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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.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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Sunday, 17 May 2009
Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Formation
Topic: AIF & MEF & EEF

Egyptian Expeditionary Force

Formation

 

The following is extracted from the seminal work of Major A. F. Becke, R.F.A. (Retired), Hon. M.A. (Oxon.) which now is the Great War British standard reference called: History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence: Order Of Battle, Part 4, the Army Council, G.H.Q.s, Armies, and Corps, 1914-1918, published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1945, from pp. 33 - 34.

This entry is presented "as is". A table of abbreviations employed is found at the commencement of this section. Additionally, where necessary regarding Becke's understanding of Australian units is inaccurate, an explanatory note is added.

 

EGYPTIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

FORMATION.


In August, 1914, Turkey was still regarded by Egypt as the suzerain power, although for some years there had been a British occupation of the country. When war broke out between England and Germany on the 4th August [Two days previously Germany and Turkey signed an offensive and defensive treaty.] the British Force in Egypt was 1 Cavalry Regiment, 1 R.H.A. Battery, 1 Mountain Battery, R.G.A., 1 Field Company R.E., 4 Infantry Battalions, and detachments of A.S.C., R.A.M.C., A.V.C., A.O.C., and Military Mounted Police. [The units were: 3/Dragoon Gds., "T" Battery (XI Bde. R.H.A.), No. 7 Mtn. Bty. R.G.A., No. 2 Fd. Coy. R.E., 2/Devon., 1/Worc., 2/North'n., and 2/Gordon H. Since 30 October 1912 the Force in Egypt had been commanded by Major-General Hon. J. H. G. Byng. On 8 September 1914 Lieut.-General Sir John G. Maxwell took over command of the Force in Egypt and Maj.-Gen. Byng then returned to England, and proceeded to raise the 3rd Cavalry Division at Ludgershall; this Cavalry Division disembarked at Ostend on 8 October 1914.] In addition, one Battalion [1/Suffolk Regt.] and detachments of R.G.A., A.S.C., and R.A.M.C. were stationed at Khartoum, under the command of General Sir F. R. Wingate, Governor-General of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. This Battalion furnished half-a-company to garrison Cyprus.

Relations with Turkey soon became strained, and on the 30th October the Allies presented an ultimatum to her, and at the same time severed diplomatic relations. On the 5th November a formal declaration of war followed.

The Khedive of Egypt was openly pro-Turk, and he had been in Turkey since August, 1914. In order to secure Egypt and retain control over the all-important Suez Canal, the British Government deposed the Khedive on the 18th December, declared a protectorate over Egypt, and raised the Khedive's Uncle to the throne, with the title of Sultan of Egypt. At the same time the title of the British Representative was changed from Consul-General to High Commissioner.

Briefly, this was the sequence of events which led, as troops became available, to the gradual building-up of a considerable expeditionary force in this near-eastern theatre of war, and led in turn to Egypt, Sinai, and eventually Palestine and Syria becoming battle-grounds in the Great War.

At the end of August the Egyptian Camel Corps was moved to the eastern boundary to cover the Suez Canal. When early in September the Lahore Division passed through the Canal on its way from India to France it dropped the III Mountain Artillery Brigade and the Sirhind Infantry Brigade to reinforce the garrison of the Canal Zone. It became possible, therefore, to release the seasoned regular units which had formed the peacetime garrison, and they all returned to England and joined new divisions, which were assembling there, prior to reinforcing the B.E.F. on the Western Front. [3/Dgn. Gds. joined 3rd Cavalry Division; "T" R.H.A. and 2/Gordon H. the 7th Division; 2nd Fd. Coy. R.E., 2/Devon., 1/Worc., and 2/North'n. the 8th Division; and the 1/Suffolk the 28th Division.] On the 25th September, 42nd (East Lancashire) T.F. Division [Received the number 42nd on 26 May 1915.] reached Alexandria. The division was sent to Egypt for two reasons: to strengthen the garrison and to complete its war-training. Some six weeks later the Indian troops allocated for the defence of Egypt began to disembark at Suez : Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, Bikanir Camel Corps Lucknow Infantry Brigade (from Lucknow Division), and the Imperial Service Infantry Brigade. This released the Sirhind Infantry Brigade, which left to rejoin the Lahore Division in France. The Indian garrison in Egypt was now organized in two divisions (10th & 11th Indian), and the defence of the Canal was entrusted to them and the Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, together with 3 mountain batteries from India, two field artillery brigades of the 42nd Division, a pack-gun battery from the Egyptian Army, and the guns of those English and French warships which were anchored in the canal to serve as floating batteries. Early in December a partly trained Australian and New Zealand contingent also reached Egypt and reinforced the hurriedly assembled garrison.

