Affair of Huj, 8 November 1917

The affair of Huj, 8 November 1917, was one of the more dramatic incidents of the British pursuit of the Turkish armies retreating after the third battle of Gaza (31 October-7 November). The advance of the British 60th Division towards Huj was held up at 2 p.m. by a well located Turkish rearguard. The Turks were located on a ridgeline south of Huj, where they had placed a mix of German, Austrian and Turkish artillery guns and four machine guns. Major General Shea, commander of the 60th Division, recognised how difficult it would be for his infantry to take this position, and so called on the Desert Mounted Corps for assistance.

The only troops available in the area were one and a half squadrons of the Worcestershire Yeomanry and one and a half squadrons of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, all from the 5th Mounted Brigade of the Australian Mounted Division, a total of 12 officers and 158 men. 

This small cavalry force was able to reach a position 1,000 yards from the Turkish left flank under cover of a second ridge. From there they split into three. One squadron of the Worcesters attacked the main infantry force. One squadron of the Warwicks with the half squadron of Worcesters attacked the Austrian artillery and the machine guns at the centre of the line. The final half squadron of the Worcesters attacked a force of Turkish troops seen behind the main lines.

All three charges achieved their objectives. The infantry were dispersed, leaving the artillery exposed. The gunners stood and fought around their guns, but were cut down by the swords of the Yeomanry. The British captured 70 prisoners, eleven guns and four machine guns.

British casualties were heavy. All three squadron commanders were killed, and six of the surviving officers were wounded. Of the 158 men, 26 were killed and 40 injured. Of their 170 horses, 100 were killed. The cavalry troops involved in the attack were effectively out of action, but the 60th Division were able to continue their advance.

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 September 2007), Affair of Huj, 8 November 1917 ,

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