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Remembered Today:

Capture of Basra 1914


stevenbecker
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Mates,

If you have a copy of the BOWH can you give any details on the Turkish Troops who defended that town, a Turkish site gave me this;

"The next target of the Indian division was the town of Basra, which was defended by a force of 2,900 troops commanded by Suphi Paşa. Basra fell on November 22, with a Turkish loss of 1,200 prisoners, including Suphi Paşa himself, and three cannons."

Does anyone know who Suphi Pasha is and what unit defended Basra?

Its know that units of the 38th Turkish Div held lower Mespotainia with these Regts;

112th Regt

113th Regt

114th Regt

Who along with local levies fought a delaying action untill other forces showed up in early 1915.

Cheers

S.B

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Volume 1 of Moberly's The Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918 has an Appendix about the Turkish Forces (page 352)

http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b746001?urlappend=%3Bseq=378

There are also mentions throughout the text such as on page 124

http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b746001?urlappend=%3Bseq=144

However, I didn't notice a reference to Suphi Paşa

Cheers

Maureen

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"The next target of the Indian division was the town of Basra, which was defended by a force of 2,900 troops commanded by Suphi Paşa. Basra fell on November 22, with a Turkish loss of 1,200 prisoners, including Suphi Paşa himself, and three cannons."

Does anyone know who Suphi Pasha is and what unit defended Basra?

Suphi Pasha is probably the Vali of Basrah, Colonel Subhi Bey

After the action at Saihan on 15th November (involving 2/112th, 1/113th & 2/113th, a battalion of the Basrah Gendarmarie, four field-guns, four mountain-guns and four machine-guns) the Ottomans retired to Zain “where they were reinforced by a detachment of the 1/26th and a troop of cavalry. Colonel Subhi Bey now took over command in person”

On 17th November the Ottomans were attacked and defeated at Zain

Subhai Bey retired with part of his force to Baljanyah, while Major Adil Bey took the remainder (including the 114th

who before Zain had been sent off to the town of Abul Khasib) to Zubair

Caveat: the above info is from Lt-Col C C R Murphy's 'Soldiers of the Prophet' and is therefore second hand

ie. He was not there himself, but got the story from Turkish officers in occupied Istanbul in 1918-1919.

I hope that this is of some help here

Michael

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Michael,

Many thanks that fills a gap, but opens another door?

1/26th Regt

Of cause this Regt could not be down in Mesoptaina, as it was with the 9th Div at Gallipoli.

but found no other unit that could be down there?

126th Regt - was with the 11th Div in Thrace

26th Cav Regt - was in Yeman

As the 13th Corps units (less the 38th Div) had been moved north to help fight the Russian invasion and wouldn't return till early 1915.

The mention of four MGs is interesting as the Orbat for the 38th Div dosn't show any, but that Orbat was taken well before the British landing?

So did the 113th Regt have a MG Company and did any of the others have one by Nov 1914?

I know that answer maybe well out of the area of our mates but I am thinking out loud.

Cheers and Merry Christmas

S.B

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Merry Christmas Steve,

the 38th Division was one of the 'Irak divisions'; a term which Col Murphy suggests was used by the Turkish officers with some contempt. This may also suggest that they were locally recruited???

In describing the 38th Division he points out that they were strengthened by having attached to them a battalion of “which the officers and men were all Turks”. This battalion was the 1st/26th Regiment “which really formed part of the 9th Division of the 3rd Army Corps in Gallipoli.” It was sent over to Basrah during the summer of 1914.

[Erickson covers this move in his 'Gallipoli: The Ottoman Campaign' – see page 30 – 'On the tenth day of mobilization (12 August 1914) the 9th Infantry Division's 26th Infantry Regiment at Gallipoli reported its 2nd and 3rd Battalions at war strength. Its 1st Battalion was on detached duty in Basra.”

See also Erickson's page 66 - “...1/26 Regt, which is sometimes referred to in western histories as the 4th Battalion from its origin as a reconstituted replacement on 16 August 1914 for the original 1st Battalion...]

In general terms Col Murphy describes the 38th Division thus:-

112th, 113th, 114th, 1st/26th Regiments – At Basrah. This division consisted of only six battalions of its own and one battalion attached, and suffered considerable casualties in the actions at Saniyah, Saihan, and Zain. Most of the remainder were captured at Kurna in December 1914, after which the division was disbanded, though remnants were still in existence at Barjisiyah.

regards

Michael

(edit to add second quote from Erickson)

Edited by michaeldr
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Michael,

Brillant mate, nice pick up, read that page and book many times but didn't think to record that?

