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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

January 2nd, 1915 - The Battle of Sarikamish

Conflict: World War I

Combatants: Russians vs. Turks

Location: Turkey

Outcome: Russian victory

Enver Pasha by an unknown photographer

The Ottoman Empire began naval operations against the Empire of Russia in October of 1914. The campaign by land began the following week under the command of the Turkish War Minister, Enver Pasha. In December of that same year, a Turkish army of 95,000 men coaxed the Imperial Russian forces of General Illarion Voronstov out of their bases at Kars and Ardahan.

The Russians met the Turkish enemy at Sarikamish on December 29th. Although outnumbered by 35,000 men, the Russians routed their foe over the course of five days of fighting. The remainder of the Turkish army, now dwindled to 18,000, was forced to retreat to Lake Van.

Russian Soldiers at Sarikamis by an unknown photographer

Points of Interest:

  • The Russians and Turks would fight again at Lake Van later in the year but the battle was inconclusive.

  • Frostbite and desertion had reduced the Turks' 95,000 man army by about 15,000 before the battle began in earnest.

  • Failure to pursue the defeated Turks after the victory led to Voronstov's replacement with General Nikolai Yudenich.

Illarion Vorontsov-Dashkov by an unknown photographer



Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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