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Encyclopedia > Battle of Beersheba
Battle of Beersheba
Part of First World War
Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade
Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade
Date 31 October 1917
Location Beersheba, southern Palestine
Result Allied victory
Combatants
United Kingdom,
Australia,
New Zealand
Ottoman Empire
Commanders
Henry Chauvel,
Philip Chetwode
Unknown
Strength
2 infantry division,
2 mounted division
1 infantry division
Casualties
1,200 1,400 prisoners


The Battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917, as part of the Sinai and Palestine campaign during World War I. The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade, under Brigadier William Grant, charged more than four miles at the Turkish trenches, overran them and captured the wells at Beersheba.[1] This is often reported as "the last successful cavalry charge in history,"[1] although the Australian Light Horse were mounted infantry, not cavalry, and cavalry units continued to exist into the early phases of World War II and taking part in operations before being rendered obsolete. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Photo of the charge of the 4th and 12th Regiments of the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba, Palestine, October 31, 1917. ... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... Hebrew   (Standard) Bəʼer ŠévaÊ» Arabic بِئْرْ اَلْسَبْعْ ( ) Name Meaning Well of the Oath(see also) Government City Also Spelled Beer Sheva (officially) District South Population 185,500 (Metro 531,000) (2005) Jurisdiction 54,000 dunams (54 km²) Mayor Yaacov Turner Beersheba (Hebrew romanization Beer Sheva), the largest city in the... This article is about the geographical area known as Palestine. ... Ottoman redirects here. ... Henry George Harry Chauvel GCMG KCB (April 16, 1865 - March 4, 1945) was a general officer of the First Australian Imperial Force that fought during World War I. He is less well known than a contemporary, General John Monash, because he served in the Middle East theatre and not the... Philip Walhouse Chetwode, 1st Baron Chetwode (21 September 1869–1950) was a British cavalry officer during World War I. He served on the Western Front in smaller cavalry commands receiving little distinction. ... Combatants United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Ottoman Empire Commanders Sir John Maxwell Archibald Murray Henry George Chauvel Philip Chetwode Charles Dobell Edmund Allenby Djemal Pasha Kress von Kressenstein Jadir Bey Tala Bey Erich von Falkenhayn Otto Liman von Sanders The Sinai and Palestine Campaign during the Middle Eastern Theatre of... The first Suez Offence was an offence in 1915 in World War One. ... Battle of Romani Conflict First World War Date 3– 5 August 1916 Place Sinai peninsula, Egypt Result Allied victory The Battle of Romani took place near the Egyptian town of Romani which lies 23 miles east of the Suez Canal near the Mediterranean shore of the Sinai peninsula. ... Battle of Magdhaba Conflict First World War Date 23 December 1916 Place Sinai peninsula, Australia, New Zealand Ottoman Empire Commanders Gen. ... Battle of Rafa Conflict First World War Date 9 January 1917 Place Rafa, Sinai-Australia, New Zealand Ottoman Empire Commanders Philip Chetwode Unknown Strength 5 mounted brigades 2,000 Casualties 71 killed 415 wounded 200 killed 168 wounded 1,434 prisoners The Battle of Rafa was a World War I... First Battle of Gaza Conflict First World War Date 26 March 1917 Place Gaza, southern Palestine Result Turkish victory The First Battle of Gaza was a World War I battle on the southern border of Palestine. ... Second Battle of Gaza Conflict First World War Date 19 April 1917 Place Gaza, southern Palestine Result Turkish victory The Second Battle of Gaza, fought in southern Palestine during World War I, was the second attempt mounted by the British to break the Turkish defences along the Gaza-Beersheba line. ... Third Battle of Gaza Conflict First World War Date 31 October–7 November 1917 Place Gaza, southern Palestine Result Allied victory The Third Battle of Gaza was fought in 1917 in southern Palestine during World War I. The British forces under the command of General Edmund Allenby successfully broke... Combatants Australia, United Kingdom New Zealand Ottoman Empire Commanders Kress von Kressenstein The Battle of El Mughar Ridge on 13 November 1917 took place at Junction Station, where the Haifa-Jerusalem line branches to Beersheba. ... Combatants United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Ottoman Empire Commanders Edmund Allenby Erich von Falkenhayn Strength Egyption Expeditionary Force Seventh Army Casualties 18,000 (for entire campaign) 25,000 (for entire cmpaign) {{{notes}}} The Battle of Jerusalem resulted in the city of Jerusalem falling to British forces in December 1917. ... The Battle of Abu Tellul July 14, 1918 occurred during World War I between British and Ottoman forces fighting for the village of Abu Tellul. ... Combatants Ottoman Empire France French Armenian Legion Commanders Lieutenant Colonel Romieu Strength French Armenian Legion The Battle of Arara (September 19, 1918) was part of the Battle of Megiddo which was fought between Ottoman Empire and allies detachment units of French Armenian Legion. ... Combatants British Empire Australia India New Zealand United Kingdom  France French Armenian Legion Arab insurgents  Ottoman Empire  German Empire Commanders Edmund Allenby Otto Liman von Sanders Strength 12,000 mounted troops, 57,000 infantry, 540 guns 3,000 mounted troops, 32,000 infantry, 402 guns Casualties 782 killed, 382 missing... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... Combatants United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Ottoman Empire Commanders Sir John Maxwell Archibald Murray Henry George Chauvel Philip Chetwode Charles Dobell Edmund Allenby Djemal Pasha Kress von Kressenstein Jadir Bey Tala Bey Erich von Falkenhayn Otto Liman von Sanders The Sinai and Palestine Campaign during the Middle Eastern Theatre of... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... The Australian Light Horse in Palestine during World War I The Australian Light Horse soldiers were mounted infantry who served during the Second Boer War and World War I. The Light Horse differed from cavalry in that they usually fought dismounted, using their horses as transport to the battlefield and... Brigadier (IPA pronunciation: ) is a military rank, the meaning of which has a considerable variation. ... William Grant, CMG, DSO and Bar (30 September 1870 – 25 May 1939) was an Australian Army colonel and temporary Brigadier General in World War I. See also List of Australian Generals References William Grant Biography Categories: | | | | | | | ... Trench warfare is a form of war in which both opposing armies have static lines of defense. ... Hebrew   (Standard) Bəʼer ŠévaÊ» Arabic بِئْرْ اَلْسَبْعْ ( ) Name Meaning Well of the Oath(see also) Government City Also Spelled Beer Sheva (officially) District South Population 185,500 (Metro 531,000) (2005) Jurisdiction 54,000 dunams (54 km²) Mayor Yaacov Turner Beersheba (Hebrew romanization Beer Sheva), the largest city in the... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ... Battle of WoÅ‚odarka Polish infantry charging enemy positions during the Polish Defensive War A charge is a maneuver in battle in which soldiers advance towards their enemy at their best speed to engage in close combat. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

