Hamadan operation

4
Situation in Persia

By the end of the XIX century, Persia had completely ceased to be a regional power, which had previously fought on equal terms with the Ottoman Empire and defied Russia. The country has become a semi-colony of great powers. The Persian army almost ceased to exist. Britain and Russia divided Persia into spheres of influence. The British temporarily became allies of the Russians and therefore ceased to incite the Persians against Russia.

The Persian Cossack Brigade, created with the help of Russia, became the main combat unit of Persia. Her rank-and-file were no longer Russian deserters, as in the first half of the 19th century, but Persians, Afghans, Kurds, Turkmen, etc. However, the Russian commander, who received a salary from Russia, commanded the brigade. Russian officers actually led the brigade regiments, although they had Persian commanders of the regiments. The brigade guarded the shahs, ministries, diplomatic missions of foreign powers, other major objects and controlled the collection of taxes.

In 1906, the Constitutional Revolution began in Persia, a constitution was adopted, a parliament (Majlis) was formed, which very quickly led to complete chaos and the actual beginning of the civil war. Internal disassembly in Persia continued until the beginning of the First World War. In 1907, Russia and Britain signed an agreement on dividing the country into spheres of influence: the north of Persia fell under the control of Russia, the south - of Britain, and the center of the country remained a neutral territory. In 1909, due to the unstable political situation in Persia, Russian troops were sent there. In 1911, the Russian contingent in Persia was strengthened. Russian troops quickly and rigidly put things in order in the northern part of Persia.

After the outbreak of the First World War, Persia was formally neutral. But Persia was so weak that it could not confirm its status, and the territory was of strategic importance, so it could not be left alone. In addition, oil was discovered in 1908 in Persia, and the Persian fields quickly became a very important factor of the Great Game. Fleets demanded a huge amount of fuel, and cars became more and more.

The Ottoman Empire, which entered the 1 war on November 1914, announced Jihad to the Entente countries. The Ottoman Sultan officially was the caliph - the head of all Muslims. The German-Turkish command hoped to form a united Islamic front against the Entente, which would include Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Egypt, as well as the Islamic part of British India (modern Pakistan). Part of the Persian elite supported these ideas. Already at the beginning of November 1914, two Turkish infantry divisions and Kurdish cavalry captured the city of Urmia. In early January, 1915, the Turks captured Tabriz. As a result, the threat of an enemy invasion already in Russian Azerbaijan arose. However, the Russian Caucasian army eliminated this threat. The Russian army occupied Van, but was unable to advance further due to the acute shortage of reinforcements and ammunition. The Ottoman command organized a counterattack, the Turks ousted the 4 Caucasus Corps (Alashkert operation). But the Russians launched a counterattack (the Baratov group) and rejected the enemy. Front stabilized.

In connection with the successes of the Central Powers in 1915 on the Balkan Peninsula (Bulgaria sided with Germany and Austria, Serbia was defeated) and by establishing a united front with the Ottoman Empire, the German-Turkish command intensified its agitation against the Entente countries. For this, Berlin and Constantinople used the growth of the national movement in Persia, directed against Russia and England, which occupied a number of regions of the country. The centers of agitation were the cities of Isfahan and Tebbes, where they arrived along with transports. weapons and ammunition German officers and soldiers. In addition, Austrian officers and soldiers who had escaped from a prisoner of war camp who was in Russian Turkestan arrived there. There were quite a lot of them.

In Isfahan, the Turks were able to find a common language with the Persian clergy and the leaders of the Bakhtiar and Qashqai tribes inhabiting neighboring areas. The successes of Germany in Europe encouraged its supporters in Persia. Local tribes again considered that Russia was losing and took up arms. Spending a lot of money to bribe the leaders, the Germans formed small detachments of mercenaries, suggesting to the Persians that they had nothing to fear from Russia and England, who did not have free forces in this direction. The German-Turkish command was able to draw on its side the Persian gendarmerie, which was after the Persian Cossack brigade, directed by Russian instructors, the only regular armed Persian force. Persian gendarmes rebelled, captured several large cities in the British part of Persia, and engaged in battle with the Persian Cossack brigade in the Russian part of Persia. She could not hold out on her own, as the rebels managed to propagandize part of her personnel, who went over to the side of the rebels.

The Turks tried to maintain these sentiments and sent their troops into Persia. This time they did not confine themselves to western regions and began to move inland. Took Kermanshah, and then Hamadan, in 350 km from Tehran. And in the Persian capital, German and Turkish agents inclined the Persian elite to their side. The appearance of the Ottoman troops of some Persians delighted, others were frightened. Mejlis of Persia decided to enter into an alliance with Germany and Turkey. The Persian government was inclined to this. The commander-in-chief, Marshal Nizam-es-Sultan, came over to the side of the Ottomans and promised to form a large Persian army. However, the Persian Shah, the weak-willed Ahmad Shah, who had almost no real power, hesitated.

