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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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