Military Review

Kangarlin cavalry

During the XIX century, in the army of the Russian Empire, there were several specific military formations of representatives of the Caucasian peoples, who often covered themselves with military glory on the battlefield. These were distinctive troop formations that were radically different from regular infantry and cavalry. Among them, the most famous were the Caucasian-Gorean hundreds that existed in different years, and the squadrons of the Own Imperial Majesty's Convoy, the Transcaucasian equestrian muslim regiment, the Dagestan cavalry regiment, who carried out regular service. Along with them, there were also cavalry-irregular regiments and formations created in Transcaucasia for the duration of the hostilities, the most famous of which was the Caucasian Indigenous Equestrian (or “Wild”) Division, which became famous during the First World War 1914-1918. However, among all these units and formations there was one, now undeservedly forgotten, which, even among the Caucasian formations, was distinguished by its originality and fighting spirit. We are talking about the so-called “cavalry cavalry” - a military structure specific in all respects, created after the Nakhchivan Khanate joined the Russian Empire in 1828 and entered the glorious pages in the military chronicle of the Russian Empire and the Azerbaijani people.

Scientists have been arguing about the origin of the ethnonym "kengerli" or "känglerl" for two centuries. For a long time it was believed that kengarlintsy came to the Nakhchivan region from Turkestan (ie, Central Asia) [8, p. 13], but nowadays the point of view begins to prevail that they are descendants of the Pechenegs or Oghuz, who created it in the XIV-XV centuries. the state of Kara-Koyunly, and the name of the tribe itself is nothing else than the Turkic name of the citizens of this state, distorted over time, is Karakojunly, which literally translates into Russian as “black-ram” [1]. According to another version, the word “kengerli” is derived from the phrase “gang + er + aly” (translated as “courage, heroism”) [4]. Whatever it was, the very fact of the existence of this ethnonym indicates that the Kängarly clan or tribe, isolated from the other population of Nakhchivan, played an exceptional role in the life of this region, and any power should be considered its power. Persian, and came to replace her Russian.

Kangarlin cavalry
Prince Grigory Gagarin. Date of General Klugi von Klugenau with Shamil in 1837

In the documents of the Russian military department, the kängerli cavalry as an independent formation was first mentioned in the 1828 year, i.e. one year after the actual incorporation of the Nakhchivan Khanate into the Russian Empire. It originated in the form of an irregular local militia, composed according to the customs of Persian rule in the South Caucasus from the Moafs - a special social group exempted from monetary and natural taxes to the Shah's treasury, but obliged for it in military time by military service. In their social and legal status, the Moafs were closer to the medieval Russian archers, rather than, say, to the Cossacks, even if in peacetime the main source of their material well-being was not agriculture, but trade and craft, as well as military booty and investment for special real estate services on behalf of the state. As the Russian military historian, General-Lieutenant V.Potto, noted, “the custom of the European war, which took a significant place of humanity towards the inhabitants, did not allow encouraging either robbery or violence; Moafs could not count either on land, nor on gardens, nor on other blessings, and the recruitment of policemen, not encouraged by any benefits, would seem to have had great difficulties. But Paskevich thought about it differently ... Back in the 1828 campaign of the year, he managed to assemble a militia, although few in number, but served very hard, and he showered his awards. The vanity and pride of Muslims who wore epaulettes or hung with medals was so flattered that when Paskevich at the beginning of 1829 of the year issued a proclamation to convene mounted Tatar regiments, Moslems asked in vain permission to enroll in them, seeking not for prey, which they did not count on, but on awards and honors. " I.Paskevich allowed to form "four equestrian Muslim regiments consisting of six hundred each, ... and in Nakhichevan, moreover, to form Kängarlı's cavalry, one of the most militant Tatar tribes that acquired in the region" [7, p. 168].