Simultaneously, fermentation was observed in Afghanistan. The British government, initially confident of the neutrality of this country, began to doubt this matter. The population of Afghanistan could rise against Russia and England. There was information about the shipment to Afghanistan of caravans with German officers and weapons, small detachments recruited, armed and led by the Germans. If they had reached Afghanistan, the situation could have become very complicated. The British, concerned about the situation, suggested that Petersburg send troops to the northeast zone of Persia to quell unrest.

Caspian landing

By themselves, the Persian troops were not a threat to Russia. These were typical gangs, like the Kurdish cavalry, with very weak combat capability. However, the performance of Persia, and possibly Afghanistan, on the side of Turkey and Germany, meant the emergence of a new huge front. The invasions of gangs into Russian Azerbaijan, Turkestan, and ferment in the national outskirts of the Russian Empire would begin. This would divert large forces from the main Western Front.

It was necessary to extinguish the fire until it broke out. At the beginning of July, 1915 in northern Persia had three Russian detachments: in the cities of Qazvin and Ardebil, and in the province of Khorosan. In addition, a special detachment consisting of border guards was located as a reserve on the Russian-Persian border. In Western Persian Azerbaijan, to maintain order and to act against the Turks, the Azerbaijani detachment of Chernozubov was stationed (4 battalion, 27 hundreds and 12 guns).

Khorasan squad was strengthened by a Cossack regiment. Colonel Guschin had to maintain calm in the part of Persia, adjacent to Turkestan, destroy the enemy troops and prevent the penetration of agitators into Afghanistan. The Russian detachment occupied the designated zone, intercepted the caravans with combat equipment.

The Russian foreign minister offered to send a large expeditionary force to Persia. However, the Caucasian army did not have free forces. The Caucasian army, which from the beginning of the war to the Western Front 6 Infantry Divisions, 2 Plastunsky and one Rifle Brigade, 7 Cavalry Divisions, part of the fortress artillery and gave up part of their ammunition, had only one priority infantry unit in the middle of July, including one primary infantry unit. 1915 rifle brigades. The rest of the troops were militias, various units. The Caucasian army has exhausted its stockpiles of weapons, arming the new formations. In addition, the deterioration of the situation in Persia coincided with intense battles in the Alashkert sector. That is, the Caucasian army could not allocate large forces to the Persian direction.

As a result, the expeditionary "corps" under the command of Baratov at first was very weak. In the period from 23 to October 30, this corps was shipped from the Caucasus through Baku to Enzeli. By October 30 1915, this corps consisting of 2 battalions, 2 squads, 39 hundreds and 20 guns landed in the city of Enzeli. Baratov was instructed to restore Russia's influence in Persia, if necessary, to occupy Tehran. With the advancement of the Russian forward detachments to Karaj, all hostile to the Russian Empire, gendarmes and other formations fled Tehran.

Shah saw that the power was still on the Russian side, dismissed the Majlis and dismissed the government. True, part of the Persian leadership did not calm down. The forces hostile to Russia concentrated in the area of ​​Hamadan and Sultan-Bulag. In Qom created the "Provisional National Government". But they did not allow Baratov to blow up the uprising.

Russian troops restored the power of the Russian consuls, disarmed the gendarmes and dispersed detachments of mercenaries. Baratov very effectively organized the clearing of the captured territory from the detachments of mercenaries and German-Turkish sabotage groups, ensuring control over a vast territory. In Khorosan, our troops routed the troops recruited by the German-Turkish command. 3 December 1915, after the battle, Baratov’s troops occupied Hamadan, Saveh and Qom. As a result, Russian troops firmly secured the flank and rear of the Baratov expeditionary corps, as well as the approaches to the Persian capital from the south.

At the end of 1915, the commander-in-chief of the Caucasian army sent a battalion of border guards to reinforce the 2 corps of Baratov. For the same purpose it was supposed to send as many of the newly formed parts. In addition, it was decided to send to Persia and the Caucasian Cavalry Division, which was returned from the Western Front to the Caucasus. As a result, the Russian corps in Persia was significantly fortified. His forces were brought to the 6 battalions, 2 squads and 63 hundreds and squadrons, which allowed him to develop operations on the Hamadan-Kermanshakh direction - to Mesopotamia and south of Tehran in the direction of Isfagan, where forces hostile to Russia were grouped.

Thus, our troops quickly solved all the tasks. An attempt by the German-Turkish command to bring Persia and Afghanistan under its control, to use them in the struggle against Russia and England, failed.

English actions

The British command, concerned about the protection of the approaches to India and the oil-bearing region in the south-west of Persia, in November 1914 began hostilities on the Iraqi front. The expeditionary corps of General Nixon landed at the mouth of the river Shat al-Arab in January 1915 captured Korn (in the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers).

