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The Islamic Army of the Caucasus
Caucasus
(Azerbaijani: Qafqaz İslam Ordusu; Turkish: Kafkas İslâm Ordusu) (also translated as Caucasian Army of Islam) was a military unit of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
formed on July 10, 1918.[1] The Ottoman Minister of War, Enver Pasha, ordered its establishment,[1] and it played a major role during the Caucasus Campaign of World War I.

Contents

1 Background 2 Order of Battle, 1918 3 Operations

3.1 Azerbaijan 3.2 North Caucasus

4 Aftermath 5 Notes 6 References 7 Bibliography 8 External links

Background[edit]

Battles of 1918

During 1917, due to the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War, the Russian army in the Caucasus
Caucasus
had ceased to exist. The Russian Provisional Government's Caucasus
Caucasus
Front formally ceased to exist in March 1918. Meanwhile, the Committee of Union and Progress
Committee of Union and Progress
moved to win the friendship of the Bolsheviks with the signing of the Ottoman-Russian friendship treaty (January 1, 1918). On January 11, 1918, the special decree On Armenia was signed by Lenin and Stalin which armed and repatriated over 100,000 Armenians from the former Tsar's Army to be sent to the Caucasus
Caucasus
for operations against Ottoman interests.[3] On January 20, 1918, Talaat Pasha
Talaat Pasha
entered an official protest against the Bolsheviks arming Armenian army legions and replied, "the Russian leopard had not changed its spots."[3] Bolsheviks and Armenians would take the place of Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich's Russian Caucasus
Caucasus
Army.[4] The exclusion of German officers from the Caucasian Army of Islam was deliberate. By the end of 1917, Enver Pasha
Enver Pasha
concluded that the Germans and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
did not have compatible goals after the Russian Empire had collapsed. This feeling was confirmed by the terms of the treaty of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
which was very favorable to the Germans and overlooked the goals of the Ottomans. Enver looked for victory where Russia left in the Caucasus. When Enver discussed his plans for taking over southern Russia, the Germans told him to keep out[citation needed]. On 10–24 February 1918, the pro Bolshevik Sejm in Tiflis adopted a declaration of independence, proclaiming the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. Delegates from the Republic and from the Ottoman Empire held the Trebizond Peace Conference to establish their borders.[a] During March 30 to April 2 in 1918, thousands of Azeris and other Muslims in the city of Baku
Baku
and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
were massacred by Dashnaks with strong support from Bolshevik Soviets. The Azeris refer to this as a genocide (Azerbaijani: soyqırım). This event is known as the March Days
March Days
or March Events. On April 5, 1918, both sides at the Trebizond Peace Conference agreed that a state of war exists. By June 4, 1918, the Ottoman 3rd Army had advanced to within 7 km of Yerevan
Yerevan
and 10 km of Echmiadzin
Echmiadzin
which led to the Treaty of Batum but was subsequently repelled by the Armenians.[b] The Ottoman's 3rd Army had secured the Ottoman Empire's pre war borders. During late spring 1918, Bolsheviks in Moscow sent oil from Baku
Baku
over the Caspian Sea and up the lower Volga to Austrian-German forces in Ukraine in return for German financial support and German help to stop the Ottoman 3rd Army's advances through Armenian territory and into the Caucasus.[3][8] The 3rd Army's objective was to take and occupy the railroad and pipeline which ran from Batumi through Tiflis to Baku.[3] Later, the Bolsheviks through the May 28th Treaty of Poti recognized Georgia's independence under German control and allowed Germany to have 25% of the oil from Baku.[3] The Bolsheviks wanted Germany to prevent the 3rd Ottoman Army from taking the railroad and pipeline.[3] Subsequently, Erich Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
in the German High Command sent forces to Georgia under Kress[c][3] After several skirmishes between the Ottoman 3rd Army and the German forces near Vorontsovka, the German High Command objected and informed its Ottoman ally that Germany would withdraw its troops and support from the Ottoman Empire.[3] Erich Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
sent Hans von Seeckt
Hans von Seeckt
to Batumi to confer with Enver Pasha
Enver Pasha
about the situation.[3] This led to Vehip Pasha being sacked from the head of the Ottoman 3rd Army.[3] The Ottoman Empire's objective shifted from taking the railroad and pipeline to taking and occupying Baku
Baku
and its nearby oilfields.[3][8] The purpose of the Caucasus
Caucasus
Army of Islam was to mobilize Muslim supporters in Transcaspian and Caucasian regions.[1] Nuri Pasha came to Yelizavetpol
Yelizavetpol
(present day: Ganja) on May 25, 1918 and began to organize the Army of Islam.[9] Order of Battle, 1918[edit]

Islamic Army of the Caucasus
Caucasus
Headquarters (Yelizavetpol, Baku)

