15/10/1915 Turkey prepares to fight back in Mesopotamia

The Ottoman Empire suffered reverses on all fronts at the start of the war but now it looks like the storm has passed and Turkey’s enemies are not about to prevail against it. The Allied army in Gallipoli has failed to break out of its beach heads and does not look like it will ever be able to secure the Straits or march on Constantinople. The Russians in the Caucasus have run out of steam as German successes in Poland and eastern Europe force them to divert resources there. Only in Mesopotamia are the Allies still advancing, with British forces pressing up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Now Turkey’s leaders think the time has come to turn the tide in Mesopotamia. More forces are sent to the region, with a new man to command them, Germany’s Wilhelm Colmar von der Goltz. Goltz is 71 years of age but Enver Pasha, Turkey’s war minister, has high hopes for him. Goltz is told that he is not just to stabilise the situation in Mesopotamia but to prepare to wage war against the British in India (only a few thousand miles to the east). Enver hopes that Goltz can assist in rallying Indian Muslims to the Jihad proclaimed by the Turkish Sultan last year, perhaps in conjunction with the German diplomatic mission to Afghanistan.

Goltz may or may not see the conquest of India as a realistic goal. In the meantime he sets about preparing for the next battle with the British in Mesopotamia.

Wilhelm Colmar von der Goltz (Wikipedia)

From the Ottoman Empire to India (Schoenherr Home Page in Sunny Chula Vista)

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