Battle of Erzurum (1877)

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Battle of Erzurum (1877)
Part of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878)
Date 8-9 November 1877
Location Erzurum, Ottoman Empire
Result Russian withdrawal
 Russian Empire  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Vasily Heimann Ahmed Muhtar Pasha
25,000,[1]:198 only a part engaged[1]:197–200 up to 12,000, 15-20 guns[1]:197
Casualties and losses
400[2]–600[1]:199 1600[1]:199

The Battle of Erzurum was a military engagement fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. The battle was fought on 8-9 November 1877 on the Ottoman territory and ended with a Russian withdrawal to Kars, which fell afterwards.

On 4 November 1877 the Russian army achieved a victory at Uzunahmet, having inflicted heavy casualties on the Turks, which included 3,000 killed and wounded, 1,000 prisoners and 42 artillery pieces left by the panicked gunners, with a loss of only 1,200 men.[1]:196 Although the Turkish troops ceased resistance and were fleeing in disarray, with 4,000 of them deserting the army, a part of their infantry maintained order and retreated to the well-fortified position in Erzurum with 14 guns.[1]:196 The Russians, being miles away and exhausted by the battle, did not chase them and therefore missed a chance to capture Erzurum on the heels of the fleeing enemy.[1]:197 Having developed a plan of assault on the stronghold, the Russian army advanced under the cover of night, but had difficulties of movement control in the dark. A part of their troops from the 153th Infantry Regiment mistook their direction and captured one of the redoubts, Azizieh, all by themselves, without help from the rest of the army, but had to leave it due to the lack of support.[1]:199 All the three Turkish battalions stationed in the Azizieh redoubt were routed, numbering 1,600, whereas the Russians lost 400[3]:399 or 600 men in this battle.[1]:199 After the Russians left Azizieh, the Turks made an attempt to counterattack them, but were successfully driven back.[1]:199 As the works of Erzurum were too strong to be taken by assault, the siege park was needed at Kars[1]:198 and in the following days the weather set in with a snowstorm,[3]:399 the Russians decided to withdraw their army and instead attack Kars, which they succeeded in capturing.[1]:209–210 Ahmed Muhtar Pasha, the Ottoman commander during the siege, requested reinforcements from Istanbul and was receiving them all through November.[1]:211 After epidemics broke out, he withdrew his forces to Bayburt for the remainder of the war.[1]:211 Muhtar Pasha was awarded the title Ghazi for his role in the defence of Erzurum, Gedikler and Yahniler. The city of Erzurum would be captured by the Russians a few months later, on 8 February 1878.[1]:212


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Allen W. E. D., Muratoff P. Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border 1828-1921. Cambridge University Press. 2011
  2. ^ The Russian Army and Its Campaigns in Turkey in 1877-1878, F. V. Greene, p. 399: "The Russians lost 400 men in this affair".
  3. ^ a b The Russian Army and Its Campaigns in Turkey in 1877-1878, F. V. Greene