Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)

The Battle of Sarikamish was one of the more overwhelming Russian victories of World War I. It was so overwhelming, in fact, that it put the Russians on the offensive in the Caucasus for good—or, well, until Russia quit the war following its 1917 revolution. Which is why its legacy is hard to judge. Whatever military gains the Russians made after Sarikamish were short-term, as the Ottomans were able to regain everything they’d lost after the Russian withdrawal. That said, the Russian victory here halted and turned back an early Ottoman offensive through the Caucasus that, had it been successful, might have turned the tide of war in a much different direction. Which isn’t nothing.

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