Contents

Prelude

The battle of Beersheba was the critical element of a wider British offensive, known as the Third Battle of Gaza, aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line that stretched from Gaza on the Mediterranean shore to Beersheba, an outpost 30 miles inland. Third Battle of Gaza Conflict First World War Date 31 October–7 November 1917 Place Gaza, southern Palestine Result Allied victory The Third Battle of Gaza was fought in 1917 in southern Palestine during World War I. The British forces under the command of General Edmund Allenby successfully broke... Not to be confused with the Spanish name Garza or the Egyptian town of Giza. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ...


Earlier in 1917, two previous attempts to breach this line had failed. Since the second failure in the Second Battle of Gaza, the British forces in Palestine had undergone a major upheaval with the replacement of General Archibald Murray with the distinguished cavalry commander, General Edmund Allenby, formerly the commander of the British Third Army on the Western Front. Second Battle of Gaza Conflict First World War Date 19 April 1917 Place Gaza, southern Palestine Result Turkish victory The Second Battle of Gaza, fought in southern Palestine during World War I, was the second attempt mounted by the British to break the Turkish defences along the Gaza-Beersheba line. ... Sir Archibald James Murray (1860-1945) was a British military officer during World War I, most famous for his commanding the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 1916-7. ... Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby ( April 23, 1861 - May 14, 1936) was a British soldier most famous for his role during World War I, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918. ... The British Third Army was a British Army unit. ... Western Front was a term used during the First and Second World Wars to describe the contested armed frontier between lands controlled by Germany to the East and the Allies to the West. ...


