Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918

The 1st World War in the Middle East: The Sinai-Palestine-Syria, Mespot, and Hejaz theatres
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Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918

Post by Moggy »

1915 Feb. 24 - Lloyd George emphazised attack on Dardanelles, and Mesopotamia "merely a side issue."

Mar. 2 - 14,000 British troops retreated from Shaiba.

Mar. 11 - British Euphrates Blockade Force began operations.

Apr. 12 - Battle of Shaiba southwest of Basra where 6100 British defeated 12,000 Turks, and Maj. Wheeler won 1st VC in the campaign.

Apr. 21 - Gorringe led 12,000 British from Basra to Ahwaz, captured fort in Persian Arabistan May 14.

May 27 - The first British aircraft began to fly patrols from Basra.

May 31 - Second Battle of Qurna won by 2500 British troops and "Townshend's Regatta" of 370 local boats.

June 1 British sloops on the Tigris captured Turk gunboat and steamer, on June 3 took Amara.

July 5 - Gorringe defeated Turks in advance toward Nasiriya.

Aug. 27 - In Mesopotamia, Townshend prepared for advance on Kut, British assembled Firefly gunboat at Abadan.

Sept. 12 - Gen. Charles Townsend led 11,000 from British base a Basra up the Tigris 300 miles to attack the Turkish base at Kut-el-Amara. He arrived outside Kut

Sept. 16, faced 10,000 Turkish troops led by Nur-ud-Din Pasha. Townsend attacked Sept. 27 and took the village.

Sep. 28 Battle of Kut began with attack on Es Sinn. Turks led by Nureddin lost 5300 casualties and retreated to Cteisphon where reinforcements increased the Turkish army to 18,000 with 45 artillery.

Oct. 3, Townshend reached Aziziyeh 50 miles from Baghdad, but London ordered the force to halt.

Oct. 24, the advance resumed, took Zor by Nov. 11 but supplies ran low.

Nov. 22, Townsend attacked Ctesiphon with 10,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry and 30 artillery, but was stopped by superior Turkish numbers, withdrew to Kut Nov. 25. The Turks lost 6200 and the British lost 4600. Turk guns on Tigris prevent British ships from helping Townshend defend against a counter-attack, and Townshend retreated with 22-mile night march to Azizyeh.

Dec. 1, British stopped Turks at Umm-at-Tubul but lost Firefly and Comet gunboats that ran aground. Townshend retreated 90 miles to Kut and took up defensive positions.

Dec. 5 - Siege of Kut began.

1916 Jan. 7 - On the Euphrates, Gen. George Gorringe with 1000 troops took Butaniya 12 miles north of Nasiriya, but forced to evacuate Feb. 7.

Jan. 9 - Kut relief force of 19,000 led by Gen. Fenton Aylmer, the Tigris Corps, defeated an army of 30,000 Turks at the Battle of Sheikh on the Tigris, but suffered heavy casualties.

Jan 19, Gen. P. Lake replace Gen. Nixon as commander of British forces in Mesopotamia.

Jan 21, the Turks defeated Aylmer at the Battle of Hanna, British lost 2741 casualties out of 7600 troops.

Feb 13, German planes bombed Kut, and the city became desparate.

Feb 16, London took command of operations from India. British 13th Division of Gallipoli veterans landed at Basra.

Mar 1, German planes dropped 50 bombs on Kut. British reinforcements were sent to Aylmer, and he advanced up the Tigris, but was defeated again March 8 at the Battle of Dujaila Redoubt.

Mar 11, Aylmer was replaced by Gen. George Gorringe, who waited until Apr. 5 to renew the relief expedition up the Tigris.

Apr 6, British suffered heavy casualties at Battle of Sannaiyat only 16 miles from Kut, lost again on Apr. 9

Apr. 14 German planes bombed 13th Division in 2nd Battle of Sannaiyat. The relief force was unable to go any farther.

Apr. 15, British planes dropped 16,800 lbs food into Kut from 140 flights. Capt. T. E. Lawrence failed to negotiate the release of besieged forces in Kut.

Apr 17, British failed to take Turk salient in Battle of Bait Aisa.

Apr 22, British were defeated in the 3rd Battle of Sannaiyat.

Apr 29 - Surrender of Kut and its British force of 13,000. In 1200-mile march to Anatolia prisoner camps, 4800 died. Tigris Corps relief expedition lost 23,000.

May - The British refused to let this defeat stand and so the new commander, General Maude was given additional reinforcements and equipment. For the next six months he trained and organized his army
Turk forces shifted north to meet Russians. British slowly rebuilt forces in southern Iraq.

Dec 13 The British advanced up both sides of the Tigris river, forcing the Ottoman army out of a number of fortified positions along the way. General Maude's offensive was methodical, organized, and successful.

1917 Feb. 25 - British retook Kut destroying most of the Mesopotamian-based Ottoman army in the process.

March the British were at the outskirts of Baghdad, and the Baghdad garrison, under the direct command of the Governor of Baghdad province Khalil Pasha, tried to stop them. General Maude outmanoeuvered the Ottoman forces, destroyed an Ottoman regiment and captured the Ottoman defensive positions. Khalil Pasha retreated in disarray out of the city.

Mar 11, the British entered Baghdad where they were greeted as liberators. The British Indian Army played a significant role in the liberation of Baghdad. Amidst the confusion of the retreat a large part of the Ottoman army (some 15,000 soldiers) were captured. A week after the city fell, General Maude issued the oft-quoted Proclamation of Baghdad, which contained the famous line "our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators".

18 Nov General Maude died of cholera on . He was replaced by General William Marshall who halted operations for the winter.

1918 Feb - The British resumed their offensive capturing Hīt and Khan al Baghdadi in March, and Kifri in April. For the rest of the 1918, the British had to move troops to the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in support of the Battle of Megiddo. General Marshall moved some of the forces east in support of General Lionel Dunsterville's operations in Persia during the summer of 1918.

Oct - Armistice conditions between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire began. General Marshall, following instructions from the War Office that "every effort was to be made to score as heavily as possible on the Tigris before the whistle blew" went on the offensive for the last time.

23 Oct - General Alexander Cobbe commanded a British force from Baghdad. Within two days it covered 120 kilometers, reaching the Little Zap River, where it expected to meet and engage the Turkish Sixth Army operating under Ismail Hakki Bey. He fought a battle at the Battle of Sharqat, routing the Ottoman army.

30 October - the Armistice of Mudros was signed and both parties accepted their current positions. General Marshall accepted the surrender of Khalil Pasha and the Ottoman 6th Army at the same day. But Cobbe did not hold his current position as the armistice required, and continued to advance on Mosul in the face of Turkish protests.

14 Nov - British troops marched unopposed into Mosul.
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