Classic History Books

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



Letter from General Kress von Kressenstein to Yilderim headquarters, dated September 29,
1917, on moral of Turkish troops.

A question which urgently needs regulating is that of deserters. According to my experience their number
will increase still more with the setting in of the bad weather and the deterioration of rations.

Civil administration and the gendarmerie fail entirely; they often have a secret understanding with the
population and are open to bribery.

The cordon drawn by me is too weak to prevent desertion. I am also too short of troops to have the
necessary raids undertaken in the hinterland. It is necessary that the hunt for deserters in the area between

the front and the line Jerusalem-Ramleh-Jaffa be formally organised under energetic management, that

one or two squadrons exclusively for this service be detailed, and that a definite reward be paid for

bringing in each deserter. But above all it is necessary that punishment should follow in consequence,

and that the unfortunately very frequent amnesties of His Majesty the Sultan be discontinued, at least for

some time.

The question of rationing has not been settled. We are living continually from hand to mouth. Despite the
binding promises of the Headquarters IVth Army, the Vali of Damascus, the Lines of Communication,

Major Bathmann and others, that from now on 150 tons of rations should arrive regularly each day, from

the 24th to the 27th of this month, for example a total of 229 tons or only 75 tons per diem have arrived.

I cannot fix the blame for these irregularities. The Headquarters IVth Army has received the highly
gratifying order that, at least up to the imminent decisive battle, the bread ration is raised to 100

grammes. This urgently necessary improvement of the men's rations remains illusory, if a

correspondingly larger quantity of flour (about one wagon per day) is not supplied to us. So far the

improvement exists only on paper. The condition of the animals particularly gives cause for anxiety. Not

only are we about 6000 animals short of establishment, but as a result of exhaustion a considerable

number of animals are ruined daily. The majority of divisions are incapable of operating on account of

this shortage of animals. The ammunition supply too is gradually coming into question on account of the

deficiency in animals. The menacing danger can only be met by a regular supply of sufficient fodder.

The stock of straw in the area of operations is exhausted. With gold some barley can still be bought in the


Every year during the rainy season the railway is interrupted again and again for periods of from eight to
fourteen days. There are also days and weeks in which the motor-lorry traffic has to be suspended.

Finally we must calculate on the possibility of an interruption of our rear communications by the enemy.

I therefore consider it absolutely necessary that at least a fourteen days' reserve of rations be deposited in

the depots at the front as early as possible.

The increase of troops on the Sinai Front necessitates a very considerable increase on the supply of meat
from the Line of Communication area, Damascus district.


The troops of General Allenby's Army before the attack on Beersheba were distributed as follows:


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