British and Commonwealth forces have advanced across the Sinai desert but have been blocked form advancing into Palestine by the Turkish defenders of Gaza. Now British leaders in London decide that they have had enough of Murray, the local British commander. He is removed from command and replaced by Edmund Allenby, after South Africa’s Smuts declines the role.
Allenby previously served in the Boer War. More recently he was based on the Western Front, where he was the local commander at Arras. Considerable initial gains were achieved at Arras before the battle degenerated into the usual attritional meat-grinder. British leaders are hoping that he will be able to replicate his success in his
Allenby has been directed to advance into Palestine and seize Jerusalem by Christmas, but he is not being provided with any extra men to do this. His army is much stronger than that of the Turks but his task is not an easy one. The Turks are defending a strong position and have easy access to the waters of Palestine. For now at least Allenby’s men are stuck in a desert and face grave problems keeping themselves supplied, particularly with water. Nevertheless he begins to survey the situation and make plans for an advance north.
Edmund Allenby (Wikipedia)