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Sunday, 8 November 2009
The Battle of Huj, Palestine, 8 November 1917, Outline
Topic: BatzP - Huj

The Battle of Huj

Palestine, 8 November 1917

Outline

 

1:40,000 Map detailing the area of operations.

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

Between Sheria and Khuweilfe on the morning of the 7th the line of the Turks was weak While the 60th Division was to carry the high ground north of Tel el Sheria, and allow the Australian Mounted Division to pass through, Chaytor was to drive through the opposition towards the north-west, seize the enemy's ammunition dump on the railway at Ameidat, and then with the Australian Mounted Division ride north-west with all speed across the enemy's communications. Riding briskly with the 2nd Brigade in support, the advance-guard of the 1st was within striking distance of Ameidat at 10.45. When the brigade was within three miles of Ameidat, the 2nd Regiment on the left was in touch with the extreme right of the troops of the 60th Division who were held up north of Tel el Sheria. The enemy gunners at once began to shell the dumps, and Cox pushed out reconnaissance squadrons to Tel en Nejile and Khurbet Jemmameh. Cameron's men gained part of the high ground near Dilakh, but found that the guns were firing from a village beyond. At dawn on the 8th the regiment carried the position and rode against the guns to the north-west. That night Cameron, of the 12th Regiment, was ordered to proceed at dawn to make touch with the Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade at Beit Hanun. Cameron afterwards rejoined his division at Huj.

 

Kress and staff at Huj prior to the attack.

 

On the 8th the Anzac Mounted Division was ordered by Chauvel to strike for Jemmameh and the 60th Division for Huj, with the Australian Mounted Division advancing in the gap between them. The 10th Division marched finely throughout the day of the 8th, with the Australian Mounted Division on its right. Early in the morning the 2nd Brigade on the right occupied the line Tel em Nejile Wadi Hesi. Considerable shelling and general opposition made progress slow, and an hour later the 7th Mounted Brigade, which had been sent to reinforce Chaytor, was ordered in between the two light horse brigades. The 5th Light Horse Regiment was scarcely clear of the Dilakh position before it was vigorously attacked by enemy infantry and compelled to withdraw its advance-guards. The yeomanry, who stood firm and shot down large numbers of the advancing infantry, were relieved when the 1st Light Horse Brigade took Jemmameh.

As the division advanced on Jemmameh, touch had been gained with the Australian Mounted Division on the left, and the 10th Light Horse Regiment on Hodgson's right flank had cooperated in the earlier stages of the attack on the village.

 

The aftermath of the Yeomanry Charge at Huj.

 

The Anzac line was then advanced to cover the water at Jemmameh and Nejile, and the Turks again countered in strength against the 5th and 7th Light Horse Regiments. From 3,000 to 5,000 infantry, supported by a number of guns, advanced with the bayonet to drive Chaytor's men back from the water. While the Anzac Mounted Division had to be content with the capture of Jemmameh, better fortune attended Hodgson's Australian Division, which advanced with the 60th Division on Huj. On the night of the 7th, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade under Wilson was ordered at all costs to occupy the line Wadi Jemmameh-Zuheilkah at dawn on the 8th; thus Wilson would have the 5th Mounted Brigade on his left, and was to make touch with the Anzacs on his right. The 3rd and the yeomanry were then to march on Huj, covering the right flank of the 60th Division. Moving before dawn, the 9th and 10th Regiments of Wilson's brigade met with stiff opposition as the day disclosed them to the enemy. By 10 o’clock the 5th Mounted Brigade was in touch on the left, and the enemy was being driven in large numbers and at a smart pace towards Huj.

 

The Official Map of the Yeomanry charge at Huj.

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

Rapidly forming his men, he led them at the gallop upon the Turks, riding direct for the guns. This splendid exploit enabled the Londoners to continue their rapid advance in comparative safety, and permitted the 3rd Light Horse Brigade a little later to enter the village of Huj. The charge, coming after the brilliant light horse success at Beersheba, was a severe blow to the already diminished Turkish spirit, and the news of it, ringing through Chauvel's mounted troops, made all the horsemen and their leaders still more scornful of Turkish resistance if resolutely galloped. Had Allenby's original plan succeeded-had Chetwode's advance to Sheria been possible on the 4th instead of on the 6th-had Huj, even after the delay, been reached by the 60th Division and the mounted troops on the 7th-the destruction or capture of the bulk of the Turkish army would have been assured.

 

Allied and Turkish Situation at Huj, 6pm, 8 November 1917.

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

Produced by Bill Woerlee

 

Sources quoted:

H.S. Gullett, (1944), The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

A.J. Hill, (1978), Chauvel of the Light Horse, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press.

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Huj, Palestine, 8 November 1917

The Battle of Huj, Palestine, 8 November 1917, Roll of Honour

The Third Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 October 1917 - 2 January 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Huj, Palestine, 8 November 1917, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 November 2010 1:32 PM EAST

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