Military Review

In the footsteps of the crusaders. Part of 2. Triumph of strategic cavalry

25
On the morning of September 19, after a short, powerful artillery preparation, the infantry of the five divisions of the 21 Army Corps attacked the enemy and by 6.00 captured the first line of defense. Turning to the offensive on the left flank along the coast, the British penetrated into the location of the Turks to a depth of 20 km.


Before entering the cavalry in the breakthrough and during its movement to the objects of impact, English aviation within 4 hours bombed enemy troops and rear. As a result of this bombing, Turkish troops suffered heavy losses.

The cavalry, not expecting to clear the enemy defense, rushes into a breakthrough.

The 5 Cavalry Division, which secured passes through the enemy’s wire and trenches, following the 60 Infantry Division, mounted cavalry, covered with coastal hills, reached the hills at p. Without any particular delay. Nahr El Falik.

The 4 Cavalry Division did not secure access to the wire and the trenches, which resulted in it being delayed much longer - but around 10.00 it crossed the Nahr El Falik and also began to move in the rear of the enemy. Horse artillery joined their divisions.

Aerial reconnaissance systematically informed divisional commanders about troop movements in the rear of the enemy. Due to this circumstance, the English cavalry had the opportunity to suddenly attack (mainly in the equestrian ranks) enemy units moving to meet it.


British cavalry in the east. Hussars of the 14 Regiment in the Jebel Hamrin Mountains.

By noon, 19, September, the corps reached the third line of defense and captured it, completing its immediate task. The Turkish cavalry, grouped north of Mukhalis, retreated without a fight.

As a result of the sudden and rapid actions of the British cavalry, the fate of the Turkish-German defense was resolved during the first stage of the offensive. On the way of their movement, only in one of the regions, the cavalry found 90 guns abandoned by the Turkish corps, 1000 carts and 50 vehicles. By the end of the day, the cavalry had captured the important Tul-Karm railway junction.

Up to the big halt, the cavalry made (and in difficult terrain conditions) up to 50 km. After a big halt, in 17.00 - 18.00 4-I and 5-I cavalry divisions resumed movement to the passes through the Samaria Range - to exit into the valley of Ezdraelon.


Chief of Staff E. Allenby Major General L. Bolz.

On September 20, the British were successfully developing the offensive - the center of their troops was advancing towards Nabulus, and the left flank, continuing to deliver a bypass attack, went east of Tul Karm, and, taking the front to the east, threatened the Turks with coverage. The cavalry, continuing pursuit in the general direction to the northeast, having made a march in 60 km, goes to the area of ​​Lake Tiberias and intercepts the railway at Beyzan and El-Fulce.

The cavalry acted aggressively and effectively.

On the night of 20 September, the main corps forces, having passed 40 - 60 km, went to the Ezdraelon valley. The 13 Brigade of the 5 Cavalry Division attacked at dawn and occupied Nazareth with 8.00, where the headquarters of the Estuary von Sanders was located. This was finally disrupted by the management of the Turkish-German troops. The 14 Brigade of the 5 Cavalry Division and the 4 Cavalry Division destroyed several separate enemy units on their way to 8.00 and reached El Afule where the main communications hub and warehouses of the front were located. The 14 Brigade of the 5 Cavalry Division remained in El Afula, while the 4 Cavalry Division moved on to Weisan, whose garrison offered little resistance. The 19 th Ulan regiment was then pushed to the ferry across the r. Jordan in Cizr El Medjany, which was captured on the morning of September 21.


The direction of the cavalry.

As a result of successful actions of the British aviation, which paralyzed the communications system, the local Turkish-German garrisons in most cases did not know anything about the actions of the British cavalry in their rear - and, as a rule, did not even have time to get ready for battle. Even the higher headquarters did not have a clear idea of ​​the situation - for example, commander-in-chief Liman von Sanders, taken aback in Nazareth, barely escaped captivity.

Thus, by the evening of September 20, the British cavalry became the master of the situation in the valley of Ezdraelon - preparing to meet the forces of enemy armies retreating from the south.



21 September the cavalry takes the ferry across the river. Jordan at Samana and Nazareth, cutting off the Turkish armies to the north, forcing them to change the direction of their retreat to the east, being attacked by Arab troops operating along the Amman-Damascus railway.

