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Guest Grey Wolf

Germany and von Kressenstein in Georgia

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Guest Grey Wolf

I have found online (lost the URL but its there) a letter from Kress von Kressensteain to Chancellor Hertling in August 1918, relating Kresenstein's receipt of a visit from an Armenian bishop in Tbilisi. The conversation, and thus the topic of the letter, relates to the Treaty of Batoum under which the Ottoman Empire was suposed to have recognised Armenian independence, but has failed to act on it, and the bishop requests Germany's help as a fellow Christian power. Kressenstein is inclined to agree.

I have tried to find additional details on Germany's presence and policies in the Caucasus in 1918, but found very little. I have a note that Kressenstein went there after handing over the command of the Yilderim Force to Falkenhayn. And also some small notes on the later Russian civil war in the area

Can anyone point me to somewhere that covers the Caucasus post-Brest Litovsk, and especially Georgia ? Was a German prince in line for the throne :) ? How much of a force did Kressensteain take with him and was he mainly there as a diplomat or a military commander ?

Best Regards

Grey Wolf

P.S. I have posted this elsewhere without much result so far

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Robert Dunlop

This from 'Caucasian Battlefields':

"Turkish aspirations in the eastern Caucasus soon became apparent not only to the British but also to the Germans (in 1918). And the Germans did not remain indifferent to plans that might come into serious conflict with their own. In April 1918, when Enver's plan acquired definite form, the Germans were already extending their occupation of Ukraine and preparing to assume control of the northern littoral of the Black Sea. The Germans reached Kharkov on the 20th and soon afterwards they were in Sevastopol and Rostov. A German representative, General von Lossow, was an active presence at the Batum Conference while the adventurous Colonel Kress von Kressenstein - not very friendly to the Turks after his failure in Palestine - appeared in Tiflis where he established the best relations with the Georgian members of the Transcaucasian government. In the capital of Kura, the German colonel found the atmosphere very favourable to an intrigue directed against the establishment of a barrage against the Turkish designs on Baku.

The Germans were not much interested in the success or failure of the Pan-Turkish campaign. But they were in desperate need of the oil of Baku and they were convinced that once the city was in Turkish hands there would be little oil produced... Von Kressentein managed to sustain a lively activity in Tiflis during the month of May and he showed himself the man for the emergency. He was aware that Georgian troops could offer no effective obstacle to the Turks, but the Turkish command might become embarrassed if Georgian detachments were covered with the German flag. For the purpose of giving a German cover to Georgian military movements, von Kressenstein mobilized all available men of Georgia in and around Tiflis. Meanwhile, the Georgian members of the Transcaucasian government saw in German protection the only possible salvation for their own national interest. ...the opinion among Georgians was that once the Turks had been admitted to the country they would never leave it.

For the Armenians the situation was rather different. The Germans were not interested in the defence of the Armenian territory and were ready rather to encourage the Turkish move across Armenia into northern Persia in order that any British move towards Baku might be checked. With only indefinite hopes of ultimate support from the British, the Armenians had no alternative but to show fight to the invader."

Von Kressenstein had one more part to play:

"Within a week of the ultimatum to the Armenians (14-15 May), the Turks presented a further ultimatum to the Transcaucasian government in Tiflis demanding the immediate transfer of the line of the Transcauscasian railway running from Batum through Tiflis to Baku. The Transcauscasians played for delay on the ground of discussing details of a peaceful arrangement and on the 27th a coup de theatre, prepared by Colonel Kress von Kressenstein, took place in Tiflis. The Georgian members of the Transcauscasian government proclaimed Georgia a(n independent) republic. The new republic, furthermore, accepted a German protectorate. Von Kressenstein and von Schulenburg themselves announced this protectorate from the window of Tiflis town hall."

German forces were sent to Georgia from Palestine. On 10 June, fighting actually took place between German/Georgian troops and Turks. The Turks captured several prisoners and continued their advance until there was 'a telegram from German general headquarters'. The Turkish forces then withdrew and continued to Baku. An interesting little side-show.

