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Slingo

2nd Battle of Gaza & Palestine Tank Detachment

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Slingo

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the key artillery units on the Ottoman side during the Palestine campaign from the start of 1916 until the armistice was the k.u.k. Mountain Howitzer Division von Marno.

This tiny little unit consisting of two batteries from two different Austrian mountain artillery regiments ( 1/4 CO Schaffer, 2/6 CO von Truszkowski ) fought bravely and often saved

hairy situations on the battlefield. Both batteries used a total of eight modern Skoda-built mountain howitzers 100 mm M10, later changed to Skoda field howitzers of the same 

calibre.

It was those batteries the Palestine Tank Detachment engaged during their first deployment on the 17th and 19th of April 1917.

My point is that this battle stands out as well as for the PTD and the MHD von Marno, since it was the first deployment of British tanks on Asian soil and the one and only

direct engagement between Austrian troops and British tanks, resulting in the one and only direct hit.

What I'm trying to solve is when and where Sir Archibald, Nutty and War Baby were deployed to make out which battery hit them or disabled them.

Up to now I think it was War Baby that was hit directly, while theother two were disabled ( lost or hit tracks 9 and destroyed later on during the fight ).

 

kind regards

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Gareth Davies

The 3 tanks you mention were working with the following British units:

 

War Baby - 52nd Div

Nutty & Sir Archibald - 163rd Bde, 54th Div

 

Sir Archibald was hit on 17 April just in front of Sheihk Abbas ridge.  The first shot hit the left track, the next 3 caused it to catch fire.  Nuts was hit at what is known as Tank Redoubt on 19 April.  War Baby had taken on Ojazel's objectives.  It was hit on 19 Apr near Outpost Hill. 

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

The photo I saw which was claimed as KO'ed by the KUK guns was that of HMLS Nutty in the Tank Redoubt

 

While I show the 14th Ottoman Field Artillery Regt supported there Regt (165th Regt) around the Tank redoubt and that 2/6th Btty KUK was shown attached to the 53rd Div I am unsure if we could give the Nutty as KO'ed by the KUK guns?

 

From what I can gleen this Battery supported the 163rd Regt, which held the Ali Muntar area which put it out of range of the Tank Redoubt and put the Tank War Baby closer?

 

Put I will need to check some more sources to confirm?

 

Some thing I wrote on this battle

 

Garrisoning this line was the Turkish 53rd Division, a good quality Anatolian Division under the veteran command of Colonel Selahattin Bey, with the 163rd Regiment on the right in the area of El Muntar, and the 165th Regiment holding the area of the Khirbet Sihan redoubts, including the Tank, Jack and Jill and Atawine Redoubts, while the 161st Regiment was in reserve near Hirbet - Ruseym, ready to move to any threaten area. The 125th Regiment (16th Division) under Major Hayri Bey, was also held in reserve at Berti Cered, until the morning of the 18th/19th April when it was moved down to the area of Hirbetel-Kufiye. The 14th Artillery Regiment had all its batteries deployed along the front with two groups east of the Tank Redoubt and one west. Three companies of Engineers were also attached to the Division, as was the Austro Hungarian 2/6th “Obus” 6x 100mm Gun Gerbirgshaubitz (Mountain) Battery under Lieutenant Lewicki, along with a team of AAA guns (Two 37mm Maschinen Flugabwehr Kanonen auf Sockel) from the Bavarian Flakzug 136, under Lieutenant de Reserve Bader

 

Cheers

 

S.B

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david murdoch

This photo appeared in "The Motorcycle" dated 22/8/1918. The photo would presumably been sent in by one of the readers (unfortunately there is no supporting article). By the date this picture would have been taken long after the tank met it's demise and just left abandoned. It certainly looks like it was destroyed by shellfire - possibly  suffering internal explosion  rather than disabled, so the nature of the damage may indicate which one it is.

tank - Copy.jpg

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

My photos all show this as "War Baby" a male Tank.

 

The problem is after the battle this tank was not much damaged, its believe that this damage was later so it could not be recovered by the British.

 

The problem is all the Tanks KO'ed at 2nd Gaza were hit by artillery. The Tank Nutty was seen to hit by three HE shells as it entered the Tank Redoubt and bust into flames.