The formation of the Muslim cavalry units of the Separate Caucasus Corps was carried out in the shortest time by the standards of that era - in just three months. At least, by 16 in May, 1829, the Russian troops were at their rallying points, and in 30, in May, the 3 th Moslem Equestrian Regiment had already become famous in the battle of the villages of Diguru and Chaborio, in which its horsemen attacked the military forces of the Turkish avant-garde under by the command of Kjagi-bek, “they took three banners, forced the enemy to throw two guns, repulsed many packs, and finally captured the entire camp with all the property, shells and food” [7, p. 188]. Obviously, to achieve such success in military construction and combat training would be impossible if, at that time, the Russian command in the Caucasus did not have the opportunity to call under its banner a significant number of previously trained in military affairs of Azerbaijanis - personnel of the Persian Shah Army.

Contemporaries of those events described the organization, morale and appearance of the ranks of the irregular parts of the Separate Caucasian Corps of the Azerbaijani formation: “Of all the troops, four horse-Muslim regiments and Kängerly's cavalry paid special attention. The first regiment was composed of all the indigenous inhabitants of Karabag; the second is from residents of the Shirvan and Shaki provinces; the third is from the Tatars of the Georgian distances (Borchala, Kazakh, and Shamsadil — OK); the fourth is from the Erivan Tatars and the cavalry of Kyangerly from a special militant tribe that lived in the Nakhchivan region. All these regiments kept the national costume and differed from each other only by the cloth stars sewn on their tall pointed hats: the first regiment had red, the second had white, the third had yellow, the fourth had blue and the Kängerly cavalry had green. The same color was regimental banners, richly decorated with the emblems of the Russian Empire. The regiments were commanded by Russian officers, and hundreds by beks and honorary aga-lar. In general, the shelves were an excellent view: the riders were neat and beautifully dressed, well armed and, apart from the 3 regiment, they sat on blood stallions of Karabakh breed. The third regiment, as noted by Paskevich, lagged behind others in appearance, but he already distinguished himself in battle and established himself in the best way ”[7, p. 190].

This evidence allows us to draw several conclusions about the peculiarities of the formation of Kängarlı’s cavalry. Firstly, it was formed not according to the territorial, like all other equestrian Muslim regiments, but according to ethnic or tribal grounds. Secondly, Kängarlı’s cavalry was never called a regiment, and therefore it can be argued that it had a special structure and order of command. If the cavalry Muslim regiments were commanded by Russian officers (1-m - Lieutenant Colonel Uskov, 2-m-Major Kuvshinnikov, 3-m - Cossack military foreman Meshcherinov, 4-m - Captain Essen), then the cavalry of the Kärgerly - Colonel Ehsan-Ch Chahn-Ch. Azeri himself from Kengerlin people.

The outfit of the kyangerla cavalry riders consisted of their shirts, cloth or felt (for winter time) beshmet with a standing collar of dark blue color, embroidered with galuns, referred to in the Caucasian style as “Chokha”. The only headdress was a high pointed cap with a sewn (at the lower ranks) cloth eight-pointed star of green color. Boots served in combat and marching conditions, onuchi served as bivouac. The Beks relied on epaulettes, naibs and vekils differed from askers and nukers by the presence of galloons on the collar. In winter, everyone was supposed to have a burka. The horseman's armament consisted of a gun, a pair of pistols (which made the askers very much like the dragoons of the Russian cavalry) and a dagger. About no other cold weapons Russian contemporaries don’t mention the askers, and when describing their hand-to-hand fights with the Turks, they constantly focus on the fact that they “took the enemy into daggers” [7, p. 186].

Medal "For the Turkish War. 1828-1829 "(Silver)

Throughout the 1829 campaign of the year in Transcaucasia, the kangerly’s cavalry was part of the main forces of the Separate Caucasian Corps, playing the role of the convoy of the commander-in-chief, Count I.Paskevich, and at the same time fulfilling the functions of providing communications and protecting the rear. But this did not mean non-participation in hostilities. On the contrary, the commander of the convoy was the last reserve of the army, which floated in the most critical moments of the battles. So it was in 3-day battle at Digur and Chaborio 2-4 in June, in which the vanguard of the Turkish troops in the South Caucasus under the command of Osman Pasha was defeated, and in the battle of Cainla, 19 in June, in which the main ones were defeated and scattered Anatolian army forces seraskir Haji-Saleh, it was a day later, 20 June, when Russian troops defeated the argadra of the Turkish army under the command of Gagki-pasha (Khaki-pasha), and he himself was captured. The last time the kangerli cavalry distinguished themselves in the battle of Bayburt and in the pursuit of the retreating enemy 27 September 1829 of the year.

