Ottoman Forces Suffer Massive Defeat in Caucasus
The Ottoman Empire had always wanted to recover its territories in the Caucasus captured by Russians after the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78. A Caucasus Campaign would have a distracting effect on Russian forces already fighting Germany. A success in this region would mean a diversion of Russian forces to this front from the Polish and Galician fronts. The plan found sympathy with Germany and they supplied the missing resources Turkish forces need. Russia has hopes of winning the Caucasus and eventually conquering Constantinople and the oil-rich regions of the Caspian Sea. The Russians have asked the British to stage a diversion against the Turks to draw them away from Russia which the British are investigating.
The official Russian declaration of war to Ottoman Empire came on November 2, 1914. Russia took the advantage with small advances. Many volunteers from the neighboring Armenian region help the Russian forces. Tsar Nicholas visited his troops in the Caucasus in December 1915. The Battle of Sarikamish began on December 22.
On January 4, 1915 the Russians defeated a large Turkish army in the Caucasus at Sarikamish. The battle was fought in a temperature of 30 degrees below zero and more than 30,000 Turks froze to death.