The Battle of Dumlupinar was the last battle of the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), which is part of the Turkish War of Independence.

The Battle of Dumlupinar was the last battle of the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), which is part of the Turkish War of Independence. The battle was fought during 26 August – 30 August 1922, near Afyon in Turkey.

Following the attrition battle on the Sakarya River (Battle of Sakarya) in August-September 1921, the Greek forces under General Papoulas retreated to a defensive line extending from the town of Nikomedia to Eskisehir and Afyonkarahisar.

The Greek line formed a 700km arc stretching in a North-South direction along difficult ground with hills, called tepes rising out of broken terrain and was considered to be easily defensible. A single track railway line ran from Afyon to Dumlupinar, a fortified valley town some 35km West of Afyon surrounded by the mountains of Murat Dagi and Ahir Dagi, and thence to Izmir on the coast. This railway was the main supply route of the Greeks. The Greek HQ at Smyrna was effectively incapable of communicating with the front or exercising operational control. Following the unsuccessful outcome of the Battle of Sakarya, the Greek command structure underwent many changes. Forces were withdrawn from the line and redeployed in Thrace for an offensive against Istanbul, which never materialised.

The remaining Greek forces were under the command of General Hatzianestis, who had replaced General Papoulas in May 1922, and was widely regarded as mad. The morale of the Greek troops was not high, as many had already been under arms for several years, and there was no prospect of a quick resolution to the war. Political dissent and the fact that they were occupying unfriendly territories further depressed their morale. Despite pressure to attack building up at Ankara, Mustafa Kemal who had been appointed C-in-C of the Turkish Army, utilised the breathing space to strengthen his forces and split the Allies through adroit diplomatic moves, ensuring that French and Italian sympathies lay with the Turks. This diplomatically isolated the pro-Greek British. He decided to strike the Greeks in August 1922.

Knowing that the Turkish forces were only adequate to mount one major offensive, Mustafa Kemal strengthened the Turkish 1st Army under Nureddin Pasha, which was deployed against the southern flank of the Greek salient jutting out to Afyonkarahisar. It was a risky gamble, because if the Greek Army counter-attacked on his weakened right flank and pivoted south, his forces would be cut off. On the eve of the battle, the Greeks enjoyed an edge in manpower and were better equipped with machine guns, field guns and transport. The Turks had more heavy artillery and superior cavalry commanded by General Fahrettin. The defences were manned by the Greek A Corps commanded by General Tricoupis, with his HQ at Afyon. The four divisions of this corps covered an area of 180km. On the north of the Greek A Corps lay the Greek B Corps under General Dighenis, covering a sector of 170km with five divisions.

Although numerically strong, the Greeks were very deficient on heavy artillery (only 40 outdated pieces existed in the entire front) and cavalry (one half-company per division).

The Turkish attack opened against the Southern flank of the Afyon salient on the morning of August 26, 1922. Watched from the commanding peak of Kocatepe by Kemal, CGS Fevzi Pasha, Ismet Inonu and Nureddin, Turkish guns silenced the Greek batteries by knocking out their observation posts. Turkish infantry advanced against strong opposition and made significant gains. The breakthrough came next day when the Turkish 4 Corps under Colonel Sami took the 5000 feet high peak of Erkmentepe, and Fahrettin led his cavalry into Greek rear areas. The Greeks fell into disarray. General Frangou (commanding the Greek I Division) retreated West from Dumlupinar, losing touch with A Corps. The Greek Corps commanders Tricoupis and Dighenis fell back on Dumlupinar, their disintegrating forces running for Izmir.

The Turks closed the ring around Dumlupinar on August 30th, Fevzi and Kemal commanding the two encircling columns. Tricoupis and Dighenis, who were trying to escape North from Dumlupinar across the slopes of Murat Dagi, were surrounded on September 2nd/3rd as they descended to the Banaz valley. The Turks chased the fleeing Greeks 250 miles to Izmir, which was burned by the Turkish forces as the Greek army and civilian population fled. The last Greek troops left Anatolia on 16th September. The Armistice of Mudanya was signed by Turkey, Italy, France and Great Britain on October 11th, 1922. Greece was forced to accede to it on October 14th.

LEAVE A REPLY