For differences in 1829 battles, all Caucasian horse-muslim regiments, including the Kängerl cavalry, were awarded 26 on October 1830 by Emperor Nicholas I with memorable flags indicating that the supreme authority of the Russian Empire was to be recognized by the rights of army units, not militias. The large silk canvases of these banners, which preserved the distinctive colors of the regiments during the war (in the first regiment - red, in the second - white, in the third - yellow, in the fourth - blue and in the cavalry, kängerlı - green), depicts the national emblem, and on the top , in a spear, - monogram of Emperor Nicholas I [9, p. 294].

Prince GG Gagarin. The Battle of Akhatle 8 May 1841. Oil on canvas

End of hostilities and signing

The Turkmenchay peace treaty put before the Russian administration in the Caucasus the question of what to do next with the militia groups. In the militaryhistorical literature, it was believed that all of them were discharged to their homes in the fall of 1829, or, as they said at that time, "turned into a pristine state." However, this is not quite true. Muslim horseback regiments and kyangerly cavalry who returned from the war served as the basis for the creation of a special Transcaucasian Muslim Cossack army, initiated by the same I.F. Paskevich, but for a number of reasons it was not implemented, although certain steps were taken direction of the Russian military administration were undertaken. Moreover, the organizational base for the creation of the "Transcaucasian Muslim Cossacks" was supposed to be precisely the kyangerly cavalry.

Actually, this is not surprising, since the traditional way of life of the Kengerly tribe was most suitable for this. As mentioned above, during the time of Persian rule, the territory of the Nakhchivan Khanate, inhabited by representatives of many tribes and nations, was given over to the kengerlis, who relied on their relatives, exercised administrative and police control and fiscal control. At the same time, all other populations of the khanate — the non-Gergents were actually deprived of the right to participate in government. For the Russian administration in Transcaucasia, it would be a great folly to abandon the use of a ready-made military force, the service in which was built according to the sample of semi-regular Cossack troops, which was still customary for bureaucratic perception. However, at the end of November 1830, the Polish uprising against Russian rule began, and Paskevich was recalled from the Caucasus for suppression, and later was appointed governor in the Kingdom of Poland and held this position until the end of his days. The departure of the main initiator of the creation of the Transcaucasian Muslim Cossack troops suspended the implementation of this project. Moreover, on his initiative to maintain law and order in the areas of the Kingdom of Poland from among Azerbaijanis and other mountain peoples, the veterans of the war of 1828-1829. The Trans-Caucasian Horse-Muslim and Caucasian Horse-and-Mountain Regiments were formed, which were originally intended to be used to organize the Trans-Caucasian Muslim Cossack troops. It was these regiments that became the main duty station for the majority of immigrants from noble families of various Caucasian nations, and therefore, for the deployment of a new Cossack army there was objectively no experienced command staff. The only exception at that time was the Kängerli cavalry, which at the end of 1830 began to be officially called the Kyangerlinsky army, had its own chieftain of the expedition represented by Ehsan Khan of Nakhichevan, promoted to major general in October 1837 of the year [8, p. 97].

The device of the Kyangerlinsky army is quite well known thanks to the “Statistical Description of the Nakhichevan Province” compiled in 1833 by the Russian excise official VG Grigoriev [4]. According to this information, in the middle of 1830's. The army consisted of 350 horsemen, constantly ready for the march, for whose maintenance a special tax in the amount of 8400 rubles was collected from the population of the former Nakhchivan Khanate. silver, counting on 24 rub. on one asker [3, p. 112; 8, p. 28].

