Ognot. As the Turkish army tried to take revenge for the Erzerum defeat
100 years ago, 5 August 1916, the Ognot operation began. The guns of the Erzindzhan operation were barely overdue when the 3 Turkish army was defeated, as the Russian Caucasian army under the command of General N. N. Yudenich had to face a new strong enemy - the 2 Turkish army. Istanbul threw in its best parts - the Dardanelles winners. In the course of the Ognot operation, which took place with varying success, the Russian troops thwarted the enemy’s offensive and forced him to go on the defensive. At this point, the fighting on the Caucasian front in 1916 was completed. Turkey lost its elite troops in these battles and could no longer compensate for these losses.
Situation on the Caucasian front
In May-July 1916, the troops of the Russian Caucasian Army fought stubbornly against the enemy. The Turkish High Command, using success in other areas (the Dardanelles operation), had the opportunity to concentrate additional forces on the Caucasus, rebuild previously defeated units and planned to take revenge on Erzerum’s winter defeat and inflict a decisive defeat on the Russian troops in the Caucasus. The Turkish plan was to launch the 3 Army on the wide Trapezund-Erzerum front and then in the breakthrough between the Western and Eastern Euphrates (Karasu and Muradchai) with a strong 2 Army strike group, which had to advance from Erputum with Harzut southeast. With such a blow, the Turks supposed to repel Erzerum back and, with the most successful development of events, inflict a decisive defeat on the Caucasus in the Russian army. With a successful Turkish offensive, the 5-th Caucasian, 2-th Turkestan and 1-th Caucasian corps could be pressed against the Black Sea in case of their untimely withdrawal. And the remnants of the main forces of the Caucasian army were rejected to the borders of the Russian Transcaucasus, where the 2 and 3 Turkish armies were to invade.
The first to launch the attack was the 3 of the Turkish Army (As the Russian Caucasian army defeated the Turkish army 3 th in Erzincan battle). At first, our troops fought defensively, restraining the onslaught of the 3 of the Turkish army. Then 19 June - 5 July counterstrokes on several sectors of the front, the Russian army stopped the offensive of the Turkish troops and threw them into their original position. On July 6, the troops of the Caucasian army launched a counter-offensive on all fronts, culminating in the defeat of the Turkish 3 Army. On July 12, our troops occupied Erzincan, abandoned by the Turks without a fight. As a result of the Erzindzhan operation, the Caucasian army, having advanced in a band over 200 km at a depth of 130 km, significantly improved its operational position. At the same time, there were battles in Trapezond district, the Turks were defeated in this battle.
In these battles, the 3 of the Turkish army was so overwhelmed that during the subsequent offensive of the 2 of the Turkish army was no longer able to assist it even with a demonstrative attack, which allowed the Russian command to transfer all army reserves against the 2 of the army and repel enemy strike.
Thus, the Erzincan operation was barely completed, as the Russian Caucasian army had to face a new strong adversary - the 2 of the Turkish army. She was strong as a high moral boost after her victories over the Anglo-French during the Dardanelles operation, so good weapons, equipment and supplies. The Turkish army even had mountain howitzers as part of its artillery, which were not at all in the Caucasian army. The 2 Army was under the command of former War Minister Ahmet Izzet Pasha, and had about 7 divisions in its structure, and was subsequently reinforced with new units (up to 11 divisions). The Turkish troops, attacking from Harput, turned around the 4 divisions on the Ognot direction and the 2 divisions on the Mus-Bitlis front. In total, the Turkish army numbered about 74 thousand people, not counting the Kurdish units, with 98 guns (already in the course of the Battle of Ognot, the number of the 2 army increased to 120 thousand people). The advanced units of Izzet-Pasha's army already on August 3 attacked the extreme left flank of the 1-th Caucasian Corps in the Kigi area.
