Battle of Gaza (Ottoman Empire WW I)


Battle of Gaza (Ottoman Empire WW I)
Battle of Gaza (Ottoman Empire in World War I)

17-19 April 1917
British forces commencing second invasion to take Ottoman-Palestine by launching attack to Gaza. Only 25.000 Ottoman troops with 70 guns and several German airplane defending the area while British massing up 5 Division (50.000 men),5.000 mounted camel unit, 182 guns, several planes and 8 heavy Mark I tank (Notoriously successful for assaulting Germans in European Front).
As British commencing the assault using bombardment and tanks, Ottoman gunners easily disabling British tanks in early battle (17-18 April). The British continued the assault through infantry and mounted attacks, from inland and coastal area. Even though massively outnumbered,had fewer guns, no tanks and sit on plain desert, the ottoman defenders fought valiantly and stay firmly holding the ground and successfully repel the assault.
As battle progress to third day (19 April) the casualties in the British side was mounting high. Trenches taken by British was easily re-captured by Ottoman forces. At the end of the day British forces retreated.
The casualties of the British forces was high, official statement British loss was 6,325 men, 3 tanks captured and other tanks destroyed. unofficial estimation for British losses up to 17,000 men.
While Ottoman defenders suffer casualties 2213 men (402 were killed in action). This Ottoman victory and British defeat hampered british offensive to palestine for 6 months.

Stalemate developed in the front for months, meanwhile, Arab rebels backed & funded by British and led by British Agent T.E Lawrence, carried out raid and destroyed ottoman defenders supply line and logistics in Palestine & Syria region. British falsely promised independent and united arab state from hejaz to syria, although all in only lip service for their war efforts. in August 1917, arab rebels destroying hejaz railway. in July 1917, Arab rebels successfuly occupy port of Aqaba, British then using the captured port to attack the region.

1-3 November 1917
as Ottoman supply to Gaza was severely weakened by Arab rebels, British forces commencing third assault to Gaza. 8.000 Ottoman forces defending Gaza from 35.000 British forces. Although outnumbered again, the Ottoman forces defended the city vigorously. But lack of ammunition and supply crippled Ottoman defense, and battle was won by the British forces.
Ottoman forces successful inflict heavy casualties on the attackers. British forces suffer 2,696 casualties while ottoman lost around 1000 men and 300 men captured.

The fall of Gaza and continuous arab-rebel backed by British raids paved the way for British advancement to occupy Palestine. As its supply lines are crippled by Arab rebels, the Ottoman defense in the region collapsed.
In December 1917, British forces successful take Jerusalem. Ending peacefully maintained Muslim rule of the city since middle ages.
After the war, instead of giving its promise for united Arab country, British and french as the victors of the war, carved the ottoman-held region in the Middle east along Sykes-Picot line. Ending Ottoman rule of 3 holy cities of Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina. Arab rebels betrayed by the British staged rebellion from the British & French occupiers, and gradually gained independence from 1920s. But the rebellion never remove British control of Palestine region. British occupation of Palestine lasted until 1948 after World war II, sowing conflicts in the region for the future to come.
It is not direct British attack which severly weakened the Ottoman Empire, internal strife for power within the Ottoman Empire itself does.