1918: September 19-25
The British forces’ progress on the Sinai and Palestine front had been hampered by the Spring Offensive of 1918, with the regional commander General Edmund Allenby having lost many of his infantry troops to the Western Front. By the summer, the Ottoman and German forces in the region had regained some of the ground lost during the autumn 1917 British attacks.
Following the arrival of new reserves from India, however, the British were poised to launch a new offensive on the Megiddo hill and the surrounding hills of Judea in September. A fifteen minute bombardment opened the attack at 4am on September 19, successfully breaking Ottoman lines. When this was accomplished, Allenby sent a diversionary cavalry attack up the Jordan Valley, before directing the force of his offensive to the west and up the coast in order to cut off the Ottoman retreat. The inroad was so successful the cavalry even came close to capturing German general Otto Liman von Sanders in his headquarters at Nazareth. Megiddo, where two other notable battles were fought in the 15th century BC and in 609 BC, fell with little resistance the same day.
The British took some 25,000 prisoners over the course of the Battle of Megiddo, while as few as 10,000 Turkish and German soldiers managed to escape to retreat north. Megiddo was the first of a series of victories in the region, including the fall of Beirut and Damascus to British control.
main picture, public domain, from the Australian War Memorial