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Remembered Today:

The Threatening of the Baku Oilfields


Guest Benoit Douville

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Guest Benoit Douville

The first Turkish move was the invasion of the neighbouring Russian province, the Caucasus, with the intention of threatening the Baku oilfields but their troops, unprepared for the harsh winter condition were completely routed! Anymore info about that particular action during the Great War would be really appreciated.

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BD,

I think that the foll is related to the action which you refer to

In ‘Five Years in Turkey’ by von Sanders [chapter 6 ‘First conflicts in the Caucasus……….] he writes “In the first conflicts with the Russians in November, on the road from Erzerum to Kars, approximately in the vicinity of Koprikkioj [in Turkey]....”

In any event, the Turks were encouraged by their first performance and Enver planned to advance into Russia in the direction of Sarikamisch and Kars. Sanders thought the idea fraught with difficulties, if not quite impracticable, but Enver replied that he thought he could march on to Afghanistan and India no less! [Perhaps this is the root of the idea that the Turks threatened Baku at this time]

As you suggest, the venture ended in disaster. After initial success the Turks were defeated on January 4th and retreated pursued by the Russians and the incredibly harsh winter weather.

“According to official reports only 12,000 men of the original 90,000 of this army came back. The others were killed, captured, died of hunger or froze to death while camping in the snow without tents. Spotted fever broke out among the returned soldiers who were much debilitated and took many victims.”

Regards

Michael D.R.

post-5-1109145165.jpg

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Guest Benoit Douville

Michael D.R,

I really appreciate the info and the great map. Only 12 000 Turkish soldiers of the 90 000 came back! That's a lot.

Regards

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I can`t see any date on these operations. I have material from a man of the 9 Worcesters KIA 14/9/18 in the defence of Baku. Any connection? Phil B

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The first Turkish move

Sorry Phil, but we’re talking here about the first Turkish moves in the war

November 1914 – January 1915

Regards

Michael D.R.

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The Samikamiş Campaign was an offensive against Russia, but didn't have Baku as its objective. While Enver Pasha might not have been a brilliant military mind, he didn't have delusions. The operations against Baku were an outgrowth of the Russian collapse in 1917-18. The Ottomans organized the 'Army of Islam' to fulfill the Pan-Islamic dream of some Turks. The individual Phil has mentioned was likely a member of Dunsterforce that was sent to Baku to prevent its seizure by the Ottomans.

The casualties are in dispute. The Turkish officials lists 30,000 dead, 7,000 captured. This left 42,000 effectives, not counting garrisons. No dispute that Samikamiş was a disaster, but it also was a near-run thing for the Russians.

Below is a map from the Turkish official showing the opening moves.

Jeff

post-5-1109388510.jpg

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