Classic History Books


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

in the clear light of a November afternoon. The 6th Mounted Brigade commanded by Brigadier-General
C.A.C. Godwin, D.S.O., composed of the 1/1st Bucks Hussars, 1/1st Berkshire Yeomanry, and 1/1st

Dorset Yeomanry, the Berkshire battery Royal Horse Artillery, and the 17th Machine Gun Squadron -

old campaigners with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force - had worked round to the left of the Lowlanders

and had reached a point about two miles south-west of Yebnah, that place having been occupied by the

8th Mounted Brigade, composed of the 1/1st City of London Yeomanry, 1/1st County of London

Yeomanry, and the 1/3rd County of London Yeomanry. At half-past twelve the Bucks Hussars less one

squadron and the Berks battery, which were in the rear of the brigade, advanced via Beshshit to

the wadi Janus, a deep watercourse with precipitous banks running across the plain east of Yebnah and

joining the wadi Rubin. One squadron of the Bucks Hussars had entered Yebnah from the east,

co-operating with the 8th Brigade. General Godwin was told over the telephone that the infantry attack

was held up and that his brigade would advance to take Mughar. This order was confirmed by telegram a

quarter of an hour later as the brigadier was about to reconnoitre a line of approach. The Berks battery

began shelling Mughar and the ridge behind the village from a position half a mile north of Beshshit

screened by some trees. Brigade headquarters joined the Bucks Hussars headquarters in the wadi Janus

half a mile south-east of Yebnah, where Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. F. Cripps commanding the Bucks

Hussars had, with splendid judgment, already commenced a valuable reconnaissance, the Dorset and

Berks Yeomanry being halted in a depression out of sight a few hundred yards behind. The Turks had the

best possible observation, and, knowing they were holding up the infantry, concentrated their attention

upon the cavalry. Therein they showed good judgment, for it was from the mounted troops the heavy

blow was to fall. Lieut. Perkins, Bucks Hussars, was sent forward to reconnoitre the wadi Shellal el

Ghor, which runs parallel to and east of the wadi Janus. He became the target of every kind of fire, guns,

machine guns, and rifles opening on him from the ridge whenever he exposed himself. Captain Patron, of

the 17th Machine Gun Squadron, was similarly treated while examining a position from which to cover

the advance of the brigade with concentrated machine-gun fire. It was not an easy thing to get cavalry

into position for a mounted attack. Except in the wadis the plain between Yebnah and Mughar offered no

cover and was within easy range of the enemy's guns. The wadi Janus was a deep slit in the ground with

sides of clay falling almost sheer to the stony bottom. It was hard to get horses into the wadi and equally

troublesome to get them to bank again, and the wadi in most places was so narrow that horses could only

move in single file. The Dorsets were brought up in small parties to join the Bucks in the wadi, and they

had to run the gauntlet of shell and rifle fire. The Berks were to enter the wadi immediately the Bucks

had left it. Behind Mughar village and its gardens the ground falls sharply, then rises again and forms a

rocky hill some 300 yards long. There is another decline, and north of it a conical shaped hill, also stony

and barren, though before the crest is reached there is some undulating ground which would have

afforded a little cover if the cunning Turks had not posted machine guns on it. The Dorset Yeomanry

were ordered to attack this latter hill and the Bucks Hussars the ridge between it and Mughar village, the

Berks Yeomanry to be kept in support. There seems to be no reason for doubting that Mughar would not

have been captured that day but for the extremely brilliant charge of these home counties yeomen. The

155th Brigade was still held fast in that part of the wadi Janus which gave cover south-west and south of

Mughar, and after the charge had been completely successful and the yeomanry were working forward to

clear up the village a message was received - timed 2.45 P.M., but received at 4 P.M. - which shows the

difficulties facing that very gallant infantry brigade: '52nd Division unable to make progress. Co-operate

and turn Mughar from the north.'

It was a hot bright afternoon. The dispositions having been made, the Bucks Hussars and Dorset
Yeomanry got out of the wadi and commenced their mounted attack, the Berks battery in the meantime

 

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