As a result of successful actions of cavalry and air fleet at the rear of the enemy, in a three-day battle, E. Allenby surrounded and defeated 3 Turkish armies. The 7th and 8th armies, having lost their full combat readiness, surrendered to the British. Only the miserable remnants of the 4th Army managed to retreat to Damascus.

28 September, the British are free to go to the front of Derat - Lake. Tiberias is Akka, and October 1 is occupied by the capital of Syria, Damascus.

In this operation, the cavalry demonstrated - with what extreme stress it can work even in extremely difficult terrain conditions. The 13 Brigade of the 5 Cavalry Division for 23 hours passed 110 km (of which 40 km - at night along the pack trails) and then led the 5-hour street battle with the enemy infantry. 4-I cavalry division for 34 hours passed with fights around 140 km, overcoming the difficult passes of the Samaria range at night. Its 19 th Uhlan regiment for 2 days passed about 165 km, performing a responsible combat mission. The remaining parts of the hull for 1,5 days passed on mountainous terrain at least 110 km - also with fights.

Thus, as comrade G. I. Sokolov rightly noted, the British’s operation in Palestine in September, 1918, is “almost the only stories World War I exemplified the skillful use of cavalry for the development of a breakthrough. " Kombrig S. S. Flisovskiy writes: “The actions of the English cavalry in Palestine and Syria in September 1918 are the only example during the war 1914 - 1918. the skillful use of cavalry by the high command to develop the success of the breakthrough and an example of great perseverance and active completed actions on the environment to defeat the enemy with cavalry.

The most important task was entrusted to the cavalry - to ensure the encirclement and destruction of the bulk of the enemy's forces by actions from the rear. The depth of penetration of the cavalry in the enemy rear was significant - to 3 - 4 infantry transitions. The task required extreme pressure from the cavalry: its main forces in less than 2 days had to go about 140 km - in order to capture the most important mountain exits before the outgoing enemy units arrived. Thus, the tasks set by the cavalry were based on proper consideration of its most important qualities: mobility, the strength of a massive strike, the effectiveness of moral influence (in case of sudden attacks) - especially in the rear of the enemy.

One of the most important reasons for success was the proper organization of interaction between the cavalry, aircraft and combined-arms units, advancing from the front. Aviation played a particularly important role in ensuring the actions of the cavalry, depriving the enemy of aerial reconnaissance, disorganizing its control, promptly reporting on all movements in its rear, and finally defeating individual columns of the departing enemy. I would like to emphasize the importance of this interaction. And it is imperative that before the introduction of cavalry into a breakthrough, enemy aircraft must be suppressed. So, if the British in the considered Palestinian operation for a long time and stubbornly sought to suppress German aircraft (and because of this, their cavalry did not feel the impact from the air forces of the enemy), then in Lutsk 1916 breakthrough during the movement of the Russian cavalry to the r. Stokhod, when the threat was created of the complete defeat of the Austrians, the Austro-German command threw all their aviation against the Russian cavalry.

Of great importance was the surprise impact of the British - in particular, a surprise for the Turkish-German command of entering into the breakthrough of large forces of cavalry. There is no doubt that under other circumstances the pace of the cavalry movement would be significantly reduced, and on the difficult to pass Samaria range it could meet with serious resistance.

In the operation in question, as well as in the actions in the same time period on the Thessaloniki front (where the cavalry was also successfully used to develop success - the French cavalry detachment with a sudden seizure of Uskuba cut off the only way of the German 11 army withdrawal, forcing it to surrender; about this in a future article), the cavalry, boldly rushed forward - did not look at his infantry. It resolutely went deep into the rear of the enemy's disposition, not caring to maintain a direct connection with the all-military forces advancing from the front. It was the bold and decisive actions of the cavalry that were the reason for the success she achieved in the Palestinian and Thessaloniki operations. In a tactical section, cavalry actions were distinguished by great swiftness. Cavalry units almost everywhere attacked the enemy in a cavalry formation, fighting in dismounted combat formations were fought either against units that retained combat capability, or when the terrain did not allow an attack in equestrian formation. The combat order of the cavalry corps at the initial stage of the operation had a strong second echelon. In the future, the fighting was conducted by brigades and divisions; There was no battle on the scale of the whole corps. This is explained by the broad front of actions in the enemy's rear and the weakness of its departing columns.

