10/1/1916 Eastern Anatolia: Russia attacks

With the Gallipoli campaign over Turkey now has a large corps of battle-hardened troops available for redeployment to other fronts. Fearful that these might launch a new offensive in the Caucasus, General Yudenich of Russia decides to strike first. He has been preparing his own offensive in the utmost secrecy over the last few weeks. Today his men move forward to attack.

A year ago the Turks suffered a terrible defeat at the Battle of Sarikamish, losing thousands of men to starvation and exposure thanks to poor planning for an attack in the depths of winter. Yudenich has learned from the Turks’ mistakes; through careful preparation he hopes to keep his men fed and adequately clothed despite the difficulties of moving supplies over snow-covered roads.

Yudenich’s target is the strategically important city of Erzurum. However his attack is to proceed in stages. The first target is the frontline town of Köprüköy, where large numbers of Turkish troops are concentrated. Rather than stage a frontal assault, Yudenich instead launches a diversionary attack north of the town. The Turks seize the bait, sending more than half Köprüköy’s garrison to face this phantom threat, leaving the town itself ready for Yudenich’s main assault.

image sources:

Nikolai Yudenich (peoples.ru)

map (The Great War Blog)

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