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Friday, 1 February 2002
Desert Mounted Corps (DMC), General Allenby's Despatches, Part 1
Topic: AIF - DMC

DMC

Desert Mounted Corps

General Allenby's Despatches, Part 1

 

Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG, GCVO.

 

Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG, GCVO (23 April 1861–14 May 1936) was a British soldier and administrator most famous for his role during the First World War, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918.

 

Full text of "A brief record of the advance of the Egyptian expeditionary force under the command of General Sir Edmund H. H. Allenby ... July 1917 to October 1918" General Sir Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, g.c.b., g.c.m.g., Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force FROM June 1917.

 

A BRIEF RECORD OF THE ADVANCE OF THE EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE UNDER THE COMMAND OF GENERAL SIR EDMUND H. H. ALLENBY. G.G.B.. G.G.M.G.

JULY 1917 TO OCTOBER 1918.

Compiled from Official Sources.

SECOND EDITION. (Tee Fiest Edition was poblished by " The Palestine News.") LONDON: '¦,¦ f''\' /:'¦ \ PUBLISHED BY HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE.

To be purchased through any Bookseller or directly from H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the following addresses : Imperial House, Kingsvvay, London. W.C. 2, and 28 Abingdon Street, London, S.W. 1; 37 Peter Street, Manchester; 1 St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff; 23 Forth Street, Edinburgh ; or from E. PONSONBY, Ltd., 116 Geafton Street, Dublin.

1919. Price 6/- Net GLOSSARY.

Descriptive terms which occur with place names, and the abbreviations used : — ABtr = Father Khan = Inn Ant = Spring. Khurbet (abbreviation Kh.) = Kuin.

Beit = House Makuadet = Ford.

BiRKBT = Pool. Nahr = River.

BiR = Well. Nbby = A Prophet.

Deik = Monastery. gg Head, cape, top.

Ep, el, er, bs, ez = The definite article the . (abbreviation Sh.) = Chief, elder, saint.

Jbbel = Mountain Mound (especially one covering ruins).

Kepr = Vilkge Wadi = A watercourse (normally dry).

< « PREFACE. .7 This Record of the recent activities of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to the East of the Suez W Canal has been prepared in order that members of that Force may be able to take home with them an / acceptable account of the great advance in which they played a part. Advantage has been taken of many official documents which are available and of the experience of officers still at General Headquarters in charge of the Departments with the work of which they were famiUar during the operations. Thus it has been possible to compile the Record while the events which it details are fresh ill the memory.

Thanks are due to the following officers for their kindness in supplying accounts of the work of their respective departments, or information concerning the same : — Major-Gen. H. B. H. Wright, C.B., C.M.G., R.E. (Royal Engineers).

Brig.-Gen. P. A. Bainbeidge, C.B., C.M.G., R.A.O.C. (Ordnance Services).

Brig.-Gen. E. R. C. Btjtlbr, C.B., C.M.G., R.A.V.C. (Veterinary Services).

Brig.-Gen. Jellicoe, D.S.O., R.A.S.C, and Lieut.-Col. H. J. Higos, A.M. (Egyptian Labour Corps).

Brig.-Gen. Sir G. B. Macauley, K.C.M.G., C.B., and Lieut.-Col. \V. G. Tyerbli., D.S.O., B.E (Railways).

Col. P. Warres, C.M.G., R E., and Lieut.-Col. F. H. Kbmpe. M C. (Postal Services).

Col. C. H. Whittinqham, C.M.G., D.S.O. (Camel and Donkey Transport).

Lieut.-Ool. D. McLeod, D.S.O., M.C. (Palestine Lines of Commnnication), Lieut.-Col. H. C. B. Wemtss, D.S.O., M.C, R.E (Signals).

Lieut.-Col. G. E. Badcock, D.S.O., H.A.S.C, and Lieut.-Col. J. H. Mobbis, D.S.O., B.A.SrC. (R.A.S.C. Personnel and Mechanical Transport).

Major A. VV. Dobbin, R A (Anti-Aircraft Section).

Major W. J. Maulb, D.S.O. (Survey).

Major G. F. Bird M.C, R.A.M.C. (Medical Services).

Majur R. C. Haddon (Camel and Donkey Transport).

Major R. M. Dix, R.A.S.C. (Navy and Array Canteen Board). ' Capt. J. Mc G. Glkn, M.C, R.A.F. (Royal Air Force).

Thanks are also due to the following officers for their collaboration and advice in the preparation of the text which accompanies the Maps and of the various chronological summaries : — Major-Gen. Sir V. B. Fanb, K.C.I.E., CB.

Major-Gon. Sir L. J. BoLS, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O. '' Major-Gen. Sir J. S. M. Shea, K.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O.

Major-Gen. Sir E. W. C Cuaytor, K.CM.G., C.B., A.D.C.

Brig.-Gen. Hamblin, French Detachment.

Brig.-Gen. S. M. Edwardes, C.B., CJI.G., D.S.O.

Brig.-Gen. C. F. Watson, C.B., C.M.G. • Brig.-Gen. G. de L. Ryrie, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O Brig.-Gen. L. C. Wilson, C.M.G.

Lieut.-Col. Cav. G. PcSENTr. Italian Detachmeut.

Lieut.-Col. W. E. Davies, C.M.G.

Lieut.-Col. R. H. Osborne, D.S.O., .M.C.

Lieut.-Col. H. E. Macfarlane, D.S.O., II. C.

Lieut.-Col. A. H. C Kearsev, D.S.O.

Lieut.-Col. G. K. M. Mason, D.S.O.

Lieut.-Col. A. O'B. rFRENCR-BLAKU, The late Majer D. H. Acvvorth, M.C.

Major G. H. Bell, M.C.

Major R. C. Haddo'.

Capt. R. H. Andrew, M.C.

Capt. P. L. Sbymour-Jones, M.C.

Capt. A. W. Manning, M.C.

Capt. A. Kinross, R.A.S.C.

Capt. G. L C March ant, R.A.

Capt. J. Armstrong.

Capt. S. E. L. Baddelsy.

Capt. E. G. HOLLEBONK.

Lieut. N. East.

Lieut. R. E. Heathcock, PREFACE.

Great assistance in the work of editing and of preparing the Eecord for the press has been given by Capt. L. M. Gotoh and Lieut. W. R. Kay. The former compiled the maps which form so important and interesting a feature of the Record, and acted in conjunction with "The Palestine News " and the Egyptian Government departments concerned in producing the Record.

The Director-General of the Survey of Egypt, Mr. E. M. Dowson, C.B.E., and the Acting Controller of Printing for the Government of Egypt, Mr. W. H. Crosthwaitk, O.B.E.. imdertook the reproduction of the maps and the printing; and the following officials of the Survey of Egypt were actively concerned in the production of the maps : — , Mr. J. H. W. ROWNTKBB.

Mr. H. C. Allen, Superintendent of the Printing Office. Mr. 6. DouaLAS, M.B.E., Superintendent of the Photo Process Office, Mr. W. LoOAN, Superintendent of the Geographical Drawing Office. Mr. Q. AiTKEN, of the Geographical Drawing Office.

Mr. G. B. Newton, Technical Assistant to the Controller of Printbg, acting as Official in charge of the Military Printing Section at the Government Press, was responsible for the printing of the letterpress, and gave much valuable advice.

Lieut. P. S. Taylor, Deputy Director of "The Palestine News" was responsible for the work in connection with the distribution of the Record.

Without the generous assistance and advice of these officers and officials, this Record of the Advance of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under General Allenby could have been neither compiled nor pubUshed ; and it is hoped that it will fill the gap so far as the history of the campaign in Palestine and Syria is concerned until the appearance of the Official History of the War.

H. PIRIE-GORDON, Lieut.-Colonel, Military Editor, The Palestine News, G.H.Q., E.E.F.

February, 1919.

CONTENTS.

PoRTBAiT o» Gbneeal Sib E. H. H. ALLENBY, G.C.B., G.C.M.G.

FKONTISPIEClt.

Paob.

Pbbfacb iii Gbnzbal ALLENBY'S Despatches : — (i) Decembbr 16, 1917 1 (ii) Sbptbmber 18, 1918 11 (iii) October 31, 1918 25 Order of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force with which are included the names of General Officers and a brief record of service of the major formations : — Gbnbeal Headquarters 37 General, Headquarters Troops 38 Eastern Fobcb „ .' 39 Dbsebt Coltjmu 39 *Desbbt Mounted Corps 39 ?XXth Army Corps 41 •XXIsT Army Corps 42 ?Chaytob's Fobck ... 44 ?French Detachment 45 •Italian Detachment 46 *4th Cavalry Division 46 *5th Cavalry Division 49 ?Austealian Mounted Division 61 ?Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division 54 ?3bd (Lahore) Division 56 ?7th (Indian) Division 57 ?10th Division 59 ?52nd DISION 61 ?53bd Division 63 ?54th Division 66 ?60th Division 66 ?74th Division 68 ?75th Division 70 Beioades (Non-Divisional) : — ?Impebial Camel Corps Brigade 72 ?20th Indian Infantry Brigade 73 ?49th Indian Infantry Brigade 73 Palestine Lines of Communications 73 Ijnbs of Communication Units .• ... .\. 76 Force in Egypt 77 Alexandria District ..: 78 Delta and Western Force 79 Medical Services 79 Brief Records of the work of various branches of the Army : — The Anti-Aircraft Sections 82 The Eoyal Engineers : — (1) Water Supply . 83 (2) Signal Service 86 (3) Survey Company ; 88 (4) Military Railways 90 (5) Army Postal Sehfices 93 P.ovAL Army Service Corps : — (1) Establishment and Suppues 94 (2) Mechanical Transport 95 (3) Camel AND Donkey Transport ... 98 Ordnance Work in THE Palestine and Syrian Campaigns 100 The Work of the Medical Services 104 Royal Aemy Vetbeinaby Corps , 106 Labour nj the Egyptian Expbditionaby Foece 107 Navy asd Aemy Canteen Boabd Ill Betep Record of the Work of the Royal Air Force Uji An asterisk denotes where a brief Record of Service is included.

COJTENTS— continued.

Dueriptive Text facing Plate.

Explanatory Note to the Maps illustrating operations Lines of Communications, Oct., 1917 Lines of Communications, Oct., 1917, continued Operations from Oct. 28-Nov. 13, 1917 Operations from Nov. 14-Deo. 8, 1917 Operations on Dec. 9 and 10, 1917 Operations from Deo. 11-31, 1917 Operations from Deo. 11-31, 1917 Operations from Feb. 18-21, 1918 Operations from March 21-April 2, 1918 Operations from April 29-May 1, 1918 The Water Supply of Jerusalem and the XXth Corps Area.

The September Advance ...

Operations from Sept. 18-20, 1918 Operations from Sept. 18-20, 1918, continued OperationsonSept. 21-22, 1918 Operations from Sept. 23-27, 1918 Sherifian oo-operation in September Operations from Sept. 28-30 Operations on Oct. 1 and story of the Arab Movement Story of the Arab Movement, continued From the Fall of Damascus to the Armistice Lines of Communications, 1918 The Military Administration of the Territory released from the Turks.

A Summary of the Terms of the Turkish Armistice (as published) which came into force on Oct. 31, 1918.

TiUe of Plate. Reference to Conventional Signs Lines of Communications, Oct., 1917 Advance through Palestine Advance into Judaea •.

Occupation of Jerusalem ; Advance into Mount Ephraim aud Sharon Area occupied as the result of operations from Oct.

28-Dec. 31, 1917. Development of Water Supply prior to operations Nov. 1-Dec. 31.

Capture of Jericho Amman Raid Es Salt Raid Area occupied a-s the result of operations from Dec. 31, 1917-Sept. 18, 1918. Development of Water Supply XXth Corps front British dispositions as shown by enemy Litelligence Service.

Advance into Samaria Area occupied as the result of operations from Sept.

18-20, 1918. Egyptian Labour Corps Oct. 28, 1917-Sept. 17, 1918...

Advance through Samaria and into Galilee Advanee through Gilead and Galilee o.

Area occupied as the result of operations from Sepb 21-27. Locations of Anti-Airoraft Section, Sept., 1918 Capture of Damascus Capture of Damascus Area occupied as the result of operations from Sept.

28-Oct. 1. Egyptian Labour Corps, Sept. 18 onwards Advance through Northern Sjrria Lines of Communications, Oct., 1918 , Military Administration of the Territory occupied by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

Turkish Empire, Oct. 31, 1918, showing conditions of Armistice and disposition of Turkish troops.

PUtU. i 2 3-14 15-26 27 28-30 31 Inset 31 32 & 33 34-36 37 & 33 8» Inset 39 40 41-43 41 Inset 44 45 & 46 47 & 49 40 Inset 49 60 61 62 Inset 52 63 64 66 66 THE ADVANCE OF THE EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE.

The following Despatches, sent by General Sir Edmund H. H. Allenby,G.C.B.,G.C.M.G., to the Secretary of State for War, are republished from The London Gazette.

General Headquarters, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, December 76. 1917. My Lord— I have the honour to submit a report on the operations of the Force serving in Egypt and Palestine since June 28, 1917, the date oo. which I assumed command.

1. When I took over the command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force at the end of June, 1917, I had received instructions to report on the conditions in which ofEensive operations against the Turkish Army on the Palestine front might be undertaken in the autumn or winter of 1917.

After visiting the front and consulting with the Commander of the Eastern Force,* I submitted my appreciation and proposals in a telegram dispatched in the second week of July.

2. The main features of the situation on the Palestine front were then as follows : — The Turkish Army in Southern Palestine held a strong position extending from the sea at Gaza, roughly along the main Gaza-Beersheba Eoad to Beersheba. Gaza had been made into a strong modem fortress, heavily entrenched and wired, offering every facility for protracted defence. The remainder of the enjemy's line consisted of a series of strong localities, viz. : the Sihan group of works, the Atawineh group, the Baha group, the Abu Hareira-Arab el Teeaha trench system, and, finally, the works cover- ing Beersheba. These groups of works were generally from 1,500 to 2,000 yards apart, except that the distance from the Hareira group to Beersheba was about four and a half miles.

The enemy's force was on a wide front, the distance from Gaza to Beersheba being about thirty miles ; but his lateral communications were good, and any threatened point of the line could be very quickly reinforced. {See Plate 3.) My force was extended on a front of twenty-two miles, from the sea, opposite Gaza, to Gamli.

Owing to lack of water I was unable, without preparations which would require some considerable time, to approach within striking distance of the enemy, except in the small sector near the sea coast opposite Gaza.

3. My proposals received the approval of the War Cabinet, and preparations were undertaken to enable the plan I had formed to be put into execution.

I had decided to strike the main blow against the left flank of the main Turkish position, Hareira and Sheria. The capture of Beersheba was a necessary preliminary to this operation, in order to secure the water supplies at that place and to give room for the deployment of the attacking force on the high ground to the north and north-west of Beersheba, from which direction I intended to attack the Hareirar- Sheria line.

This front of attack was chosen for the following reasons. The enemy's works in this sector were less formidable than elsewhere, and they were easier of approach than other parts of the enemy's defences. When Beersheba was in our hands we should have an open flank against which to operate, and I could make full use of our superiority in mounted troop? ; and a success here offered prospects of pursuing our advantage and forcing the enemy to abandon the rest of his fortified positions, which no other line of attack would afford.

It was important, in order to keep the enemy in doubt up to the last moment as to the real point of attack, that an attack should also be made on the enemy's right at Gaza in conjunction with the main operations. One of my Commanders was therefore ordered to prepare a scheme for operations against Gaza on as large a scale as the force at his disposal would permit. I also asked the Senior Naval Officer, Egypt, Rear-Admiral T. Jackson, C.B., M.V.O., to afford me naval co-operation by bombarding the Gaza defences and the enemy's railway stations and depots north of Gaza. Eear-Admiral Jackson afforded me cordial assistance, and during the period of preparation Naval Officers worked in the closest co-operation with my staff asGeneral Headquarters and the staff of the G.O.C. troops operating in that region.

• Major - General (temporary Lieut.-General) Sir Philip Chetv.ode, Bt., K.C.M.G., C B.,_D.S.Q.

2 , , .. THE ADVANCE OF THE Oct. 27-31, 1917 < c c < e t 4. The difficulties to be overcome in the operations against Beersheba and the Sheria-Hareira lino were considerable, and careful preparation? and training were necessary. The chief difficulties were those of water and transport, and arrangementp had to be made to ensurp that the troops could be kept supplied with water while operating at considerable distances from their original water base for a period which might amount to a week or more ; for, though it was known that an ample supply of water exi'='ted at Beersheba, it was uncertain how quickly it could be developed or to what extent the enemy would have damaged the wells before we succeeded in occupying the town. Except at Beersheba, no large supply of water would be found till Sheria and Hareira had been captured.

The transport problem was no less difficult; there were no good roads south of the line Gaza- Beersheba, and no rehance could therefore be placed on the use of motor transport. Owing to the steep banks of many of the wadis which intersected the area of operations, the routes passable by wheeled transport were limited, and the going was heavy and difficult in many places. Practically the whole of the transport available in the force, including 30,000 pack camels, had to be allotted to one portion of the eastern force to enable it to be kept suppUed with food, water, and ammunition at a distance of fifteen to twenty-one miles in advance of railhead. Arrangements were also made for railhead to be pushed forward a? rapidly as possible towards Karm, and for a line to be laid from Gamli towards Beersheba for the transport of ammunitioD.

A railway line was also laid from Deir el Belah to the Wadi Ghuzze, close behind the sector held by another portion of the eastern force.

Considerable strain was thrown on the military railway from Kantara to the front during the period of preparation. In addition to the normal requirements of the force, a number of siege and heavy batteries, besides other artillery and units, had to be moved to the front, and large depots of supplies, ammunition and other stores accmnulated at the various railheads. Preparations had also to be made and the necessary material accumulated to push forward the lines from Deir el Belah and Shellal.

5. During the period from July to Oct. the enemy's force on the Palestine front had been increased. It was evident, from the arrival of these reinforcements and the construction of railway extensions from El Tine, on the Ramleh-Beersheba railway, to Deir Sineid and Beit Hanun, north of Gaza, and from Deir Sineid to Huj, and from reports of the transport of large supplies of ammunition and other stores to the Palestine front, that the enemy was determined to make every effort to mam- tain his position on the Gaza-Beersheba line. He had considerably strengthened his defences on this line, and the strong localities mentioned in paragraph 2 had, by the end of Oct., been joined up to form a practically continuous line from the sea to a point south of Sheria, except for a gap between Ali Muntar and the Sihan Group. The defensive works round Beersheba remained a detached system, but had been improved and extended.

6. The date of the attack on Beersheba, which was to commence the operations, was fixed as Oct. 31. Work had been begun on the railway from Shellal towards Karm, and on the line from Gamli to El Buggar. The development of water at Esani, Khalasa, and Asluj proceeded satisfactorily. These last two places were to be the starting point for the mounted force detailed to make a wide flanking movement and attack Beersheba from the east and north-east.

On the morning of Oct. 27 the Turks made a strong reconnaissance towards Karm from the direction of Kauwukah, two regiments of cavalry and two or three thousand infantry, with guns, being employed. They attacked a line of outposts near El Girheir, held by some Yeomanry, covering railway construction. One small post was rushed and cut up, but not before inflicting heavy loss on the enemy ; another post, though surroimded, held out all day, and also caused the enemy heavy loss. The gallant resistance made by the Yeomanry enabled the 53rd (Welsh) Division to come up in time, and on their advance the Turks withdrew.

The bombardment of the Gaza defences commenced on Oct. 27, and on Oct. 30 warships of the Royal Navy assisted by a French battleship, began co-operating in this bombardment.

Capture of Beersheba, Oct. 31.

7. On the evening of Oct. 30 the portion of the eastern force, which was to make the attack on Beersheba, was concentrated in positions of readiness for the night march to its positions of deployment.

8. The night march to the positions of deplojonent was successfully carried out, all imits reaching their appointed positions up to time.

The plan was to attack the hostile works between the Khalasa road and the Wadi Saba with two divisions, masking the works north of the Wadi Saba with the Imperial Camel Corps and some infantry, while a portion of the 53rd (Welsh) Division further north covered the left of the corps. The right of the attack was covered by a cavalry regiment. Further east, mounted troops took up a line opposite the southern defences of Beersheba.

Nov. 1, 1917. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 3 As a preliminary to the main attack, in order to enable field gims to be brought within efEective range for wire-cutting, the enemy's advanced works at 1,070 were to be taken. This was successfully accomplished at 8.45 a.m., after a short preliminary bombardment, by London troops, with small loss, ninety prisoners being taken. The cutting of the wire on the main line then proceeded satisfactorily, though pauses had to be made to allow the dust to clear ; and the final assault was ordered for 12.15 p.m. It was successful all along the front attacked, and by about 1 p.m. the whole of the works between the Khalasa road and the Wadi Saba were in our hands.

Some delay occurred in ascertaining whether the enemy still occupied the works north of the road ; it was decided, as they were still held by small parties, to attack them from the south. After a pre- liminary bombardment the works were occupied with little opposition by about 7.30 p.m.

