determined the life choices of Yudenich Jr. From early childhood, he stared at the tightened cadets with gold monograms on scarlet shoulder straps, unwittingly imitated them and dreamed of becoming a cadet himself, especially since the priest considered a military career could not be more worthy of a noble title.
Studying in Aleksandrovka was given to a quick-witted and purposeful young man who graduated from the gymnasium "with success" easily. And it is not surprising that by graduation he was among the first in terms of academic performance, having earned the right to choose a military unit for himself. Lieutenant Yudenich chose the Life Guards Lithuanian regiment - one of the most glorious units of the Russian army, which distinguished itself in the 1812 Patriotic War of the year, and in the recent Russian-Turkish 1877 - 1878. In the summer of 1881, he broke up with the First Throne and left for Warsaw, where the Lithuanian regiment was then stationed.
In the Life Guard, however, he served a short time. At the headquarters of the Warsaw Military District, he was offered a transfer to the army infantry with a promotion and rank. The distant Turkestan did not frighten the young officer with a hard-to-bear climate, he sincerely wanted to test his strength. But having ordered a couple of years with companies in the 1 th Turkestan rifle and 2 th Khojent reserve battalions, Lieutenant Nikolai Yudenich received excellent hardening and the right to pass the entrance exams to the Nikolaev Academy of the General Staff.
It is curious that at the exam in Russian literature from 30 proposed by Professor Tseshkovsky, he chose not "Napoleon's Entry into Moscow" or, say, "Taking Kars Fortress during the Crimean War", but ... "Romantic Current in Russian Literature." The professor praised Yudenich's work above all in his group and, announcing the grades, added:
- Lieutenant Yudenich, you have shown real bravery when choosing a theme for an essay, in my opinion ...
The nature of the person, as you know, is visible in the details. Do not look for easy ways, but always set a lofty goal for yourself, let it be difficult to achieve - this will be Nikolai Nikolayevich’s life credo, which will lead him to the heights of military glory.
Studying at the Nikolaev Academy of the General Staff could not be considered a pleasant pastime (what was the acquisition of higher military education in the Brezhnev and subsequent years in many Soviet academies). It was hard work, sometimes hard, sometimes for two or three dozens of students after each transitional session were ruthlessly eliminated, at least for one "not enough".
Yudenich learned to fight with the obsession of a born military. None of his course, according to the recollections of his colleagues, did not devote so much time to studies like him. Attending theaters, let alone restaurants, and all sorts of “windy” entertainments that Petersburg “academics” were seducing, Nikolai Nikolayevich had no free time left. It should be noted that the Russian General Staff Academy in terms of education, in the thoroughness of knowledge in those years, was significantly superior to foreign military schools. Within its walls, strategy and operational art, work on maps, domestic and foreign weapons (special attention to the latest artillery systems!), Military administration, organization, tactics of actions and story participation in the wars of the armies of leading European powers, finally, the philosophy of war. Regarding the last discipline that studied the basic laws of warfare, among the general staff listeners was an ironic poem whose authorship was attributed to Yudenich:
"Fought a naked troglodyte,
How rude it is to nature
Now enlightened Britt
Trembles in khaki in front of the drill.
But an Englishman and a savage
Keep all the properties of man:
How to beat the face before,
So they will beat her to the century ... "
In the 1887 year, in the incomplete 25 years, Yudenich completed an academic course in the first category (that is, more than successfully) and, ranked among the General Staff, with the rank of captain, was appointed senior aide to the headquarters of the 14 Army Corps of the Warsaw Military District. After 5 years of service on the western frontiers of the Russian Empire, was transferred to the east, and the next 10 years of his service Yudenich spent again in Turkestan, successively passing the posts of infantry battalion commander and chief of staff of the rifle brigade. Lieutenant-General V. Filatyev who knew him well in those years would later write in memoirs that he remembered the character traits of this officer: "Directness and even sharpness of judgment, certainty of decisions and firmness in defending his opinion and a complete lack of propensity for any compromises ... "
ON THE JAPANES OF MANCHURIA
BATTLE Baptism Colonel Yudenich received in the Russian-Japanese war. Two years before it began, he was transferred from Turkestan to the Vilna military district, commanding the 18 rifle regiment. This regiment was included in the 5 th rifle brigade of the 6 th East-Siberian rifle division and made a long way to the theater of military operations across the whole of Russia - first along the Trans-Siberian Railway, and then on foot marches.