Allenby's forces had undergone a major expansion so that he now had two corps of infantry; the XX Corps, commanded by General Philip Chetwode, and the XXI Corps. More significantly, with the formation of the British Yeomanry Mounted Division, he now had three mounted divisions which were combined to form the Desert Mounted Corps, commanded by General Henry Chauvel—the first Australian general to command an army corps. A corps (plural same as singular; a word that migrated from the French language, pronounced IPA: (cor), but originating in the Latin corpus, corporis meaning body) is either a large military unit or formation, an administrative grouping of troops within an army with a common function (such as artillery or... Infantry of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme in World War I. Infantry are soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organized military units, though they may be transported to the battlefield by horses, ships, automobiles, skis, bicycles, or other means. ... The British XX Corps was a World War I army corps that was formed in Palestine in 1917. ... Philip Walhouse Chetwode, 1st Baron Chetwode (21 September 1869–1950) was a British cavalry officer during World War I. He served on the Western Front in smaller cavalry commands receiving little distinction. ... The British Yeomanry Mounted Division was a Territorial Army cavalry division formed in Palestine in mid-1917 from three yeomanry mounted brigades. ... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to twenty thousand soldiers. ... The Desert Mounted Corps was a World War I Allied army corps that operated in the Middle East (Sinai and Palestine) during 1917 and 1918. ... Henry George Harry Chauvel GCMG KCB (April 16, 1865 - March 4, 1945) was a general officer of the First Australian Imperial Force that fought during World War I. He is less well known than a contemporary, General John Monash, because he served in the Middle East theatre and not the...


The Turkish garrison in Beersheba was made up of the Turkish 27th Division plus miscellaneous battalions from other divisions. The defences were strong to the south and west (towards Gaza) but to the east depended heavily on a strong redoubt at Tel el Saba, three miles east of the town.


The plan

Beersheba, 1917
Beersheba, 1917

The plan to break the Gaza-Beersheba line had been formulated by General Chetwode following the failure of the two frontal assaults against Gaza. The Turkish defences were formidable in the vicinity of Gaza but in the east there was a wide gap between the last redoubt and the Beersheba fortifications. The Turks trusted that the lack of reliable water in this region, other than at the wells in Beersheba, would limit British operations to mounted raids. Scanned photo of Beersheba, Palestine, 1917. ... Scanned photo of Beersheba, Palestine, 1917. ...


Chetwode believed that the lack of water would be easier to overcome than the Gaza fortifications and so a mammoth engineering and supply effort was undertaken to make a forward base in the vicinity of Beersheba from which infantry and mounted troops could stage an assault. The plan, however, depended on the town and water supply being captured swiftly. If the attack was repulsed on the first day, the British would be forced to retire in search of water.


When Allenby took command, he set about implementing Chetwode's plan. The attack was to be made by two infantry divisions of the XX Corps (60th (London) Division and the 74th (Yeomanry) Division) and two mounted divisions of the Desert Mounted Corps (Anzac Mounted Division and Australian Mounted Division). The infantry, supported by heavy artillery, would attack from the south-west against the strongest Beersheba defences while the mounted brigades would circle to the south and east. Once the outlying defences were overcome, it was intended to make a dismounted attack against Beersheba itself. The British 60th (2/2nd London) Division was the second of two second_line Territorial Force divisions formed from the surplus of London recruits in 1914. ... The British 74th (Yeomanry) Division was an First World War infantry division formed in Egypt in early 1917 from brigades of dismounted yeomanry (Territorial Army cavalry). ... The Anzac Mounted Division was a mounted infantry (light horse) division formed in March Egypt during World War I following the Battle of Gallipoli when the Australian and New Zealand mounted regiments returned from fighting as infantry. ... The Australian Mounted Division was a mounted infantry (light horse) division formed in Egypt during World War I. When the British forces in the Middle East expanded in late 1916, a second mounted division was created called the Imperial Mounted Division. ... For other uses, see Artillery (disambiguation). ... In military science a brigade is a military unit that is part of a division and includes regiments (where that level exists), or (in modern armies) is composed of several battalions (typically two to four) and directly attached supporting units. ...