The casualties were light, considering the strength of the works attacked ; a large proportion occurred during the advance towards the positions previous to the assault, the hostile guns being very accurate and very difficult to locate.

Meanwhile, the mounted troops, after a night march, for part of the force of twenty-five and for the remainder of thirty-five miles, arrived erly in the morning of the 31st about Khasim Zanna, in the hills some five miles east of Beersheba. From the hills the advance into Beersheba from the east and north-east Ues over an open and almost flat plain, commanded by the rising ground north of the town and flanked by an under feature in the Wadi Saba called Tel el Saba.

A force was sent north to secure Bir es Sakaty, on the Hebron road, and protect the right flank ; this force met with some opposition, and was engaged with hostile cavalry at Bir es Sakaty and to the north during the day. Tel el Saba was found strongly held by the enemy, and was not captured till iate in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, attempts to advance in small parties across the plain towards the town made slow progress. In the evening, however, a moimted attack by Australian Light Horse, who rode straight at the town from the east, proved completely successful. They galloped over two deep trenches held by the enemy just outside the town, and entered the town at about 7 p.m., capturing niunerous prisoners.

The Turks at Beersheba were imdoubtedly taken completely by surprise, a surprise from which the dash of London troops and Yeomanry, finely supported by their artillery, never gave them time to recover. The charge of the Austrahan Light Horse completed their defeat.

A very strong position was thus taken with slight loss, and the Turkish detachment at Beersheba almost completely put out of action. About 2,000 prisoners and thirteen guns were taken, and some 500 Turkish corpses were buried on the battlefield. This success laid open the left flank of the main Turkish position for a decisive blow. {See Plate 5.) The Attack on Gaza.

9. The actual date oi the attack at Gaza had been left open till the result of the attack at Beersheba was known, as it was intended that the former attack, which was designed to draw hostile reserves towards the Gaza sector, should take place twenty-four to forty-eight hours previous to the attack on the Sheria position. After the complete success of the Beersheba operations, and as the early reports indicated that an ample supply of water would be available at that place, it was hoped that it would be possible to attack Sheria by Nov. 3 or 4. The attack on Gaza was accordingly ordered to take place on the morning of Nov. 2. Later reports showed that the water situation was less favourable than had been hoped, but it was decided not to postpone the attack.

The objectives of this attack were the hostile works from Umbrella Hill (2,000 yards south-west of the town) to Sheikh Hasan, on the sea (about 2,500 yards north-west of the town). The front of the attack was about 6,000 yards, and Sheikh Hasan, the furthest objective, was over 3,000 yards from our front line. The ground over which the attack took place consisted of sand dunes, rising in places up to 150 feet in height. This sand is very deep and heavy going. The enemy's defences consisted of several lines of strongly built trenches and redoubts.

As Umbrella Hill flanked the advance against the Turkish works further west, it was decided to capture it by a preliminary operation, to take place four hours previous to the main attack. It was accordingly attacked, and captured at 11 p.m. on Nov. 1 by a portion of the 52nd (Lowland) •Division. This attack drew a heavy bombardment on Umbrella Hill itself and our front lines, which lasted for two hours, but ceased in time to allow the main attack, which was timed for 3 a.m., to form up without interference.

It had been decided to make the attack before daylight owing to the distance to be covered between our front trenches and the enemy's position.

The attack was successful in reaching all objectives, except for a section of trench on the left and some of the final objectives in the centre. Four hundred and fifty prisoners were taken and many Turks killed. The enemy also suffered heavily from the preliminary bombardment, and subsequent reports from prisoners stated that one of the divisions holding the Gaza sector was withdrawn after 4 THE ADVANCE OF THE Nov. 3-6, 1917.

losing thirty-three per cent of its effectives, one of the divisions in general reserve being drawn into the Gaza sector to replace it. The attack thus succeeded in its primary object, which was to prevent any units being drawn from the Gaza defences to meet the threat to the Turkish left flank, and to draw into Gaza as large a proportion as possible of the available Turkish reserves. Further, the capture of Sheikh Hasan and the south-western defences constituted a very distinct threat to the whole of the Gaza position, which could be developed on any sign of a withdrawal on the part of the enemy. {See Plate 7.) Our losses, though considerable, were not in any way disproportionate to the results obtained.

Advance from Beersheba.

10. Meanwhile on our right flank the water and transport difficulties were found to be greater than anticipated, and the preparations for the second phase of the attack were somewhat delayed in con- sequence.

On the early morning of Nov. 1 the 53rd (Welsh) Division, with the Imperial Camel Corps on its right, had moved out into the hills north of Beersheba, with the object of securing the flank of the attack on Sheria. Mounted troops were also sent north along the Hebron Road to secui-e Dhaheriyeh if possible, as it was hoped that a good supply of water would be found in this area, and that a motor road which the Turks were reported to have constructed from Dhaheriyeh to Sheria could be secured for our use.

The 53rd (Welsh) Division, after a long march, took up a position from Towal Abu Jerwal (six miles north of Beersheba) to Muweileh (four miles north-east of Abu Irgeig). Irish troops occupied Abu Irgeig the same day.

On Nov. 3 we advanced north on ALn Kohleh and Tel Khuweilfeh, near which place, the mounted troops had engaged considerable enemy forces on the previous day. This advance was strongly opposed, but was pushed on through difiicult hill country to within a short distance of Ain Kohleh and Khuweilfeh. At these places the enemy was found holding a strong position with considerable and increasing forces. He was obviously determined not only to bar any further progress in this direction, but, if possible, to drive our flankguard back on Beersheba. During the 4th and 5th ho made several determined attacks on the mounted troops. These attacks were repulsed.

By the evening of Nov. 5 the 19th Turkish Division, the remains of the 27th and certain units of the 16th Division had been identified in the fighting round Tel el Khuweilfeh, and it was also fairly clear that the greater part of the hostile cavalry, supported apparently by some infantry (" depot " troops) from Hebron, were engaged between Khuweilfeh and the Hebron Road.

Enemy's Counter-Stroke Defeated.

The action of the enemy in thus employing the whole of his available reserves in an immediate counter-stroke so far to the east was apparently a bold effort to induce me to make essential alterations in my offensive plan, thereby gaining time and disorganizing my arrangements. The country north of Beersheba was exceedingly rough and hilly, and very little water was to be foimd there. Had the enemy succeeded in drawing considerable forces against him in that area the result might easily have been an indecisive fight (for the terrain was very suitable to his methods of defence) and my own main striking force would probably have been made too weak effectively to break the enemy's centre in the neigh- bourhood of Sheria Hareira. This might have resulted in our gaining Beersheba, but failing to do more — in which case Beersheba would only have been an incubus of a most inconvenient kind. However, the enemy's action was not allowed to make any essential modification to the original plan, which it had been decided to carry out at dawn on Nov. 6.

By the evening of Nov. 5, all preparations had been made to attack the Kauwukah and Rushdi systems and to make every effort to reach Sheria before nightfall.

The moimted troops were to be prepared in the event of a success by the main force to collect, as they were somewhat widely scattered owing to water difficulties, and push north in pursuit of the enemy. Tel el Khuweilfeh was to be attacked at dawn on the 6th, and the troops were to endeavour to reach the line Tel el Khuweilfeh-Rijm el Dhib.

Assault on Kauwukah and Rushdi.

11. At dawn on the 6th the attacking force had taken up positions of readiness to the S.E. of the Kauwukah system of trenches. The attack was to be commenced by an assault on the group of works forming the extreme left of the enemy's defensive system, followed by an advance due west up the railway, capturing the line of detached works which lay east of the railway. During this attack London and Nov. 7-8, 1917. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 5 Irish troops were to advance towards the Kauwukah system, brmging forward their guns to withm wire- cutting range. They were to assault the south-eastern face of the Kauwukah system as soon as the bombardment had proved effective, and thence take the remainder of the system in enfilade.

The attack progressed rapidly, the Yeomanry storming the works on the enemy's extreme left with great dash ; and soon after noon the London and Irish troops commenced their attack. It was completely successful in capturing all its objectives, and the whole of the Kushdi system in addition. Sheria Station was also captured before dark. The Yeomanry reached the line of the Wadi Sheria to Wadi Union ; and the troops on the left were close to Hareira Redoubts, which was still occupied by the enemy. This attack was a fine performance, the troops advancing eight or nine miles during the day and capturing a series of very strong works covering a front of about seven miles, the greater part of which had been held and strengthened by the enemy for over six months. Some 600 prisoners were taken and some guns and machine guns captured. Our casualties were comparatively slight. The greatest opposition was encountered by the Yeomanry in the early morning, the works covering the left of the enemy'a line being strong and stubbornly defended.

During the afternoon, as soon as it was seen that the attack had succeeded, mounted troops were ordered to take up the pursuit and to occupy Huj and Jemmamah.

The 53rd (Welsh) Division had again had very severe fighting on the 6th. Their attack at dawn on Tel el Khuweilfeh was successful, and, though they were driven off a hill by a counter-attack, they retook it and captured another hill, which much improved their position. The Turkish losses in this area were very heavy indeed, and the stubborn fighting of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, Imperial Camel Corps, and part of the moimted troops during Nov. 2 to 6 drew in and exhausted the Turkish reserves and paved the way for the success of the attack on Sheria. The 53rd (Welsh) Division took several hundred prisoners and some guns during this fighting. (See Plate 8.) The Fall of Gaza, Nov. 7.

12. The bombardment of Gaza had meanwhile continued, and another attack was ordered to take place on the night of the 6th-7th.

The objectives were, on the right. Outpost Hill and Middlesex Hill (to be attacked at 11.30 p.m. on the 6th), and on the left the line Belah Trench-Turtle Hill (to be attacked at dawn on the 7th).

During the 6th a certain amount of movement on the roads north of Gaza was observed by our air- men and fired on by our heavy artillery, but nothing indicating a general retirement from Gaza.

The attack on Outpost Hill and Middlesex Hill met with httle opposition, and as soon, after they had been taken, as patrols could be pushed forward, the enemy was found to be gone. East Anglian troops on the left also found at dawn that the enemy had retired during the night, and early in the morn- ing the main force occupied the northern and eastern defences of Gaza. Rearguards were still occupying Beit Hanun and the Atawineh and Tank systems, from whence Turkish artillery continued to fire on Gaa and AH Muntar till dusk.

As soon as it was seen that the Turks had evacuated Gaza a part of the force pushed along the coast to the mouth of the Wadi Hesi, so as to turn the Wadi Hesi line and prevent the enemy making any stand there. Cavalry had already pushed on round the north of Gaza, and became engaged with an enemy rearguard at Beit Hanun, which maintained its position till nightfall. The force advancing along the coast reached the Wadi Hesi by evening, and succeeded in establishing itself on the north bank in the face of considerable opposition, a Turkish rearguard making several determined counter-attacks.

On our extreme right the situation remained practically unchanged during the 7th ; the enemv made no further attempt to counter-attack, but maintained his positions opposite our right flank guard.

In the centre the Hareira Tepe Redoubt was captured at dawn ; some prisoners and gims were taken. The London troops, after a severe engagement at Tel el Sheria, which they captured by a bayonet charge at 4 a.m., on the 7th, subsequently repulsing several counter-attacks, pushed forward their line about a mile to the the north of Tel el Sheria ; the mounted troops on the right moved towards Jemmamah and Huj, but met with considerable opposition from hostile rearguards. (See Plate 9.) Charge of the Yeomanry at Huj, Nov. 8.

13. During the 8th the advance was continued, and interest was chiefly centred in an attempt to cut off, if possible, the Turkish rearguard which had held the Tank and Atawineh systems. The enemy had, however, retreated during the night 7th-8th, and though considerable captures of prisoners, guns, ammunition, and other stores were made during the day, chiefly in the vicinity of Huj, no large formed body of the enemy was cut off. The Turkish rearguards fought stubbornly and offered considerable opposition. Near Huj a fine charge by some squadrons of the Worcester and Warwick Yeomanry captured twelve gans, and broke the resistance of a hostile rearguard. It soon became obvious from the 6 THE ADVANCE OF THE Nov. 8-13, 1917 reports of the Royal Flying Corps, who throughout the 7th and 8th attacked the retreating columns with bombs and machine-gun fire, and from other evidence, that the enemy was retiring in considerable ¦disorganization, and could ofier no very serious resistance if pressed with determination. {See Plate 10.) Instructions were accordingly issued on the morning of the 9th to the moimted troops, directing them on the line El Tine-Beit Duras, with orders to press the enemy relentlessly. They were to be supported by a portion of the force, which was ordered to push forward to Julis and Mejdel.

The enemy opposite our right flank guard had commenced to retreat towards Hebron on the morning of the 8th. He was pursued for a short distance by the Yeomanry, and some prisoners and camels were captured, but the Yeomanry were then recalled to rejoin the main body of the mounted troops for the more important task of the pursuit of the enemy's main body.

By the 9th, therefore, operations had reached the stage of a direct pursuit by as many troopp aa could be suppUed so far in front of railhead. The problem, in fact, became one of supply rather than manoeuvre. The question of water and forage was a very difficult one. Even where water was found in sufficient quantities, it was usually in wells and not on the surface, and consequently if the machinery for working the wells was damaged, or a sufficient supply of troughs was not available, the process of watering a large quantity of animals was slow and difficult.

' Increased Turkish Resistance.

14. On the evening of Nov. 9 there were indications that the enemy was organizing a counter- attack towards Arak el Menshiye by all available units of the force which had retired towards Hebron, with the object of taking pressure ofE the main force, which was retiring along the coastal plain. It was obvious that the Hebron force, which was believed to be short of transport and ammunition, to have lost heavily and to be in a generally disorganized state, could make no effective diversion, and that this threat could practically be disregarded. Other information showed the seriousness of the enemy's losses and the disorganization of his forces. {See Plate 11.) Orders were accordingly issued to press the pursuit and to reach the Junction Station as early as possible, thus cutting off the Jerusalem Army, while the Imperial Camel Corps was ordered to move to the neighbourhood of Tel el Nejile, where it would be on the flank of any counter-stroke from the hills.

Operations on the 1 0th and 11th showed a stiffening of the enemy's resistance on the general line of the Wadi Sukereir, with centre about El Kustineh ; the Hebron group, after an ineffective demonstration in the direction of Arak el Menshiye on the 10th retired north-east and prolonged the enemy's line towards Beit Jibrin. Royal Flying Corps reports indicated the total hostile forces opposed to us on this line at about 15.000 ; and this increased resistance, coupled with the capture of prisoners from almost every unit of the Turkish force, tended to show that we were no longer opposed to rearguards, but that all the remainder of the Turkish Army which could be induced to fight was making a last effort to arrest our pursuit south of the important Junction Station.

In these circumstances our progress on the 10th and 11th was slow ; the troops suffered considerably from thirst (a hot, exhausting wind blew during these two days), and our supply difficulties were great ; but by the evening of the 11th favourable positions had been reached for a combined attack. (-See Plates 12 & 13.) The 12th was spent in preparations for the attack, which was ordered to be begun earl}' on the m orning of the 13th , on tb e enemy's position covering Junction Station. Our forces were now operating at a distance of some thirty-five miles in advance of their railhead, and the bringing up and distribution of supplies and ammunition formed a difficult problem. The routes north of the Wadi Hesi were found to be hard and good going, though there were some difficult wadi crossings, but the main road through Gaza and as far as Beit Hanun was sandy and difficult. The supply of water in the area of operations, though good and plentiful in most of the villages, Hes mainly in wells 100 feet or more below the surface, and in these circumstances a rapid supply and distribution was almost impossible. Great credit is due to all concerned that these difficulties were overcome and that it was found possible not only to supply the troops already in the line, but to bring up two heavy batteries to support the attack.

15. The situation on the morning of Nov. 1 3 was that the enemy had strung out his force (amount- ing probably to no more than 20,000 rifles in all) on a front of twenty miles, from El Kubeibeh on the north to about Beit Jibrin to the south. The right half of his line ran roughly parallel to and only about five miles in front of the Ramleh-Junction Station railway, his main Une of supply from the north, and his right flank was already almost tiurned. This position had been dictated to him by the rapidity of our movement along the coast, and the determination with which his rearguards on this flank had been pressed.

The advanced guard of the 52nd (Lowland) Division had forced its way almost to Burkah on the 11th, on which day also some mounted troops pushed across the Nahr Sukereir at Jisr Esdud, where thej held a bridge-head. During the 12th the Yeomanry pushed north up the left bank of the Nahr Sukereii, And eventually seized Tel el Murreh on the right bank near the mouth.

Nov. 14-16, 1917. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 7 The hostile commander may have hoped to exercise some m&fal effect on our plans by the presence of the southern portion of his forces on the flank of our advance ; if so, he was mistaken. The Australian mounted troops, extended over a wide front, not only secured this flank but pressed forward on the 12th towards Balin, Berkusie, and Tel es Safi. Their advanced troops were coxmter-attacked and driven back a short distance, but the enemy made no effort to press further forward. Arrangements were then made to attack on the 13th.

The country over which the attack took place is open and rolling, dotted with small villages sur- rounded by mud walls with plantations of trees outside the walls. The most prominent feature is the line of heights on which are the villages of Katrah and El Mughar, standing out above the low flat groimd which separates them from the rising ground to the west, on which stands the village of Beshshit, about 2,000 yards distant. This Katrah-El Mughar Une forms a very strong position, and it was here that the enemy made his most determined resistance against the turning movement directed against his right flank. The capture of this position by the 52nd (Lowland) Division, assisted by a most dashing charge of mounted troopS; who galloped across the plain under heavy fire and turned the enemy's position from the north, was a fine feat of arms. Some 1,100 prisoners, three guns, and many machine gims were taken here. After this the enemy resistance weakened, and by the evening his forces were retiring east and north. {See Plate 14.) Capture of Junction Station, Nov. 14.

'The infantry, who were sent forward about dusk to occupy Junction Station, met with some resis- tance and halted for the night, not much more than a mile west of the station. Early next morning (Nov. 14) they occupied the station.

The enemy's army had now been broken into two separate parts, which retired north and east respectively, and were reported to consist of small scattered groups rather than formed bodies of any size.

In fifteen days our force had advanced sixty miles on its right and about forty on its left. It had driven a Turkish Army of nine infantry divisions and one cavalry division out of a position in which it had been entrenched for six months, and had pursued it, giving battle whenever it attempted to stand, and inflicting on it losses amounting probably to nearly two-thirds of the enemy's original effectives. Over 9,000 prisoners, about eighty guns, more than 100 machine guns, and very large quantities of g,mmunition and other stores had been captured. (See Plate 15.) 16. After the capture of Jimction Station on the morning of the 14th, our troops secured a position covering the station, while the Austrahan mounted troops reached Kezaze that same evening.

The mounted troops pressed on towards Kamleh and Ludd. On the right Naaneh was attacked and captured in the morning, while on the left the New Zealand Mounted Rifles had a smart engagement at AyuD. Kara (Rishon le Zion, six miles south of Jaffa). Here the Turks made a determined counter- attack and got to within fifteen yards of our line. A bayonet attack drove them back with heavy loss.

Flanking the advance along the railway to Ramleh and covering the main road from Ramleh to Jerusalem, a ridge stands up prominently out of the low foot hills surrounding it. This is the site of the ancient Gezer, near which the village of Abu Shusheh now stands. A hostile rearguard had established itself on this feature. It was captured on the morning of the 15th in a brilliant attack by mounted troops, who galloped up the ridge from the south. A gun and 360 prisoners were taken in this affair.

By the evening of the 15th the mounted troops had occupied Ramleh and Ludd, and had pushed patrols to within a short distance of Jaffa. At Ludd 300 prisoners were taken, and five destroyed aeroplanes and a quantity of abandoned war material were found at Ramleh and Ludd.

Occupation of Jaffa, Nov. 16.

Jaffa was occupied without opposition on the evening of the 16th.

17. The situation was now as follows : — The enemy's army, cut in two by our capture of Junction Station, had retired partly east into the mountains towards Jerusalem and partly north along the plain. The nearest hne on which these two portions could re-unite was the line Tul Keram-Nablus. Reports from the Royal Flying Corps indicated that it was the probable intention of the enemy to evacuate Jerusalem and withdraw to reorganize on this line. (See Plate 16.) On our side the mounted troops had been marching and fighting continuously since Oct. 31, and had advanced a distance of seventy-five miles, measured in a straight line from Asluj to Jaffa. The troops, after their heavy fighting at Gaza, had advanced in nine days a distance of about forty miles, with two severe engagements and continual advanced guard fighting. The 52nd (Lowland) Division had covered sixty-nine miles in this period.

8 THE ADVANCE OF THE Nov. 17-24, 1917- Th e railway was being pushed forward as rapidly as possible, and every opportunity was taken of landing stores at points along the coast. The landing of stores was dependent on a continuance of favour- able weather, and might at any moment be stopped for several days together.

