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Dominion and Turks


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Guest British Frontier

Hi

Can someone tell me what dominion troops were present with the capture of Megiddo and Damascus and how many were actually British?

1918 September 19

General Allenby begins the Jordan Valley offensive, and by dawn on September 20, the Turkish Eighth Army has ceased to exist. Allenby's decisive victory at Megiddo, which guarded the main pass through the Carmel Mountains, is one of the most brilliant operations in the history of the British army. During the next 38 days, Allenby's troops advance more than 360 miles, taking 76,000 prisoners (4,000 of them German and Austrian).

And how trained were the Turkish troops for Palestine campaign?

Be much appreciated thx.

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I don't have my sources with me so will leave your first set of questions to others. As to how trained the Ottoman Army was, there were some very fine units who had fought with distinction at Gallipoli and subsequently. The German troops were well trained. Some units were less robust. Possibly not because of training. At this stage, morale and supplies were becoming more and more problematic for the Ottoman Army. The Turks only provided some of the soldiers. Various Arab and other nationalities were also represented and it was growing ever more difficult to keep them together.

I think the real success of Megiddo though was in the deception that drew a significant proportion of the Ottoman Army towards the Jordan Valley and away from the coast. Ottoman intelligence-gathering and processing failed in the face of more effective air superiority by the British and the lack of other mechanisms for getting valid evidence.

Once the breakthrough was effected, the nature of the countryside really favoured the fast moving cavalry and light horsemen. No matter how well trained the infantry were, it became impossible to counter the deep thrust into the rear areas, which because of the terrain inland meant that large numbers of the Ottoman Army were captured.

Robert

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Guest stevenbec

Mate,

No British Troops were with in "Cooee" of Damascus went it fell to the 10th ALHR (Australian Light Horse Regt).

Units of the 3rd, 4th and 5th ALH Bde's were all around the City when it was taken

But there were British Cavarly regts with in the Indian Divisons that with the Australians followed the great work of the British Infanry to break throught the Turkish lines allowing the Cavary to do what Haigh had been trying to do in France for three years and thousands of lives.

The Aussie LH Div just happened to be on the right side of the advance and got the city while other important cities fell to British and Indian troops.

S.B

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To answer the original question.

At Meggido all were present, Australian, British, Indian and French.

At Damascus, the Australian Mounted Division and the Arab Army were in the initial capture and were then followed in by 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions.

Meggido. or how to fight a battle properly

Allenby set up dummy encampments in the Jordan valley on his right wing and allowed the Turks to observe.

He secretly moved four infantry Divisions, most of his artillery, 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions and the Australian Mounted Division to his left wing.

From the coast 60th Div then 7th Indian Division a French Div and the 54th Division, after a bombardment with 383 guns for 15 minutes, punched a hole in the Turkish line.

Through the line poured the Desert Mounted Corps - 4th and 5th Cavalry and the Australian Mounted Division - under Sir Harry Chauvel.

The 5th Cavalry crossed the hills to Abu Shusheh and 13th Brigade went for Nazareth where Liman Von Sanders HQ was ( just missing him) the junction at El Afrule was taken by 14th Cavalry Brigade and 4th Cavalry entered Beisan.

The Australian Mounted Division which followed the 4th Cavalry through the Musmus Pass then passed through and turned east at Jenin to cut the Turkish retreat heading straight for Damascus.

post Meggido.

Over the next few days the Turks were forced back.

Following on the Turkish 4th Army was split, some surrendered near Amman having been forced east ,the rest at Damascus which the Desert Mounted Corps led by the Australian Mounted Division occupied on 2nd October.

Aye

Malcolm

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Guest British Frontier

thx for summing that up guys. at least u gave credit to what the british did. what botherd me was some aussie historian who reckoned the ottoman campaign would be another stalemate if it weren't for the aussies. (u aussies are so ready to find fault grrr) no such thing was needed. besaides if the brit's weren't confident in theri commanders (with the exeption of byng, plumer. and the potential of smith- dorienne etc (streuth had a few too many) then of course they ain't gonna perfom too well. look at history with ppl like the duke of wellington's triumphs n' field marshall slim in ww2 or fred roberts in the 2nd afghan war.

