Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915
Suez Canal Attack
Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915
The Times, 6 February 1915
The account is transcribed below.TURKS' WITHDRAWAL FROM CANAL.
ENEMY'S LOSSES OVER 3,000.
(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)
CAIRO, FEB. 5.
According to the latest information, the enemy has drawn off, but it' is most probable that the recent encounters were only the prelude to a real attack, which is likely to be entrusted to Turkish troops of the 4th Army Corps.
The following communiqué is issued:There was no action yesterday of any importance.
Our patrols on the east bank of the Canal encountered and took prisoners about 200 of the enemy, also three machine guns, and a convoy of 90 camels, laden with stores and ammunition.
Evidently the engagements of the past two days were more important than, was at first imagined. The enemy left on the field more than 400 killed, and 600 prisoners were taken; but they removed most of their wounded.
Allowing five wounded for each man killed, this would give a probable total of at least 2,400 casualties, exclusive of the prisoners taken.
Among the dead at Toussoum was a German officer. There have been no fresh casualties elsewhere.
The first round of the battle for the Suez Canal may be said to have ended very decidedly in our favour. We have not inflicted a knock out blow on the enemy's advanced guard, but we have punished it severely, and scored heavily in points as far as captures and casualties are concerned. Djemal Pasha's lead off has cost him the best part of 3,000 men killed, wounded, and captured. Our losses are extraordinarily small, and the disparity in the casualties sustained certainly confirms the dictum of British official long resident in Turkey that the Ottoman Army, while not wanting either in courage or endurance, lacks "killing power."
On the other hand, though the enemy's tactics, to judge by the results, were ineffective, it is recognized that it was a fine performance on the part either of Djemal Pasha or General Kress von Kressenstein to have brought this force across the Sinai Peninsular, from Beersheba to Ismailia without imposing excessive hardships on the men.
Every report received from the front bears out the official bulletin concerning the admirable conduct of our troops, whose spirit is excellent and whose kindness to the prisoners is said rather to have astonished the latter. With such troops we have the right to be confident.
A MISLEADING SILENCE .
The attack on the Canal at Taussoum, south of Ismailia, is believed to have been made by an Arab regiment, which sees to have been heavily punished, one battalion commander being reported a prisoner. The enemy appear to have been misled by our silence into believing that there was a gap in our line of defence, and their retreat, when vigorously attacked, it is said, by a Sikh regiment, was proportionately disorderly.
In well informed quarters it is thought that the enemy were probably advancing on the Canal in three columns, of which we engaged the advanced guards. One column would seem to have advanced along the El Arish road towards El Kantara by way of Katieh, another by way of Bir Saba - el Auga, and thence straight across the desert till it encountered our defences in the Ismailia region, while the third column is believed to be near Suez and to have sent a small band to make useless demonstrations in the Tor region. The last column probably followed the Akaba - Nakhl route, which is quite passable for a small force and quite impassable for a real army.
Meanwhile the beginning of real fighting on even a modest scale has aroused the utmost enthusiasm; And animation among the British, colonial, and Indian troops, some of whom till three days ago took a pessimistic view of their chance of ever seeing service in Egypt.