By that time, Nikolai Nikolayevich found family happiness. His wife, Alexandra Nikolaevna, a representative of the noble family of pearls, bound her life with him, as they say, to the grave; their marriage became strong thanks to both mutual love and miraculous mutual understanding, so that no tests were terrible for him ...
The regiment of Yudenich was rightfully considered one of the best in the Russian army. On field exercises, parades and maneuvers, his soldiers demonstrated remarkable military training and that particular youthfulness that accompanies from time immemorial true military professionals who have learned to despise death. The inspectors praised the colonel and for the well-organized life of his part: patients in the infirmary could be counted on the fingers of one hand; barracks were distinguished by good quality and comfort; The household farm supplied the soldiers' table with fresh meat and vegetables. Each company had its own shoemakers, tailors, hairdressers. The regimental commander was often seen in a location on the ascent and during rebound; out of habit, preserved from the time of the command of a company, many of the soldiers he knew by name and surname and liked to ask what they wrote from home.
Yudenich himself shot a sample of soldier's food. And with non-commissioned officers who sinned with assault, always asked hard. But he did not forget the junior commanders and in a fatherly manner to instruct:
- The lower rank is your brother. Handle him accordingly. Strictly, exactingly, but - fairly. Support the recruit whenever you feel that it is difficult for him. Do not forget that you along with the soldier not only keep the barracks clean, but also go into battle next ...
When the military echelon of the 18 Infantry Regiment passed through Moscow, Colonel Yudenich happened to briefly see his father. In the huge pantry hall of the Kursk railway station, full of public, they embraced with tears in their eyes, three times, according to Russian custom, they kissed each other. The father gave the son for military happiness a small icon-folding, with images of the Savior, the Virgin and St. George. I asked to take care of myself, but with this and remember about the debt ...
But here the conductor's whistle sounded. The colonel silently kissed his father and famously jumped on the running board of the train that had already started. Poured into the harmonica cars, and the young voices of the guys-recruits lingeringly pulled out:
"Last present day
I'm walking with you, my friends.
And early tomorrow, a little bit of light,
My whole family will cry ... "
Upon arrival in Manchuria, the infantry regiment of Yudenich, without spending a day in the army reserve, immediately fell into the thick of the fighting. The arrows then made long marches along the complete lack of roads, counting as luck to find a roof for the night in some Chinese village surrounded by a clay fence like a fortress, then they would be buried in moles in moles, digging kilometers of trenches of human height and knowing in advance that soon will have to leave, perhaps even without taking the fight with the Japanese ...
It is noteworthy that no matter how the situation developed, Colonel Yudenich in defense always paid special attention to the best arrangement of his line of fire. While one battalion was starting to dig message trenches and trenches, another battalion he set before himself and said:
- Before us is the field of not yet mown gaolian. This is bad…
Once a young officer hurried to clarify:
- Haolan has not ripened, the harvest is still too early. So the village headman said ...
“Then we will have to clean up the corpses of our soldiers,” the regimental commander objected to the “humanist”. - You fight, not the Chinese! And therefore I order - the kaolian, closing the review from our positions, immediately destroy!
The battalion of riflemen lined up in a chain and, armed with knives and hedgehogs, moved forward, chopping, trampling and stamping the thick stems of the Qaulian, waving to human height. After that, the Japanese infantry could no longer secretly approach the positions of the regiment Yudenich ...
