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Posted on on October 7th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Battle of Beersheba (Turkish: Birüssebi Sava??) took place on 31 October 1917 – note please this is the day of Holloween – for what this is worth) –  as part of the Sinai and Palestine campaign during World War I. Notable was the charge of the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade, which covered some 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) to overrun and capture the last remaining Ottoman trenches, and secure the surviving wells at Birüssebi.

The battle of Beersheba (Then Birüssebi – and as a town established by the Ottomans in 1900)  was one critical element of a wider British offensive, known as the Third Battle of Gaza, aimed at breaking the Ottoman defensive line that stretched from Gaza on the Mediterranean shore to Beersheba, an important regional centre some 50 kilometres (31 mi) inland. Earlier in 1917, two previous attempts to breach this line had failed. After the Second Battle of Gaza ended in complete failure, General Archibald Murray, the commander in chief of the British forces in Egypt and Palestine, was replaced by the distinguished cavalry commander, General Edmund Allenby, formerly the commander of the British Third Army on the Western Front.

Allenby demanded and received large reinforcements before renewing the offensive. The “Eastern Force” headquarters was replaced by two infantry corps headquarters; the XX Corps, commanded by General Philip Chetwode, and the XXI Corps commanded by Lieutenant General Edward Bulfin. More significantly, with the formation of the British Yeomanry Mounted Division, Allenby possessed three mounted divisions. The two Australian-based divisions were combined to create the new Desert Mounted Corps, commanded by the newly promoted Lieutenant General Henry Chauvel, the first Australian general to command an army corps.

If interested to watch this event – that celebrates this year the 95th anniversary which is in effect a last rehearsal before the re-enactment by descendants of the original fighters five years from now that will be the centennial celebration – you can join a trip run from Tel Aviv by a tourism organization that you can reach by phone at: 03-6516065 and 052-3417492

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