Topic: BatzP - Rafa
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
1st Light Horse Brigade, Cox Account
The following is a transcription of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, Cox Account from the War Diary of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, about their role at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.
First Australian Light Horse Brigade
Headquarters 11 January 1917
Headquarters A & NZ Mounted Division
Report on operations carried out by 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade at Rafa on 9 January 1917
First Australian Light Horse Brigade moved from El Risa with Anzac Mounted Division at 1600 8 January 19197, arrived at Sheikh Zowaiid at 2130, bivouacked until 0100 on 9 January 1917, then moved with Anzac Mounted Division to Karm ibn Muslkh.
After reconnaissance of position by General Officer Commanding, attack was ordered to be made at 1000, my sector being the enemy's Works, C3, C2, C1.
At 0945 I despatched the 1st Light Horse Regiment with 4 Machine Guns to advance on these positions, keeping touch with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade on their right. I also sent 2 Machine Guns to afford cross fire from that flank. To keep touch with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, this Regiment was compelled to move farther to the right than was intended with the result that their advance was directed on Work C4. The Regiment moved into action mounted up to 2,000 yards of enemy position, the horses being immediately sent back. During the advance (dismounted), which was across perfectly open country, they came under heavy shrapnel, machine gun and rifle fire, but with very few casualties. The 1st position was taken up on Sunken Road, running about 800 yards east of Work C4.
At 1100, with the intention of pressing my attack at 14130 in conjunction with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, I reinforced my line with 2nd and 3rd Light Horse Regiments; the 3rd Light Horse Regiment on the left of 1st Light Horse Regiment and the 2nd Light Horse Regiment to reinforce its right which was too much extended, endeavouring to keep touch with New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. The reinforced line immediately began to push forward, the order of units from left to right being 3rd Light Horse Regiment, "B" Squadron 2nd Light Horse Regiment, "C" and "A" Squadrons 1st Light Horse Regiment, "A" Squadron 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
By 1300 the centre of my line had pushed forward to Large Tree, and by 13630 the right had pushed round on the ridge north west of Large Tree, capturing enemy trenches marked “A” and “B” in attached rough sketch, 24 prisoners being taken in "A" Trench by 1st Light Horse Regiment and 20 prisoners in "B" Trench by 2nd Light Horse Regiment. Close touch with New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade was then established. The attack was then directed on work C5 but advance was prevented during bombardment by our own Artillery, whose fire was directed at Main Redoubt on Ridge 255, and Work C5. Immediately on cessation of our Artillery bombardment at 1530 the enemy heavily shelled with high explosive that portion of my line attaching C4 this with heavy machine gun fire from Main Redoubt on the right of my line held up further advance for the time being.
About 1630 the advance of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade from the North was very rapid, my right cooperated and pushed their attack on Work C5 which was rushed and surrendered about 1700, the whole position surrendering practically at the same time.
11 Machine Guns were employed during the action and excellent work was done, no movement was made without covering fire being afforded by both Lewis and Machine Guns.
Four guns were detached to 1st Light Horse Regiment with 2 additional guns to protect the advance of the left flank which was open when the attack first opened.
When the line was reinforced, 3 Machine Guns were detailed to 2nd Light Horse Regiment, reinforcing the right of the line, and 2 Machine Guns to 3rd Light Horse Regiment, reinforcing the left of my Sector.
Three Section Officers of Machine Gun Squadron were wounded.
Only one Gun was put out of action during the day and that owing to a worn barrel.
Telephone communication was established with each Regiment, who in turn established telephone communication with each Squadron. Touch was also maintained with Divisional Headquarters by phone. Much excellent work was done by member of my Signal Troop in repairing lines under heavy shell and machine Gun fire, one line being cut three times by direct hits with high explosive shells.
Unit Killed Officers Other Ranks Wounded Officers Other Ranks 1st Light Horse Regiment - 3 2 28 2nd Light Horse Regiment - 6 1 19 3rd Light Horse Regiment - 9 2 47 Machine Gun Squadron - 1 3 8 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance Not returned to camp TOTAL - 19 8 102
Killed - 3
Wounded - 10
Missing - 5
Small Arms Ammunition - 102,000
Machine Gun - 75,000
Lewis Gun - 11,000
General Officer Commanding, 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade
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