Battle of Manzikert (1915)
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|Battle of Malazgirt|
|Part of the Caucasus Campaign in the Middle Eastern Theatre (World War I)|
|Russian Empire||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Manzikert or Battle of Malazgirt (Russian: Битва при Манцикерте Vytva pri Mantsikerte ;Turkish: Malazgirt Muharebesi) was a battle of the Caucasus Campaign of World War I, in 1915. Even though losses were heavy on both sides, the ground situation changed little by the end of the action.
On July 10, 1915, Russian General Oganovski launched an offensive to capture the hills just west of Malazgirt. He believed that the Turkish forces in the area were weak. However the Turkish forces contained several divisions numbering upwards of 40,000 men which was not known to the Russians. On July 16, the Ottoman Army counter-attacked under Abdul Kerim Pasha. They outnumbered the Russians by a factor of 3-1. Oganovski was forced to retreat back to Malazgirt, and in the process the Turks captured his baggage train. On July 20, the Russians were driven from Malazgirt. Due to the bad quality of the Russian communications, Yudenich, who was the Russian commander of the Caucasus front, did not learn that the Russian army was in retreat until July 22.
Yudenich quickly regrouped his forces, fired Oganovski, and launched a counter-offensive. Russian casualties were reported to be about 10,000. Malazgirt was recaptured but Yudenich did not have a force large enough to exploit the situation further.
The Russian army in Malazgirt was outnumbered 3-1 by the Ottoman army. Realizing that if the Ottomans attacked, his army would be destroyed, Yudenich ordered a retreat. The Russians retreated from Malazgirt, and the entire Van region as well. This left the city of Van open to an Ottoman attack, and the Ottomans captured the city on August 22. However Malazgirt was re-captured after the Ottomans were defeated at the Battle of Kara Killisse.
Effect on Russian morale
While the battle was indecisive, and the ground situation changed little, the Russian perceived the battle as a victory, and it boosted national Russian morale. This minor victory provided some respite to the continuing losses on the Eastern Front.
Falls, Cyril (1959). The Great War. New York: G.P. Putnam's & Sons. pp. 158–160.