 

There are a  number of photos of that Female Tank showing Turks soldiers in a trench with the tank above them.

 

S.B

Edited by stevebecker

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Sidearm

The photo in post #4 is HMLS War Baby, but it's a Mark I Female.

 

Gwyn

 

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T8HANTS

This is Sir Archibald, clearly showing the left hand track off and at least two other hits

Sir Archibalt.jpg

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T8HANTS

This or so I have always believed is Nutty sitting on top of the redoubt, her distinguishing feature is the left hand nose smashed round by 90 degrees.

There are many photos of her slowly sliding into the collapsing trench.

austro-hungarian-troops-in-holy-land-1916-1918-13.jpg

Edited by T8HANTS
wrote originally 'right' hand when should be left hand nose.

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Slingo

Dear Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for your help; the artillery fire control posts were located around 1km in front of both the batteries; therfore they should have seen the hits quite clearly.

1/4 and 2/6 were located around Ali Muntar at a focus point of th fight, changing their position between 17th and 19th.

I assume that during the fight the disabled tanks were hit again later.

As we already notice it is not easy to tell and with a good map, timetable and emplacements this puzzle will become a picture.

> Nutty: one description says she lost its track (=due to mechanical failure ), one says due to a shell ; from the position of the kuk batteries and Turkish one's

it is quite obvious that Nutty was KO'ed by Turkish artillery (8 of the crew becoming POW). I believe some hits on Nutty took place later during the fight since the Turkish

troops had to regain Tank Redoubt.

BTW the 10cm field gun battery manned by Turkish soldiers had to fetch Austrian crews, since the Turkish gun crews failed.

The classified documents I have are telling the story no too detailed regarding the tanks, since 2nd Gaza report derived  from cabled reports.

 kind regards, Gunther

 

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Slingo

Dear Gentlemen,

Report from the Austrian archives:

17.04.1917

Battery emplacement 1/4 : 0,63 miles southwest of Gaza , battery & divison command post : 1,25 mile in front of the battery

Battery emplacement 2/6 : 0,5  miles south of Gaza city; battery command post: 1 mile in front of the battery

Battery 2/6: at a critical sector a tank has intruded  and was knocked out by well directed fire from battery 2/6

 

So this must have been Sir Archibald. Sheik Abbas Ridge was well in the howitzers range; the two casualties may prove that ( see Tank 100 Bovington )

 

on 17th both batteries consumed 214 shells and 14 shrapnels

 

18th and 19th will follow soon

 

kind regards

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Slingo

Dear Gentlemen,

The 18th of April 1917 saw an emplacement change of battery 1/4  ordered by Col. Edib Bey from the right sector to the left: 1/4 was positioned 0,6 miles north of Nebi Montar

( = Ali Muntar ). Divisional and batteyr command post ( Captain Rudolf Schaffer ) was sited on a ridge 1,25 miles north to Nebi Montar . 1/4 had to cover a 2,5 mile wide gap

between  Group Gaza and the 53. Division. Battery 2/6 had to fight infantry attacking from south to southwest against Ali Muntar. At 11 o'clock a.m. battery 1/4 fired at a tank

causing the tank to retreat.

Ammo consume: 131 shells and 121 shrapnels for both batteries

The 19th of April 1917 saw the resumed attack of the EEF.

British columns and cluster-lines (Schwarmlinien) , some led by a tank attacked the left sector of Group Gaza and Ali Muntar hoping to breach the gap between Group Gaza and

Turkish 53rd Division. 1/4 together wit a Turkish field gun battery stopped this advance.

At 10 o'clock a.m. battery 2/6 fired at a from the southern slope of Ali Muntar advancing  tank and achieved a direct hit that disabled this tank. In the afternoon it burts into flames.

There was a dune that saw heavy fighting . The EEF tried to advance from this dune. A tank was part of this advance. The Advance was stopped by 2/6 and a 10cm field gun battery.

This must have been the battery equipped with German field guns that had to be manned by 1/4 since its Turkish crews failed completely during battle , as the report tells.

