« October 2008 »
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in

Search the site:

powered by FreeFind
Volunteer with us.

Entries by Topic All topics  
A Latest Site News
A - Using the Site
AAA Volunteers
AAB-Education Centre
AAC-Film Clips
AAC-Photo Albums
AIF - Lighthorse
AIF - ALH - A to Z
AIF - DMC - Or Bat
AIF - DMC - Anzac MD
AIF - DMC - Aus MD
AIF - DMC - British
AIF - DMC - French
AIF - DMC - Indian
AIF - DMC - Italian
AIF - DMC - Medical
AIF - DMC - Remounts
AIF - DMC - Scouts
AIF - DMC - Sigs
AIF - DMC - Sigs AirlnS
AIF - DMC - 1 Sig Sqn
AIF - DMC - 2 Sig Sqn
AIF - DMC - Eng
AIF - DMC - Eng 1FSE
AIF - DMC - Eng 2FSE
AIF - 1B - 1 LHB
AIF - 1B - 6 MVS
AIF - 1B - 1 LHMGS
AIF - 1B - 1 Sig Trp
AIF - 1B - 1 LHFA
AIF - 1B - 1 LHR
AIF - 1B - 2 LHR
AIF - 1B - 3 LHR
AIF - 2B - 2 LHB
AIF - 2B - 7 MVS
AIF - 2B - 2 LHFA
AIF - 2B - 2 LHMGS
AIF - 2B - 2 Sig Trp
AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
AIF - 2B - 6 LHR
AIF - 2B - 7 LHR
AIF - 3B - 3 LHB
AIF - 3B - 8 MVS
AIF - 3B - 3 LHB Sigs
AIF - 3B - 3 LHFA
AIF - 3B - 3 LHMGS
AIF - 3B - 3 Sig Trp
AIF - 3B - 8 LHR
AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
AIF - 3B - 10 LHR
AIF - 4B - 4 LHB
AIF - 4B - 4 Sig Trp
AIF - 4B - 9 MVS
AIF - 4B - 4 LHFA
AIF - 4B - 4 LHMGS
AIF - 4B - 4 LHR
AIF - 4B - 11 LHR
AIF - 4B - 12 LHR
AIF - 5B - 5 LHB
AIF - 5B - 10 MVS
AIF - 5B - 5 LHFA
AIF - 5B - 5 Sig Trp
AIF - 5B - ICC
AIF - 5B - 14 LHR
AIF - 5B - 15 LHR
AIF - 5B - 1er Regt
AIF - 5B - 2 NZMGS
AIF - Aboriginal LH
AIF - Badges
AIF - Cars
AIF - Chinese LH
AIF - Double Sqns
AIF - Engineers
AIF - Fr - 22 Corps
AIF - Fr - 13 LHR
AIF - Honour Roll
AIF - HQ - 3rd Echelon
AIF - Marching Songs
AIF - Misc Topics
AIF - NZMRB - Sig-Trp
AIF - Ships
AIF - Ships - Encountr
AIF - Ships - Una
AIF - Wireless Sqn
BatzA - Australia
BatzA - Broken Hill
BatzA - Liverpool
BatzA - Merivale
BatzB - Boer War
BatzB - Bakenlaagte
BatzB - Belmont
BatzB - Bothaville
BatzB - Buffels Hoek
BatzB - Coetzees Drift
BatzB - Diamond Hill
BatzB - Driefontein
BatzB - Elands
BatzB - Graspan
BatzB - Grobelaar
BatzB - Grootvallier
BatzB - Hartebestfontn
BatzB - Houtnek
BatzB - Karee Siding
BatzB - Kimberley
BatzB - Koster River
BatzB - Leeuw Kop
BatzB - Mafeking
BatzB - Magersfontein
BatzB - Modder River
BatzB - Onverwacht
BatzB - Paardeberg
BatzB - Palmietfontein
BatzB - Pink Hill
BatzB - Poplar Grove
BatzB - Rhenoster
BatzB - Sannahs Post
BatzB - Slingersfontn
BatzB - Stinkhoutbm
BatzB - Sunnyside
BatzB - Wilmansrust
BatzB - Wolvekuil
BatzB - Zand River
BatzG - Gallipoli
BatzG - Anzac
BatzG - Aug 1915
BatzG - Baby 700
BatzG - Evacuation
BatzG - Hill 60
BatzG - Hill 971
BatzG - Krithia
BatzG - Lone Pine
BatzG - Nek
BatzJ - Jordan Valley
BatzJ - 1st Amman
BatzJ - 2nd Amman
BatzJ - Abu Tellul
BatzJ - Es Salt
BatzJ - JV Maps
BatzJ - Ziza
BatzM - Mespot
BatzM - Baghdad
BatzM - Ctesiphon
BatzM - Daur
BatzM - Kurna
BatzM - Kut el Amara
BatzM - Ramadi
BatzN - Naval
BatzN - AE1
BatzN - Cocos Is
BatzN - Heligoland
BatzN - Marmara
BatzN - Zeebrugge
BatzN - Zeppelin L43
BatzNG - Bitapaka
BatzO - Other
BatzO - Baku
BatzO - Egypt 1919
BatzO - Emptsa
BatzO - Karawaran
BatzO - Peitang
BatzO - Wassa
BatzP - Palestine
BatzP - 1st Gaza
BatzP - 2nd Gaza
BatzP - 3rd Gaza
BatzP - Aleppo
BatzP - Amwas
BatzP - Ayun Kara
BatzP - Bald Hill