Commander: Mirliva and Fahri (honorary) Ferik Nuri Pasha Chief of Staff: Kaymakam Edip Bey Staff: First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
Asaf Efendi (Kılıç Ali) Staff: First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
Muzaffer Efendi Chief of the division of operations: Binbaşı Tevfik Bey Staff: Binbaşı Naim Bey Officer at HQ: Yüzbaşı Sami Bey Artillery officer: Binbaşı Kemal Bey Inspector: Kaymakam Şefik Bey Adviser: Ağaoğlu Ahmet

5th Caucasian Infantry Division (commanded by Miralay Mürsel Bey, as reinforcement from II Corps
Corps
of Third Army[10])

9th Caucasian Infantry Regiment 10th Caucasian Infantry Regiment 13th Caucasian Infantry Regiment 56th Infantry Regiment

15th Infantry Division (commanded by Kaymakam Süleyman Izzet Bey[11])

38th Infantry Regiment 106th Caucasian Infantry Regiment

Operations[edit] Azerbaijan[edit]

Operational map

See also: Battle of Baku
Baku
and September Days With the march of an Ottoman supported army to Baku, the Bolshevik soviet fled to Astrakhan
Astrakhan
which left Baku
Baku
to be defended by SRs, Armenians, and, later, the British General Dunsterville's force of 1,000.[3] Chief of the British Military Mission to the Caucasus
Caucasus
Major
Major
General Lionel Charles Dunsterville
Lionel Charles Dunsterville
reached Bandar-e Anzali
Bandar-e Anzali
in mid-February and organized a small military force called "Dunsterforce" of Cossacks, Russians and Azeris. The British authority were concerned about an advance of either the Germans or the Ottoman forces to the Baku
Baku
oil fields and began to send reinforcements to the "Dunsterforce" in June 1918.[12] Although most of the oil fields were owned by Azerbaijanis and less than 5 per cent by Armenians, most of the production/distribution rights in Baku
Baku
were owned by foreign investors, primarily the British.[13] The Islamic Army of the Caucasus
Caucasus
began to attack Hill 905 on July 31 to the northwest of Baku, but failed to get the hill and halted their attack on August 2. Major
Major
General L.C. Dunsterville coordinated future combined operations with the Cossack forces commended by Colonel
Colonel
Lazar Bicherakhov, and sent about 300 British soldiers to Baku
Baku
and they arrived there on August 5. The Islamic Army of the Caucasus
Caucasus
launched second attack to Hill 905 on August 5. This attack failed again and they lost 547 officers and soldiers.[12] The last attack of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus
Caucasus
on Baku
Baku
began at 1:00 A.M. on September 14. The Ottoman 15th Division attacked from the north and the 5th Caucasian Division attacked from the west. British Major
Major
General Dunsterville decided to withdraw about 11:00 A.M. because of the failure of the defense. "Dunsterforce" loaded its personnel and equipment and set sail for Bandar-e Anzali
Bandar-e Anzali
by 10:00 P.M. on September 14.[14] The Army of Islam took Baku
Baku
on September 15 and sent a telegraph announcing the capture of Baku
Baku
to Enver Pasha
Enver Pasha
on September 16.[14] North Caucasus[edit] The Islamic Army of the Caucasus
Caucasus
sent the 15th Division to North Caucasus
Caucasus
after its reorganization. The 15th Division advanced northwards along the Caspian coast, encountered the local resistance in front of Derbent
Derbent
and spotted advance on October 7. The division restarted attack on Derbent
Derbent
on October 20 and occupied the city on October 26. The division continued to advance northwards and arrived at the gate of Petrovsk (present day: Makhachkala) on October 28 and occupied the city on November 8.[14] Aftermath[edit] First, Enver Pasha's gambit of taking Baku's oilfields failed when British forces advanced in Syria and also when Bulgaria capitulated to the Entente Powers in September 1918: the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
had few forces to defend either Syria or Constantinople. This allowed Franchet d'Espèrey's Allied Army of the Orient
Allied Army of the Orient
along with Milne's Army at Salonika
Salonika
to occupy western Thrace within a short march to Constantinople leading to the Armistice of Mudros.[3] The British Fleet could sail the Dardanelles.[3] The Ottoman's forces had to withdraw from Baku
Baku
allowing the Bolsheviks to regain not only the control of the oil fields but also the money gained from oil sales.[3] Second, the subsequent withdrawal of Austrian and German support from Southern Russia
Southern Russia
and the Caucasus
Caucasus
along with the Turkish War of Independence placed the British and French at odds with their foreign policy toward both the Turks and the Russians. Because the British and French supported the Greeks and Armenians in their fight against the Turks, the Turks were kept from occupying the Baku
Baku
oilfields during the Russian Civil War. This allowed the Bolsheviks to gain capital from the Baku
Baku
oilfields which would be used in the destruction of the British and French supported anti Bolshevik forces in the Russian Civil War and the Red terror. Third, neither pan-Turkism nor pan-Turanianism would receive support through a large army from Turkey again.[3][8] Finally, prior to the summer of 1918, Germany had unabashed support for a Zionist state which would have allowed Germany to gain railroad and pipeline concessions between the Levant[d] and the oil rich Persian Gulf. This was all part of its Drang nach Osten
Drang nach Osten
Instead, Germany shifted its foreign policy support to Islamic forces in obtaining guarantees of oil supplies from Southern Russia
Southern Russia
and Persia via Batumi, Tiflis, and Baku, thus splitting its foreign policy goals from those of Turkey and removing German support for Zionism.[3] Notes[edit]

