The defense of the city of Sarykamysh in 1915 year - this battle of the Russian army on the Caucasian front against selected troops of the Ottoman Empire became one of our most outstanding victories during the First World War (Second World War).
The hero of this battle, the commander of the 1 of the Kuban Plastun Brigade, General I.Ye. Gulyge was dedicated to the song by the senior contractor of the 5 of the Kuban Plastun Battalion Peter Zasoba.
General Gulyga brave,
From the Kuban daredevils,
Like a feast, a bloody battle
Will lead us, revels.
Gay you, Royal Eagles,
Do not forget that in battle
With the enemy guys
We must remember our mother,
Mother, Kuban native,
Also martial glory,
What leads us to victories.
So let's support, guys
His old glory:
Fly on foe
We are in a Turkish country.
... The territory of Turkey, where the city of Sarykamysh is located, was a permanent war zone between Turkey and Russia in 1829, 1855 and 1877. After the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, Sarykamysh became part of the Russian Empire, began to develop rapidly and turned into a small modern city with interesting architecture designed by Russian architects.
By December 1914, he was near the front line of the Russian Caucasian army, which successfully fought with the Turkish troops and occupied the front mainly in Turkey, where it opposed the 3-th army of the enemy. An outstanding Russian military historian and theorist, General of the Infantry of the Russian Army A.M. Zayonchkovsky wrote about the beginning of the Sarykamysh operation: “... Enver-Pasha, a student of the German Military Academy, arrived in Erzerum, and decided to arrange Schlieffen Cannes from Sarykamysh. The position put forward by almost 2 / 3 of Russian forces between Sarykamysh and Kepy-Kay, the presence of ways to bypass the right flank of this group leading to the Sarykamysh-Kars railway, the Russians did not have an army reserve, greatly contributed to this decision. The Turkish army had the opportunity to try to bypass the main Russian forces from their right flank and strike the rear by cutting the Sarykamysh-Kars railway ... ”.
Here is a brief description of further military actions from A.M. Zayonchkovsky.
The operation began on December 22 of 1914 with a swift strike by the Turks on the Oltinsky detachment of the Russian army. December 23 Olty were occupied by advanced Turkish units.
On December 24, the assistant to the commander-in-chief of the Caucasian Front, General Myshlaevsky and the Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Front, General NN, arrived at the headquarters of the Sarykamysh detachment from Tiflis. Yudenich. December 25 bypassing the columns of the Turks quickly moved forward and took Penyak and Ardahan. On December 26, a Turkish division approached the city of Sarıkamış. Formed in several hours from the militia, ensigns and border guards a consolidated detachment under the command of a colonel who was accidentally at the station repulsed the attack of the Turks. On December 26, a Cossack regiment with 4 horse guns approached Sarykamysh, and although part of the city was already in the hands of the Turks, the Cossacks managed to stop their further advancement. On the night of December 27, and from that, and from the other side, units began to arrive, which, as they arrived, were drawn into battle. At the front, the remaining Russian units fought off attacks from the Turkish corps. All these days, heavy fighting with bayonet attacks went on under Sarykamysh. The Russian units, going on the offensive, began to surround the Turks. 2 January 1915 of the year the Prisoners' Plastuno detachment occupied the Bardussky Pass and cut off the retreat of the IX Turkish Corps. On January 4, the Caucasian army won a victory that predetermined the further course of the war in the Asian theater, namely, that day the remnants of the IX Turkish Corps surrendered, and the remnants of the defeated X Corps, having lost their artillery, hastily retreated, making their way through the snow gorges. 7 January 1915 was rebuilt by the Russian forces, which they occupied before the Sarykamysh operation. Of the 90-thousandth composition of the 3 Army, the Turks lost 60 thousands killed and wounded, and about 18 thousands frostbitten. The losses of the Russian army amounted to about 20 thousands of dead, wounded and sick, and about 6 thousands of frostbite.
