9/1/1917 Rafah: British and ANZAC troops at the gates of Palestine

British Empire forces are advancing across the Sinai, pushing back the Turkish forces that had been threatening the vital Suez Canal. To lessen the problems of supply, the British have built a railroad and laid a water pipeline as they advance. Consequently their progress is slow but methodical.

After their recent success at Maghdaba the British now push on to Rafah, on the border with Palestine. The Turks are holding a strong position but their defence is a static one. The British and ANZAC forces have the advantage of mobility, thanks to their armoured cars and cavalry (including both horse and camel-mounted troops).

The Turks soon find themselves surrounded. They put up a stout resistance but by the end of the day they are obliged to surrender. The British Empire forces take around 1,500 prisoners.

With Rafah having fallen the Turks no longer threaten the Suez Canal. Now the Turks are on the defensive, with the British and their antipodean allies threatening to push into Palestine towards Jaffa and Jerusalem and then on to the heart of Syria in the north.

image sources:

map of northern Sinai (Wikipedia)

The Battle of Rafah (Wikipedia)

Turkish prisoners after the battle

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