The description of the state and appearance of the kangerla cavalry in the first years of its presence in the Russian service is well known thanks to the adjutant general of Emperor Nicholas I Count A.Kh. Benckendorff, who on behalf of the monarch kept a travel diary, including while traveling around the Caucasus in 1837. On 5 of October, halfway from Gyumri to Echmiadzin, Emperor Nicholas I and his retinue were met by the kyangerla cavalry in a solemn guard, and the description of this meeting was quoted several times: “I saw in front of me the incomparable Kangarly Cavalry in monotonous robes and unmatched horses. Its chief Ehsan Khan, jumping to me, reported in Russian, as though an officer of our regular troops ”[9, vol. 1, p. 113]. Nicholas I gave a review to Konnitsa Kangerli (“... I did a review of Konnitsa Kangerli, who accompanied me from there to Erivani.”), Which implied not only going through the parade, but also a demonstration of individual skills in using knives, horseback riding and horse riding , and was extremely pleased. This is evidenced by the fact that all riders were awarded at the end of the show with specially established silver medals “The Caucasus. 1837 year ”on the black-red-black ribbon of the Order of St. Vladimir, which was an extremely unique phenomenon at that time. The lists of 2847 awarded are known by name, of which 419 people were Kengerlins. Among the recipients was the 18-year-old eldest son of Ehsan Khan of Nakhchivan Kelbali Khan, for whom this medal was the first of more than 15 Russian and foreign awards, and 7 of them were military orders [3, p. 115].

Medal "Caucasus. 1837 year "(silver)

Medal "In memory of the Eastern (Crimean) War 1853-1856 years" (light bronze)

The imperial review 1837 of the year laid the foundation for the regular service of a team of officers of the Kängerli cavalry as part of the Transcaucasian equestrian regiment in the Kingdom of Poland. In accordance with the Regulations on the service of this regiment from 2 June 1835, the service life of his officers was 4 of the year, with rotation every two years. The cavalry cavalry in the regiment was represented by fifty hundred under the command of Naib, and the team of its officers first went to the regiment for the second rotation in 1839, and 20-year-old Ismail Khan Nakhchivansky, who started his 60-year service under the flags of the Russian Empire [5, p. 116]. One year later, on October 28, 1840, “for the difference in service” during maneuvers, he was promoted to the first officer rank of ensign and was appointed commander of the hundreds. As part of the regiment, he served one and a half fixed terms (or three rotations) until March 3 1845, when he was promoted to lieutenant and returned to serve in Transcaucasia. While serving in the regiment, he commanded a hundred Nakhchivan-Erivan hundred, and returned to the Separate Caucasian Corps due to the illness of his father Ehsan Khan, whom he replaced as head of the cavalry kängerli, formally heading it only after his death in January 1846, with the approval of posts 19 September 1847 of the year [6, p. 124]. A year later, he passed this position to his younger brother Kelbali Khan, and he himself went into the reserve, starting the life of a rich landowner and becoming the father of a large family.

Unlike his elder brother, Kelbali Khan Nakhchivansky began his studies in the Page Corps, but he didn’t finish it and didn’t enter military service because of the discomfort caused by the damp and cold Petersburg climate of health. Returning to his homeland, he regained his health and joined the cavalry cavalry, from which in August 1848 he headed the team that participated in the Dagestan expedition against the rebellious mountaineers Imam Shamil and Khadzhi-Murat, whose main events were fighting for the village of Akhta and Ger the hebel "For differences in cases against the Highlanders" during that expedition, Kelbali khan was promoted to ensigns of cavalry and appointed head of the kängerli cavalry in exchange for his brother [2, p. 214; 6, p. 98].

Lagorio Lev Feliksovich, Fortress Bayazet

Once again, in full force, the Kängerli cavalry set out on a campaign with the start of the Eastern (Crimean) War 1853-1856, during which she acted as part of the Erivan detachment of the Russian army in the Transcaucasian theater of operations under the command of Lieutenant General Baron K.K. Wrangel. From 22 in April to 5 in July, the Kengerlinians took direct part in the battles in the Igdir region, the Karavan Saray, Or-gov, and 17 in July - in the battle at Chingil heights and the subsequent occupation of the BayNet 19 in July. Subsequently, the Kangerli cavalry participated in actions in the area of ​​Abas-gel, Mysun, Dutah, Diyadin, Ka-ra-Kilis, Alashkert (Toprak-Kala), etc. In fact, throughout the 1854 campaign of the year, her askers were constantly at the forefront, bearing the brunt of the intelligence and patrol service and thus being the "eyes of the army." Both sons of Ehsan Khan of Nakhchivan, Ismail Khan and Kelbali Khan, were awarded the Order of St. George 4 degree: the first for the legendary 26-day “Bayazetan seat”, during which he served as commander of the fortress, and the second for the equestrian attack of the enemy artillery batteries in the battle of 17 on July 1854 of the year at Chingil Heights, during which, as stated in the award form, he “chopped down several gunners with his own hand and took one weapon off the battle” [2, p. 219, 224; 5, p. 98, 116; 6, p. 198].

