What is the Great Offensive? Great Offensive History, Significance and Meaning

What is the Great Offensive? Great Offensive History, Significance and Meaning
What is the Great Offensive? Great Offensive History, Significance and Meaning

The Great Offensive is the general attack launched by the Turkish army against Greek forces during the Turkish War of Independence. The Council of Ministers took the decision to attack and on August 14, 1922, the corps marched for the attack, the attack started on August 26, the Turkish Army entered Izmir on September 9, and on September 18, when the Greek Army left Anatolia completely, the war has ended.

Pre-attack


Although the Turkish Army won the Battle of Sakarya, it was not in a position to destroy the Greek armies by forcing them into war. The Turkish army had great deficiencies in order to launch an offensive. The public has been asked to make one last sacrifice to eliminate these. All financial resources were strained to the limit and preparations were started immediately; officers and soldiers began to be trained for the assault. All the resources of the country were placed at the disposal of the military. The troops on the East and South fronts, where the battles actually ended, were also shifted to the West front. On the other hand, the associations that supported the Turkish liberation struggle in Istanbul sent the weapons they smuggled from the Allied Powers' arsenals to Ankara. The Turkish army was to attack for the first time and therefore had to outnumber Greek troops. There were 200.000 Greek soldiers in Anatolia during this period. After a year of preparation, the Turkish army increased the number of soldiers in the army to 186.000 and approached the Greek troops. However, despite all these efforts, the Turkish army could not provide an advantage to the Greek troops, except for the cavalry units, but a balance was achieved.

As the time of attack approached, the re-extension of the Commander-in-Chief Law, which was issued before the Battle of Sakarya and extended three times and expired on August 4, came to the fore. For this purpose, 20 July In Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Pasha's material and spiritual power of the national objectives of the Army in the Grand National Assembly has reached a level to perform with full confidence. For this reason, there is no need for the powers of our supreme assembly. He stated that there is no need for extraordinary articles in the law. The Commander-in-Chief law was extended indefinitely with the decision of the parliament. After the Battle of Sakarya, impatience arose in the public and in the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the attack. These developments on Mustafa Kemal Pasha, March 6, 1922 Turkey Grand National Assembly in a secret meeting and those concerned about unrest in the "decision of our army, we're offensive. But we postpone this attack. The reason is that we need a little more time to finish our preparation completely. An attack with half preparation and half measures is much worse than no attack at all. " On the one hand, while trying to eliminate the doubt in their minds, on the other hand, he prepared the army for an attack that would ensure the final victory.

In mid-June 1922, Commander-in-Chief Müşir Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha decided to attack. This decision was shared with only three people: Front Commander Mirliva İsmet Pasha, Chief of General Staff First Ferik Fevzi Pasha and Minister of National Defense Mirliva Kâzım Pasha. The main purpose; After a decisive battle, it was to completely destroy the enemy's will and will to fight. The Great Attack and the Commander-in-Chief Pitched Battle that crowned this attack constituted the final phase and peak of the Turkish War of Independence. Mustafa Kemal Pasha carried the Turkish nation and army step by step in a period of 3 years and 4 months. The Greek Army, planning to defend Western Anatolia against the Turkish Army; From Gemlik Bay, Bilecik has fortified the east of Eskişehir and Afyonkarahisar provinces and the Aegean Sea following the Büyük Menderes River for almost a year. Especially Eskişehir and Afyon regions were kept stronger in terms of both fortification and the amount of troops, even the region in the southwest of Afyonkarahisar province was arranged as five defense lines behind each other.

According to the Turkish attack plan prepared, when the 1st Army forces attacked from the southwest of Afyonkarahisar province to the north, the 2nd Army forces located in the east and north of Afyonkarahisar province will prevent the enemy from shifting forces to the 1st Army region and the enemy reserves in Döğer region will try to pull. The 5th Cavalry Corps will break the enemy's telegraph and railroad connection with Izmir by attacking the side and the rear of the enemy by crossing the Ahır Mountains. With the principle of raid, the destruction of the Greek army was considered and Mustafa Kemal Pasha went to Akşehir from Ankara on 19 August 1922 and gave the order to attack the enemy on Saturday morning, 26 August 1922.

