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New Series # 002

August 30, 2005

 
 

 

The Background: On May 15, 1919, well-equipped (though ill-advised, under the patronage of the British PM Lloyd George) Greek troops had landed in and occupied İzmir and had begun pushing into the Anatolian hinterland. Dozens of Turkish provinces had been under foreign occupation for three years...

"Ordular! İlk hedefiniz Akdeniz'dir, İleri!"

“Armies, your first target is the Mediterranean. Onward!” -- Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), 31 August 1922...

The following passage is taken from Uğur Akıncı's excellent account of the events leading to and in the aftermath of the great offensive of 26-30 August 1922 -- known as  “Dumlupınar Pitched Battle of the Commander-in-Chief”.  in the aftermath of = sonrasında... pitched battle = meydan muharebesi...

Uğur Akıncı is a grandson Lt. Ali Rıza Akıncı, of the 5th Cavalry Corps (Fahrettin Altay Paşa komutasındaki 5. Süvari Kolordusu) that took part in the offensive. He lives in the States and publishes the e-zine "Turkish Torque".

 http://tork.blogspot.com/archives/2004_08_29_tork_archive.html

The night of August 25, 1922, Friday.

Roughly 209,000 Turks and 225,000 Greeks faced one another in the dark, along a curving front near Afyon that extended 60 kilometers from South to North in the center of Western Anatolia, and thousands of miles away from the Greek homeland.

Determined not to waste the element of surprise, the Turkish artillery opened up with a hellish thunder at precisely 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, August 26, 1922.
artillery = topçu kuvvetleri... hellish = cehennemî...

After 90 minutes of relentless pounding, wave after wave of Turkish infantry crashed into the Greek trenches in an all-out bayonet attack.
relentless = aman vermez... pounding = (topçu ateşi ile) dövme... infantry = piyade kuvvetleri... trenches = siperler... all-out = topyekün... bayonet = süngü...

The whole Afyon Plain was reverberating with the deafening explosions of the artillery rounds and the “Allah! Allah!” battle cry of the Mehmetçik.
reverberating = titriyor yankılanıyordu... deafening = kulakları sağır edici... rounds = salvolar...

Within a few hours, the Turks began to tear through the first positions of the Greek 1st Army, commanded by General Trikopis.

Although Gen. Trikopis placed a phone call to Izmir to inform the Greek Commander-in-Chief Gen. Hacianesti of the surprise Turkish attack, it was clear from early on that it would be hard for Gen. Hacianesti to command his troops from 400 kilometers away. Command-by-remote-control was no match for the personal commitment of the 41-year-old Mustafa Kemal Pasha who was right there on the battle field, leading the Great Offensive in person.
from early on = daha başından itibaren... was no match for = başa çıkamazdı, karşı duramazdı, dengi değildi...

Although the Turkish troops had slept only a few hours the night before, their morale was at an all-time high. They attacked the Greek positions with great tenacity, cutting the barbed wires in front of the Greek trenches and pushing on with their fearsome bayonet attack while İsmet Pasha's artillery covered their advance.
at an all-time high = herzamankinden daha yüksekti... tenacity = (burada) vazgeçmeme, ısrar... barbed wire = dikenli tel... fearsome = korku verici, dehşetli... to cover = (burada) kollamak, destek olmak...

Within a few hours Turks captured Kaleciksivrisi, Erkmentepe and Tınaztepe.

When, at 9 a.m., the Turkish troops also captured Belentepe, Commander-in-Chief Mustafa Kemal Pasha sent the following short telegram to the Turkish Grand National Assembly from the Kocatepe Heights:

“Today, as of August 26, 1922, 10 a.m., we have launched an offensive along the whole front. Success is from Allah.”
as of = itibariyle... to launch an offensive = saldırı başlatmak... along the whole front = bütün cephe boyunca...

The 5th Cavalry Corps proved its worth quickly by cutting over the Ahır Mountain into the Sincanlı Plain from the West wing of the Turkish 1st Army, and threatening to encircle the Greek forces.