 

Conclusion:

> Peter Jung's description is wrong, perhaps he just mixed up 1/4 with 2/6 regarding the tanks; in addition he speaks of one destroyed tank, but in fact 2/6 detsroyed two.

> 2/6 destroyed two tanks: Sir Archibald Mark I male on the 17th. of April and War Baby Mark I female on the 19th of April

> 161st brigade and the Camel Corps led an attack on Tank Redoubt supported by Mark I female tank Nutty. A report of this action of the Norfolks that I found in the internet tells that Nutty

was hit by a four gun battery at point blank range. Regarding the topography and the location of Tank Redoubt it is very unlikely that Nutty was hit by Austrian guns although I do not know

how good Tank Redoubt was visible from the Austrian command posts.Nevertheless " point blank " indicates: a Turkish battery.

 

What do you think of it ?

 

kind regards, Gunther

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T8HANTS

You have a made an error in your conclusion, it was 163 Brigade made the attack on Tank Redoubt by 4th & 5th Norfolks, supported by 8th Hants with 5th Suffolks in reserve, not 161 Brigade.

The 1st ANZAC battalion Imperial Camel Brigade were to attack Jack and Jill trenches further to the east, but drifted towards Tank redoubt in order to make further progress.

 

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

Sorry the 1st Anzac Camel Bn attacked the Tank Redoubt while the 3rd Camel Bn attacked J&J redoubts. (while at this stage the 3rd Bn had the NZ company so it was the 3rd Anzac Bn while the 1st was just the 1st Camel Bn).

 

The only other details, are AIF camel corps records say two four gun batteries took the Tank & them under fire untill it was hit by what they say were three HE shells and bust into flames in the first Turkish trench. The crew bailed out, most badly burned by the fuel including their commander Lt Carr.

 

From the direction they appear to be the batteries of the 14th Ottoman FAR with the 53rd Ottoman Div.

 

S.B

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Slingo

Dear Gentlemen,

Quoted Col. A.P. Wavell's volume The Palestine Campaign - as one notices those ancient books

are sometimes not very precise; he just gave a short review of the 2nd Gaza.

 

kind regards, Gunther

 

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Slingo

k.u.k. Gebirgshaubitzdivision von Marno - short overview

 

Captain Adolf  Marno von Eichenhorts first led the divison.

On the 16th of March 1917 von Marno was appointed commander of the k.k. Landwehr-Gebirgsartillerieregiment Nr. 3

( k.k. = kaiserlich-königlich, an expression only valid in Austrian mainland ) and left Palestine.

The division was renamed " k.u.k. Gebirgshaubitzdivision in derTürkei "  in August 1917 ( Mountain Howitzer Division Turkey ) thus avoiding a commanders name.

Battery-commander 2/6, captain Wladislaus Knight von Truszkowski became newly app. division-commander in March 1917. Lt. Lewicki of 2/6 no became

battery commander. Captain Rudolf Schaffer was CO of 1/4.

Truszkowski fell during the 1st Battle of Gaza on his command post after grave hand-to hand combat.

CO 1/4 captain Schaffer now commanded the division.

End of summer 1917 Alfons Knight von Arenstorff was app. CO of the division.

In February 1918 the division got new guns: 8 pieces Skoda field howitzers 10cm M14 and was renamed "k.u.k. Feldhaubitzabteilung in der Türkei"

( field howitzer detachment Turkey ). Those new guns were almost identical to the modern mountain howitzer 10cm M10 .

Both batteries now were simply called battery Nr. 1 (=1/4 ) and battery Nr. 2 (=2/6 ).

 

> ad AssafX

The division  cleric was Pater Michael Tarek  who held the requiem for the Austrian Emperor in the Church of Nativity on 24.11.1916 - must be an ancestor

of  Robert Tarek-Fischer ( got the book already )

 

> ad Huj / Yeomanry cavalry attack

The batteries captured at Huj were equiped with Skoda 75mm guns but weren't in any case k.u.k. batteries as I read. They were Turkish batteries.

72 (18 batteries)  of the Skoda 75mm M10 mountain guns  had been ordered by November 1915 .

There never was an Austrian 75mm battery deployed in the Middle Eastern theatre of war, but instruction detachments.