Buggar

Yes units of the 38th Div were spread all over southern and central Iraq as garrisons, after the rest of the 13th Corps (37th Div and Corps units) were sent north to fight the Russians.

Interesting by Dec 1914 the 38th Div was as good as disbanded as all units were so reduced by casualties it had to be reformed and took the field again by June 1915. but again by Jan 1916 the 38th Div was disbanded for good and refomed with the 35th Div.

This Div (35th Div) was disbanded in June 1916 and reformed as a Regt?

So the Turks dispite they victory at Kut went through many changes.

I did wounder what happened to the 1Bn 26th Regt as it appears to disappear from the records soon after Dec 1914 (disbanded to other Regts I surpose.)

Many thanks again.

S.B

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I did wounder what happened to the 1Bn 26th Regt as it appears to disappear from the records soon after Dec 1914 (disbanded to other Regts I surpose.)

Steve,

Col Murphy has an OoB for the Ottoman forces in his chapter 'The Attempt to Recapture Basrah'

The details are for the “Right Wing command and the tribesmen, concentrated between Shamiyah and Nakhailah on 27th March 1915”

In this OoB he mentions

1st Muretteb Battalion – (The Osmanjik Battalion and the 1st/26th Regiment) 17 Officers and 729 Other Ranks

This battalion is also mentioned in the Operational Orders, Right Wing Command, at Barjisiyah Wood, April 1915

“Item 3 – Ajaimi Bey and his tribesmen will attack at right angles to the line of the Markab Shaiba towers; the 1st Muretteb Battalion to the left of this line.....

Item 5 – A field hospital will be established behind the Fire Brigade (Battalion) and the 1st Muretteb Battalion...........

signed Ali Bey, Lieut-Colonel, OC Right Wing”

Of the conclusion of the action Murphy writes

'The casualties amongst the regular troops at Barjisiyah amounted to 54 officers and 2381 other ranks. These figures do not include the very slightly wounded. The casualties amongst the Arab and Kurdish tribesmen are unknown, but probably did not exceed a few hundred. The bulk of the casualties occurred amongst the Turkish troops, namely the Fire Brigade (Battalion) and the 1st Muretteb Battalion'

regards

Michael

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Michael,

Thanks again, I'll have to look for this book as it appears full of great details.

Cheers

S.B

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Michael,

You maybe interested in this responce from our Turkish mates.

"There is a Brigadier Suphi Paşa during Balkan Wars who was isnpector general of halting-places (menzil) of the Eatern Armyin 1912
In 1913 we see him as commander of 4th Tribes Cav. Div. at Bolayir Battles. This division might consist of Kurds of Arabsic tribes. I dont axactly know.

At Irak ther is a Col Suphi Bey C of 38th Div. He was taken POw at Kurna on May 1916 and died in captivity.
As we know Enver pasha decreased the ranks of many officers to a lower level. Suphi might be one of them His pasha rank might be reduced to Col."

Do you have any thing on what happened May 1916 at Kurna for Col Suphi Bey to be captured?

Cheers

S.B

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Michael,

I should add these other tid bits (Tosun) gave.

"After Suphi Bey was taken pow the 38th Div was re orgnized as on dec. 10th 1914
-Sahrıca Müfrezesi (Detachment) C by Maj. Hakkı. which consisted of Mobile Jendarm battalions, Bagdat Depot Battalion, Border Battalion at Bedre, and a art. battalion. On Dec 10th Sarhrıca was reinforced and got the name Şatra.commanded by Maj. Ata.
- South Detachment C: Maj. Adil. Later general He was an Irak Arab and fought bravely.
- Mürettep 1. Alay ( Composed 1st R C: Maj Halim
- Composed 2 . R. C:Maj Seyfullah (possibly from whats left of the 112th and 113th Regts)
114t R C.Maj Salih
Tribal forces commanded by Ucemi sadun Pasha

Muretteb Battalion is composed battalion"

and
"Osmanjik (Osmancık) Battalion was established by Süleyman Askeri Bey in İstanbul from men of Turkish Kayi tribe. Kayı tribe is the main tribe who grunded Ottoman Empire. Sultan Osman was the Bey of Kayı Tribe. Original name of the battalion is Fedai (volunteer) Osmancık Taburu"

It appears a lot of reorg went on following the Turkish fighting withdrawal from Basrah, with the addition of arab or local forces with regular units of the 38th Div.