Alas, Suvorov's spirit did not smell in the actions and decisions of the top leaders of the Russian army in that war. Yudenich, as an experienced General Staff, was clearly aware that military leaders, such as corps commanders Gripenberg and Stakelberg, are no good. But the real tragedy was that any, even the most sensible initiative of the commanders of the middle (at the level of regiments and divisions) level was not welcomed by the commander-in-chief of the infantry general A.N. Kuropatkin and his headquarters. Not in one battle, Nikolai Nikolayevich felt bound hand and foot. He spoke indignantly to his comrades on several occasions. arms:
- How can I fight, if the attack is not even the entire regiment, but only one battalion, must each time ask for permission from almost Kuropatkin? And how can I encourage the company and battalion commanders, if we take the initiative in general is not permissible?
Until the end of his days, he did not forget how he sent a report to the corps headquarters with a request to allow him one infantry battalion with a machine-gun command to attack the Japanese who occupied the Thoudoluzi village at night. The moment for a surprise attack was suitable - the scout reported that part of the enemy infantry was retreated to the Manchurian railway line, and the Japanese did not cover the approaches to the village without being afraid of the night attack by the cautious Russians ... But from the corps headquarters they sent a response that (with taking into account the possibilities available to the Russian) today it would be appropriate to include in the anthology of military art as an example of the blatant tactical illiteracy of other pseudo-chiefs:
"Thoudoluzi doesn’t allow attacks at night. You risk losing a lot of people lost and cut off from your people. Take care of your people. Do not get involved in random battles."
These are the "generals" and led the military operations in the fields of Manchuria, suffering one defeat after another.
As for the advice “to protect people,” Yudenich always did this without any reminders, but he also tried to beat the enemy. And if he scattered his forces, forgot about caution, then to miss such a chance to clean up his face, and with minimal losses on his part, Nikolai Nikolayevich always considered an unforgivable sin for a military commander ...
The red line included the chronicle of the exploits of the 18 Infantry Regiment and the biography of its commander participated in the Mukden battle, which took place from 6 to February 25 1905. It brought to the colonel the glory of a rising star on the horizon of the Russian military leadership skill, rather tarnished by the beginning of the 20th century.
In this battle, the 18 th rifle was among those troops of the right flank of Kuropatkin who were attacked by the Japanese 3 Army of General M. Foot, making a detour to get to the Russian back to the north of Mukden and cut the railroad and the escape route to north.
19 February 5-I and 8-I Japanese infantry divisions launched an offensive in the area of Madyapu - Yansyntun. The fighters of Yudenich equipped field positions on the outskirts of Yansytun - a large Chinese village, the separation of the trenches on the fields of Chumiz and Qaulian. At dawn, the cavalry note from the divisional headquarters of General Bilderling delivered here: "The enemy forces more than two infantry divisions are advancing along the Liaohe valley. The Japanese have already reached the flank. In the event of an attack of your position, the regiment is ordered to hold it. I rely on your strength and courage shooters. I can't back up with reserves. "
However, Nikolay Nikolayevich didn’t count on Bilderling’s help and set up his own reserve in advance — a rifle company with two machine-gun crews. For the most extreme case, the rear units were also ready to stand up: several dozen carts, bakers, cooks, etc. All of them owned a rifle and bayonet no worse than infantrymen of linear companies - fighting training in 18 rifle was built in peacetime ...
The Japanese appeared before the positions of the regiment Yudenich late in the evening. They acted confidently, obviously knowing the location of Russian positions. Later, Nikolai Nikolayevich at a meeting in the corps headquarters will say about this problem:
- Samurais are widely used spies, and those under the guise of peaceful Chinese freely roam the areas occupied by us. And the arrows do not know how to discern the spy. Field counterintelligence officers are very necessary in the regiments ...
Since the personnel gendarmes assigned very little to the troops in Manchuria, he would suggest the soldiers from the corps of the Zaamur border guard, who were taught to distinguish the hunhuzi robbers from ordinary peasants, to distribute them to the regiments and assign them to search for Japanese agents. This proposal by Yudenich will be welcomed with approval and will serve an important service ...
