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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.

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Saturday, 3 October 2009
The Second Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 19 April 1917, Contents
Topic: BatzP - 2nd Gaza

The Second Battle of Gaza

Palestine, 19 April 1917

Contents


Items

Outline

 

Official War History Accounts

Australia

Gullett Account Part 1

Gullett Account Part 2

New Zealand

Powles New Zealand Official History

British
Falls
 
Analysis
Keogh Account 

 

War Diaries

Australian War Diaries
Headquarters, Anzac Mounted Division Account

General Staff Headquarters, Anzac Mounted Division, AIF, War Diary Account

1st Light Horse Brigade Account

1st Light Horse Field Ambulance Account

1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron Account 

1st Light Horse Regiment Account

2nd Light Horse Regiment Account

3rd Light Horse Regiment Account

2nd Light Horse Brigade Account

2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance Account 

2nd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron Account

5th Light Horse Regiment Account

6th Light Horse Regiment Account

7th Light Horse Regiment Account

Headquarters, Imperial Mounted Division Account

General Staff Headquarters, Imperial Mounted Division, AIF, War Diary Account

3rd Light Horse Brigade Account

3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance Account 

3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron Account

8th Light Horse Regiment Account
9th Light Horse Regiment Account 
10th Light Horse Regiment Account

4th Light Horse Brigade Account

4th Light Horse Field Ambulance Account 

4th Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron Account

4th Light Horse Regiment Account
11th Light Horse Regiment Account 
12th Light Horse Regiment Account
 
 
New Zealand War Diaries
New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Account
Auckland Mounted Rifles Account
Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment Account
Wellington Mounted Rifles Account 

 

Unit History Accounts

Australian

1st LHR Unit History Account 

2nd LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

3rd LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

5th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

6th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

7th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

8th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

9th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

10th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

4th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

11th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

12th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

 

New Zealand

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Unit History Account

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, Unit History Account

Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, Unit History Account

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, Unit History Account

 

Roll of Honour

Allied Forces, Roll of Honour

Lest We Forget

 

Further Reading:

The Second Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 19 April 1917

Allied Forces, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Second Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 19 April 1917, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 10:33 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 March 2011 7:38 PM EAST
4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, Contents
Topic: AIF - 4B - 4 LHB

4th Australian Light Horse Brigade

Contents

 

4th Light Horse Brigade Colour Patch

 

4th Light Horse Brigade formed Australia 4 March 1915. Shipped to Egypt without horses where broken up 26 August 1915. Reformed in February 1917 as part of the Imperial Mounted Division. The reconstituted Brigade lost the 13th Light Horse Regiment which went to France but gained the 4th Light Horse Regiment.

 

Structure

The Australian Light Horse – Structural outline

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

 

Corps

Desert Mounted Corps (DMC)

 

Division

Australian Mounted Division

 

Brigade

4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1915

4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1917-19

 

Regiments

4th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

11th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

12th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

 

History

Grant, GOC 4th ALHB, account about the fall of Beersheba

El Burj, Palestine, 1 December 1917, 4th Light Horse Brigade War Diary Account

 

 

Roll of Honour

4th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

11th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

12th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

Lest we forget

 

 

Further Reading:

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle - Outline 

Double Squadrons  

4th Light Horse Brigade, AIF

 


Citation: 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 October 2009 12:51 PM EADT
Friday, 2 October 2009
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, Outline
Topic: BatzP - Beersheba

 

 

The Battle of Beersheba

Palestine, 31 October 1917

Outline

 

Aerial view of Beersheba, 1917.

 

Beersheba, the most famous mounted charge involving Australians, was carried out by light horsemen against Turkish fixed defences in Palestine on 31 October 1917. After two previous British failures that year to take the strategic coastal city of Gaza (q.v.), preparations were made for a third attempt by the newly appointed commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, General Sir Edmund Allenby. The plan he devised entailed turning the left flank of the Turkish defensive line which rested on Beersheba, a small town situated in the desert about 43 kilometres south-east of Gaza. To this end British infantry corps were to make frontal attacks against both ends of the Turkish line simultaneously, while the Desert Mounted Corps (commanded by Australian Lieut.General Harry Chauvel) made a wide circling movement to approach Beersheba in the rear, from the east and north.