Meanwhile, during November, 1914, the Turks occupied el 'Arish (in Sinai), and the immediate threat to the Canal line was only too clear ; whilst in Southern Arabia the opposing forces had already clashed. From this time onwards the British forces which were assembled in Egypt were continuously engaged: at first in localized operations to cover that country and the Canal Zone; then, in 1917, in delivering those blows which, by the end of the following year, resulted in Turkey suing for peace.


Further Reading:

AIF and the EEF

 


Citation: Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Formation

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 May 2009 7:39 PM EADT
Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, September 1918, Part 5, Chaytor's Force
Topic: AIF & MEF & EEF

Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, September 1918

Part 5, Chaytor's Force

 

As part of the Official British War History of the Great War, Captain Cyril Falls was commissioned to produce a commentary on the Sinai, Palestine and Syrian operations that took place. In 1930, his finished work, Military Operations Egypt and Palestine from June 1917 to the end of the war, produced in two parts, was published in London. The book included Appendix 2 which specifically detailed the Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, October 1917 and is extracted below. Falls makes the comment that this Order of Battle was not as comprehensive as that produced in the earlier volume.

Falls, C, Military Operations Egypt and Palestine from June 1917 to the end of the war, Part II, London, 1930, Appendix 3 p. 673:


Chaytor's Force.

G.O.C. -

Major-General Sir E. W. C. Chaytor, K.C.M.G., C.B.
(With Staff of A. and N.Z. Mounted Division.)

 

Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division.

 

1st Australian Light Horse Brigade

G.O.C. -

Br. General C. F. Cox, C.B.

 

1st Regt. A.L.H.
2nd Regt. A.L.H.
3rd Regt. A.L.H.

 

2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade

G.O.C. -

Br. General G. de L. Ryrie, C.M.G.

 

5th Regt. A.L.H.
6th Regt. A.L.H.
7th Regt. A.L.H.

 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade

G.O.C. -

Br. General W. Meldrum, C.B., D.S.O.

 

Auckland M.R. Regt.
Canterbury M.R. Regt.
Wellington M.R. Regt.

 

Artillery -

XVIII Brigade R.H.A. (Inverness, Ayr, and Somerset Btys.).

 

Engineers -

A. and N.Z. Field Sqdn.

 

20th Indian Brigade

G.O.C. -

Br. General E. R. B. Murray.

 

Alwar I.S. Infantry.
Patiala I.S. Infantry.
Gwalior I.S. Infantry.
110th Mahratta L.I.

 

38/R. Fusiliers.
39/R. Fusiliers.
1/British West Indies Regt.
2/British West Indies Regt.


Artillery

75th Bty. R.F.A.,
[Note: From 10th Divisional Artillery.].
29th and 32nd (2.75-in.) Indian Mountain Btys..
195th Heavy Bty. R.G.A.,
[Note: Also 2 Sections captured 75-mm. guns and 1 Section 150-mm. howitzers.].

