12 Temmuz 2018 Perşembe

TNT History Mini-Series: Greek Commander in Turkish War Rebukes Rival (1922)/Part IV

//Ed. Note: As the Battle of Sakarya continued, Gen. Papoulas 
and his superiors in Bursa, and by extension Athens, 
exchanged telegrams reflecting both the military and
political battlefields. Gen. Stratigos was, of course, in
the middle of all the back-and-forth vis-a-vis considerations 
and decisions, and a thorn in Gen. Papoulas's side. //

battle of sakarya ile ilgili görsel sonucu
Greek Army units advancing toward the Sakarya River.

The Army Insists
                At the same time, these considerations were made known to the Ministry
 of War by telegram; later, on 25 August, the Army Chief of Staff sent Mr.Stratigos,
 who had asked whether continuation of the forward movement was possible or not, 
the following response:

                Number: 19286 – 25- 8 – 21 - hour 12
                To be sent by telegram – cipher – most urgent

                                               To General Stratigos in Bursa

(the corruption of this portion of the cipher may have been due to too many words
being submitted for the structure of the cipher.  That which was conveyed:)  I am 
insistant with regard to my ideas.


                These ideas concerned the army’s thoughts regarding retreat after the 
completion and conclusion of the operation.  The following day we sent the following
                                               To the Minister of War in Bursa

                As a continuation to my report number 5154-13303, I present this aspect: 
because of the equality between the opposing forces the battle may take the form of 
trench  warfare.  This warfare would be to the advantage of the enemy, which is 
continually ameliorating its deficiencies, fortifying its territory and reinforcing.  
Continuation of the operation appears dangerous.  The army has done what it could.

With regard to the goal of occupying Ankara, only the enemy’s rail line has been 
destroyed; we will do the same to a lesser degree from here to Eskişehir today.  As 
for remaining where we are, perhaps the government can reinforce the position 
during its negotiations; but with the one condition that the negotiations not last long;
 otherwise, our soldiers will have exceeded their limits of resistance;  obtaining a 
quick truce based on the success so far achieved will constitute the best case vis-a-vis
 morale and the benefit of the army.  I request the government’s idea on this matter so
 that the requisite military measures can be adopted.

A.       Papoulas                              Personal registry number 55
                                              25 – 8 – 21 hour 12 minute 20

                                   The Government Insists

After this, the army received the following telegram in answer to the one
inviting the Prime Minister to engage in negotiations:

                Minister of War                                                     Bursa
                Number: 163530                                                  26 – 8 – 21
                                                               Cipher – Urgent

                               To the Army of Asia Minor Command
I received your secret telegram today and immediately transmitted it to Athens.  
I ask that you await the government’s reply comprising its ideas and 
considerations about the thoughts you put forth in your telegram.

Theotokis                                                                    Identical to the original
                                                                                    Cipher Section Chief
                                                                                    S. Dolagramanika

 But a while later a telegram which transmitted this publication’s original 
text was  received.  In it, it was stated that Mr. Stratigos had departed for 
Athens to brief the  Prime Minister on the situation, since the Prime 
Minister could not come to Anatolia because of the domestic situation. 
Two days later, on 28 August, the army received the following telegram:

Ministry of War
163554                                                                                     21- 8 – 28
                          To the Army of Asia Minor Command
Cipher – to be sent at top priority
In response to my telegram number 164530 and your two answering telegrams
of the 26th of the current month, the telegram received from the Prime 
Minister at 3 in the morning on 28 August is provided below.

In response to the army’s telegram of 26 August, I deem it necessary that the 
line of occupation be moved forward as much as possible so that it is the 
definitive line that we will claim during peace negotiations.  For now, with 
regard to the questions in your report of 22 August,  before providing and 
presenting a response and remarks about the measures you rightly took in 
the face of the assembly of enemy forces across from the 3rd Army Corps, 
I deem it necessary that I advise you to disregard political considerations 
and any other idea that has been accepted and approved up to now, in your 
operation and decisions and conform only to and exclusively to the goal of 
achieving what is best for the army.   The responses which the government 
will provide for your questions will be transmitted to you for your review, 
to allow for the free flow action required for the implementation of these 
vis-a-vis the military situation.

Theotokis                                                                        Bursa 28 – 8 – 21

       battle of sakarya ile ilgili görsel sonucu                                                                     

But at this point the army, forced to decide to withdraw along its own 
departure lines, and in concert with the abovementioned telegram sent to 
the army by the government which showed the government to be in 
agreement on this matter, began its retreat. 

