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Monday, 23 February 2009
Yildirim Ordu (The "Lightning Army")
Topic: Tk - Bks - Air Force

Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918

 

Dismantling an Albatros DIII of FA304(b) for transport through the Taurus Mountains.

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 207.]

 

Part 5 - Yildirim Ordu (The "Lightning Army")

The news of the fall of Baghdad to British forces on 11 March 1917 was received with shock and disbelief by the Turkish public. Immediately it was demanded that this important city should be retaken. The Turkish Army Command consequently drew up plans for the reconquering of the city by forming two new armies (the 7th and 8th) and by securing a new German Corps (the "Asian Corps") of 15,000 men. Four German and two Turkish aircraft units were to be formed for these armies. In Germany the former Commanding Officer of FA300, Major Heemskerck was promoted to "Kommandeur der Flieger" (KOFL) and entrusted with the formation of 3 Prussian and 1 Bavarian "Fliegerabteilung", FA301, FA302, FA303. and FA304(b).

During June and July these units with each 6 AEG C.IV's and 2 Albatros D.III's as well as 4 reserve AEG's and 2 Albatroses were formed. The large quantities of material and men for both the armies and flying units started to arrive in Istanbul in late July. At this point it realized that the Gaza force was so depleted of men and material that, drastic measures were needed. Consequently in the first week of August the "Yildirim Ordu" (the "Lightning Army"), as the venture was known, was ordered first to Gaza to defeat the British Army there and then to divert towards Baghdad.

The build-up of the entire force was painfully slow however as the railway through Anatolia and the unfinished tunnels [184] in the Tauras mountains were bottlenecks unable to absorb the flow of masses and material.

Major Heemskerck arrived, as the first of 80 officers and 800 NCO's and men in the beginning of September 1917 at Ramleh, the Headquarters of the FA300, together with the first aircraft unit, FA301 under command of Captain Bieneck. Initially 4 AEG C.IV's and 2 Albatros D.III were available. The rest of the units were held back at Istanbul when on 6 September the railway station at Haydarpasha on the Asian side of Istanbul was demolished in a devastating fire. FA304(b), the Bavarian unit, under Captain Walz had been caught by the fire at Haydarpasha and lost 5 of its aircraft.

FA302 with Commanding Officer Captain König and FA303 with Capt. Schumburg, each with 6 aircraft, arrived at the front on the 11th of October and they were based at new fields prepared near El Safid and El Tine. It was not until 25 October that FA304(b) arrived at its designated field close to the railway station of Arak el Menshiyeh. All aircraft units based in Palestine had their fields located alongside the railway line to facilitate supply.

At this time the former advantage of the German units at the front had deteriorated. New aggressive tactics in the air from squadrons of the recently formed Royal Air Force had resulted in the downing of a newly arrived AEG on 25 September and on 8 October one of FA300's Albatros D.III's was forced down by enemy fighters and captured. [See: Gustav Adolf Dittmar.] Four British SPAD fighters surprised a formation of AEG's on 15 October and shot down one. Soon large formations of British aircraft blocked any attempts by the German aircraft to reconnoitre the front as was a prerequisite for victory in March and April. Despite this, a few missions got through and on 22 October, ships were observed moving north along the coast. On 25 October an aircraft reported that large formations of British cavalry were moving towards the central Gaza lines. [See: The battle of El Buggar Ridge.] A British attack was evidently imminent. This time however every effort had been made by the British to hide the objective of attack. Large dummy camps had been constructed in Cyprus to make the Ottoman Army Command believe that the attack would be made behind the lines in Lebanon and the French navy aircraft launched an attack on Beirut. On 17 October this deception was revealed by a four hour reconnaissance performed over the island by 2 AEG's from FA302 from which had started out from Silifke, in southern Turkey. [185]

The cavalry formations observed on the 25th near Gaza were in fact also a plot conceived by the British to make the Turks believe that the attack would come there. The actual attack was initiated with complete surprise in the evening of the 27th on the feeble garrison at Beersheba and the post fell the next day. [Editor’s note: The battle fought on 27 October was at El Buggar Ridge. The Battle of Beersheba was fought on 31 October 1917 with the first attacks launched at about 8am.]

