After their defeat at Ctesiphon, British forces under General Townshend have retreated to Kut-al-Amara. Now the Turks under Colonel Nurredin arrive and begin to besiege Townshend’s army. The British have enough rations to see them to early February. Townshend is confident that his mostly Indian troops will be able to hold out until relief arrives. Then they can resume their advance on Baghdad.
General Nixon is the supreme commander of British forces in Mesopotamia. He is indeed determined that the Kut army must be relieved, though the current strength of the enemy means that he has abandoned plans to conquer Baghdad. Reinforcements are continuously arriving in Basra and with them is another General, Sir Fenton Aylmer. Nixon gives him the vital job of leading the force that will break the siege of Kut and rescue Townshend’s army.
British reinforcements arrive in Basra (Daily Record)