^ Both the delegates from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic and the delegates from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
agreed that the borders from the Brest-Litovsk were incorrect. ^ The Ottoman 3rd Army had lost the Battle of Sardarapat
Battle of Sardarapat
(May 21–29), the Battle of Kara Killisse (1918) (May 24–28), and the Battle of Bash Abaran
Battle of Bash Abaran
(May 21–24)[5][6][7] ^ Kress had been involved in supporting Ottoman 8th Army interests near the Suez in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. ^ Palestine, which is in the Levant, was the German supported location of the Zionist state which is now known as Israel.

References[edit]

^ a b c d Edward J. Erickson, Order to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, Greenwoodpress, 2001, ISBN 0-313-31516-7, p. 189. ^ Zekeriya Türkmen, Mütareke Döneminde Ordunun Durumu ve Yeniden Yapılanması (1918-1920), Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 2001, ISBN 975-16-1372-8, p. 31. (in Turkish) ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q McMeekin, Sean (2010). The Berlin-Baghdad Express: Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and Germany's bid for World Power. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674057395.  ^ McMeekin, Sean (October 13, 2015). The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908 - 1923. Penguin. ISBN 9780698410060.  ^ Balakian, Peter (2003). The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response. New York: HarperCollins. p. 321. ISBN 0-06-055870-9.  ^ Walker, Christopher J. (1990). Armenia The Survival of a Nation, 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 254–255. ISBN 0-7099-0210-7.  ^ (in French) Afanasyan, Serge. La victoire de Sardarabad: Arménie, mai 1918. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1985. ^ a b c Reynolds, Michael A. (May 2009). "Buffers, not Brethren: Young Turk Military Policy in the First World War and the Myth of Panturanism". 2003. Past and Present.  ^ Ajun Kurter, Türk Hava Kuvvetleri Tarihi, Cilt: IV, 3rd edition, Türk Hava Kuvvetleri Komutanlığı, 2009, p. 92. (in Turkish) ^ Nâsir Yücer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı'nda Osmanlı Ordusu'nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekâtı: Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan'ın Bağımsızlığını Kazanması, 1918, Genelkurmay Basım Evi, 1996, ISBN 978-975-00524-0-8, p. 75. (in Turkish) ^ Nâsir Yücer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı'nda Osmanlı Ordusu'nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekâtı: Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan'ın Bağımsızlığını Kazanması, 1918, p. 177. (in Turkish) ^ a b Edward J. Erickson, Order to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-31516-7, p. 191. ^ Soviet Russia. Russian Soviet Government Bureau. 1920. p. 236.  ^ a b c Edward J. Erickson, Order to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, p. 192.

Bibliography[edit]

Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace, pp. 354–355. Avon Books. Süleyman İzzet, Büyük Harpte (1334-1918) 15. Piyade Tümeninin Azerbaycan ve Şimali Kafkasyadaki Harekât ve Muharebeleri, Askerî Matbaa, 1936.(in Turkish) Rüştü Türker, Birinci Dünya Harbi'nde Bakû yollarında 5 nci Kafkas Piyade Tümeni, Genelkurmay Askerî Tarih ve Stratejik Etüt Başkanlığı, 2006.(in Turkish)

External links[edit]

Süleyman Gündüz, Kafkas İslam Ordusu, Documentary, TRT.

v t e

Ottoman Forces during World War I

Army groups

Caucasus
Caucasus
Army Group Yildirim Army Group Eastern Army Group

Army

1st Army 2nd Army 3rd Army 4th Army 5th Army 6th Army 7th Army 8th Army 9th Army

Corps

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXV Iraq Area Halil I Kaf. II Kaf. Hejaz

Fortified areas

Dardanelles Bosporus Chataldja Adrianople Smyrna Erzurum Kars

Infantry divisions

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 1 Kaf. 2 Kaf. 3 Kaf. 5 Kaf. 9 Kaf. 10 Kaf. 11 Kaf. 36 Kaf. 37 Kaf.

Other divisions

1 Cav. 2 Cav. 3 Cav. Van Gendarmerie

Others

1st Exp. 5th Exp. German Asia Africa Hejaz Exp. 1st Pro. 2nd Pro. Islam. 57. Re

.