Who's Who - Nikolai Yudenich

Nikolai Yudenich Nikolai Yudenich (1862-1933) was, in an albeit uncrowded field, the most successful Russian commander of the First World War, demonstrating admirable consistency in securing his victories on the far-flung Caucasian front.

Born on 18 July 1862 Yudenich entered the Imperial Russian army in 1879, graduating from the General Staff Academy eight years later, after which he served on the General Staff until 1902.

Appointed to a regimental command, Yudenich participated in the unsuccessful 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War.  Promoted General in 1905 he was appointed Chief of Staff of Russian forces in the Caucasian area in 1913 (having served as Deputy Chief of Staff from 1907), a position he held going into the First World War.

A distinguished military commander he was nevertheless somewhat fortunate in his choice of opponents.  As commander first of II Turkestan Corps and then (until August 1915) as Commander in Chief he inflicted a series of defeats upon Turkish forces, including a notable defeat upon the Turkish Third Army at Sarikamish in December 1914; the following year he further succeeded in repulsing Enver Pasha's planned invasion.

Subordinated to Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich from August 1915 onwards he nevertheless continued his winning ways, capturing Erzerum in February 1916 (click here to read his report of Erzerum's fall), Trebizond in April and Erzincan in July.

Safely removed from the centres of political control he was the recipient of continual praise and was the happy subject of Russian propaganda.

Restored to overall command from March 1917 Yudenich was however unable to continue operations in the Caucasus given the turbulence of affairs in Russia.  Retired shortly afterwards by the Provisional Government, Yudenich returned to Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) until the October Revolution forced him to flee to Finland.

He thereafter placed himself at the head of White forces formed to march on Petrograd in the autumn of 1919, deemed by many as the critical moment of the Russian Civil War.

Outnumbered by the Red Army, his forces were forced back into Estonia where they disbanded.  Fleeing for the second time Yudenich settled into exile in France and died there on 5 October 1933 at Saint-Laurent-du-Var at the age of 71.

Both British and German fleets had around 45 submarines available at the time of the Battle of Jutland, but none were put to use.

- Did you know?

Who's Who