General Ivan Bagramyan was home. He sat down to his first trout dinner in a decade. Nothing...nothing beats a freshly caught trout from a mountain lake fried in butter...nothing. Trout can only live in the cleanest and coldest water available. They are like the canaries in the coal mines. If the trout can no longer survive then the water is dying. These waters were filled with trout, wonderful trout, mouthwatering trout.
The first mouthful did not want to leave his mouth. His mouth was so enamored by the taste and texture that it resisted swallowing and wanted to continue sucking the wonderful juices out of the fish.
“You have outdone yourself Alexi. This fish is magnificent. It brings back so many memories of my grandfather and fishing the waters The Seas of Armenia. This fish puts the Rainbow Trout of Kamchatka that Khrushchev brags about, to shame. Just wonderful Alexi...just wonderful.”
“Thank you comrade.”
The trout had come from Lake Sevan and probably was destined to have been eaten by the Fisherman but the soldiers had gotten there first. Unlike many of their other compatriots these group of soldiers had been ordered to catch the trout using fishing line and fly. Many of the other troops were dining on fish that had been blown out of the water using grenades. The general’s chef knew his commander would have none of that kind of fish and a full third of the lake had been designated off limits to the more destructive methods being used.
Ivan Bagramyan was from a village named Chardakhlu and it was less than 100 km from Sevan Lake. Until his teenage years he roamed these very hills and lakes. He was bombarded from an early age by tales of the Turks invading and massacring his people, the Armenians. Story after story of the Turk’s atrocities were common bed and fireside fare.
His village is now known as a home of many heroes of the Great Patriotic War. Of the able bodied Armenians of the village, 1250 went to the front. Half of them were awarded with orders and medals, two gained the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union (himself and Hamazasp Babadzhanian), 12 became generals, and seven Hero of the Soviet Union. an amazing legacy for such a small, isolated area.
Bagramyan carried the tales of Turkish and Ottoman atrocities with him as he fought with various military units during the First World War, facing the blood curdling cry of the southern invader too many times to count. He fought the Turk hand to hand when he was young now he would command the Front that would stab at the heart of the former Ottoman empire and then on to the Levant and Persia. It was expected that the Turkish army would concentrate and provide the most resistance on its western border, while his forces cut through sparse opposition and swiftly moved onto the prize of the oil in fields in Iraq and the all-important Suez Canal. Zukov would be in control of the entire offensive with Konev having the honor of assaulting Constantinople and the more Westernized part of Turkey while he did the real damage coming in from the back door.
Konev was to be given airborne troops and the marines. He was to take the Bosporus from land, air and sea. He was given all the toys while Bagramyan was given all the power and maneuver units. He was to hit fast and hard and to keep on moving. He was to have the bulk of the remaining offensive fuel supplies that were to be used for the invasion of Korea and the consolidation of Manchuria. He would have plenty of fuel and supplies to make it to the Suez and Kuwait and then defend both of up to 3 months. The Stavka’s plan became very undefined at that point with a lot of contingencies and if that’s.
His duty was to follow orders and hope for the best and he was one of the best at this as well as proposing alternatives. He had a habit of planning and then convincing his superiors and even Stalin to modify the grandiose plans he was to carry out. His brilliant variation of the original plan for Operation Bagration had won the battle for central Belarus. His detour through the dreaded Pripet Marsh area had caught the Germans completely by surprise and paved the way for the huge advances that were to follow. His many variations to the grandiose plans of the Stavka were legendary even in the West. If anyone could improvise it was Bagramyan. His many improvisations had saved tens of thousands of Soviet lives and cost the tens of thousands of Germans theirs.
The second mouthful of trout was just as good as the first and Marshal Bagramyan relished the thought of finally bringing the overwhelming power of the Red Army crashing down on Armenia’s most deadly and implacable enemy, an enemy who tried to exterminate the Armenian people. A crime so heinous that the term genocide was coined to describe the systematic death by forced deportation and starvation of 1.5 Armenians in 1915.
Yet Bagramyan was not bent on revenge. He was focused on the mission and its twin objectives the closure of the Suez canal by any means and the occupation of the oil fields of Iraq and Kuwait. A secondary consequence of his maneuvers would be the capture and destruction of the strategic bomber bases being used by the Amerikosi to attack the homeland. This too would be an inevitable result of his twin thrusts.
He was not a vindictive barbarian and would attempt to keep his forces from harming the buildings that three major religions of the world revered. Their continued existence under communist rule would just strengthen the idea of the inevitability of a workers paradise that transcend the superstitions that religions have used to rule the sheep of the world. A benevolent re-education would be an interesting experiment and if that failed then other means could be used.
Many of the units under his command were not Armenian by design. This operation would require the utmost of professionalism and could not be threatened by emotional displays of revenge no matter how justified. The destruction of Ottoman Empire once and for all would be revenge enough for his generation.
He had 2 months to prepare for a winter offensive in a mild climate. He was grateful it wasn’t Korea on the winter. He had heard stories about that area. He was from a cold place and was used to winter. From all indications this would be a very bad one in the north but not so in the south,. Cold would not stop him only mud and this area of the world did not receive much rain at any time, much less the winter. It was usually cold and dry, perfect weather to invade a country with minimal losses. It will certainly beat winter in the Pyrenees Mountains.