BatzP - Balin
BatzP - Beersheba
BatzP - Berkusieh
BatzP - Damascus
BatzP - El Auja
BatzP - El Buggar
BatzP - El Burj
BatzP - Haifa
BatzP - Huj
BatzP - JB Yakub
BatzP - Kaukab
BatzP - Khan Kusseir
BatzP - Khuweilfe
BatzP - Kuneitra
BatzP - Megiddo
BatzP - Nablus
BatzP - Rafa
BatzP - Sasa
BatzP - Semakh
BatzP - Sheria
BatzP - Surafend
BatzP - Wadi Fara
BatzS - Sinai
BatzS - Bir el Abd
BatzS - El Arish
BatzS - El Mazar
BatzS - El Qatiya
BatzS - Jifjafa
BatzS - Magdhaba
BatzS - Maghara
BatzS - Romani
BatzS - Suez 1915
BatzSe - Senussi
BatzWF - Westn Front
BW - Boer War
BW - NSW - A Bty RAA
BW - NSW - Aust H
BW - NSW - Lancers
BW - NSW - NSW Inf
BW - Qld
BW - Qld - 1ACH
BW - Qld - 1QMI
BW - Qld - 2QMI
BW - Qld - 3ACH
BW - Qld - 3QMI
BW - Qld - 4QIB
BW - Qld - 5QIB
BW - Qld - 6QIB
BW - Qld - 7ACH
BW - SA - 2ACH
BW - SA - 4ACH
BW - SA - 8ACH
BW - Tas
BW - Tas - 1ACH
BW - Tas - 1TIB
BW - Tas - 1TMI
BW - Tas - 2TB
BW - Tas - 2TIB
BW - Tas - 3ACH
BW - Tas - 8ACH
BW - Vic
BW - Vic - 1VMI
BW - Vic - 2ACH
BW - Vic - 2VMR
BW - Vic - 3VB
BW - Vic - 4ACH
BW - Vic - 4VIB
BW - Vic - 5VMR
BW - Vic - 6ACH
BW - Vic - AAMC
BW - Vic - Scot H
BW - WA - 2ACH
BW - WA - 3WAB
BW - WA - 4ACH
BW - WA - 8ACH
BW Gen - Campaign
BW Gen - Soldiers
BW General
Cavalry - General
Diary - Schramm
Egypt - Heliopolis
Egypt - Mena
Gen - Ataturk Pk, CNB
Gen - Australia
Gen - Legends
Gen - Query Club
Gen - St - NSW
Gen - St - Qld
Gen - St - SA
Gen - St - Tas
Gen - St - Vic
Gen - St - WA
Gm - German Items
Gm - Bk - 605 MGC
GW - 11 Nov 1918
GW - Atrocities
GW - August 1914
GW - Biographies
GW - Propaganda
GW - Spies
GW - We forgot
Militia 1899-1920
Militia - Area Officers
Militia - Inf - Infantry
Militia - Inf - 1IB
Militia - Inf - 2IB
Militia - Inf - 3IB
Militia - Inf - NSW
Militia - Inf - Qld
Militia - Inf - SA
Militia - Inf - Tas
Militia - Inf - Vic
Militia - Inf - WA
Militia - K.E.Horse
Militia - LH
Militia - LH - Regts
Militia - LH - 1LHB
Militia - LH - 2LHB
Militia - LH - 3LHB
Militia - LH - 4LHB
Militia - LH - 5LHB
Militia - LH - 6LHB
Militia - LHN - NSW
Militia - LHN - 1/7/1
Militia - LHN - 2/9/6
Militia - LHN - 3/11/7
Militia - LHN - 4/6/16
Militia - LHN - 5/4/15
Militia - LHN - 6/5/12
Militia - LHN - 28
Militia - LHQ - Qld
Militia - LHQ - 13/2
Militia - LHQ - 14/3/11
Militia - LHQ - 15/1/5
Militia - LHQ - 27/14
Militia - LHS - SA
Militia - LHS - 16/22/3
Militia - LHS - 17/23/18
Militia - LHS - 24/9
Militia - LHT - Tas
Militia - LHT - 12/26
Militia - LHV - Vic
Militia - LHV - 7/15/20
Militia - LHV - 8/16/8
Militia - LHV - 9/19
Militia - LHV - 10/13
Militia - LHV - 11/20/4
Militia - LHV - 19/17
Militia - LHV - 29
Militia - LHW - WA
Militia - LHW-18/25/10
Militia - Military Orders
Militia - Misc
MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs
MilitiaRC - NSW
MilitiaRC - NT
MilitiaRC - Qld
MilitiaRC - SA
MilitiaRC - Tas
MilitiaRC - Vic
MilitiaRC - WA
Militiaz - New Zealand
Tk - Turkish Items
Tk - Army
Tk - Bks - Books
Tk - Bks - 1/33IR
Tk - Bks - 27th IR
Tk - Bks - Air Force
Tk - Bks - Yildirim
Tk - POWs
Wp - Weapons
Wp - Hotchkiss Cav
Wp - Hotchkiss PMG
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
Open Community
Post to this Blog
Site Index
Education Centre
LH Militia
Boer War
Transport Ships
LH Battles
ALH - Units
ALH - General
Aboriginal Light H
Ottoman Sources

