In Mesopotamia a British army is under siege in Kut-al-Amara. The besieging Turks are commanded by Colonel Nurredin, victor of the Battle of Ctesiphon… or they were until today. The overall commander of the Turkish forces in Mesopotamia is Germany’s General Goltz. Goltz and Nurredin are not close. The German was shocked by Nurredin’s unapproved attempt to storm Kut on Christmas Eve. Now Goltz manages to have Nurredin transferred from Mesopotamia and sent off to the Caucasus.
The new Turkish commander at Kut is General Halil, uncle of Enver Pasha, the Turkish war minister. Halil was also the Turkish commander at the Siege of Van and the veteran of various unsavoury actions against Armenian civilians.
Halil is not going to have any time to quietly settle into his new role. His first task is to prevent the British relief force of General Aylmer from raising the siege of Kut. After forcing the Turks to abandon positions at Sheikh Saad and al-Wadi, the British are now preparing to attack the Turks defending the Hanna defile, their last position before Kut itself.