A pause was therefore necessary to await the progress of railway construction, but before our position in the plain could be considered secure it was essential to obtain hold of the one good road which traverses the Judaean range from north to south, from Nablus to Jerusalem.

The Advance into Judaea.

18. The west side of the Judaean range consists of a series of spurs running east and west, and separated from one another by narrow valleys. These spurs are steep, bare and stony for the most part, and in places precipitous. Between the foot of the spur of the main range and the coastal plain is the low range known as the Shephelah.

On our intended line of advance only one good road, the main Jaffa-Jerusalem road, traversed the hills from east to west. For nearly four miles, between Bab el Wad (two and a half miles east of Latron) and Saris, this road passes through a narrow defile, and it had been damaged by the Turks in several places. The other roads were mere tracks on the side of the hill or up the stony beds of wadis, and were impracticable for wheeled transport without improvement. Throughout these hills the water supply was scanty without development.

On Nov. 17 the Yeomanry had commenced to move from Ramleh through the hills direct on Bireh by Annabeh, Berfilya and Beit ur el Tahta (Lower Bethhoron). By the evening of Nov. 18 one portion of the Yeomanry had reached the last-named place, while another portion had occupied Shilta. The route had been found impossible for wheels beyond Annabeh. (See Plate 17.) On the 1 9th the Infantry commenced its advance. One portion was to advance up the main road as far as Kuryet el Enab, with its right flank protected by Australian mounted troops. From that place, in order to avoid any fighting in the close vicinity of the Holy City, it was to strike north towards Bireh by a track leading through Biddu. The remainder of the infantry was to advance through Berfilya to Beit Likia and Beit Dukka, and thence support the movement of the other portion.

After capturing Latron and Anmas on the morning of the 19th, the remainder of the day was spent in clearing the defile up to Saris, which was defended by hostile rearguards. (See Plate 18.) On the 20th Kuryet el Enab was captured with the bayonet in the face of organized opposition, while Beit Dukka was also captured. On the same day the Yeomanry got to within four miles of the Nablus»- Jerusalem road, but were stopped by strong opposition about Beitunia.

On the 21 st a body of infantry moved north-east by a track from Kuryet el Enab through Biddu and Kulundia towards Bireh. The track was found impassable for wheels, and was under hostile shell fire. Progress was slow, but by evening the ridge on which stands Neby Samwil was secured. A further body of troops was left at Kuryet el Ena b to cover the flank and demonstrate along the main Jerusalem road. It drove hostile parties from Kustul, two and a haK miles east of Kuryet el Enab, and secured this ridge.

By the afternoon of the 21st advanced parties of Yeomanry were within two miles of the road, and an attack was being dehvered on Beitunia by other mounted troops. {See Plate 19.) Turkish Counter-Attacks.

19. The positions reached on the evening of the 21st practically marked the limit of progress in this first attempt to gain the Nablus-Jerusalem road. The Yeomanry were heavily coimter-attacked and fell back, after bitter fighting, on Beit ur el Foka (Upper Bethhoron). During the 22nd the enemy made two counter-attacks on the Neby Samwil ridge, which were repulsed. Determined and gallant attacks were made on the 23rd and on the 24th on the strong positions to the west of the road held by the enemy, who had brought up reinforcements and nmnerous machine gims, and could support his infantry by artillery fire from guns placed in positions along the main road. Our artillery, from lack of roads, could not be brought up to give adequate support to our infantry. Both attacks failed, and it was evident that a period of preparation and organization would be necessary before an attack could be dehvered in suSicient strength to drive the enemy from his positions west of the road. (See Plate 20.) Orders were accordingly issued to consolidate the positions gained and prepare for relief.

Though these troops had failed to reach their final objectives, they had achieved invaluable results. The narrow passes from the plain to the plateau of the Judaean range have seldom been forced, and have been fatal to many invading armies. Had the attempt not been made at once, or had it been pressed with less determination, the enemy would have had time to reorganize his defences in the passes lower down, and the conquest of the plateau would then have been slow, costly, and precarious. As it was, positions had been won from which the final attack could be prepared and delivered with good pro spects of success.

Nov. 25-Dec. 9, 1917. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 9 20. By Dec. 4 all reliefs were complete, and a line was held from Kustul by the Neby Samwil ridge, Beit Izza, and Beit Dukka, to Beit ur el Tahta. {See Plates 22, 23, & 24.) Fighting on tiie Auja.

During this period attacks by the enemy along the whole line led to severe local fighting. On Nov. 25 our advanced posts north of the river Auja were driven back across the river. From the 27til to the 30th the enemy delivered a series of attacks directed especially against the high ground north and north-cast of Jaffa, the left flank of our position in the hills from Beit ur el Foka to El Burj, and the Neby Samwil ridge. An attack oh the night of the 29tli succeeded in penetrating our outpost line north-east of JafEa, but next morning the whole hostile detachment, numbering 150, was surrounded and captured by Austrahan Light Horse. On the 30th a similar fate befell a battalion which attacked near El Burj ; a counter-attack by Australian Light Horse took 200 prisoners and practically destroyed the attacking battahon. There was particularly heavy fighting between El Burj and Beit ur el Foka, but the Yeomanry and Scottish troops successfully resisted all attacks and inflicted severe losses on the enemy. At Beit ur el Foka one company took 300 prisoners. {See Plate 21.) Enemy Failure at Neby Samwil.

All efforts by the enemy to drive us ofE the Neby Samwil ridge were completely repulsed. These attacks cost the Turks very dearly. We took 750 prisoners between Nov. 27 and 30, and the enemy's losses in killed and wounded were undoubtedly heavy. His attacks in no. way affected our positions nor impeded the progress of our preparations.

Converging Movement on Jerusalem.

21. Favoured by a continuance of fine weather, preparations for a fresh advance against the Turkish positions west and south of Jerusalem proceeded rapidly. Existing roads and tracks were improved and new ones constructed to enable heavy and field artillery to be placed in position and ammimition and supplies brought up. The water supply was also developed.

The date for the attack was fixed as Dec. 8. Welsh troops, with a Cavalry regiment attached, bad advanced from their positions north of Beersheba up the Hebron -Jerusalem road on the 4th. No opposition was met, and by the evening of the 6th the head of this column was ten miles north of Hebron. The Infantry were directed to reach the Bethlehem-Beit Jala area by the 7th, and the line Surbahir-Sherafat (about three miles south of Jerusalem) by dawn on the 8th, and no troops were to enter Jerusalem during this operation. {See Plate 25.) It was recognized that the troops on the extreme right might be delayed on the 7th and fail to reach the positions assigned to them by dawn on the 8th. Arrangements were therefore made to protect the right flank west of Jerusalem, in case such delay occurred.

22. On the 7th the weather broke, and for three days rain was almost continuous. The hills were covered with mist at frequent intervals, rendering observation from the air and visual signalling impossible. A more serious effect of the rain was to jeopardise the supply arrangements by rendering the roads ahnost impassable — quite impassable, indeed, for mechanical transport and camels in many places. {See Plate 26.) The troops moved into positions of assembly by night, and, assaulting at dawn on the 8th, soon carried their first objectives. They then pressed steadily forward. The mere physical difficulty of climbing the steep and rocky hillsides and crossing the deep valleys would have sufficed to render progress slow, and the opposition encountered was considerable. Artillery support was soon difficult, owing to the length of the advance and the difficulty of moving guns forward. But by about noon London troops had already advanced over two miles, and were swinging north-east to gain the Nablus-Jerusalem road ; while the Yeomanry had captured the Beit Iksa spur, and were preparing for a further advance.

Surrender of Jerusalem, Dec. 9.

As the right column had been delayed and was still some distance south of Jerusalem, it was necessary for the London troops to throw back their right and form a defensive flank facing east towards Jerusalem, from the western outskirts of which considerable rifle and artillery fire was being experienced. This delayed the advance, and early in the afternoon it was decided to consolidate the line gained and resume the advance next day, when the right column would be in a position to exert its pressure. By night- fall our line ran from Neby Samwil to the east of Beit Iksa, through Lifta to a point about one and a half miles west of Jerusalem, whence it was thrown back facing east. All the enemy's prepared defences west and north-west of Jerusalem had been captured, and our troops were within a short distance of the Nablus-Jerusalem road.

10 THE ADVANCE OF THE Dec. 9-11, 1917.

The Lopdon troops and Yeomanry had displayed great endurance in difficult conditions. The London troops especially, after a night march in heavy rain to reach their positions of deployment, had made an advance of three to four miles in difficult hills in the face of stubborn opposition.

During the day about 300 prisoners were taken and many Turks killed. Our own casualties were light, 23. Next morning the advance was resumed. The Turks had withdrawn during the night, and the London troops and Yeomanry, driving back rearguards, occupied a Ime across the Nablus-Jerusalem road four miles north of Jerusalem, while Welsh troops occupied a position east of Jerusalem across the Jericho road. These operations isolated Jerusalem, and at about noon the enemy sent out a farltmentaire and surrendered the city. {See Plate 27.) Official Entry.

At noon on the 11th I made my official entry into Jerusalem 24. In the operations from Oct. 31 to Dec. 9 over 12,000 prisoners were taken. The total capture* of material have not yet been fully counted, owing to the large area covered by these operations ; but they are known to include about 100 guns of various calibres, many machine gims, more than 20,000,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, and 250,000 rounds of gun ammiinition. More than twenty aeroplanes were destroyed by our airmen or burnt by the enemy to avoid capture.

25. My thanks are due to the cordial assistance which I received from his Excellency the High Commissioner, General Sir Francis Wingate, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., who has always given me the greatest assistance.

26. During the whole period Kear- Admiral T. Jackson, C.B., M.V.O., has given me most loyal support, and has co-operated with me in a manner which has materially contributed to our success.

27. Brigadier-General Sir G. Macauley, K.C.M.G., C.B., Director of Railway Transport, has given invaluable help in the organisation of my railways.

28. All ranks and services in the Force under my command have acquitted themselves in a manner beyond praise. Fatigue, thirst, heat, and cold have been endured uncomplainingly. The co-operation of all arms has been admirable, and has enabled success in battle to be consummated by irresistible and victorious pursuit.

Leaders and staffs have all done well, and in particular I bring to your Lordship's notice the names of the following officers : — Major-General (temporary Lieutenant-General) Sir Philip Chetwode, Bart., K.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O.

My plan of operations was based on his appreciation of the situation and on the scheme which he put forward to me on my arrival in Egypt last siunmer. To his strategical foresight and tactical skill the success of the campaign is largely due.

Major-Gereral (temporary Lieutenant-General) E. S. Bulfin, C.B., C.V.O.

Has shown great abiUty as an organizer and leader in high command. To his determination in attack, and his dash and drive in pursuit, is due the swift advance to .Jerusalem.

Major-General (temporary Lieutenant-General) Sir Henry Chauvel, K.C.M.G., C.B.

Has commanded my mounted troops with invariable success in attack and pursuit. His co-operation with other arms has always been ready and loyal, and has contributed greatly to the victory won.

Major-General L. J. Bols, C.B., D.S.O., Chief of the General Staff, has done brilliant work. He is a general staff officer of the first rank.

Major-General J. Adye, C.B., Deputy Adjutant-General, has rendered invaluable service.

Major-General Sir Walter Campbell, K.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O. , Deputy Quartermaster-General, has had a difficult task which he has carried out with complete success.

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel (temporary Brigadier-General) G. P. Dawnay, D.S.O., M.V.O., Reserve of Officers, Brigadier-General, General Staff, has proved himself a strategist and tactician of imusual merit. His work has been of the highest value.

I have the honoTir to be.

Your Lordship's most obedient servant, E. H. H. Allenby, General, Commanding-in-Chief, Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

Dec. 20-21, 1917. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 11 General Headquarters, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Septetnber 18, 1918. My Lord, I have the honour to submit a Report on the operations undertaken since Dec. 11, 1917, by the Force serving in Egypt and Palestine.

1. The operations described in my Despatch of Dec. 16, 1917, had resulted in the enemy's army being broken into two separate parts. One part had retired northwards, and had come to a halt on the hills overlooking the plain which lies to the north of JafEa and Ramleh. This force consisted of five divisions, four of which had been badly shaken in the recent retreat. Opposite it the XXIst Corps held a line, which starting at the mouth of the Nahr el Auja, three miles north of JafEa, crossed the Turkish railway from Ludd to Jiljulieh at a point five miles north of Ludd, and thence ran in a south- easterly direction to Midieh. {See Plate 28.) The other part of the enemy's army had retired in an easterly direction towards Jerusalem. Here the remains of six divisions had been concentrated. The XXth Corps, after it had compelled the enemy to evacuate Jerusalem, held a line across the roads leading from Jerusalem to Jericho and Nablus, four miles east and north of the city, and thence westwards through the hills past Beit ur el Foka to Suffa.

The two wings of the Turkish Army were separated by a roadless tract of country, the chief features of which consist of a series of spiurs running west. The spurs are bare and rocky, the valleys between them are deep. No operations on a large scale are possible in this country until the tracks have been improved sufficiently to admit of the passage of gims and of wheeled transport. The only lateral com- munication possible to the Turks lay some thirty miles to the north of the line Tul Keram-Nablus.

2. In order to provide more effectively for the security of Jerusalem and JafEa, it was essential that the line should be advanced. I therefore ordered the XXth Corps to advance to the hne Beitin- Nalin. This involved an advance on a twelve-mile front to a depth of six miles immediately north of Jerusalem. The XXIst Corps on the left I ordered to advance to the line Kibbieh-Rantieh-Mulebbis- Sheikh el Ballutah-El Jelil. When this advance had been carried out the distance between the enemy and Jaffa would be increased to eight miles.

3. Before either of these advances could take place a considerable amount of labour was necessary on the construction of roads and the improvement of communications. Supplies and ammunition had to be brought up, a task which was rendered more difficult by the weather. Heavy rains interfered with the progress of railway construction, and in some places washed away the existing line, while the roads became deep in mud, rendering the use of mechanical transport and camels impossible, and that of horse transport slow and difficult.

4. The operation on the left was the first to be carried out. The chief obstacle lay in the crossing of the Nahr el Auja. This river is only fordable in places, and all approaches to it are overlooked from Sheikh Muannis and Khurbet Hadrah. At these places two spurs running from north to south terminate abruptly in steep slopes some 500 yards from the river.

Before the XXIst Corps could reach its final objectives, it was necessary that the guns should move forward with the infantry. Consequently Sheikh Muannis, Khurbet Hadrah, and the high ground over- looking the river had to be captured as a preliminary to the general advance in order that bridges might be built.

The Passage of the Nahr El Auja, Dec. 20-21.

The chief difficulty lay in concealing the collection and preparation of rafts and bridging material. All preparations were completed, however, without attracting the enemy's attention, and on the night of Dec. 20-21 the 52nd Division crossed the river in three columns. The enemy was taken com- pletely by surprise. The left column, fording the river near its mouth, at this point four feet deep, captured Tell er Rekkeit, 4,000 yards north of the river's mouth ; the centre and right columns, crossing on rafts, rushed Sheikh Muannis and Khurbet Hadrah at the point of the bayonet. By dawn a line from Khurbet Hadrah to Tell er Rekkeit had been consohdated, and the enemy deprived of all observa- tion from the north over the valley of the Nahr el Auja.

The successful crossing of the Nahr el Auja reflects great credit on the 52nd (Lowland) Division. It involved considerable preparation, the details of which were thought out with care and precision. The sodden state of the ground, and, on the night of the crossing, the swollen state of the river, added to the difficulties, yet by dawn the whole of the infantry had crossed. The fact that the enemy were taken by surprise, and that all resistance was overcome with the bayonet without a shot being fired, bears testimony to the discipline of this division. Eleven officers, including two battalion commanders, and 305 other ranks, and ten machine guns were captured in this operation.

12 THE ADVANCE OF THE Dec. 21-27, 1917.

Dec. 21 was spent in building bridges. Considerable hostile shell fire was experienced during the day, chiefly from the right flank. From Mulebbis the enemy could observe the valley of the Auja. Despite this the bridges were completed, and by dusk the whole of the Divisional Artillery of the 52nd Division had crossed to the right bank, ready to support the advance to the final objectives.

On the morning of Dec. 22, the 54th Division on the right drove the enemy from the orchards which surround Mulebbis, and captured the villages of Rantieh and Fejja. On the left the 52nd Division reached all their objectives and consolidated the line Tel el Mukhmar-Arsuf, the latter place, although two miles beyond the allotted objective, being occupied to deny direct observation on Jaffa harbour to the enemy.

During the day the Royal Flying Corps attacked the enemy with bombs and machine-gun fire as he withdrew, inflicting numerous casualties.

Throughout these operations the XXIst Corps received most effective support from the Royal Navy.

This operation, by increasing the distance between the enemy and Jaffa from three to eight miles, rendered Jaffa and its harbour secure, and gained elbow-room for the troops covering Ludd and Ramleh and the main Jaffa- Jerusalem road. {See Plate 29.) Enemy Attempt to Recover Jerusalem, Dec. 26-27.

5. In the meantime, on XXth Corps front, only minor operations had taken place, resulting in the capture of various points of local tactical importance.

The preparations for the advance to the Beitin-Nalin line were hindered by the weather, heavy rain falling during the week before Christmas. As they were nearing completion, various movements and concentrations of troops on the part of the enemy indicated that he intended to attack, with the object of recovering Jerusalem.

This proved to be the case. On the night of Dec. 26-27, the enemy attacked with great determina- tion astride the Jerusalem-Nablus road. A coimter-attack against the right of his attack was carried out immediately by two divisions. As the result of three days' fighting, not only did the enemy's attempt to recapture Jerusalem fail, but by the end of the third day he found himseK seven miles further from Jerusalem than when his attack started.

The enemy's attack was launched at 11.30 p.m. on Dec. 26, the advanced posts of the 60th Division, east of the Jerusalem road, being driven in. By 1.30 a.m. on Dec. 27 the 60th Division was engaged along its whole front.

Between 1.30 a.m. and 8 a.m. the outposts of the 60th Division on the ridge north of Beit Hanninah repelled four determined attacks, but the heaviest fighting took place to the east of the Jerusalem- Nablus road. Repeated attacks were made against Tel el Ful ; a conspicuous hill from which Jerusalem and the intervening ground can be overlooked. The attacks were made by picked bodies of troops, and were pressed with great determination. At only one point did the enemy succeed in reaching the main line of defence. He was driven out at once by the local reserves. In all these attacks he lost heavily.

In the meantime the enemy had delivered attacks against various points held by the 53rd Division east of Jerusalem. On the extreme right at Kh. Deir Ibn Obeid, a company of Middlesex troops was surroimded by 700 Turks, supported by mountain artillery. Although without artillery support, it offered a most gallant resistance, holding out till relief came on the morning of the 28th. None of the other attacks on this division's front were any more successful.

On the 60th Division front north of Jerusalem, a lull in the fighting occurred after 8 a.m. This lasted till 12.55 p.m., when the enemy launched an attack of unexpected strength against the whole front. In places this attack reached our main line of defence, but these small successes were short- lived, for in each case local counter-attacks, carried out immed.iately, were successful in restoring the line.

This proved to be the final effort.

At noon the counter-attack by the 74th and 10th Divisions, which had been launched at 6.30 a.m. against the right of the enemy's attack, had made itself felt.

The 74th Division, climbing the western slopes of the Zeitun Ridge, advanced along it in an easterly direction. On their left a brigade of the 10th Division advanced along the neighbouring ridge, the left of the 10th Division advancing in a northerly direction to form a defensive flank.

These divisions met with a determined and stubborn resistance. The ground over which the advance took place was sufficiently rough and broken to render the advance slow and difficult, quite apart from any action of the enemy. In addition, the boulders on the hills rendered it ideal ground in which to fight a delaying action, providing positions for machine guns, which are difficult to locate.

Nevertheless, when night fell the 74th Division had reached the east end of the Zeitun Ridge, oppo- site Beitunia. On their left the 10th Division overlooked Ain Arik, and further to the left were in jpossession of Deir Ibzia.

Dec. 28-29, 1917. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 13 The counter-attack of these two divisions had thus not only resulted in an advance of 4,000 yards on a six-mile front, but, by attracting the enemy's reserves, had prevented the enemy from repeating his attacks on the 60th Division, and, depriving him of the initiative, had forced him to abandon his attempt to capture Jerusalem.

Advance into Mount Ephraim.

Seeing that the Turkish attack was spent I ordered the XXth Corps to make a general advance northwards on Dec. 28.

The enemy, after the failure of his attack on Dec. 27, was still holding his original position in front of the 60th Division. This position was of considerable strength, and included Khurbet Adaseh, a high ridge overlooking the approaches from Beit Haninah, while further west it included the villages of Bir Nebala and El Jib, the scene of heavy fighting at the end of November.

El Jib and Bir Nebala were captured by 1 p.m. Khurbet Adaseh was then attacked and captured by 5.30 p.m.

At 6.30 p.m. the advance was resumed and by 9.15 p.m. the 60th Division had reached the line Er Ram-Kafat. Considerable resistance was met with at Er Ram. The right of this advance was protected by the 53rd Division, which extended its left northwards, capturing the villages of Anata and Kh. Almit.