 

Previous: Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, September 1918, Part 4,  XXI CORPS 

Next: Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, September 1918, Part 6, General Headquarters Troops

 

Further Reading:

AIF & MEF & EEF, Contents 

AIF, MEF and the EEF

 


Citation: Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, September 1918, Part 5, Chaytor's Force


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 20 July 2009 11:57 AM EADT
Saturday, 16 May 2009
The Rifle Club Movement, Contents
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

The Rifle Club Movement

Contents

 
While Australia was with the winning side toward the closure of the South African War, one element of this war becomes remarkably clear in the development of Australian military policy, the ability of the individual Boer as a guerrilla fighter in resisting the British war machine. Seeing that Australia suffered analogous conditions as that of the Boers, viz., little money for defence, low population numbers and vast areas to defend; it was only natural to take the successful strategies from the war and apply it to the local conditions. The Commonwealth impetus for funding the Rifle Club Movement came from this conflict.
 
 
Items
 
History
 
 
 
 
 
 
Military Orders
 
 
 
 
Personnel
 

Further Reading:

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: The Rifle Club Movement, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 11:17 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 22 June 2009 12:32 AM EADT
A speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, July 1902
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

The Rifle Club Movement

A speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts.

 

Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, a portrait by John Singer Sargent.

 

The following is extracted from a speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, July 1902 circulated by Colonel John Charles Hoad, Deputy Adjutant General (DAG), and issued with General Order No. 162 of 13 September 1902. 

While Australia was with the winning side toward the closure of the South African War, one element of this war becomes remarkably clear in the development of Australian military policy, the ability of the individual Boer as a guerrilla fighter in resisting the British war machine. Seeing that Australia suffered analogous conditions as that of the Boers, viz., little money for defence, low population numbers and vast areas to defend; it was only natural to take the successful strategies from the war and apply it to the local conditions. The result is this letter by Colonel Hoad with his remarks framed clearly withing this context.

 



Military Forces of the Commonwealth

Headquarters

Melbourne, September 1902

In view of the recent Minute on the subject of Rifle Shooting in Australia, issued with GO No 23 of 1st April last, the General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth desires to invite attention to the following speech made by Field Marshal Earl Roberts, Commander in Chief of the British Army, when presiding over the prize distribution at the Meeting of the National Rifle Association at Bisley, England, in July last.

By order,
J. C. HOAD, COLONEL,
DAG and CSO

 

Field Marshal Earl Roberts spoke as follows:-

Since I had the honour of addressing you a year ago, I have been able to consider more fully our musketry experiences in South Africa, and I believe that we have arrived at a peculiarly important and interesting stage in the history of rifle shooting. The campaign which we have just passed through bas been a long and arduous one, during which I should be afraid to say how many millions of rounds of small arms ammunition have been expended in the kind of shooting which societies like the National Rifle Association are formed to develop. It seems, therefore, that now is the time for us to consider our position carefully, and decide whether we are working on the right lines as regards the training of our soldiers and volunteers - whether, in fact, shooting, as practised at Bisley, and other kindred meetings, has produced the result which, presumably, they desire - viz., to enable our men to use their rifles with the best possible effect against an enemy. We soldiers most readily bear testimony to the fact that rifle associations have been of the greatest valve in the past, not only in encouraging rifle shooting, but in making those who take an interest in the subject realize the extraordinary power of the Service rifle in the hands of experts. But I venture to think we are not quite up-to-date, and we should now determine whether the class of shooting as carried on at these meetings is in all respects the best suited to the conditions of modern warfare, `which are so different to those of former days, and whether also it may not be necessary to make some radical change in our system of musketry instruction to meet the altered methods of fighting. The experience gained in South Africa will, I think, assist us greatly in coming to a satisfactory conclusion on those very important points. We have learned that fire discipline can be insisted upon to such an extent that it leaves no room for intelligent independent action, and actually prevents men from taking the initiative and using their rifles when circumstances admit of this being done with advantage. We have learned that volley firing can hardly be employed when troops are in extended order, or when they are exposed to a heavy fire. We have learned that a judicious use of the magazine by small bodies of men at long ranges may* often produce important results. And we have learned---sometimes by very bitter experience-that, while opportunities occasionally occur for highly trained experts to fire at individual objects at long ranges under conditions more or less approximate to those which obtain at Bisley, it is skilful snap-shooting at the shorter ranges which is most constantly required, which is of the highest value, and upon which (as I said last year) the results of battles in the future will, as far as we can now see, depend. While, therefore, I most thoroughly recognise the usefulness of careful target practice, I earnestly commend for the consideration of the Council of the National Rifle Association the necessity for gradually introducing such changes in their annual programme a-s will admit of shooting being carried on more in accordance with modern warfare than obtains at present. I am aware that objections may be raised to this proposal, as it entails a greater expenditure of ammunition, and, consequently, there is more wear and tear of the rifle ; but I feel sure that a change in the direction I have indicated is absolutely essential if our soldiers are to make the fullest use of their admirable weapon. For improvements in the other details of musketry which the experience of the late war has taught us, we, to whom the training of the Army is intrusted, are responsible, and we are determined to give them our earnest attention. We must make commanding and company officers, and also musketry instructors, clearly understand that good shooting; is not acquired alone by practice on the range, but that men must be taught in the barrack square to handle their rifles with ease and confidence before proceeding to the range. And we must endeavour to make officers realize that, while fire discipline is as essential as ever, the aim of all teaching must be to secure the prompt interpretation of signals, and intelligent individual action when opportunity offers. And we must not lose sight of the fact that to obtain the full value of the modern rifle a very high order of training is essential. I sometimes doubt whether skill in shooting has kept pace with the improvement of the rifle.

