Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915
Suez Canal Attack
Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915
Official British History Account, Pt 10
The following is an extract from:
MacMunn, G., and Falls, C., Military Operations Egypt & Palestine - From the Outbreak of War with Germany to June 1917, London, 1928, pp. 53 - 54.
THE SINAI FRONT IN FEBRUARY.
THE immediate menace to the Suez Canal having been removed, the next step was to disperse a small force of irregulars which was threatening the village of Tor, on the shore of the Gulf of Suez and near the toe of the Sinai Peninsula. [The chief importance of Tor was that its occupation by the enemy would have given him opportunities for placing mines in the Gulf of Suez.] For this purpose Lieut.-Colonel C. L. Haldane, 2/7th Gurkhas, embarked with half his battalion in H.M.S. Minerva at Suez on the 12th February. The detachment landed the same night with all precautions against attracting attention, moved out at once with the garrison, consisting of 150 men of the 2nd Egyptian Battalion, and before dawn had surrounded the enemy's camp. The action which followed was short and sharp. The enemy lost 60 killed and 102 prisoners, including a Turkish major, and 20 camels were also captured. Not more than a few stragglers can have escaped, while the British losses were one killed and one wounded. The quality and strength of the opposing forces were doubtless so disparate that one result only was possible, but it was the speed with which the Gurkhas carried out the operation that minimised their loss. By 5.30 p.m, the force was back on board.
A period of quiet now ensued in Egypt, the Yeomanry and the detachments of Australian and New Zealand infantry which had reinforced the Canal defences returning to Cairo to resume their training. Information was received from various sources that the Turkish troops which had crossed the desert were demoralized by their defeat and the hardships of their return march. Already, it appeared, that ill will towards the efficient but overbearing German staff officers, which was to grow as the war continued, had manifested itself among them. From further up the coast the light cruiser Philomel brought reports that the troops in the neighbourhood of Adana and Alexandretta were badly armed and elderly. The Christian levies had been disarmed since the surrender to the Doris at Alexandretta, in which they had been involved, but five hundred had deserted and taken to the hills with their rifles. Other troops had openly declared that they would surrender if a landing were made by adequate British forces.
Yet the threat to the Suez Canal, though more distant, remained. On the 21st February a French seaplane reported that there appeared to be 30,000 troops still in the neighbourhood of Beersheba. Another reconnaissance on the 23rd discovered 250 tents at Nekhl and 16 tents, with some 200 regular troops moving about them, at Bir Hassana, half-way between Nekhl and El Arish. "It would appear from this," Sir J. Maxwell cabled to Lord Kitchener, "that we may look for another attack later on."
There was now a resumption of naval activity against the Turkish coasts. On the 24th February the French cruiser Desaix landed a party at Aqaba and chased the Turkish post there up into the hills. The French again took over the watch on the Syrian and Anatolian coasts, having formed a squadron under Admiral Dartige du Fournet for the purpose. Admiral Peirse with his squadron was also at this period placed under the command of the French Admiral.
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