On the left the 74th Division, advancing from the east end of the Zeitim Ridge, captured Beitunia, which was defended with obstinacy, and seized the high ridge east and north of it. Further to the left, the right of the 10th Division, descending into the valley of the Ain Arik, cUmbed the opposite slopes and captured Kefr Shiyan hill, one mile east of Ain Arik, and the ridge between this hill and Kh. Rubin. Considerable opposition was encountered, and great difficulty was experienced in locating the enemy's machine guns.

The 60th Division continued its advance on Dec. 29. At the start no opposition was met with, the enemy having withdrawn to Bireh and the Et Tahimeh ridge just north of the village, leaving a garrison at Shab Salah, a precipitous hill 1,000 yards south of Bireh, overlooking the Jerusalem-Nablus road. As soon as the leading troops came within range of Bireh they were met with heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. Some delay was caused owing to the difficulty experienced in bringing the guns forward.

By 4.15 p.m. the left of the attack reached the Birfeh-Ram Allah road, and then stormed the Tahuneh ridge, the last position from which the enemy could observe the approaches to Bireh.

Simultaneously with this attack the right of the 60th Division had stormed Shab Saleh in face of heavy machine-gim fire, subsequently capturing the ridge east of Bireh.

At 9 p.m. the advance was continued to the line Beitin-El Balua-Kh. El Burj. little opposition was encountered. On this day the 53rd Division extended its line northwards to protect the right of the 60th Division, occupying Hizmeh Jeba and the high ground north of it overlooking the Wadi el Medineh, with little opposition.

On the left the 74th Division occupied Ram Allah, and the 10th Division advanced without oppo- sition to the line Khurbet Rubin-Ras Kerker-Deir el Kuddis.

The final line occupied by the XXth Corps thus ran from Deir Ibn Obeid, south-east of Jerusalem, northwards past Hizmeh and Jeba to Beitin, and thence westwards through El Burj, Ras Kerker, to Deir el Kuddis.

During these days the Royal Air Force not only gained valuable and timely information, but re- peatedly attacked the enemy's troops and transport with bombs and machine-gun fire from low altitudes, inflicting considerable losses.

Results of the Four Days' Fighting.

The Turkish attempt to recapture Jerusalem had thus ended in crushing defeat. He had employed fresh troops who had not participated in the recent retreat of his army from Beersheba and Gaza and had escaped its demoralizing effects. The determination and gallantry with which his attack was carried out only served to increase his losses. The attack had commenced on the night Dec. 26-27. By the evening of Dec. 30, the XXth Corps had advanced on a front of twelve miles to a depth varying from six miles on the right to three miles on the left. This advance had to overcome not only a determined and obstinate resistance, but great natural difficulties as well, which had to be overcome before guns could be brought up to support the infantry.

Seven hundred and fifty prisoners, twenty-four machine guns, and three automatic rifles were captured during these operations, and over 1,000 Turkish dead were buried by us. Our own casualties were considerably less than this number.

As a result of this advance and of that of the XXIst Corps, my force was in a far better position to cover Jerusalem and the towns of Ramleh and Jaffa, and the road, which, running from Jaffa to Jerusalem, formed the chief artery of lateral communication behind my line. [See Plate 30.) 14 THE ADVANCE OF THE Feb. 19, 1918.

Importance of the Jordan Bridges.

6. Any further advance northwards on my part was out of the question for the time being. Besides the construction of roads and the improvement of communications in the forward areas, stores of supplies and ammunition had to be accumulated. Until the railway had reached a point considerably nearer my front, this was of necessity a difficult task, and one rendered still more difficult by frequent spells of wet weather. Moreover, before a further advance could be made, it was necessary to drive the enemy across the Eiver Jordan to render my right flank secure. (See Plate 31.) The possession of the crossings over the Jordan ofiered other advantages. These were : — (a) The enemy would be prevented from raiding the tract of country to the west of the Dead Sea (6) Control of the Dead Sea would be obtained.

(c) A point of departure would be gained for operations eastwards, with a view to interrupting the enemy's line of communication to the Hedjaz, in conjunction with the Arab forces based on Akaba.

7. Before the country around Jericho could be used as a base for operations against Amman, a further advance northwards was necessary to gain sufficient space to the north to render any interrup- tion from that direction impossible.

I had intended to carry out this advance to the north simultaneously with the advance eastwards to the Eiver Jordan. It, however, became apparent that, if this was to be carried into effect the opera- tions against Jericho would have to be postponed for a considerable time to enable preparations for the advance northwards to be completed. I, therefore, decided to carry out the advance to the Jordan as a separate enterprise, the limits of the advance being the Jordan on the east and the Wadi el Auja on the north. This wadi joins the Jordan eight miles north of the point where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea.

For this operation the Austrahan and New Zealand Mounted Division, less the Movmtdd Brigade and the Divisional Artillery, was attached to the XXth Corps.

The 60th Division had taken over the line east of Jerusalem some time previously. Opposed to it were some 5,000 rifles, while to the north another 2,000 rifles were in a position from which to act against the left flank of the 60th Division as it advanced.

The chief obstacle to the advance lay in the difficulties of the ground rather than any opposition the enemy might ofEer.

The descent from the vicinity of Jerusalem to the valley of the Jordan is very steep. The beds of the main wadis run from west to east. Their banks are often precipitous, rendering any crossing from one bank to the other impossible. Numerous tributaries join the main wadis from all directions, break- ing up the ridges into a tumbled mass of hills.

The descent to the Jordan Valley from the line then held by the 60th Division is not, however,, continuous. It is interrupted by a series of ridges which afforded the enemy strong defensive positions.

Opposite the right of the 60th Division's line El Muntar formed a conspicuous landmark overlooking all the country in the vicinity : opposite the centre the high ground about Ras Umm Deisis and Arak Ibrahim afforded the enemy a strong position, while further north, on the left bank of the wadi es Suweinit, Ras el Tawil formed a dominating feature. After a further fall the ground rose again at Talaat ed Dumm. This rise continued in a south-easterly direction to Jebel Ekteif, thence eastwards to Neby Musa, descending from there to the Jordan Valley, five miles south of Jericho.

To the west of Jericho at Jebel Kuruntul the ground falls sharply in steep cliffs to the Jordan Valley.

The general plan consisted of a direct advance by the 60th Division to the cliffs overlooking Jericho. The Austrahan and New Zealand Mounted Division was to co-operate on the right flank with a view to entering the Jordan Valley near Neby Musa, thus cutting off the enemy's retreat from Jericho.

The Descent into the Jordan Valley.

The first step of the operation was carried out on Feb. 1 9. By 9 a.m. the 60th Division had captured El Muntar, Arak Ibrahim and Ras et Tawil, the 53rd Division extending its right to include Rummon, thence along the right bank of the Wadi el Asa, in touch with the left of the 60th Division. The greatest opposition was encountered on the left at Riunmon by the 53rd Division, and in the vicinity of Ras et Tawil by the 60th Division.

The capture of El Muntar enabled the mounted troops to concentrate behind it, preparatory to operating against the enemy's left on the 20th.

On the left the 53rd Division was now in a position to command the Et Taiyibeh-Jericho road, along which any troops intended to act against the left of the 60th Division would move.

Dm-ing the day further ground was secured by the 60th Division in face of considerable opposition,. to cover the deployment for the attack on Feb. 20. {See Plate 32.) Feb. 20-22, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 15 During the night of Feb. 19-20 the 60th Division moved into positions of deployment in the Wadi €s Sidr. The covering troops of the centre brigade were attacked during the night, but the enemy was repulsed after a sharp struggle. On the morning of the 20th the centre brigade captured Talat ed Dumm at 7.15 a.m., the enemy resisting with stubbornness. After a pa\ise to enable guns to be brought for- ward, a further advance of 2,000 yards was made.

The right brigade, advancing on Jebel Ekteif, met with great opposition. Moreover, the ground over which the attack had to take place proved the most rugged and difficult yet met with in this country. Only one approach existed by which the assaulting waves could climb Jebel Ekteif, but by midday it had been stormed.

The left brigade, on the north of the Wadi Farah, advanced four miles, over difficult country, the enemy fighting a rearguard action from ridge to ridge.

Thus by the evening the 60th Division had reached a line running north from Jebel Ekteif, four miles west of the cliils overlooking Jericho.

In the meantime the mounted troops on the right had encountered considerable opposition, and had been much hampered by the difficulties of the ground.

Two miles south of Neby Musa the enemy held the high ground at Jebel el Kalimum and Tubk el Kaneiterah. Compelled to move in single file over tracks which were exposed to machine-gun fire from the enemy's position, and which had been registered accurately by the enemy's guns at Neby Musa, the progress of the mounted troops was necessarily slow. By 2 p.m., however, the enemy was driven from his position at Jebel el Kalimum and Tubk el Kaneiterah. The further advance of the New Zealand Brigade on Neby Musa was hampered by the ground, and was finally checked at the Wadi Mukehk, the only possible crossing over which was subjected to a heavy fire from Neby Musa. On the right of the New Zealanders an Australian Mounted brigade discovered a crossing over the Wadi Kumran, and entering the Jordan plain reached the Wadi Jufet Zeben by dusk.

The chief feature of the enemy's resistance was the volume of machine-gun fire.

By 6 a.m. the New Zealanders and a battalion of the 60th Division reached Neby Musa, meeting with no opposition.

Occupation of Jericho, Feb. 21.

The Australian Mounted Brigade, advancing along the plain, entered Jericho at 8.20 a.m., the enemy having withdrawn during the night.

The 60th Division advanced to the line Rujm es Shema-Liyeh-Kh. Kakun-Jebel Karuntul, over- looking Jericho.

Meanwhile, patrols from the Australian Mounted Brigade reconnoitred as far as the Wadi el Aujah to the north and the El Ghoraniyeh bridge. The enemy was found to be holding the high ground north of the Aujah, and a bridgehead covering the El Ghoraniyeh bridge with guns on the left bank. (See Plate 33.) As a direct attack on the bridgehead would have involved heavy losses, without compensating advantages, it was not attempted. On the 22nd the 60th Division withdrew to the line Jebel Ekteif- Talat ed Dumm-Eas et Tawil, leaving outposts on the cliffs overlooking Jericho. The Moimted Divi- sion, leaving one regiment to patrol the Jordan Valley, returning to Bethlehem.

During these operations four officers, 140 other ranks, and six machine guns were captured from the enemy.

On no previous occasions had such difficulties of ground been encountered. As an instance of this, a Field Artillery battery took thirty-six hours to reach Neby Musa, the distance covered, as the crow flies, being only eight miles.

The Royal Air Force rendered valuable service, but mist and low-lying clouds interrupted their work to a great extent.

Improving the Position.

8. This operation, by driving the enemy across the Jordan, had rendered my right flank secure, but the base thus obtained was not sufficiently broad to permit of operations being carried out east of the Jordan against the Hedjaz Railway.

Before any such operation could be undertaken it was essential in the first place to cross the Wadi Aujah and secure the high ground on the north bank covering the approaches to the Jordan Valley by the Beisan-Jericho road, and, secondly, by advancing sufficiently far northwards on either side of the Jerusalem-Nablus road, to deny to the enemy the use of all tracks and roads leading to the lower Jordan Valley. This accomplished, any troops he might determine to transfer from the west to the east bank of the Jordan would have to make a considerable detoiu: to the north.

16 THE ADVANCE OF THE March 8-10, 1918.

I therefore ordered the XXth Corps to secure Kh. el Beiyudat and Abu TelluJ, in the Jordan Valley, north of the Wadi el Aujah, and further to the west the line Kefr Malik-Kh. Abu Felah, the high ground south of Sinjil, and the ridge north of the Wadi el Jib running through Kh. AUuta-Jiljilia-Abwein- Arura, thence to Deir es Sudan and Nebi Saleh.

The watershed frona which the wadis run, in the one direction to the River Jordan, in the other through the hills to the plata north of Ludd and thence to the sea, runs parallel to and some two miles east of the Jerusalem-Nablus road. The fall to the Jordan Valley is short and sharp, with the result that the beds of the wadis are deep and their sides almost precipitous. The country is so intricate that it cannot be crossed by large bodies of troops. Consequently, there was no danger in leaving a gap between the right of the XXth Corps at Kefr Malik and the detachment in the Jordan Valley at Abu Tellul.

To conform to the advance of the XXth Corps, I ordered the XXIst Corps to advance its right to include the ridge north of the Wadi Ballut, the village of Mejdel Yaba, a conspicuous landmark on a foot- hill overlooking the plain north of Ludd, Ras el Ain, an old Crusader stronghold on the railway from Ludd to Tul Keram, and El Mirr.

As a result of this advance the XXIst Corps would be placed in a better position for a further advance, should it decide to attack the defensive system constructed by the enemy from Jiljulieh westwards through Tabsor to the sea.

The two Corps were thus advancing on a front, from Kefr Malik to El Mirr, of twenty-six miles, to a maximum depth of seven miles.

The ground over .which the advance was to take place is rugged and difficult. A succession of high and rocky ridges, separated by deep valleys, afforded the enemy a series of positions of great natural strength. The slopes of the ridges are in many places precipitous. Ledges of rock confine the descent to definite places, on which the enemy could concentrate his fire. In places the slopes are terraced, and men had to pull or hoist each other up.

It was necessary to reconnoitre each successive position held by the enemy, and the subsequent movement of troops into positions of assembly was of necessity a slow process.

Under these conditions no rapid advance could be looked for.

As soon as suppHes and ammunition had been collected and preparations were complete, both Corps made a preliminary advance to enable a closer reconnaissance of the enemy's main positions to be made, and to allow of the construction of roads for the movement of guns and supphes.

By March 8 the XXth Corps had reached the fine En Nejmeh-Et Taiyibeh-Ain Sinia, on the Jerusalem-Nablus road, Hill 2,665 overlooking Bir ez Zeit-Beit Ello, the 53rd Division being on the right, the 74th Division in the centre astride the Jerusalem-Nablus road, and the 10th Division on the left.

On the right of the XXIst Corps the 75th Division had captured Abud and the ridge between the Wadis Barbara and Abud.

In neither case was any serious opposition encountered.

When the subsequent advance began the opposition stiffened considerably on the front of both Corps.

On March 9 and 10 the XXth Corps had to drive the enemy from ridge after ridge before the final objectives were reached.

During the night of March 8-9, the brigades of the XXth Corps moved forward to their posi- tions of assembly. On the extreme right, in the Jordan Valley, the brigade of the 60th Division entrusted with the task of capturing Kh. el Beiyudat and Abu Tellul experienced some difficulty in crossing the Wadi el Aujah in the dark, and subsequently met with determined resistance. By 3 p.m., however, Kh. el Beiyudat and Abu Tellul had been captured. The occupation of a position astride the Beisan- Jericho road completed this operation. Further west the 53rd, 74th and 10th Divisions had advanced by the evening to a depth varying between 3,000 and 7,000 yards, and had reached a line running east and west through Tell Asur, thence along the ridges overlooking the Wadis En Nimr and El Jib. The 53rd Division on the right had met with considerable opposition and great natural difficulties, especially on the extreme right and at Tell Asur, a conspicuous landmark among a mass of high hills. The impor- tance attached to Tell Asur by the enemy was shown by the number of determined efforts he made to recapture it, all of which were repulsed.

On March 10 both the enemy's resistance and the difficulties of the groimd increased, but during the day and the early hours of the night of March 10-11, an advance of 3,000 yards was made on a front of twelve miles. The fine reached ran from Kefr Malik, along the ridge overlooking the Wadi el Kola and the Burj el Kisaneh ridge, past Kh. el Sahlat, Kh. AHuta, Jiljilia, Abwein, and Arura to its former position at Deir es Sudan and Neby Saleh.

The enemy contested the ridges north of the Wadis en Nirm and El Jib with great obstinacy, while on the extreme left near Neby Saleh he coimter-attacked the left of the 10th Division on several occa- sions. The descent of the slopes leading down to the Wadis en Nimr and El Jib and the ascent on the far side presented great difficulties. The downward slopes were exceptionally steep, almost precipitous March 11-12, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 17 in places. It was impossible for companies and platoons to move on a wide front. The slopes were swept by machine-gun and rifle fire and the bottom of the wadis by enfilade fire. The ascent on the far side was steeply terraced. Men had alternately to hoist and pull each other up, under fire, and finally to expel the enemy from the summits in hand-to-hand fighting.

On March 11 the operation of the XXth Corps was completed by the occupation of Kh. Abu Felah and the heights overlooking Sinjil and the comparatively low- lying country to the north-east. The result of this operation was the capture of a line with great natural facihties for defence, and of eleven officers, 160 other ranks, eleven machine guns and considerable amounts of ammunition and other booty.

The second phase of the operation by the XXIst Corps, the prehminary phase having taken place on March 7, was carried out on March 12.

At first the opposition encountered was not serious, but from the time the 75th Division reached the ridge overlooking the Wadi Ballut it stiffened, the enemy contesting the ridge on the far side of the wadi stubbornly, and when driven off making several counter-attacks to regain it. At Benat Burry, a razor-edged ridge north of Kh. Balatah, the top of the ridge is honeycombed with caves and entrances on both sides. Considerable difficulty was experienced in overcoming the enemy's resistance here. Eventually, however, a platoon of Gurkhas worked round to the rear of the ridge. A Lewis gun was brought to bear on the exits. The garrison of the caves, numbering five officers and fifty other ranks, then siu-rendered.

On the left of the 75th Division the 54th Division captured the villages of El Mezeireh, Kh. Dikerin and Mejdel Yaba in the foothills, and Ras el Ain and El Mirr in the plain. Seven officers, 105 other ranks, and two machine guns were taken by these two divisions. \ Sherifian Operations in Moab during January.

9. The Jordan Valley had now been sufficiently cleared of the enemy to enable operations to be carried out against the Turkish line of communication to the Hedjaz, in conjimction with the Arab forces under Sherif Feisal, which were operating in the country to the south-east of the Dead Sea and were under my control.

Sherif Feisal's forces were based on Akaba. In Jan. 1918, he had captured the high ground about Uheida, within seven miles of Maan, his main objective. At the same time a force under Sherif Abdul Magin had occupied the whole of the Hish Forest up to and including Shobek, twenty miles north by west of Maan, destroying thirty-five kilometres of the enemy's light railway which left the main line at Kalaat Aneiza and was used to transport wood as fuel for locomotives. After the capture of Shobek a force under Sherif Nazir raided Jauf ed Derwish, a station on the main line thirty miles north of Maan. This they held for throe days, burning the station buildings and destroying two locomotives and some rolling stock. In this successful raid the Turkish losses amounted to over 100 killed, over 200 prisoners, a moimtain gun and two machine guns. Further north a separate force of Arab tribesmen under Sherif Nazir captured Tafile, fifteen miles south-east of the south end of the Dead Sea, on Jan. 16. The garri- son, which consisted of 100 Tiu-ks and the officials of the place, surrendered after a short resistance. Ten days later a Turkish force, consisting of three battalions, with two mountain gmis and twenty-seven machine guns, advanced from Kerak to recapture Tafile. An engagement took place on Jan. 26, in which the enemy suffered a crushing defeat. His losses amounted to over 450 in killed and 250 in pri- soners. In addition, the whole of his artillery and machine guns fell into the hands of the Arabs. In March the Turks concentrated a considerable force, including a battahon of German infantry, and, advancing from Kutrani and Jauf ed Derwish, re-occupied Tafile, the Arab tribesmen, in face of superior numbers, withdrawing to positions north of Shobek.

The situation to the east of the Jordan thus presented a favourable opportunity for a raid on the enemy's communications with the Hedjaz.

Importance of Annman.

Its immediate effect would be to compel the enemy to recall the force which had recently occupied Tafile. It might, in addition, compel the enemy to call on the garrison of Maan for support. If this should prove to be the case, Sherif Feisal would be afforded his opportunity to attack Maan with some prospects of success. The extent of this opportunity would depend on the amoimt of damage done to the Hedjaz Railway. Near Amman, the railway crosses a viaduct and passes through a tunnel. If these could be destroyed it would be some weeks before traffic could be resumed. I determined therefore to carry out a raid on Amman, with the object of destroying the viaduct and tunnel and, if this should be found impossible, to damage the railway as much as possible. Even if traffic was only interrupted for a short time, the mere threat of a repetition of this raid would compel the enemy to maintain a considerable 18 THE ADVANCE OF THE March 21-22. 1918 force to cover Amman. The troops available to operate against the Arabs would be reduced, and possibly the enemy might transfer a portion of his reserves from the west to the east of the Jordan, thereby weakening his power to make or meet any attack on the main front.

