As a result, Russian forces in the theater were outnumbered by their Ottoman counterparts. This did not dissuade Russia from taking the offensive since, like Turkey's enemies (and even its ally Germany) they had a low esteem for Turkey's military abilities. They would learn, as the British would at Kut and Gallipoli, that whatever the weaknesses of Ottoman leadership, the soldiers were another matter. Russia did not even wait for its own November 2 declaration of war, but crossed the border on November 1, 1914.
Let me note that the borders were not those of today. Russia had taken the Armenian areas around Yerevan (now part of Armenia) from Persia in the early 19th century and the area around Kars (now part of Turkey) after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.
|Georgy Eduardovich Bergmann|
|Hasan Izzat Pasha|
Wikipedia's article on the Bergmann Offensive has a decent map of the operation, though why a map on a campaign between Russia and Turkey is captioned in Spanish is a bit of a puzzle.
At dawn on November 2 the main Russian forces crossed the border. Bergmann was in command in the center, leading off from Sarakamish in the direction of Köprüköy, while a brigade under General Istomin moved on his right toward Id, and a Cossack force under Gen. Nikolai Baratov moved on his left. toward the Aras River.
After pushing through light resistance from Turkish border troops, the Russian advance reached a point 17 miles inside Turkish territory. But on November 5, Bergmann decided to push on towards Köprüköy.
As it happened, the Ottoman War Minister Enver Pasha had ordered Hasan Izzat to take the offensive, and he counterattacked with elements of the Third Army's IXth and XIth Corps. They met the Russians on November 6. The next day the Russians took Köprüköy and the bridge over the Aras, but then encountered trouble. They were outnumbered and the Turks held the heights around the town in strength.On November 11 Izzat attacked with four infantry divisions and a cavalry division along both banks of the Aras, turned Bergmann's flank and recaptured the town.Bergmann retreated to the line he had reached on the 4th.
But after this the tables turned. The Russians reinforced and counterattacked, and the local Turkish commander decided he was outnumbered and decided yo retreat. The Turkish armies lacked telephone communications and neither side grasped the situation. The Russians did not detect the Turkish retreat and did not capitalize on it.
The next major engagement would come at Sarakamish in December. By then the winter snows had arrived.