Classic History Books

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

crest, but the enemy had a big force in the neighbourhood and counter-attacked, forcing the Welshmen to
withdraw some distance down the western slope. They held this ground till 4.30 when our guns heavily

bombarded the summit, under cover of which fire the infantry made another attack. This was also

unsuccessful owing to the intense volume of fire from machine guns. The hill was won, however, next


The night of December 27-28 was without incident. The Turk had staked and lost, and he spent the night
in making new dispositions to meet what he must have realised was being prepared for him on the

following day.

It is doubtful whether there was a more successful day for our Army in the Palestine campaign than
December 27. The portion of our line which was on the defensive had stood an absolutely unmovable

wall, against which the enemy had battered himself to pieces. Our left, or attacking sector, had gained all

their objectives against strong opposition in a most difficult country, and had drawn against them the

very troops held in reserve for the main attack on Jerusalem. The physical powers of some of our

attacking troops were tried highly. One position captured by the 229th Brigade was a particularly bad

hill. The slope up which the infantry had to advance was a series of almost perpendicular terraces, and

the riflemen could only make the ascent by climbing up each others' backs. When dismounted yeomen

secured another hill some men carrying up supplies took two hours to walk from the base of the hill to

the summit. The trials of the infantry were shared by the artillery. What surprises every one who has been

over the route taken by the 10th and 74th Divisions is that any guns except those with the mountain

batteries were able to get into action. The road work of engineers and the 5th Royal Irish Regiment

(Pioneers) was magnificent, and they made a way where none seemed possible; but though these

roadmakers put their backs into their tasks, it was only by the untiring energies of the gunners and drivers

that artillery was got up to support the infantry. The guns were brought into action well ahead of the

roads, and were man-hauled for considerable distances. Two howitzers and one field gun were kept up

with the infantry on the first day of the advance where no horses could get a foothold, and the manner in

which the gunners hauled the guns through deep ravines and up seemingly unclimbable hills constituted

a wonderful physical achievement. The artillery were called upon to continue their arduous work on the

28th and 29th under conditions of ground which were even more appalling than those met with on the

27th. The whole country was devoid of any road better than a goat track, and the ravines became deeper

and the hills more precipitous. In some places, particularly on the 10th Division front, the infantry went

forward at a remarkable pace; but guns moved up with them, and by keeping down the fire of machine

guns dotted about on every hill, performed services which earned the riflemen's warm praise. The 9th and

10th Mountain Batteries were attached to the 10th Division, but field and howitzer batteries were also

well up. On the 28th the 53rd Division bit farther into the enemy's line in order to cover the right of the

60th Division, which was to continue its advance up the Nablus road towards Bireh. The 158th Brigade

captured Anata, and after fighting all day the 1/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers secured Ras Urkub es Suffa, a

forbidding-looking height towering above the storm-rent sides of the wadi Ruabeh. The 1/1st Herefords

after dark took Kh. Almit.

In front of the 60th Division the Turks were still holding some strong positions from which they should
have been able seriously to delay the Londoners' advance had it not been for the threat to their

communications by the pressure by the 10th and 74th Divisions. The Londoners had previously tested the

strength of Adaseh, and had found it an extremely troublesome hill. They went for it again - the 179th

Brigade this time - and after a several hours' struggle took it at dusk. Meanwhile the 181st Brigade had

taken the lofty villages of Bir Nebala and El Jib, and after Adaseh became ours the Division went ahead


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