Chapter X

Deployment Of Forces


Except the Jidechian building, all other defense positions in the original plan were in our hands at the end of the first day’s fighting. With small variations, this defense arrangement was maintained from April 25th to the end.

Described below is the structure of our defense arrangement and that of the enemy.

A. Area of Tabriz Gate (east); (1) house of Abro and Vank, (2) the combined positions of Panos Marootian and tailor Hagop, (3) house of Shisgo, (4) houses of Der Boghosian and Gazoyan with auxiliary posts; the post of Laz Ali, adjacent to four Turkish houses the inhabitants of which were taken prisoner by us, or chased away, (5) posts at Shahen Agha and the combined posts of Urum and Havanian.

Area leader, David Sarkissian, who being wounded the first day, was replaced by S. Shahinian, assistant. Levon Kaljian later transferred to Section II and was replaced by Mihran Hovagimian and still later, by Baghdo of Haigavank. Leaders: Avedis Varbedian, Sahag Jangoyan, Avo form Shadakh, Mukhsi Vahan, Michael of Haigavank, Shahen Agha, Mihran Shahinian and Dikran Kondakjian. Number of combatants, 50.

Turkish positions confronting Section I were: the outer Tabriz Gates, the old city wall, trenches in the eastern slopes of the rock, the prison building, and from the 25th on, Marootian’s house, the mosque and the house of Teloe. To this must be added the house of Aram Gazoyan, the four houses belonging to Mahmoud and Katerji mosques, the cannon placed at Haigavank and mortars placed in the trenches and behind the ancient walls.

Our defenses at Section I bore the brunt of the fighting from the very beginning. Marootian’s house and supporting posts were reduced to dust through constant shelling. Whatever was left was set on fire and relinquished on the 25th of April. As a result, the defenses at Abro became more important. It was connected by underground passage to Shiahgo’s defense and in spite of being surrounded by Turks on three sides, it was never subdued. The defenses at Gazoyan and Der Boghossian were isolated, therefore, were being attacked ceaselessly. Turks made several attempts at burning them. The subterranean passage connecting it with other defense positions enabled them to resist to the end. The post of Shahin Agha lost its importance after our burning of the Katerji mosque.

B. Area of Military Procurement (south); (1) Gaghadian brothers house, (2) cook Bedross’s house, (3) Koloze’s house, (4) Vartabedian’s house, (5) Military Procurement building and Tzetzian’s house, (6) Tartar’s inn, (7) Mirzakhanian’s house, (8) Alexanian’s house. Among these the defenses at Goghadian’s house and the Procurement building were of crucial importance, particularly, the latter which though reduced to a heap of rubble, kept on fighting from trenches dug beneath the rubble. When the Russian General Nicolaeff inspected these defenses he was amazed and expressed skepticism that defenses like these could be engineered without military education and experience.

Area Leader: Harootian (Haro) Nergaraian; assistant, Sarkis Shahinian, and later Levon Kaljian.

Leaders: Mardiros Goghadian, Armenag Mirzakhanian, Sevo from Mog, Levon Gossoyan, Harootian Ashikian, Moorad from Der Shogh, Dirtad Der Manuelian and Manoog Agha from Gaijigan. Number of combatants, 51.

Turks were entrenched at the Terzibashian building, police headquarters, armory, Armenian shops and stores, Turkish cemetery, government building, municipal building and the mosque across the street, the mosque of Kaya-Chelbi, and the market. Assisting these were artillery placed on top of the rock, at the Turkish cemetery of Yeni-Kapou and at the Shairam ward some 100 to 800 meters away.

C. Area of Yazmali and Khani Dagh(southwest); (1) Boyakhana (paintshops) and adjoining stores, (2) Palabekhian winery, (3) Yazmali building, (4) the four barricades on the ground floor of this building, (5) Kharpertzi’s house. Turks succeeded in burning down the winery; the others were operative to the last.

Area Leader: Mihran Toromanian, assistant Markar Sarkissian, and later Havahannes Pirgalemian.

Leaders: Monoog Bailian, Zohrab from Bitis, Manoog Totomanian, Gabriel Yeghiazarian and Madiros Saroyan. Number of combatants, 42.

Turks had fortified themselves at the Shoemakers Complex, Khoorshoon or Khosrovie mosque, Azizie barracks, lumber yards and the house of Arif Effendi assisted by shell fire from the rock and one placed at the Shoemaker Complex, a distance of 50 to 300 meters.

D. Area of Ambari Dag (warehouse; west); (1) houses of Der Hagopian and Unuz, (2) Der Hagopian and the “Devils” house, (3) houses of Der Jeremiah and Baghigian, (4) Gakavian’s house, (5) Ateshkiar and Karageozian barricades, later replaced by Sharoyan’s house and contiguous barricades.

Area Leader: Mihran Mirzakhanian, assistant Mihran Nergararian.

Leaders: Manoog from Constantinople, Haroot Kishmishian, Ohannes from Shadakh, Minas Nalchajian, Armenag Bazigian, Manoog from Garjigan and Set Aslanian. Number of combatants, 26.

Poised against these were the strongholds in the Turkish quarters; house of Ajam, Ulu mosque, the ruins of Kiamil and the tanneries, assisted by artillery located on the west elevation of the rock above Khorkhor and at Kiamil's ruins, a distance of 150 to 600 meters.

In addition, Turkish garrisons, augmented by Circassian irregulars, were guarding the northern section of the rock which enjoyed a commanding position above the Armenian Quarters. Due to the constant danger from this direction, we had established three observation posts to immediately report any attempt by the Turks to descend for attack, or movements of suspicious nature. Indeed, Turks made several futile attempts to strike us in the back. The observation posts were at Meghroyan’s house, at the Jesuit school and at Saroyan’s house, opposite Takhta-Kalk. Each post consisted of three to five men armed with Mauser pistols and hand revolvers.