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Guest Abdul Hadi Pasha

Robert's post accords completely with my understanding. The Ottomans did respect the Treaty of Batum until the Armenians declared annexation of half of Asia Minor in 1919 and subsequently invaded. The Germans were most concerned with getting Baku themselves, and anything they did at this time must be viewed in that light.

I don't believe Georgia or Armenia would have become Kingdoms or Principalities; they were both republics, and I don't think that would have changed, at least in the short term. Armenia would never have become a monarchy; in Georgia, it could be possible if the government was unable to maintain order, but that seems unlikely given their status as a German protectorate.

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Guest Pete Wood

Welcome to the forum, Abdul Hadi Pasha

With respect, I think you will find that the Turkish army did NOT respect the Batum Treaty and were firmly lodged within the agreed boundary.

The German Delegation in the Caucasus verified this fact in August 1918. Perhaps you know different.....??

Pete

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Robert Dunlop
Can anyone point me to somewhere that covers the Caucasus post-Brest Litovsk, and especially Georgia ? How much of a force did Kressensteain take with him and was he mainly there as a diplomat or a military commander ?

Grey

The book is 'Caucasian battlefields: 1828-1921' (ISBN 0 89839 296 9).

Von Kressenstein did not go into Georgia with any significant numbers of German soldiers that I can make out. However, as things started to brew up, two battalions of Germans were landed via Poti. Two companies of Germans were involved with the Georgians in the contra-temps with the Turkish Army.

Great to have you on board, Abdul.

Robert

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Guest Grey Wolf

Thank you very much both for the book (which I will look to buy once my finances have stabilised themselves) and the extremely useful quotation from it !

Best Regards

Grey Wolf

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chrispaulodale

The German Expeditionary Force in Georgia consisted of Bavarians

29th Bavarian Inf Regt (consisting of 7th and 9th Res. Jager Batns)

10th Sturm battalion

1 MG Abteilung

176th mortar coy

I'll try to attach a picture

Cheers

Chris

post-5-1082808758.jpg

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Guest _KaaN_
I have a note that Kressenstein went there after handing over the command of the Yilderim Force to Falkenhayn. And also some small notes on the later Russian civil war in the area

Hello Grey Wolf,

Please note that after leaving the command of the Yılderim forces to Falkenhayn, General der Infanterie Friedrich Kress von Kressenstein was given the command of the Turkish Eighth Army in December 1917. Kressenstein was replaced by General Djevat Pasha in May 1918 and he was then sent to Georgia.

Chris, thank you very much for the information and the beautiful photo!

Best Regards

Kaan

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trajan
On 3/2/2004 at 23:25, Robert Dunlop said:

This from 'Caucasian Battlefields': ... German forces were sent to Georgia from Palestine. On 10 June, fighting actually took place between German/Georgian troops and Turks. The Turks captured several prisoners and continued their advance until there was 'a telegram from German general headquarters'. The Turkish forces then withdrew and continued to Baku. An interesting little side-show.

 

On 3/4/2004 at 02:50, Robert Dunlop said:

... However, as things started to brew up, two battalions of Germans were landed via Poti. Two companies of Germans were involved with the Georgians in the contra-temps with the Turkish Army.

 

On 4/24/2004 at 15:12, chrispaulodale said:

The German Expeditionary Force in Georgia consisted of Bavarians ... 29th Bavarian Inf Regt (consisting of 7th and 9th Res. Jager Batns) ... 10th Sturm battalion ... 1 MG Abteilung ...176th mortar coy

 

A very interesting sideshow indeed, which I stumbled across thanks to M.Larcher's La Guerre Turque 421-422, and E.J.Erickson's Ordered to Die, 185-187, and worthy of as much attention as the Dunsterforce episode, which it sort of parallels(!), Larcher commenting, on the basis of Ludendorff's memoirs, that: Le conflit turco-allemand fut très violent.

 

So, just to add on things, as I understand it from those two sources... The German troops involved were transferred from the Crimea, not Palestine, as in Caucasian Battlefields, but yes they disembarked at Poti.

