Russo Turkish War 1877 1878

Battle of Tashkessen
1877 Dec 31

Battle of Tashkessen

Sarantsi, Bulgaria

The army of Shakir Pasha was on retreat from the village of Kamarli towards Sofia. Shakir Pasha's army was threatened by a Russian force from its left flank, under the command of General Iosif Gurko, and another one, said to be 22,000 men strong before Kamarli. Baker Pasha was given orders to hold off the advancing Russian army in order to secure the retreat of Shakir Pasha's remaining troops. Baker Pasha entrenched his forces in the village of Taşkesen (now Sarantsi, Bulgaria). The superior Russian army surrounded the Ottomans, but its troops were scattered over a large territory, could not unite together and were slowed by deep snow, winter storm and difficult mountain terrain, so that only a part of them engaged; having a strong defensive position and with weather in their favour, the Ottomans successfully managed to hold off the advancing Russian forces for ten hours, allowing Shakir Pasha to withdraw, and hastily retreated as soon as the firing died down. At the end of the day the Ottoman forces were facing a Russian force ten times its size and ultimately left their position.

During the night panic broke out in the Ottoman ranks, after rumours spread that the Russians had made a flanking movement. This caused the Ottomans to flee the village, killing the inhabitants.