The French ambassador in Petrograd, Georges Maurice Palaeologus, 6, January 1915, wrote: “The Russians defeated the Turks near Sarykamysh, on the road from Kars to Erzerum. This success is all the more commendable because the offensive of our allies began in a mountainous country, as sublime as the Alps, rugged by precipices and passes. There is a terrible cold, constant snowstorms. Besides - no roads, and the whole region is devastated. The Caucasian Russian army performs amazing feats there every day. ”
These words of a European diplomat and politician not only characterize the importance of this large-scale military operation on the Caucasian front, but also point to the specifics of its military operations with the use of special military units - the Kuban Plastun battalions intended for operations in the mountainous terrain. It was these battalions and regiments that became the main striking force that stopped thousands of select Turkish mountain rifle groups that the deputy commander-in-chief of the Turkish army (the sultan) Enver-pasha formally listed as the commander of the Turkish army (Ismail Enver). Here's how the colonel-emigrant of the Kuban Cossack army, F.I. Eliseev in his book “The Cossacks on the Caucasus Front 1914 - 1917”: “And the snow is waist-deep. Frost to 30 degrees. And at every step "damn bridges" ... From the boots - no memories. Circassian in rags. Legs with frostbite fingers. And there are plasters, as if spring-loaded at the parade show. And they saw the select army of Enver Pasha. And destroyed the army. The Turks, and those who were pursuing Kepreekei for retreating plasters, and those that attacked Sarykamysh, never saw plasters in their backs. Therefore, in Batum, at the banquet, General Gulyga could tell the doctors: "To turn the injured plastier to no avail, looking for an entrance and exit wound, there can be no entrance wounds to the back of the plasters!"
Kuban squads were the first to help the Sarykamysh garrison and led the defense of the city. General MA Przhevalsky, the commander of the 1 of the Kuban Plastun Brigade, immediately took command of the entire Sarykamysh detachment. Fierce bayonet street fighting began, in which the commander of the 1 Zaporozhyan regiment Colonel Kravchenko died the death of the brave. Despite the heroic resistance of the Russian units, the Turks occupied the barracks of the 156 th Elisavetpolsky infantry regiment and station. In reserve, General MA Only two hundred 6 of the Kuban Plastun battalion remained in Przhevalsky. Until the late evening of the fourth day of the defense of the city was a heavy bayonet battle of the main forces. Already in complete darkness, MA Przewalski decides to throw his last reserve there.
Kuban scouts without a single shot, in complete silence, attack the Turks and overturn them with bayonets. A sudden and silent attack produces such a strong impression on the enemy that he no longer tries to renew the attacks here.
Meanwhile, the 1-I Caucasian Cossack Division of Prince NN General approached the city. Baratova consists of: 1-th Umansky, 1-th Kuban regiments, two hundred 3-th Caucasian regiment and 2-th Kuban Plastun brigade of General I.Ye. Hulygi In connection with this, a radical change occurred in the battle, and the Turks were defeated and driven out of Sarykamysh. The Cossack units pursued parts X of the Turkish corps retreating in complete disarray, continuously striking and capturing a large number of prisoners, guns, and other trophies. One 2-I Kuban Plastun brigade captured more 4000 prisoners. A sudden night strike captured the headquarters of the 30 Turkish Infantry Division with its commander. One of the episodes of this battle is striking in the bitterness of the opponents' fights: according to the story of one of the Cossacks, the squadron pressed their equal enemy unit - several hundred Turkish mountain shooters to the snowy mountainside, which they could not climb due to the deep snow. A silent hand-to-hand fight began at the foot of the mountain, interrupted by cries of those killed and wounded. According to the Cossack, the battle was so fierce that they did not surrender and did not take prisoners ... At the end of the fight on the bloodstained snow, about Turkish soldiers and officers were killed near 800.
The Sarykamysh victory enabled the Russian army to continue the offensive against the Turkish troops, which was crowned with the Erzurum victory under the command of the outstanding military leader General N.N. Yudenich. The Kuban Cossacks-the plasmons clearly demonstrated to the Turks that in the Russian Empire there are special military units that have no equal in military and psychological training in the world.
The name “plastun”, according to the Brockhaus and Efron dictionary, most likely comes from the words: reservoir, plastuvat - (creep, creep) and meant first in Zaporizhia, and then Kuban army, foot divisions of Cossacks carrying special intelligence and guard service. D. Koshkarev, a Cossack researcher, wrote at the beginning of the 20th century: “Even the Cossacks in the Dnieper reeds were undermined, looking for a long time, then the Tatar chambul, then the enemy troop ...”.
In the service of the Russian Empire, they performed tasks that corresponded to the goals and objectives of the modern special forces units of the Armed Forces and the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.
The detachments of the Cossack-Plastunov were intended for reconnaissance, sabotage, raids on the enemy’s rear, as well as guarding borders and border settlements and military installations. At the same time, the Plastonic regiments and battalions were the most effective military units of the Russian army when performing strike operations during battles, especially in mountainous areas. In 1842, they were included in the staff schedules of cavalry regiments and foot battalions of the Black Sea Cossack army.