Amman is thirty miles east by north of Jericho as the crow flies. The natiire of the intervening coimtry varies to a marked degree. From the banks of the Jordan to the clay ridges, a mile east of the river, the ground is flat, and after rain becomes marshy. Beyond the ridges the country is covered with scrub and intersected by numerous wadis. For the first five miles the total rise is only 500 feet. In the next twelve miles the groimd rises some 3,500 feet till the edge of the plateau of Moab is reached. The hills are rugged and steep. The main wadis descend from the plateau to the Jordan in deep valleys. The plateau itself is undulating, the lower portions of it marshy after rain. The hills which rise from it are rocky and covered with scrub. They are isolated features, and only form continuous ridges immed- iately west of Amman, which lies in a cultivated plain, extending some two miles west and four miles north-west of the town. This plain, which is the site of many ruins, is intersected by numerous deep wadis difficult to cross — especially the Wadi Amman, which runs from south to north, leaving the town of Amman on its right.

The Turks had constructed a metalled road from Ghoraniyeh bridge to Es Salt and Amman. Following the Wadi Nimrin, it enters the hills at Shimet Nimrin and wmds round the slopes of the valley of the Wadi Shaib, supported by embankments, in places twenty feet high. At Es Salt, a town of some 15,000 inhabitants, eighteen miles from Ghoraniyeh by road, it is joined by tracks leading from the fords over the Jordan at Umm es Shert and Jisr ed Damieh, and from Jerash to the north. On leaving Es Salt the road runs in a northerly direction for two miles, and then turns east, reaching the edge of the plateau five miles further on. This is the only road, and is in bad repair. Various tracks follow the wadis to the plateau, but are imfit for wheeled transport. One leaves the main road at Shunet Nimrin, and follows the Wadis Jeria and Sir, passing the village of Ain es Sir. Another leads from Ghoraniyeh and Makhadet Hajlah up the Wadi el Kefrein to Naaur, where it joins the main route from Madeba to Amman.

The Amman Raid, March 21-AprII 2.

11. The force detailed to carry out the raid consisted of the 60th (London) Division, the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, the Imperial Camel Brigade, a Moimtain Artillery Brigade, the Light Armoured Car Brigade, and a heavy battery. This force was placed under the command of the General Ofiicer Commanding 60th Division. The 60th Division was to force the crossiiigs over the Jordan and advance astride the metalled road to Es Salt, which it was to hold, its left flank being protected by a mounted brigade. The mounted troops and the Camel Brigade, following the 60th Division across the Jordan, were to move direct on Amman by the tracks passing through Ain es Sir and Naaur. On reaching Amman the railway was to be destroyed and the viaduct and timnel demolished. This having been accomplished, the moimted troops were to withdraw on the 60th Division, the whole force then withdrawing to bridgeheads at the Jordan.

The operations, which started during the night of March 21-22, were hampered considerably by rain, which fell dviring the days preceding the raid and on March 27 and the three following days. The Jordan is unfordable at this time of the year. The current is at all times rapid, and is hable to sudden floods which render the banks boggy and difficult of approach for transport. On March 28 it rose nine feet. The rain which fell during the operations rendered the tracks in the hills slippery and the movement of horses, and especially of camels, slow and difficult. The delay thus caused enabled the enemy to bring up reinforcements. Before Amman could be attacked in strength some 4,000 Turks supported by fifteen guns were in position near Amman, covering the viaduct and tunnel, while another 2,000 were moving on Es Salt from the north. To have driven the enemy from his position, without adequate artillery support, would have entailed very heavy losses. Owing to the marshy nature of the country it was only possible to bring up momitain artillery, and I therefore ordered a withdrawal, which was carried out without serious interruption. Although it had not been possible to effect any permanent demolitions, five miles of railway line, including several large culverts, and the points and crossings at Alanda station, were destroyed to the south of Amman, while to the north of the town a two-arch bridge was blown up.

Considerable losses were inflicted on the enemy, and in addition fifty-three officers and over 900 other ranks were taken prisoner, including several Germans.

The raid also enabled a considerable number of Armenians to escape and find a refuge west of the Jordan.

5IARCH 22-29, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 19 The Passage of the Jordan, March 22-April 2.

12. The crossing of the Jordan took place during the night of March 21-22. (See Plate 34.) The crossing was to have been effected by a brigade of the 60th Division at Ghoraniyeh and Makh- adet Hajlah. This brigade was then to cover the construction of bridges, the 60th Division crossing at the former, the mounted troops at the latter place. The attempt to cross at Ghoraniyeh failed owing to the strength of the current, which prevented all attempts to cross both by swminiing and by means of ra'ts and pontoons.

At Hajlah, however, the swimmers succeeded in reaching the opposite bank at 1.20 a.m., and by 7.45 a.m. the leading battalion was across. Till dawn this crossing was unperceived by the enemy, but subsequently the troops had to be ferried across, and a bridge constructed imder fire. The bridge was completed by 8.30 a.m. Further troops crossed, but it was found impossible to enlarge the bridge- head till dark, owing to the enemy's fire and the thickness of the scrub.

A further attempt to cross at Ghoraniyeh during the night of the 22nd-23rd was again frustrated by the current and the enemy's fire. Early in the morning, however, a New Zealand regiment crossed at Hajlah, and, galloping northwards, drove back the enemy and formed a bridgehead at Ghoraniyeh. The current having dinxinished, three bridges were constructed during the day, and by 10 a.m. the whole of the infantry of the GOth Division and the greater part of the mounted troops were east of the Jordan, but owing to the swollen state of the river much valuable time had been lost.

Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt.

On March 24 the 60th Division attacked the enemy and drove him from his position at El Hand and Shunet Nimrin, covering the entrance to the pass leading to Es Salt. Three gims were captured by a battaUon of the London Regiment, the teams being shot down by the fire of the Lewis guns. Following on the heels of the retreating enemy, the GOth Division advanced four miles along the road to Es Salt, which was occupied the following evening without opposition.

In the meantime the mounted troops, followed by the Camel Brigade, made their way along the tracks towards Ain es Sir and Naaur. Early in the day all wheeled transport had to be sent back. Even so, the tracks had been rendered so slippery by rain, which fell continuously on tbe 25th, that progress was slow. In many places horses had to move in single file, and had to be pulled or pushed up the shp- pery slopes.

Naaur was reached late in the evening of March 25.

The rain continued to fall on March 26. At 5 a.m. the New Zealand and Australian Brigades met at Ain es Sir. The Australians moved on to Suweileh, north of the Es Salt-Amman road, capturing 170 Turks there. Both men and horses were, however, too exhausted by their exertions to admit of more than demolition parties being sent on to the railway.

On March 27 the advance was resumed. The ground favoured the enemy, the rocks and scrub on the hills affording excellent cover to his riflemen. The wadis could only be crossed at a few places, and then only in single file.

Destruction of Railway near Amman.

By evening the New Zealanders had reached the railway south of Amman, their demolition parties working southwards. In the centre the Camel Brigade advanced direct on Amman, but were checked some 1,500 yards west of Amman village. On the left the Australians were imable to reach the railway north of Amman, being heavily counter-attacked ; but during the night a demohtion party succeeded in blowing up a small bridge seven miles north of Amman.

On March 28 a brigade of the GOth Division arrived from Es Salt accompanied by mountain artillery. The road was too soft to admit of field guns being brought. In fact, twenty-two Turkish motor-lorriea and other vehicles found along the road were so embedded in the mud that they had to be destroyed. On its arrival this brigade attacked along the Es Salt-Amman road, the Austrahans attacking on its left, the Camel Brigade on its right, while the New Zealanders attacked Hill 3,039 just south of Aroman.

Enemy Counter-Attacks.

Little progress was made. The enemy made several counter-attacks, especially against the Australians, who were forced back a short distance.

On March 29 Turkish reinforcements arrived, and the counter-attacks were renewed, but without success. (See Plate 35.) During the afternoon two more battalions of the GOth Division and a battery of Koyal Horse Artil- lery arrived after a long and arduous march.

20 THE ADVANCE OF THE March 30-Apeil 13, 1918.

The attack on Amman was renewed at 2 a.m. on March 30. The New Zealanders captured a portion of Hill 3,039, but were unable to drive the enemy from the northern and eastern ends. Parties of New Zealanders entered the village, but were fired on from the houses. Elsewhere the attack met with only shght success. It was apparent that without greater artillery support further attacks could only succeed at the cost of heavy losses. Moreover, Turkish troops from Jisr ed Damieh and from the north had begun to make their presence felt at Es Salt. Orders were therefore issued for a withdrawal to take place during the night. This was carried out without interruption, after all the wounded had been evacuated.

By the evening of April 2 the whole force had recrossed the Jordan, with the exception of the troops left to hold the bridgehead on the east bank. (See Plate 36.) Results of the Raid.

Although no permanent damage had been done to the Hedjaz Eailway, the raid had succeeded in drawing northwards and retaining not only the Turkish troops which had been operating against the Arabs, but in addition a portion of the garrison of Maan and the stations further south.

Before the raid was carried out the enemy's strength in the Amman-Es Salt-Shunet Nimrin area was approximately 4,000. By the middle of April it had increased to over 8,000.

13. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Sherif Feisal commenced operations against Maan. The railway was first cut both north and south of Maan at Ghadir el Haj and Jerdun. At these places 270 Turks and three machine guns were captured. On April 13, Senna, a Turkish post 4,000 yards south-west of Maan Station, was captured, and on April 17 the station was entered and 100 prisoners made, but the attack was unable to make any impression on the strong Turkish position 400 yards north of the station. This position was of considerable strength, and was provided with concrete machine-gun emplacements. The Arabs then withdrew to a strong position at Senna to await the arrival of further ammunition for their artillery.

In the meantime another column attacked the line between Batn el Ghul and Kalaat et Mudawara, seventy kilometres south of Maan, and destroyed 100 kilometres of line so effectively that at least a month's uninterrupted work will be required to repair it, and then only if large gangs of labourers are available. The damage to the railway north of Maan was not so thorough, but was sufficient to prevent through traffic for several days.

Enemy Attack on Ghoraniyeh Bridgehead.

14. After the troops employed in the last raid had been withdrawn to the west bank of the Jordan, the enemy reoccupied the Shunet Nimrin position, which he held with some 5,000 rifles.

On April 11 he made simultaneous attacks on the Ghoraniyeh bridgehead and on El Musallabeh, which covers the Beisan-Jericho road west of the Jordan. Both attacks were pressed with considerable determination, but brought him no success, and during the night April 11-12 he withdrew to his posi- tions at Shunet 'Nimrin, which he commenced to strengthen. His losses in these attacks were heavy. He left three officers and 113 other ranks in our hands as prisoners, while some 500 dead were buried by us or seen to be buried by the enemy.

I determined to seize the first opportunity to cut off and destroy the enemy's force at Shunet Nimrin, and, if successful, to hold Es Salt till the Arabs could advance and reHeve my troops. This would have denied the enemy the use of the harvest. I had intended to carry out this operation about the middle of May, when the reorganization of the 1st Mounted Division had been completed. In the meantime, however, a deputation from the Beni Sakhr tribe arrived stating that the tribe was concentrated near Madeba, ready to co-operate with any advance I might make, provided it took place before May 4, after which date their supplies would be finished and the tribe would have to disperse.

The troops available to carry out this raid were the Desert Mounted Corps, less the 1st Mounted Division, the 60th Division, less one brigade, and the Imperial Service Cavalry and Infantry Brigades.

The 60th Division was to attack the enemy's position at Shunet Nimrin, whilst the Mounted Troops, moving northwards from Ghoraniyeh, were to turn east along the tracks leading from Umm es Sh'rt and Jisr ed Damieh, and protect the left flank.

In the former raid the only route found fit for wheeled transport between Amman and Shunet Nimrin had been the metalled road passing through Es Salt. The arrival of the mounted troops at Es Salt would thus sever the main Kne of commimication of the force at Shunet Bimrin, who would be dependent for their supplies on the track further south through Ain es Sir. This track was exposed to attack by the Beni Sakhr tribe.

There appeared every chance therefore of the Turkish force at Shunet Nimrin being compelled to retreat under very difficult conditions, and a fair chance of its being captured.

April 30-May 4, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 21 The Es Salt Raid, April 30-May 4.

The operations were commenced early on the morning of April 30, and proceeded according to plan.

The 60th Division captured the advanced works of the Shunet Nimrin position, but were imable to make further progress in face of the stubborn resistance offered by the enemy. {See Plate 37.) The mounted troops, moving northwards, rode round the right of the Shimet Nimrin position, and by 6 p.m. had captured Es Salt, leaving an AustraUan Brigade to watch the left flank.

This brigade took up a position facing north-west astride the Jisr ed Damieh-Es Salt track, with patrols watching the Wadi ez Zerka, and with a detachment on the high ground on the east bank of the Jordan, two miles north of Umm es Shert.

At 7.30 a.m. on May 1 this brigade was attacked by the 3rd Turkish Cavalry Division, and a part of the 24:th Division, which had crossed from the west bank of the Jordan during the night at Jisr ed Daraieh. The enemy succeeded in penetrating between the left of the brigade and the detachment on the bank of the Jordan. The brigade was driven back through the foothills to the Wadi el Abyad. During its retirement through the hills nine guns and part of its transport had to be abandoned, being unable to traverse the intricate ground.

The Umm es Shert-Es Salt track was thus the only line of supply or retreat left to the mounted troops in Es Salt, till the main road and the Wadi Arseniyet track could be opened by the capture of the Shunet Nimrin position and El Hand. {See Plate 38.) Arrangements were made for a combined attack to take place on this position on May 2. The 60th Division was to attack from the west and the mounted troops at Es Salt from, the north-east.

On May 2 the moimted troops in Es Salt were attacked by two Turkish battalions which had arrived from Amman accompanied by heavy guns, as well as by cavalry from the north, and troops from Jisr ed Damieh. These attacks were driven off, but the force intended to attack Shunet Nimrin from the north-east had to be weakened and was checked at El Howeij, five miles south of Es Salt. The 60th Division was also unable to make any substantial progress, in spite of determined efforts.

Inactivity of the Beni Sakhr.

As the assistance of the Beni Sakhr tribe had not materiahzed, the Ain es Sir track was still open to the garrison of Shimet Nimrin. Further Turkish reinforcements were known to be on their way. It was evident that the Shunet Nimrin position could not be captured without losses, which I was not in a position to afford. In these circumstances I ordered the mounted troops to withdraw from Es Salt. Their retirement was accomphshed successfully. The enemy, who followed up closely, was held off without difficulty. By the evening of May 4 all the troops had recrossed the Jordan, bridgeheads being left to cover the bridges at Ghoraniyeh and the crossing at El Auja.

Although the destruction of the Turkish force at Shunet Nimrin had not been effected, the enemy's losses were considerable, the prisoners brought in amounting to fifty officers and 892 other ranks ; twenty- nine machine guns and several motor cars and lorries were destroyed by the mounted troops before they left Es Salt.

The raid has undoubtedly rendered the enemy apprehensive of further operations east of the Jordan, and has compelled him to maintain considerable forces in the Amman-Shunet Nimrin area, reducing the forces available to meet the Arab menace.

Despatch of Troops to France.

15. The despatch of troops to France, and the reorganization of the force, has prevented further operations, of any size, being undertaken, and has rendered the adoption of a policy of active defence necessary. During the first week in April the 52nd Division embarked for France, its place being taken by the 7th (Meerut) Division which had arrived from Mesopotamia.

The departure of the 52nd Division was followed by that of the 74th Division, which left Palestine during the second week in April. The 3rd (Lahore) Division was sent from Mesopotamia to replace the 74th Division, but it was not till the middle of June that the last imits disembarked. In addition to the 52ud and 74th Divisions, nine Yeomanry regiments, five and a half siege batteries, ten British battalions, and five machine gun companies were withdrawn from the line, preparatory to embarkation for France, (a) By the end of April the Yeomanry regiments had been replaced by Indian Cavalry regiments, which had arrived from France, and the British battalions by Indian battalions despatched from India. These Indian battalions had not, however, seen service during the present war ; and, naturally, had not the experience of the battaUons they replaced.

(a) See footnote on following page.

22 THE ADVANCE OF THE June 8-Aug. 12, 1918.

Thus in April the strength of the force had been reduced by one division, five and a half siege bat- teries and five machine-gun companies ; while one mounted division was in process of being reorganized, and was not available for operations.

In May a further fourteen battaHons of British infantry were withdrawn and despatched to France, (a) Only two Indian battalions were available to replace them. Thus at the end of May the force had been further reduced by twelve battaUons, while the loss of the 74th Division had not yet been fully made good. On the other hand, the reorganization of the mounted division had been completed.

In June the places of the British battalions which had been despatched to France were filled by Indian battalions. Six of the Indian battalions had, however, been formed by withdrawing a company from twenty-four of the Indian battalions aheady in the Force. As few reinforcements were available for the battalions thus depleted, the Force had been completed in name only.

During July and the first week in August a further ten British battalions were replaced by ten Indian battalions, the persoimel of the British battaHons being used as reinforcements. (6) 16. During these months of reorganization various minor operations and a number of raids have been carried out.

Advance in the Coastal Sector.

Between April 9 and 11, the right of the line held by the XXIst Corps was advanced on a front of twelve miles, to a maximum depth of three miles ; the villages of Kefr Ain, Berukin, El Kefr and Rafat being captured. Considerable resistance was met with, the Turkish troops being stiffened by a German battahon. The enemy made several attempts to recapture Berukin and Rafat. His counter-attacks were broken up by the infantry, ably supported by the artillery, but, in some cases, only after sharp hand- to-hand fighting. The enemy's losses were considerable, over 300 of his dead being counted.

On June 8 an advance was made on the coast, at the extreme left of my liae, with the object of depriving the enemy of observation. The enemy's positions were captured by two battaUons — the Black Watch and the Guides. Two counter-attacks were made. In the first the enemy succeeded in reoccupying a portion of the position, but he was expelled. The second counter-attack broke down before it reached our new position. The enemy's losses were considerable, and four officers and 101 other ranks were captured. The capture of these positions not only prevented the enemy from over- looking a considerable length of our defences and the ground in rear, but secured observation of the approaches to the enemy's positions, with the result that his movements, by day, have been considerably restricted.

Successful Indian Raids.

The Indian troops have carried out a niunber of minor raids with success. On July 13 a party of the Guides siu-prised the enemy in his trenches in the middle of the day, bringing back fifteen prisoners and a machine gun. On July 27 a Pa than company of the 53rd Sikhs F.F. inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy, and brought in thirty-three prisoners and two machine guns.

A raid on a larger scale, carried out on Aug. 12 by the Leinster Regiment, 54th Sikhs, and 1st Battahon, 101st Grenadiers, was crowned with complete success. The objective was the enemy's defences on the El Burj-Ghurabeh ridge, north-west of Sinjil. This ridge is some 5,000 yards in length, and lies 2,000 yards in front of our Line. It was held by 800 rifles and thirty-six machine guns. The defences consisted of strongly-built sangars, protected by thick wire entanglements. The approaches to it are rocky and broken, involving a climb of 900 feet. The position was attacked from both flanks. The enemy was surprised. His losses were heavy, and the raiders brought back 239 prisoners, including a battalion commander and sixteen officers and thirteen machine guns. Great dash was shown by all the troops taking part in it.

In the Jordan Valley the moimted troops have carried out successful raids, and have ambushed a number of hostile patrols. The Indian cavalry have used the lance with good effect on several occasions.

(a) Tbanbfekued.

Yeomanry, — 1/lgt Warwicks, South Notts Hussars, l/lst Bucks., l/lst Berks., 1/lst Lines., 1/lst City of London, l/2nd and l/3rd County of London, l/lst East Ridinss. Siege Battfrlm.—iOlst, 2!)2nd, 320th, 322th, •123rd, and 445th. Infantry Jiii/tulwrui.—2/Uh R. West Surreys, l/5th Devons, 2/4th Somerset L. I., l/4th and l/7th Ciieshires, 5th and Gth B. Inniskilling Fusiliers, l/4th R. Sussex, 2/4th Hani|)shires, 2nd Loynl North Lanes., 5th B. Irish Fusiliers, 5th Connaiiht Bangers, (ith Leinsters, Gth B. Munster Fusiliers, Gth and 7th R. Dublin Fusiliers, 2/14, 2/15, 2/16, 2/20, 2/23rd, and 2/24th Londons, 1/lst Herefords. Machine (hm Ciivipanies.—Ht. 221, 262, 264, 271, and 272.

(b) Disbanded.

Infantry liattalion*. — 2/4th Devons, l/6th and l/6th B. Welsh Pusiliers (amalgamated as 5/6th B. Welsh Fusiliers), 2/5th Hampshires, 2/4th Dorsets, l/4th and l/5th Welsh (amalgamated as 4/5th Welsh), 2/4th K. West Kents, 2/lOth Middlese.x, Gth K. Irish Rifles, 2/18th and 2/21st Londous.

July 14, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 23 17. This activity on our part has not been imitated by the enemy, except in one instance. Then the brunt of the fighting fell on German troops. Early in July movements of troops, and increased artillery and aeroplane activity, foreshadowed an attack on our defences in the Jordan Valley.

On the right bank of the Jordan our defences form a marked salient. The eastern side of the salient faces the ford at Umm esh Shert. The apex is at El Musallabeh, while the western face runs across the north-west slopes of Abu Tellul.