The Russian command knew about the plans of the enemy. However, in the battles against 3 of the Turkish army, almost the entire army reserve of the Caucasian army was spent. Therefore, in order to repel the blow of the 2 of the Turkish army, the command of the Caucasian army decided to form a maneuverable group from the troops of the right wing of the army. To this end, parts isolated from three right-flank corps, weary of the previous battles, were transferred to a distance of 100-200 km to the southern sector of the front of Kigi, Mush. It is worth noting that this site was the most difficult, even in comparison with all the mountainous areas that the Russian army overcame in previous battles. This area was completely devoid of convenient and well-traveled communications and local vehicles. In general, from the 119 battalions, 29 squads and 41,5 hundreds, which were part of the 5 Caucasian, 2 Turkestan and 1 Caucasian Corps, during the Ognot operation in the army reserve and on the southern front (the 4 Caucasus operated here corps) were transferred 42 battalion (35%), 8 squads (26%) and 33 hundreds (76%).
The offensive 2 th Turkish army. Counterstrike Russian Army
The 2-I Turkish army concentrated and was ready for the 21 July (3 August) 1916 of the year, that is, it was two and a half months late for the beginning of the 3-th army. Before the start of the general offensive, Turkish troops conducted a demonstrative attack on the Mush, Bitlis sector against the left wing of the 4 of the Caucasian Corps (the 4 battalion was part of the 32 of the Caucasian Corps). Russian troops, leading mobile defenses and discouraging the enemy’s attempts to bypass the flank, retreated to July 30 to the line north of Mush, Carmunge. As a result, the further advancement of the Turkish troops created a threat to the communications of the right flank of the corps on Khnys-Kala.
23 July (5 August) 1916 began the general offensive of the Turkish army. The left-flank 2 of the Turkish corps was to chain our 1 of the Caucasus Corps. The remaining three Turkish corps (16, 4 and 3) collapsed on the 4 Caucasian corps. Large enemy forces attacked the right wing of the 4 Caucasian Corps (north of the Eastern Euphrates River). Our troops with difficulty restrained the offensive of the enemy and gradually retreated. On July 23, Bitlis was lost, 24-th - Mush and 25-th Russian troops retreated across the state border. Thus, the left flank of our main Erzurum-Erzincan group was exposed and the way to Erzerum was opened.
At the same time, the northern group of the 6 of the Turkish army of Khalil, using the inaction of the British forces, pressed Baratov’s corps in Persia and our weak Azerbaijan-Van detachment of General Chernozubov. Thus, the situation was extremely dangerous. The entire situation of the Russian Caucasian Front was under threat.
The commander of the Caucasian army N. Yudenich decided to fend off this outlined round of his main forces with a counterstrike into the left flank of the bursting out 2 of the Turkish army. That is, he decided to bypass the bypassing his opponent. For this, two squads were formed. The first detachment was commanded by General Dubissky, which consisted of the 18 battalion of the 5 Caucasian Rifle Division and the 2 of the Kuban Plastun Brigade. The Russian troops were to strike in the general direction of Ognot and secure the rear of the 1 Caucasian Corps. To support the Dubissky detachment on the right (from the west), a detachment of General Nikolayev (1 battalions, 10 squads and 8 hundreds) was allocated to the Kigi area from the 9 Caucasian Corps. In addition, an army reserve — the 4-I Caucasian Infantry Division of General Vorobyov (16 battalions) — was deployed to support the actions of the two units of the shock group of the army. Thus, our troops were to thwart the enemy offensive and surround the main strike force of the Turkish army in the event of its attack on the Ognot direction.
Our counter attack began on 6 (19) August. Near the rapid strikes from the front and into the flank of the enemy army, Russian troops first stopped and then shot down the 3 and 4 Turkish corps that had broken through from Ognot. At the same time, the 4 Caucasian Corps delivered a frontal strike. The right-flank 16 Turkish corps of Dardanelles hero Mustafa Kemal Pasha was overturned. The 7 Turkish division of the 16 Corps was divided on the approaches to Mush (2200 people were captured). 10 (23) August, our troops recaptured Mush, August 14 Russian stood on the Euphrates.
