Russians capture Erzurum, Caucasus Campaign, WW1

On this day, 16 February 1916, the Ottoman city of Erzurum fell to the Russians after Mahmut Kamil was forced to order the 3rd Army to retreat from the city. However, Erzurum reverted to Ottoman control after the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918. The treaty also ended Russia’s participation in World War I.

Mahmut Kamil was commanding the 3rd Army until the fall of the city. There were heavy casualties for the Ottomans. But on the other front, the Ottomans had successfully crushed the British (Allied Powers) in the Gallipoli campaign (17 February 1915 – 9 January 1916).

Following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Ottoman Empire was again an important power in the Caucasus. The Caucasus Islamic Army under the command of Nuri Pasha captured Baku from the British on September 15, 1918. However, with the signing of the Mudros Armistice on October 30, 1918, the Ottoman superiority in the Caucasus finally came to an end.

Previously, the Ottomans had faced a disastrous defeat in the Battle or Operation of Sarikamish (17th of January, 1915). Around 25000 Ottoman troops died because of frostbite (an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues) even before the battle started. After the military fiasco in Sarikamish, the entire eastern Anatolia was left open to Russian attacks.

Love history? Become one of our patrons by pledging just $1/month and support the historical gems of Islamic history and Muslim culture we uncover on a daily basis.