An integral part of Allenby's plan was the planting of false information to deceive the Turks that a repeat of the earlier offensives was planned. His Intelligence Officer, Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, rode to within rifle range of the Turkish outposts at Gaza and ostentatiously took notes. When the Turks fired at him, he reeled in the saddle as if wounded and galloped off, leaving behind his rifle and binoculars, and a haversack stained with fresh blood (actually his horse's). The haversack contained details of the dummy plan of attack. To further convince the Turks that the information was genuine, British units were given orders to search for the haversack, and Meinerthagen was subjected to a mock Court of Enquiry, which then published general orders forbidding staff officers to carry sensitive documents near the front lines. Richard Henry Meinertzhagen (March 3, 1878 - June 17, 1967) was a British soldier and intelligence officer with an interest in birds, bird lice and Zionism. ...


Although it is possible that the impact of this single act of misinformation was exaggerated, Allenby nevertheless relied on surprise far more than on mere superiority in numbers to gain success.


The infantry attack

The attack on Beersheba by Chetwode's XX Corps commenced at 5.55am on 31 October when the artillery, more than 100 field guns and howitzers, commenced bombarding the Turkish trenches. Twenty of the heavy guns were engaged in counter-battery work against the enemy artillery, which was operated by Austrian gunners. is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 19th century 12 pounder (5 kg) mountain howitzer displayed by the National Park Service at Fort Laramie in Wyoming, USA A howitzer is a type of artillery piece that is characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small explosive charges to propel projectiles at trajectories with...


The first infantry went in at 8.30am to capture some Turkish outposts. The main attack of four infantry brigades began at 12.15pm. They quickly reached all their initial objectives and so were in position for the main assault on the township to coincide with the light horse and New Zealanders.


The charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade

Chauvel had planned to make a dismounted attack on Beersheba but he was now out of time. The alternative was to make a cavalry charge. He had in reserve south-west of the town, two brigades of the Australian Mounted Division; the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade and the British 5th Mounted Brigade (the 3rd Light Horse had been sent to support the attack on Tel el Saba). The British brigade was a proper cavalry brigade, armed with swords, however the light horse brigade was closer to the town. Both brigades were eager to make the attack but Chauvel, with time running out, chose the 4th Light Horse.


The 4th Light Horse Brigade, commanded by Brigadier William Grant, contained the 4th (Victorian), 11th (Queensland and South Australia) and 12th (New South Wales) Light Horse Regiments. The 11th was dispersed but the 4th and 12th were quickly ready to make the charge. Although Grant commanded the Brigade, the charge on Beersheba was led by Lieutenant Colonel Bourchier. Motto: Peace and Prosperity Other Australian states and territories Capital Melbourne Governor HE Mr John Landy Premier Steve Bracks (ALP) Area 237,629 km² (6th)  - Land 227,416 km²  - Water 10,213 km² (4. ... Slogan or Nickname: Sunshine State, Smart State Motto(s): Audax at Fidelis (Bold but Faithful) Other Australian states and territories Capital Brisbane Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Quentin Bryce Premier Anna Bligh (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 28  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $158,506 (3rd... Capital Adelaide Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Premier Mike Rann (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 11  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $59,819 (5th)  - Product per capita  $38,838/person (7th) Population (End of September 2006)  - Population  1,558,200 (5th)  - Density  1. ... “NSW” redirects here. ... Murray Bourchier c1935 Brigadier The Honourable Sir Murray William James Bourchier, CMG, DSO, VD, MLA (April 4, 1881 - December 16, 1937) was an Australian soldier and politician. ...