Abu Tellul.

Early on the morning of July 14 the enemy was seen to be concentrating in the deep wadis north- west of Abu Tellul. At 3.30 a.m. the attack began. The enemy penetrated between the advanced posts and seized Abu Tellul, thus cutting off the posts further north at El Musallabeh. At 4.30 a.m. the 1st AustraUan Light Horse Brigade counter-attacked. By 5 a.m. Abu Tellul had been regained. The enemy, driven against our advanced posts, which, with one exception, had held their ground, suffered heavily. Two hundred and seventy-six Germans, including twelve officers, and sixty-two Turks were captured, in addition to six machine gims and forty-two automatic rifles. One hundred woxmded and many dead were left on the ground. Great credit is due to the AustraUans for the quickness of their coimter- attack and for the determination displayed by the garrisons of the advanced posts in holding out. although surroxmded.

El Henu Ford.

While this fighting was in progress a Turkish force of considerable strength was observed to be con- centrating to the east of the Jordan, opposite El Henu Ford, which is midway between the El Ghoraniyeh bridgehead and the Dead Sea. A cavalry brigade moved out to coimter-attack. Taking advantage of the ground, the cavalry arrived within charging distance before they were observed. In the charge that ensued some ninety Turks were speared ; and ninety-one, including six ofiicers, in addition to four machine guns, were captured. It was only by reaching ground impassable for cavalry that the remainder of the Turks effected their escape. The Jodhpur Lancers played a distinguished part in this charge.

The enemy's attack on both banks of the Jordan thus failed ignominiously. His losses, especially those of the German troops, were heavy, and it is probable that the German units which took part will need a long rest before being ready for active operations again. Our casualties were comparatively light.

18. Since April no events of any importance have taken place in the Hedjaz. The Turks have been unable to restore through railway communication between Maan and the north. South of Maan a detachment of the Imperial Camel Corps attacked and captured the station at Kalaat el Mudawara, destrojdng the water tower and pumps. Thirty-five Turks were killed, six officers and 146 other ranks, two guns and three machine guns were captured.

As a result of this operation, no water supply now exists on the railway for a distance of 150 kilo- metres south of Maan. Medina has thus been definitely cut off from the north.

Summary of the Operations.

19. The operations, which took place during the first half of the period covered by this despatch,. rendered secure the fruits of the fighting, which, commencing with the capture of Beersheba, culminated in the occupation of Jerusalem.

On Dec. 12 the enemy still remained within four miles of Jerusalem. He is now twenty-two miles from the Holy City. {Se& Plate 39.) To the east he has been driven across the Jordan, and his commimications to the Hedjaz raided. His losses between Dec. 12, 1917, and May 31, 1918, were considerable, the number of prisoners amoimting to 331 officers and 6,088 other ranks. His one attempt on a large scale to assume the offensive and retake Jerusalem failed, and was turned into a defeat, accompanied by a considerable loss of territory.

In driving back the enemy my troops suffered considerable hardships. The rugged country in which the majority of the fighting took place not only favoured the defence, but demanded great physical exertion on the part pf the attackers. In the early months of the year their task was often rendered more difficult by the cold and heavy rains which added greatly to their discomfort. They responded to every call made on them, and proved their superiority over the enemy on every occasion. The second half of the period imder review has been spent in reorganization and in training. Although operations have been limited to raids, sixty-nine officers and 1,614 other ranks have been taken from the enemy since Jvme 1.

24 THE ADVANCE OF THE 20. Throughout the whole period, the work of the Royal Air Force has been of great value. Fifty- three hostile aeroplanes have been destroyed, in addition to twenty-three which have been driven down out of control. The enemy's troops, camps, and railways, have been bombed with good results, while very important photographic work has been carried out. Co-operation with the other arms has been excellent.

21. During the early months of the year, whilst the rainy season was still in progress, and before railhead had reached the troops, the supply situation presented great difficulties. The wadis came down in spate, overflowing their banks and flooding the surrounding country. Not only was railway construc- tion hindered, but the coimtry became alnaost impassable for motor, and extremely difficult for horse transport. Nevertheless, all difficulties were overcome.

The Assistance of Egypt.

22. I am indebted to His Excellency General Sir Francis Wingate, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., High Commissioner for Egypt, for the cordial assistance he has given me at all times.

Egypt has provided transport personnel, drivers for the Camel Transport Corps, and men for the Egyptian Labour Corps in large numbers, in addition to several units of the Egyptian Army. These have all done work which, though im ostentatious, has been of great value. During the operations in the hills of Judaea, and of Moab, the troops often depended for their supplies on the Camel Transport Corps. The drivers displayed steadiness under fire and devotion to duty in the face of cold and rain, which they had never experienced previously. The Egyptian Labour Corps shared these hardships. The construction and maintenance of roads was a task of considerable importance and difficulty during the rainy season, and threw a great strain on the Egyptian Labour Corps. Its successful accomplishment reflects credit on the Corps. The Egyptian authorities have complied at once with all requests that I have made, and my thanks are due to them for their loyal support.

23. The Army Postal Service has carried out its work efficiently. During the early months of the year, when my troops were far in advance of railhead, the dehvery and collection of mails was a matter of considerable difficulty, which was invariably overcome.

24. Throughout the period I have received every help from Rear-Admiral T. Jackson, C.B., M.V.O.

I have the honour to be, Your Lordship's most obedient servant, E. H. H. Allenby, General, Commanding-in-Chief, Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 25 General Headquarters, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Ocloher 31, 1918. My Lord, I have the honour to forward a despatch describing the operations which, commencing on Sept. 19, resulted in the destruction of the enemy's army, the liberation of' Palestine and Syria, and the occupa- tion of Damascus and Aleppo.

1. The latter months of the period covered by my despatch of Sept. 18, 1918, had been spent in the reorganization of my force. The last Indian battalions to arrive had been incorporated in divisions early in August. Some of these battalions had only been formed a few months, and I should have liked to have given them further opportunities to accustom themselves to the conditions prevailing on this front, before calling on them to play a part in arduous operations on a large scale. The rains, however, usually commence at the end of October, rendering the plains of Sharon and Esdraelon impassable for transport, except along the few existing roads. Consequently, operations could not be postponed beyond the middle of September.

Strength of the Enemy.

2. At the beginning of September I estimated the strength of the IVth, Vllth, and Vlllth Turkish Armies to be 23,000 rifles, 3,000 sabres, and 340 guns. The IVth Army— 6,000 rifles, 2,000 sabres, and seventy-four guns — faced my forces in the Jordan Valley. The Vllth Army held a front of some twenty miles astride, the Jerusalem-Nablus road with 7,000 rifles and 111 guns, while the Vlllth Army front extended from Furkhah to the sea, and was held by 10,000 rifles and 157 guns.

In addition, the garrison of Maan and the posts on the Hejaz Railway north of it, consisted of some 6,000 rifles and thirty guns.

The enemy's general reserve, only 3,000 rifles in strength, with thirty guns, was distributed between Tiberias, Nazareth, and Haifa.

Thus, his total strength amounted to some 4,000 sabres, 32,000 rifles, and 400 gims — representing a ration strength, south of the line Rayak-Beirut, of 104,000.

3. I had at my disposal two cavalry divisions, two mounted divisions, seven infantry divisions, and Indian infantry brigade, four unallotted battalions, and the French detachment (the equivalent of an infantry brigade with other arms attached) ; a total, in the fighting line, of some 12,000 sabres, 57,000 rifles, and 540 gims.

I had thus a considerable superiority in numbers over the enemy, especially in moimted troops.

4. I was anxious to gain touch with the Arab Forces east of the Dead Sea, but the experience, gained in the raids which I had undertaken against Amman and Es Salt in March and May, had proved that the communications of a force in the hills of Moab were liable to interruption, as long as the enemy was able to transfer troops from the west to the east bank of the Jordan. This he was in a position to do, as he controlled the crossing at Jisr ed Damieh.

The defeat of the Vllth and Vlllth Turkish Armies, west of the Jordan, would enable me to control this crossing. Moreover, the destruction of these armies, which appeared to be within the bounds of possibihty, would leave the IVth Army isolated, if it continued to occupy the country south and west of Animan. I determined, therefore, to strike my blow west of the Jordan.

5. With the exception of a small and scattered reserve, the whole of the Turkish Force west of the Jordan was enclosed in a rectangle forty-five miles in length and only twelve miles in depth. The northern edge of this rectangle was a line from Jisr ed Damieh on the Jordan, through Nablus and Tul Keram, to the sea. All the enemy's communications to Damascus ran northwards from the eastern half of this hne ; converging on El Afule and Beisan, some twenty-five miles to the north. Thence, with the exception of the roads leading from El Afule along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, his commimications ran eastwards up the valley of the Yarmuk to Deraa, the jimction of the Palestine and Hejaz railways. {See Plate 41.) Thus, El Afule, Beisan, and Deraa were the vital points on his communications. If they could be seized, the enemy's retreat would be cut off. Deraa was beyond my reach, but not beyond that of mobile detachments of the Arab Army. It was not to be expected that these detachments could hold this railway junction, but it was within their power to dislocate all traflic.

El Afule, in the Plain of Esdraelon, and Beisan, in the Valley of Jezreel, were within reach of my cavalry, provided the infantry could break through the enemy's defensive systems, and create a gap for the cavalry to pass through. It was essential that this gap should be made at the commencement of operations, so that the cavalry might reach their destinations, forty-five and sixty miles distant, before the enemy could make his escape. Moreover, whichever route the cavalry followed, the hills of Samaria, 26 THE ADVANCE OF THE or their extension towards Mount Carmel, had to be crossed before the Plain of Esdraelon, and the Valley of Jezreel, could be reached ; and it was most important that the enemy should not be given time to man the passes.

6. For this reason I decided to make my main attack in the coastal plain, rather than through the hills north of Jerusalem. In the hills the ground aflorded the enemy positions of great natural strength, and taxed the physical energy of the attackers to the utmost. The operations in March, astride the Jerusalem -Nab lus road, had proved that an advance of five miles in one day, in face of determined opposition, was the most that could be expected. A far more rapid and decisive advance than this was necessary. In addition, the route along the coast would enable the cavalry to pass through the hills of Samaria, into the Plain of Esdraelon, at their narrowest point ; thus ensuring greater speed and less likelihood of being checked. The supply of a large force of troops in the plain also presented fewer difficulties.

The Sharon Front.

7. The Coastal Plain at Jiljulieh, the ancient Gilgal, is some ten miles in width. The railway from Jiljulieh to Tul Keram skirts the foothills, running through a slight depression on the eastern edge of the plain. To the west of this depression the Turks had constructed two defensive systems. The first, 14,000 yards in length and 3,000 in depth, ran along a sandy ridge in a north-westerly direction from Bir Adas to the sea. It consisted of a series of works connected by continuous fire trenches. The second, or Et Tireb system, 3,000 yards in rear, ran from the village of that name to the mouth of the Nahr Falik. On the enemy's extreme right the groimd, except for a narrow strip along the coast, is marshy and could only be crossed in few places. The defence of the second system did not, therefore, require a large force.

The railway itself was protected by numerous works, and by the fortified villages of Jiljulieh and Kalkilieh. The ground Tsetween our front Hue at Ras el Ain and these villages was open, and was over- looked from the enemy's works on the foothills roimd Kefr Kasim.

8. By reducing the strength of the troops in the Jordan Valley to a minimum, and by withdrawing my reserves from the hills north of Jerusalem, I was able to concentrate five divisions and the French detachment, with a total of 383 guns, for the attack on these defences. Thus, on the front of attack, I was able to concentrate some 35,000 rifles against 8,000, and 383 guns against 130. In addition, two cavalry and one Australian mounted divisions were available for this front. (See Plate 41.) The Plan of Campaign.

9. I entrusted the attack on the enemy's defences in the coastal plain to Lieut. -General Sir Edward Bulfin, K.C.B., C.V.O., commanding the XXIst Corps. In addition to the 3rd (Lahore), 7th (Meerut), 54th, and 75th Divisions, which already formed part of the XXIst Corps, I placed at his disposal the 60th Division, the French Detachment, the 5th Australian Light Horse Brigade, two brigades of mountain artillery, and eighteen batteries of heavy and siege artillery.

I ordered him to break through the enemy's defences between the railway and the sea, to open a way for the cavalry, and at the same time, to seize the foothills south-east of Jiljulieh. The XXIst Corps was then to swing to the right, on the line Hableh-Tul Keram, and then advance in a north-easterly direction through the hills, converging on Samaria and Attara, so as to drive the enemy up the Messudie- Jenin road into the arms of the cavalry at El Afule.

I ordered Lieut. -General Sir Harry Chauvel, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., commanding the Desert Mounted Corps, less the Australian and New Zealand Moimted Division, to advance along the coast, directly the infantry had broken through, and had secured the crossing? over the Nahr Falik. On reaching the line Jelameh-Hudeira, he was to turn north-east, cross the hills of Samaria, and enter the Plain of Esdraelon at El Lejjun and Abu Shusheh. Riding along the plain, the Desert Mounted Corps was to seize El Afule, sending a detachment to Nazareth, the site of the Yilderim General Headquarters. Sufficient troops were to be left at El Afule to intercept the Turkish retreat there. The remainder of the Corps was to ride down the Valley of Jezreel and seize Beisan.

I ordered Lieut.-General Sir Philip Chetwode, Bart., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., commanding the XXth Corps, to advance his line east of the Bireh-Nablus road, on the night preceding the main attack, so as to place the 53rd Division on his right flank, which was somewhat drawn back, in a more favourable position to advance and block the exits to the lower valley of the Jordan.

I ordered him to be prepared to carry out a further advance with both the 53rd and 10th Divisions, on the evening of the day on which the attack in the coastal plain took place, or later as circumstances demanded.

Sept. 18-19, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONAEY FORCE 27 10. The main difficulties lay in concealing the withdrawal of two cavalry divisions from the Jordan Valley, and in concentrating secretly, a large force in the coastal plain.

To prevent the decrease in strength in the Jordan Valley being discovered by the enemy, I ordered Major-General Sir Edward Chaytor, K.C.M.G., C.B., A.D.C., to carry out with the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, the 20th Indian (Imperial Service) Infantry Brigade, the 38th and 39th Batta- lions Royal Rusiliers, and the 1st and 2nd Battalions British West Indies Regiment, a series of demon- strations with the object of inducing the enemy to believe that an attack east of the Jordan was intended, either in the direction of Madeba or Amman. The enemy was thought to be anticipating an attack in these directions, and every possible step was taken to strengthen his suspicions.

At this time a mobile column of the Arab Army, accompanied by British armoured cars and % French mountain battery, was assembling at Kasr el Azrak, fifty miles east of Amman. The real objective of this colmnn was the railway north, south, and west of Deraa. There was always the possibiUty, however, that this concentration might be observed. Should this occur, it was hoped that the demon- strations by Chaytor's force would strengthen the enemy's behef that a concerted attack on Amman was intended.

Preparation for the Attack.

The concentration in the coastal plain was carried out by night, and every precaution was taken to prevent any increased movement becoming apparent to the Turks. Full use of the many groves round Ramleh, Ludd, and Jafia, was made to conceal troops during the day. The chief factor in the secrecy maintained must be attributed, however, to the supremacy in the air which had been obtained by the Royal Air Force. The process of wearing down the enemy's aircraft had been going on all through the summer. During one week in June 100 hostile aeroplanes had crossed our lines. During the last week in August this number had decreased to eighteen. In the next few days a number were shot down, with the result that only four ventured to cross our lines during the period of concentration.

11. That the enemy expected an offensive on my part about this date is probable. That he remained in ignorance of my intention to attack in the coastal plain with overwhelming numbers is certain. On the morning of Sept. 19, when the attack in the coastal plain was laimched, his dispositions were normal.

Arab Action.

12. Whilst the concentration in the coastal plain was nearing completion, the enemy's railway communications at Deraa were attacked by the Royal Air Force, and by the mobile column of the Arab Army, which, after concentrating at Kasr el Azrak, fifty miles east of Amman, had moved into the Hauran.

The railway line and station buildings at Deraa were damaged by the Royal Air Force on Sept. 16 and 17. On Sept. 16th the Arab column, which had been joined by the Shalaan Sections of the Rualla, Anazeh, and by a number of Druses, attacked the Hejaz Railway, fifteen miles south of Deraa, destroying a bridge and a section of the railway. On the following day the line was attacked both north and west of Deraa, extensive demolitions being carried out. As the result of these demolitions, all through traffic to Palestine ceased, and a considerable quantity of transport, which had been intended for the Hejaz, was diverj;ed to bridge the break in the railway. {See Plates 41-44.) Thie Eastern Front.

13. The concentration in the coastal plain had been completed by the morning of Sept. 18. During the night of Sept. 18-19, the XXth Corps swung forward its right.on the east of the Bireh-Nablus road. The 53rd Division descended into the basin at the head of the Wadi Samieh, captured Kh. Jibeit, •El Mugheir, and the ridge on the far side of the basin, and all its objectives, with the exception of one hill, Kh. Abu Malul. Considerable opposition was encountered ; and hand-to-hand fighting took place, in which over 400 prisoners were taken.

In the early hours of Sept. 19 El Afule and the headquarters of the Turkish Vllth and Vlllth Armies at Nablus and Tul Keram were bombed by the Royal Air Force, with a view to disorganizing their signal communications.

At 0430 the artillery in the coastal plain opened an intense bombardment lasting fifteen minutes, under cover of which the infantry left their positions of deployment. Two torpedo boat destroyers assisted, bringing fire on the coastal road to the north. {See Plate 42.) 14. The operations which followed fall into five phases.

28 THE ADVANCE OF THE The first phase was of short duration. In thirty-six hours, between 0430 on Sept. 19 and 1700 on Sept. 20, the greater part of the Vlllth Turkish Army had been overwhehned, and the troops of the Vllth Army were in full retreat, through the hills of Samaria, whose exits were aheady in the hands of my cavalry. (See Plates 43-44.) In the second phase the fruits of this success were reaped. The infantry, pressing relentlessly on the heels of the retreating enemy, drove him uito the arms of my cavalry, with the result that practically the whole of the Vllth and Vlllth Turkish Armies were captured, with their guns and transport.

This phase also witnessed the capture of Haifa and Acre, and the occupation of Tiberias, and of the country to the south and west of the Sea of Galilee.

As the result of the rout of the Vllth and Vlllth Armies, the IVth Turkish Army, east of the Jordan, retreated, and Maan was evacuated. (See Plates 45-46.) The third phase commenced with the pursuit of this army by Chaytor's force, and closed with the capture of Amman, and the interception of the retreat of the garrison of Maan, which surrendered. {See Plate 47.) The fourth phase witnessed the advance by the Desert Mounted Corps to Damascus, the capture of the remnants of the IVth Turkish Army, and the advance by the XXIst Corps along the coast from Haifa to Beirut. {See Plates 48-52.) In the fifth phase my troops reached Horns and Tripoli without opposition. My cavalry then advanced on Aleppo, and occupied that city on Oct. 26. {See Plate 53.) The Main Attack.

15. The attack in the coastal plain on the morning of Sept. 19 was attended with complete success. On the right, in the foothills, the French Tirailleurs and the Armenians of the Legion d'Orient advanced with great dash, and, in spite of the difficulties of the groimd, and the strength of the enemy's defences, had captured the Kh. Deir el Kussis ridge at an early hour. On their left the 54th Division stormed Kefr Kasm village, and wood, and the foothills overlooking the railway from Has el Ain to Jiljulieh. North of Kefr Kasim the advance was checked for. a time at Sivri Tepe, but the enemy's resistance was quickly overcome, and the remaining hills south of the Wadi Kanah captured.

The Battle of Sharon.

In the coastal plain the 3rd (Lahore) Division attacked the enemy's first system between Bir Adas and the Hadrah road. On its left the 75th Division attacked the Tabsor defences, the 7th (Meerut) Division the works west of Tabsor, while the 60th Division attacked along the coast. The enemy replied energetically to our bombardment, but in most cases his barrage fell behind the attacking infantry. The enemy was overwhelmed. After overrunning the first system the three divisions on the left pressed on, without pausing, to the Et Tireh position. On the left the 60th Division reached the Nahr Falik,* and moved on Tul Keram, leaving the route along the coast clear for the Desert Mounted Corps. The 7th (Meerut) Division, after passing through the second system, swung to the right, and headed for Et Taiyibeh, leaving Et Tireh, where the 75th Division was still fighting, on its right.

By 1100 the 75th Division had captured Et Tireh, a strongly fortified village standing on a sandy ridge, where the enemy offered a determined resistance. On the right the 3rd (Lahore) Division turned to the east, and attacked Jiljulieh, Railway Redoubt, Kefr Saba, and Kalkilieh, all of which were defended with stubbornness by the enemy. His resistance was, however, broken, and the 3rd (Lahore) Division pressed on eastwards into the foothills near Hableh, joining hands with the 54th Division, north of the Wadi Kanah.