 

> ad John D. Grainger " The Battle for Palestine ", page 39, photo

Although this book was published in 2006 it still tells the saga of the Mark II tanks. This shows that war diaries of PTD or other documents must have

been neglected scattered as they might be. I assume this is merely info from books. Furthermore he tells: most of the crews were killed. Tank100 shows that this is far from

watertight.

 

> shell consume of both batteries illustrates an uphill battle at 1st and 2nd Gaza

1st Gaza,  two days of battle: 879 shells and 932 shrapnel 

2nd Gaza, 17-19.4.:1552 shells and 964 shrapnel

Those days almost consumed  the whole supply of the division.

 

kind regards, Gunther

 

 

 

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

I look forward to reading what you find.

 

Cheers

 

S.B

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Slingo

Dear Gentlemen,

 

Though the Gebirgshaubitzdivision von Marno was a tiny unit howitzer-wise it was well-provided with men.

This was a key element to enable sustained campaigning.

Interestingly losses during the 2nd attack on the Suez channel and its retreat combats, the three battles of Gaza and the

fighting on the Jordan were really small.

Only during the chaotic withdrawal when the Ottoman Army gave way during the 2nd half of 1918 until the armistice 500 Austrian soldiers died.

 

Strategically the von Marno always was kept under Austrian command, only on the battlefield the command was handed over

to the Turkish or German commanders in charge.

 

kind regards, Gunther

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

My records does not support the quote" 500 Austrian soldiers died" in the Palestine Front?

 

I do record a number of these I can confirm

 

Shown Killed in Action;

Bene Kyrilla    Gnr    2/6th Mountain Bty KUK Artillery         KUK KIA 26-3-17 at 1st Gaza
Lázár János    Gnr    2/6th Mountain Bty KUK Artillery         KUK KIA 26-3-17 at 1st Gaza
Nagy Mihály     Sgt    2/6th Mountain Bty KUK Artillery         KUK KIA 26-3-17 at 1st Gaza
Truszkowski Wladislaw Ritter Von    Capt    OC 2/6th Mountain Bty KUK Artillery to T/CO Gebirgshaubitzdivision v. Marno 3-17        KUK replaced Von Marno 3-17 KIA 26-3-17 at 1st Gaza

 

Shown died from illness;

 

Behmoiras Nissim    Sgt    KUK Artillery         KUK DoD 25-7-17
Gyulafalva und Bogdán Arthur Freiherr Groedel von     Lt    Adjt to Martinek KUK Artillery at Gallipoli    1915-17    (1887 - DoD 5-6-17 of Dysentry) KUK consal in Vancouver British Columbia Canada 1914 AKA Arthur Groda 
 

or just died (possibly either one of both above);

 

Danzosch    Pte    KUK Honvet R. 29 (29th Regt)         (1886 - died 21-2-19) grave at Tarabya Istanbul KUK
Erben Vincent    Fireman or S/Sgt    KUK Haub.B.2        (1887- died 19-1-19 in the Laz. Skutari) grave at Tarabya Istanbul KUK
Gonda Lajos    Feldw    2/6th Mountain Bty KUK Artillery         KUK WIA 26-3-17 at 1st Gaza died of wounds
Kanalas Josef    Gnr    KUK Geb. AR6        (1888 - died 18-12-18 in the Laz Skutari) grave at Tarabya Istanbul KUK
Kiss Antal    Pte    KUK Honved R. 29        (1892 - died 24-2-19 in the Laz Skutari) grave at Tarabya Istanbul  KUK
Marek Josef    Pte    KUK Sold        (died 17-12-18 in the Laz Skutari) grave at Tarabya Istanbul KUK 
Naggi Johann    Gnr    KUK.Haub. B.33        (1888 - died 20-12-18 in the Laz Skutari) grave at Tarabya Istanbul  KUK
Paul Paul    Pte    KuK.A. Geb.K.36 (No 36th Bty Motor-Mörser-Batterie)        (1897 - died 4-12-18 in the Laz Skutari) grave at Tarabya Istanbul KUK

 

If you can confirm others or add other details on the men I have would be great.

