Topic: AIF - DMC - Anzac MD
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
Commander Royal Artillery War Diary Account
Commander Royal Artillery War Diary Account
The following is a transcription of the Commander Royal Artillery, War Diary Account detailing the role played by the Royal Horse Artillery at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.
Account of operations at Rafa
Royal Horse Artillery, Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division.
Reference EL ARISH and RAFA sheets. 1:125,000
(See: Map segment of Rafa 1:125,000)
Sketch map compiled from aeroplane reconnaissance.
(See: Map of Turkish Trench Works)
8 January 1917
1600 Inverness-shire, Somerset and Leicestershire Batteries, Royal Horse Artillery left the starting point east of Wadi, El Arish, marching in rear of New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
One First Line wagon accompanied each Battery Divisional Ammunition Column marched at head of First Line Transport, and was under orders or Desert Column throughout the operations.
9 January 1917
0600 Division moved to a position just south of Karm ibn Musleh and awaited report from New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.
0750 Commander Royal Artillery accompanied General Officer Commanding on a general reconnaissance.
0840 Somerset and Leicester Batteries brought into action as arranged with General Officer Commanding about 1000 yards North of Karm ibn Musleh.
0900 Batteries proceeded to fire on the C group of works with a view to supporting a forward movement ordered for 1000.
1130 Batteries remained in action keeping the position under fire, assisted by aeroplane observation. The wireless sets worked satisfactorily.
0045 An attack from the east was ordered and the Inverness Battery came into action 300 yards north east of Point 350 (north east of Karm ibn Musleh) and fired on trenches which had not been identified on aeroplane map west of the Big Tree. These were expected to be the objective of the easterly attack.
1140 When the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade moved out for the attack this battery was placed under orders of Brigadier Chaytor to support it closely.
1310 Inverness Battery came into action at a range of 2,200 yards in support of the attack of New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade firing on trenches, parties moving in the spots, and, in one case on a few mounted men.
They were able is bring effective fire on to the Northern parts of the Reduit and of work C.5. also on to new works North of the ridge running north east from point 255 which could not be seen from the South. The battery remained supporting this attack until it rejoined the Divisional Artillery near Karm ibn Musleh at 1700.
1130 To return to the Somerset and Leicester Batteries. On an advance being made by the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade and shortly after by portions of the 1st and 3rd. Australian Light Horse Brigades, further east, the Somerset Battery moved to a previously reconnoitred position 2500 yards south of the Reduit.
1400 As ammunition became available for the Leicester Battery it was moved up by Sections to a position on the right of the Somerset Battery. These batteries continued to fire by their own observations assisted by information from aeroplanes, messages received from Brigadiers (Including Brigadier General commanding Imperial Camel Corps Brigade, who was asked for fire on B group of works and from reports by our own officers sent forward for the purpose. Fire was asked for mostly on the more Southern of the enemy fire trenches. Aeroplanes reported that C.4. was strongly and the Reduit lightly held.
1515 Orders received far an intense bombardment of works C4, C5 and Reduit, to cease at 1530.
1545 Fire responded and kept up till batteries were withdrawn at 1640.
1700 Two teams with wagon limbers ordered to report at Reduit to bring back captured guns. Batteries then marched back is bivouac at Sheikh Zowaid, arriving there at 2000.
10 January 1917
1300 Batteries marched back to El Arish arriving there at 1300.
1 Other Rank seriously, 4 slightly wounded, all in Somerset Battery.
1 horse and 1 mule killed, 3 horses and 1 mule wounded, all in Somerset Battery.
Ammunition ExpendedInverness Battery:- Shrapnel 375; High Explosives 92
Somerset Battery:- Shrapnel 588; High Explosives 70
Leicester Battery:- Shrapnel 462; High Explosives 52
Total:- Shrapnel 1,483; High Explosives 214
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Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Commander Royal Artillery, War Diary Account