In the depth of the location of their armies, the Turkish-German command could not oppose either British or cavalry to the British cavalry. The cavalry corps became the master of the situation in the rear of the enemy - remaining outside of any active influence from the latter. This situation was created due to two circumstances: a) the Turkish-German command did not have aircraft and reserves to counter cavalry (in particular, it did not have strong moving parts in its hands); b) it was not aware of the real events at the front and in the rear of their armies.

There is no doubt that in the conditions of the Palestinian and Thessaloniki fronts there was more operational space for the cavalry than on the European fronts, where solid and to the limit saturated fronts did not allow her to maneuver. However, in the conditions of hostilities in Western Europe there were certain moments when a wide field of activity opened up for cavalry.

Thus, despite the difficulties of a desert-mountain theater of operations (waterlessness, heat, etc.), the cavalry fulfilled the task of quickly pursuing and encircling the enemy, and with great success. The use of cavalry - both in the Palestinian and Amiens operations - had the character of large-scale use of cavalry in an offensive operation - but with varying degrees of success and with a different level of interaction. In the first operation, cavalry acts mainly in cooperation with the air fleet, and in the second - with tanks. The main factors for the success of the cavalry in the operation under consideration were: a) its massaging, b) the correct choice of the direction of actions and objects of attack, c) timely entry into the breakthrough, d) close interaction of the cavalry (in delivering an attack - in time and objects) with aviation. And the airstrikes preceding the introduction of cavalry into the breakthrough became an important guarantee of success.


An example of the interaction of cavalrymen and pilots. British horsemen capture the enemy pilot before he managed to burn his car. This episode occurred during the onset of troops E. Allenby. The enemy pilot was shot down during an air duel by a British pilot, and captured by cavalrymen who arrived in time.
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Articles from this series:
In the footsteps of the crusaders. Part of 1. Front in the Holy Land
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  1. Horseman without a head
    Horseman without a head April 28 2018 05: 37
    +18
    Chic page of military history
    truly a triumph, the fate of 3 armies in the hands of the cavalry corps
    task completed and exceeded
    1. Streletskos
      Streletskos April 28 2018 08: 17
      +17
      Chic page of military history
      truly a triumph, the fate of 3 armies in the hands of the cavalry corps
      task completed and exceeded

      YES!
  2. Cartalon
    Cartalon April 28 2018 06: 25
    +3
    The only conclusion is that in WWI cavalry could be successful only in the absence of an enemy who could resist. The rest is from the evil one.
    1. BRONEVIK
      BRONEVIK April 28 2018 08: 13
      +19
      The only conclusion is that in WWI cavalry could be successful only in the absence of an enemy who could resist. The rest is from the evil one.

      The root of the wrong conclusion.
      Even in the 1918 Palestinian operation, the enemy, as we see, resisted.
      In the Amiens operation of 1918, cavalry also did a lot - though not so much as they wanted.
      And in this article, they probably looked,
      cavalry was also successfully used on the Thessaloniki front to develop success - the French cavalry detachment, with the sudden capture of Uskub, cut off the only way for the German 11th Army to withdraw, forcing it to surrender
      - that is, during the campaign of 1918 (!!) this is the second case after the solution of strategic tasks after Palestine.
      In Palestine - 3 armies, in Uskub - 1 army surrendered thanks to the cavalry.
      I’m silent about the Russian front. In July 15, the Mitavian hussars stopped the advancing infantry of the Germans, and the Arkhangelogorod hussars in the same month of the same year took the reinforced position of the Germans. The equestrian corps of Count Keller in March 15 defeated the combined arms army of the Austrians.
      As Anton Kersnovsky wrote
      The cavalry gained fame for itself and for Russian weapons whenever its lavas were inspired and controlled by its worthy leaders. She made up to 400 attacks on horseback, in which 170 guns were captured, defeated an entire army (Seventh Austro-Hungarian army on April 27-28, 1915 at Gorodenka and Rzhavantsev), saved our own armies twice (1st at Neradov 3 July 1915 and 11th at Niva Zlochevskaya on June 19, 1916). Recall how the 12th Cav. the division of the 8th army under Ore, which is of great strategic importance for the whole of S.-Z. the front was attacked by Nizhny Novgorod dragoons near Kolyushki, as all Austro-German armies shocked the attack of the Orenburg Cossacks near Koshev and the “Wild Division” near Yezeryan. And how many times are our foot soldiers. divisions and corps were rescued by selfless attacks that were not afraid of anything and swept away hundreds and squadrons ... "