"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

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

Desert Column Forum

WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, Keogh Account
Topic: BatzP - Beersheba

The Battle of Beersheba

Palestine, 31 October 1917

Keogh Account


Colonel Eustace Graham Keogh, Military Training, 1945.

[From: AWM 120551]


Colonel Eustace Graham Keogh was commissioned by the Directorate of Military Training to produce a survey of the Sinai and Palestine campaign for training purposes of the Army in 1954. The result was his book called, Suez to Aleppo, published in Melbourne in 1955. This particular book was little used in the study of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign because of the embargo placed upon it by the Army which meant that its pages were only available to those who were members of the Army. Consequently the value of this small work has never been brought to the attention of the public and consequently is often ignored as a source by many scholars of this period. It is a fine book written specifically from a military point of view and thus looks at issues as the men would have done so at the time when these events were being recorded.

Keogh, EG, Suez to Aleppo, (Melbourne 1955), pp. 152 - 6:


Capture of Beersheba

[152] Beersheba lies on the Wadi Saba at the foot of the Judaean range. There are steep, rocky hills to the north, east and south of the town, which lies in a wide hollow. On the west the ground is comparatively flat and open.

On the south-west and south the defences consisted of a series of redoubts along a line of heights three to four miles from the town. These works were strongly built, with good observation, overhead cover and some wire The defect of the system was a lack of depth; in most places it consisted of a single line only. With the exception of a formidable redoubt at Tel el Saba, the defences east and north of the town were less strongly constructed and were without wire since the Turks did not apprehend attack from this direction.

The British plan for the attack on Beersheba was as follows:-

20 Corps was to assault the works south-west of the town between the Khalassa-Beersheba road and the Wadi Saba with two divisions - 60 and 74. The Camel Brigade, with two battalions of 53 Division as to mask the defences north of the Wadi Saba. The remainder of 53 Division was to cover the northern flank of the Corps against interference from the Turkish forces in the Hareira-Sheria area.

