|Australian light horsemen riding in north Jerusalem in this badly|
damaged photo from the Library of Congress collection
The third British attack against the Turkish defense lines in Gaza would be unleashed in the Fall of 1917, the German and Turkish military leadership strongly believed. Already in March and April 1917 the British had smashed up against the Turkish army in Gaza, the western edge of a 40-mile front, with heavy losses. And the British forces, now under the command of General Edmund Allenby, gave their enemy ample signs that Gaza was again the target.
|Turkish mounted lancers, Be'er Sheva|
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Click on the captions to see the originals.
|Turkish defenders at Be'er Sheva awaiting the British attack 1917|
|Funeral of Turkish army officer |
killed in action, Be'er Sheva, 1917
The battle began in the morning of October 31 with artillery barrages and infantry attacks against Turkish artillery, machine guns, and extentive trench defenses. Only in the afternoon did New Zealand troops capture a strategic hill, Tel Saba, that had provided the Turks a clear field of fire against troops crossing the plain on the approach to Be'er Sheva.
|Australian Light Horsemen guarding 600 prisoners of war -German officers and Turkish soldiers |
captured in the battle of Jericho, 1918
From Be'er Sheva, Allenby's troops were able to roll up the Turkish forces to their west and to move north up the Hebron road. Within two months, Allenby marched into the Old City of Jerusalem.
View an account of the Battle for Be'er Sheva in the Australian movie "The Lighthorsemen."
*Cobber - Austral., Slang a close companion; comrade. Origin: prob. Heb. chaver, comrade