Topic: BatzJ - Es Salt
Just some thoughts on the Es Salt Raid of 30 April-3 May 1918.
Most people know about the Es Salt Raid and the role played by the 4th LHB. The lads in the Brigade copped a pasting from the Turks. Donald Cameron, CO of the 12th LHR let's us know in no uncertain terms about the role played by Grant during those tense moments. Here are his comments from his 1928 letter:
"General Grant had ceased to exist as far as we were concerned. We couldn't find him, and had to work out our own salvation. Also, there was the vital importance of blocking the enemy progress south. The brigadier had lost his nerve, as we had good reason to know in the days to follow. I regret that loyalty to my leader caused me to withhold information that should have appeared in my report after the operation. I appreciate the difficulty you must have in getting accurate information when reports following operations were often made to read much better from the CO’s point of view than the facts warranted."
This is as close to calling his CO a coward as one could ever get.
There are two conclusions one can draw from the above - the first is that Grant was not all that good as his publicity makes him out to be or Grant has an awful lot of back stabbing enemies.
At Es Salt, Chauvel left it up to Grant to call the shots regarding the holding of the vital roadway. 3rd LHB was made available for part of this holding operation. Grant indicated that he would not need their help. Then things went pear shaped from there for Grant causing almost the loss of a whole division - although through the hard work of General Chaytor who took over from Grant and some courageous defensive work on behalf of the individual regiments and the ICC, the Australian Mounted Division was saved. According to Lieut Col Scott, CO of the 9th LHR, it was a close run thing.
We also know that the raid was predicated upon a joining up with the Arabs under Lawrence who never showed up.
The official story of the Second Es Salt Raid written by Gullett may be read at these locations:
This is the first of many posts on this subject. There are many documents that will shed light onto this event that were suppressed when the official history was written. The suppression of the documents was for political reasons - Grant was decorated as the hero of Beersheba for political reasons - and thus to actually characterise him as a dud General and a coward would have created immense problems for the AIF in terms of public perception of the legends. So while Gullett's account is reasonably accurate in the description, it is what he didn't add that makes all the difference.
I will aim to develop the unrecorded version of the Es Salt Raid which raises many questions about the official history and the fitness of General Grant to have a command in the first place. Indeed, it raises questions about Chauvel's leadership, the Australian Government's propaganda campaign and the creation of the Beersheba myth. It all comes apart at Es Salt.
Citation: The Second Es Salt Raid - General Comments