Photos: Hundreds remember Christmas battles

It's been a hundred years since the Latvian riflemen's battalion showed incredible courage and valor in Christmas Battles, which were one of the largest and most decisive operations in Latvia during the First World War. Hundreds were present at the battle sites of Tīreļpurvs and Ložmetējkalns to honor the Latvian riflemen, reported Latvian Television Saturday.

Enthusiasts and the National Guard were clad in World War I uniforms reenacting the battles. An armored combat vehicle was present too. Hundreds were present to witness the reenactment, while dozens of students gave their Youth Guard oaths at the nearby Christmas Battles museum.

The Christmas Battles are significant not just to Latvian but to European history as a whole, raging on from 5 to 11 January 1917 (from 23 to 29 December 1916 by Julian Calendar) along a front line of 30 km stretching from Tīreļpurvs to Olaine. It was the first time Latvian national military units fought joined together in one division.

The fighting was some of the heaviest in all the period from 1915 to 1917. The battlefields of Babīte district were the site of some of the dramatic and deadly confrontations now commemorated with a memorial to the fallen of the Latvian Riflemen's Battalion at Antiņi cemetery in the Tīrelis bog.

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