5/2/1915 Turkey repulsed at the Suez Canal

Ahmed Djemal Pasha is one of the triumvirate who effectively rule the Ottoman Empire; he is also the Minister of the Navy and mayor of Constantinople. He has personally led an invasion of Egypt, hoping to drive the British out of that country. As the Ottoman Sultan has declared a Jihad against the empire’s enemies, Djemal hopes that the Egyptians and any Muslim troops in the British army will side with the Turks and turn on the British. To accentuate its Jihadi credentials, his invasion force comprises only Muslim troops from the Ottoman Empire, with the exception of a small number of German staff officers.

The advance across the Sinai has been meticulously planned. Thanks largely to the preparations of Djemal’s German chief of staff, Friedrich von Kressenstein, the army has not lost any men in the desert and arrives at the Suez Canal intact. But then the problems begin. Thanks to aerial reconnaissance, the British know the Turks are coming. The Canal is defended too strongly for Djemal’s men to cross over to the west bank in force. Britain’s Indian troops show no signs of being about to join the Turkish Jihad.

Even without crossing the Canal, the Turkish army is able to close it off to enemy shipping. But Djemal’s army cannot remain in the Sinai desert for an extended period of time. Djemal orders a retreat back to Palestine. The British let them go unopposed.

So the attack has been a failure. The Turks have suffered a few thousand casualties in their attempt to force a crossing of the Canal, but at least Djemal’s army has not suffered the annihilation endured by Enver’s at Sarikamish.

images source (Wikipedia)

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