And on that memorable evening of the Battle of Mukden, the avant-garde battalion of General Legs’s troops attacked the positions of the 18 rifle suddenly. Usually, the Japanese sent forward a small detachment (a platoon, rarely a company) to probe the density of the Russian fire. And then immediately from behind the fanz stretched thick chains of enemy infantry ...
The secrets put in front of our trenches, without taking combat, retreated to their own. Soon, over the field, an awesome scream of "banzai" rushed, with which the Japanese encouraged themselves by rushing to the attacks. Russian infantry met the oncoming enemy chains with rifle fire "bundles" and machine-gun bursts. Without persisting under heavy Russian fire, the samurai rushed back, taking the wounded with them. But after that, the Japanese artillery pulled from the depth began methodically to process our front end with “chimozy”, and it was felt that his style, the location of the firing points were explored beforehand ...
The main events unfolded the next day. Samurai attacks and counterattacking throws of Siberian shooters alternated all day. Yudenich even lost count of enemy attacks, and if not for the regimental clerk, who recorded every enemy attack in the draft combat report, then it would be difficult to restore their exact number later. Under the cover of barrage fire, one wave of Japanese after another made attempts to seize Russian positions, clearly hoping to crush numerical superiority.
When the enemy began another frontal attack with his usual forces in one or two battalions, unexpectedly for the Siberian shooters, exhausted from fatigue, another enemy chain crawled out of the right flank, out of the hollow. Yudenich held here defense only two flank companies, already pretty thinned out. Feeling that the enemy could knock them out of position and bypass his regiment, Nikolai Nikolayevich himself led his reserve company, adding soldiers to the rear men to it, and personally led them into a counterattack.
The flank companies holding the defense, inspired by a general impulse, also rushed forward along with the rescued help. Shouts of “Hurray” and “Banzai” interspersed with desperate swearing, clanging of bayonets, clattering of bolts and the sounds of shots merged into one incessant hum that stood over the field, where thousands of people seized in a desperate hand-to-hand melee thousands of people from both sides. Yudenich in the same mistake shot all the cartridges from his revolver. The shooters defended him with bayonets from the hacks of Japanese soldiers who were trying to gain fame by the slaughter of the Russian chief. In the end, ours took it - the Japanese first began to back away, and then they ran together ... The company commander was very hard to stop his soldiers from pursuing, which could lead to a trap, and return them to their original position, following the order of the regimental commander ...
That day of the Mukden battle ended with several more Russian counterattacks, which also turned into hand-to-hand combat. Artillery reconnaissance sent to the first line of Siberian shooters corrected the fire of their batteries, ensuring the destruction of enemy personnel. The Japanese were kicked out with shrapnel and bayonets from several villages, and they hurried to carry their feet into the valley of the Liaohe River. General Legs - perhaps the best commander of the Mikado - in a report to Tokyo would then have to admit that the Russians showed unprecedented resilience and determination during the defense of Yansytun, and they were commanded by mature and brave commanders, why he could not carry out his plan to surround and destroy Russian army in the battle of Mukden ...
For holding the position of Yansyntun, Colonel Yudenich was awarded the St. George weapon - the golden sword with the inscription "For courage". This blade will be with him and two subsequent wars - the First World War and the Civil War ... And besides, for the Russian-Japanese he will be awarded with two orders: St. Vladimir 3 class with swords and St. Stanislav, also with swords, but immediately , 1 degree. And all the lower ranks of his 18 Infantry Regiment, soldiers and non-commissioned officers, the highest decree will be granted a prize badge on a headdress with a special (only for them!) Inscription: "For Yansyntun. February 1905 of the year."
"WE ARE RUSSIAN! WE ARE ALL ABOUT!"
About Sarykamyskaya operation of the Caucasian army under the command of Yudenich, conducted from 9 (22) December 1914 to 5 (18) January 1915, during which the main forces of the Turkish 3 army were broken, surrounded and captured by the brother of the Turkish 1915 th army, "Brother" told earlier. For Sarykamysh, we recall, he was promoted to Generals from Infantry, Yudenich received the Order of St. George of the fourth degree. This decisive victory allowed the Russian troops from the beginning of the XNUMX year to fight only in Turkey.
