First Battle of Shipka Pass

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First Battle of Shipka Pass
Part of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78
Date July 1719, 1877
Location Shipka Village, Bulgaria
Result Strategic Russian victory
Russia Ottoman Empire
Joseph Gourko Suleiman Pasha
2,400 5,000
211 on the first day  ?
Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878
Kızıl-TepeSimnitzaSvistovNikopol1st Shipka Pass2nd Shipka PassLovcha3rd Shipka PassGorni-DubnikKarsPlevenTashkessen4th Shipka PassPlovdiv

In July, 1877 four Russian corps had crossed the Danube River and were moving into Bulgaria. To precede the main Russian army Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko led a detachment to capture the vital Balkan Mountain passes. Gourko approached Shipka Pass, which was held by a Turkish garrison of 4,000-5,000 soldiers under Suleiman Pasha.

On July 17 Gourko attacked from the north with four divisions. The two flank divisions captured mountain positions but the two divisions in the center were repulsed. On the 18th Gourko attacked from the south. Again the main attack on the pass was repulsed but the Russians carried some of the trenches. Gourko planned a combined attack from the north and the south on the 19th. The next day however the Turks evacuated the pass and Russia took possession of it.

In just over two weeks Gourko had captured three important mountain passes but the main army would become held up the day after Shipka Pass fell in the Siege of Pleven. The Turks would make two major attempts to retake the pass in 1877 and then in 1878 Gourko delivered a final blow to the Turks in the Shipka Pass area.

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