Classic History Books


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

which two men spent hours in filling up the engines by means of a water jug and basin found in the
station buildings, and the Turks had the mortification of seeing these engines steam out of the station

during the morning to a cutting which was effective cover from their field-gun fire. The light-railway

staff were highly delighted at their success, and the trains which they soon had running over their little

system were indeed a boon and a blessing to the fighting men and horses.

On this morning of November 14 the infantry were operating with Desert Mounted Corps' troops on both
their wings. The Australian Mounted Division was on the right, fighting vigorous actions with the enemy

rearguards secreted in the irregular, rocky foothills of the Shephelah which stand as ramparts to the

Judean Mountains. It was a difficult task to drive the Turks out of these fastnesses, and while they held

on to them it was almost impossible to outflank some of the places like Et Tineh, a railway station and

camp of some importance on the line to Beersheba. They had already had some stiff fighting at Tel el

Safi, the limestone hill which was the White Guard of the Crusaders. The Division suffered severely

from want of water, particularly the 5th Mounted Brigade, and it was necessary to transfer to it the 7th

Mounted Brigade and the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade. On the left of the infantry the Yeomanry

Mounted Division was moving forward from Akir and Mansura, and after the 22nd Mounted Brigade had

taken Naaneh they detailed a demolition party to blow up one mile of railway, so that, even if the 75th

Division had not taken Junction Station, Jerusalem would have been entirely cut off from railway

communication with the Turkish base at Tul Keram, and Haifa and Damascus.

Between Naaneh and Mansura the 6th Mounted Brigade was preparing for another dashing charge. The
enemy who had been opposing us for two days consisted of remnants of two divisions of both the

Turkish VIIth and VIIIth Armies brought together and hurriedly reorganised. The victory at Mughar had

almost, if not quite, split the force in two, that is to say that portion of the line which had been given the

duty of holding Mughar had been so weakened by heavy casualties, and the loss of moral consequent

upon the shock of the cavalry charge, that it had fallen back to Ramleh and Ludd and was incapable of

further serious resistance. There was still a strong and virile force on the seaside, though that was

adequately dealt with, but the centre was very weak, and the enemy's only chance of preventing the

mounted troops from working through and round his right centre was to fall back on Abu Shushe and Tel

Jezar to cover Latron, with its good water supply and the main metalled road where it enters the hills on

the way to Jerusalem. The loss of Tel Jezar meant that we could get to Latron and the Vale of Ajalon,

and the action of the 6th Mounted Brigade on the morning of the 14th gave it to us.

The Berks Yeomanry had had outposts on the railway south-east of Naaneh since before dawn. They had
seen the position the previous day, and at dawn sent forward a squadron dismounted to engage the

machine guns posted in the walled-in house at the north of the village. From the railway to the Abu

Shushe ridge is about three miles of up and down country with two or three rises of sufficient height to

afford some cover to advancing cavalry. General Godwin arranged that six machine guns should go

forward to give covering fire, and, supported by the Berks battery R.H.A. from a good position half a

mile west of the railway, the Bucks Hussars were to deliver a mounted attack against the hill, with the

assistance on their left of two squadrons of Berks Yeomanry. The Dorset Yeomanry were moved up to

the red hill of Melat into support.

At seven o'clock the attack started, the 22nd Mounted Brigade operating on foot on the left. The Bucks
Hussars, taking advantage of all the dead ground, galloped about a mile and a half until they came to a

dip behind a gently rising mound, when, it being clear that the enemy held the whole ridge in strength,

Colonel Cripps signalled to Brigade Headquarters at Melat for support. The Dorset Yeomanry moved out

 

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