The British Army in Mesopotamia, 1914–1918


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About the Book

When war broke out between the British and Turkish empires in 1914, the 6th (Poona) Division sailed from India to Basra to bolster Britain’s allies, deny the port to enemy shipping, and secure Britain’s Persian oil supplies. Further expansion followed: the capture of Al-Amara was the British Army’s greatest victory of 1915. When an advance on Baghdad was repulsed, the Siege of Kut became the British Army’s longest siege and greatest surrender. Attempts to relieve Kut led to unsuccessful battles that were bloody and muddy even by Western Front standards. Under new leadership, revitalized and reinforced, the British avenged their defeat when Baghdad was captured in March 1917. Thereafter, the British Empire committed, in campaigns of limited value to the overall war effort, huge levels of manpower and materiel desperately needed elsewhere. What was created was modern Iraq and the first Arab government in Baghdad in over 400 years.
This detailed history places the campaign in context of Allied operations in the Middle East and sheds light on several unsung heroes of the war, including General Charles Townshend whose spectacular 1915 victories led to humiliating defeat and captivity in 1916; General Frederick Stanley Maude whose March 1917 entry into Baghdad preceded General Allenby’s entry into Jerusalem by eight months; and Miss Gertrude Bell, a “female Lawrence of Arabia” who played a central role in the creation of the new Iraqi state.

About the Author(s)

Paul Knight is an officer in the British Territorial Army who served in Iraq between 2005 and 2007. He lives in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

Paul Knight
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, 26 maps, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7049-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9304-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

 1—The Turkish Question 3

 2—Securing the Oil, October 1914–April 1915 11

 3—Townshend’s Regatta, April 1915–June 1915 27

 4—Nasariya, June–July 1915 35

 5—Kut, Ctesiphon and Back to Kut, April 1915–November 1915 47

 6—The Siege of Kut, December 1915–April 1916 60

 7—The Relief of Kut, December 1915–April 1916 79

 8—To Baghdad Again, April 1916–March 1917 96

 9—Beyond Baghdad, March 1917–October 1918 113

10—The Fates of the Kuttites, April 1916–November 1918 154

11—Dunsterforce, Late 1917–October 1918 167

12—The Mesopotamia Commission, December 1915–May 1917 178

Aftermath 184

Conclusion 186

Chapter Notes 191

Bibliography 197

General Index 199

Military Units Index 203