Topic: BatzP - Rafa
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
Anzac Mounted Division, Order No. 69
The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the Anzac Mounted Division of their role at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.
Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division
Order No. 69
Major General HG Chauvel, CB, CMG, Commanding Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division
8th January 1917
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.
A pool of water was notified yesterday by the Royal Flying Corps half way between the first "S" of Shokh el Sufi and the letters BP about 1½ miles north of it.
The enemy will be attacked by the Mounted Troops of the Desert Column as soon after dawn on the 9th January as possible.
3. Moves 8 July 1917
(a) The Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and 1st Camel Brigade (less on Company at Lahfan) will be assembled by 1530 on the El Arish - Sheikh Zowaiid Road near 1st Light Horse Brigade Headquarters in Column of Brigade Masses facing East immediately in rear of the advanced guard (5th Mounted Brigade).
Units will form up in the following order:-
5th Mounted Brigade
Desert Mounted Column Headquarters
Headquarters Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division
1st Light Horse Brigade (less one troop for convoy).
New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade
Divisional Artillery and escort.
3rd Light Horse Brigade (less 1 Squadron escort for guns and Ammunition Columns).
1st Camel Brigade (less one Company).
1st Line Transport (ammunition sections only) in same order of march as the Force.
Field Ambulance and Ambulance convoys.
Divisional Ammunition Column.
Right and Left Flank Guards
One troop on each flank from 1st Light Horse Brigade ahead of main body.
(b) Baggage sections of 1st Line Transport move off in rear of the Divisional Ammunition Column.
(c) Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and 1st Camel Brigade will pass the 1st Light Horse Brigade Headquarters at 1600 and proceed by El Burj to Sheikh Zowaiid, each Brigade moving in Column of Squadrons with each squadron in line of Troop Columns.
(d) The rate of march will be such as to ensure the head of the Main Body reaching Sheikh Zowaiid by 2200.
Halts will be made from:-
(a) 1650 to 1700
(b) 1845 to 1900
(c) 2045 to 2100
(e) The column will halt one mile West of Sheikh Zowaiid.
Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and 1st Camel Brigade will collect and concentrate in Column of Brigade masses south of the Road facing East. Here girths will be loosened and horses fed.
4. Officers to Assist Officer Commanding Advanced Guard
BGC, 1st Light Horse Brigade will tell off 3 officers who know the country about Sheikh Zowaiid to report to the advanced guard commander at the position of assembly.
The advanced guard Commander has to place a cordon of posts round Sheikh Zowaiid to prevent anyone leaving the village to give warning to the enemy, and, the success of this will depend on the knowledge these officers have of the country.
Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General, Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division will be responsible for the allotment of watering areas and wells for men and horses on the return of the Force to Sheikh Zowaiid. He will also allot bivouac areas about that place to be occupied by the troops on the night of 9th/10th.
The Deputy Director Medical Services, Desert Column has been ordered to arrange for the erection of EP tents for the accommodation of wounded who are unable to return with the force to El Arish.
The Assistant Provost Marshal, Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division will make such arrangements as he considers necessary for the reception of such prisoners as may fall into our hands - until they can accompany the Force back to El Arish.
8. Setting Watches
A Staff Officer from Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and Camel Brigade will report to Desert Column Headquarters at the position of assembly at 1530 on January 8th to set watches.
Officers from each Brigade, and Artillery with report at Divisional Headquarters to set watches.
The Officer Commanding, Signal Squadron will ensure that the strips for aeroplanes to drop messages are taken and placed near the Divisional Headquarters report centre.
10. Moves 9 January 1917
(a) At 0100, the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and Camel Brigade will leave Sheikh Zowaiid and move via points 210 and 250.
One Squadron, 1st Light Horse Brigade
Right and Left Flank Guards
One Troop each from 3rd Light Horse Brigade
One Troop from 3rd Light Horse Brigade.
(b) The rate of march will be such as to ensure the Column being clear of the cross-roads at 210 by 0400, and of those at point 250 by 0500.
(c) The 5th Mounted Brigade are moving parallel to and on the North of the Camel Brigade as far as pint 210, and thence to a point on the Rafa Road about 2 miles North East near the word "of" in "Patches of Cultivation". They will be in reserve.
Desert Column Headquarters move with the 5th Mounted Brigade.
11. Special Duties
On arrival at Point 250, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade will be detached to round up the Arab Camp, disarming the men and collecting them under a guard about point 250. Major Barlow will accompany this Brigade to help in the direction of this work.
After being collected at point 250 these prisoners will be taken over by an escort detailed from the Camel Brigade.
The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade will rejoin the Division after completion of this duty.
12. The remainder of the division will move North East to a position from which the following operations will be undertaken.
(a) The Camp East of "C" Group of works will be dealt with.
(b) Attack will be launched on works "C" and the Reduit from East and South East.
(c) The Camel Brigade will follow the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and will, under the direction of the General Officer Commanding, Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, attack work "B" from the South East.
The attacks of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division and the Camel Brigade will be made in conjunction with each other. Orders as to hour, and method of attack, and special tasks will be issued on the ground after reconnaissance by General Officer Commanding Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division.
Should the enemy have retired or commence to retire, pursuit will be taken up by the Division; but will not be continued beyond Khan Yunis without orders from the Column Headquarters.
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