From there, the British decided to launch a deep invasion in the direction of Baghdad. The Anglo-Saxons even developed a plan for the revival of the Baghdad Caliphate, which was to become the center of the Islamic world. It is clear that under the control of London. The British command overestimated their strength and underestimated the enemy, although they already had experience with the Dardanelles operation.

British 20 thousand the corps, leaving only a small cover of oil fields in Iran, launched an offensive along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Baghdad. The western column in September 1915 captured Karbala. East under General Townsend, with the support of flotilla on the Tigris River, on September 28, inflicted a heavy defeat on the Ottomans in the Kut al-Amar region. Developing the first success, the British continued the offensive.

However, the Ottoman command responded unexpectedly quickly. Khalil Bey's corps was removed from the Caucasus. Another corps began to be transferred to Iraq from Syria. They were merged into the 6 Army under the command of von der Goltz. The forces of the Ottomans at the beginning of the battle was less than the British, half of the troops were still on the march. But von der Goltz pushed everything he had against Townsend. Due to poor intelligence, the British missed the appearance of two enemy corps. November 22 Turks suddenly for the British launched a counterattack. Not reaching Baghdad just 35 km, near the ruins of ancient Ctesiphon, British troops ran into the enemy. Violent Turkish attacks began. Two Turkish corps began to press the British. Von der Goltz pulled up new parts. Townsend's corps was defeated and began to retreat. The Ottomans pursued the British, tried to surround them. British troops entrenched in Kut-el-Amar, where they were surrounded. In December, 1915 began the siege. The British asked for help from the Russians.

Even during the Hamadan operation, the British government offered the Russians to send troops in the direction of Kermanshah and Khanekin. That is, the British command offered from both sides to launch an offensive against Baghdad. This significantly extended the communications of the Baratov expeditionary corps. Going to Mesopotamia in the winter through the desert areas was a very difficult task.

For its part, the Russian command proposed to push the British corps from the Mohammer region (the mouth of the Shat al-Arab) along the valley of the Karun river to Khorramabad and Burujird, with the aim of connecting the British and Russian expeditionary forces in Persia. As a result, a united Russian-British front appeared, which prevented any possibility of the German-Turkish forces' exposure to the east. In the future, the Russian-British group from the Kermanshah area and the British corps in Iraq could deal a double blow to Baghdad. And from there, the combined Russian-British forces, bringing the number of strike forces to 40-50 thousand soldiers, could transfer the fighting to the main areas of Turkey. For example, it was possible to launch an attack on Mosul and then Diyarbekkir, to the rear of the 3 of the Turkish army.

Thus, Russia and England could finally strengthen their position in Persia and threaten the main regions of Turkey, which led to its withdrawal from the war. However, the British did not accept these reasonable suggestions.

Hamadan operation

Russian howitzers during a battle in Persia

Sources:
The struggle in the Caucasus // Kersnovsky A. .A. History Russian army.
Eliseev F. Cossacks on the Caucasian Front. 1914-1917. M., 2001.
Zayonchkovsky A.M. The First World War. SPb., 2000.
The history of World War I 1914 — 1918. / Ed. I. I. Rostunova. In 2's volumes. M., 1975.
Korsun N. G. Alashkert and Hamadan operations on the Caucasus front of the World War in 1915, M., 1940.
Korsun N. G. The First World War on the Caucasian Front. M., 1946.
Maslovsky E. V. The World War on the Caucasus Front, 1914 — 1917 Strategic essay. Paris. 1933. // http://militera.lib.ru/h/maslovsky_ev01/index.html.
Petrosyan Yu. A. Ottoman Empire. M., 2013.
Potapov G.V. The Persian Empire. Iran from ancient times to the present day. M., 2013.
Shambarov V. The Last Battle of the Emperors. M., 2013.
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4 comments
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  1. +2
    17 September 2015 07: 56
    In 1907, Russia and Britain signed an agreement on the division of the country into spheres of influence...English, went on it gritting their teeth, it was necessary to lure Russia into the Entente ...
  2. +2
    17 September 2015 08: 41
    The vile British have always drawn Russia into their intrigues. Alien hands dragged and obtained acquisitions
  3. xan
    +2
    17 September 2015 10: 46
    Events in Persia from the beginning of the century to WWI are no less interesting. Here it is mentioned in passing, but there, in fact, the power of the Shah was retained and the whole of Persia was spun 6 Cossack regiments, headed by an energetic colonel of the Russian General Staff. And they acted according to a simple scheme - the suppression of the "color" revolution in Tehran with the help of artillery (here the colonel was not shy), the restoration of the Shah's guard by repression, the elimination of the most significant "field commanders" of the rebels.
  4. 0
    17 September 2015 17: 23
    Thank you for the article . informative . another unknown page of Our History.

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