The Crimean War was the last campaign in which the kyangerly cavalry took part as an independent military formation. At the end of hostilities, on 30 on August 1856 of the year she was dissolved. This was a general tendency in the history of the existence of irregular formations from among the Transcaucasian peoples, and it was due not to military-technical, but to social reasons. The fact is that over time the tribal community ceased to play a decisive role in social relations, and this undermined the social basis for the formation of the kyangerla cavalry, as well as other similar military formations.

1. Volkova N.G. Ethnonymy in the proceedings of the economic survey of the Caucasus 1880-s // Name and ethnos. M .: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1996.
2. Gizetti A.L. The collection of information about the St. George Cavaliers and combat insignia of the Caucasian troops. Tiflis, 1901.
3. Grigoriev V.G. Statistical description of the Nakhi-Chevan province. SPb., 1833.
4. Huseynzade A.R. Traces of legend, the legend of Noah and semantic comments // Young scientist. 2012, No. 2, p. 180-181.
5. Ismailov E.E. George cavaliers are Azeris. M., 2005.
6. Naghdaliev F.F. Khans Nakhichevan in the Russian Empire. Moscow: New Argument, 2006.
7. Potto V.A. Caucasian war, in 5 volumes. T 4. Russian-Turkish war 1828-1829 M., 2005.
8. Smirnov K.N. Materials on the history and ethnography of the Nakhichevan region. Baku: Ozan, 1999.
9. Tarasov B.N. Nicholas I and his time, in 2's volumes. M., 2000, 2002.
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  1. rexby63
    rexby63 23 May 2013 07: 38
    Thank. Very informative
    1. xetai9977
      xetai9977 23 May 2013 08: 41
      Among the thousands of other Azerbaijanis who served in the tsarist army, I would especially note Lieutenant General Samed-bek Mehmandarov and Major General Ali-aga Shikhlinsky, who distinguished himself in the defense of Port Arthur, the author of a training manual for artillerymen - the so-called "Shikhlinsky triangle" ...
      1. Apollo
        Apollo 23 May 2013 08: 48
        Quote: xetai9977
        ....... Major General Ali-Agu Shikhlinsky

        He was considered the god of artillery.

        1. Apollo
          Apollo 23 May 2013 09: 02
          Quote: xetai9977
          Lieutenant General Samed-Bek Mehmandarov

          Azerbaijanis that Russia is proud of.
          Hero of defense of Port Arthur and World War I General Samedbek Mehmandarov

  2. 416sd
    416sd 23 May 2013 08: 55
    I know the author, Oleg Yuryevich personally ...
    Thank you so much!
    Article plus!

