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India and The Battle of Haifa

The battle that was fought to end the fascist regime combine of German-Turk in the Middle-East during the First World War, has great imprint of Indian bravery. The Battle of Haifa is known for the exemplary cavalry skills and valour of Mysore Lancers and Jodhpur Lancers.

Points to remember about the War

  • Fought on 23 September 1918
  • Along with the Battle of Nabulus it formed the set piece Battle of Megiddo fought between 19 and 25 September, 1918.
  • The battle took place at the north western edge of the Esdraelon Plain (also known as the Jezreel valley and the plain of Armageddon) 64–80 km behind the front line in the Judean Hills.
  • Participants of Haifa war: the Indian 15th (Imperial Services) Cavalry Brigade, 5th Cavalry Division and the part of the Desert Mounted Corps jointly led attack on the forces of Ottoman Empire.
  • Indian participants: Mysore Lancers, Jodhpur Lancers and Hyderabad lancers
  • The 5th Cavalry Division were formed with three brigades, two of them composed of one British yeomanry regiment, and two British Indian Army cavalry regiments; one of which was usually lancers.
  • The 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade comprised of three cavalry regiments from the Indian Princely States of Jodhpur, Mysore and Hyderabad. However the Hyderabad Lancers had been detached to escort prisoners and had been replaced by the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry.
  • The 5th Cavalry Division was assigned the task of capturing Haifa and Acre after several earlier attempts were stopped by strong rearguard positions.
  • On September 23, 1918, the 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade comprising lancers from the regiments of princely states of Jodhpur and Mysore and a squadron from the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade, inflicted heavy assault on positions held by Ottoman Turks in and around the city of Haifa.
  • Eventually, the Indian cavalry brigades fighting under the leadership of British General Edmund Allenby helped liberate Haifa from the clutches of the Turkish-German forces.
  • Result of war: City of Haifa and Acre were captured, ending Turkish-German control over the area.
  • The victory was special as the Indian soldiers were armed only with lances (a kind of spear) and swords while the Turks had in their possession advance artillery and machine guns. The Indian troops displayed exemplary cavalry skills and valour during what was considered to be the last major cavalry campaign in military history.
  • Present remnants of Haifa war
  1. The Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers are now represented by the 61st Cavalry Regiment, in the Indian Army.
  2. Every year on September 23, the Indian Army celebrates ‘Haifa Day’ to commemorate the war dead during the Battle of Haifa, considered as one of the bravely-contested battles of World War I.
  3. The Teen Murti memorial was constructed in 1922 in the memory of the Indian soldiers from three princely states namely Jodhpur, Hyderabad and Mysore who served present day Gaza strip, Israel and Palestine during the World War I under British India Army.
  4. Haifa Indian Cemetery was constructed next to the Haifa War Cemetery. It contains the graves of 49 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War.

 

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