The 2nd Army forces excelled in their preplanned mission of preventing the Greek forces in the North from running to the rescue of the Greek 1st Army ambushed in Afyon.
excelled = mükemmel yerine getirdiler... to ambush = pusuya düşürmek...

Perhaps the saddest episode of the whole offensive expired on the first day of the skirmishes. Turkish units were so fighting with such a heightened sense of national honour and duty that Colonel Reşad Bey, the commander of the 57th Infantry Division, committed suicide with his revolver when his troops could not capture their assigned target, Çiğiltepe, on time. The tragedy is that his troops indeed did capture Çiğiltepe as Col. Reşad Bey was exhaling his last breath.
expired = (burada) geçti, vukubuldu... skirmishes = çatışmalar...

At the end of August 26, the Greek forces pulled back from Afyon all the way back towards Balmahmut on the Afyon-İzmir railroad in North.

To prevent the collapse of the Greek front, Gen. Trikopis, who started the battle as the commander of the 1st Corps, had to take over the effective command of all the Greek forces since the real Commander-in-Chief Gen. Hacianesti was either issuing commands from his safe headquarters 400 kilometers away that had nothing to do with the realities on the ground, or due to the Turkish sabotage on communications lines, he could not be reached from the front at all.

By the end of August 27, Sunday, the chaos and confusion within the ranks of the Greek high command was complete. Greek commanders were trying to prevent the impending disaster by issuing ad hoc commands that further complicated the coordination between the withdrawing units.
impending = kısa bir süre sonra gerçekleşecek olan, kısa sürede beklenen... ad hoc = (Latince) (burada) hemen oracıkta duruma göre; daha geniş çerçeveyi dikkate almaksızın... withdrawing = çekilmekte olan...

On August 28, Monday, the Turkish forces broke through the second ring of Greek defenses as well. The Greek 1st Army was chased towards Dumlupınar in the West while the Turkish 2nd Army crossed to the West of the Afyon-Kütahya railroad and delivered heavy blows against the defenses of Greek 3rd Corps.
broke through = yardılar... to chase = kovalamak... delivered heavy blows = ağır darbeler vurdular...

Greek 1st and 7th Divisions under the command of Gen. Frangos lost their contact completely with Gen. Trikopis' 1st Corps Hqs. and proceeded to withdraw towards Dumlupınar on their own.
Hqs = headquarters = karargah...

On the evening of August 28, the phone and railroad contact of the Greek troops with İzmir was severed almost completely. Some of the Greek units, in a state of panic and disintegration, started to burn the Turkish villages and massacre the civilians on their path of retreat.
to sever = koparmak, keserek ayırmak... massacre = katliam...

August 29, Tuesday

The five Greek infantry divisions under Gen. Trikopis' command have been encircled inside the horseshoe formed by Çalköy-Hamurköy-Aslhanlar, to the NorthWest of Dumlupınar. They were trying their best to break the encirclement and escape from the West corridor.

The night of August 29-30

Very early Wednesday morning, before dawn, Turkish Western Front Operations Director Tevfik Bey (Bıyıklıoğlu) shows up in Western Front Commander İsmet Pasha's room with situation maps in his hands that confirm the encirclement of the Greek troops. before dawn = şafaktan önce...

İsmet Pasha's response is instantaneous: “Show this to Mustafa Kemal Pasha, immediately!” Tevfik Bey rushes to Afyon City Hall where the Commander-in-Chief was resting after a long day at the battle field.

The minute Mustafa Kemal takes a look at the maps, he immediately sends for Fevzi and İsmet Pashas.

All three top Turkish commanders realize that the moment they have dreamed of for the last three years, since May 15, 1919 when the Greek troops landed in and occupied Izmir under the patronage of the British PM Lloyd George, was finally at hand.
was finally at hand = sonunda gelmişti (sonunda ellerindeydi)...