Attack

On the night of 26 August, the 5th Cavalry Corps infiltrated the Ballıkaya location on the Ahır Mountains, which the Greeks did not defend at night and started to move behind the Greek lines. Departure lasted all night until morning. Again, on the morning of August 26, Commander-in-Chief Mustafa Kemal Pasha took his place in Kocatepe with the Chief of General Staff Fevzi Pasha and the Western Front Commander İsmet Pasha to lead the battle. The Great Assault started here and the operation started with the harassment fire of the artillery at 04.30:05.00 in the morning and continued with intense artillery fire at the important points at 06.00:09.00. The Turkish infantry approached Tınaztepe at 1 in the morning and captured Tınaztepe after crossing the wire fences and clearing the Greek soldier with bayonet attack. After that, Belentepe was captured at 15, and then Kalecik - Sivrisi. On the first day of the attack, the 5st Army Units in the center of gravity captured the enemy's first line positions in an area of ​​2 kilometers from Büyük Kaleciktepe to Çiğiltepe. The XNUMXth Cavalry Corps successfully attacked the transportation arms behind the enemy, and the XNUMXnd Army continued its detection task at the front without interruption.

As day dawned on Sunday morning, 27 August, the Turkish army attacked on all fronts again. These attacks were mostly carried out by bayonet attacks and superhuman efforts. The same day, Turkish troops took back Afyonkarahisar. The Commander-in-Chief Headquarters and the Western Front Command Headquarters were moved to Afyonkarahisar.

The successful offensive operation on Monday, August 28 and Tuesday, August 29, resulted in the encirclement of the 5th Greek Division. The commanders, who evaluated the situation on the night of August 29, took action and found it necessary to conclude the battle in a timely manner. They made the decision to cut off the enemy's retreat and force the enemy to surrender completely by forcing them to fight, and the decision was implemented swiftly and regularly. The offensive operation on Wednesday, 30 August 1922, resulted in the decisive victory of the Turkish army. The last phase of the Great Offensive went down in Turkish military history as the Commander-in-Chief Pitched Battle.

At the end of the Battle of the Commander-in-Chief on 30 August 1922, most of the enemy army was surrounded by four sides and was completely destroyed or captured in the battle between Mustafa Kemal Pasha's lines of fire, from Zafertepe himself. In the evening of the same day, Turkish troops took back Kütahya.

The war continued in the air. On August 26, despite cloudy weather, Turkish aircraft took off for reconnaissance, bombing and protecting ground troops. Fighter jets encountered enemy planes four times during their patrol flights throughout the day. In the air collisions, three Greek planes were lowered behind their air lines and one Greek plane was shot down by Captain Fazil, the company commander, around the town of Hasanbeli in Afyonkarahisar. Reconnaissance and bombing flights were carried out in the following days.

Half of the Greek forces in Anatolia were destroyed or captured. The remaining part was filmed in three groups. In the face of this situation, they met with Mustafa Kemal Pasha, Fevzi Pasha and İsmet Pasha in the courtyard of a ruined house in Çalköy and decided to move the majority of the Turkish army in the direction of İzmir in order to follow the remains of the Greek army, and then Mustafa Kemal Pasha said the historical “Armies, your first target is the Mediterranean. is. Further!" gave his order.

The follow-up operation of the Turkish army started on 1 September 1922. Greek troops that survived the battles began to withdraw irregularly to Izmir, Dikili and Mudanya. The Greek Army Commander-in-Chief General Nikolaos Trikupis and his staff and 6.000 soldiers were captured by the Turkish troops in Uşak on 2 September. Trikupis learned from Mustafa Kemal Pasha in Uşak that he was appointed as the commander in chief of the Greek army.