 

Larcher says that the reinforcements were intended to be 217th Division, consisting of 21.Inf-Reg., 29.Inf-Reg, 1.Ers.Res., 10.Sturmbataillon, and a brigade of Bavarian cavalry, although in the event, as things went from bad to worse in Europe, then - if I read this correctly (but French is not my strong point!) - only a part of this force and two regiments was sent (mais les événements d'Europe détournement du Caucase une partie de ces renforts et deux regiments d'infanterie seulement debarquement a Poti.). Larcher also notes that in return for offering protection to Georgia, the Germans were able to send to Germany surplus cereals, tobacco, and manganese.

 

Note, though, that as I understand it, the 217 Infanterie-Division, although certainly in the Crimea in the summer of 1918, but in Bulgaria by the autumn, was essentially a unit of Landwehr men, with no Bavarians; and that in 1918, the 21 Infanterie-Regiment von Borcke (4. Pommersches) was with the 105th Division on the west front, while the 29 Infanterie-Regiment von Horn (3. Rheinisches) provided Ersatz-Batalions for service on the west front, neither being in the Crimea in 1918, although the 21st was in the east at an earlier date.

 

Erickson gives Caucasian Battlefields as his main source, and notes the departure of troops from the Crimea to Pot, but adds that "Berlin recalled German troops from Syria and from the Ukraine for service in Georgia, noting that the Turks and German-Georgian forces met in battle on the "main road to Tiflis".

 

So, all rather interesting - does anyone know of a more recent treatment of the topic?

 

Trajan

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AOK4

Hello,

 

The official German battle honours publication (Die Schlachten und Gefechte des Großen Krieges 1914-1918) lists only the Bayerisches Jäger-Regiment 15 in the "Expedition im Kaukasus" from 7 June 1918 to 5 February 1919.

 

Info about this unit (Hartwig Busche, Formationsgeschichte der deutschen Infanterie im Ersten Weltkrieg 1914 bis 1918):

b. Reserve-Jäger-Regiment Nr. 15

Das Regiment wurde im August 1918 im Kaukasus als Kaukasisches Jäger-Regiment Nr. 1 aus dem b. Res.-Jg.-Btl.Nr. 1 und einem aus befreiten Kriegsgefangnen gebildeten Bahn-Schutz-Bataillon formiert.

Am 20.9.1918 erfolgte die Bezeichnung als b. Reserve Jäger-Regiment Nr. 15, das aus einem Stab und dem I. u. II. Bataillon bestand.

Unterstellung:

Kommandeur: Major Scheuring (8. b. I.R.)

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AOK4

I've had a quick look in the regimental history of the Bayerische Infanterie-Regiment 29 and they went to Georgia from 30 July 1918 on. They returned to Odessa by 11 November 1918.

The 7. Bayerische Kavallerie-Brigade was sent to Georgia late August 1918. This brigade consisted of 1. Bayerische Maschinengewehr-Abteilung, 1. Radfahr-Kompagnie 1. Bayerisches Jäger-Bataillon, 1. reitende Abteilung 5. bayerisches Feldartillerie-Regiment, Bayerische Kavallerie-Nachrichten-Abteilung, 1. Bayerische Pionier-Abteilung en half of the Bayerische Sanitäts-Kompagnie 30. The brigade returned to Romania mid October 1918. (information from 'Die Bayern im Großen Kriege 1914-1918')

 

As usual most modern books/publications/wikipedia don't understand the difference between the different units of the German army (Prussian/Bavarian).

 

The regimental histories give quite a bit of information.

 

Jan

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AOK4
32 minutes ago, trajan said:

So, all rather interesting - does anyone know of a more recent treatment of the topic?

 

Trajan

 

See: http://davidpaitschadse.blogspot.be/2010/08/meine-mission-im-kaukasus-general-der.html

A publication from 2001 "Meine Mission im Kaukasus" based on the memoirs from Kreß von Kressenstein.

