The Battle for Palestine 1917
Three battles for the control of the key fortress-city of Gaza took place in 1917 between the `British' force (with units from across the Empire, most notably the ANZACs) and the Turks. The Allies were repulsed twice but on their third attempt, under the newly-appointed General Allenby, a veteran of the Western Front where he was a vocal critic of Haig's command, finally penetrated Turkish lines, captured southern Palestine and, as instructed by Lloyd George, took Jerusalem in time for Christmas, ending 400 years of Ottoman occupation. This third battle, similar in many ways to the contemporaneous fighting in France, is at the heart of this account, with consideration of intelligence, espionage, air-warfare, and diplomatic and political elements, not to mention the logistical and medical aspects of the campaign, particularly water. The generally overlooked Turkish defence, in the face of vastly superior numbers, is also assessed. Far from laying out and executing a pre-ordained plan, Allenby, who is probably still best remembered as T. E. Lawrence's commanding officer in Arabia, was flexible and adaptable, responding to developments as they occurred. JOHN D. GRAINGER is the author of numerous books on military history, ranging from the Roman period to the twentieth century.
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53rd Welsh advance Allenby Allenby's Anzac Division Arab artillery assault Australian Light Horse Australian Mounted Division battalions battle Beersheba Beit bombardment British attack British forces campaign capture casualties Chauvel Chetwode command defeat Desert Mounted Corps Dobell East Anglian Division Egypt Egyptian Expeditionary Force el-Arish el-Muntar enemy Falkenhayn fighting fire flank front Fusiliers Gaza German guns headquarters Highland Light Infantry hills Hist History Imperial Camel Corps Jaffa Jamal Jerusalem Kressenstein Light Horse Brigade Light Horse Regiment Light Infantry London Division Lowland Division machine-gun miles Mounted Brigade move Murray Nablus Nebi Samweil numbers Ottoman Ottoman Empire Palestine Pasha patrols Rafa raid railway redoubts ridge Rifles road Robertson Royal Scots sent Seventh Army Sheikh Sinai soldiers strongpoints supplies Syria Tell esh-Sheria trenches troops Turkish defences Turkish forces Turkish line Turkish positions Turks village Wadi Ghazze Wavell Welsh Division Yeomanry Division Yeomanry Mounted Division Yildirim Zealand