 

Cheers

 

S.B

Edited by stevebecker

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Slingo

Hallo Steve,

500 is a quote from Tarek-Fischer's book; I think since he edited every single fallen soldier

I'll ask Dr. Schwake again. 

Your list shows my great-uncle Vincenz; fireman of course is wrong but this expression is listed in the

Tarabya documents (Kriegsgräberfürsorge). I wrote to them and hopefully they corrected it.

The archive documents related to the decorations do show the correct terms and appointments.

The death record cards that I have copies from name Lazarett "Osanoff" at Haidar-Pascha as the place 

were he died; Skutari was the first cemetery used as military cemetery.

What is right indeed is that the number of fallen soldiers up to the 3rd battle of Gaza was rather small.

 

kind regards, Gunther

 

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Slingo

Hallo Steve,

Often in the history of war chaotic circumstances create heavy losses of lives.

During the chaos of the retreat men veritable vanished. Many were murdered

by tribesmen who regularly showed no respect for human life, others fell victim

to air raids or fighting or exhaustion.

Many a man did not receive a proper burial nor was his death documented.

A lot of army documents got lost. There even is no Austrian cemetery at all

in the Middle East.

The number is an estimate for sure but we must ask Tarek-Fischer what

this number is based on.

Those who died at the military hospitals 1918/1919 were properly recorded.

But often lists got lost even then.

Not the books but only the archives ( Austria, War Graves Comm.)may reveal the

bitter fate of many a man.

Were there are  made many POW there are many fallen soldiers, too.

 

kind regards, Gunther

 

 

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

I would not disagree there.

 

While I have just a fraction of those lost, its hard to put a number on the total.

 

While 500 men is a lot for KIA or DoD for the KUK in Palestine, even if we add those many lost after the war ended (as many of the men above show).

 

Illness was rife throw all Armies at this time, like malaria/pneumonia and influenza.

 

Not having read much on the actions of the KUK gunners in Palestine, its hard to know what there total losses are. But other then counter battery fire or air attack little troubled them until they had to retreat when all were possibly open to loss.

 

1st Gaza was a one off where the Light Horse got around there flanks and broke into Gaza from the rear.

 

The counter attacks during the Ottoman withdrawalls in Nov-Dec 1917 and the retreat Sept-Oct 1918, show no mention of any KUK batteries supporting them, while that's hard to believe.

 

I checked my Orbats to find what they were doing in Nov-Dec 1917 and could not find them in the Ottoman ORbats or the British?

 

The 9th Battery was in the 20th Corps and the two others (1/4 & 2/6) in the 22nd Corps. But no mention during the fighting withdrawal up Palestine, which seams strange?

 

Cheers

 

S.B

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Slingo

Hallo Steve,

The Austrian War Archive documents say for von Marno's 1/4 & 2/6:

1st Battle of Gaza: 1 officer and 4 soldiers KIA ; 2 officers and 7 soldiers wounded; 4 officers and 32 soldiers missing in action.

 

2nd Battle of Gaza: 1 soldier wounded; shot himself at the hospital with a Karabiner the day following day ( P.Jung page 101-

The k.u.k. Desert War ;since 1981 late (2004) historian  Dr.Peter Jung was working at the Austria War Archives and was the first Austrian to publish with 

Osprey Publishing  Men-at-Arms 392 & 397 Oxford, 2003 )

 

3rd Battle of Gaza: 1 soldier KIA, 5 soldiers wounded (historian Dr. Robert Tarek-Fischer; employed at the Austrian chancellery ; page 134

Austria-Hungary's struggle for the Holy Land )

 

The actions during the retreat are a little bit complicated to tell, since von Marno sometimes was split up.