    P.S. The Kengerlinsky are today a well-known surname of khan origin, their descendants still live mainly in Baku and Nakhichevan ...
    1. Marek Rozny
      Marek Rozny 24 May 2013 13: 41
      and who became khans among the Azerbaijanis? among the Kazakhs from the 13th to the 19th century, only the sultans from among the Chingizids (the "Tore" clan) had the right to claim the khan's throne. in the Turkic-speaking Central Asia there was only one exception, when Temirlan of the "Barlas" clan became the head of state. What khan dynasties did you have?
  3. valokordin
    valokordin 23 May 2013 09: 53
    Well, they remembered, the article is definitely a plus. Russia knew how to build relations with its national cadres; the Soviet Union was also able to do this, which cannot be said about today's Chubais
  4. xan
    xan 23 May 2013 13: 58
    And the last commander of the guards cavalry Khan Nakhichevan, why did not remember about him.
    According to Kersnovsky’s characterization, the khan was an unimportant strategist, but he didn’t mess up his Adjutant general auxiliaries with compromising behavior and was an ardent monarchist and supporter of a single and indivisible one. He was unsurpassed in guards gloss and chic (as I understand it was more important than the ability to fight), for which he enjoyed unquestioned authority among the imperial military aristocracy. He was shot after the revolution along with two great princes.
    And about the Caucasian convoy of the emperor I read somewhere that it was created to create pro-Russian sentiments among the aristocracy of the Caucasus. Together with other measures, in principle, it succeeded. In this regard, the last letter of Imam Shamil, which he wrote shortly before his death in response to the call of the Turkish Sultan to renew the war with the Russians in the Caucasus, is very indicative in this regard. It must be said that Shamil lived in Kaluga for a long time and died in Medina on February 04, 1871 during the Hajj. The Imam wrote: "A fool is the man who lights a candle when the sun shines so that it may be brighter for him." True, the Caucasians of the convoy immediately got into the military elite of Russia, but they were not mentally ready for this. There were even criminal offenses, but to the credit of the Caucasians, I must say that they were punished by the court of the Caucasians much more severely than they could be punished by the court of the empire. An example - in a fit of rage, a convoy hacked to death his servant-boy. His colleagues did not wait for the arrest, they immediately tried and hacked to death. The Muslim mullah asked the king not to punish the judges, because "they liberated the capital from the madman." And there were too many simple offenses, not punishable by court, but intolerable among the military. The tsar's patience was overwhelmed by the case of a Caucasian escort officer disrupting the performance in the theater in the presence of members of the imperial family. The convoy was disbanded. And they fought valiantly, though they did not take prisoner, which is also not in the tradition among the Russian military, but is directly despised. With this, the situation could only be changed through Muslim priests, and even then not quickly.
  5. Terrible ensign
    Terrible ensign 23 May 2013 15: 58
    The author - a big respect! The article goes to my personal archiver (for children and grandchildren) ...
    Here is "real imperial internationalism"! New generations need to be educated on such examples.
  6. kNow
    kNow 23 May 2013 19: 34
    thanks to the author, learned a lot of interesting things
    1. Yarbay
      23 May 2013 21: 03
      Quote: kNow
      thanks to the author, learned a lot of interesting things

      When I found this article a couple of months ago, I was also surprised that there are so many that I did not know !!
      Therefore, I suggested this article for our readers to share !!
  7. Alexandr0id
    Alexandr0id 24 May 2013 00: 02
    kengerly. judging by the name - the descendants of the Kangar-Pechenegs.
    1. Marek Rozny
      Marek Rozny 24 May 2013 13: 31
      quite possible. the ending "-li" in the Turkic languages ​​denotes a property, belonging. For example, "alma - apple", "almaly" - "apple", "khoja" - "khoja", "khojaly" - "belonging to khoja". Thus, it turns out that "kangers" are literally "kangers" ("belonging to kangers", "people from kangers").
      The word "kangar / kangar" itself probably means "vagrant". In the modern Kazakh language, "wander" - "kaқyru", "vagabond" - "kaңғy", "vagabonds" - "kaңғylar".
      If we remember that among the Türks such words often became ethnonyms, then it is quite probable etymology. For example, Kazakh - "Kazakh" ("free", "tramp"), Uzbek - "ozbek" ("his own master").

      And for the article - thanks, very informative.
      1. Marek Rozny
        Marek Rozny 26 May 2013 12: 26
        perhaps it should be added that the word "kaңғyrly" can be translated as "wandering", "those who wander". Hence, the ethnonym "Kangarly", "Kangar", "Kengerli" could later arise.
        But this is just my guess. I can't find any other word anymore, everything else draws on a "stretched" etymology, for example, "қаң" - "blood", "қаң isker" - "bloodsucker" (the phoneme "ң" is an analogue of the English diphthong "ng").
  8. Our
    Our 19 December 2013 11: 53
    Glorious were the warriors.