Starting from Khalassa and Asluj, the two mounted divisions of Desert Mounted Corps were to make a night march of some thirty miles and appear in the early morning to the east of Beersheba. After blocking the Hebron road they were to break into the town as rapidly as possible, seize the wells, and cut off the retreat of the enemy engaged west of the town with 20 Corps.

7th Mounted Brigade (Army troops) was to operate against the defences south of the town and form a link between 20th Corps and Desert Mounted Corps.

A detachment of Hedjaz Arabs, with a stiffening of British machine-gunners and mounted on camels, was to strike the Hebron road well to the north, and harass any Turkish reinforcements moving towards Beersheba.

[153] The role of 20 Corps was not to capture Beersheba or, indeed, to send any troops into the town except engineers to operate the wells. The role of this Corps was to pin the main garrison firmly down, and thus, it was hoped, give the Desert Mounted Corps the chance to swoop into the town on its least protected side.

On the night of 30/31 October some 40,000 troops of all arms moving to take up their allotted stations for the attack on Beersheba. The date had been fixed to take advantage of a full moon, but the night sultry and still and dense palls of dust enveloped the marching was columns. The assaulting infantry of 20th Corps had to be in their positions, some 2,000 to 2,500 yards from the enemy's works, by 0400 hours. They had eight miles to march over difficult ground. Through careful and meticulous staff work, and the good, solid training Chetwode had given to his Corps, every man and gun was in position well before time.

Desert Mounted Corps had to march thirty miles over rough, confusing country, much of which had not been reconnoitred, using maps [154] compiled chiefly by guesswork. Every unit reached its allotted station by the specified time. And that was no mean feat, even for experienced troops.

The front of attack of 20 Corps was a little over 5,000 yards, equally divided between 60 and 74 Divisions. Opposite 60 Division lay a strong outwork on a commanding knoll known as Hill 1070. Besides directly barring 60 Division's approach to the enemy's main line, it also prevented the batteries of 74 Division from getting within wire cutting range. The capture of this hill, therefore, constituted the first phase of the attack. At 0555 hours a heavy bombardment was opened on the hill. But the air was so still that the hill was soon enveloped in dense clouds of dust, and it became impossible for the gunners to observe the effects of their fire. The bombardment had to be suspended for three-quarters of an hour. It was then resumed, and at 0830 hours the infantry went in and carried their objective.

During this phase the battalions on other parts of the front had been working forward. As soon as Hill 1070 was taken batteries moved up, under heavy artillery fire, to wire culling range. From 1030 hours to 1200 hours the guns battered the Turkish defences while the infantry edged steadily forward to assaulting distance. At 1215 hours the infantry of both divisions went in with the bayonet. Few of the enemy, however, stood to meet the steel, and by 1330 hours the whole position between the Khalassa road and the Wadi Saba had been captured and an outpost line was being established about 2,000 yards further east.

The task of clearing the works north of the Saba was impeded by heavy dust, but they were finally carried by 74 Division by 1000 hours. 20 Corps had thus fulfilled its role in the attack on Beersheba.

While 20 Corps was attacking Hill 1070 Anzac Mounted Division had reached the line Bir Hamam-Sir Salim, at about 0800 hours. Australian Mounted Division was in Corps reserve just south-east of Khasim Zanna. 7th Mounted Brigade was in dismounted action against Ras Ghannam, south of Beersheba.

At 0800 hours Anzac Mounted Division advanced to carry out the first phase of Desert Mounted Corps' programme - the reduction of the enemy's defences east and north-east of Beersheba. These defences were anchored on strong redoubts on Tel el Sakaty and Tel el Saba. The former objective was allotted to 2nd ALH Brigade, the latter to the New Zealand Brigade, with 1 ALH Brigade in reserve.

Starting from Bir Hamam, 2 ALH Brigade rode hard towards Tel el Sakaty and the Hebron road. Their pace saved them from heavy casualtles, but they were forced to dismount just short of the road. Thereafter progress was slow and it was nearly 1300 hours before the Brigade had made good Tel el Sakaty, the wells near by, and the line the road. There it remained for the rest of the day, protecting the right flank of the Corps.