 


Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 182.]

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

A Rumpler from FA300 had managed to spot this on 27 October, but luckily for the British, the aircraft was shot down on its way back and the crew taken prisoner. Its observer was the famed Captain Falke. The British attack now rolled towards Gaza from the flank and another German aircraft was lost on 28 October. In the next 2 days seven more air battles were fought without victors. The Gaza fortifications were attacked on the 2nd of November and on this day 5 British aircraft were claimed shot down by the able gunners of the Austrian anti-aircraft battery and two more by fighters. The British having learned from previous experience managed with fighters and anti-aircraft guns to keep the artillery spotting German aircraft away from the front. [Editor’s note: The breakthrough at Tel el Sheria and Gaza occurred on 7 November 1917.]

Then the British intensified their efforts and on the 8th of November a large formation of aircraft bombed the field at Arak el Menshiyeh, the newly arrived FA304(b) being taken by surprise. [See: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 8 November.] One aircraft was destroyed and 4 others damaged. When the airfield was evacuated later in the afternoon, after the British had broken through the front, these aircraft had to be burned by its crews. While most of the personnel of FA304(b) were rescued by the unit's trucks, only two aircraft were flown to safety. On 9 November, FA303 was bombed at its field near El Tine and when this field was evacuated three aircraft were left behind. The FA300 did not possess trucks and was rescued with vehicles coming from the German colony at Sarona. The British advance had such momentum that Ramleh was overrun by 15 November and it was only on 21 November that it was stopped, 5 miles from Jerusalem. This mainly because of heavy rain.

During the advance an Albatros fighter was lost on 12 November and two AEG's were shot down by enemy ground fire on 17 November. By the 2 December the rain ceased to such a degree that the British advance was resumed. On the same day a formation of 20 AEG's escorted by 5 Albatrosses attacked the new British airfield at Julis. The formation was during its attack intercepted by SPAD's but no losses were suffered.

Jerusalem was taken by Allenby's forces on 7 December 1917.

At the beginning of December most of the German aircraft and their units had been relocated to Tul Karm, but this was [186] observed by the British and after having been bombed, the units retired further north. The FA300 went to Samach, FA301 and FA303 went to Jenin, FA302 went to the German Jewish colony at Waldheim and finally the FA304(b) went to Afuleh. From these new locations both an AEG and an Albatros were lost on 17 December.

The British attack finally came to a halt south of a line 20 km north of Jaffa to Jericho.

In the effort to halt the enemy advance, however, 10 German aircraft had been lost in the air and 8 on the ground, with 9 pilots and 2 observers killed and 8 pilots and 5 observers wounded. Against 18,000 British army casualties the Turkish and German forces lost about 25,000 men while another 12,000 were captured as Prisoners of War.

By the New Year, 1918, the front had stabilized and the German air units somewhat recovered and reorganized at their new bases. In order to counter the enemy fighter squadrons the 7 remaining Albatros D.III fighters were collected into a provisional fighter "staffel", called JASTA 1, at Jenin. The unit came under command of Lieutenant Felmy, younger brother of Captain Felmy, Commanding Officer of FA300 and personnel was drawn from the other units as well as FA300.

 

Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 188.]

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

The JASTA 1 operations were organized with in conjunction with FA301 and FA303 from Jenin being attached to the 7th Army commanded by Fevzi Pasha (area C and D on map.). FA300 from Samach and FA302 from Waldheim were attached to Cevat Pasha's 8th Army (area A and B on map) whereas FA304(b) was entrusted with general reconnaissance (area F). The Turkish aircraft companies 3ncü and 4ncü Tay. Böl. as well as a detachment of FA302 were given duties on the eastern front (4th Army area E on map). From February onwards the new FA305 and 14ncü Tay. Böl. at Dera were assigned area G. For these large operational areas and numerous duties about 30 AEG C.IV's were available for the German units and 4 Albatros C.III, 6 Rumpler C.I’s and 10 AEG C.IV’s for the Turkish units.

