Classic History Books


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

Zamby. A great fight raged round the former height and we were driven off it, but the divisional artillery
so sprinkled the crest with shell that the Turk could not occupy it, and it became No Man's Land until the

early evening when the 7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers recaptured and held it. The contest for Zamby lasted

all day, and for a long time it was a battle of bombs and machine guns, so closely together were the

fighting men, but the Turks never got up to our sangars and were finally driven off with heavy loss, over

100 dead being left on the hill. The Turkish ambulances were seen hard at work on the Jericho road

throughout the day. There was a stout defence of a detached post at Ibn Obeid. A company of the 2/10th

Middlesex Regiment had been sent on to Obeid, about five miles east of Bethlehem, to watch for the

enemy moving about the rough tracks in that bare and broken country which falls away in jagged hills

and sinuous valleys to the Dead Sea. The little garrison, whose sole shelter was a ruined monastic

building on the hill, were attacked at dawn by 700 Turkish cavalry supported by mountain guns. The

garrison stood fast all day though practically surrounded, and every attack was beaten off. The Turks

tried again and again to secure the hill, which commands a track to Bethlehem, but, although they fired

400 shells at the position, they could not enter it, and a battalion sent up to relieve the Middlesex men

next morning found that the company had driven the enemy off, its casualties having amounted to only 2

killed and 17 wounded. Thus did the 'Die Hards' live up to the traditions of the regiment.

Having dealt with the failure of the Turkish attacks against the 60th and 53rd Divisions in front of
Jerusalem, let us change our view point and focus attention on the left sector of XXth Corps, where the

enemy was feeling the full power of the Corps at a time when he most wished to avoid it. General

Longley had organised his attacking columns in three groups. On the right the 229th Brigade of the 74th

Division was set the task of moving from the wadi Imeish to secure the high ground of Bir esh Shafa

overlooking Beitunia; the 31st Brigade, starting from near Tahta, attacked north of the wadi Sunt, to

drive the enemy from a line from Jeriut through Hafy to the west of the olive orchards near Ain Arik;

while the left group, composed of the 29th and 30th Brigades, aimed at getting Shabuny across the wadi

Sad, and Sheikh Abdallah where they would have the Australian Mounted Division on their left. The

advance started from the left of the line. The 29th Brigade leading, with the 30th Brigade in support, left

their positions of deployment at six o'clock, by which time the Turk had had more than he had bargained

for north and east of Jerusalem. The 1st Leinsters and 5th Connaught Rangers found the enemy in a

stubborn mood west of Deir Ibzia, but they broke down the opposition in the proper Irish style and

rapidly reached their objectives. The centre group started one hour after the left and got their line without

much difficulty. The right group was hotly opposed. Beginning their advance at eight o'clock the 229th

Brigade had reached the western edge of the famous Zeitun ridge in an hour, but from this time onwards

they were exposed to incessant artillery and machine-gun fire, and the forward movement became very

slow. In five hours small parties had worked along the ridge for about half its length, fighting every yard,

and it was not until the approach of dusk that we once more got control of the whole ridge. It was

appropriate that dismounted yeomen should gain this important tactical point which several weeks

previously had been won and lost by their comrades of the Yeomanry Mounted Division. Descending

from the ridge the brigade gave the Turk little chance to stand, and with a bayonet charge they reached

the day's objective in the dark. At two o'clock, when the Turks' final effort against Jerusalem had just

failed, the 60th and 74th Divisions both sent in the good news that the Turkish commander was moving

his reserve division from Bireh westwards to meet the attack from our left. Airmen confirmed this

immediately, and it was now obvious that General Chetwode's tactics had compelled the enemy to

conform to his movements and that we had regained the initiative. At about ten o'clock the 24th Royal

Welsh Fusiliers of the 231st Brigade captured Kh. ed Dreihemeh on the old Roman road a mile east of

Tireh, and at eleven o'clock advanced to the assault of hill 2450, a little farther eastward. They gained the

 

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