Battle of Sarikamish

The Great War in the Middle East

Southern Asia 1914.1229

Battle of Sarikamish

Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I (29 December 1914)

Historical Map of South & Southwest Asia

After beating off an initial Russian invasion, the Ottomans decided to mount their own offensive and invade the Russian Caucasus. Despite the winter conditions, the attack proceeded so well at first that the Russians begged their allies for assistance. However by late December the Ottomans had been stopped at the town of Sarikamish and in the following days Russian counterattacks all but destroyed the Ottoman 3rd Army.

Notes

British Protectorates in the Persian Gulf

The British Residency of the Persian Gulf maintains British India influence in a number of Gulf states. These states are nominally independent - and shown as such in most atlases from the period - but have all signed treaties guaranteeing British control over their foreign affairs.

The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman is the only one of these states with significant international relations, having obtained trade agreements with the US and France before it signed its treaty with Britain. Maps of the time often show Trucial Oman and even Qatar as regions of Oman.

Trucial Oman is the region to the west of Oman which collectively signed treaties with Britain. The sheikhdoms of this region are often called the Trucial States, and will become the United Arab Emirates. However at this time they have little unity, with no regional council until 1952.

Indian Empire

The British Indian Empire, also known as the British Raj, is comprised of a complex of presidencies, provinces, protectorates, and agencies. Only the top level subdivisions are shown here.

The area under direct British rule is known as British India and made up of presidencies and provinces - a presidency simply being the name for an older province.

Outside British India, but often included within the sphere of the presidencies/provinces, are the hundreds of protectorates or 'princely states'. These are indirectly ruled states, the largest being Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Mysore. The others are either collected into agencies - which may in turn contain other smaller agencies - or fall under the sway of the provinces.

Main Events

Battle of Basra

British Indian Expeditionary Force D advances on Basra, Mesopotamia, defeating an Ottoman counterattack en route. After several more encounters, the Ottoman forces flee the area, abandoning the city to the British.

Ottoman Jihad

On the behest of Sultan Mehmed V of the Ottoman Empire, the Sheikh-ul-Islam formally declares a jihad against the Entente Powers, urging Muslims across the world to take up arms against Britain, France, Russia, and their allies.

Battle of Sarikamish

The Ottoman 3rd Army under Enver Pasha invades the Russia Caucasus, seizing Ardahan and attempting to capture Sarikamish, an important mountain pass and railway terminal. Despite having an initial numerical superiority, the Ottoman troops are ill-prepared for a winter offensive and suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of the Russians.

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