Classic History Books


W.T. Massey - How Jerusalem Was Won. Allenby's Campaign in Palestine

The work began for the battle of Rafa, and the enemy positions on the Magruntein hill were all set out
before General Chetwode when the Desert Column attacked and scored an important victory. Then when

12,000 Turks were fortifying the Weli Sheikh Nuran country covering the wadi Ghuzze and the Shellal

springs, not a redoubt or trench but was recorded with absolute fidelity on photographic prints, and long

before the Turks abandoned the place and gave us a fine supply of water we had excellent maps of the

position. In time the whole Gaza-Beersheba line was completely photographed and maps were

continually revised, and if any portion of the Turkish system of defences was changed or added to the

commander in the district concerned was notified at once. To such perfection did the R.F.C.

photographic branch attain, that maps showing full details of new or altered trenches were in the hands of

generals within four hours of the taking of the photographs. Later on the work of the branch increased

enormously, and the results fully repaid the infinite care and labour bestowed upon it.

The R.F.C. made long flights in this theatre of war, and some of them were exceptionally difficult and
dangerous. A French battleship when bombarding a Turkish port of military importance had two of our

machines to spot the effect of her gunfire. To be with the ship when the action opened the airmen had to

fly in darkness for an hour and a half from a distant aerodrome, and they both reached the rendezvous

within five minutes of the appointed time. The Turks on their lines of communication with the Hedjaz

have an unpleasant recollection of being bombed at Maan. That was a noteworthy expedition. Three

machines set out from an aerodrome over 150 miles away in a straight line, the pilots having to steer a

course above country with no prominent landmarks. They went over a waterless desert so rough that it

would have been impossible to come down without seriously damaging a plane, and if a pilot had been

forced to land his chance of getting back to our country would have been almost nil. Water bottles and

rations were carried in the machines, but they were not needed, for the three pilots came home together

after hitting the station buildings at Maan and destroying considerable material and supplies.

The aeroplane has been put to many uses in war and, it may be, there are instances on other fronts of it
being used, in emergencies, as an ambulance. When a little mobile force rounded up the Turkish post at

Hassana, on the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula, one of our men received so severe a wound that an

immediate operation was necessary. An airman at once volunteered to carry the wounded man to the

nearest hospital, forty-four miles away across the desert, and by his action a life was saved.

 

APPENDICES

I

The following telegram was sent by Enver Pasha to Field-Marshal von Hindenburg, at Supreme Army
Command Headquarters, from Constantinople on August 23, 1917:

The news of the despatch of strong enemy forces to Egypt,
together with the nomination of General Allenby as Commander-in-Chief

on our Syrian Front, indicates that the

British contemplate an offensive on the Syrian Front, and

very probably before the middle of November.

The preservation of the Sinai Front is a primary condition
to the success of the Yilderim undertaking.

After a further conversation with the Commander of
the IVth Army (Jemal Pasha) I consider it necessary to

 

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