Disorganized bodies of the enemy were now streaming across the plain towards Tul Keram, pursued by the 60th Division and the 5th Australian Light Horse Brigade. This brigade, which had been attached to the XXIst Corps, consisted of two Australian Light Horse Regiments, with a composite regiment of' Chasseurs d'Afrique and Spahis attached. Great confusion reigned at Tul Keram. Bodies of troops, guns, motor lorries, and transport of every description were endeavouring to escape along the road leading to Messudie and Nablus. This road, which follows the railway up a narrow valley, was already crowded with troops and transport. The confusion was added to by the persistent attacks of the Royal Air Force, and Australian Flying Corps, from which there was no escape. Great havoc was caused, and, in several places, the road was blocked by overturned lorries and vehicles. Later in the evening an Australian regiment, having made a detour, succeeded in reaching a hill four miles east of Tul Keram, overlooking the road. As a result, a large amount of transport, and many guns, fell into our hands.

Sept. 20, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONAEY FORCE 29 In the ineantime the 7th (Meerut) Division and 3rd (Lahore) Division had entered the hills, and, in conjunction with the 54th Division, had pressed eastwards. By dusk the line Bidieh-Kh. Kefr Thilth- Jiyus-Felamieh-Taiyibeh had been reached. The 75th Divisionvremained in the vicinity of Et Tireh in Corps reserve. (See Plate 42.) The Battle of Mount Ephraim.

16. As soon as the success of the initial attack by the XXIst Corps, on the morning of Sept. 19, had become apparent, I ordered the XXth Corps to advance that night on Nablus, and the high ground north-east of that town, in order to close the roads leading to the lower valley of the Jordan, and to drive the enemy from the triangle formed by the Kh. Fusail-Nablus road, our original front line, and the El Funduk -Nablus track, by which the 3rd (Lahore) Division was advancing.

The two divisions of the XXth Corps had been concentrated beforehand, in readiness to carry out this operation ; the 53rd Division to the east of the Bireh-Nablus road, the 10th Division on the extreme left of the Corps area, in the vicinity of Berukin and Kefr Ain. The enemy had long anticipated an attack astride the Bireh-Nablus road, and had constructed defences of great strength on successive ridges. For this reason the 10th Division was ordered to attack in a north-easterly direction astride the Furkhah-Selfit and Berukin-Kefr Haris ridges, thus avoiding a direct attack. Even so, the task of the XXth Corps was a difficult one. The enemy in this portion of the field was not disorganized, and was able to oppose a stout resistance to the advance. The country is broken and rugged, demanding great physical exertion on the part of the troogs, and preventing the artillery keeping pace with the infantry.

Nevertheless, good progress was made on the night of Sept. 19, and during the following day. The 53rd Division captured Kh. abu Malul, and advanced their line in the centre. On their right Khan Jibeit was heavily counter-attacked on the morning of Sept. 20. The Turks succeeded in regaining the hill, but were driven off again after a sharp fight. This incident, and the necessity of making a road, to enable the guns to be brought forward, caused delay.

The 10th Division advanced in two colmnns, and, by midday on Sept. 20, the right column, after a hard fight at Furkhah, had reached Selfit, and was approaching Iskaka, which was strongly held by the enemy. The left colmnn reached Kefr Haris, which was only captured after heavy fighting. The 10th Division had already driven the enemy back seven miles. The artillery, however, had been imable to keep up with the infantry, and Httle progress was made during the afternoon.

On the left of the 10th Division the XXIst Corps had continued its advance in three columns. On the right, the 3rd Division advanced up the Wadi Azzim. In the centre, the Meerut Division moved on Kefr Sur and Beit Lid. The 60th Division and the 5th Australian Light Horse Brigade advanced along the Tul Keram-Nablus road on Messudie Station. By evening the line Baka-Beit Lid-Messudie Station-Attara had been reached.

The 3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Divisions encoimtered a determined and well-organized resistance, which stiffened as the Meerut Division approached Beit Lid. The enemy showed no signs of demoral- ization, and the country was very rugged and difficult.

Considerable confusion existed, however, behind the enemy's rearguards. All day, his transport had been withdrawing. The Messudie-Jenin road was crowded. Its defiles had been bombed contin- uously by the Royal Air Force, as had long columns of troops and transport moving on Nablus in order to reach the Beisan road. It is probable that the enemy did not yet realize that my cavalry was abeady in Afule and Beisan, and had blocked his main lines of retreat. {See Plate 43.) The Advance of the Cavalry.

17. Early on the morning of Sept. 19, before the infantry had advanced to the attack, the 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions moved out of the groves roimd Sarona, and formed up in rear of the 7th (Meerut) and 60th Divisions. The Austrahan Mounted Division, less the 5th Light Horse Brigade, was on its way from Ludd.

Thanks to the rapidity with which the infantry broke through both Turkish systems of defence, the cavalry obtained a good start. By noon the leading troops of the Desert Mounted Corps had reached Jelameh, Tel ed Dhrur, and Hudeira, eighteen miles north of the original front line. After a brief rest, the advance was continued. The 5th Cavalry Division moved north to Ez Zerghaniyeh. It then turned north-east and, riding through the hills of Samaria past Jarak, descended into the Plain of Esdraelon at Abu Shusheh. The 13th Cavalry Brigade was then directed on Nazareth, the 14th on El Afule.

The 4th Cavalry Division turned north-east at Kh. es Simirah, and followed the valley of the Wadi Arah into the hills. The valley gradually narrows as the pass at Musmus is reached.

30 THE ADVANCE OF THE Sept. 20-22, 1918.

The enemy had sent a battaUon from El Afule to hold this pass, but only its advanced guard arrived In time. Overcoming its resistance the cavalry encountered the remainder of the battalion at El Lejjun. The 2nd Lancers charged, killed forty-six with the lance, and captured the remainder, some 470 in number.

The 4 th Cavalry Division then marched to El Afule, which it reached at 0800, half an hour after its capture by the 14th Cavalry Brigade.

The Nazareth Raid— Sept. 20.

In the meantime the 13th Cavalry Brigade of the 5th Cavalry Division, riding across the Plain of Esdraelon, had reached Nazareth, the site of the Yilderim General Headquarters, at 0530. Fighting took place in the streets, some 2,000 prisoners being captured. Liraan von Sanders had already made good his escape, but his papers and some of his staff were taken. This brigade then marched to El Afule, arriving there as the 4th Cavalry Division rode down the Plain of Jezreel to Beisan, which it reached at 1630, having covered some eighty miles in thirty-four hours. The 4th Cavalry Division detached a reghnent to seize the railway bridge over the Jordan at Jisr Mejamie.

The Australian Mounted Division, which had followed the 4th Cavalry Division into the Plain of Esdraelon, was directed on Jenin, where the road from Messudie to El Afule leaves the hills. Jenin was reached at 1730, and was captured after a sharp fight, a large number of prisoners being taken.

Thus, within thirty-six hours of the commencement of the battle, all the main outlets of escape remaining to the Turkish Vllth and Vlllth Armies had been closed. They could only avoid capture by using the tracks which run south-east from the vicinity of Nablus to the crossings over the Jordan at Jisr ed Damieh. These were being rapidly denied to them. {See Plate 43.) The first phase of the operations was over.

Destruction of the Turkish Vllth and Vlllth Armies.

18. The enemy's resistance had been broken on Sept. 20. On Sept. 21 the Turkish rearguards were driven in early in the morning. All organized resistance ceased. The 5th Austrahan Light Horse Brigade, with the French cavalry leading, entered Nablus from the west ; the 10th Division from the south.

By the evening, the XXth Corps had reached the line Neby Belan, on the high groimd north-east of Nablus, and Mount Ebal ; the XXIst Corps the line Samaria, Attara, Belah.

Since the early hours of the morning great confusion had reigned in the Turkish rear. Camps and hospitals were being hurriedly evacuated ; some were in flames. The roads leading north-east, and east, from Nablus to Beisan, and the Jordan Valley, were congested with transport and troops. Small parties- of troops were moving east along the numerous wadis. The disorganization which already existed was increased by the repeated attacks of the Royal Air Force ; in particular, on the closely packed column of transport moving north from Balata to Kh. Ferweh, where a road branches off, along the Wadi Farah, to Jisr ed Damieh. Some of the transport continued along the road to Beisan, where it fell into the hands of the 4th Cavalry Division. The greater part made for the Jordan along the Wadi Farah. Nine miles from Kh. Ferweh, at Ain Shibleh, a road branches off to the north to Beisan. A mile beyond this point the Wadi Farah passes through a gorge. The head of the column was heavily bombed at this point. The drivers left their vehicles in panic, wagons were overturned, and in a short time the road was completely blocked. Still attacked by the Eoyal Air Force, the remainder of the column turned off at Ain Shibleh, and headed for Beisan. {See Plate 45.) The Vllth Turkish Army was by this time thoroughly disorganized, and was scattered in the area between the Kh. Ferweh-Beisan road, and the Jordan. These parties had now to be collected.

At 0130 on Sept. 22 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, and the British West Indies battalions of Chaytor's Force, seized the bridge at Jisr ed Damieh. All hope of escape for the enemy in that direction had vanished.

In the early hours of the morning, parties of Turks, of strengths varying from fifty to 300, began to approach Beisan, preceded by white flags.

At 0800 a column, with transport and guns, ten miles long, was reported by the Royal Air Force to be moving north along the Ain Shibleh -Beisan road, its head being nine miles south of Beisan. The 4th Cavalry Division was ordered to send detachments towards it, and also to patrol the road, which follows the Jordan on its east bank, to secure any parties which might escape across the Jordan.

At the same time the Worcester Yeomanry of the XXth Corps, supported by infantry, was ordered to advance northwards from Ain Shibleh, and the infantry of the 10th Division along the Tubas-Beisan road, to collect stragglers, and to drive any formed bodies into the hands of the 4th Cavalry Division,.

Sept. 23-24, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 31 The Koyal Air Force had proceeded to attack the Turkish column, which broke up and abandoned its guns and transport. The task of clearing the enemy between the Kh. Ferweh-Beisan road and the Jordan was continued during Sept. 23. On this day the XXth Corps Cavalry met with occasional opposition, and its advance was hampered considerably by the large mmabers of Turks who surrendered. Great quantities of transport and numerous guns were found abandoned by the roadsides. On one stretch of road, under five miles in length, eighty-seven guns, fifty-five motor lorries, and 842 vehidas were foimd.

Nimierous bodies of Turks surrendered to the 4th Cavalry Division. One column attempted to escape across the Jordan at Makhadet abu Naj, five miles south-east of Beisan, but was intercepted by the 11th Cavalry Brigade. Part of the column had already crossed to the east bank. It was charged by the 36th (Jacob's) Horse, and broken up, few escaping. On the west bank the remainder of the column was charged by the 29th Lancers and Middlesex Yeomanry, who killed many and captured the remainder, together with twenty-five machine gims.

On Sept. 24 the 11th Cavalry Brigade attacked and dispersed another column in the Wadi el Maleh. The last remnants of the Vllth and Vlllth Turkish Armies had been collected. As armies they had ceased to exist, and but few had escaped.

19. Whilst the 4th Cavalry and the Australian Mounted Divisions were collecting the remnants of the Vllth and Vlllth Turkish Armies, I ordered the Desert Mounted Corps to occupy Acre and Haifa. The roads leading to Haifa from Tul Keram are only country tracks, which, in the event of rain, might become impassable for motor lorries at any time. Any force, advancing northwards from Haifa along the coast, would have to depend on supplies landed at that port. It was necessary, therefore, to occupy the town without delay, in order that the harbour could be swept for mines, and the landing of stores taken in hand. The 13th Cavalry Brigade of the 5th Cavalry Division, which had entered Nazareth on Sept. 20, and had then marched to El Afule, returned to Nazareth the following day.

Part of the garrison of Haifa, which was attempting to reach Tiberias, was mtercepted by this brigade on the morning of Sept. 22. At 0130 this column approached the outposts of the 13th Cavalry Brigade. It was attacked in the moonlight by the 18th Lancers, who killed a large number of Turks and captured over 300.

That afternoon Haifa was recoimoitred by a battery of armoured cars. It was held by the enemy. The road was barricaded, and the armoured cars were shelled from the slopes of Mount Carmel.

On Sept. 23 the 5th Cavalry Division, less the 13th Cavahy Brigade, marched from El Afule to capture the town. The 13th Cavalry Brigade marched direct from Nazareth on Acre.

Capture of Acre and Haifa, Sept. 23.

The road from El Afule to Haifa skirts the north-eastern edge of the Mount Carmel range. Some two miles before Haifa is reached, the road is confined between a spur of Mount Carmel on the left, and the marshy banks of the River Kishon and its tributaries on the right. When the 5th Cavalry Division reached this point on Sept. 23 it was shelled from the slopes of Mount Carmel, and found the road and the river crossings defended by numerous machine guns.

Whilst the Mysore Lancers were clearing the rocky slopes of Mount Carmel, the Jodhpur Lancers charged through the defile, and, riding over the enemy's machine guns, galloped into the town, where a number of Turks were speared in the streets. Colonel Thakur Dalpat Singh, M.C., fell, gallantly leading this charge.

In this operation 1,350 prisoners and seventeen gims were taken.

At Acre, the 13th Cavalry Brigade met with Httle opposition. The small garrison, consisting of 150 men and two guns, attempted to escape to the north, but was overtaken and captured.

Operations East of the Jordan.

20. Interest now turned to the fate of the IVth Turkish Army east of the Jordan. Up till Sept. 22 this army showed no signs of moving from its position on the east bank. (See Plate 45.) On the west bank, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the 1st and 2nd Battalions British West Indies Regiment had advanced northwards on Sept. 21, west of the Jericho-Beisan road, and had reached Khurbet Fusail, four miles in advance pf our defences at El Musalabeh. The enemy, however, still held the bridgeheads on the west bank, covering the crossings at Umm es Shert, Red Hill, Mafid Jozeleh, and Jisr ed Damieh. Early in the morning of Sept. 22, the 38th Battalion Royal Fusiliers captured the bridgehead at Umm es Shert. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles; placed themselves astride the road which follows the Wadi Farah from Nablus to Jisr ed Damieh, thus closing the last loophole of escape to the Turkish forces west of the Jordan. The crossing at Jisr ed Damieh was captured a few hours later. The bridge was intact. 514 prisoners were taken.

32 THE ADVANCE OF THE Sept. 25-30, 1913.

Capture of Amman, Sept. 25.

Thus the west bank of the Jordan had been cleared. As a result of the defeat of the \T;ith and Vlllth Armies, the position of the IVth Army east of the Jordan was no longer tenable, and, by the morning of Sept. 23, this army was in full retreat on Es Salt and Amman, pursued by the Australian and New Zealand Moimted Division, and bombed by the Eoyal Air Force. At 1630 the New Zealanders captured Es Salt, taking 380 prisoners and three guns. The pursuit was continued on a broad front, in face of stout opposition from the enemy's rearguards. On Sept. 2S Amman was attacked and captured.

The enemy retreated northwards along the Hejaz Railway, and the Pilgrim Route, in a disorganized state, harassed by the Eoyal Air Force and the Arabs. He was pursued by the Austrahan and New Zealand Mounted Division, and left over 5,000 prisoners and twenty-eight girns in their hands.

I ordered Chaytor's Force to remain at Amman to intercept the troops of the Ilnd Turkish Army Corps, who were retreating from the Hejaz. Maan had been evacuated on Sept. 23, and had been occupied by the Arab Army, which then advanced to Jerdun, harassing the rear of the retreating garrison. {See Plate 47.) ' Surrender of the Turkish Ilnd Corps.

On Sept. 28, these troops came into contact with the patrols of Chaytor's Force atLeban Station, ten miles south of Amman. The Tm-kish Commander, seeing that escape was impossible, surrendered on the following day with 5,000 men.

21. In addition to bringing about the retreat otthe IVth Turkish Army, the total defeat of the Vllth and Vlllth Armies had removed any serious obstacle to an advance on Damascus. On Sept. 25 I ordered the Desert Mounted Corps to carry out this operation, occupy the city, and intercept the retreat of the remnants of the IVth Turkish Army.

22. The Desert Mounted Corps was to advance on Damascus in two columns ; one column by the south end of the Sea of Galilee, via Irbid and Deraa, the other round the north end of the Sea, vid El Kuneitra.

On Sept. 24, Semakh at the south end of the Sea of Galilee, was captured by the 4th Australian Light Horse IBrigade, after fierce hand-to-hand fightmg, in which 350 Turks and Germans and a gun were captured. Tiberias was occupied on the following afternoon.

Thus, on Sept. 26, the Australian Mounted Division was concentratmg round Tiberias, and the 5th Cavalry Division was marching from Haifa and Acre to Nazareth. The 4th Cavaby Division was concentrated roimd Beisan. {See Plate 47.) The Advance on Damascus.

23. The 4th Cavaky Division started on its 120-mile march that afternoon. The Australian and 5th Cavaky Divisions started the following day, the distance they had to traverse bemg thii'ty miles less Both columns met with opposition. The Australian Mounted Division experienced considerable difficulty in crossing the Jordan on Sept. 27. {See Plate 48.) The bridge at Jisr Benat Yakub had been damaged, and Turkish rearguards commanded the crossings. After some delay, the 5th Austrahan Brigade succeeded in crossing the river a mile south of the bridge ; and, workmg round the enemy s hank forced him to retire. Opposition was again met with on the eastern side of the Jordan plateau, at El Kuneitra, and the column was continually fired on by the Circassians who dwell on the plateau. Passing through El Kuneitra, the column entered first a plateau covered by boulders and then undulating pasture land, intersected by the numerous streams which rise in Mount Hermon. Fightmg took place at Sasa, but the enemy's rearguards were driven back, and, by 1000 on Sept. 30, Katana, twelve niiles south-west of Damascus, had been reached by the Australian Mounted Division, which was here checked for a time. . ,. ,, ...

At this hour the 14th Cavalry Brigade, on the right of the Australian Mounted Division was approaching Sahnaya on the old French railway. Further south the 4th Cavalry Division, with the Arab Army on its right, was approaching Kiswe. {See Plate 50.) Destruction of the Turkish IVth Army.

The route followed by the 4th Cavalry Division across the Jordan plateau had proved difficult, and considerable opposition had been encountered at Irbid, and again at Er Remte where, after dnvmg the enemy northwards towards Mezerib, the Cavalry gamed touch with the Arab Army ito iteratis on the enemy's railways round Deraa between Sept. 16 and 18, the Arab Army had moved into the Hauran. It issued thence to attack the IVth Tm-kish Army, as the latter passed Mafrak Oct. 1-8, 1918. EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 33 in its retreat northwards, forcing the Turks to abandon girns and transport. Moving rapidly northwards the Arabs then captured the stations of Ezra and Ghazale, between Damascus and Deraa. On Sept. 27 they entrenched themselves at Sheikh Saad, seventeen miles north of Deraa, across the Turkish line of retreat. Sharp fighting took place all day, in which heavy casualties were inflicted on the retreating Turks and Germans, and in which numerous prisoners were taken. After breaking up the retreating columns of the IVth Army, the Arabs captured Deraa, and, on Sept. 28, joined hands with the 4th Cavalry Division near Er Eemte.

The cavalry then advanced northwards through Mezerib, and along the old French railway, with the Arabs on its right flank, collecting stragglers, and pressing on the heels of the remnants of the IVth Turkish Army.

In this way a column of Turks some 1,500 strong was driven at noon on Sept. 30 into the arma of the 14th Cavalry Brigade at Sahnaya. (See Plate 50.) Fall of Damascus.

Shortly after midday on Sept. 30, the Austrahan Mounted Division overcame the enemy's resistance at Katana. By the evening it had closed the exits from Damascus to the north and north-west, while the 5th Cavahy Division had reached the southern outskirts of the town. (See Plate 51.) At 0600 on Oct. 1, the Desert Mounted Corps and the Arab Army entered Damascus amidst scenes of great enthusiasm. After the German and Turkish troops in the town had been collected, and guards had been posted, our troops were withdrawn. In the meantime, the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade had proceeded northwards in pursuit of bodies of the enemy, which had succeeded in leaving the town on the previous day, or had avoided it, and the cordon round it, by making a detour to the east. On Oct. 2 a column was overtaken at Kubbeth i Asafir, seventeen miles north-east of Damascus. This column was dispersed, 1,500 prisoners and three guns being taken.

Plight of the Enemy.

24. The advance to Damascus, following on the operation in the Plain of Esdraelon and the Valley of Jezreel, had thrown a considerable strain on the Desert Mounted Corps. Great results were, however, achieved.

On Sept. 26, when the advance began, some 45,000 Turks and Germans were still in Damascus or were retreating on it. It is true that all units were in a state of disorganization but, given time, the enemy could have formed a force capable of delaying my advance.

The destruction of the remnants of the IVth Army and the capture of an additional 20,000 prisoners, prevented any possibility of this. The remnants of the Turkish Armies in Palestine and Syria, nimibering some 17,000 men, of whom only 4,000 were effective rifles, fled northwards a mass of individuals, with- out organization, without transport, and without any of the accessories required to enable it to act even on the defensive.

