Topic: AIF - 4B - 12 LHR
The Battle of Maghara
Sinai, 15 October 1916
12th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account
Despite the only reference being AWM 224 MSS 38 called the History of the 12th Regiment from its Formation on 1st March 1915 to date of embarkation to Australia it is written in such a manner as to indicate that the manuscript was written from first hand experience and so it included a section specifically related to the battle of Beersheba and is extracted below.
Anonymous, History of the 12th Regiment from its Formation on 1st March 1915 to date of embarkation to Australia.
The Regiment in conjunction with the 11th. Regt. "The City of London Rough Riders" and an Indian Mountain Battery now carried out a raid on a strong Turkish post in the Maghara Hills. Major. D. Cameron with "C" Squadron moved out to "Bayud (the scene of recent fighting) a week in advance of the Regiment and carried out preliminary reconnaissances in the country over which it was intended to operate. The Regiment marched out from Gebel Habeita on the 27th., Sept. 1916, and trekked along the line El Ferdan, Mahadat, Bada, Mageibra, Bayud, a well watered oasis was the base from which the Mounted force was to operate. The objective lay about forty miles from Bayud, the intervening country being a sea of sand dunes, waterless and with no defined roads. The operations occupied six days, during which time men and horses were rationed and watered by camel transport. It was an impressive sight to see this miniature army (a desert flying column) move out just before dusk on the 13th. October; as far as the eye could see great strings of camels and horses stretched far across a sea of sand like great rivers. Travelling was done under cover of night, the Force camping by day in hollows between the sand dunes, so as not to reveal to enemy patrols or aircraft, the presence of a hostile force, for the success of the venture depended upon a sunrise attack. The last night ride when ten miles from the objective, a dense fog settled down, making riding uncomfortable and the work of the advance guard more difficult. When nearing Maghara a Turkish outpost was located, surrounded and silenced with the bayonet. At daybreak still under cover of the fog the whole force deployed and moved into position for the attack, the "Rough Riders" being in position on the Left of the Regiment and the 11th Regiment on the Right. As the fog lifted the whole line moved forward in extended order at the gallop across a cultivated field half a mile in width. Although surprised the Turkish Garrison subjected the attackers to a fusillade of bullets from rifles and machine-guns. Gaining the foothills with few casualties the whole line dismounted and moved to the attack on foot. Climbing the hills which were precipitous in places, tested the metal of the best trained troops; the wind was like a blast from a furnace and the pitiless rays of an Egyptian Sun tried the courage of the stoutest hearted. The enemy outnumbered but holding a position almost impregnable gradually fell back; one redoubt given a heap of trouble was eventually silenced by the Indian Mountain Battery with a few well directed shots, the occupants being either killed or wounded.
The enemy gradually vacated his forward position but the country was far too hilly and broken to follow up the advantage gained. At midday, having beaten and routed the enemy, killing and taking many prisoners, the whole line withdrew and trekked back to Bayud.
Citation: The Battle of Maghara, Sinai, 15 October 1916, 12th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account