(From the Voennaya Entsiklopediya, I.D. Sytin, 1913.)



Eupatoria. [Russian Yevpatoriya] - district and port town in Taurica Province [Tavricheskaya guberniya]. From 1478 it belonged to the Tatars; here at the end of the fifteenth century was the Turkish fortress of Gyuzel-Ev, called Kozlov by the Russians. From 1784, Eupatoria was joined to Russia. The present name was given in the reign of Catherine II in memory of the ancient city built somewhere near Inkerman by Mithradates Eupator’s general, Diophact. Eupatoria is surrounded by steppe; in 1909 it had 25,000 inhabitants (Greeks, Russians, Tatars, and many Karaites). In 1736 Eupatoria was attacked by Russian forces under Graf Munich and in 1771 by troops under Prince Dolgorukov.


During the Eastern War of 1853-56 a landing by allied English, French, and Turkish troops took place at Eupatoria. The enemy forces in Eupatoria were a constant threat to our communications and had to be watched. This situation, and on the other hand—the desire of the commander-in-chief [Prince Menshikov] to open decisive operations, prompted him to attack Eupatoria. The tsar doubted that the undertaking would succeed, although he was urging that our army go onto the offensive. “I will wait,” he wrote to Prince Menshikov, “before deciding if there is to be an attack on Eupatoria. It appears that even after taking it, it will not be easy to stay there under naval bombardment.”


A reconnaissance of Eupatoria was made by the commander of the Eupatoria force, Lieutenant General Baron Wrangel, and the force’s artillery commander, Lieutenant General Khrulev. Wrangel reported that he found the town strongly fortified and could not guarantee the success of an assault. Khrulev found that Eupatoria’s fortifications were not yet finished at all places and that the ramparts of heaped earth were low and did not even cover the foundations of the town’s houses; he considered an attack to be a guaranteed success. Menshikov entrusted the capture of Eupatoria to Khrulev (22 battalions, 24 squadrons, and 5 sotnias—a total of 18,883 men with 108 guns).


Until November,1854, the town was protected by a stone wall in front of which were several batteries weakly entrenched with small caliber guns. After the Battle of Inkerman, Eupatoria was surrounded by a continuous earthen wall with a wide and deep ditch. However, in the two weeks separating the reconnaissance from the assault, the enemy significantly strengthened and armed the batteries. Six warships in the roads could take part in defending the town. The garrison was increased with several Turkish battalions from Balaklava and Kamysh. On 28 January 1855, Omer Pasha landed at Eupatoria with three divisions—two Turkish and one Egyptian, two squadrons of cavalry, and two field batteries, or 21,600 men in all. Additionally in the town were about 10,000 Turks, 1,000 armed Tatars, a small force of French infantry, and a detachment of 276 sailors from the French ship Henri IV, sitting on a sandbar and turned into a gun battery. The original plan for attacking Eupatoria was made by Lieutenant Colonel Batuatul of the general staff and then modified by Khrulev. The main attack was planned to be directed against the center, where the effect of naval artillery would be less. Along with this, in order to draw off part of the troops from the main point, it was decided to also conduct attacks on both flanks, beginning them a little earlier than the main assault. For the attack, three columns were deployed: the first, under Lieutenant General Bobylev (8 battalions, 14 squadrons, 2 sotnias, and 36 guns); the middle, under Major General Teterevnov (7 battalions, 1 sotnia, and 36 guns); and the left, under Major General Ogarev 3rd (7 battalions, 10 squadrons, 2 sotnias, and 36 guns). Dragoon regiments (Kargopol and Kinburn) with Light Horse Battery No. 29, under the command of Lieutenant General Baron Wrangel, were deployed near the village of Sak to watch over the Sak spit, while the 2nd Brigade of Lieutenant General Korf’s Reserve Lancer Division was at the village of Bagai to cover communications with Simferopol. In order to achieve more effective artillery fire, and to provide cover for guns and crews, 76 epaulements were built the night before the assault, about 500 yards from the town wall, each gun having its own position and separated one from the other by 40 paces. At dawn on 5 February, 76 guns and the assault line of troops had taken up their positions. Left in reserve were 32 guns. Some 400 yards behind the artillery was deployed the first line—6 battalions, 2 from each column in two lines of company columns. Four hundred yards behind them were infantry battalions (two from each column), deployed in half-battalion columns. Finally, 400 yards behind the battalions of the second line was a reserve made up of 4 battalions from the right column, 3 from the middle, and 3 from the left. The cavalry was formed up in echelons on the outer flanks of the reserve columns.


The enemy prepared for battle. At 6:00 AM on 5 February, the first enemy shot was fired, followed by a general cannonade supported by rifle fire. Khrulev immediately moved 16 guns out of his reserve to the assault line’s left flank in order to bombard the town with flanking fire. Under the cover of artillery fire, Lieutenant Colonel Panaev, adjutant to Prince Menshikov, directed Khrisoveri’s Greek battalion and four sotnias of dismounted cossacks against the town wall from the direction of Lake Sak. Following them in reserve came a battalion of dismounted dragoons of the Moscow Regiment. Covered by local terrain features, Panaev approached to within 100 paces of the town fortifications and began exchanging fire. At the same time the 19th Light Horse Battery was moved out of the right flank’s reserve to the assault line. In spite of the enemy guns’ larger calibers, our artillery began silencing many of them. Noticing the slackening in enemy firing, Khrulev made a weak assault attempt with the troops of the left column. By 10 o’clock in the morning our line of batteries had moved forward to 300 yards from the town wall, while batteries on the left flank moved to within 200 yards. Under the cover of artillery fire two battalions of the Azov Regiment made an assault in company columns. To the left of them was the battalion of Greek volunteers, and behind the volunteers—the battalion of dismounted dragoons. The troops reached the ditch in spite of the enemy’s increased firing and the loss of many officers, but were unable to cross it since it turned out to be filled with water and the assault ladders were too short. In view of the insurmountable obstacles Ogarev’s column withdrew to a cemetery.


Following this, Khrulev was convinced that the enemy had occupied the town with very strong forces and ordered a retreat. By 11 o’clock, firing ceased completely and our forces withdrew to the Tin-Malaisk heights where they had been positioned previously. Then Omer-Pasha took his whole corps out of Eupatoria and formed it up for battle, but he did not venture to attack the Russian force and returned to the town. Our losses were 4 officers and 164 lower ranks killed, and 38 officers and 544 lower ranks wounded. Allied casualties by their reckoning were 377 men. After the fall of Sevastopol demonstrations were made out of Eupatoria against the rear of Prince Gorchakov’s army, but these did not lead to significant results.


In the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 Eupatoria was twice bombarded by enemy ships (27 June and 31 December,1877), with damage to some government and private buildings.



Translated by Mark Conrad, 2001.