Battle of Karakilisa
|Battle of Karakilisa|
|Part of Caucasus Campaign|
|Armenian National Council||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
40 Machine Guns
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Karakilisa (Armenian: Ղարաքիլիսայի ճակատամարտ Gharakilisayi chakatamart, Turkish: Karakilise Muharebesi or Karakilise Muharebeleri) was a battle of Caucasus Campaign of World War I that took place in the vicinity of Karakilisa (now Vanadzor), on May 25–28, 1918.
The outnumbered Armenian defenders managed to turn back the advancing Ottoman forces, which broke the armistice, signed on December 1917, with Transcaucasian commissariat entering Western Armenia, invading Erznka, Erzerum, Sarighamish, Kars and Alexandropol and reaching Karakilisa. The victory here as well as at Sardarabad and Abaran were instrumental in allowing the First Republic of Armenia to come into existence.
In several months, the cities of Erznka, Erzerum, Sarikamish, Kars and Alexandropol were invaded. On May 20, they invaded the Akhbulag, Djrajur and Kaltakhchi villages. On May 21, they invaded Vorontsovka. Pressed by the Turkish regular army, Armenian forces were retreating. Part of Ottoman-Turkish forces moved to Yerevan, another one to Karakilisa. The latter forces included about 10 thousand soldiers, 70 pieces of artillery and 40 machine-guns. The Armenian population was leaving their homes moving to the south to Yerevan and Syunik. Garegin Nzhdeh (with his troops) reached Karakilisa and managed to unite the population for the fight. The Armenian forces reached the number of 6 thousand, with 70 pieces of artillery and 20 machine-guns. After a violent battle of 4 days, on May 25–28, both sides had serious losses. Although the Ottoman army managed to occupy Karakilisa and massacre all its population of 4,000 souls, it had no more forces to intrude farther into Armenian territories.
Wehib Pasha speaking to his headquarters,
We do not have the strength to defeat the Armenians. The three day battle in Karakilise shows that as long as their existence is in danger they will prefer to die fighting. We must not bring on a battle with the force that 1,200,000 Armenians can raise. If the Georgians join in the hostilities, it will be impossible to advance... In short, we must come to terms with the Armenians and Georgians.
- Hohanissian, Richard G. (1997) The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times. New York. St. Martin's Press, 299
- Walker, Christopher (1980). ARMENIA: The Survival of a Nation. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 254. ISBN 0-7099-0210-7.
- Reynolds, Michael. Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918. p. 211.
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