Cheers

S.B

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At Irak ther is a Col Suphi Bey C of 38th Div. He was taken POw at Kurna on May 1916 and died in captivity.

Query the above May 1916?

(note that you also have

After Suphi Bey was taken pow the 38th Div was re orgnized as on dec. 10th 1914 )

Col Murphy gives the following re the capture of this officer

“About midnight on the 8th a steamer ablaze with lights was seen coming down stream. She carried three Turkish officers bearing a message of surrender from Subhi Bey, who was commanding the 38th Division, and had been acting Wali of Basrah. General Fry insisted on an unconditional surrender, and so at 1 pm the next day the remnants of the Turkish garrison appeared before the trenches and laid down their arms. The Turkish officers then came forward and handed up their swords. General Fry returned Subhi Bey's sword in recognition of his having put up a good fight. The captives numbered 45 Officers and 1,000 men. …........ The Turkish casualties in and around Kurna and Mzaira'ah were about 500 killed and wounded, ours being roughly half that total.

…..........................................................................

South Detachment C: Maj. Adil. Later general He was an Irak Arab and fought bravely

See my post No.3 above

[After the action at Saihan on 15th November (involving 2/112th, 1/113th & 2/113th, a battalion of the Basrah Gendarmarie, four field-guns, four mountain-guns and four machine-guns) the Ottomans retired to Zain “where they were reinforced by a detachment of the 1/26th and a troop of cavalry. Colonel Subhi Bey now took over command in person”]

Maj Adil Bey had been in command of the force described here, prior to Subhi Bey taking over

…..........................................................................

Osmanjik (Osmancık) Battalion was established by Süleyman Askeri Bey

Per Col Murphy, this officer passed through the Ecole Militaire in Constantinople and served in Tripoli under Enver in 1911, and later fought against Bulgaria. He was wounded fighting the British at Kurna – a bullet to the left leg broke the bone below the knee and another hit him in the hip. From his stretcher, this commander gave the order quoted in post No.7 above.

He was buried by the Turks at Nakhailah on 15th April 1915

…..........................................................................

If you get Murphy's book then you will find a detailed OoB of the Right Wing command on 27th March 1915: see pages 99 to 103

regards

Michael

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After Suphi Bey was taken pow the 38th Div was re orgnized as on dec. 10th 1914 )

Col Murphy gives the following re the capture of this officer

“About midnight on the 8th a steamer ablaze with lights was seen coming down stream. She carried three Turkish officers bearing a message of surrender from Subhi Bey, who was commanding the 38th Division, and had been acting Wali of Basrah. General Fry insisted on an unconditional surrender, and so at 1 pm the next day the remnants of the Turkish garrison appeared before the trenches and laid down their arms. The Turkish officers then came forward and handed up their swords. General Fry returned Subhi Bey's sword in recognition of his having put up a good fight. The captives numbered 45 Officers and 1,000 men. …........ The Turkish casualties in and around Kurna and Mzaira'ah were about 500 killed and wounded, ours being roughly half that total.

Steve,

There is a first hand account of this incident, albeit from a sailor's point of view, in The Naval Review

see http://www.naval-review.com/issues/1910s/1915-3.pdf#Page=148&View=Fit

quote:

“Shortly before midnight that night a steam launch was observed coming down from Kurna. As she was carrying all lights and blowing her syren we did not fire on her, but sent a boat to examine her. She was found to contain three Turkish officers who had come under a flag of truce to obtain terms of surrender. As it was not possible to communicate at once with our General (who was senior to the S.N.O.) the latter demanded the unconditional surrender of Kurna, failing which, he explained the assault would take place at daylight. After about two hours, when they found that we would agree to no other terms, the Turkish officers agreed to unconditional surrender. This was communicated to the General ashore as soon as we could get into touch with him, and the assault next morning stopped. The General came on board Espiègle at 8 a.m. with his staff, and at 10 a.m. at the top of high water we pushed on over the last few hundred yards of shallow water, steamed up into the Tigris, and anchored off Kurna. There we found the remainder of the garrison which had not escaped up either river, drawn up with arms piled. At 1 p.m. our troops had marched in, a party of bluejackets was landed also, and the formal surrender and hoisting of the Union Jack took place. Bluejackets from Espiègle hoisted the Union Jack. The total "bag" was over 1,000 prisoners, including Subhi Bey, the Vali of Basra, with 35 officers and 8 guns. There was one Turkish naval lieutenant amongst them who reported that he belonged to a Thorneycroft armed patrol boat, which had been sunk during the bombardment on the day before while lying in the Tigris off Kurna.”

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