The regiments commenced the charge at 4.30pm, the 12th on the left and the 4th on the right. They advanced by squadrons (ie., 3 waves) with about 500 yards between squadrons. The 11th Regiment and the 5th Mounted Brigade followed more slowly to the rear and the British 7th Mounted Brigade, which was attached to the Desert Mounted Corps headquarters, also approached from the south. Download high resolution version (800x656, 65 KB)Positions of forces at dusk on October 31, 1917, during the battle of Beersheba at the time of the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. ...


The Austrian artillery opened fire with shrapnel from long range but it was ineffective against the widely spaced horsemen. Turkish machine guns that opened fire were quickly destroyed by a battery of horse artillery. When the line of horsemen got within range of the Turkish riflemen in the trenches, they started to take casualties but the defenders failed to allow for the speed of their approach so once they were within half a mile of the trenches, the defenders' bullets started passing overhead as they forgot to adjust their sights. It has been suggested that Fragmentation (weaponry) be merged into this article or section. ...


The light horsemen jumped the front trenches and dismounted behind the line where they fixed bayonets and engaged the Turks who were in many cases so demoralised that they quickly surrendered. One Australian who was dazed after having his horse shot from under him, recovered to find his five attackers with their hands up, waiting to be taken prisoner.


The later waves continued through the town which the Turks were abandoning in a panic. The charge was finally halted on the far (north west) side of Beersheba where the light horsemen encountered more Turkish defences. Isolated resistance in the town continued for a little while but by nightfall, the remainder of the garrison had been captured. The Turks had attempted to torch some buildings and blow up the railway but the majority of the wells (15 out of 17) were captured intact. Also, a heavy rainfall left temporary pools of water on the ground, allowing the horses to drink.


In a later report, Bourchier summed up the effect of the attack:[2] "In commenting on the attack I consider that the success was due to the rapidity with which the movement was carried out. Owing to the volume of fire brought to bear from the enemy's position by Machine Guns and rifles, a dismounted attack would have resulted in a much greater number of casualties. It was noticed also that the morale of the enemy was greatly shaken through our troops galloping over his positions thereby causing his riflemen and machine gunners to lose all control of fire discipline. When the troops came within short range of the trenches the enemy seemed to direct almost all his fire at the horses." He also noted that "this method of attack would not have been practicable were it not for the absence of barbed wire and entanglements."[2]

The charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade re-enacted on its 90th anniversary
The charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade re-enacted on its 90th anniversary

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 799 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2143 × 1608 pixel, file size: 640 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 799 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2143 × 1608 pixel, file size: 640 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ...

Aftermath

In the capture of Beersheba, the 4th Light Horse Brigade took 38 officers and 700 other ranks prisoner as well as four field guns. In the two regiments, only 31 men were killed (including two officers) and only 36 men wounded (including eight officers).


Popular Culture

The battle is portrayed in the 1987 film The Lighthorsemen and a 1993 episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar). ... This article or section contains a plot summary that is overly long. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is a TV series that ran from 1992 to 1996. ...


References

  1. ^ a b "Oct. 31, 1917: Last Charge at Beersheba Turns a Page in Military History", Wired.com, Wired Magazine, October 31, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-11-01. 
  2. ^ a b Bou, Jean (2006). "Cavalry, Firepower, and Swords: The Australian Light Horse and the Tactical Lessons of Cavalry Operations in Palestine, 1916–1918". The Journal of Military History 71 (1): 99-125. Retrieved on 2007-03-16. 

is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... March 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Bibliography

  • Grainger, John D, The Battle for Palestine, 1917 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Battle of Beersheba
  • The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba

  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of Beersheba - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1355 words)
Romani Magdhaba Rafa 1st Gaza 2nd Gaza 3rd Gaza Beersheba Jerusalem Megiddo
The battle of Beersheba was the critical element of a wider British offensive, known as the Third Battle of Gaza, aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line that stretched from Gaza on the Mediterranean shore to Beersheba, an outpost 30 miles inland.
Since the second failure in the Second Battle of Gaza, the British forces in Palestine had under gone a major upheaval with the replacement of General Archibald Murray with the distinguished cavalry commander, General Edmund Allenby, formerly the commander of the British Third Army on the Western Front.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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