Ala Dag


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Ala Dag

, Ala Dagh
1. the E part of the Taurus Mountains, in SE Turkey, rising over 3600 m (12 000 ft.)
2. a mountain range in E Turkey, rising over 3300 m (11 000 ft.)
3. a mountain range in NE Turkey, rising over 3000 m (10 000 ft.)

Ala Dağ

 

(formerly Alaca Dağ), a mountain on the Kars plateau, east of Kars. Two battles took place in this area in September-October 1877 in the Caucasian theater during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. After unsuccessful battles at Zivin and Dayar in June 1877, the Russian Caucasian corps (commanded by General M. T. Loris-Melikov), under pressure from the Turkish forces which had moved to the offensive, lifted the siege on Kars and fell back toward Aleksandropol to positions at Kürük-Dara and Başkadiklar. The main forces of the Turkish army, commanded by Mukhtar Pasha, occupied the Ala Dag heights by July 7 (19). The attempted offensive of the Russian forces (56,000 men and 220 artillery pieces opposing 37,000–38,000 Turkish troops and 74 artillery pieces) on September 19–22 (October 1–4) was repulsed by the counterattack of the enemy. The Russians lost about 3,700 men while the Turks lost about 4,700. On September 27 (October 9), Russian forces went on the offensive once more, executing a turning movement around the right flank and moving to the rear of the Turkish position on the fortified mountain of Avliyar. On October 3 (15) a detachment under General I. D. Lazarev took the mountain by storm. This move thwarted the withdrawal toward Kars planned by the Turkish command and led to the encirclement of a right-flank Turkish group. The Turkish army was completely routed (5,000–6,000 killed and wounded, 8,500 taken prisoner, 3,000–4,000 scattered); the Russians lost 1,500 men on October 2–3. On October 13 (25), Russian troops again laid siege to Kars. They took it by storm on November 6 (18).

Ala Dag was the first instance where telegraph was extensively employed to direct Russian troops.