Topic: AIF - NZMRB - AMR
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account
Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account
The following is a transcription of the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account detailing their role at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.
Masaid 8 January 1917
1100 The Regiment moved out with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade at 1200 and proceeded to Wadi El Arish where the horses were watered at the 52nd Division troughs at 1300. After watering the Regiment proceeded with the Brigade to position of assembly close to the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade bivouac. Arrived at the latter position at 1415. Horses were off-saddled and fed up. The Brigade moved off with the Division at 1600 with the 5th Mounted Brigade in the Advanced Guard. Arrived at Sheikh Zowaiid at 2145 and rested there until 0130 on the 9th inst.
Rafa 9 January 1917
The Division moved off at the above hour with the 1st Light Horse Brigade as Advanced Guard and reached the village of Shokh el Sufi at 0545 where the Regiment was detailed to form a cordon round the village and bring all male Arab and Bedouins in. The Regiment crossed the boundary line at 0600. All the Arabs and Bedouin were got in by 0800 and were sent back under escort to Divisional Headquarters and handed over to Anzac Divisional Headquarters Police. Verbal news received at 0900 from Brigadier General Chaytor Commanding New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade that the Regiment would move with the Brigade at 0930 and attack the "C" Redoubt south east of El Magruntein. The Regiment was ordered to take the left flank with Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment on the right. The 3rd and 4th Squadrons dismounted for action 1,500 yards from the Turkish trenches at 1015. 11th Squadron being held in reserve. The general attack started shortly after. The Brigade got into action with the 1st Light Horse Brigade on the left of Brigade. On account of the open country which was devoid of cover, the advance was slow and at 1130 the 11th Squadron was sent up on the right of the 4th Squadron, and the 3rd Squadron withdrawn from the left of the 4th as it was recognised that an advance from their position could only have been made with heavy casualties, with little advantage. As the two Sections of Machine Guns from the Machine Gun Squadron were doing all that was necessary, namely forcing the enemy to evacuate their trench opposite the position held by us. After the withdrawal of the 3rd Squadron they came into reserve, in flank of the 11th Squadron. The advance of the 3rd and 4th Squadrons was made in conjunction with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment and Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment. At 1400 2 Troops of the 3rd Squadron were sent up to reinforce the Regiment's two Squadrons and at 1445 the other two Troops were sent up to reinforce. At 1530 the whole line had been built up for a final assault. Up till this hour the casualties suffered by the Regiment were slight, This was mainly due to the splendid covering fire from our own rifles and by the Lewis Guns and Machine Guns. At 1545 orders received from New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Headquarters that a general attack would take place at 1545 and that we were to do everything possible to help in same. At 1605 the fire from the enemy trenches was exceptionally heavy and shortly after this hour the Regiment, together with the other Regiments in the Brigade moved forward to the final assault and at 1630 the position was taken at the point of the bayonet. The work carried out by all ranks was splendid. There is no doubt that much of the success of the victory was due to the magnificent covering fire of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Machine Gun Squadron and the Regimental Lewis Guns. The success achieved by the splendid bayonet charge of the Brigade was mainly responsible for the final victory, as the Brigade, after capture of the position, was able to bring fire to bear on the Turks and the trenches and redoubt facing the other Brigades and Camel Corps.
At 17315 all firing had practically ceased as the other Brigades and the Camels had carried their position and the victory was complete.
At 1730 orders to withdraw received on account of no water being available and Turkish reinforcements reported to be coming up. The Regiment withdrew with the Brigade at 1830 and returned to Sheikh Zowaiid where we arrived at 2230 and went into bivouac.
Casualties: Wounded in Action, Major HS Whitehorn (remained on duty), Captain A Aldred, Lieutenant ACM Finlayson (remained on duty), Lieutenant MR Reed, Lieutenant WD Ruddock, Lieutenant HL Wade, and Lieutenant RW Colbeck. Wounded in Action 34 Other Ranks. Killed in Action, 4 Other Ranks. Died of Wounds, 3 Other Ranks.
Masaid 10 January 1917
The Regiment left Sheikh Zowaiid with the Brigade at 0700 and proceeded by route march to bivouac at Masaid arrived at 1400.
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