First Battle of Gaza - Background - Occupation of Rafa and Creation of Imperial Mounted Division

Occupation of Rafa and Creation of Imperial Mounted Division

Dobell ordered Rafa occupied by mounted troops while two infantry divisions of Eastern Force were kept at El Arish to defend his headquarters. However, a pause in the advance was necessary to enable the lines of communication to be lengthened and strengthened, and while this work was being carried out, the mounted division and mounted brigades were reorganised into two mounted divisions.

This reorganisation was prompted by the arrival of 6th and 22nd Mounted Brigades from the Salonika campaign. Instead of grouping the two new mounted brigades with the 5th Mounted Yeomanry Brigade to form the Imperial Mounted Division, the Anzac Mounted Division was broken up. Their 3rd Light Horse Brigade was transferred to the Imperial Mounted Division (established 12 February 1917 at Ferry Post on the Suez Canal under the command of Major-General H.W. Hodgson) to be joined by the 4th Light Horse Brigade which was in the process of formation at Ferry Post; it was planned to leave on 18 March for the front. In place of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade the newly arrived 22nd Mounted Brigade was attached to the Anzac Mounted Division.

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