Battles at Bayandura and near Akhaltsikh. Part of 2
12 (24) in November, Prince Andronikov held a military meeting, which was attended by: Major General Kovalevsky and Brunner, commanders of the Vilna Eger and Belostok Infantry Regiments, Major General Freytag and Colonel Tolubeyev, Light Commander 2-o battery xN-Tom-Tom-Tom Battery unit XN-Tom-Tom and Tom-Tyun-Tyn-Ty Battery-Type Infantry Regiment, Commander-in-Chief of the Freytag Infantry Regiment, Colonel Tolubeyev, Commander of the Infantry Regiment; Colonel Smelovsky, Colonel General Staff Dreyer, Lieutenant Colonel Zimmerman and Lieutenant Evseev, who arrived in Akhaltsykh with three mountain guns. Prince Andronikov proposed to attack the Ottomans. 13 November decided to conduct a reconnaissance, and then speak the whole army.
13 (25) November was held reconnaissance of enemy positions. The 18 thousandth Turkish army (8 thousand regular infantry, 3 thousand regular cavalry and 7 thousand irregular cavalry and foot militia with 13 guns) occupied the heights on the right side of the Poshov-chai river, from the village of Suplis to the village of Ab. The Navanet-Dag ridge, which runs almost in a parallel direction to Poskhov, was also occupied by Turkish troops. A naturally strong position, was fairly well equipped. Members of the military council were convinced of the inaccessibility of the enemy’s position from the right flank. Prince Andronikov laid down to attack the enemy at dawn from the village of Suplis.
Immediately, the outposts and patrols were significantly strengthened in order to avoid the infiltration of enemy spies and to detect the movements of the Turkish troops in time. Horse and foot patrols closed the surrounding mountain trails, detaining all travelers on them. Such a precaution will help to win the battle, when a large enemy force will be found on the flank of the Russian squadron already at the height of the battle.
Russian troops were to attack in two columns. The left column under the command of Major General Kovalevsky was to attack the village of Suplis from the front, and, capturing the height of the left bank against the village, open artillery fire on the Turkish position. The column consisted of the 4 battalion of the Vilna Eger regiment, with 8 light guns, light battery Colonel Smelovsky and 6 light guns, which were taken from the Akhaltsikhey fortress. The right column under the command of Major General Brunner was to secretly descend to the river at the village of Kunji, cross over to the other side, and begin the assault on Supsyk when the enemy was distracted by attacking the left column. The troops of Brunner also had to intercept the only way to retreat towards Ardagan. After that, the left column was supposed to go on the assault of the village of Supsis from the front. The Brunner's columns included the 2 battalion of Belostok and one battalion of the Brest infantry regiments, a police unit with three mountain guns. Total Russian forces numbered 7 thousand people.
Early in the morning of November 14 (26), Russian troops began to move. The left column of Kovalevsky reached the height of the left bank of the Pokhov-Chay river, in the distance of a cannon shot from the village of Suplis. The Turks, noticing the movement of the Russian troops, opened artillery fire from a battery on the right bank. The guns of the left column fired back, and an artillery fire began. Russian infantry was located behind the battery, on the slope of the mountain, which protected it from artillery fire. Two companies were sent to the bridge. Artillery skirmish lasted more than two hours. Moreover, our artillery, located more conveniently, caused serious damage to the enemy.
At this time, the Brunner column, hiding behind the heights, tried to bypass the enemy from the left flank. Prince Andronikov, arriving at the right column, somewhat halted the offensive and ordered to open fire at the positions of the enemy from their three mountain guns. The left column should at this time go to the assault of enemy positions. The right column was to force the river and attack Suplis, after the beginning of the offensive of the left column. The Turks, noticing the appearance of Russian troops against his left flank, transferred the troops standing near the villages of Ab and Sadzel, the guns were also transferred to Suplis.
At this time, the column Kovalevsky went to storm. General Freytag with the 1-m and 2-m battalions of the Vilna Eger regiment descended from the heights into the valley of Pokhov-Chay, and the soldiers forced the river with honor into a ford, partly over a bridge. We had to climb the high steep right bank under the enemy's strong shot and rifle fire. They climbed up the steep bank with straps, bayonets, and comrades' hands that were being fed. An example to the soldiers was the staff captain of Pasalsky (he was seriously wounded in this battle) and Ensign Shesterikov. Forcing the river, the Russian troops divided. The six companies of the rangers began to prepare for a frontal assault on enemy positions, and two companies that forced the river to the left, over the bridge, headed along a steep narrow road that ran along the foot of the rocks.
