<– Part 207 – July 7, 1918 | Part 208 – July 14, 1918 | Part 209 – July 21, 1918

On July 12, Haiti declared war on the German Empire.

British Empire forces on the Jordan came under attack Sunday,¬†July 14, at Abu Tellu. British observation posts along the front are spread very thin, yet strongly-held; British commanders view them as able to hold out for quite a while, even if surrounded, but unlikely to stop a concentrated assault. Temperatures have been increasing all week, with shade temperatures recorded at 115 Fahrenheit. Since 1am, troop movements have been heard. The first attack came at 03:30 on the western part of the front at Abu Tellu. The regimental commander in that sector had just moved his headquarters back, barely escaping capture. He observed large numbers of soldiers approaching him and assumed they were from the British outer posts pulling back until they began cutting the wire, prompting his 12 men to open fire. The German attacks on the eastern area have cut off many posts from all communication, yet the posts have held, even when surrounded, except for two that pulled back, and one that had all defenders killed. Yet the Ottomans on the German flanks have been unable to provide support, and the Germans find themselves in a crossfire from all directions, including the posts they had bypassed earlier. On the right flank of the German attack, one Ottoman force scaled a cliff to attack a British post, but the officer, holding incendiary bombs, was shot, “burst into flames,” and provided light for the British to see and shoot his men.

British reinforcements arrived, and, coupled with pinpoint British artillery, prompted the Germans to surrender to smaller units; one Australian advancing force of 9 men captured 40 Germans, put them into the custody of 2 of their force, and then captured another 80 Germans with the remaining 7. By 0800, the majority of the front had been retaken, though some front posts suffered nearly 85% casualties, losing 17 of their 20 men. At the Wadi Mellaha, large enemy forces seen at dawn were attacked twice by elements of an Australian Light Horse regiment troop; an officer led 14 men with bombs to within 20 yards of 150 Germans, and each Australian took a prisoner. 2 hours later, the same officer led 20 men against Ottoman forces, attacking with bayonets and bombs. 3 of them were wounded, while they killed 25 Ottomans, wounded 30, captured 45, and forced the rest to retreat 1,000 yards. All told, the western bank of the Jordan saw 6.5 hours of heavy hand-to-hand fighting, and took 450 prisoners, while the Australians suffered 108 casualties.

On the eastern bank of the Jordan, large Ottoman cavalry movements were attacked by elements of the Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade several times, spoiling the movements, killing many Ottomans with their lances, and taking many horses, while suffering 28 casualties over the course of the morning. Emboldened, other cavalry elements began crossing the Jordan and attacking in the early afternoon, pushing the Ottomans back and providing cover for machine guns to advance and force the Ottomans farther back.

All told, the Germans and Ottomans suffered 540 prisoners and 1,000 casualties, while the British suffered 189. Also on display is the German-Ottoman relations’ serious deterioration following Ensha Pasha’s attack on Russia in May, violating the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The Germans and Ottomans in field hospitals have to be separated on both sides to prevent fighting. The German see the Ottomans as sub-par and having let them down, while the Ottomans see the Germans as arrogant, and are envious of their being well-supplied. The Germans have good uniforms, boots, water, and medical supplies, while the Ottoman uniforms are falling apart, many have rags on their feet, and they are forced to forage for food and water. Also on display is the Australian cavalry’s abilities here; while British forces from other nations have proven themselves elsewhere, this victory by Australian cavalry, facing German stormtroopers for the first time on this front, has cemented their reputation as more than convicts and would-be soldiers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *