Topic: AIF - 3B - 3 LHB
Bir el Mazar
Sinai, 17 September 1916
3rd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account
The transcription:3rd Light Horse Brigade report on Mazar Operations 16 to 18th September 1916.
According to orders contained in Operation Order No. 41 dated 10 September 1916, and subsequent instructions, the Brigade proceeded to Salmana and thence to a point 7 miles east of Mazar. At this point the Brigade was detached to take up its allotted position for the attack on Mazar from south and south east - the route taken being along the northern edge of the sand dunes so as to avoid any chance of detection travelling being very heavy in parts.
Great credit is due to the Advance Regiment (9th Light Horse Regiment) for directing the Brigade to its point of attack.
Before turning north, one Troop was detached with a view of making touch with the Imperial Camel Corps at Malha, but failed to do sol
On turning north the Brigade was brought directly opposite Mazar from the south.
At 0500, 3 Squadrons were lining the second ridge running east and west and south of Mazar. This line was immediately pushed forward with little opposition, to the ridge directly overlooking Mazar. It was then realised that the line was not sufficiently extended to the east so it was added to by 2 Squadrons of the 9th Light Horse Regiment.
At 0530 3 Squadrons of the 10th Light Horse Regiment on the left, and 9th Light Horse Regiment on the right, with one Squadron of 8th Light Horse Regiment in the centre were drawing fire on a front of 2 miles with a view of ascertaining the strength of the position. These Squadrons were supported by Machine Gun fire - 2 Squadrons and 2 Sections of Machine Guns being in support.
Taking into consideration the country to be traversed, and the length of the march, the time allotted (1½ hours) to sum up the situation was hardly long enough. The enemy were content to keep up a continuous sniping fire with occasional heavy bursts, accompanied by anti-aircraft gun fire.
It was soon realised by observation and the amount of fire drawn, that the enemy was in strength, and as a general action was not to be commenced if such conditions existed, the Brigade proceeded to withdraw.
Up to that time only one casualty had occurred.
On the enemy realising a retirement was taking place a brisk fire was opened resulting in the below mentioned casualties.
During the time allowed to ascertain the strength of the position (0500 - 0615) little or no activity was shown from the west and on account of the guns not coming into action this was one of the main factors in arriving at the decision to retire.
The Imperial Camel Corps and Hong Kong and Singapore Camel Battery were unable to arrive at their allotted position in the time, and only came in sight 3 miles to the south when the retirement was ordered. This delayed the movement which could not continue until they were safely away, their retirement being covered by the 8th Light Horse Regiment.
During the final retirement of the Brigade the 7th Light Horse Regiment rendered considerable assistance, particularly in covering the last 2 Troops of the 10th Light Horse Regiment which were forced to remain to assist 3 men with 4 camels who suddenly appeared on our right flank going towards the enemy and who were subsequently found, had gone astray.
As soon as the position was evacuated the enemy brought a very accurate searching fire to bear on the valleys previously occupied.
On the Brigade concentrating the return march was commenced, the Column arriving at the point of selected for watering at 1300. This was not carried out in the most expeditious and workable manner when the much needed water could not be fully appreciated.
From thence the Brigade proceeded to bivouac at Salmana, and the following morning the present Front Line was re-occupied, the remainder of the Brigade going into camp at Amara.
The following are the casualties:-
Officers Other Ranks Killed 1 2 Wounded 0 8 Injured 0 2
Citation: Bir el Mazar, Sinai, 17 September 1916, 3rd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account