Additionally, the government knew from the report presented by the army
 at the Kütahya Council of War that the army was thinking that the 
departure lines (entry line, arrival line, communications line) meant holding
the (Eskişehir – Afyonkarahisar) line.  However, the army suddenly 
received the following telegram from the Minister of War, in Bursa, asking
which line we would occupy.

Bursa                                                                                                    number                                           
4- 9 – 21 hour 17                                                                                  15790

                          To the Army of Asia Minor Command

Based on my secret telegram of 26 August, number 153534, the following 
matters are transmitted below; I would like to immediately learn the results
 of the army’s investigation and its opinions with regard to these matters:

1.       What is the army’s view about which line must absolutely be occupied?
2.       What is the nature of the movement the army deems appropriate to reach 
this line?
3.       What is the military advantage of this line compared to the lines held in 
the forward movement toward Ankara?

               Theotokis                                                                          Arrival: 5 – 9 – 21

              Since the line the army would withdraw to was long known by the Minister 
of War and the instructions related to this retreat issued by the Prime Minister were 
personally transmitted by the Minister of War,  this telegram was quite unexpected
for the army. The same day, as the army was approaching its own departure lines, the 
following telegram, sent from Bursa, was received from the Minister of War:


                Bursa                                                                     Registry number: 15802
                4 – September – 1921                                                                        Secret

                                           To the Army of Asia Minor Command

(received 7 – 9 – 21 hour 22)

                Based on my telegram number 15790 sent a bit earlier, I am informing you 
that the government deems it beneficial to convey the below considerations to the army:

                 It has been made known to the army many times that the government needs 
to avail itself of the military situation as the basic element of  its political operation.

                 This situation must be as follows: in the event that the initiative to 
completely  crush the enemy morally and materially comes to naught, the 
aforementioned enemy’s threat to our occupying soldiers should be greatly 
minimized and delayed as much as possible.  It was judged that  this aim of a 
raid initiative toward Ankara could be realized.    The results needed to realize
 this initiative were enumerated in the report provided by the army commander 
during the Kütahya conference. Among these results were the destruction of 
communications and, in particular, after the occupation of Ankara, the complete ,
destruction of the rail line by transporting the rails to the rear as the army retreats.
Also, it would be important to completely destroy all sources that could 
satisfy the needs of an army.

                   In this way, there would be a great distance without communications and,
 at the same time, all needs would have to be brought in from afar.  Any attack attempt
 by the enemy would be quite difficult and, in light of the approaching winter, the 
danger of our remaining in a defensive mode would decrease and fade away.  
However far toward Ankara the army has advanced, we can and should seize all the
 results, to include the largest portion of the forward movement to the aforementioned
 city that has been made so far and whatever else might be obtained from the forward
 movement.   Also, we can and should create a situation in which we are as close as 
possible to the farthest point of the forward movement.  It is left to the army to decide
 which of the possible lines would serve this goal.  We await the army’s response to 
the question posed on this subject in our telegram of 28 – 8 – 21.

                    Because of the enemy’s distance from its main bases, its lack of 
communications and the security from attack offered by the land buffer between us,  
the enemy danger will be reduced to the minimum and since the enemy will be 
forced to make extensive preparations and, as we occupy a line far enough away 
from this danger, we can announce that we have begun to make lasting organizations
 and arrangments in the occupied land, with this announcement creating a defacto 
situation on the ground.   This lasting organization will immediately make it necessary
 for us to avail ourselves of all the resources in the occupied land and direct efforts
 toward full administrative control.  Additionally, the aforementioned organization 
will allow the army to reduce the portion of its forces allocated to security in the 
occupied land and this will be beneficial for our solving and putting the security 
matter of the occupied land in order.  Thanks to arrangements related to the 
communications, supply and food needs of the army that will stay on the first line, 
we will be able to reduce the number of soldiers serving at the current front.  If we
 wait until winter it will be impossible to reduce the number of soldiers on the first 
line; so with the gradual reduction of troops we will reach the limit of the military 
forces we have under arms.  We will do this to the degree that it will protect the 
resources of the occupied land, along with reducing both military and financial 
expenditures significantly.  The government believes that only in this way can there
 be an effect on Europe that will cause it to intervene to the benefit of Greek rights 
for future political initiatives and prepare the basis for forcing Turkey to accept, 
without objection, a fait accompli.  This basis is essential to achieve peace.  In this 
way, it will be impossible for Turkey to retake the land we have occupied with its 
own forces and since continuation of this serious situation would result in its 
complete and definite annihilation, it will avoid doing so.   