 
Source: The above extract is obtained from a self published work by Ole Nikolajsen called Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919Part 5 - Yildirim Ordu (The "Lightning Army") comes from Chapter 8, Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918, pp. 184-7. The text has been edited to remove errors and make it readable for an English speaking audience.

 

Further Reading:

The German Ottoman Air Force 

Gustav Adolf Dittmar 

The Battle of Beersheba

The battle of El Buggar Ridge

9th LHR AIF War Diary, 8 November 

Air War on the Palestine Front, December 1915 to January 1917

Turkish Units - The Ottoman Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, Yildirim

 

Go To:

Previous Chapter: The First and Second Battles Of Gaza

Next Chapter: A Fight against Rising Odds
 
 

Citation: Yildirim Ordu (The "Lightning Army")

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2009 9:12 AM EAST
Bert Schramm's Diary, 23 February 1919
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

 

During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, 2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, a farmer from White's River, near Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular, kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September 1918 breakout by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.

 Bert Schramm's Diary, 23 February 1919

 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 22 - 25 February 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Diaries

Bert Schramm

Sunday, February 23, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Tripoli, Lebanon.

Bert Schramm's Diary - Nothing doing. I haven't been feeling too well the last few days and am rather afraid I might be getting a dose of fever but will probably pass off in a day or so.

 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Port Said, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  After a calm voyage down the coast arrived at Port Said at 0800, anchored near the Suez Canal offices for two hours and berthed at Sheriff's Quay where the Regiment disembarked at 1630 and marched to Port Said Railway Station.

Entrained at 1700 and moved out at 1800 and arrived Kantara West at 1930.

Disentrained here and marched to Kantara East and bivouacked near railway station for the remainder of night.

Heavy baggage was conveyed by this train across the Canal Bridge from Port Said to Rafa. Regimental personal baggage was unfortunately sent to Transit Shed at Kantara West instead of being dispatched to Kantara East and did not arrive at Kantara East until midnight.

 

Darley

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry


Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 22 February 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 24 February 1919

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF War Diary - Complete day by day list

Bert Schramm Diary 

Bert Schramm Diary - Complete day by day list

 

Additional Reading:

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

 


Citation: Bert Schramm's Diary, 23 February 1919


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 1:41 PM EADT
Sunday, 22 February 2009
A Fight against Rising Odds
Topic: Tk - Bks - Air Force

Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918

 

Sergeant Fehmi of 3ncü Tayyare Bölük in an Albatros C.III at Amman, 1918.

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 213.]

 

Part 6 - A Fight against Rising Odds

The ratio between German and Turkish as compared to British aircraft in Palestine was in the beginning of 1916 about 1:5 while- decreasing to about 1:12 in the spring 1917 and then rising with the arrival of the new units to about 1:2- in October. This ratio continued to dwindle during 1918: Jan. about 1:3; May about 1:5; August about 1:10 and on 19 September about 1:15. The operations in 1918 can be divided into two main periods: The war of attrition from January to September and the period of defeat from 19 September until the armistice on 30 October 1918. [187]

The New Year 1918 started out with an exceptionally black day for the German units. On 2 January, a mixed formation of aircraft from FA302 and FA304(b) attacked the old German airfield of Ramleh, now used by RAF squadrons. Unfortunately for the Germans, the formation was intercepted and four AEG's were lost. Later in the day the British retaliated and 14 of their aircraft attacked Jenin. The casualties were one defending Albatros fighter lost in the air and one AEG on the ground. The British lost one aircraft shot down. Again on 12 January, an aircraft was lost with its crew and on 17 January both an Albatros and an AEG went missing. The German units managed to shoot down a British aircraft both on the 4th and 20th of January.

At this time the Arab attacks on the 4th Army to the east of Jordan river and on the Hejaz railway had grown to such an extent that more aircraft units were needed on this front. In the beginning of the year the Turkish 4ncü Tayyare Bölük was transferred from Adana in Southern Turkey to Amman. The unit, under command of the famed observer, Captain Huseyin Sedat, had 4 pilots and 5 observers and operated one Albatros C.III (AK51) and 3 recently issued AEG C.IV's (AEG2, AEG3, and AEG22). In February the German FA305, under command of Captain Elias, arrived at Dera with 12 AEG C.IV's to protect this vital railway junction against Arab insurgents.

