Beersheba, a heavily fortified town 43 km from the Turkish bastion of Gaza, was the scene of an historic charge by the 4th Light Horse Brigade on 31 October 1917. Beersheba anchored the right end of a defensive line that stretched all the way from Gaza on the Mediterranean coast. After two failed attempts to attack Gaza frontally it was decided to outflank it by turning the Turkish line around Beersheba. The attack was launched at dawn on 31 October but by late afternoon the British 20 Corps had made little headway toward the town and its vital wells. Lieutenant General Harry Chauvel, commanding the Desert Mounted Corps, thus ordered the 4th Light Horse Brigade forward to attempt to secure the position. Brigadier William Grant responded by ordering light horseman of the 4th and 12th Regiments to charge at the unwired Turkish trenches. Employing their bayonets as "swords" the momentum of the surprise attack carried them through the Turkish defences. The water supplies were saved and over 1,000 Turkish prisoners were taken. The fall of Beersheba thus opened the way for a general outflanking of the Gaza-Beersheba Line. After severe fighting Turkish forces abandoned Gaza on 6 November and began their withdrawal into Palestine.
CategoryAttack
Date from31 October 1917
Date to31 October 1917
Related places Beersheba
Related units
  • 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Imperial Camel Corps
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