The Third Battle of Gaza (1)
The 3rd battle for Gaza lasted for over a week. This time the bombardment from the Royal Navy and the Royal Artillery was calculated correctly and began ahead of the actual attack. As the 54th Division moved up along the coastal strip to the west, they came under heavy fire from the Ottoman defences. In spite of the disorientating effects of the artillery barrage and thanks to the effective supply lines, food & the all important water rations were able to reach the Finsbury Rifles & the other units in 162 Brigade. Lessons had been learned from previous failures….
Location REGENTS PARK AREA Date: 31/10/17
Bn: Squaring up bivouac, drawing clothing for forthcoming operations. Enemy lines heavily bombarded from land and sea batteries. Bn order no II in connection with forthcoming attack on Gaza attacked.
Location REGENTS PARK AREA and Gun Hill area ref Gaza 1/20000 P.Y.B-57.Date: 1/11/17
Bn preparing for move forward on enemy’s left. Objective of this Bn – the Turkish position of Gun Hill. Bn moved forward 0245 to the attack. Bn under the command of MAJOR FS HAMMOND.
0245 Bn moving to the attack along the Beach, came under heavy shrapnel fire at about 0330, 200 yards NE of SHEIKH AJLIN. Several casualties sustained, 2/LT BRIMFIELD signalling officer being killed. Bn halted under cliff ……pack animals, all animals were then sent back to starting point. Bn proceeded along the Beach under heavy shrapnel, rifle G fire. Very little cover was attainable and in some place none at all. Seaport in front of which the Bn had to deploy was reached at about 0400 and found to be in our hands. Bn HQ formed and Bn drawn up in readiness for the advance. 0430 Bn deployed D company leading and advanced on objectives,…..objectives taken 0500 2nd objective taken 0505 final objective occupied by D Company at 5.10 (GUN HILL). Slight opposition, enemy retired to usage our artillery tarry to SHEIKH HASSAN and there fell into the hands of 1/5 BEDFORD who had advanced along the Beach and the left of our positions. Our casualties slight – all companies engaged on consolidation work, enemy heavily shelling the captured positions all day. Rations and water reached the Bn about 2030 in spite of the beach being in enemy view and constantly sniped in consequence. Everyone very cheerful and satisfied 1/5 Bedfords at HASSAN. Casualties for the day about 55 NCOs and men and 5 officers killed and wounded.
Consolidation work proceeded with all day under heavy shell and rifle fire.
Date: 3/11/17 (contd)
Several casualties incurred. Attack at dawn on Turkish position of BELAH Trench Line by ¼ Essex. This work the final objective of the 1/10 London was strongly resisted by TURKS, and was not taken during the initial attack or by a subsequent attack during yesterday afternoon by ¼ NORTHANTS. The Essex attack at dawn failed with heavy loss and the position remained in the hands of the Turk who sniped and MG [ machine gunned] GUN HILL positions and the beach from it all day. Enemy heavily shelled by both land and sea batteries day and night. Rations and water reached us in excellent time. Also large quantities of REM admiral for consolidation work.
Bn engaged on consolidation work, several casualties incurred from enemy shell fire. GOC 162 Brigade visited and inspected the GUN HILL area – our ships busily engaged shelling enemy works and positions in rear of GAZA.
GUN HILL and area heavily shelled by enemy 5.9 batteries from an easterly and north easterly direction. Several direct hits attained on our trenches, no casualties or damage done. Consolidation still proceeding and 4 guns from LTMB attached for ……CRICKET VALLEY.