Palestine The Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918
The Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918
Edward J Erikson
The campaigns fought by the Ottomans against the British in Palestine are often neglected in accounts of the Great War, yet they are fascinating from the point of view of military history and critically important because of their impact upon the modern Middle East. Edward Erickson’s authoritative and absorbing account of the four-year struggle for control of Palestine between 1914 and 1918 – of the battles fought for Suez, Sinai, Gaza, Jordan and Syria- opens up this little-understood aspect of the global conflict and it does so in a strikingly original way, by covering the fighting from the Ottoman perspective.
His narrative records, and analyses, the fast-moving, fluid character of the warfare, for these were campaigns of sharp battles and sweeping manoeuvres in marked contrast to the static trench warfare that characterised the fighting on the Western Front and Gallipoli.
Using Turkish official histories and military archives, he recounts the entire course of the conflict, from the initial attack by German-led Ottoman forces on Sinai and the Suez Canal, the struggle for Gaza and the outbreak of the Arab Revolt to the British offensive, the battle for Jerusalem, the Ottoman defeat at Megiddo and the rapid British advance which led to the capture of Damascus and Aleppo in 1918.
As well as describing the fighting in the field, Edward Erickson offers a critical insight into the opposing forces, the Ottoman Army in particular, and assesses the decision-making and leadership of the principal commanders including Erich von Falkenhayn, Liman von Sanders, Mustafa Kemal and Edmund Allenby.
His study throws a fresh light on the performance of the Ottoman army during the conflict, and on the subsequent development of the Middle East. It will be essential reading for anyone who wants to learn more about how the Great War was fought outside Europe.