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The Battle of Musa Dagh

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  • The Battle of Musa Dagh


    "On 13 July 1915 the order came: prepare yourselves for deportation eight days hence. What should they do? Most left their six villages in the foothills, and climbed up the mountain taking with them their flocks, farm implements, and as much food as they could carry: and all the weapons they could lay their hands on, 120 modern rifles and shotguns; and about 350 old flintlocks and horse pistols.

    The eight days' grace expired on 21 July. The Turks, who had realized what the villagers had decided, launched an assault on their positions with an advance guard of 200 Regulars. Their commander allegedly boasted that he could clear the mountain in a day. But the early attacks were a failure, and after suffering several casualties, and being forced to abandon a mountain-gun, they were driven off.

    Then one day the Armenians' scouts brought word that the enemy was all around at every mountain pass. Small Armenian forces dispersed to each of these concentrations. By the evening they were 400 yards from the Armenians separated only be a deep ravine. Eventually a bold plan was hammered out: the men set out, and with their intimate knowledge of the mountain that had stood over them all their lives, they crept through the dense, dark woods and encircled the Turkish force. Suddenly they attacked. The Turks are thrown into confusion, rushing, stumbling in the darkness.

    Shortly afterward, however, an even larger Turkish force was assembled, with yet more soldiers. Full siege conditions operated, as the Turks tried to starve the Armenians out. Soon bread, cheese and olives were exhausted, and they had to live on meat alone. Even that, by late August, was only sufficient for two more weeks.

    Plans for an escape were made. On 2 September, three swimmers were put on permanent alert to be ready to dive in and swim out to any passing vessel. Two large flags were made, one with a large red cross in the middle of it, and the other with the legend written in English: "CHRISTIANS IN DISTRESS: RESCUE." These were fastened to tall trees, and a dawn-to-dusk watch was kept.

    Then suddenly, on Sunday morning, 12 September 1915, the fifty third day of siege, a battleship was sighted, which had clearly seen the distress flags, since it was heading straight for them.

    It was the French vessel Guichen. The French admiral, much moved be their story, gave orders for the entire community to be taken on board. Five vessels (four French, one English) finally transported the community to Port Said, Egypt, where they arrived in the middle of September. There were about 4,200 men, women, and children saved."
    If I swallow anything evil
    Put your finger down my throat

  • #2
    Key Dates

    July 31, 1915- The first day of mass migration from the villages to the high mountains in rebellion against the Turkish government.
    August 3, 1915- The first self-defense groups are organized.
    August 7, 1915- The first skirmish with the Turks.
    August 19/20, 1915- Heavy fighting against the Turkish army at the end of which the Turks retreat.
    September 5, 1915- The French battleship Guichen is observed and contacted.
    September 15, 1915- Guichen and four other battleships evacuate the Armenians of Musa Dagh to Port Said, Egypt.
    If I swallow anything evil
    Put your finger down my throat

    Comment


    • #3
      The Fallen

      Hagop Karageozian 1880-1915
      Hovhannes Koojanian 1874-1915
      Hovhannes Loorchian 1891-1915
      Sarkis Shannakian 1880-1915
      Samuel Boyajian 1874-1915
      Habet Vanayan 1889-1915
      Bedros Havatian 1882-1915
      Abraham Seklemian 1898-1915
      Grigor Kebourian 1854-1915
      Grigor Nekroorian 1875-1915
      Jabra Kheyoyan 1887-1915
      Samuel Markarian 1891-1915
      Missak Bayramian 1897-1915
      Baghdassar Mardikian 1886-1915
      Hampartsoum Khoshian 1874-1915
      Boghos Andekian 1894-1915
      Hagop Havatian 1885-1915
      Bedros Penenian 1855-1915
      If I swallow anything evil
      Put your finger down my throat

      Comment


      • #4
        Map:

        http://www.armenica.org/history/maps/223musa-dagh.gif
        If I swallow anything evil
        Put your finger down my throat

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice stuff.

          The fallen names. That couldn't have been the extent of casualties. Were they the leaders of resistance?


          Have you read 40 days of Musa Dagh btw? I haven't yet but I hopefully will soon.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by karoaper
            Nice stuff.

            The fallen names. That couldn't have been the extent of casualties. Were they the leaders of resistance?
            They were listed as "Martyrs of Musa Dagh". Anyway, I am sure the enemy got their nose bloodied by these men. Essentially, the position was a fortress and their position kept them from loosing men. So long as they had provisions, it was the enemy who took most of the casualties. In fact, the Turks turned to siege as all their attacks were repulsed.

            Have you read 40 days of Musa Dagh btw? I haven't yet but I hopefully will soon.
            I have read about it, but never actually read it. I am looking to order the book in a couple of weeks.
            If I swallow anything evil
            Put your finger down my throat

            Comment


            • #7
              It is an amazing book about a heroic chapter in the resistance against the Genocide.

              Comment


              • #8
                According to Nouvelles d'Armenie - Oct. 2005 - Ottokar Runze, in an interview with the German newspaper Abendblatt, has expressed the desire to shoot a movie about the Armenian Genocide. The movie is planned to count the 40 days of Musa Dagh and be based on Franz Werfel's book.
                What if I find someone else when looking for you? My soul shivers as the idea invades my mind.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is the old one any good?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skhara
                    Hagop Karageozian 1880-1915
                    Hovhannes Koojanian 1874-1915
                    Hovhannes Loorchian 1891-1915
                    Sarkis Shannakian 1880-1915
                    Samuel Boyajian 1874-1915
                    Habet Vanayan 1889-1915
                    Bedros Havatian 1882-1915
                    Abraham Seklemian 1898-1915
                    Grigor Kebourian 1854-1915
                    Grigor Nekroorian 1875-1915
                    Jabra Kheyoyan 1887-1915
                    Samuel Markarian 1891-1915
                    Missak Bayramian 1897-1915
                    Baghdassar Mardikian 1886-1915
                    Hampartsoum Khoshian 1874-1915
                    Boghos Andekian 1894-1915
                    Hagop Havatian 1885-1915
                    Bedros Penenian 1855-1915
                    Their (symbolic, presumably) graves.
                    Attached Files
                    Plenipotentiary meow!

                    Comment

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