25. I determined to exploit this success, and to advance to the line Rayak-Beirut. The occupation of Beirut would give me a port, with a road and a railway, leading inland to Rayak and Damascus. An alternative and shorter line of supply would thus be obtained.

The Desert Moimted Corps, leaving the Australian Mounted Division at Damascus, moved on Rayak and Zahle on Oct. 5. No opposition was encoimtered, and both places were occupied on the following day.

At Rayak, the junction of the broad gauge railway from the north and the metre gauge lines to Beirut and to Damascus and the Hejaz, were found on the aerodrome the remains of thirty aeroplanes which had been burnt by the enemy before he retired. Large quantities of stores and rolling stock wera, captured, most of the latter in a damaged condition.

The March of the 7th Division.

In the meantime the 7th (Mereut) Division had marched from Haifa to Beirut. Leaving Haifa on Oct. 3, it marched along the coast. Crossing the Ladder of Tyre, it was received by the populace of Tyre and Sidon with enthusiasm. On Oct. 8 it reached Beirut, where it was warmly welcomed, the inhabitants handing over 660 Turks, including sixty officers, who had surrendered to them. Ships of the French Navy had already entered the harbour. (See. Plate 53.) 34 ' THE ADVANCE OF THE Oct. 9-31. 1918.

Occupation of Horns, Tripolis, and Hama.

26. On Oct. 9 I ordered the Desert Mounted Corps to continue its advance and occupy Horns, leaving one division at Damascus. At the same time I ordered the XXIst Corps to continue its march along the coast to Tripoli. Armoured cars occupied Baalbek on Oct. 9, taking over 500 Turks who had surrendered to the inhabitants. The 5th Cavalry Division, which led the advance, reached Baalbek on Oct. 1 1 , and, crossing the watershed between the Nahr Litani on the south and the Orontes on the north, followed up the valley of the latter river, past Lebwe, and reached Horns on Oct. 15, having marched over eighty miles since leaving Rayak.

The station buildings at Horns had been burnt by the enemy before he evacuated the town on Oct. 12.

On the coast, Tripoli was occupied by the XXIst Corps Cavalry Regiment and Armoured Cars on Oct. 13. No opposition was encountered. The Corps Cavalry Regiment was followed by a brigade of the 7th (Meerut) Division. The occupation of Tripoli provided a shorter route by which the cavalry at Horns could be supplied.

27. Having secured Homs and Tripoli, I determined to seize Aleppo, with the least possible delay. The 5th Cavalry Division and the Armoirred Car Batteries were alone available. The Australian Mounted Division at Damascus was over 100 miles distant from Homs, and could not be brought up in time. The 4th Cavalry Division at Baalbek was much reduced in strength by sickness, and needed a rest to reorganize. Time was of importance, and I judged that the 5th Cavalry Division would be strong enough for the purpose. The information available indicated the presence of some 20,000 Turks and Germans at Aleppo. Of these, only some 8,000 were combatants, and they were demoralized. More- over, reports from all sources showed that considerable numbers of the enemy were leaving the town daily by rail for the north.

The Armoured Cars had reached Hama without opposition on Oct. 20. On the following day the 5th Cavalry Division commenced its advance. On Oct. 22 the Armoured Cars reached Khan Sebil, Lalf-way between Homs and Aleppo, as the enemy's rearguard left the village in lorries. A German armoured car, a lorry, and some prisoners were captured. The enemy was not encountered again till Oct. 24, when a body of cavalry was dispersed at Khan Tuman, ten miles south of Aleppo. Five miles further on, the armoured cars were checked by strong Turkish rearguards, and had to remain in observa- tion till the cavalry came up. {See Plate 53.) On the afternoon of Oct. 25 the Armoured Cars were joined by the 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade. That evening a detachment of the Arab Army reached the eastern outskirts of Aleppo, and during the night forced their way in, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.

Early on the morning of Oct. 26 the Armoured Cars and the 15th Cavalry Brigade, moving round the west side of the town, followed the enemy along the Aleppo-Katma road, and gained touch with him south-east of Haritan. The Turkish rearguard consisted of some 2,500 infantry, 150 cavalry, and eight guns. The Mysore Lancers and two squadrons of the Jodhpmr Lancers attacked the enemy's left, covered by the fire of the Armoured Cars, the Machine Gim Squadron, ami two dismoimtcd squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers. The Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers charged most gallantly. A number of Turks were speared, and many threw down their arms, only to pick them up again when the cavalry had passed through, and their weakness had become apparent. The squadrons were not strong enough to complete the victory, and were withdrawn till a larger force could be assembled.

That night the Turkish rearguard withdrew to a position near Deir el Jemel, twenty miles nortl- west of Aleppo.

The 5th Cavalry Division remained in observation, astride the roads leading from Aleppo to Kilhs and Katma, and occupied Muslimie Junction.

It was too weak to continue the advance to Alexandretta till the arrival of the Australian Mounted Division, which had already left Damascus to join it.

The Armistice.

Before the latter could arrive, the Armistice between the Allies and Turkey had been concluded, and came into force at noon on Oct. 31 . (Sec Plate 56.) The 5th Cavaky Division captured fifty prisoners and eighteen guns in Aleppo. The Turks had carried out demolitions on the railway at Aleppo and Muslimie Junction before retiring, but had left eight engines and over 100 trucks, which, though damaged, were not beyond repair.

Aleppo is over 300 miles from our former front line. The 5th Cavalry Division covered 500 milea between Sept. 19 and Oct. 26, and captured over 11,000 prisoners and fifty- two guns. During this period the 6th Cavalry Division lost only twenty-one per cent of its horses.

EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 35 28. Between Sept. 19 and Oct. 26 75,000 prisoners have been captured. Of these, over 200 officers and 3,500 other ranks are Germans or Austrians.

In addition, 360 guns have fallen into our hands, and the transport and equipment of three Turkish armies. It is not yet possible to give accurate figures, owing to the rapidity and the extent of the advance. In the first three. phases of the operations, material and equipment were hastily abandoned by the enemy in a mountainous area, extending over 2,500 square miles, while in the remaining phases a further advance of over 300 miles had been made. The captures, however, include over 800 machine guns, 210 motor lorries, forty-four motor cars, some 3,500 animals, eighty-nine railway engines, and 468 carriages and trucks. Of these many are unserviceable, but none have been included that are beyond repair.

29. The plan of operations and the arrangements for the concentration were carefully prepared and well executed by Commanders and staffs. During the subsequent days of fighting, full advantage was taken of every opportimity offered.

Appreciation of Services.

The gallantry ard determination of all ranks and of all arms has been most marked. Many units had already made their reputation in this, and other, theatres of the war. Some had yet to gain their first experience of modern warfare. British, French, and Indian troops, and those of the Dominions and Colofiies, have all ahke done magnificently.

The infantry, in a few hours, broke through the defences, which the enemy had spent months in strengthening, thus enabling the cavalry to accompHsh its mission. The subsequent advance through the hills, over most difficult coimtry, and in face of determined and organized resistance by the enemy's rearguards, tried the infantry severely. Nothing, however, stopped its progress, and the relentless pressure maintained on the enemy's rearguards allowed him no time to carry out an organized retreat, and drove him, in disorganized bodies, into the arms of the cavalry.

The Desert Mounted Corps took some 46,000 prisoners during the operations. The complete destruction of the Vllth and Vlllth Turkish Armies depended mainly on the rapidity with which their commimications were reached, and on quick decision in dealing with the enemy's columns as they attempted to escape. The vigorous handling of the cavalry by its leaders, and the rapidity of its move- ments, overcame all attempts to delay its progress. The enemy's columns, after they had outdistanced the pursuing infantry, were given no time to reorganize and fight their way through.

In these brilliant achievements, the regiment of French cavalry took its full share, whilst east of the Jordan the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, by its untiring pursuit, threw the IVth Turkish Army into a state of disorganization, intercepted the garrison of Maan, and compelled it to Burrender. Chaytor's Force took 10,000 prisoners in the Valley of the Jordan and the Hills of Moab.

The cavaby and infantry received every help from the Koyal Artillery and the Eoyal Engineers, whilst the infantry, in its attack along the coast, was given valuable assistance by the Destroyers " Druid " and " Forester," which Rear- Admiral T. Jackson, C.B., M.V.O., had detailed to assist me.

Of the fighting troops, all have taken their share, and have carried out what was required of them. I would bring to notice the good fighting qualities shown by the newer units. These include the Armenian troops of the Legion d'Oriinb, the Tirailleurs Algeriens, the 1st Battalion Cape Corps, the 38th and 39th (Jewish) Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, the 1st and 2nd BattaUons of the British West Indies Regiment, and all the recently formed battahons of Indian infantry.

The Royal Air Force.

Brilliant work has been done by the Palestine Brigade, Royal Air Force, and the Australian Flying Corps, not only during the actual operations, but in the preceding months. The process of wearing down the enemy's strength in the air had been continuous throughout the summer. Our ascendancy in the air became so marked towards the end of August that only a few of the enemy's aeroplanes were able to fly, with the result that my troops were immune from air attacks during the operations, and the whole strength of the Air Forces could be concentrated on the enemy in his retreat.

Besides taking an active part in the fighting, the Air Forces provided me with full and accurate information as to the enemy's movements.

36 THE ADVANCE OF THE The Arab Army.

The Arab Army has rendered valuable assistance, both in cutting the enemy's communications, before, and during, the operations, and in co-operating with my cavaky during the advance on Damascus. By throwing itself across the enemy's line of retreat, north of Deraa, it prevented the escape of portions of the IVth Turkish Army, and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

The fighting troops have been loyally assisted by the administrative services and department, who have carried a .heavy burden on their shoulders, both in front of, and behind, railhead. The accumula- tion of ammunition and stores before operations commenced threw a great strain on the railway. The delivery of these stores to the troops during operations proved a difficult task. Supply columns have had long distances to cover, over bad roads, but all difficulties have been overcome.

My thanks are due to the Royal Navy for its assistance in arranging and securing the landing of supplies at the various harbours along my line of advance, and to the f'rench Navy for valuable information gained in the reconnaissance of the northern ports.

The Italian Detachment carried out to my entire satisfaction the task allotted to it, and throughout the operations gave valuable and loytl assistance.

From the first day of operations the Egjtian Labour Corps has followed the troops as they advanced, working hard and successfully to improve the roads. On Sept. 19 companies were working on the roads in front of our original line, while our guns were still firing.

The Camel Transport Corps has rendered valuable services, which have greatly aided in the victorious campaign.

The Signal Service, strained to its utmost, has maintained uninterrupted communication with units of the Army as far east as Amman and as far north as Aleppo.

The rapid advance has rendered difficult the task of evacuating the sick and wounded. The difficulty was increased by the large number of prisoners who, after marching for days, with little food or water, surrendered in a state of extreme weakness, unable to march another day. The care and evacuation of these men has heavily taxed the Medical Services, who have worked rmtiringly.

I have the honour to be, Yoiu: Lordship's most obedient servant, E. H. H. Allenby, General, Commanding-in-Chief, Egyptian Expeditionary Forc«.

EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 87 EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE.

General Headquarters.

Commander-m-ChifJ.—Gm. Sir E. H. H. ALLENBY, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., p.sx.

Chief of the General Staff. — Major-Gen. Sir A. Lynden-Bell, K.C.M.G., C.B., p.s.c. (relinquished, Sept., 1917). Major-Gen. Sir L. J. Bols, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., p.s.c.

Brigadier- General, General Staff. — Bt. Lieut.-Col, (temp. Brig.-Gen.) G. P. Dawnay, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O. (R. of 0.) (relinquished, Jan., 1918). Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. B. Robertson, C.M.G., D.S.O., Cameron Highlanders, p.s.c. (relinquished, April, 1918). Bt. Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) W. H. Bartholomew, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.A., p.s.c.

Brigadier- General, General Staff (I). — Bt. Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) B. T. Buckley, C.M.G., Northumber- land Fusiliers, f.s.c.

Deputy Adjutant- General. — Major-Gen. Sir John Adye, K.C.M.G., C.B. (relinquished, March, 1918).

Major-Gen. W. G. B. Western, C.B., p.s.c.

Deputy Quartermaster- General, — Major-Gen. Sir Walter Campbell, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., p.s.c.

Assistant to Deputy Quartermaster- General. — Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) E. F. 0. Gascoigne, C.M.G., D.S.O. (R. of 0.) (relinquished, Jan., 1918). Bt. Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) E. Evans, C.M.6., D.S.O., Wiltshire Regt., A.D.C.

Major- General, Royal Artillery. — Major-Gen. Sir S. C. U. Smith, K.C.M.G., C.B.

Engineer-in-Chief. — Col. (temp. Major-Gen.) H. B. H. Wright, C.B., C.M.G., late R.E.

Chief Political Officer.— Ma.ioi (temp. Brig.-Gen.) G. F. Clayton, C.B., C.M.G. (R. of 0.) Chief Administrator, Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. — Major (temp. Brig.-Gen.) G. F. Clayton, C.B., C.M.G. (R. of 0.) (relinquished, April, 1918). Major-Gen. Sir A. W. Money, K.C.B., C.S.I., p.s.c. (O.E.T.A. South).- Uolonel P. de Piepape, C.B. (O.E.T.A. North). Ali Riza Pasha el Rikabi (O.E.T.A. East).

Director of Army Signals.— Bt. Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) M. G. E. Bowman-Manifold, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E., p.s.c.

Director of Works.— Col (temp. Brig.-Gen.) E. M. Paul, C.B., late R.E.

Director of Supplies and Transport.— Bt. Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) G. F. Davies, C.B., C.M.G., R.A.S.C.

Director of Railway Traffic. — Temp. Brig.-Gen. Sir G. Macauley, K.C.M.G., C.B., (R. of 0.) (Bt. Major,r.p.).

Director of Ordnance Services. — Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) P. A. Bainbridge, C.B., C.M.G., R.A.O.C.

R.A.O., Base Depot, Alexandria. — Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) R. W. M. Jackson, C.B., C.M.G., R.A.O.C, Director of Remounts. — Temp. Brig.-Gen. 0. L. Bates, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.

Directs of Veterinary Services. — Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) E. R. C. Butler, C.B., C.M.G.

Director of Medical Services. — Col. (temp. Surgeon-Gen.) Sir J. Maher, K.C.M.G., C.B., r.p. (relin- quished, Oct., 1917).

Col. A. E. C. Keble, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., A.M.S. (relhiquished, Feb.. 1918).

Major-Gen. W. T. Swan, C.B., A.M.S. (relinquished, Sept., 1918).

Col. (temp. Major-Gen.) R. H. Luce, C.B., C.M.G., M.B., F.R.C.S., T.F. Reserve.

Director of Labour. — Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) R. C. Jellicoe, D.S.O., R.A.S.C.

Principal Chaplain. — Rev. A. V. C. Hordern, C.M.G. (relinquished, June, 1918). Rev. E. R. Day, C.M.G.

38 THE ADVANCE OF THE Director of Inland Water Transport. — Major (temp. Col.) W. H. Coysh, D.S.O., E.E. (relinquished, July, 1918). Temp. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) W. N. Bicket, E.E.

Brigadier- General Training, E.E.F.—Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. B. Robertson, C.M.G., D.S.O., Cameron Highlanders, p.s.c.

3rd Echelon.

Deputy Adjtttant- General. — Major (temp. Brig.-Gen.) C. P. Scudamore, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., r.p.

Royal Flying Corps, Middle East Brigade.

Commander. — Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) W. G. H. Salmond, D.S.O., R.A., p.s.c. (relinquished, Oct., 1917). Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) W. S. Brancker, R.A., attd. R.F.C., p.s.c. (relinquished on re- organization).

Middle East, Royal Air Force.

Commander. — Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Major-Gen.) W. G. H. Salmond, D.S.O., R.A., p.s.c.

Commanding, Palestine Brigade, R.A.F. — Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. E. Borton, C.M.G., D.S.O., A.F.C., Royal Highlanders.

Commanding, Training Brigade, R.A.F, — Bt. Major (temp. Brig.-Gen.) P. L. W. Herbert, Notts. & Derby Regt.

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS TROOPS. Palestine Brigade, R.A.F.

" X " Aircraft Park.

" X " Fhght.

5th Wing (Corps Wing) : — Nos. 14, 113, 142 Squadrons, R.A.F. 40th Wing (Army Wing) : — Nos. Ill, 144, 145 Squadrons, R.A.F.

No. 1 Squadron, A.F.C. (late 67th Squadron, A.F.C.). No. 21 Balloon Company.

Nos. 49, 50, 57 Balloon Sections.

Mounted Troops.

South Nottinghamshire Hussars (ceased to belong to E.E.F., 19/6/18).

Artillery.

390th and 391st Siege Batteries, R.G.A. (ceased to belong to E.E.F., 18/1/18).

Machine Gun Corps.

Nos. 11 and 12 Light Armoured Car Batteries (L.A.C. Brigade).

Engineers.

Military Printing Section (Government Press, Cairo), R.E. No. 7 Field Survey Company, R.E. : — Topographical Section.

Lithographic and Letterpress Section.

Meteorological Section (Stations at G.H.Q. and Jerusalem). 1st Bridging Company, Canadian Railway Troops.

Signal Service.

G.H.Q. Signal Company.

Nos. N 14, N 15, N 23, 42, 61 Airline Sections. • NA, NB, NN, UU, Cable Sections.

No. 6 Wagon W/T, and No. 6 Pack W/T Sections. Pigeon Section.

Infantry.

38th and 39th Bns. Royal Fusiliers.

l/23rd and 2/23rd Sikh Pioneers.

1st and 2nd Bns. British West Indies Regt.

EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 39 Royal Army Service Corps.

(a) Mechanical Transport : — No. 347 M.T. Company (Supply Column).

No. 644 M.T. Company (Heavy Repair Workshop and Stores Branch).

Nos. 895 and 972 M.T. Company (Caterpillar Tractor Supply Column).

No. 956 M.T. Company (Ford Supply Company).

Nos. 905, 906, 907, 1009, 1010, 1011, 1038, 1039, 1040, M.T. (Auxiliary Petrol) Coys, No. 1006, M.T. Company.

Nos. 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 16 (Egypt), Mobile Repair Units.

Advanced M.T. Sub-Depot, Ludd.

(6) Horse Transport : — Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, Donkey Transport Companies, (c) Camel Transport Corps : — " A," " B," " D," " E," " F," " G," " K," " L," " M," " P," " T," Companies.

Miscellaneous.

Corps of Guides and Interpreters.

Lent to British Mission in Hejaz.

No. 1 L.A.C. Batterv.

2 — 10-pr. B.L. gims on Motor Lorries.

1 Platoon, 1st Garr. Bn. Royal Irish Regt.

Detachments : — No. 2 Camel Depot. Egyptian Labour Corps. Egyptian Camel Corps. R.A.S.C. R.A.O.C.

EASTERN FORCE.

(Ceased to exist Aug. 12, 1917.) Commander.— M.ei]oT-Gen. (temp. Lieut.-Gen.) Sir Philip W. Chetwode, Bfc., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O.

Brigadier- General, General Staff.— Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) G. P. Dawnay, D.S.O., M.V.O.

(R. of 0.).

Brigadier- General, Royal Artillery. — Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. H. Short, C.B.

Chief Engineer.— Bt. Lieut. -Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) R. L. Waller, R.E.

Deputy Adjutant and Quartermaster- General.— Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) E. F. 0. Gascoigne, C.M.G., D.S.O. (R. of 0.).

DESERT COLUMN.

(Became Desert Mounted Corps Aug. 12, 1917.) Commatider. —'Ma.jov-Gen. H. G. Chauvel, C.B., C.M.G.

Brigadier- General, Royal Artillery.— Co], (temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. D'A. King, C.B., D.S.O., r.p. (R. of 0.). Chief Engineer.— Ma,]oi (temp. Brig.-Gen.) R. E. M. Russell, D.S.O., R.E.

DESERT MOUNTED CORPS.

Commander. — Major-Gen. (temp. Lieut.-Gen.) Sir H. G. Chauvel, K.C.B., K. C.M.G.

Brigadier General, General Staff.— Bt. Lieut.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) R. G. H. Howard- Vyse, C.M.G., D.S.O., Royal Horse Guards, p.s.c. (relinquished, July, 1918). Bt. Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) C. A. C. Godwin. D.S.O., 23rd Cavalry. I.A., p.s.c.

Deputy Adjutant and Quartermaster- General. — Major (temp. Brig.-Gen.) E. F. Trew, C.M.G., D.S.O., Royal Marines, p.s.c.

General Officer Commanding, Royal Artillery.— Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. D'A. King, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., r.p. (R. of 0.).

 

 

Previous: General Murray's Despatches, Part 4

Next: General Allenby's Despatches, Part 2  

 

Further Reading:

Desert Mounted Corps

The Desert Mounted Corps, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Desert Mounted Corps (DMC), General Allenby's Despatches, Part 1

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Friday, 21 January 2011 7:29 AM EAST

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