 

Jan

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trajan
23 minutes ago, AOK4 said:

The official German battle honours publication (Die Schlachten und Gefechte des Großen Krieges 1914-1918) lists only the Bayerisches Jäger-Regiment 15 in the "Expedition im Kaukasus" from 7 June 1918 to 5 February 1919. ...

 

9 minutes ago, AOK4 said:

I've had a quick look in the regimental history of the Bayerische Infanterie-Regiment 29 and they went to Georgia from 30 July 1918 on. They returned to Odessa by 11 November 1918. ...The 7. Bayerische Kavallerie-Brigade was sent to Georgia late August 1918. ...

 

6 minutes ago, AOK4 said:

See: http://davidpaitschadse.blogspot.be/2010/08/meine-mission-im-kaukasus-general-der.html

A publication from 2001 "Meine Mission im Kaukasus" based on the memoirs from Kreß von Kressenstein.

 

Heck, Jan, that was all very quick - and many thanks for clearing things up there.:thumbsup: I did wonder if there had been some confusion by Larcher over whether the regiments were Prussian or Bavarian, but couldn't see anything obvious to resolve that issue. Thanks also for the link to "Meine Mission im Kaukasus" - I'll try and get the library to buy that one.

 

Julian

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The Prussian

Hello!

Major Mühlmann wrote in his book "Das deutsch-türkische Waffenbündnis" (The german-turkish alliance of arms):

Lehrkommando für den Kaukasus

5 Bataillone (bay. Inf.Rgt.29 mit zwei Bataillonen), Sturmbataillon 10, bay. Jäg.Rgt.15 (mit zwei Bataillonen)

5 Feldbatterien (II./Res.Feldart.Rgt.65)

Gebirgs-Minenwerferkompanie 176 

Lehrkommando der schweren Artillerie (10cm und schwere Feldhaubitze)

Sächsische Nachrichtenabteilung 1750 

Funkstation 1751

Fliegerabteilung 28

Panzerkraftwagen-MG-Abt. 1

Kraftwagenkolonne 801

1/2 Feldbäckereikolonne 203

Feldlazarett 222

 

außerdem:

6 Bataillone (Res.Inf.Rgt.21 und 9)

1/2 Reserve-Kavallerie-Abteilung

6 Feldbatterien (Res.Feldart.Rgt. 65)

1/2 Pionierkompanie

1 Zug Fernsprecherabteilung

1 Fußartillerie-Stab

1/2 Sanitätskompanie

 

Verstärkte 7. bayer. Kav.Brig.

6 Eskadrons

MG-Abteilung

Radfahrkompanie

1 reit. Batterie

Kavallerie-Pionierabteilung

1/2 Sanitätskompanie

 

I also recommend the book (in german language only):

Felix Guse: Die Kaukausfront im Weltkrieg. (Lt.Col. Guse was chief of staff of the 3rd army)

Scannen0001.jpg

Edited by The Prussian

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trajan

Thanks Andy! The  "Das deutsch-türkische Waffenbündnis" is yet another I have not known of before... Roll on retirement (8 years to go!).

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The Prussian

You could be lucky! When I looked for that book, I found it at a bookseller in Turkey. But I really don´t know, how I did find him.

I googled the book´s name at google pictures, then I found it at a turkish book seller! Take an hour, maybe you´ll find it! It was pretty cheap.

It´s hard to get it in Europe and if yet, it´s bloody expensive!!!

I found it then at a bookseller in Austria, so it was easier for me to order. After I payed the book, my dinners were water and bread for a few weeks...

Scannen0001.jpg

Edited by The Prussian

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trajan

Andy, 

 

Being a bit bored while having a morning coffee I did a google search for libraries with the two books you have mentioned, and also found this: Die bayerischen Militärbeziehungen zur Türkei vor und im Ersten Weltkrieg by Michael Unger. Do you know it?

 

Julian

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The Prussian

Hello Julian!

No, I don´t know that book. I have heared from it, but I didn´t buy it yet. I assume the book is about diplomatically affairs and not military ones. I´d like to have a look into it, before I´d buy it.

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