The Palestine campaign of 1917 saw Britain’s armed forces rise from defeat to achieve stunning victory. After two failed attempts in the spring, at the end of the year they broke through the Ottoman line with an innovative mixture of old and new technology and tactics, and managed to advance over 50 miles, from Gaza to Jerusalem, in only two months.
As well as discussions of military strategy, Stuart Hadaway’s gripping narrative of the campaign gives a broad account of the men on both sides who lived and fought in the harsh desert conditions of Palestine, facing not only brave and determined enemies, but also the environment itself: heat, disease and an ever-present thirst.
Involving Ottoman, ANZAC, British and Arab forces, the campaign saw great empires manoeuvring for the coveted Holy Land. It was Britain’s victory in 1917, however, that redrew the maps of the Middle East and shaped the political climate for the century to come.