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Remembered Today:

Baratov's Persian Sideshow


sswg
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Hi all,

I am trying to find information on General Baratov's campaign in Persia during WW1. I have snippets from various places on the web but I can't seem to find much on the units of either side or much detail on any of the actions. 1st Caucasian Cavalry division seems to have been a good part of the Russian forces, although I am confused as to which regiments were part of that formation at the time. Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Trev

http://www.sswg.org/

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Hi all,

I am trying to find information on General Baratov's campaign in Persia during WW1. I have snippets from various places on the web but I can't seem to find much on the units of either side or much detail on any of the actions. 1st Caucasian Cavalry division seems to have been a good part of the Russian forces, although I am confused as to which regiments were part of that formation at the time. Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Trev

http://www.sswg.org/

There is a certain amount about the end of his campaign in my book 'Battles on the Tigris' but I have not found any account of the campaign proper. You could try 'A History of Persia' by Sir Percy Sykes for references. He was one of the actors in the drama iof the area in WW1.

Ron Wilcox

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There is a certain amount about the end of his campaign in my book 'Battles on the Tigris' but I have not found any account of the campaign proper. You could try 'A History of Persia' by Sir Percy Sykes for references. He was one of the actors in the drama iof the area in WW1.

Ron Wilcox

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll check those out. This web link was pointed out to me today and has several of the regiments listed. Also I've been told that 'Caucasian Battlefields' by Allen & Muratoff has a narrative of the campaign, so I'll be tracking that down too.

Thanks again,

Trev

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Trev;

I recently read an exceptional book of about 400 pages with a great deal on everything Turkish in WW I, including matters in the obscure theatres of war in the east. It was by Lieutenant-Fieldmarshal Pomiankowski (from memory), the title escapes me at the moment, but there can't be thousands of books authored by people with that surname. Two problems; it is scarce, and it was never translated into English (99.9% certain), although when I looked into abebooks and ZVAB the only copy available was a copy in Italian for sale in Rome for $80. Really a good book, in many ways written to a higher standard of "booksmanship" than most WW I era books.

The author was the Austro-Hungarian militaty plenopotary (sp?) (sort of super envoy) in Turkey for 5 years, and went everywhere, including wandering about in present-day Iraq by auto with Enver Pasha, and hob-nobbed with emperors, kings, field-marshals, etc., but also poked his nose in common affairs. A vast amout of info on a under-documented era and subject. Best thing short of learning Turkish.

Bob Lembke

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Trev;

I recently read an exceptional book of about 400 pages with a great deal on everything Turkish in WW I, including matters in the obscure theatres of war in the east. It was by Lieutenant-Fieldmarshal Pomiankowski (from memory), the title escapes me at the moment, but there can't be thousands of books authored by people with that surname. Two problems; it is scarce, and it was never translated into English (99.9% certain), although when I looked into abebooks and ZVAB the only copy available was a copy in Italian for sale in Rome for $80. Really a good book, in many ways written to a higher standard of "booksmanship" than most WW I era books.

The author was the Austro-Hungarian militaty plenopotary (sp?) (sort of super envoy) in Turkey for 5 years, and went everywhere, including wandering about in present-day Iraq by auto with Enver Pasha, and hob-nobbed with emperors, kings, field-marshals, etc., but also poked his nose in common affairs. A vast amout of info on a under-documented era and subject. Best thing short of learning Turkish.

Bob Lembke

Hi Bob,

Sounds fascinating. Thanks for the tip.

regards,

Trev

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  • 1 month later...

Hi. I'm working on this at the moment. It's immensely complicated, but very briefly, it goes something like this:

The Turks had mounted an incursion into NW Persia, occupying as far as Tabriz in early 1915. They were pushed back to their own frontier and the front stabilised. Baratov landed N of Tehran and with a mixture of Russian regulars, friendly locals, and Russian-controlled units of the Persian Army, moved south to the east of the Zagros Mountains (the frontier between Mesopotamia and Persia). The opposition seems to have been irregulars and tribesmen who were traditionally anti-Russian and (with help from German agitators) pro-German. It doesn't look at this stage as if there were any Turkish troops to speak of.

By now the British were beseiged at Kut, and it was hoped that B could make his way to a crossing point NE of Baghdad and put pressure on the beseiging Turks. He made his way through Hamadan, Kermanshah, etc., and crossed into Mesopotamia, eventually arriving at Khanaqin in June 1916. Lots of small engagements along the way.

This is the bit I'm particularly investigating. A Turkish regular force, XIII Corps under Ali Ishan Bey, appears to have been stationed in the area and was sent to meet B's force. They checked B at Khanaqin and he withdrew into Persia. Here's what I'm trying to confirm. Enver Pasha had wanted to secure Persia as an ally in a Muslim confederation and hoped he could gain Persian support by helping her to throw off the Russian-British domination that had been in place since 1911. There is growing evidence that he therefore ordered XIII Corps, some 20,000 strong, to pursue B into Persia. It looks as if they did, and Turkish regulars retook Hamadan, etc.

Unfortunately, at this point, the British retook Kut and advanced on Baghdad. There was a danger that the Corps would be cut off from the rest of the Turkish forces in Mesopotamia, so they were recalled, and the towns mentioned above changed hands yet again.

Baratov followed, eventually descending into Khanaqin for a second time, meeting up with British forces on the Diyala River, NE of Mosul. I think they also crossed at a couple of points further north, Panjwin being one, and established a front Rawanduz-Sulaimaniya-Qizil Robat. By now it was March 1917.

As if all this wasn't eventful enough, word then arrived that the Russian Revolution had kicked off, so B's force began to disintegrate. He could offer the British no further help. A disappointed General Maude therefore moved north to a line Adham-Samara-Fallujah.

Anti-Bolshevik Russians hung about while the majority simply cleared off home, as they did in the Caucasus. The rest is very complicated - after Russia's withdrawal from the War and Brest-Litovsk, Turkey decided to hit them after the bell and re-invaded. The Germans had to step in and stop them in case they provoked Russia into re-entering the War. Extraordinary.

Baratov then was involved in Dunsterforce, which I'm sure you're familiar with.

That's as far as I've got. If anyone disagrees or can add, please feel free.

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