                 From these considerations, the meaning of the requirement put forth in 
our telegram of 28 – 8 -21 is quite clear; the need is for our line of occupation to be
 moved as far forward as possible so that during the start of peace negotiations our
 line is suitable for the certain annexation of the occupied land.  To register and 
make this point I deem it necessary that there should be an expansion of the main 
line, not just to the east  but probably to the north and south, as well.  Let me add 
that it is very important that we extend ourselves toward the sea because that will 
cut off Istanbul from the rest of Turkey.

I hope that the army command will make its arrangements vis-a-vis the military 
position in accordance with these vital reasons to the extent possible, in that these
explanations and vital reasons will form the basis for the government’s advantage
in its future political initiatives. We must also not fail to mention here that in 
determining the form of  implementation for this position, all the military 
requirements and, foremost, the morale of the detachments and the effects of the
type and nature of the anticipated military movement on the detachments will 
similarly be taken into account. Determining the scope and extent of this military
operation and, in particular, the decision to immediately begin the occupation of
the line designated in the context of the vital reasons mentioned above, or whether
it would be preferable to occupy the line gradually, is the purview of the Army 
General Command, based on considerations related to the fine points of military 

              In this regard, the army should investigate the matters mentioned below 
and provide us with the results of these investigations:

1.       What is the army command’s idea about which line must absolutely 
be occupied?
2.       What is the appropriate way to seize this line?
3.       Compared to the lines occupied because of the Ankara initiative, 
what are the military advantages of lines like these?

            As I previously informed you by telegram regarding the matter in question,
 the questions listed above must be answered immediately; because your responses
 will allow the government to put forth our true situation, by preventing any sort 
of misinterpretation or alteration.


battle of sakarya ile ilgili görsel sonucu


           For anyone with any common sense, there would be no doubt that this telegram 
could not have been written by the Minister of War, who has absolutely no knowledge 
of military matters, and that this was the work of General Stratigos, who was in truth 
alone in Bursa at that time.

           The army was bewildered.  Actually, Stratigos, speaking with the mouth of the 
Minister of War, was essentially recommending that we extend our front in all directions
 and especially toward the east and north.  He wanted us to extend to the east by staying 
to the east of the Sakarya and to extend to the north toward the Black Sea.  In addition, 
the aforementioned individual had the idea of reducing our existing force by demobilizing
 certain classes, while our communications were being repaired and improved. 

             At the same time he was making this proposal, it was necessary that our forces 
be multiplied in order to be able to defend the occupied front.  Two days later the army 
received the following telegram, which ordered the army to remain in its positions 
beyond the Sakarya and not to destroy the rail line.  It was clearly understood from this 
telegram that implementation of Mr. Stratigos’s plans were under discussion.

          6 – 9 – 21                                                                                                number
          Hour 12 minute 50                                                                                  15800

          To be transmitted at top priority

          Your operational order, number 19362 of 3 September, which was just received
 by post and which designated the last line for the army to coalesce to the east of 
Eskişehir after the destruction of the rail line, was written before you received my 
urgent cipher number 13790 of 3 September.  Consequently, since the army ordered 
the movement to the west before its ideas were presented to the government in any 
form, it does not constitute a reply the aforementioned cipher order.  The detailed
 instructions, number 15802,  sent to you yesterday via General Stratigos, clearly show 
the thoughts on this subject of the government, which requested an investigation of the
 line to be occupied by you.
           Upon the arrival of this telegram, as long as you are not being harrassed by the 
enemy, stop all movement to the west and as quickly possible I request that you inform
me of your ideas and considerations about the line of occupation, in accordance with the
latest government instructions.

          Make known the line occupied by the army today and after your ideas and 
considerations are conveyed to the government remain on this line until you receive 
the order of the government, which will be sent to you.

           I feel I must call attention to the point that while the army has embarked on an 
operation of this scope and decided on and implemented such an action, which has very
profound effects on the political and military situation, the government has no 
information about the situation and awaits news about events that have henceforth 
become a fait accompli.

          Secret registry number:
          19932 – 7 -9 -21                           identical to the original       Mr. Dolagramanikas

battle of sakarya ile ilgili görsel sonucu
                         Megali Idea-The Big Idea

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