The military actions in the Caucasus front since July, 1914 up to 1916 April 26
Copy- book 3: since June 10, 1915 up to July 10
Ruben O. Sahakyan
In the 3rd copy- book of his memoirs general Nazarbekyan describes the military actions that took place since June 10, 1915 up to July 10. In May 1915 the Russian command decided to attack and occupy the main centres of supply of the Ottoman army – Erzurum and Trabzon. For that purpose, it started to transfer military units from Persia to Western Armenia: those units included the 2nd Caucasus Rifle Division of T. Nazarbekyan. On his way the General witnesses the crimes committed by Djevdet bey and his scoundrels – villages full of numerous corpses of killed Armenians. T. Nazarbekyan together with his brigade settles in the outskirts of Van. The commander makes short visit to Van. He states with regret that he had no success in meeting the governor of Van Aram Manukyan but mentions his meeting with a number of Armenia figures of Van’s Armenian Governance among whom were Paruyr Levonyan and Vicar of the Diocese Archimandrite Yeznik Nerkararyan.
In late June and early July, 1915 T. Nazarbekyan carries out the operation of Kop and entirely crushes the enemy. The commander was complaining of the supply service who being unable to organize the regular supply of the army was in some cases hampering the rapid transmission as the army had to wait for the suppliers to bring food.
The victory gave an opportunity to head for Mush, but on July 8 T. Nazarbekyan got the order to retreat. Alongside with the military units the population also left their homes. The general describes with pain the migration of women and children who were deprived of any means of transport. Many of the soldiers were carrying the children on their shoulders. T. Nazarbekyan once more states that the story of retreat of December, 1914 was repeated, and he again witnessed the torturous and suffering escape of the peaceful population. As it later turned out the cause for the retreat of T. Nazarbekyan’s the 2nd Caucasus Rifle Brigade’s military units was the false report of the commander of Labinsky Kazak regiment.
The retreat of the Russian troops had disastrous effect for the Armenians of VanVaspurakan who had to migrate to Eastern Armenia. And on the same days from the high mountains bordering the field of Mush the fires of burning villages were seen. The intentional retreat of Russian army in July 1915 resulted in the expulsion of Armenians of Van-Vaspurakan and the genocide of Armenians of Taron. Before the eyes of general T. Nazarbekyan the spine of Wes Armenia was broken.