Crimean War
Caucasus theatre
1853 Oct 27

Caucasus theatre

Marani, Georgia

As in the previous wars, the Caucasus front was secondary to what happened in the west. Perhaps because of better communications, western events sometimes influenced the east. The main events were the second capture of Kars and a landing on the Georgian coast. Several commanders on both sides were either incompetent or unlucky, and few fought aggressively.

In the north, the Ottomans captured the border fort of Saint Nicholas in a surprise night attack on 27/28 October. They then pushed about 20,000 troops across the River Cholok border. Being outnumbered, the Russians abandoned Poti and Redut Kale and drew back to Marani. Both sides remained immobile for the next seven months.

In the centre the Ottomans moved north from Ardahan to within cannon-shot of Akhaltsike and awaited reinforcements on 13 November, but the Russians routed them. The claimed losses were 4,000 Turks and 400 Russians.

In the south about 30,000 Turks slowly moved east to the main Russian concentration at Gyumri or Alexandropol (November). They crossed the border and set up artillery south of town. Prince Orbeliani tried to drive them off and found himself trapped. The Ottomans failed to press their advantage; the remaining Russians rescued Orbeliani and the Ottomans retired west. Orbeliani lost about 1,000 men from 5,000. The Russians now decided to advance. The Ottomans took up a strong position on the Kars road and attacked-only to be defeated in the Battle of Başgedikler.