Of course, the Ottoman command, fueled by Berlin and Vienna, hoped to take revenge and snatch the strategic initiative from the "infidels." The new 3 Army commander, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Kemal Pasha, vigorously took up the preparation of a new offensive, especially since the head of staff sent him an experienced German general staffer, Guze. This student of the ever-memorable General Ludendorff worked out a plan for how to cut the stretched communications of Russians, passing through the valley of the Northern Euphrates. This goal was served by a strike on the Melasgert direction on the flank of the 4 of the Caucasian Army Corps, which was inflicted on 9 on July 1915 of the 80 of the Ottoman battalions and squadrons.
Turkish sabotage and terrorist groups began to actively operate in the rear of this compound, relying on the support of local Muslim fanatics. Under these conditions, Corps Commander General of Infantry VV de Witt appealed to the commander with a request to allow him to withdraw troops to the line north of the Alashkert valley. To weaken the onslaught of the Ottomans on the corps of de Witt, Yudenich quickly formed a consolidated detachment under the command of General N.N. Baratov (24 infantry battalion, 36 hundreds of cavalry and about 40 guns) and struck them back to the enemy rear. This maneuver failed to the full extent - the high mountains and the destroyed bridges slowed the advance of the Barat soldiers.
But Yudenich supplemented their strike with private attacks on other sectors of the front, trying to stifle Kemal Pasha’s activity and not allow him to transfer new forces to the Alashkert valley. Thus, the troop commander Chernozubov (8 militia and 48 Cossack hundreds with 20 guns) advanced 35 - 40 km and took up defense in the 400 km from Ardish to the southern coast of Lake Urmia. So the Caucasian army was able to prevent a broad enemy attack. Her commander received a well-deserved award for this success - the Order of St. George 3 degree.
“General Yudenich had extraordinary civil courage, composure in the most difficult moments and decisiveness,” the former quartermaster general of his staff, General VE Maslovsky, thought over the years of the commanding talent of Nikolai Nikolayevich. “He always found the courage to make the right decision, taking upon himself and all the responsibility for him ... He possessed an indestructible will. Determined to win by all means, the will to win was all imbued with General Yudenich, and this will him in conjunction with the properties of his mind and x the man of the parade was in him the true features of the commander. "
Since the autumn of 1915, a small Caucasian army was forced to keep the front of a length of 1500 km. The situation was complicated by the fact that Bulgaria entered the war on the side of the German bloc, opening its territory for direct communication to Turkey from Germany, from where streams of arms and ammunition for the Ottomans flooded. And the British-French allies suffered a crushing defeat in the Dardanelles operation, which freed up a whole army of Turks to transfer them to the Caucasus. Under these conditions, Yudenich decided to smash the 3 of the Turkish army again, without waiting for it to intensify with reinforcements moving from the Gallipoli peninsula. With equality in the infantry (approximately on the 130 battalion), the Caucasian army was superior to the enemy in artillery (three times) and in regular cavalry (five times). It is on these advantages that Nikolay Nikolayevich has built his strategy. In the harsh winter time, he decided to conduct a large-scale offensive operation, breaking through the enemy defenses on three operational lines at once - Erzerum, Oltinsky and Bitlissky. The main blow was struck in the direction of the village Keprikey.
Preparations for an offensive in the mountains of Turkish Armenia were particularly careful. First of all, the commander took all measures to ensure the fighters with warm clothes. Each warrior received a pair of boots and warm foot wrappers, a short fur coat, wide-colored quilted cotton trousers, a hat with a nazyatnik turning away, and mittens. For camouflage in the snow-capped mountains, a sufficient amount of white calico dressing gowns and white covers for hats were procured. The personnel of the 1 Caucasian Corps (he was to attack in the highlands) all received protective sunglasses. And since the area of the upcoming actions was also treeless, which means that the logging of firewood on the spot became impossible, each soldier went on a campaign, having two logs with him for heating at night. The set of equipment advancing infantry mouths were prudently included thick poles and boards for quick guidance of crossings through ice-free mountain streams. Yudenich took into account the experience of the Sarykamysh operation: thousands of Turkish soldiers then went out of order, getting frostbite due to wet shoes ... Finally, not to be trapped with the weather, 17 meteorological stations were deployed in the advance strip of the Caucasian army, which regularly issued forecasts and recommendations to the troops .
