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Saturday, 21 February 2009
The Pasha Units on the Southern Front
Topic: Tk - Bks - Air Force

Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918


(L.) Major Weyert, KOFL, and (R) Major Walz, CO FA304(b) in front of a LVG C.V prior to a reconnaissance mission, April 1918.

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 209.]


Part 7 - The Pasha Units on the Southern Front

The Palestine front finally received the long awaited reinforcement in the beginning of March when Captain Maierdirch arrived with 16 experienced fighter pilots and 8 brand new Albatros D.V's. They were formed into JASTA 2. Unfortunately the aircraft were too new as the design had not yet properly been tested and during their first flights in Palestine two aircraft lost their wings, killing their pilots. Consequently the new JASTA was absorbed into JASTA 1 in which 6 of the old Albatros D.III's remained. During the next 3 months this unit tallied an impressive score of 14 enemy aircraft and 3 balloons.

The "Kommandeur der Flieger" of the Yildirim Army, Major Heemskerck was relieved by Major Weyert in late March and upon his return to Germany he managed to ship 12 new modern reconnaissance aircraft to [191] Palestine with the utmost haste. These aircraft, four Rumpler C.IV and 8 LVG C.IV's were readied at the new Aircraft Park at Rayak in mid April. Three Rumplers and 2 LVG's were issued to FA304(b) for the vital long-range reconnaissance task, one Rumpler and 2 LVG's went to FA303 and two LVG's went to each of FA301 and FA302. Unofficially, FA300 had been disbanded after all its aircraft had been lost. Its Commanding Officer began acting as liaison officer to the 7th Army and most of the pilots serving as fighter pilots in other FA groups.

During February and March the German Pasha units, FA301 to FA304(b), once more succeeded in helping to contain British attacks in the Nablus area and their artillery spotting proved particularly effective. Bad weather prevented large scale operations and it was not until April, when fortunately new equipment had been received, that fighting on the southern front was stepped up. Then in late April more than 22 airworthy reconnaissance aircraft and 6 fighters were available after a month which had seen 7 large air-battles, 39 short-range and 10 long-range reconnaissance missions and 22 fighter sorties.

On 22 April, a Nieuport fighter was shot down and further on 25 April, two aircraft and a balloon were downed by JASTA 1. A second balloon was destroyed on 28 April.

The air-battles continued in May and 3 British aircraft were claimed shot down on the 4th, 11th and 15th May respectively, as well as two balloons destroyed on 9 and 10 May. Between the 23rd and 29th of May, before and during the British attack over Jordan, ground fire accounted for downing of additional 5 aircraft and one balloon.


Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 188.]

[Click on map for larger version.]


The German units however were also receiving grave losses and between January and June, they being 39 pilots and observers killed and 20 wounded.

During these months the surviving AEG's were finally relegated to bombing missions only as they were totally outclassed by the Bristol Fighters used by the British. In fact only the 4 Rumpler C.IV's had a speed that made them able to evade the enemy. During May these four machines managed to take 2,500 photographs over enemy lines and even strayed as far as Beersheba. At the end of May, JASTA 1 was left with only 3 fighters after the unsuccessful move to Amman. [See: A Fight against Rising Odds.] Fortunately this situation eased when 8 Albatrosses were received in June. In addition, 6 D.V's were modified to D.Va's and 2 repaired D.III's became available.

From August onwards the RAF squadrons naturally enough dominated the skies. Where the German aircraft in the first week of June could mount 100 sorties only 18 were flown in the last week of August and every one of these was challenged and attacked, being pursued down to ground level or destruction. Even as the Aircraft Park at Rayak managed to repair many of the damaged aircraft and started to issue the newly received replacements it was futile because between the 1st of June and the 19th of September 59 aircrew members were killed, wounded or taken prisoners. The standard farewell greeting of pilots taking off on a mission became in this period: Wiedersehen im Heliopolis, [“See you at Heliopolis.” See: Turkish Prisoners in Egypt - Heliopolis Camp] referring to the British prisoner-of-war camp in Egypt.