Also the newly formed Turkish 14ncü Tayyare Bölük under command of the German Captain Zelich, arrived with 7 additional AEG's (AEG26, AEG27, AEG28, AEG29, AEG30, AEG31, and AEG32).

With these relative large reinforcements to the 4th Army a separate aircraft command was set up for the eastern front under command of KOFL, Captain Beltz.

Since the beginning of 1918, the all Turkish 3ncü Tayyare Bölük had a very busy period in its effort to control the Hejaz railway line between Dera and Medina now with 4 Rumplers at Maan (R11 50, R1837, R1847, and R2626) and detachments of Albatros C.III's at Medina (AK30) and Dera (AK4). In addition to this task the unit was also ordered to harass and bomb Aqaba several times as well as performing reconnaissance as far away as Suez. In January, 23 sorties were flown and in February, the number was 21 sorties. The operations took its toll however and on 4 February, Rumpler R1837 was lost and its crew taken prisoners.

 

Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 188.]

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

A Turkish force crossed the Jordan River under the protective screen of three Rumplers on 2 March and later on the [189] same day the same aircraft made bombing attacks on British counter-attacking formations. In the end of the same month British forces also tried to cross the river and formations of up to five aircraft from FA305 and 3ncü, 4ncü and 14ncü Tayyare Bölük, bombed and strafed the advancing cavalry units. The effect was such that the British were forced to retire to the west bank of the Jordan River.

During April large Arab forces had concentrated around Maan and 25 sorties were flown against them. This was however to no avail and 3ncü Tayyare Bölük was forced to withdraw with its main force of three aircraft to Amman. Only one Rumpler, R1150, was left at Maan, but on 8 May, this aircraft was wrecked.

In late April, under cover from the Arab attack, British forces again tried to attack the 4th Army with an advance towards Es Salt. This called for a major effort and 4 AEG's from FA305 and 3 from 14ncü Tayyare Bölük made almost continuous attacks on the advancing troops. Fifty bombs were dropped in the vicinity of the village Ezrak alone. These operations, though successful, took a heavy toll on the units and in the beginning of May, 3ncü Tayyare Bölük was left with only Rumpler, R2626, and 4ncü Tayyare Bölük having lost its Albatros C.III on 5 March and an AEG on 28 March, was left with only two aircraft. Heavy pressure was now made by British aircraft upon Amman and Dera. One of the attacking DH4's was shot down on 1 May. Soon after 1 May, JASTA 1 transferred from Jenin to Amman with 6 Albatros D.III fighters. This was no success for after a week at Amman where no interceptions were made the unit returned to Jenin. At this time only 3 fighters remained air worthy as the other 3 aircraft had been damaged beyond repair during landing accidents. To counter the British air attack in another way a force of 7 aircraft from FA305, 4ncü and 14ncü Tayyare Bölük attacked the British home base outside Jerusalem on 24 May. This British promptly retaliated on 31 May when they dropped more than 100 bombs on Amman, inflicting heavy damage.

After these events in the air, activity was cut down significantly due to the intense heat during the summer.

British aircraft nevertheless managed to make a surprise attack on both Amman and Dera on 24 June and in this raid, the 14ncü Tayyare Bölük lost two aircraft (AEG29, and AEG32) and two pilots. In addition most of the equipment belonging to 3 ncü and 4ncü Tayyare Bölük was burnt when a hangar was hit at Amman. More luck was experienced two days later when 2 AEC's on reconnaissance towards Maan succeeded in [190] shooting down a British aircraft. Attrition continued however and FA305 lost two aircraft in June thus resulting by the end of the months in a total of only 8 airworthy aircraft being present at the front. In a desperate move, the commanding officers of 3ncü, 4ncü and 14ncü Tayyare Bölük, together travelled to Istanbul to plead for new aircraft. This was to no avail however and FA305 lost another aircraft on the 3rd of July. At this time 14ncü Tayyare Bölük only had one aircraft left.

