25/7/1915 Mesopotamia: Nasiriya falls, Britain contemplates further advances

Yesterday British forces (mostly recruited in India) fought the Turks outside the Mesopotamian city of Nasiriya. The Turks were pushed back to the city itself before nightfall halted fighting. As the sun rises today the British are preparing to attack again, but they are greeted by the sight of a delegation of Nasiriya’s leading citizens rowing out to them in a boat. They have come to surrender the town to the British, as the Turks have slipped away in the night. The British are pleased, as they were not keen on another day of tough fighting.

The British advance up the Euphrates was undertaken to secure the approaches to the port of Basra. With Nasiriya on the Euphrates and Amara on the Tigris in British hands, Basra should be safe. But General John Nixon, the overall British commander in the region, thinks otherwise. The Turks have a strong force in Kut al-Amara. This town is on the Tigris river but the Shatt al-Hayy canal runs from it to the Euphrates. Thus, the Turks in Kut are free to attack down either of the two rivers. Nixon thinks that Kut must be in British hands for his position to really be secure. Nixon petitions London for the reinforcements that will allow him to attack Kut in strength.

image source (Emerson Kent: World History for the Relaxed Historian)

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