Battle of Mughar Ridge - Prelude - Allenby Prepares For Battle As Kress Counter-attacks - Infantry Attack Brown Hill, 12 November

Infantry Attack Brown Hill, 12 November

The 52nd (Lowland) Division was to make a preparatory attack near the coast to open the way for the attack on Junction Station the next day. They were to attack north of the Nahr Sukhereir between the villages of Burqa and Yazur with the Yeomanry Mounted Division acting as flank guard. Their objective was an important Ottoman rearguard position which ran from the village of Burqa to Brown Hill. While the village was easily taken it was necessary to make an extremely difficult attack on the steep sided Brown Hill. The hill was topped by a large cairn and commanded a long field of fire over the plain southwards across the Nahr Sukhereir. By the time a battalion of the 156th Brigade, covered by two batteries of the 264th Brigade Royal Field Artillery and the South African Field Artillery Brigade of 75th Division, captured the crest it had been reduced to a handful of men. But just 20 minutes after taking Brown Hill the remnants of the Scots battalion (now down to just one officer and about 100 men) was unable to withstand an Ottoman counterattack and was driven off after a fierce struggle at close quarters.

The 2/3rd Gurkha Rifles were then ordered to renew the attack at dusk. Owing to poor light, the artillery was no longer able to give much assistance, but nevertheless the Gurkhas quickly retook the hill with a bayonet charge, suffering 50 casualties, and in the process recovering two Lewis guns. The attacking battalion suffered over 400 killed or wounded, while the defending Ottoman 7th Division must have also suffered heavy casualties; 170 dead Ottoman soldiers were found on the battlefield. The fighting here has been described as equal to the 157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade's encounter at Sausage Ridge on 8 November. The success of these operations north of the Nahr Sukhereir opened the way for the main attacks the following day, on the Ottoman armies' front line positions.

Read more about this topic:  Battle Of Mughar Ridge, Prelude, Allenby Prepares For Battle As Kress Counter-attacks

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