For the first time, European armies were confronted with actions of scouts during the Crimean War of the 1853 – 1856. The siege of Sevastopol by British and French troops, who at that time were considered to be the most prepared for technical support, showed the imperfection of the military equipment of the Russian army. The French core fittings in 3 – 4 times blocked the range of domestic rifles and smooth-bore guns, which caused Russian troops great losses in defending their positions and during an attack on the enemy. In this regard, the command used in the battle detachments of squads that were able to penetrate the enemy’s position unnoticed, destroy their living force and incapacitate the whole artillery batteries, and then quickly and without losses return to their positions. So, in the diversionary raid of 28 on November 1854 of the year, they cut out sentries, captured the mortar battery of the enemy's 4 th bastion, and with the help of the captured French, they dragged to themselves three six-pole mortars. The French commander, Marshal Saint-Arnaud, wrote in the reports: "Some Cossacks paralyze siege works, politely knocking out all the assault batteries servants." Commander of the Russian army, General MD Gorchakov noted in the order: "The ministry of the Plastun battalions with brilliant bravery goes beyond the line of ordinary military merit." For these feats, the Kuban Plastunian battalions were granted St. George's banners, and the personnel were awarded St. George's crosses and medals.
But, as is well known, despite the successes of the plasters and the whole heroism of the Russian soldiers and officers, the enemy managed to seize Sevastopol ... They saved the honor of Russia and the Crimea rather little-known actions of the Russian army in the Caucasus against the allies of England and France - the Turkish armies.
These were the outstanding military operations of General N.N. Muravyov (future governor of the Caucasus, a close friend and relative of the Decembrists) on the siege and capture of the fortresses of Kars and Erzerum, in the territory of the Ottoman Empire. Directly involved in these battles on the "Kuban line" took the Cossacks-reed, under the command of Major General Yakov Petrovich Baklanov. He wrote in his notes about the blockade and the storming of these fortresses, where he mentioned the daily front-line work of the reconnaissance reconnaissance: “One fine night I will personally go with my plastibles to the Chakmah batteries, inspect them, measure the moats and go down into the Shorach ravine to see where to lead the cavalry ... ".
The fighting of the Caucasian army led to the conquest of strategic fortresses and vast enemy territories, which Russia exchanged at the Paris talks for Sevastopol and other Russian cities occupied by allies.
What was the basis for the special training and military skills of the Kuban Cossacks-Plastins, which made them invincible in a fight with any opponent?
First, historically, their main purpose was to protect the village from a sudden attack of the enemy and protect the cordon line on the paths of possible penetration of the enemy into the depths of Russian lands. Secondly, they made constant hidden raids on enemy land, where they studied this territory and discovered and then warned enemy raids, destroying living force or stealing horses, to prevent the enemy from making a sudden attack. Given that they often acted in the rear of the enemy, their clothing, weapons and the nature of the hostilities corresponded to local national and climatic conditions.
Gray wolf in the field prowling
We wander around at night -
And you seek glory for yourself,
And you bring death to enemies ...
(Cossack song 1855 g.)
For this, ordinary plastic clothing was the same as that of the mountain peoples, next to which were Cossack settlements. It is characteristic that she was very modest: old and even poor, so as not to attract too much attention and be comfortable for use in mountain and forest conditions. In the outfit of the plasters were: Circassian, Papa, dude (soft leather shoes without heels) from the skin of wild boar, a gun (fitting), a dagger, a powder flask, a bag for bullets, hand grenades, grease-bowl, an awl, a bowler hat. Plastun wore a saber only when it was required by the military order and the need for conducting an open battle.
As for the differences in dress uniform, the plasters wore Circassian colors of their troops and, unlike other Cossacks, had no lamp. For military differences in 1915, under Sarykamysh on the Caucasian front, the 3 th Kuban Plastun battalion received an honorary "patronage": wearing the crown prince Alexei on shoulder straps, and the 6 th Kuban plastunian battalion - Emperor Nicholas II monograms. And to reward his battalion, the emperor arrived right on the front.
It was well placed in the reconnaissance scouts intelligence work. They knew local customs, national customs and adverbs, and also, taking into account the traditions of the mountain peoples, had many friends among the local population (Kunaks) who provided them with the necessary information. They were very serious about the selection to their ranks.
As a rule, candidates were chosen by veterans and elders, who took into account not only the military merits of the Cossack, but also his character, psychological and physical resistance to extreme situations.
One of the conditions for a candidate was the origin of a warrior from a well-deserved Cossack family who performed well in military operations. This selection was caused by the need to act for a long time in the rear of the enemy and there were needed absolutely reliable fighters who could not only complete the task, but also endure the wounded and dead Cossacks to their bodies. Taking this into account, people of mature age, who had already proved their military and human qualities, were usually taken into squads.
