Classic History Books


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

over plentiful. But the staunch Division held on grimly to what it had gained, and its tenacity was well
rewarded by what was won on other portions of the field.

During the night of November 5-6 and the day of the 6th, the 74th, 60th, and 10th Divisions concentrated
for the attack on the Kauwukah system. The enemy's positions ran from his Jerusalem-Beersheba railway

about five miles south-east of Hareira, across the Gaza-Beersheba road to the wadi Sheria, on the

northern bank of which was an exceedingly strong redoubt covering Hareira. The eastern portion of this

line was known as the Kauwukah system, and between it and Hareira was the Rushdi system, all being

connected up by long communication and support trenches, while a light railway ran from the Rushdi

line to dumps south of Sheria. At the moment of assembly for attack our line from right to left was made

up as follows: the 158th Infantry Brigade was on the right, south of Tel Khuweilfeh. Then came the

160th Brigade and 159th Brigade. The Yeomanry Mounted Division held a long line of country and was

the connecting link between the 53rd and 74th Divisions. The latter division disposed from right to left

the 231st Brigade, the 229th Brigade, and 230th Brigade, who were to march from the south-east to the

north-west to attack the right of the Kauwukah system of entrenchments on the railway. The 181st

Brigade, 180th Brigade, and 179th Brigade of the 60th Division were to march in the same direction to

attack the next portion of the system on the left of the 74th Division's objectives, then swinging to the

north to march on Sheria. The 31st Brigade, 30th Brigade, and 29th Brigade were to operate on the 60th

Division's left, with the Australian Mounted Division watching the left flank of XXth Corps. The Turkish

VIIth Army and 3rd Cavalry Division were opposing the XXth Corps, another Division was opposite the

53rd Division and the Imperial Camel Corps with the 12th Depot Regiment at Dharahiyeh on the Hebron

road, the 16th Division opposite our 74th, the 24th and 26th Divisions opposite our 69th, and the 54th

against the 10th Division. The 3rd, 53rd, and 7th Turkish Divisions were in the Gaza area.

At daybreak the troops advanced to the attack. The first part of the line in front of the 231st Brigade was
a serious obstacle. Two or three small outlying rifle pits had to be taken before the Division could

proceed with its effort to drive the enemy out of Sheria and protect the flank of the 60th Division, which

had to cross the railway where a double line of trenches was to be tackled, the rear line above the other

with the flank well thrown back and protected by small advanced pits to hold a few men and machine

guns. The Turks held on very obstinately to their ground east of the railway, and kept the 74th Division

at bay till one o'clock in the afternoon, but the artillery of that Division had for some time been assisting

in the wire-cutting in front of the trenches to be assaulted by the 60th Division, and the latter went ahead

soon after noon, and with the assistance of one brigade of the 10th Division, had won about 4000 yards

of the complicated trench system and most of the Rushdi system by half-past two. The Londoners then

swung to the north and occupied the station at Sheria, while the dismounted yeomanry worked round

farther east, taking a series of isolated trenches on the way, the Irish troops relieving the 60th in the

captured trenches at Kauwukah. The 60th Division, having possession of the larger part of Sheria,

intended to attack the hill there at nightfall, and the attack was in preparation when an enemy dump

exploded and a huge fire lighted up the whole district, so that all troops would have been exposed to the

fire of the garrison on the hill. General Shea therefore stopped the attack, but the hill was stormed at 4.30

next morning and carried at the point of the bayonet. A bridgehead was then formed at Sheria, and the

Londoners fought all day and stopped one counter-attack when it was within 200 yards of our line. On

that same morning the Irish troops had extended their gains westwards from the Rushdi system till they

got to Hareira Tepe Redoubt, a high mound 500 yards across the top, which had been criss-crossed with

trenches with wire hanging about some broken ground at the bottom. Here there was a hot tussle, but the

Irishmen valiantly pushed through and not only gave XXth Corps the whole of its objectives and

 

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