Topic: AIF - DMC - British
The First Battle of Gaza
Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917
Egyptian Expeditionary Force Murray Letter 16 March 1917
Murray Letter 16 March 1917.
The following is a transcription of the Murray Letter of 16 March 1917 from the War Diary of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force detailing the discussion formulating the battle plan for the First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917.
Egyptian Expeditionary Force
16th March 1917
I sent approval yesterday of your proposed plan of operations. I have confidence that you will do the right thing and make the most of your opportunity. I take it that you have a striking force in strength in your favour in the proportion of 2 to 1 and about the some ratio as to equipment and morale.
The great disadvantage that you labour under is that none of your superior leaders, except Chetwode, have any practical expience of higher leading in the open field and the Staffs are equally inexperienced. I suffered acutely from this at Romani. This disability will cause you anxiety. I don't think any of your Divional Commanders have seen a Division either on the march or deployed to attack. This may tend to make your movements appear slow but I shall understand. If you can get Gaza and pass your Mounted Troops, at least 15,000 strong, through to the north, say El Faluja, whilst you contain, or attack, the enemy on the line Huj - Abu Hareira nothing should escape but the 6,000 troops at Beersheba and odd detachments. On the other hand you may find it difficult to pass your Mounted Troops north if the enemy advance from Huj on Gaza. In this case the Cavalry would have the same role but not such an extended or ambitious wide encircling movement; or, indeed, part might be used on the right flank with effect.
I earnestly trust the enemy will give you your chance and I have complete confidence in your leadership.
Signed A.J. Murray.
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