Great efforts are being made to improve the shooting in the Army. The number of rounds allowed for practice has been considerably increased, and additional ammunition has also been provided for the training of recruits and Volunteer Cadet Battalions. Then 95 new ranges have been completed during the last thirteen months, and 22 more are in the course of construction ; while to meet the difficulties attendant on suitable open ranges in populous districts, plans for safety and miniature ranges, such as fire largely made use of by other European powers, have been approved and published. Safety and miniature ranges may not be as useful as open ones, but they are a long way better than no ranges at all, and men can become good shots b careful practice at them. I think too that such ranges close at hand, where they can be constantly used, by must contribute more to efficiency than an open air range at a distance, and, therefore, not always possible to get at."


Further Reading:

John Charles Hoad

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: A speech by Field Marshal Lord Roberts, July 1902

Posted by Project Leader at 11:09 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 16 May 2009 11:19 AM EADT
A letter from Colonel JC Hoad, DAG, 26 March 1902
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

The Rifle Club Movement

A letter from Colonel JC Hoad, DAG.

 

Colonel John Charles Hoad.

 

The following is extracted from a memorandum circulated by Colonel John Charles Hoad, Deputy Adjutant General (DAG), and issued with General Order No. 23 of 1 April 1902. 

While Australia was with the winning side toward the closure of the South African War, one element of this war becomes remarkably clear in the development of Australian military policy, the ability of the individual Boer as a guerrilla fighter in resisting the British war machine. Seeing that Australia suffered analogous conditions as that of the Boers, viz., little money for defence, low population numbers and vast areas to defend; it was only natural to take the successful strategies from the war and apply it to the local conditions. The result is this letter by Colonel Hoad with his remarks framed clearly withing this context.

 

 

Military Forces of the Commonwealth

Headquarters

Melbourne, 26 March 1902

The Secretary,

(... Insert name here ...) Rifle Association


The General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth requests that you will promulgate to the members of your Council copies of this minute containing his observations as regards the development and changes necessary in the rifle practice of the future. Copies should also be forwarded by you to the Secretary of each Association in affiliated with you.

(1) The modern rifle, with its extreme accuracy and length of range, renders necessary a more advanced form of instruction, and of practice, ill rifle shooting than has hitherto pertained. It is obvious that the practice of rifle shooting, as initiated 50 years ago, on the first introduction of the breech-Ioading rifle, must now be modernized so as to utilize to the fall the vast developments which have been made, and which are now taking place. The recent campaign, moreover, has very clearly indicated that the "sporting" element of rifle shooting is an important factor towards success in the individual or scattered formations of all modern battlefields, and especially such as those upon which our troops have been engaged in South Africa, where there are so many conditions of special interest to us in Australia. The excellent shooting which has given such advantages to our enemies in South Africa is the result of constant warfare against savage peoples, and continuous experience in the killing of game. The Boer has thereby acquired by tradition, by practical knowledge, and by mature experience a facility in the practical and ready use of his rifle, and a broad knowledge of its capabilities, which few of us in Australia can hope to achieve except by artificial means.

