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Remembered Today:

Ottoman trench raids Palestine


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I was wondering what details you have on raids by Ottoman units in Palestine?


On looking at the ALH & Camel Corps units, how on the odd times held the front lines, they never were raided by Ottoman units?


There were at times a major attack, but not a raid?


Since your British Infantry units had more contact with the Ottoman Infantry, did they notice any differences in raiding by Ottoman units, like what units were more agresive then others?


So far I don't see the Ottoman units being overly agresive in Palestine, unlike there units on Gallipoli?


Any insight here?




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The opposing lines held by the two sides between the dates of Gaza II and Gaza III certainly allowed raiding by both belligerents on the front held by the 52nd (Lowland) Division.


Chapter XIX of their divisional history covers this period, 22nd April-28th October, and mentions night activity which commenced (as far as the Turks were concerned) within days of the end of Gaza II.

“...a struggle for for the possession of No Man's Land” is described as being peaceful during the day, but “By night it was often black pandemonium, in which officers and men occasionally disappeared and were never heard of again.”


The Turks tried day-light tactics on 5th June when about 20 rushed a post of the 5th RSF before Umbrella Hill. In the fighting and ensuing rescue attempts 2nd Lieut J M Craig's actions gained him the VC. The Scots took their revenge a little later by a raid on the Turkish position at Sea Post


From the end of July 1917 onwards both side were patrolling in strength on the Mansura-Sheikh Abbas front, with the Turks sometimes sending out between 80-300 men, which again resulted in deadly struggles in the darkness. Eg on the night of 31st July a forty-strong Scots patrol was fired upon and bombed by a Turkish patrol of about 80-120. The aggressive patrolling by the Turks is described as 'clever and formidable' as they went 'about in overwhelming masses'.


I recommend the 52nd Division's history by Thompson




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Thanks mate, just what I was after.


Interesting that the vetern 3rd Ottoman Div was in front of the 52nd Div for most of that time, its units had been in action with our units in Egypt - Palestine since Aug 1916.




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Hi Steve,


I have the manuscript diary of Private George Tuttlebee, a scout in the 1/4 Royal Sussex Regiment (160th Bge, 53rd Div) over the summer of 1917.  


His diary records two stints in the front lines, from 10 June to 10 July 1917, and 2 August to 26 August 1917.  During those times he records plenty of exchanges of artillery and machine gun fire, and problems with snipers, but only one event that could be called an Ottoman raid.  This was on 14 August 1917, after the battalion had taken over the line at Fusilier Ridge (at P25 on the standard Gaza-Tel el Sheria map).  This was on the western end of the line, in the sand dunes and ridges of the area south-west of Gaza, close to the sea.  The 4th Royal Sussex had taken over the line from the 5th Suffolks and a company of the 5th Norfolk Regiment, and the battalion was on the right of the Brigade’s line.  His diary reads:


Tuesday,  14th August


Sketching as usual before breakfast.  Rifle inspection at 9 o’clock.  There was a lively bombardment.  The enemy putting over H.E. and Shrapnel all along our front line. I was on duty from 10.30 till 12.30.  An enemy raiding party approached our listening post about 12 o’clock.  The S. Major was taken prisoner.  He was a German and had only been in the line 10 days.



The battalion War Diary records this event:  One enemy Patrol was fired on by our sentries, and the Warrant Officer i/c of the Patrol came in and gave himself up as a deserter.  As you can see, it's unclear whether this was an actual raid or just a patrol.


The War Dairy summary for August only gives that single enemy raid, although it also says of their own activities:  Patrols were sent out nightly from our own lines towards the enemy wire, and pamphlets printed in Turkish were left in conspicuous places.  Curiously, given his role as a scout and his frequent turns in listening posts, Tuttlebee himself never takes part in one of those patrols.


Not sure if this actually helps or not!


All the best




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