Early Stages of the Campaign (1914–1915)
Contemporary writers on the history of the war are inclined to turn the whole of their attention to Europe, as though they were unaware of any events of importance outside Belgium, France, or Poland. When on October 31st, 1914, the war between the Central Powers and the Allies spread to the Asiatic fronts, the Caucasus army, took the initiative at once. In occupying the rich Urumiah plain, Halil Bey was aiming at the Russian railhead at Djulfa, whence he hoped to cut across the plains of the lower Araxes to Baku. With the greatest difficulty the Russians held out until dark, and then decided to retreat during the night. This retreat is characteristic, for he succeeded in keeping the Russians off his track the whole way. The campaign which had begun badly for the Russian Caucasus Army, had turned in its favour, and the first successes were obtained on the Russian left in Azairbijan and the Van basin.