      You can’t say better
      1. Streletskos
        Streletskos April 28 2018 08: 21
        +17
        You are absolutely right BRONEVIK
        And in Palestine, I’ll add that the British cavalry did not act so brilliantly because the enemy did not resist - the cavalry simply acted wisely and aggressively. And, which is very important, interacting wonderfully with other military branches - primarily aviation.
        No wonder this is noted by our military historians brigade commander Sokolov and Fleisovsky.
        1. Cartalon
          Cartalon April 28 2018 09: 33
          0
          But if the Turks had aviation or reserves, or at least an acceptable supply, then of course there would have been various difficulties and the entire cavalry would have trodden behind in the rear as usual.
          1. Cheburator
            Cheburator April 28 2018 10: 34
            +17
            So in the article it is said that the absence of aviation and mobile troops among the German-Turks eased the task for the British. More precisely, they had aviation - but it was suppressed ahead of time.
            And if there were aviation and mobile troops, the result would still be, albeit to a shallower depth. The deserted equestrian corps is an excellent combination with rich combat experience.
  3. BRONEVIK
    BRONEVIK April 28 2018 08: 14
    +19
    Thank you for the article and very interesting details.
    Photo to the topic
    1. Streletskos
      Streletskos April 28 2018 08: 21
      +17
      Thank you for the article and very interesting details.

      Join
      1. kipage
        kipage April 28 2018 10: 54
        +17
        I liked the last photo very much.
        An example of the interaction of cavalrymen and pilots.
        The Briton shot down a German, and, as I understand it, he led a detachment of the Desert Horse Corps to the place where the plane crashed. It was possible to save the remains of the aircraft and capture the pilot.
  4. Black cat
    Black cat April 28 2018 08: 47
    +1
    "She resolutely went deep into the rear of the enemy’s disposition, not caring about maintaining direct contact with the combined arms units advancing from the front." An extremely dangerous idea, the events of the Soviet-Polish war are clear evidence of this. Any development of the enemy’s breakthrough in depth must be ensured, otherwise the mobile group itself may be surrounded, remember at least the fate of Efremov’s army 33. It was the willingness of the Turks to surrender at the first hint of encirclement from the part that predetermined success, although it should be noted that the British correctly used this factor, since in that situation, the tactics of breaking through the Turks without regard to their combined arms formations were quite appropriate. Well, then the Turks were not able to conduct an offensive operation.
    1. Cheburator
      Cheburator April 28 2018 08: 57
      +18
      Well, then the Turks were not able to conduct an offensive operation.

      But the Turks did not carry out an offensive operation.
      They held the defense. With the support of German aviation and individual German units integrated into their army.
      Any development of the enemy’s breakthrough in depth must be ensured, otherwise the mobile group itself may be surrounded, remember at least the fate of Efremov’s army 33.

      It certainly depends on the situation.
      But, as the experience of the WWI showed, even in the 1918 campaign, the cavalry played a strategic role three times (Palestine, Uskub, Amiens) - and this is a lot.
    2. kipage
      kipage April 28 2018 11: 13
      +17
      Black cat, but you can find out what event of the Soviet-Polish war allegedly contradicts the assertion that "resolutely deepening, etc."?
      You do not confuse the Western and South-Western fronts?
      The 1st Cavalry Army of the YuzhF just confirms this thesis, as do the cavalry brigade commanders named in the article. Just 1 Horse Army, not caring about maintaining ties with combined arms units (Vladimir-Volyn, Rivne operations, etc.), was the locomotive for combined arms that trailed behind, exploiting its successes. And almost reached Lviv - was recalled.
      Or is it the wrong opponent again? Armed well, the same theater - the old lines of trenches with barbed wire. Aviation, machine guns. And nevertheless - a classic)
      And the case with the 33rd army is not in time and place. Another era and setting. Then it’s better to recall Dovator’s raids.
      1. Rotmistr
        Rotmistr April 28 2018 13: 28
        +17
        Just 1 Horse Army, not caring about maintaining contact with combined arms units (Vladimir-Volyn, Rivne operations, etc.), was the locomotive for combined arms