-Fought December 2, 1878, between a British force, 3,200 strong, under Sir Frederick Roberts, with 13 guns, and about 18,000 Afghans, with 11 guns, strongly posted in the Kotal. By an able, but difficult turning movement, the pass was crossed, and the Afghans completely defeated, with heavy loss, all their guns being captured. The British lost 20 killed and 7 8 wounded-

BRITISH AND PROUD!!

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It stands to reason the Australian Light Horse were there first. If you look at the composition of the Desert Mounted Corps, the ALH were the main infantry arm. You don't put in your cavalry and then infantry. Some of the cavalry were Indian Lancers and their short Lee-Enfields had become ' must haves ' for the majority of the Australian and Yeomanry troops. These were issued a short time before the battle and were an instant success. They were much better suited to street fighting.

I make no comment about football! :ph34r:

Aye

Malcolm

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Dear British Frontier.

Would you kindly identify the Aussie Historian.

Pat

PS

Funny thing, I just tried to check your list of British football victories to see if Troy was among them. It had Disappeared! Anyway here's a pic of Aussie Trojan Horses in the Jordan Valley. It has nothing to do with Dominion or Turks, but the Battles of Megiddo & Damascus have been mentioned, so perhaps there is some connection.

post-5-1096852473.jpg

Edited by bonza
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Guest stevenbec

Mate,

I agree with Mal, we (I mean as an aussie) we do have a tendency to put more into our effect and lessen that of others.

I think it has a lot to do with our nation's idea of being unsure of its confidence in the world stage. So we do tend to make a lot of our involvment in importent events to show we are just as good as any other country.

Hopefully many new aussie Historians do acknowage that we were part of the whole and not the whole when we talk about the events of our past, I try to put all points if possible to show that our efforts were just that more important as we made up so small part of the whole. And as such we (aussies) should be just as proud of our soldiers as you are of yours.

S.B

P.S

If I may, Allanby was well aware that the Turks would know of any advance/attack by the placement of aussie troops, hence the postion of the Anzac Mounted on the Jordan front and the late movement of the Aust Mounted to the Northern front for the attack.

These troops (aussie) were hardened by three years in the country while many British and Indian horse were new. So he (Allanby) did place much on the aussie shoulders like puting the Aust Mounted Div on the right flank to capture Damascus when he just as well could have placed an Indian Div to do the job. Purhaps its because he was aware that we (aussies) had missed out in the capture of Jesulem and gave us the job of Damascus as a substatute.

Cheers

S.B

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Touche Robert!

Steve has been remiss to leave out the gallant Enzeds.

Dear 'British and Proud',

I completely agree with Steve's sentiments about dominion troops playing only a part, not an exclusive role in the success of the campaign in Sept 1918.

But in the beginning of the campaign the burden on colonial or dominion troops (Desert Mounted Corps) was very significant. The campaign became more probing and aggressive. It became a mobile war or an offensive campaign.

In fact, the British commander was keen to keep 'his' colonials from being sent to Europe as he recognised there true mettle or worth. Particularly after the disastrous events involving the British Yeomanry units/garrisons at Oghratina and Katia in April 1916. (I think they must have been expecting a horde of Afghans)

Cheers

Geoff S

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Anyway here's a pic of Aussie Trojan Horses in the Jordan Valley. It has nothing to do with Dominion or Turks, but the Battles of Megiddo & Damascus have been mentioned, so perhaps there is some connection.

The photo is of Allenby's ' ghost army ' in the Jordan valley which the Air Force allowed the Turks to see. There were also tents with dummies on sentry.

Aye

Malcolm

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Guest stevenbec

Sorry Mate,

But I did refer to the NZ'ers, see Anzac Mounted Div in my answer.

And yes we should not forget there was a Jewish Brigade and please god don't forget the French if you want to be purdentic.

As the 5th ALH Bde had a French regt attached to it and was involved in the capture of Damascus.

Bon chance

S.B

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Guest British Frontier

Geoff you mean the high casualties the ANZACS had there?

The commander of the Allied forces in Egypt was General Sir Archibald Murray. At the time of the battle, his available forces comprised two British infantry divisions (the 42nd Division and the 52nd Division) and the Anzac Mounted Division, under General H.G. Chauvel, containing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigades, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the 5th Mounted Brigade (British Yeomanry).