General Freytag, who was ahead of his rangers, was wounded by a bullet in his arm and wounded in the stomach. He had to return for dressing. Then the general returned to the soldiers. In his absence, the regiment was headed by Lieutenant Colonel Zimmerman. Rangers climbed to the high right bank and lined up in forty fathoms from forest obstructions, where 7 guns were located under the cover of the Turkish infantry. Our huntsman withstood a strong enemy fire and with a shout of "Hurray" knocked out the enemy from the rubble, captured 7 guns. Lieutenant Danilov was the first to ascend to the Ottoman battery and died the death of the brave. Rejecting the enemy infantry, the huntsmen broke into the village of Suplis. Ottoman soldiers fiercely resisted, retreated slowly, shot back and even fought off with bayonets. A part of the enemy infantry sat down in saklyah and continued to shoot from the windows and doors. Another part of the Ottoman infantry, knocked out of the village, sat down in the gardens of Suplis.
Simultaneously with the frontal attack of the Vilna rangers, General Brunner, with the battalions of the Brest and Belostok regiments, also forced the river into a ford above Suplis. Russian soldiers hit the Ottomans in the gardens of Suplis and joined up with the Vilnius rangers. Many village sakli had to be taken by storm. Opponent fiercely defended. Several dozen residents of Suplis (Muslims) who fought for the Ottomans, threw weapon and asked for mercy. They were not offended, although the Russian soldiers were furious at the battle.
The stubborn resistance of the Ottomans forced General Kovalevsky to move to help the attackers with the 4 Battalion of the Vilno regiment. Prince Andronikov threw almost all the forces at his disposal. In reserve, he had only one and a half companies with three mountain implements. As a result, a tough battle ended in victory for the Russian troops. The defense of the enemy was broken, its main positions captured. Ottomans knocked out of the gardens of Suplis. Another enemy weapon was captured. Russian troops took up a position on the heights near the village, where the Ottomans also tried to gain a foothold, but were knocked out.
After the capture of Suplis, the Russian troops received an order to stop. It was necessary to regroup, tighten the backward. General Brunner, taking command of the advanced forces, put the companies in proper order, hundreds and battalions, arranged columns and moved further into the mountains. At this time, Lieutenant Colonel Zimmerman, with the forward chain of all the regiments in battle and part of the police under the command of Major Prince Kobulov, continued to pursue the enemy. With each kilometer, the terrain increased and became more complex. The advanced riflemen and militiamen of the Akhaltsikhe detachment did not allow the Ottomans to gain a foothold in the reserve and rear positions. Division General Ali Pasha was a military leader who knew his business well. Building a defense system of his corps, Ali Pasha managed to equip several spare positions at altitudes behind Poshov-tea, blocking the main paths among the rocks.
The Ottomans non-stop retreated five miles, and then tried to gain a foothold near the village of Small Pamach. Here, the defense kept three camps (battalion) of regular infantry with three guns. Two cavalry squadrons reinforced them from the rear. Russian advanced troops met with powerful rifle and artillery fire. However, nothing could stop the Russian soldiers. Lieutenant Colonel Zimmerman with an advanced chain hit the bayonets, the Ottomans could not stand it and rushed to run. The guns were abandoned, the Turks fled in panic. They did not offer any more resistance. Ali Pasha could not stop the exodus.
In the midst of events at the main position, it was reported about the appearance on the right flank of significant forces of the Turkish cavalry and the foot militia. The Turkish command tried to strike at the flank and rear of the Russian detachment. However, Lieutenant-General Andronikov promptly found out about the appearance of a significant enemy detachment on his flank. His sudden blow could lead to very serious consequences. In order to meet the enemy, 2 and 21 Cossack regiments were sent and Prince Andronikov’s own convoy, the Gori aristocratic hundred, commanded by the leader of the nobility, lieutenant Prince Eristov.
A cavalry battle took place on the left side of Poshov Tea. The enemy cavalry, which was supported by the masses of the foot militia, descended from the Abas-Tuman heights and struck the Russian cavalry. Don Cossacks and Gorians under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Biryukov, Esaula Borisov and Prince Eristov famously hit the approaching enemy unit, which did not have time to turn around for an attack. There was a cavalry counter-battle of horse lavas rushing at each other. Ottoman cavalry could not stand the wheelhouse and ran. Artillery completed the defeat - Prince Andronikov ordered to turn mountain guns against the Ottomans who bypassed the Russian positions and two of the guns that had been beaten off from the enemy.
Running Ottoman cavalry crushed their infantry camps, which followed in columns along a mountain road and could not organize resistance. The Ottoman infantry ran and fell under the peaks of the Don Cossacks and Gori residents. Up to 200 people were put in place.