I'm still working on the chronological / geographical events & sites

For ex. in November 1917 the von Marno was sent to Damaskus to recover

 

kind regards, Gunther

 

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Slingo

Hall Steve,

Peter Jung quotes a list compiled on the 1st of November 1918 at Konstantinopel that shows the dramatic losses caused

by the retreat ( september 1918 onwards )

 

a) battery 1, Mountain Gun Detachment Turkey ( this unit arrived very late at the theatre )

125 men

b) battery 1 Field Howitzer Detachment Turkey ( the former 1/4 of von Marno )

4 Gagisten, 185 soldiers , 4 field howitzers

c) battery 2 Field Howitzer Detachment Turkey ( the former 2/6 of von Marno )

126 soldiers, 5 field howitzers

d) 10cm Gun Battery Turkey

3 Gagisten (= profess. soldiers), 82 soldiers, 3 guns

e) 24 cm Mortar Battery Turkey Nr. 9

3 gagisten, 11 soldiers

 

total: 10 Gagisten, 529 enlisted men and 12 guns

 

2nd Attack on Suez Channel: no losses mentioned

 

As we notice here high losses often are the result of a collapse.

Though 1/4 and 2/6 often were the backbone of the Ottoman Army (Gaza, Jordan) and held  attacks at bay, fought

successful reargard battles (Suez) - when the whole army was disrupted the tide thrust them aside, small as those

units defacto were.

 

kind regards, Gunther

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

Its true the KUK batteries were important that was because the Ottomans had little to no Heavy (Agir) Artillery in Palestine during the early days of 1916-17.

 

This is the 1st Gaza ORbat

 

1st Gaza   from Ottoman records (Turkish official history) 
Official Turkish history book published by Turkish War History Department (ATASE) of Turkish General Staff in Ankara. 
Birinci Dünya Harbinde Türk Harbi. IV cilt I nci Kısım Sina Filistin Cephesi Harbin Başlangıcından İkinci Gazze Muharebeleri sonuna kadar ( Turkish War During WW1, vol.IV, 1st part, Sinai-Palastina Front, From the beginning of the war to the end of 2md Gazze battles) 

Known Gaza garrison for Allied attack 26 March 1917 (known as Group Tiller after the German commander) defended by 79th Regt (27th Div) 125th Regt (16th Div) 2Bn/81st Regt (27th Div) 1Sqn/6th Cav Regt (3rd Cav Div) + a Camel Co + 79th MG Co 125th MG Co 267th MG Co 2x Btys KUK (12x 100mm guns) 2x Btys 1Bn/6th FAR (8x Schneider 75mm M 1907 field guns) 10th Heavy (Agir) How Bty (2x 100mm guns). + Engineer Co & 38th Field Hosp
(total 3500 rifles 42 MGs 5xBtys with 22 guns) 

3rd Div  less (138th Regt) + 254th Heavy (Agir) How Bty (2x 150mm guns) at Huc 
(total 5000 men 24 MGs 5xBtys (75mm QF guns) + 1 heavy Bty with 22 guns)

16th Div less (125th Regt) at Sheria and 
(total 5000 men 12 MGs 4xBtys (75mm QF guns) with 16 guns)

3rd Cav Div + 138th Regt at Beersheba
(total 1500 men 500 cav 12 MGs 2xBtys (4x 75mm QF guns & 4x 75mm Mountain guns) 

27th Div (broken up battle Area)
53rd Div would arrive during battle
 

Mate as you can see the KUK brought 12 x 100mm guns while the Ottomans had two batteries of only 4 guns.

 

The 10th Heavy (Agir) How (Obus) batty had been in Sinai since Feb 1915 and there guns were the older types while the 254th Batty was newer but what types of 150mm guns I am unsure of.

 

Cheers


S.B

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

Are you saying that Jung believes that these batteries lost these men to either in Action or as Pow's during that time?

"

b) battery 1 Field Howitzer Detachment Turkey ( the former 1/4 of von Marno )

4 Gagisten, 185 soldiers , 4 field howitzers

c) battery 2 Field Howitzer Detachment Turkey ( the former 2/6 of von Marno )

126 soldiers, 5 field howitzers

 

I find that hard to believe as a battery would have had around two hundred + men per, so if 1/4 lost 185 men then that battery would have been wiped out with around 20 to 40 men and two guns survived?

 

Of cause while 185 men may have been lost, that does not mean they were killed or died, only they were lost possibly mostly PoW's?

 

I check what POW records I have, but they don't show Austrian Soldiers in there, only Ottomans and Germans (which most Austrians were classed as).

 

Sorry dead end there

 

Cheers


S.B

Edited by stevebecker

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