 

Beersheba sometime before 1914.

 

On 27 October the 15,000 Australian and New Zealand horsemen in the two divisions of the Desert Mounted Corps available to Chauvel embarked on a series of night marches which took them east, to concentration areas at the water-points of Khalasa and Asluj more than ten kilometres south of Beersheba. Three days later they were positioned in readiness for the 25,000 men of the British 20th Corps to begin their assault on Beersheba from the west and south-west at dawn on the 31st. Chauvel's first assigned objective was to capture enemy positions beside the Hebron road behind the town, thereby completing its encirclement. Stubborn resistance was overcome to take these posts by 3 p.m., by which stage the seizure of the town itself was becoming critical because of the attackers' need for water. With only two hours remaining before nightfall Chauvel decided to send in Brig.General William Grant's 4th Light horse Brigade, which so far had been hardly involved in the day's fighting: "Put Grant straight at it." was his terse instruction.

 

Turkish map detailing troop dispositions, 31 October 1917

[Click on map for a larger version.]

 

Although the conventional use of light horse units was as mounted infantry only, the urgency of the situation prompted Grant to adopt the hazardous cavalry-style tactic of an open charge. Concealed behind a ridge some eight kilometres south-cast of' the objective, the two leading regiments of Grant's brigade - the 4th from Victoria on the right, and the 12th from New South Wales on the left - were drawn up in three lines 300-500 metres apart, with five metres spacing between men. As neither unit was equipped with the normal shock action cavalry weapons of lance or sabre, the troops were ordered to carry their long bayonets in their hands.

 

Beersheba as seen from the Turkish support trenches behind Hill 1069. The British were ordered to stop here at 1 p.m. despite nothing preventing them from taking the town.

[Photograph by Gal Shaine.]

 

At 4.30 p.m., just on sunset, the attack force moved off at the trot with Grant initially at its head. The 400-500 horsemen were already at the gallop when they crested the ridge and came into Turkish view, but the speed and momentum of their charge quickly carried them through the curtain of fire from enemy field-guns, machine-guns and rifles. The Turkish positions - unprotected by wire - were breached without difficulty by the leading ranks, who leapt their horses over the trenches before dismounting and engaging the defenders in brutal hand to hand combat. Two squadrons of the 12th Regiment raced on into the town, in time to prevent the destruction of all but two of seventeen wells by the fleeing Turks. Within an hour of the charge's commencement all resistance collapsed, as those defenders, who could made a rush for the safety of hills to the north and north-west. Nine guns and more than 1,000 prisoners were taken from the reinforced 27th Division occupying the town, and the commander of the Turkish 3rd Corps himself barely escaped capture. All this at a cost to the Australians of only 31 killed and 36 wounded.


The dramatic fall of Beersheba opened the way for the whole Turkish defensive line to be outflanked and rolled up from east to west. After further heavy fighting, the Turks abandoned Gaza on 6 November and began a northerly retreat deeper into Palestine. The charge was a truly memorable and heroic feat of arms, fully deserving of the epic status it has subsequently achieved. The absences of' the sort of casualties which might have been expected from an assault across nearly 6,000 metres of open ground swept by automatic weapons owed much to the speed of' the unexpected attack. This was later discovered to have caused many Turks to forget to make range adjustments on their weapon sights, with the result that during the final stages of the charge much of the defenders' fire had passed harmlessly over the Australians' heads.


The scene from Government House to the field (the green patch, top left) where the famous Charge occurred.