        One can recall the Kiev battle of 1920.
        https://topwar.ru/106157-kievskoe-srazhenie-1920-
        y.html
        So the Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1920. is just a clear confirmation of the fidelity of this wording:
        She resolutely went deep into the rear of the enemy’s disposition, not caring about maintaining direct contact with the combined arms forces advancing from the front
  5. Cheburator
    Cheburator April 28 2018 09: 02
    +17
    The author gave a huge list of his works on the active actions of the cavalry in the WWI - on the widest range of tasks -
    https://topwar.ru/139862-podderzhivaya-bronirovan
    nye-chudovischa-kavaleriya-i-tanki-v-amenskoy-ope
    racii-ch-1-britanskaya-kavaleriya-na-3-y-god-miro
    voy-voyny.html
    Obviously, it is worth continuing the topic, for there are so many misconceptions and insinuations that follow from some comments. Everything just needs to be in place and on time - this also applies to the use of cavalry. Competently act and interact.
    And the facts are the best illustration of real life.
    1. Serge72
      Serge72 April 28 2018 09: 17
      +16
      Exactly hi
  6. Black cat
    Black cat April 28 2018 09: 19
    0
    Quote: Cheburator
    But, as the experience of the WWI showed, even in the 1918 campaign, the cavalry played a strategic role three times (Palestine, Uskub, Amiens) - and this is a lot.

    Undoubtedly, the cavalry played a role, it was in fact the only mobile type of ground forces in that war, and it is completely logical to use it to develop success. But this was not my point. And the fact that you cannot recklessly throw any, even mechanized, connection into a breakthrough of the defense of an efficient enemy - it will itself be surrounded, unfortunately there are a lot of such examples.
    1. Cheburator
      Cheburator April 28 2018 09: 23
      +18
      And my thesis was that you shouldn’t throw any connection at all.
      Without interaction, etc.
      And the cavalry in the Palestinian operation interacted with aviation. She also had her own artillery. If necessary - dismounted.
      The speed of action and demoralization of the enemy reinforced the effect. There was an effect in the Amiens operation (supporting armored monsters) - there interacted with tanks, and a different situation. Another and the result.
      I hope that the author will tell us about Uskub
  7. kipage
    kipage April 28 2018 10: 50
    +17
    A quality article, with correctly noted patterns of cavalry use in WWI.
    Some cavalry actions are perceived only as a horse mass, rushing into the attack. And this is not true.
    The strength of the cavalry is primarily in mobility, which is very important for the pace of development of the operation. Most important is mobility and maneuver, speed of the latter. And then in what order the battle will be fought - on foot or horseback, this is secondary. But by the way, the ability to combine battle formation is another plus of the cavalry. That is, it is a universal military branch.
    Of course, it is smaller in number than the infantry and does not have the same amount of heavy weapons, but it is mobile and universal. The Palestinian operation, as rightly noted, is the culmination of the use of strategic cavalry in WWII. Although there were other examples (albeit less ambitious) - on the French, Russian and Thessaloniki fronts. Some are considered, we are waiting for others in future articles.
    Thanks to the author for an interesting cycle.
    1. Rotmistr
      Rotmistr April 28 2018 13: 29
      +17
      Each kind of troops has its own tasks.
      The main thing is to establish a "orchestra" of quality interaction, without contrasting one another.
      good
  8. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh April 28 2018 13: 53
    +2
    The Prime Minister of Australia recently visited us. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Be'er Sheva from the Turks by the Australian Army. This battle is considered in Australia, "the birthday of the Australian army." The first baptism of fire.
    1. Horseman without a head
      Horseman without a head April 28 2018 14: 06
      +18
      Palestine??
      But did the Dardanelles 3 years earlier ???
      Gibson won even in the film starred in his youth
      1. Albatroz
        Albatroz April 29 2018 09: 39
        +3
        You are right headless horseman
        Phrase voyaka uh
        the liberation of the city of Be'er Sheva from the Turks by the Australian army. This battle is considered in Australia, "the birthday of the Australian army." The first baptism of fire.

        not true.
        The day of the first baptism of fire of the Australian Army on April 25, 1915 is the day of the landing of parts of the ANZAC corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
        1. voyaka uh
          voyaka uh April 29 2018 15: 57
          0
          Indeed, they landed there .. recourse You are right.
          Maybe they meant Be'er Sheva as the first victory
          Australians?
          1. Albatroz
            Albatroz April 29 2018 16: 10
            0
            I don’t even know what they had in mind.
            In the Gallipoli operation, the Australians won a number of victories - first in April-May, and then in August 1915. I will even say that the bay of Anzac and Suvla - places of military glory for the Australians to a much greater extent than Palestine. For example, during the examined operation of 1918, the main laurels went to the 4th and 5th cd, and not to the Australian cd.