Topic: BatzP - Rafa
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
Desert Column Order No. 10
The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the Desert Column, of their role at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.
Desert Column Order No. 10
Lieutenant-General Sir PW Chetwode, Bt., CB, DSO, Commanding Desert Column.
7th January 1917
Reference: Map Sinai Peninsula, Sheet North H-36/E-III, 1:125,000
Map segment referred to in the descriptions of the Rafa action[Click on map for larger version.]
Information:1. The enemy are holding an entrenched position near El Magruntein, sketches from air photographs have been issued.
There is also believed to be a small enemy camp on the frontier east of the C Group of works (marked on sketch).
There is also a large encampment about Shokh el Sufi, believed to be Arabs whose attitude is probably hostile.
Intention2. The enemy will be attacked by the Mounted Troops of the Desert Column as soon after dawn on the 9th January as possible.
Moves3.(a) At 0100 the A & NZ Mounted Division and ICC Brigade, under the orders of Major General HG Chauvel, CB, CMG, will leave Sheikh Zowaiid and move via points 210 and 280.
(b) The rate of march will be such as to ensure the column being clear of the cross roads at point 210 by 0400 and of those at point 250 by 0500.
(c) The 5th Mounted Brigade (less one squadron) will move parallel to and on the North of the ICC Brigade as far as point 210.
(d) Column Headquarters will move with 5th Mounted Brigade.
Objectives4.(a) A & NZ Mounted Division.
At point 250 the A & NZ Mounted Division will detach a Brigade to round up the Arab Camp, disarming the men and collecting them under guard about point 250 where they will be taken over by an escort to be detailed from the ICC Brigade.
The remainder of the Division will move north-east to a position from which they can:(i) Deal with camp east of the C Group of works;
(ii) Attack works C and the Reduit from the east and south-east.
(b) The ICC Brigade.
The ICC Brigade will follow the A & NZ Mounted Division and move on to a position from which they can attack Works B from the south-east in conjunction with the attack of the A & NZ Mounted Division, or, if works B are unoccupied assist in the attack on Works C at the discretion of the GOC A & NZ Mounted Division. Both Groups of Works being thus taken in flank and rear.
(c) The 5th Mounted Brigade
The 5th Mounted Brigade (less on Squadron) will move from point 210 to a point on the Rafa road about 2 miles to teh north-east neart the word "of" in "Patches of Cultivation" where it will come into reserve.
They will detach one squadron to observe the main Rafa and Darb um Abad roads.
Hour of Attack5. The main attack on Works B and C will be launched by GOC A & NZ Mounted Division after such reconnaissance and artillery preparations as he may consider necessary.
He will make detachments:-(a) To protect his right flank and rear;
(b) Towards Rafa to out the telegraph wire and observe towards Khan Yunis.
Pursuit6. Should the enemy have retired or commenced to retire the A & NZ Mounted Division will at once take up the pursuit on parallel lines, the 5th Mounted Brigade will take up direct pursuit and the ICC will concentrate and move towards Rafa and come into reserve.
The pursuit will not be continued beyond Khan Yunis without orders from Column Headquarters.
Aeroplane Cooperation7. Contact aeroplanes will be instructed to drop their messages at the A & NZ Mounted Division Headquarters first and Column Headquarters second.
Observation planes will be detailed to work with the RHA.
Medical8. The DDMS will make arrangements for the provision of a few EP Tents to be opened at Sheikh Zowaiid on the morning of 9th for the reception of such wounded as are unable to accompany the force back to El Arish.
Prisoners9. If any prisoners are taken bolts will be removed from their rifles and the men will be made themselves to carry back their rifles and equipment to Sheikh Zowaiid. In the event of guns falling into our hands, the HA Batteries must arrange to drag them back to that place also.
Communications10 A cable will be laid from Column Headquarters to Headquarters A & NZ Mounted Division by Column Signals.
Headquarters11. Column Headquarters will be in the neighbourhood of point 250.
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