"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess
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The Battle for Haifa, 23 September 1918, Outline Topic: BatzP - Megiddo
The Battle for Haifa
Palestine, 23 September 1918
Map detailing the movement of the 13th Cavalry Division in the Capture of Haifa.
[From: Falls, C.; MacMunn, G.; and, Becke, AF, Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, (London 1930), Sketch 34.]
From "A brief record of the advance of the Egyptian expeditionary force under the command of General Sir Edmund H. H. Allenby ... July 1917 to October 1918", Despatch dated 31st October 1918:
19. Whilst the 4th Cavalry and the Australian Mounted Divisions were collecting the remnants of the Vllth and Vlllth Turkish Armies, I ordered the Desert Mounted Corps to occupy Acre and Haifa. The roads leading to Haifa from Tul Keram are only country tracks, which, in the event of rain, might become impassable for motor lorries at any time. Any force, advancing northwards from Haifa along the coast, would have to depend on supplies landed at that port. It was necessary, therefore, to occupy the town without delay, in order that the harbour could be swept for mines, and the landing of stores taken in hand. The 13th Cavalry Brigade of the 5th Cavalry Division, which had entered Nazareth on Sept. 20, and had then marched to El Afule, returned to Nazareth the following day.
Part of the garrison of Haifa, which was attempting to reach Tiberias, was intercepted by this brigade on the morning of Sept. 22. At 0130 this column approached the outposts of the 13th Cavalry Brigade. It was attacked in the moonlight by the 18th Lancers, who killed a large number of Turks and captured over 300.
That afternoon Haifa was reconnoitred by a battery of armoured cars. It was held by the enemy. The road was barricaded, and the armoured cars were shelled from the slopes of Mount Carmel.
On Sept. 23 the 5th Cavalry Division, less the 13th Cavalry Brigade, marched from El Afule to capture the town. The 13th Cavalry Brigade marched direct from Nazareth on Acre.
Capture of Acre and Haifa, Sept. 23.
The road from El Afule to Haifa skirts the north-eastern edge of the Mount Carmel range. Some two miles before Haifa is reached, the road is confined between a spur of Mount Carmel on the left, and the marshy banks of the River Kishon and its tributaries on the right. When the 5th Cavalry Division reached this point on Sept. 23 it was shelled from the slopes of Mount Carmel, and found the road and the river crossings defended by numerous machine guns.
Whilst the Mysore Lancers were clearing the rocky slopes of Mount Carmel, the Jodhpur Lancers charged through the defile, and, riding over the enemy's machine guns, galloped into the town, where a number of Turks were speared in the streets. Colonel Thakur Dalpat Singh, M.C., fell, gallantly leading this charge.
In this operation 1,350 prisoners and seventeen guns were taken.
The Battle of Megiddo, Palestine, 19-21 September 1918, Outline Topic: BatzP - Megiddo
The Battle of Megiddo
Palestine, 19 - 21 September 1918
Megiddo, the name given to the great northern cavalry drive which split apart the Turkish defence of Palestine on 19-21 September 1918 and brought the war in the Near East to an end five weeks later. After encouraging the Turks to believe that his next offensive would take place inland, along the section of battlefront facing the Jordan River, the British commander-in-chief, General Sir Edmund Allenby, took the enemy by surprise by launching his main assault on the coastal Plain of Sharon. To this end he had secretly moved the Desert Mounted Corps (4th and 5th divisions of Indian cavalry plus Australian Mounted Division), under the command of Lieut.-General Sir Harry Chauvel, from the Jordan Valley into olive and orange groves near modern Tel Aviv in readiness to exploit the anticipated breakthrough. To conceal their departure from their former base areas, elaborate deception measures were taken.
Before the 383 gun cannonade and infantry assault at dawn on 19 September, British and Australian aircraft had also bombed out key Turkish communications centres. This ensured that large sections of the enemy line remained unaware when Chauvel's corps passed through the gap created on the Mediterranean flank at 9 a.m. on the 19th and immediately began sweeping north and north-east, aiming to get astride the enemy's vital routes for supply and reinforcement (and withdrawal). Many units were taken completely by surprise when Chauvel's horsemen appeared in rear of their positions, and within 24 hours the cavalry's advance had carried it 50 - 65 kilometres into the Turks' rear. The Turkish Eighth Army had effectively ceased to exist, and the Seventh Army next in line on its left flank was reeling back and attempting to escape impending catastrophe by getting away across the Jordan to join the demoralised but still largely intact Fourth Army.
After crossing the Carmel Range, by dawn on the 20th Chauvel's troops had reached Lejjun near the ancient fortress of Megiddo, on the edge of the plain of Esdraelon (the Armageddon of the Old Testament). While part of the 5th Division made for Haifa, the rest swung east and that evening had reached Nazareth. Here they almost captured Field Marshal Liman von Sanders, the German who had taken over supreme command in Palestine in February, but a spirited resistance by his headquarters staff enabled him to escape along the road to Tiberias. Meanwhile the 4th Division, which had also swung east, made for Beisan - the seizure of which cut the main Turkish line of communications across the Jordan. The Australian Mounted Division, moving as corps reserve during the drive up the coast, was now swung south-east towards Jenin with the aim of blocking the main escape route as the enemy's centre attempted to fall back from the disaster inflicted at Sharon. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade (under Brig. General Lachlan Wilson) was in Jenin by the evening of the 20th and by next morning had taken 8,000 prisoners. Other actions which also flowed from Sharon are Nablus, Wady Fara and (Second) Amman (q.v).
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 158-159.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
H.S. Gullett (1944) The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
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