The Allenby Effect
After the failures to take Gaza in March-April 1917, it was clear that the Egyptian Expeditionary Force needed a fresh approach and a new command structure. General Sir Archibald Murray was posted back to the UK to be head of the army in Aldershot while General Sir Edmund Allenby took over as Commander-in-Chief of the EEF at the end of June 1918.
General Allenby had served for 3 years on the Western. He had learned the hard way what was needed to fight a modern technological war. One crucial aspect of this was listening to subordinate commanders . General Murray had failed to do this at Second Gaza with disastrous results.
General Allenby re-organised the EEF into 3 corps -2 infantry and 1 cavalry. This allowed heavy artillery units to support the infantry corps more effectively. He moved the HQ to Cairo to Khan Yunis, south of Gaza which was far nearer the front line . He also introduced relentless and focused training throughout the EEF to bring up levels of fitness and technical knowledge. Everyone would know exactly what they should be doing for the forthcoming third attack on Gaza.
Location CENTRE SUB STATION RESERVE (COASTAL SECTOR)
Bn: engaged in settling down and generally improving bivouac area. Working parties found of 2 officers and 160 men for works under RE direction, 1430 and 1900 (respectively 40 and 120 men). CAPT G.R.MELLOR attached from 1st (KINGS) LIVERPOOL RGT LEFT today to rejoin his original Bn: under orders from DAG.GHQ. Voluntary Service by Chaplain 1600.
Bn engaged on Training. Special classes of Bombers and Lewis Gunners formed. 2 officers and 160 men engaged under RE for work on defences.
Date: 2 to 3/10/17
Bn Training. 3 officers and 300 men onward morning training on defence works under orders O.C front line sections. 2 officers and 200 men engaged under direction of RE on defence works vc. Lieut ROBERTSON (transport officer) necessary personnel proceeded for duty to 92b by ASC 75th division.
Date: 4 to 5 /10/17
Bn finding big working parties for Front Line Commanders and RE defence works.
Orders received to move to Northern BELAL area to train for coming operations.
Entire Bn on working portico and Brigade fatigue work. C.O proceeding along cont. Northwards, by steam drifter for reconnaissance work.
Communion service 0900. Remainder of day spent in in packing up and otherwise getting ready to move. Bn relieved by 1/4 R Scots at 1800, and proceeded by March Route to new Bivouac area at Belah, there to train for forthcoming operations.
Day spent in squaring up camping area at BELAH. Kit inspections and bathing under company arrangements. 11 Other Ranks rejoined from hospital.
Inspection of Bn by C.O followed by company training and battalion close order drill. Conference of C.O at Brigade ND.
Bn: engaged in training in attack formation based on new organisation (0800-1200) all officers attending C.O conference at 1630.
Location BELAH N AREA Date: 11/10/17
Bn under training 0630-0700. Bayonet fighting 0800-1200. Bn Parade. 1600-1700 Bn classes in bombing and Lewis gun.1800-2000 Night work.
Bn Parade 0700. Practice attack on prepared positions. Specialist classes as usual.
Bn practising attack on prepared positions 0700-1200.
Divine service in conjunction with the 1/10 LONDON at 0830. 2LT G.A. PARRY rejoined from hospital.
Bn Parade 0700 practice attack on prepared positions. 1600-1700 specialists training – Lieut F HEILGER rejoined from hospital.
Bn Parade 0745, operations on prepared area 1600-1700 specialists training.