Indicative was the selection of the commanders of the Plastun Cossack units. They were mostly Cossacks, graduated from military schools and having many years of combat experience, but by the beginning of World War I, the command of the Russian army began to specially train noblemen officers for service in these special troops. The new time required the participation of these units in complex military operations, and, consequently, the training of plasters by new modern methods of warfare. One of such noblemen officers was Esaul Nikolai Nikolayevich Gotovsky, who served in the 11-m Plastunsky battalion of the Kuban Cossack army on the Caucasian front of the Great War. N.N. Gotovsky was born in the Petersburg hereditary military noble family and went through the traditional way of training a cavalry officer of the Russian army. He and his brother finished first the Nikolaev Cadet Corps, and then the Nikolaev Cavalry School, and was enrolled in the 54 th Dragoon Novomirgorod Regiment, where he served from 1902 to 1904 a year. After the start of the Russian-Japanese war, he, as the best trooper of the regiment, was enlisted as a centurion in the 2 th Chita regiment of the Trans-Baikal Cossack Army, where he received four orders for incomplete two years. The authorities noticed the brave officer and sent him to the Separate Corps of the Border Guard, where he served and received special training until the beginning of the First World War. Given his command and combat experience, he was sent to the Caucasian Front, where he became a senior officer of the famous 11 of the Kuban Plastun Battalion. There he, along with his battalion, was a participant in all the battles, including the battle for Erzerum, where he died heroically in January 1916 during the attack on the Turkish positions. With military honors, the body of the hero was delivered to Petrograd, where he was buried in the military Tsarskoye Selo brotherly cemetery, "Heroes' Cemetery".
So were prepared and other "capital" officers for the Plastonic units. Taking into account the experience of the flames of the Russo-Japanese War, the 1912 Cavalry Rule of the Year demanded that every trooper "was ready to fight with a rifle in his hands, just like an infantryman."
A manual was published for units of the Russian army: “The tactics of the Plastun battle. Summary tactics of mass armies "(1902 g. Edition).
All this came in handy in the Great War of the 1914-1918 years, where the need to increase the number of special Cossack infantry units became apparent. Therefore, in the First World War, the Kuban Cossack army had already deployed the 22 battalion - more than 20 thousands of first-class shooters and reconnaissance, consolidated into six brigades that fought on the South-Western and Caucasian fronts. By 1917, four Kuban Plastun brigades of six battalions were formed, and the Don and Ossetian Plastun brigades had four battalions each. According to the staffing table, the 22 officer and 858 lower ranks were supposed to be in the Plastun battalion, but there were reinforced battalions — 940-960 Cossacks and officers, and the 3 Don Battalion reached the number of 1030 men. In addition, two Plastonic artillery battalions were created. The plans of the command of the Russian army was the creation of a whole Euphrates (Euphrates) foot Cossack army - in the zone of the Russian expeditionary forces in Turkish Armenia. Initially, the decision to create a new Cossack army was made in 1915 year - in the future it was supposed to entrust it with the task of protecting the local Armenian population and securely covering the dangerous areas of the Russian-Turkish border. The basis of the troops were to make the Cossack family, relocated from the Don, Kuban and Terek. The necessary preparatory work was proceeding quite actively, and already in the autumn of the next, 1916, the State Duma approved the government’s decision to allocate funds for the development of the Euphrates Cossack army. It was even formed troop rule. However, in view of the revolutionary events, the army was never created ...
On the whole, the use of Plastun detachments in combat gave brilliant results; over nine thousand Cossacks were shown at the Caucasian Front. Particularly marked were the warriors of the 6 of the Kuban Plastun Battalion. Of these, St. George's crosses received: 4 degree - 357, 3 degree - 98, 2 degree - 29, 1 degree - 5 plasters. St. George medals “For Bravery” received: 4 degree - 80, 3 degree - 13, 2 degree - 2 plastun. Medal for Diligence - 25 Redemption.
Special mention should be made of the unique military operation on the Caucasian front of the reconnaissance group of plunks, which penetrated into Mesopotamia (on the territory of present-day Iraq), where they established contact with the advance units and special services of the allied Russian British forces. History and the subsequent allied strategic results of this raid require special attention of historians of the First World War and the special services of Russia. The Cossack squads also distinguished themselves in amphibious operations, ensuring that the Russian troops occupied the most important Anatolian port of Trabzon, which was the main supply base for the 3 Turkish army. In the operation to acquire them, the decisive role was assigned to the landing force, which was supposed to be landed from ships in the enemy rear. Given the importance and danger of this enterprise, he was personally headed by General N.N. Yudenich. Together with the assigned Kuban Plastun brigades and the headquarters assigned to the 1 and 2, he landed from the ships ashore at Xurmön 25 in March 1916. Kuban decisive attack took possession of the territory and turned the Turkish units to flight.