Mustafa Kemal immediately ordered for the Turkish 2nd Army and 5th Cavalry Corps to block the Greek escape routes to the West of Dumlupınar and he himself departed for the 1st Army Hqs. to command the last battle of the Turkish National War of Liberation.

The “Dumlupınar Pitched Battle of the Commander-in-Chief,” as it is officially known in the annals of Turkish military history, lasted all day.
in the annals of = "sayfalarında" (kayıtlarında)...

By the evening of August 30, 1922, the Greek army was defeated decisively and smashed into groups of individual troops running away towards İzmir as fast as they could in a disorganized fashion.
individual troops = ayrı ayrı, birbirinden kopuk birlikler...

This was the beginning of the end for the “Asia Minor Adventure” of Greece. It was also the beginning of the end of Turkland's occupation by enemy forces and the true last day of World War One for Turkey. (Since then August 30 is celebrated in Turkland as the Turkish Victory Day.)

But still, Western Anatolia and İzmir were not yet liberated.

On the evening of August 31, Thursday, Mustafa Kemal Pasha issued a directive to the army which ended with his famous direction: “Armies, your first target is the Mediterranean. Onward!” From that point forward, it was a non-stop chase all the way to İzmir.

The officers and troops of the 5th Cavalry Corps, including my grandfather Lt. Ali Rıza Akıncı, rode their horses for nine days straight, practically with no or just a few hours of sleep a night, to liberate İzmir on September 9, 1922. More about that in the next and third installment of this series, “September 9, 1922 - From Crescent to Full Moon.”
for nine days straight= durmaksızın dokuz gün...

General Trikopis, Greek 2nd Corps Commander General Diyenis and the Greek Army's Chief of Staff were captured on September 2 at a village near Murat Mountain.

The Greek commanders who were brought to Mustafa Kemal were treated with the respect and dignity appropriate for officers of their rank, even though they were the adversaries.
adversaries = düşmanlar...

Mustafa Kemal Pasha was sitting in between Fevzi and İsmet Pashas when the prisoners were ushered into the large living room of a Turkish house. The contrast between the simple and unadorned uniforms of the Turkish generals and the rich uniforms adorned with silver embroidery worn by their Greek counterparts was glaring.
usher into = yol gösterip içeriye almak... unadorned = sade, süslemesiz... counterpart = karşı taraftaki mümasil (eşdeğer rütbedeki) kişi...

Mustafa Kemal stood up and extended his hand to Trikopis.

“Please take a seat, my general, you must be tired,” was how the gracious winner welcomed his defeated adversary.
gracious = âlicenap, bolgönüllü...

Gen. Trikopis and Diyenis accepted cigarettes and a cup of Turkish coffee offered to put them at ease. Then, Mustafa Kemal and Trikopis proceeded to discuss the battle on the maps in front of them.

Both Greek generals were watching Mustafa Kemal nervously, with mixed emotions. Famous Turkish writer Halide Edip, who was present in that room, described the following exchange:

“I did not know that you were this young,” Gen. Trikopis admits to Mustafa Kemal, at the end of their meeting.
this young = bu derece genç...

“Can I do anything for you?” Mustafa Kemal asks the Greek commander.

“It would be nice if I could learn about the health of my wife in İstanbul,” Trikopis suggests. The Turks oblige with this personal request of the man who was commissioned to wipe off all Turkish presence from Anatolia.

Twelve years later in 1934, the two Aegean neighbours buried the hatchet for decades to come when Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos nominated Mustafa Kemal Atatürk for the Nobel Peace Prize.
to bury the hatchet = "savaş baltasını toprağa gömmek"... for decades to come = takibeden onlarca yıl boyunca...

Ata'mız, bütün silah arkadaşları, bütün şehitlerimiz ve gazilerimiz, Cumhuriyetimizi kuran, bizlere başı dik, onurlu bir millet olarak uygar dünyada yerimizi alma yolunu açan o kuşak insanlarımız, ve bu vatan için Çanakkale'de seve seve canını feda eden her iki dedemin de anısı için,

Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene...

 

 

         

 

 

 

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