Sunday, April 6, 2008

Samedbey Mehmandarov
Samedbey Sadykhbey oglu Mehmandarov (Azeri: Səməd bəy Sadığ bəy oğlu Mehmandarov, 1855 - 1931) was General of the Artillery of the Russian tsarist army and Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
Samedbey Mehmandarov was born on 16 October 1855 in Lankaran in a noble family from Shusha. He graduated from 2nd Constantine Military School in St. Petersburg in 1875, was conferred the rank of podporuchik and assigned to 1st Turkestan artillery brigade. In the course of military service he was promoted in 1877 to poruchik and seconded two years later to 2nd artillery brigade in St. Petersburg.
In 1885 shtabs-kapitan Mehmandarov was assigned to 38th artillery brigade in the Caucasus, where he served 9 years. In 1894 38th artillery brigade was transferred to Poland, where he became a member of court martial. In 1898 captain Mehmandarov was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and appointed the commander of 1st battery of 3rd artillery battalion. The same year the Mehmandarov's battery was moved to Transbaikal region and took part in China Relief Expedition in 1901. For the services in battle Mehmandarov was conferred the rank of colonel. In 1903 he completed a course in Tsarskoye Selo Officer's Artillery College.
When the Russo-Japanese War broke out in 1904, Mehmandarov was appointed the commander of 7th Eastern Siberia artillery battalion. During the siege of Port Arthur he was the commander of the Eastern Front Artillery. For the services in battle he was promoted to major general and decorated with the Order of Saint George of IV degree. After the capitulation of the fortress the garrison was in Japanese captivity. When Japanese commanders allowed the captured Russian officers to return home in exchange to signing an obligation to not fight against Japan, Mehmandarov refused and preferred to stay with his soldiers.
Upon his return from captivity Mehmandarov was appointed the commander of 7th East Siberian Artillery Brigade in 1906, and became the commander of 3rd Siberian Army Corps artillery a year later. In 1908 he was conferred the rank of lieutenant-general. In 1910 he was appointed the commander of 1st Caucasian Division; in 1913 he became the commander of 21st Infantry Division and in this position entered World War I within 3rd Caucasian Army Corps. Under Mehmandarov's command the division earned the reputation of one of the best in the Russian Army, and 81st Apsheron and 83rd Samur regiments especially distinguished themselves. He was decorated with the Order of Saint George of III degree for the battles of 27 – 29 September 1914, and Saint George sword decorated with diamonds for the battle near Ivangorod on 14 February 1915. On 11 December 1914 Mehmandarov was appointed the commander of 2nd Caucasian Army Corps. Mehmandarov's corps was engaged in the fiercest battles with German troops and during the whole war had not surrendered to the enemy a single piece of ordnance. On 22 March 1915 Samedbey Mehmandarov was promoted to the rank of the General of the Artillery. He was decorated with British, French and Romanian orders.
After the February Revolution in Russia Mehmandarov resigned and left to Baku. With the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918 Samedbey Mehmandarov became the first minister of defense of Azerbaijan. He held this position until Red Army troops invaded Azerbaijan in 1920. After the fall of the national government and establishment of the Soviet rule in Azerbaijan Mehmandarov was arrested, but was released two months later. He taught in military schools and was an advisor to the Commissariat of Military and Naval Forces of Azerbaijan SSR until his retirement in 1928.
Samedbey Mehmandarov died 12 February 1931 in Baku.