[155] Tel el Saba was a more formidable obstacle. The mound lies on the northern bank of the Wadi Saba, about three miles east of the town. It is 400 yards by 200 yards in extent, with a flat, rocky top. On the wadi side its face is a cliff; on the other sides its face is steep but not sheer. It had been trenched for infantry and machine guns, and in places had two tiers of fire which swept the wadi bed and the bare plain.

Shortly after 0900 hours the New Zealand Brigade advanced with the object of assaulting the mound from the north and east. Progress was slow in the face of heavy and accurate machine gun and rifle fire, the 13-pounder shells of the divisional artillery making little impression on the Turkish defences. At 1100 hours the divisional commander put in two regiments from his reserve brigade Both regiments galloped across the bare plain to within 1,500 yards of their objective before dismounting. They then advanced on foot against the south face of the mound. The Somerset and Inverness batteries, handled with great skill and dash, came into action at a range of only 1,500 yards in an effort to master the Turkish machine gunners. In a intense fire fight the two brigades gradually closed on the mound, which was finally carried at 1500 hours.

3 ALH Brigade of Australian Mounted Division, in Corps Reserve, was now directed on objectives north of Beersheba in order to isolate the town. Meanwhile it had become clear to General Chauvel that if he was to carry out his orders to seize Beersheba before nightfall, orders which had been emphatically repeated by Allenby a little earlier, methodical progress must be abandoned in favour of action designed to produce quicker results. He still had two brigades of Australian Mounted Division in reserve. One of these - 4 ALH - he now ordered to make a mounted attack direct on the town.

In consequence of air attacks 4 ALH Brigade had been somewhat dispersed, and one regiment was on outpost duty. It was 1630 hours before it was concentrated and ready. Between Khasim Zanna and the Turkish trenches on the east of the town lay four miles of bare, open ground, good galloping country. The brigade deployed with two regiments forward - 4 ALH on the right, 12 ALH on the left - and 11 ALH in reserve.

The leading regiments rode in three successive lines each of a squadron extended at four or five paces interval between riders. The men had no swords so carried drawn bayonets in their hands trenches machine gun squadron moved out to the left to engage on that flank.

As soon as the leading squadrons appeared on the plain the Turkish guns opened on them, but the pace and open formation of the horsemen saved them from heavy casualties. Presently they came under heavy machine gun fire from the left flank, but the supporting artillery - "A" Battery, Honourable Artillery Company and the Notts Battery - picked up the flashes in the failing light and quickly found [156] Then the squadrons encountered rapid and sustained musketry fire from the entrenched infantry in front of them. The men rode on at full gallop, and the fire soon became erratic.

The leading horsemen galloped over two lines of trenches straight on into Beersheba, overrunning buns, transport, and infantry. Succeeding waves dismounted and cleared the trenches with the bayonet. The defence fell apart in wild disorder. Night came down with Beersheba firmly in British hands.

The highlight of the capture of Beersheba was the dramatic charge of 4 ALH Brigade. The charge succeeded because from first to last it was pushed home with terrific elan; because it came as a complete and shattering surprise, and because the pace at which it moved defeated the efforts of the Turkish Gunners to correct their ranges. Rifles examined after the action showed that even the infantry had failed to lower their sights below 800 yards. Consequently most of the fire at the shorter and more dangerous ranges passed overhead. The brigade had only 64 casualties, and most of these were sustained in the hand-to-hand fighting in the trenches.

The charge had a notable effect besides the capture of Beersheba. It gave 4 ALH Brigade immense pride in its achievement and confidence n its prowess, and it created in very other brigade in the Corps a spirit of emulation which had important results in subsequent engagements.


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, Keogh Account

Posted by Project Leader at 7:48 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 4 October 2009 11:19 AM EADT

View Latest Entries

Full Site Index

powered by FreeFind
Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our forum.

Desert Column Forum

A note on copyright

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900 - 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation attached at the bottom for referencing purposes.

Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.

A note to copyright holders

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has made every endeavour to contact copyright holders of material digitised for this blog and website and where appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where the permission is still being sought, the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has decided, in good faith, to proceed with digitisation and publication. Australian Light Horse Studies Centre would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of this item.


Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

eXTReMe Tracker