The units continued to receive new or repaired aircraft, but to no avail as FA301 alone lost an aircraft on 3 August, another on the 16th and two on the 28th and 31st respectively. FA304(b) lost one of its valuable Rumplers on 10 August. When JASTA 1 started to get its new Pfalz D.III fighters only 4 experienced fighter pilots were alive. Shortly after, on 24 August, when two Pfalz's were attacked by the ubiquitous Bristol Fighters, one was shot down in flames whereas Lieutenant Walter in the other was badly hit. He tried to escape with the help of his parachute, but it failed to open. This was the first recorded use of a parachute in Palestine. [193]

On 1 September 1918, a total force of 8 reconnaissance and 5 fighter aircraft were available to the Pasha units, but only 4 sorties ware flown up to the 15th of the month.


Source: The above extract is obtained from a self published work by Ole Nikolajsen called Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919The Pasha Units on the Southern Front comes from Chapter 8, Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918, pp. 191-5. The text has been edited to remove errors and make it readable for an English speaking audience.


Further Reading:

The German Ottoman Air Force 

A Fight against Rising Odds

Turkish Prisoners in Egypt - Heliopolis Camp

Air War on the Palestine Front, December 1915 to January 1917

Turkish Units - The Ottoman Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, Yildirim


Go To:

Previous Chapter: A Fight against Rising Odds

Next Chapter: The Final Destruction


Citation: The Pasha Units on the Southern Front

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2009 9:18 AM EAST
El Arish, Sinai, December 20, 1916
Topic: BatzS - El Arish

El Arish

Sinai, 20 December 1916


El Arish, a painting by George Lambert.


At dawn on 20 December 1916, the 1st Brigade of the ANZAC Mounted Division (less the 2nd Brigade) reached the Mediterranean coast on the far side of El Arish and suddenly the horses stepped off the sand onto the wide, firm flat that flanks the great Wadi (streambed) El Arish. They started prancing and Brigadier General 'Fighting Charlie' Cox called a halt just to watch them. That night,' Cox said, 'will always seem to me the most wonderful of the whole campaign. The hard going for the horses seemed almost miraculous after the months of sand; and, as their shoes struck fire on the stones in the bed of the wadi, the men laughed with delight.


Kress and his officers at El Arish.


Sinai was behind them. It was a perfect dawn arrival: the 1st Brigade to the east with its flank on the silver sea, the Camel Brigade to the south, the New Zealanders to the south-west and the 3rd Brigade at Masaid, a Turkish post five miles west. Each brigade was on time, none more than 200 yards out of position and they didn't have to fire a shot. The substantial Turkish army of occupation that had held the place for over two years had gone.


Abandoned Turkish trenches at El Arish.


The dramatic appearance at dawn of this ring of tough-looking foreign horsemen right round the town sparked wild excitement and apparent demonstrations of delight, from the Arab villagers, whatever their true loyalties or feelings. Bearded elders in many-coloured, flowing dresses crowded round the grinning Anzacs, grasping their stirrups and kissing their boots, while women and children swarmed around them, shouting. The chief sheikh formally surrendered the town and handed over one hapless Turk and some alleged Turkish spies.

The troopers wandered down the evil-smelling alleyways between the squalid mud huts. After the great region of nothing, the village was at least a place of human habitation and there were some mosques and minarets. Besides the familiar dale palm oases, they came upon planted crops and fields of melons, vegetables, and an orange grove. Fig trees! This was more like it.

The Anzacs camped in the wadi bed and set up a series of strong outposts. They were on Turkish territory now, invaders not defenders, and could be attacked - and so to keep the enemy off balance, should strike first. And how much more effective they would be on firm ground, with good water and better feed for horse and man.


Light Horsemen bivouacked by Hod Masaid near the sea at El Arish, December 1916.


Extracted from the book produced by Lindsay Baly, Horseman, Pass By, East Roseville, N.S.W. : Simon & Schuster, 2003, Ch. 7.


Further Reading:

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: El Arish, Sinai, December 20, 1916

Posted by Project Leader at 8:21 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 April 2009 1:02 PM EADT
Query Club, 2 February 1916
Topic: Gen - Query Club

The Query Club

2 February 1916



The large scale of the Great War often gave people a sense of alienation from the activities of the government and the army. To overcome this, newspapers of the day commenced columns called Query Club or similar names, where ordinary people could clarify their understanding of the complex processes. They also provide us, the historians, an insight into witnessing first hand, the responses of the various bodies to public concerns. The end product is a window into a society now almost out of living memory.

This is the Query Club from the Sydney Mail, 2 February 1916, p. 31.