The revolutionary events of the 1917 of the year and the Civil War have put almost all the squad soldiers into the ranks of the Volunteer Army. Kubanians in the Civil War to fight the Bolsheviks in 1918-1920. exhibited: 37 cavalry regiments (Kuban Cossack - 31, Circassian - 4 and Karachayevsky - 2), 12 of Plastun battalions, 24 artillery batteries. In addition, some parts of the Volunteer Army sometimes consisted of half of the Kuban Cossacks.
Hard and terrible years of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. again called for the Cossacks, rasches, who had not emigrated to foreign countries and survived the brutal persecution of the new government, to military front service.
Back in 1936, due to the danger of aggression from Germany, restrictions on the service of the Cossacks in the ranks of the Red Army were lifted. The Don Cossacks sent the following letter to the Soviet government, published in the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda on 24 on April 1936: “Let our Marshals Voroshilov and Budyonny just click on the cry, we will fly to the defense of our Motherland ... Koni Cossacks in good body, wedges sharp, Don kolkhoz Cossacks are ready to fight with their breasts for the Soviet homeland ... ". This purely political letter reflects the sincere desire of the Cossacks to defend the Motherland with weapons in the hands of any external enemy.
In accordance with the order of the People's Commissar of Defense K.E. Voroshilov N 67 from 23 April 1936, some cavalry divisions received Cossack status. The Kuban Cossacks served in the 72 Cavalry Division, the 9 Plastun Rifle Division, and the 17 Cossack Cavalry Corps (later renamed 4 Guards Kuban Cavalry Corps.
August 2 1942 near the village of Kuschevskaya 17 Cavalry Corps of General N.Ya. Kirichenko as part of the 12 and 13 of the Kuban, 15 and 116 of the Don Cossack Divisions stopped the offensive of the large forces of the Nazi troops advancing from Rostov to Krasnodar. The Cossacks were killed before 1800 soldiers and officers were captured by 300 people, 18 guns and 25 mortars captured.
During the war years from among the Cossacks, 262 cavalrymen received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, 7 cavalry corps and 17 cavalry divisions received Guards titles.
And today, the glory of the Kuban-plasters lives in the memory of the residents of Kuban and the citizens of Russia who are interested in the military glory of their ancestors. In particular, we are obliged to remember the heroes of the defense of the city of Sarakamysh, who fell on the Caucasus front of the First World War in 1914-1915. and perpetuate their memory ...
This is not a sin to us to learn from the citizens of the Turkish Republic, who have long been commemorating the day of the memory of their fallen soldiers under Sarykamysh as a national and state memorial event.
A magnificent memorial has been erected at the battle site by the Turks, and every year in January the battles of 1914-1915 are remembered in Sarykamysh. Here come the top officials of the country, hundreds of descendants of veterans and young people. The children of the city are told about this war, the Turkish youth are singing military songs around the campfires, and then they solemnly carry a huge state flag to the memorial, where supreme statesmen stand in bows, military leaders bow their heads ...
In the inscriptions of the memorial there is no mention of who fought with the Turkish soldiers. On the places of death and possible burials of the heroes of the Russian army who fell in this battle there are no monuments from our Fatherland. In the Sarykamysh itself, the former city of the Russian Mperia, in the former barracks for two Russian regiments are located units of the Turkish army ...
The former Russian cathedral, which locals call Janik Kilise, now serves as a mosque. At the edge of the pine forest, the royal hunting palace, which was built specifically for the arrival of Emperor Nicholas II, has still been preserved ...
Specialists of the Charitable Foundation for the perpetuation of the memory of the soldiers of the Russian army who fell in World War I 1914-1918. “Military Cathedral” created a draft design of a monument dedicated to “Heroes of Sarykamysh Defense”. The majestic and severe granite stele with an eagle, soaring forever in the sky, and a mourning military bronze wreath with crossed Cossack swords should be installed in the mountains of the Turkish Caucasus, where Russian warriors lie, or in the Kuban - the homeland of heroes-splashes - as a sign of the eternal memory of greatness the spirit and military force of our ancestors, who, with arms in hand, faithfully and honestly fought on all fronts of the Great War and laid down their heads for Faith, Tsar and Fatherland ...