In this battle, the Turkish army entered Izmir on the morning of September 15, 450, covering a distance of 9 kilometers in 1922 days. Passing through Sabuncubeli, the 2nd Cavalry Division advanced towards İzmir on the Mersinli road, and the 1st Cavalry Division marched towards Kadifekale on the left of it. The 2nd Regiment of this Division passed through the Tuzluoğlu Factory and reached Kordonboyu. Captain Şerafettin Bey hoisted the Turkish flag to the Izmir Government House, Captain Zeki Bey, the leader of the 5th Cavalry Division, to the Command Office, and the 4th Regiment Commander Reşat Bey to Kadifekale.

Post offensive

From the beginning of the Great Offensive to September 4, the Greek army retreated 321 kilometers. On September 7, Turkish troops approached 40 kilometers from Izmir. The New York Times newspaper dated September 9, 1922 wrote that the losses of the Greek army and the Turkish army captured were 910 guns, 1.200 trucks, 200 cars, 11 planes, 5.000 machine guns, 40.000 rifles and 400 wagons. He also stated that 20.000 Greek soldiers were captured. He later wrote that the Greek army consisted of 200.000 men at the beginning of the war and that now more than half have been lost, and the number of Greek soldiers who fled scattered from the Turkish cavalry could only reach 50.000.

In the Great Offensive, the Turkish Army used 7.244.088 infantry shells, 55.048 artillery shells and 6.679 bombs. During the battles, 6.607 infantry rifles, 32 submachine guns, 7 heavy machine guns and 5 cannons became unusable. 365 guns, 7 planes, 656 trucks, 124 passenger cars, 336 heavy machine guns, 1.164 light machine guns, 32.697 infantry rifles, 294.000 hand grenades and 25.883 chests of infantry shells were seized from the Greeks. 8.371 horses, 8.430 oxen and buffalo, 8.711 donkeys, 14.340 sheep and 440 camels, which were captured since the beginning of the Great Offensive and were the surplus of the Turkish army, were distributed to the people. The number of soldiers captured by the Greek army in the Great Offensive was 20.826. Of these, 23 construction battalions were formed and were employed in the repair of roads and railways that they demolished.

During the Great Offensive, the combat casualties of the Turkish Army were 26 dead, 9 wounded, 2.318 missing and 9.360 captives from the beginning of the attack on 1.697 August until the liberation of Izmir on 101 September. Until September 18, that is, with the withdrawal of the last Greek soldiers from Erdek and the end of the Greek occupation in Western Anatolia, a total of 24 deaths (2.543 officers and 146 men) and 2.397 injured (9.855 officers and 378 men) were given for 9.477 days.

Turkish troops entered Izmir on 9 September. Bursa, Foça, Gemlik and Orhaneli on September 11, Mudanya, Kırkağaç, Urla on September 12, Soma on September 13, Bergama, Dikili and Karacabey on September 14, Alaçatı and Ayvalık on September 15, September 16 Çeşme, Karaburun, Bandırma on 17 September and Biga and Erdek were liberated from the Greek occupation on 18 September. [18] Thus, on September 18, Western Anatolia was liberated from the Greek occupation. With the Mudanya Armistice Agreement signed on 11 October 1922, Eastern Thrace was liberated from the Greek occupation without armed conflict. Date July 24, 1923 ended the war officially ended with the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in the whole world and Turkey has established its independence.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha expressed the importance of the Great Victory on 30 August 1924 in Zafertepe, where he directed and directed the Commander-in-Chief Pitched Battle as follows. "... I should not doubt that the new Turkish state, was laid the foundations of the young Republic of Turkey here. His eternal life was crowned here. Turkish blood flowing in this field, martyr spirits flying in this sky are the eternal guards of our state and republic ... "

The historian Isaiah Friedman described the last days of the Greek Asia Minor Army with the following words: “The defeat awaiting the Greek army was the size of the Armageddon war. Within four days, the entire Greek Asia Minor Army was either destroyed or poured into the sea. "


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