Two aircraft made a reconnaissance over Aqaba and bombed it on 12 July but thereafter only three aircraft were available. In the last days of July and in August, Dera was being attacked daily by British aircraft but in 19 sorties three of these attackers were shot down by fighters transferred from Jenin, respectively on 9, 18 and 24 August. By 19 August, the hard working mechanics had again managed to make 2 aircraft flyable for each FA305 and 14ncü Tayyare Bölük, and 150 bombs were dropped in 22 sorties, most near the village of Katrane. On the 21st the British counteracted by bombing Dera and the three aircraft of the two resident aircraft units were burnt. In the first week of September another 2 aircraft were received from the aircraft park at Rayak.

When Arab forces attacked on 15 September, 8 aircraft were transferred from Jenin. Under command of Captain Elias, these 10 aircraft flew 47 sorties between 16 and 21 September and were successful in keeping the vital Dera railway junction open. After this, most of the personnel withdrew to the north.

 

Source: The above extract is obtained from a self published work by Ole Nikolajsen called Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919A Fight against Rising Odds comes from Chapter 8, Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918, pp. 187-191. The text has been edited to remove errors and make it readable for an English speaking audience.

 

Further Reading:

The German Ottoman Air Force 

Air War on the Palestine Front, December 1915 to January 1917

Turkish Units - The Ottoman Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, Yildirim

 

 

Go To:

Previous Chapter: Yildirim Ordu (The "Lightning Army") 

Next Chapter: The Pasha Units on the Southern Front

 


Citation: A Fight against Rising Odds

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2009 9:14 AM EAST
Bert Schramm's Diary, 22 February 1919
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

 

During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, 2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, a farmer from White's River, near Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular, kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September 1918 breakout by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.

 Bert Schramm's Diary, 22 February 1919

 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 22 - 25 February 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Diaries

Bert Schramm

Saturday, February 22, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Tripoli, Lebanon.

Bert Schramm's Diary - The Ninth Regiment sailed for Kantara this morning. The Brigade races were held today and were rather good. Numbers of civilians attended.

 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - HMT Ellenga, at sea.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  0430 Reveilled and at 0630 marched dismounted to embarkation pier El Mina.

All baggage loaded into lighters by 0810 and at 0845 the Regiment embarked on a lighter and by 1000 all were aboard the HMT Ellenga. 4th Light Horse Regiment and 8th Light Horse Regiment had embarked on this boat the previous day. Scott, Lieutenant Colonel WH, CMG DSO assumed command of the Regiment and formed them into the Aust. Div. Group.

1200 HMT Ellenga sailed.

 

Darley

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry


Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 21 February 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 23 February 1919

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF War Diary - Complete day by day list

Bert Schramm Diary 

Bert Schramm Diary - Complete day by day list

 

Additional Reading:

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

 


Citation: Bert Schramm's Diary, 22 February 1919


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 1:44 PM EADT
Saturday, 21 February 2009
The Pasha Units on the Southern Front
Topic: Tk - Bks - Air Force

Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918

 

(L.) Major Weyert, KOFL, and (R) Major Walz, CO FA304(b) in front of a LVG C.V prior to a reconnaissance mission, April 1918.

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 209.]

 

Part 7 - The Pasha Units on the Southern Front

The Palestine front finally received the long awaited reinforcement in the beginning of March when Captain Maierdirch arrived with 16 experienced fighter pilots and 8 brand new Albatros D.V's. They were formed into JASTA 2. Unfortunately the aircraft were too new as the design had not yet properly been tested and during their first flights in Palestine two aircraft lost their wings, killing their pilots. Consequently the new JASTA was absorbed into JASTA 1 in which 6 of the old Albatros D.III's remained. During the next 3 months this unit tallied an impressive score of 14 enemy aircraft and 3 balloons.

The "Kommandeur der Flieger" of the Yildirim Army, Major Heemskerck was relieved by Major Weyert in late March and upon his return to Germany he managed to ship 12 new modern reconnaissance aircraft to [191] Palestine with the utmost haste. These aircraft, four Rumpler C.IV and 8 LVG C.IV's were readied at the new Aircraft Park at Rayak in mid April. Three Rumplers and 2 LVG's were issued to FA304(b) for the vital long-range reconnaissance task, one Rumpler and 2 LVG's went to FA303 and two LVG's went to each of FA301 and FA302. Unofficially, FA300 had been disbanded after all its aircraft had been lost. Its Commanding Officer began acting as liaison officer to the 7th Army and most of the pilots serving as fighter pilots in other FA groups.