(2) In order to obtain the result above indicated, it will be advisable to divide rifle practice into 'two classes, namely:

(a) The Elementary Stage, which includes shooting at a fixed mark on a measured range, and, where ordinary ranges are not available, practice by means of miniature ammunition on a miniature range.

(b) The Advanced Stage, which comprises shooting at all object moving at varied rates of speed and at measured distances, and at appearing and disappearing objects.

(3) It is evident that if the full value is to be obtained from our modern rifle, and if we are acquire excellence under the conditions which we know to prevail on the modern battlefield, it will not be sufficient to confine our instruction in, or our practice of rifle shooting to the elementary stage, no matter to how scientific a point that elementary stage has been brought.

(4) It is essential that the higher scientific knowledge, and the more expert skill with the rifle under conditions of actual war, which the Boer possesses, should be acquired, and, with this object in view, we must devote the greatest possible attention, and the most important prizes with a view to attaining the highest standard of excellence in the advanced stage referred to in 2 (b). It is obvious that to hit an object moving, laterally (or advancing and retiring) at a given distance and at a given speed, requires not only all the expert knowledge possessed by the man who fires in the elementary stage at a fixed mark, but, in addition, the scientific knowledge and the tried experience which will enable the firer to calculate the pace at which the object moves, and the distance and time required for the bullet to travel in order to reach that object.

A similar expert knowledge and continuous practice is required in order to achieve success in firing at comparatively small objects which appear and disappear. The General Officer Commanding, therefore, desires to appeal to the expert at shooting at a fixed mark to devote all his knowledge, all his experience, and all his scientific training to firing at moving and disappearing objects under the very difficult conditions which he must meet with in actual war, bearing in mind that he has yet to acquire the knowledge and the instinct which is inbred in the Boer, and which is the result of the experience of generations in shooting at game and in fighting their enemies.

(5) The General is well aware that there are many difficulties in adopting means to the ends in view, and that some expense and no little ingenuity will be required in order to arrange moving targets which at a given distance shall maintain an unvaried speed and in making a system of appearing and disappearing targets which shall meet the requirements without undue expense. Suggestions on this head will be circulated at an early date.

(6) It is also most desirable that every encouragement should be given by Rifle Associations to riding and shooting combined. The special characteristics of the Australian make skill in horsemanship and marksmanship specially consistent with his value as a citizen soldier. In this respect, also, valuable lessons may be learnt from our gallant enemy in South Africa. The General desires that the Associations will carefully consider the best means of encouraging this speciality of the Australian Military Forces. Competitions might, in his opinion, be arranged without difficulty for (a) single horsemen; (b) groups of 4 men; and (c) troops of 12 men and an officer. A course of about 1½ miles might be laid out with three firing points at comparatively short ranges - 300, 400, and 500 yards - and competitors started to gallop over the course; points being given for marksmanship, time, and horsemanship. In this connexion it may be remarked that the single horseman would require to tether his horse on the plan adopted in the North-Western Provinces of Canada, namely, by attaching the bridle to the stirrup-iron or girth, or by the use of a linker; by groups - 3 men dismounting, and the fourth holding the horses and by troops - three-fourths dismounting, and one-fourth remaining mounted.

(7) The General Officer Commanding proposes during the ensuing winter to invite the attendance of the Commonwealth Council representing the State Rifle Associations to discuss the above-named points, and to ask them for suggestions as to how the foregoing developments may be best carried out in the interests of rifle shooting, and to the increased benefit of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth generally.

J. C. HOAD, COLONEL,
Deputy Adjutant General

 


Further Reading:

John Charles Hoad

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: A letter from Colonel JC Hoad, DAG, 26 March 1902

Posted by Project Leader at 10:37 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 16 May 2009 11:20 AM EADT

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