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 134-136.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

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 Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917

Australian and New Zealand Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920



Citation: The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 13 October 2012 2:10 PM EADT
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Second Gaza, Palestine, April 19, 1917, Outline
Topic: BatzP - 2nd Gaza

Second Gaza

Palestine, 19 April 1917

Outline

 

Tank Redoubt where tanks and infantry attacked the Ottoman lines.
 
[Photograph by Gal Shaine.]

 

Second Gaza, fought on 19 April 1917. this action occurred as a result of a renewed British attempt to capture the Turkish coastal strong point situated on the edge of sand dunes three kilometres inland. The British commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, General Sir Archibald :Murray, determined on a direct frontal assault by three British infantry divisions, the Imperial Mounted Division (which was half Australian) and the Imperial Camel Corps (also half Australian) both fighting in a dismounted role. Intended to help the attack were six tanks and a supply of gas-shells, which had been recently received and not previously employed in this theatre of war. Supporting the main thrust was the Anzac Mounted Division (half Australian, under Major-General Harry Chauvel.

 

The Allied attack at the Second Battle of Gaza

 

This attack was even less successful than the first assault three weeks earlier, as the Turks were both better prepared and numerically stronger than before. 'The infantry fought hard to reach the ridge southeast of the town, where a few of them-in conjunction with a larger party of Australians from the Camel Corps and a tank-managed to capture one redoubt. Another was seized by other Australian camel troops and light horsemen of the Imperial Mounted Division, but with heavy losses. Chauvel's division, given the task of keeping away any enemy reinforcements attempting to intervene from the east, went into action against the Turkish 3rd Cavalry Division and easily drove it off.

The whole effort was a dismal failure which cost the attacking force over 6,000 casualties-5,000 among the infantry, 547 in the Imperial Mounted Division, 345 in the Camel Corps and 105 in the Anzac Mounted Division. The attack never seriously threatened the Turkish defence of the town, and, far from helping British aims in the area, gave a significant boost to enemy morale and convinced them that they could continue to hold southern Palestine.

 

"Victory is sweet." Generals [l to r] Issed, Kress, and Djamal, toast their success under a destroyed tank after the battle.
 
[The name of the tank above the three generals was HMLS Nutty.]

 

HMLS = His Majesty's Land Ship


Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 126-127.



Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

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 Second Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 19 April 1917, British Forces, Roll of Honour

The Second Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 19 April 1917

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Second Gaza, Palestine, April 19, 1917, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 3 October 2009 10:37 PM EADT
6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, Under Furred Hats
Topic: AIF - 2B - 6 LHR

6th LHR, AIF

6th Australian Light Horse Regiment

"Under Furred Hats"

 

The 6th Light Horse Regiment Loyd Lindsay Team displaying their wallaby fur puggarees, 1916.

[From: Berrie, Under Furred Hats, plate facing p. 60.] 

 

One of the common legends is that all Australian light horsemen wore the emu plume during the Great War. The legend and the actual facts that lie behind this are told in the essay on the site called:

All Light Horsemen wore emu plumes

 

One Light Horse Regiment that clearly never wore the emu plume was the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, which chose to wear the wallaby fur puggaree to distinguish this regiment from others.

 

Major Donald Gordon Cross wearing the wallaby fur puggaree

[From: Berrie, Under Furred Hats, plate facing p. 168.] 

 

The  photograph of Major Donald Gordon Cross demonstrates clearly the correct use of the wallaby fur puggaree upon the felt hat.

 

The "Mascot" held by a trooper wearing the wallaby fur puggaree

[From: Berrie, Under Furred Hats, plate facing p. 162.] 

 

The 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, never wore the emu plume but remained attached to the wallaby fur puggaree from conception till the unit was disbanded in 1919.

A good book to read on the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF was written by Lieutenant George Lachlan Berrie called, Under Furred Hats (6th ALH Regt), and published in Sydney, 1919. Copies are rather limited and fetch a high price in the second hand market but there are those still available at the metropolitan public libraries.

 

Further Reading:

6th Light Horse Regiment, AIF

6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, Under Furred Hats

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 October 2009 6:37 PM EADT

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