The operational camouflage of the upcoming offensive of the Caucasians soldiers, carried out according to the plan of the army headquarters, is also worthy of careful study. Thus, Russian front-line scouts operating on that side dismissed a rumor about the operation of the Van-Azerbaijan detachment allegedly scheduled for early spring 1916 and the expeditionary corps General Baratov who had entered Iran together with the British in Mesopotamia. In Iranian Azerbaijan, Barat Cossacks bought a large number of camels and whole herds of cattle, harvested lots of grain and fodder, which served as an indirect confirmation of the preparations for the great march between the Tigris and Euphrates. And when the Turkish radio interception service (created by German instructors) intercepted Yudenich's unencrypted urgent radiogram to the commander of the 4 Caucasian Rifle Division with an order to concentrate at Sarykamish for further shipment by rail to Persia, from the Ottoman commander Kemal Pasha and his German consultant, the General Director. there is not the slightest doubt that the Russians really intend to move to Mesopotamia ... By the way, one rifle regiment of the 4 division was indeed deployed to the frontier Julfa and after unloading made a demonstrative daily transition. Other steps were also taken to mislead the Turkish command.
The enemy's disinformation operation, carried out by Yudenich and his headquarters, brought remarkable results: the 28 launched in December 1915 of the year 2 Turkestan Corps offensive caught the Turks by surprise. On the very first day their front was broken. Strong enemy fortifications on the crest of a gay dag mountain were immediately taken by the combined strike of two divisions. And the left flank of the hull with access to the Karach-ly Pass suddenly turned to the West for the Turks, creating a threat of coverage. 9 January 1916 of the year Turkestan warriors captured the strong enemy position at Kizil-Kilis with a swift throw and after three days laid siege to the Kara-Hübek fortress, which closed the Gurdzhibogaz passage, which leads to the Erzerum plateau.
On the Keprikei direction, the army breakthrough group entered into battle with December 30. In the Araks Valley, the Turks put up stubborn resistance to the attackers. But since the offensive, according to the operational plan approved by the Supreme Headquarters, was launched on three fronts at once, it was difficult to maneuver the reserves of Kemal Pasha, and soon he could no longer parry the Russian attacks.
During January 5-6, the Siberian and Kuban Cossacks broke through to the forts of the Erzerum fortress, and our infantry arrived on January 7. Taking Erzerum on the move was very tempting, but unlikely: the fortress was a complex system of modern engineering structures, built on hills and ridges of heights, protected by moats and gorges. In the forts and citadels, 80 battalions of Ottoman infantry, which had powerful artillery, were stationed - over 300 trunks. The Russians knocked out the Turks from the surrounding villages and, under the cover of night darkness, were moving closer and closer to the forts, their trenches and communications.
Arriving at the walls of the fortress Yudenich after careful reconnaissance, however, 27 January ordered to prepare for the assault. It was a very responsible decision, because in case of failure, the situation on the Caucasian front could change dramatically for the worse ...
Officer of the intelligence department of the field headquarters of the Caucasian Army, Lieutenant Colonel B.A. Stefon, who participated in the preparation of the storming of the Erzurum fortress, later noted: "In fact, every courageous maneuver of General Yudenich is a result of a deeply thought-out and quite surely guessed situation ... The risk of General Yudenich is the courage of creative imagination, that courage, which is inherent only to great generals."