At the same time, the Azerbaijani detachment inflicted 11 (24) in August on Rayat a complete defeat to the 13 of the Turkish corps. As a result, Russian troops regained their position in Persia. At Rajat, our Combined Border and 4-I Caucasian Cossack divisions surrounded and destroyed in battles of 9-11 in August the 4-th Turkish infantry division. More than 2,3 thousand people were taken prisoner.
The Turkish command did not want to admit defeat and continued attacks. In mid-August, Ahmet Izzet Pasha threw 3, 4 and 16 corps into the attack. However, in the hard battles of Hevarshah and Ognot, this frenzied rush of excellent Turkish troops was broken. The fighting continued throughout the second half of August and the beginning of September 1916. In the battle of Ognot against our 4,5 divisions, 11 fought against enemy divisions. The Turks fought with the same courage and perseverance as in Gallipoli, but the Russian units of the Caucasian army were a head taller than the Anglo-French. Step by step, the Russian soldiers cramped the enemy and in the end both armies returned to their original positions. In mid-September, the fighting subsided. By October, winter came and active hostilities ceased.
3-I Turkish army during this fierce battle, shortly before that, defeated during the Erzincan operation, was not able to go on the offensive and was almost inactive, which greatly alleviated the situation of the Russian army. In the event of an enemy attack on the right flank of the Caucasian army, it would have to fight in this direction, and even without a reserve. Only with the help of the reinforcements that came up, the 3 Army in the middle of August nevertheless began private battles in the area west of Gyumushkhan, but here all the Turkish attacks were repelled. Then 30 of August, the Turks, with an unexpected attack in the area south of Kalkit, broke through the Russian front in a small sector, but the very next day this breakthrough was completely eliminated. The simultaneous attack of the Turks in the region west of Kalkit was also repulsed. These unsuccessful attempts to go on the offensive and limited all participation of the 3 army in the Battle of Ognot.
Meanwhile, Russian troops on their right flank made reconnaissance in force and small advances, of which advancement of the right flank of the army during the fighting in the Gumush-Khan direction, when units of the 5 Caucasian Corps attacked the Ottomans on the coast and occupied Elle, should be noted.
In the course of the Battle of Ognot, we lost thousands of people from 50 - 20 thousand soldiers. The Turkish army lost out of about 120 thousand people - 56 thousand soldiers. Vorobyev's group comprised the 6 Caucasian Corps under the command of General Abatsiev. The Azerbaijani-Van detachment was transformed into the 7-th Caucasian corps of Prince Vadbolsky.
The result of the Ognot fights was indecisive. However, given the fact that the fresh 2 Turkish army, significantly surpassing the forces of the Caucasian army against it and possessing a strategic initiative, could not achieve its goal and, at great cost, captured only Bitlis, while the front position on the rest of the southern sector remained almost unchanged, we have to admit that success remained with the Russian army. The plans of the Turkish Supreme Command for a decisive victory in the Caucasus were destroyed. With small forces, the Caucasian army did more work.
In addition, during the fierce summer and autumn battles, the 3-I and 2-I Turkish armies lost their combat capability. From 150-th. 3 of the Turkish Army Vehib Pasha left about 36 thousand people, and in 120-thousand 2 Army Izzet Pasha left 64 thousand soldiers. Thus, the previously full-fledged Turkish corps, in fact, became divisions. Turkey lost the best troops, and the Ottoman Empire could no longer compensate for these cruel losses. If it were not for the revolution, the Russian Empire could have carried out a victorious campaign of the 1917 of the year in the Caucasus, taking Anatolia and going to the approaches to Constantinople. On April 1917, the emperor Nikolay Aleksandrovich ordered to take Tsargrad-Constantinople. However, time has already been lost. The degenerate "elite" of the Russian Empire sentenced the autocracy and the empire.
Thus, at the beginning of September 1916, after the completion of the Ognot operation, the Caucasian army occupied the front of Elleu - Kalkit - Erzincan, advancing somewhat along this line; Further, the front was in the area of Kigi-Ognot, Mus - the region north of Bitlis, south of Van Lake - the region of Ranga. Until the end of the year, there were no serious battles on the Caucasian front. There were only small local battles for improving the situation and searching for scouts.
- Alexander Samsonov
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