During February and March the German Pasha units, FA301 to FA304(b), once more succeeded in helping to contain British attacks in the Nablus area and their artillery spotting proved particularly effective. Bad weather prevented large scale operations and it was not until April, when fortunately new equipment had been received, that fighting on the southern front was stepped up. Then in late April more than 22 airworthy reconnaissance aircraft and 6 fighters were available after a month which had seen 7 large air-battles, 39 short-range and 10 long-range reconnaissance missions and 22 fighter sorties.

On 22 April, a Nieuport fighter was shot down and further on 25 April, two aircraft and a balloon were downed by JASTA 1. A second balloon was destroyed on 28 April.

The air-battles continued in May and 3 British aircraft were claimed shot down on the 4th, 11th and 15th May respectively, as well as two balloons destroyed on 9 and 10 May. Between the 23rd and 29th of May, before and during the British attack over Jordan, ground fire accounted for downing of additional 5 aircraft and one balloon.

 

Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 188.]

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

The German units however were also receiving grave losses and between January and June, they being 39 pilots and observers killed and 20 wounded.

During these months the surviving AEG's were finally relegated to bombing missions only as they were totally outclassed by the Bristol Fighters used by the British. In fact only the 4 Rumpler C.IV's had a speed that made them able to evade the enemy. During May these four machines managed to take 2,500 photographs over enemy lines and even strayed as far as Beersheba. At the end of May, JASTA 1 was left with only 3 fighters after the unsuccessful move to Amman. [See: A Fight against Rising Odds.] Fortunately this situation eased when 8 Albatrosses were received in June. In addition, 6 D.V's were modified to D.Va's and 2 repaired D.III's became available.

From August onwards the RAF squadrons naturally enough dominated the skies. Where the German aircraft in the first week of June could mount 100 sorties only 18 were flown in the last week of August and every one of these was challenged and attacked, being pursued down to ground level or destruction. Even as the Aircraft Park at Rayak managed to repair many of the damaged aircraft and started to issue the newly received replacements it was futile because between the 1st of June and the 19th of September 59 aircrew members were killed, wounded or taken prisoners. The standard farewell greeting of pilots taking off on a mission became in this period: Wiedersehen im Heliopolis, [“See you at Heliopolis.” See: Turkish Prisoners in Egypt - Heliopolis Camp] referring to the British prisoner-of-war camp in Egypt.

The units continued to receive new or repaired aircraft, but to no avail as FA301 alone lost an aircraft on 3 August, another on the 16th and two on the 28th and 31st respectively. FA304(b) lost one of its valuable Rumplers on 10 August. When JASTA 1 started to get its new Pfalz D.III fighters only 4 experienced fighter pilots were alive. Shortly after, on 24 August, when two Pfalz's were attacked by the ubiquitous Bristol Fighters, one was shot down in flames whereas Lieutenant Walter in the other was badly hit. He tried to escape with the help of his parachute, but it failed to open. This was the first recorded use of a parachute in Palestine. [193]

On 1 September 1918, a total force of 8 reconnaissance and 5 fighter aircraft were available to the Pasha units, but only 4 sorties ware flown up to the 15th of the month.

 

Source: The above extract is obtained from a self published work by Ole Nikolajsen called Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919The Pasha Units on the Southern Front comes from Chapter 8, Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918, pp. 191-5. The text has been edited to remove errors and make it readable for an English speaking audience.

 

Further Reading:

The German Ottoman Air Force 

A Fight against Rising Odds

Turkish Prisoners in Egypt - Heliopolis Camp

Air War on the Palestine Front, December 1915 to January 1917

Turkish Units - The Ottoman Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, Yildirim

 

Go To:

Previous Chapter: A Fight against Rising Odds

Next Chapter: The Final Destruction

 


Citation: The Pasha Units on the Southern Front

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2009 9:18 AM EAST

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