Battle of Manzikert (1915)
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|Battle of Manzikert|
|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 July 10–26, 1915. Even though losses were heavy on both sides, the Russians retreated north and the Turks retook Malazgirt then they further advanced towards Karakilise where they were defeated on 5–8 August at the Battle of Kara Killisse.
At the beginning of May the Russians captured Tutak and on 17 May the town of Malazgirt was captured.
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 Turks retook Malazgirt and on 27 July Muş from the Russians. 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.
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 when 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.
Effects on morale
The morale of the Turkish leadership was lifted by the victory at Malazgirt and Abdulkerim Pasha was encouraged by his success to follow the Russians. However, in the following battle of Karakilise in August the Turks were defeated and this in turn raised Russian morale.
- Dowling, Timothy C. (2014). Russia at War. ABC-CLIO. p. 504. ISBN 9781598849486.
- Allen, William Edward David; Muratoff, Paul (2011). Caucasian Battlefields. Cambridge University Press. p. 311. ISBN 9781108013352.
The Malazgirt victory raised a certain optimism in Turkish governing circles...
- Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 622. ISBN 9780313335389.
Further costly fighting saw the Russians defeated and withdraw north towards Karakilise...Turkish General Abdulkerim Pasha secured victory north of Lake Van at Malazgirt (26 July),
- Fahri Belen, XX. Yüzyılda Osmanlı Devleti, Remzi Kitabevi, 1975, p. 257. (Turkish)
Falls, Cyril (1959). The Great War. New York: G.P. Putnam's & Sons. pp. 158–160.