Frank Roberts letter to the Army, 13 October 1915.

[Click on picture for larger version.]




Of the 13th Battalion, AIF. He was wounded at the Dardanelles last May, and has not been heard of since. His brother (Frank Roberts, 147 Conway Street, Birkenhead) inquires for him.

[The person referred to here was 774 Private Trevor Evans Roberts, 13th Battalion, G Company. Later transferred to D Company, XIV Platoon, 13th Section. On the night of 2 May 1915, the Company assaulted "Dead Man's Ridge" at Gallipoli. He was wounded during the assault but he was not recovered along with a further 100 men who were left in no man's land. on 28 April 1915 determined by a Court of Enquiry to have been killed in action, 3 May 1915.]




No complete list of warships lost by the different Powers has ever been published officially. The censor will not permit us to give the details regarding Great Britain. Most of the losses are admitted; there are others regarding which there is a good deal of mystery. A few weeks ago we published a full page illustrating Germany's admitted losses.



No badges are issued to men who have offered themselves as recruits and have been rejected by the medical officers. Certificates are obtainable, however, they should be applied for at the barracks.


"Paroo" asks if boys of 17 years and 9 months can enlist in the A.I.Forces and do three months' training until they are 18.

No; 18 is the minimum age at which recruits are accepted, and even then it is necessary to have the consent of their parents.



The separation allowance for a married man ceases on his embarkation; instead, three-fifths of his pay is reserved for his wife.



There have been so many changes in commands, and probably will be others before our troops again go into action, that we cannot give you the particulars you desire at present.



A soldier who has been sent home on sick leave and has not got his discharge must report himself to the authorities when asked to do so. If he recovers sufficiently to be again fit for active service he has no option but to return to the front when ordered to do so.


Further Reading:

The Query Club


Citation: Query Club, 2 February 1916

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 12 April 2009 9:09 AM EADT
Bert Schramm's Diary, 21 February 1919
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm


During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, 2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, a farmer from White's River, near Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular, kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September 1918 breakout by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.

 Bert Schramm's Diary, 21 February 1919


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 18 - 21 February 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]


Bert Schramm

Friday, February 21, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Tripoli, Lebanon.

Bert Schramm's Diary - The Eighth Regiment embarked today and the Ninth are to embark tomorrow for Kantara. We handed our horses over today. I was sorry to lose my pony but everyone else was the same.



9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - El Mina, Lebanon.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  8th Light Horse Regiment embarked today.

Move order issued.

The Regiment handed over all horses to 5th Cavalry Division, 10th Light Horse Regiment and 3rd Machine Gun Squadron.

All tents taken down and heavy baggage transported by camels and wagons to embarkation pier El Mina. All ranks had to work at top speed to get the work completed in daylight. Orders received that the Regiment would embark 0830, 22nd February 1919.



Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry

Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 20 February 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 22 February 1919


Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF War Diary - Complete day by day list

Bert Schramm Diary 

Bert Schramm Diary - Complete day by day list


Additional Reading:

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.


Citation: Bert Schramm's Diary, 21 February 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 1:43 PM EADT
Friday, 20 February 2009
The Final Destruction
Topic: Tk - Bks - Air Force

Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918


A DFW D.V of FA304(b) at Afuleh, September 1918

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 210.]


Part 8 - The Final Destruction

The preparations for the final British breakthrough of the Turkish fronts in Palestine began with Arab attacks on the railway junction at Dera on 15 September 1918. This was a move to make the defenders believe that the main attack would come upon the widely dispersed 4th Army.

In order to secure the lines of supply and retreat for the whole front, on 16 September, 8 aircraft from Jenin were flown to Dera. This was a fortunate move as Jenin was attacked by two waves of enemy aircraft in the same afternoon. Two new aircraft however which just had arrived from Rayak were destroyed. During the whole day of 18 September, large formations of RAF aircraft prevented any German reconnaissance flights from being made. In the night, a Handley Page bomber dropped 2 tonnes of bombs on the Afuleh Junction, completely wrecking the important telephone and telegraph stations as well as the railway station and airfield. The Headquarters at Nazareth was thereby cut off from the front. The attack on the 4th Army was a feint and in the morning of 19 September, 3 cavalry divisions assisted by armoured cars first cut through the 8th Army, which was down to 8,000 fighting men and so hardly an army, in the coastal area and then swung towards Nablus in the south and Nazareth to the north.


Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 194.]

[Click on map for larger version.]


The airfield at Afuleh was overrun and the personnel and 4 unserviceable aircraft of FA304(b) were captured together with the Commanding Officer Major Walz. The Major was particularly unfortunate in that he had just landed after a reconnaissance mission in an Albatros fighter. Almost at the same time, at Jenin, most of the personnel of FA301, under command of Captain Bieneck, was captured, together with 11 wrecked aircraft, 3 reconnaissance and 8 fighters of JASTA1. A major part of the personnel of FA303 and JASTA 1 had deployed to Dera on 15 September, but the ground crew under command of the Commanding Officer Capt. Steiner escaped north. FA302 under command of Captain König at Waldheim received sufficient warning to escape north along the coast in their Lorries. The two serviceable aircraft of the unit were both flown to Dera.

Already the next day, 20 September, the 8th Army had been [195] completely overrun. In order to avoid encirclement, on 21 September, the 7th Army began a withdrawal north in good order. Such was the power of the RAF squadrons that they were able to catch this army in Wadi el Fara and bomb and machine-gun almost all of its 10,000 men into destruction.

Meanwhile the remnants of the Pasha units in the 4th Army area had been taken under command of Captain Elias and operated as a single unit. At Dera, with 10 barely operational aircraft, it managed to keep Arab forces far enough away from the station and the railway line to save a large part of the fleeing troops, who were sent by train to Damascus. On 21 September, 2 DFW's were shot down, whereas 2 Pfalz fighters were forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition. The next day one more DFW and one Pfalz were lost.

Most of the personnel of the Turkish units, 3ncü and 4ncü Tayyare Bölük were killed or captured when their evacuation train from Amman was attacked at Mafraq on 21 September and still more personnel of both 14ncü Tayyare Bölük and the German units were captured in a train outside Damascus on 30 September. Major Beltz, the KOFL, was taken prisoner after a forced landing outside Damascus.


Map of air activities covered by this extract

[From: Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919, p. 196.]

[Click on map for larger version.]


A quick reorganization was affected at the Rayak Aircraft Park on 30 September and, despite the fact that many aircraft were serviceable, only 15 could be flown north to Homs due to shortage of aircrew. One AEG, 1 LVG and 4 DFW's being flyable were destroyed in addition to a score of aircraft in more or less derelict condition. Two DFW's were sent north to Iskenderun (Alexandretta) to cover the sea-flank against attacks and two reconnaissance flights were made over Cyprus. During the withdrawal two aircraft were lost between the 1st and 5th of October on flights from Homs. Between the 6th and 23rd October, another three were lost while operating from a field north of Aleppo near the railway junction at Mouslimiye.

At this time the front froze after newly formed Turkish units dug in near Islahiye where the terrain prevented the British from using their greater mobility. The Commander of this new front was Mustafa Kemal Pasha. When operating from a field near Islahiye between the 23rd and the armistice on the 30th, further two aircraft were destroyed by British bombing attacks and three in landing accidents on the rather unsuitable field.

Before this on the 12th of October a small force of Turkish mechanics had been ordered to the depot at Konya Aircraft Station in the middle of Anatolia to prepare aircraft for the front. Only 2 Albatros C.III's and 4 AEG C.IV's were found and prepared for flight but no pilots were at the station.

When the German Asian Corps under Command of General Liman von Sanders surrendered on 2 November at Adana only 600 aviation personnel including 20 officers were present out of an original force of 190 pilots and observers and 1400 other personnel which had been sent to Palestine since September 1917. Of the 155 aircraft delivered 3 were handed over to the 7 surviving Turkish pilots and observers and 8 mechanics the day before. They managed to escape to Konya and later formed the nucleus of the new air force of the independence forces in 1919.


Source: The above extract is obtained from a self published work by Ole Nikolajsen called Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919The Final Destruction comes from Chapter 8, Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918, pp. 195-8. The text has been edited to remove errors and make it readable for an English speaking audience.


Further Reading:

The German Ottoman Air Force 

Air War on the Palestine Front, December 1915 to January 1917

Turkish Units - The Ottoman Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, Yildirim


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Citation: The Final Destruction

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2009 9:21 AM EAST

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