Aftermath

By the time the Turks were driven out of Katia, their casualties were 1250 dead (buried by the British after the battle) and an estimated 4000 wounded. The British had taken 3950 Turkish prisoners. Total British casualties were 1130 of which 202 were killed. The 52nd Division incurred 195 of the 1130 casualties, the rest came from the Australian and New Zealand mounted regiments.

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Dear 'British & Proud',

Sorry for the delay getting back to you. Thanks for listing the forces at Gen Murray's desposal at the beginning of the campaign. The casualties suffered by the Anzac's were considerable compared to the British as I mentioned before because the Anzacs shouldered considerable weight in the early phases of the campaign. The Australians and New Zealanders were able to adapted quickly to the terrain and conditions.

I have included some references to indicate the comparitive differences in how Gen Murray rated the troops under his command. I hope you find this interesting!

He pointed out that when the 11th and 42nd, and the 4th and the 5th Australian Infantry Divisions, were withdrawn—and also, as he assumed, the Australian Infantry reinforcements—he would have available for Sinai only the 52nd and 54th British Infantry Division and two brigades of the 53rd, all much below war strength, and six battalions of Indians; for none of these did he possess assured reinforcements. Murray’s position was most unenviable. He was willing to yield all he could, but he did not know where the demand would stop. He feared even for his mounted brigades “I am assuming” he cabled to the War Office at this time, “that you are leaving the three Australian Light Horse Brigades and the New Zealand Brigade with me. Otherwise I shall be deprived of the only really reliable mounted troops I have”. The British leader had already made up his mind as to the relative quality of the Anzacs and the yeomanry. But he saw clearly that the yeomanry, if not yet highly efficient, could with vigorous training under regular officers be turned into first class cavalry. Already he had taken the steps necessary to effect the change, and the fine work of the yeomanry later in the campaign was directly due to his judgment and foresight.

Page 99. Volume VII “Sinai and Palestine” by H S GullettOfficial History of the Australia in the War of 1914–18

Murray made strong representations during June to the War Office concerning the quality of the British troops under his command. He pointed out that the Territorials of his two divisions, the 42nd and 52nd, were inferior in quality not only to regulars but also to the new troops enlisted since the war. The War Office policy considering subsidiary operations, such as the war against the Turks, only after the Western Front had taken all that was best of British resources, was illustrated in an exchange for despatches following upon the application by Murray for a “young, vigorous officer” to lead the 52nd Division. Murray complained that the War Office offered him three generals, one of whom had lost his command because his nerves had broken down, while the two others in his opinion were “entirely unsuitable”. Under the circumstances Murray was fortunate to secure in Major-General W. E. B. Smith a leader for the 52nd Division with whom he was well satisfied.

Reference has already been made to Murray’s poor opinion of the officers of the yeomanry up to this time. In June he advised the War Office that “the bulk of the yeomanry officers are ignorant of the rudiments of mounted work”: He asked to be given at least three good cavalry officers for each regiment, and said that if this were done he would make drastic changes among the higher ranks of the yeomanry officers. “In any serious mounted work”, he added “I rely entirely on my Anzac Mounted Division, who are excellent under hard conditions”. The British leader, while showing the greatest concern as to both the number and quality of his troops, was still exercising the utmost generosity towards the Western Front. When he asked about this time to release one of the five infantry divisions remaining in Egypt, and was permitted to make the selection, he thanked the War Office for the compliment, and replied that he was sending the 11th Division, which as “the best he had”.Page 121. Volume VII “Sinai and Palestine” by H S Gullett

Official History of the Australia in the War of 1914–18

The British Official History pge 98 (Egypt & Palestine by MacMunn) also mentions that the best British Div's were being sent to France & Murray's Strategic reserve was left with the weakest British Infantry Div's for his campaign into Sinai.

Fortunately, Murray had the Australians & New Zealanders mounted troops which he valued and used frequently to spear head his advance into Sinai in 1916.

Cheers

Geoff S

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G'day Geoff

Any idea where "British & Proud" hangs out these days.

Still got some number nines if yours are running low.

Paddy

Sorry! Gotta Go now, am getting the "Wind -up" as in whined!

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