The battle ended at one o'clock in the afternoon. Further pursuit of the Ottoman troops, which lasted four hours, did not bring much success. The few mountain roads (rather trails) did not allow cavalry to intercept at least part of the enemy troops. The enemy soldiers fled to the mountains and forests. The Turkish corps was broken. The Ottoman command for several days could not gather the fugitives into their battalions and squadrons. The Turks fled up to Ardahan. Irregular cavalry for the most part simply fled. Tribal militias returned home, before receiving a new order of the Sultan.
Ivan Malkhazovich Andronikov (1798 — 1868)
The victory over the Ardagan corps of the Anatolian army was complete. Akhaltsikhe direction was safe. Prince Ivan Andronikov traveled all his troops in the evening, congratulating them on a brilliant victory. He also visited the camp infirmary to support the word of the wounded.
The Turkish corps of Ali Pasha lost more than 3,5 thousand people in this battle (more than 1,5 thousand killed and 2 thousand wounded). In addition, a significant number of Turkish soldiers fled and deserted. The Ottoman command was not counted two and a half battalions, the soldiers of these units for the most part fled. A 120 man was captured. As a result, the Turkish corps for some time lost its combat capability. As trophies were captured: 5 big banners and 18 badges; 11 enemy guns - 9 field and 2 mountain (19 November, Russian soldiers captured two more guns, which the Turks abandoned during the flight); nine charging crates, two charging wagons, two artillery parks where 90 packs with artillery charges and ammunition were discovered; 42 barrels of powder and 160 thousand cartridges. They captured the entire Turkish camp with a camp office of Ali Pasha, who commanded the Turkish corps. There were important documents that were transferred to the headquarters of the Separate Caucasian Corps. They revealed a lot of important information about the Anatolian army of Abdi Pasha. Also in the camp captured a variety of different firearms and cold arms, horses, camels and large reserves of provisions.
Russian troops have lost 58 people killed and about 300 people wounded. The relatively small losses of the Russian troops are explained by the swiftness of the offensive of the Russian troops, the innovation of the commanders - the victory of Suplis was achieved by building for those attacking the chain, which reduced infantry losses and the extremely low effectiveness of firing Turkish artillery.
The Akhaltsikhe victory led to the complete expulsion of the Ottoman invaders from the ancient Georgian lands. After the victory of the troops near Akhaltsikhe, Andronikov was occupied by Poskhovsky sanjak (district) and they introduced Russian administration there. The deputation of the inhabitants of Poskhovsky Sandzak came to Lieutenant-General I. M. Andronikov with a written statement of obedience to the Russian Empire. The district became part of Russia. Given the fact that by this time, in the mountains that separate the Poskhov district from Ardahan and Ajari, the fighting was stopped. Russian troops settled on the winter apartments in the vicinity of Akhaltsikha.
Sovereign Nikolai Pavlovich, having received news of this brilliant victory of Russian weapons at Akhaltsikh, awarded Prince Andronikov with the Order of St. George of the 3 degree. The generals Freytag and Brunner were awarded the Order of St. Stanislav 1 degree. Lieutenant Colonels Zimmerman and Osipov, Staff Captain Pasalsky, Warrant Officer Shesterikov and Commander 4 of the Musketeer Company of the Belostok Infantry Regiment, Lieutenant Yanushevsky were awarded the Orders of St. George 1. The golden dusk, with the inscription "3a courage", was awarded to the commander of the 2 light battery, Colonel Smelovsky. Each company, division and battery was given ten characters of the Military Order. The question of awarding the lower ranks with these signs was decided collectively, at general company meetings. The soldiers, the Cossacks and the police received a silver ruble per person.
The units that distinguished themselves in battle are the 2 and 3 battalions of the Brest, the 1 battalion of the Belostok infantry regiments, the 1, 2 and 4 of the Vilna Eger regiment and the light battery no. 2 13 of artillery regiment and light battery no. St. Petersburg banners with the inscription: "For the defeat of the Turks 14 November 1853 of the year under Akhaltsykh." Battery handed silver tubes with the same inscription.
In memory of the Akhaltsikhe victory in the Vilna Eger regiment they put down the song. Later, according to the traditions of that time, it passed into the inheritance of the 52 Infantry Regiment of Vilnius His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich.
Beyond the high mountains
Between fast rivers
Akhaltsyh worth (2 times).
Suddenly innumerable crowds.
Turk knocks us (2raz).
Storm take him dreamed
Took over Suplis.
And they told the sultan
As if all Russians were broken
And take Tiflis.
Here Andronikov with rangers
Yes, with heroic princes
In time ripened.
He was ready for battle.
Took and vilentsev with him.
Yes, ordered to go.
It is bravely well done
Russians rushed with bayonets.
The Turks quivered, fled,
Guns, peaks cast,
All belongings lost
And, having run, they repeated:
“There you have Tiflis!”
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