The assault was launched on January 29 at 14 hours. It involved 88 infantry battalions, 70 Cossack hundreds, 166 guns, 50 field howitzers, and 16 heavy siege mortars. Applying successfully placed (according to the plan of the commander) artillery batteries storming after the fire veil attacked enemy forts. On the first day of the operation, it was possible to capture the northern part of the positions from which the Gurjibogaz pass was controlled, as well as the Dalan-gez fort.
This fort was occupied by an infantry squad and Cossacks under the command of Lieutenant Colonel I.N. Pirumova. In the morning of February 1, the Turks began a fierce shelling of the lost fort, and then threw against it superior forces of infantry. The defenders of Dalan-Geza were cut off from their own, at the end were the ammunition. Five fierce attacks of the Ottomans, they repelled with rifle and machine-gun fire, the sixth and seventh - with just bayonets, and the situation was so tragic that even the wounded stood up. When the eighth attack began, our reinforcement arrived. At this point, of the one and a half battalions of the 153 Infantry Regiment (1400 men) defending the fort, no more than 300 men remained in the ranks, and for the most part wounded ...
1 happened to break in February, when the Russian infantry seized the last forts that locked the Gurdzhibogaz passage, after which the Cossacks thrown into the breakthrough broke into the Erzerum valley. Kemal Pasha concentrated his efforts on the defense of the Deboiín position, but Yudenich’s warriors also swept this barrier.
February 7 Erzerum fell. 137 officers surrendered and up to 8 thousands of ordinary Askerians, three hundred Ottoman guns became battle trophies. In a city in flames, the commander personally presented awards to the heroes of the assault. More than a hundred lower ranks received from his hands the “soldiers' crosses of St. George, and Colonels Gabaev and Fisenko, Lieutenant Colonel Vorobyov, staff captain Zapolsky and a number of other officers, he awarded orders. Nikolai Nikolayevich himself, as stated in the imperial nominal decree, "in rewarding excellent performance, with exceptional conditions, a brilliant military operation, which ended with the taking of the Deboini position and Erzurum fortress 2 February 1916 of the year", was awarded the high order of general order - St. George 2 degree (he was the last of the Russian military leaders who received such an award).
ARCHIVE: Last commander of the Suvorov school
After seizing the Erzurum strongholds, the Caucasian army led the pursuit of the remnants of the utterly defeated 3 of the Turkish army. February 4-th Caucasian Corps 17 February took a major proud Bitlis. At the same time, the Russian Primorsky detachment, breaking through enemy positions along the Arakhva and Vitsisu rivers, reached the distant approaches to the important Turkish port of Trebizond, which was soon also taken ...
In his historical work, Kersnovsky gave such an assessment of the strategic results of the activity of Yudenich commander at the Caucasian theater: "Enver's army was crushed and destroyed by Yudenich at Sarykamish. The dream of creating the" Panturan "kingdom from Adrianople to Kazan and Samarkand came to an end. In summer 1915, Yudenich attempting to attack the Turks on the Euphrates. In the fall, the Turks defeated the Anglo-French in the Dardanelles. Knowing that the enemy should strengthen, and they would not be given reinforcements, Yudenich decided not to wait for the strike, but to beat himself. ar icy Caucasian winter, he went on a sudden offensive, defeated the Turkish army under Azap-Kee, and then - at his own risk and unprecedented in the history of storming took Erzerum ... By the end of 1916, the Caucasian army fulfilled everything that Russia demanded of it in this war The case was for the Tsargrad troops. The living force of the Turkish army was already crushed ... "
It is not surprising that even the failure of the North-Western Army on Petrograd in 1919 did not shake the prevailing opinion among Russian officers and generals that where Yudenich is a victory ... And if not counting Alexey Brusilov who served in the Red Army in the declining years, Nikolai Yudenich proved to be the last commander of the Suvorov school, whose representatives smashed the enemy not by number, but by skill. Having learned to use his every slip, accurately calculating the direction of the main attack and other victory conditions, in the Caucasus he led the soldiers to the most inaccessible peaks, breathing in them faith in his infinite forces, in the coming success with the immortal appeal of Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov:
- We are Russians! We will all overcome!
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