16/7/1916 Britain sends Egyptian help to the Arab Revolt

In western Arabia, Sharif Hussein of Mecca is leading an Arab Revolt against the Turks. Hussein’s followers are struggling somewhat, as the Turkish troops are better equipped and trained than the irregulars who have rallied to the rebel cause. The Sharif has cleared the Turks from Mecca itself but the Turks remain firmly established in Medina and Ta’if.

With the assistance of the British navy, the rebels managed to secure the port of Jeddah. Now the rebels are receiving a steady flow of arms and gold from the British. Nevertheless, the rebels lack the training to take on the Turks in conventional warfare. The British are wary of sending troops to assist them, as the presence of infidel troops in the land of the Prophet could turn Muslim opinion against Sharif Hussein. Instead they despatch Muslim artillerymen from the Egyptian army to assist the rebels. Nominally independent, Egypt is effectively a British protectorate, so the British can send its armed forces wherever they want.

The Egyptians are deployed at Ta’if, where they begin to bombard the town’s defences. The town is strongly fortified, but with the Egyptians’ help the rebels should be able to eventually force its surrender.

image sources:

Arabia (Mental Floss WWI Centennial)

Ta’if dispositions (Axis History Forum)

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