October 27  This Day During World War l

October 27, 1917 – The Battle of El Buggar Ridge took place on 27 October 1917, when one infantry regiment and cavalry troops of the Yildirim Army Group, attacked the 8th Mounted Brigade of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) in the last days of the stalemate in Southern Palestine during the Sinai and Palestine campaign of World War I. The commander of the Yildirim Army Group ordered the reconnaissance in force, which greatly outnumbered the Yeomanry in the mounted brigade, holding the outpost line. Despite a large number of casualties, one group made a slight withdrawal to subsequently hold their ground, until reinforcements arrived and the attackers withdrew. However another group of Yeomanry was overwhelmed and killed. Four days later, two infantry and two mounted divisions launched the EEF’s Southern Palestine Offensive, with the Battle of Beersheba on 31 October 1917. During the six months stalemate following the Second Battle of Gaza, the el Buqqar ridge had been the objective of Desert Column/Desert Mounted Corps strategic marches on 5–7, 10 May and 2–3, 6–7, 14 and 24–5 June.On 19 July, the Anzac Mounted Division with the Australian Mounted Division advanced towards el Buqqar to engage an Ottoman force of two regiments of cavalry supported by infantry and four light guns, occupying the area. The 1st Light Horse Brigade attacked the force capturing 11 prisoners before the Ottoman force withdrew behind entrenchments. One of the prisoner described the attacking force as part of the Ottoman 16th Division which had been protecting a new corps commander while he made a personal  reconnaissance. By the next morning the area was clear of Ottoman troops.Ottoman patrols were dispersed from el Buqqar ridge on 21 and 29 September,and on 12–14 October. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade took over from the 5th Mounted Brigade, duties of Outpost Brigade on 16 October when it was noted dawn occurred at 05:00 and dusk at 17:30. On 18 October the day posts of 3rd Light Horse Brigade were relieved by the 5th Mounted Brigade at 09:00. The Australian Mounted Division with the 7th Mounted Brigade attached was to cover a reconnaissance by officers of the XXI Corps. By 11:50 the 7th Mounted Brigade was holding a line east of Khalasa to Ibn Saiid, the 4th Light Horse Brigade was holding Points 840, 820, 810, 790 and 770 while the 5th Mounted Brigade held points 730, 630, 550 and 300, with the Australian Mounted Divisional headquarters at Khor el Asram and the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in reserve. There was no opposition during the establishment of this line, and indeed Ottoman units “were very quiet all day more so than on any other reconnaissance.” At 14:10 Ottoman infantry and cavalry were sighted at Abu Irgeig and Notts battery went into action against them, when two bell tents at Irgeig railway station and station buildings were hit. The outpost line was withdrawn at 17:30 without incident. At 04:10 on Saturday 27 October a post held by the 1st County of London Yeomanry to the west of Bir el Girheir on Point 630 was attacked by an Ottoman cavalry patrol “in great strength.”About 05:30 the infantry and cavalry, estimated by a Royal Flying Corps reconnaissance aircraft to be a force of 2,000, attacked the outpost line, becoming heavily engaged on Hill 630, where the attack on both flanks was supported by heavy machine gun and artillery fire. At 06:48, the 8th Mounted Brigade reported Ottoman units attacking Point 630 and a hill 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the south east, with an infantry battalion of the 158th Brigade (53rd Division) advancing towards Point 630, with one battalion and one battery at Sebil/Point 550. Two troops of 1st County of London Yeomanry ordered forward to the right of the post, advanced through heavy fire to find the post almost surrounded. A squadron of the City of London Yeomanry in reserve advanced, also under heavy fire, to occupy a position 200 yards (180 m) south of the threatened post and stopped the Ottoman forces from completely surrounding it. By 07:55 two, or more camel guns were seen approaching Point 630 from Bir Ifteis while the yeomanry garrisons on Point 630 continued to hold their ground. However, as reinforcements including infantry were fighting their way forward to relieve Point 630 they were heavily fired on about 10:30, causing the reinforcements to fall back. However, by 10:55 the infantry attack began to develop, moving up the slope of Point 630. Although the defending garrison was driven off Hill 630, the squadron withdrew to “a cruciform trench just below the top of the hill,” built by the Australian Mounted Division. The squadron managed to hold out there, during the day against odds of 20 to one when the attackers closed to within 40 yards (37 m) causing four deaths and wounding 14 yeomanry. Fighting continued until late in the afternoon when the 159th Brigade of the 53rd (Welsh) Division was deployed against Point 630 and Kh. Imeih, forcing the Ottoman attackers to withdraw. Also at about 04:00 the two troops manning the right hand post north of el Buqqar half way to Kh Imleih, was attacked by several Ottoman squadrons, “sweeping round its right,” which forced the Hants Battery near Kh. Khasif to withdraw.Heavy rifle and machine gun fire with occasional artillery shells was reported at 06:55 being targeted on the yeomanry garrison on el Buqqar ridge, and at 07:55 were continuing to hold their ground on Point 720.The 3rd Light Horse Brigade (Australian Mounted Division) was ordered at 08:20 to move to the east side of the Wadi Ghuzzee at Gamli at once, coming under orders of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, when the light horsemen were to assist the 8th Mounted Brigade to hold Point 720 until infantry reinforcements arrived at about 13:00. Two hours later, as one infantry brigade, two squadrons of cavalry and two batteries were attacking Ottoman forces as they moved towards Points 720 and 630 they were heavily shelled at 10:30 causing the reinforcements to fall back. However, the original garrison on Point 720 which had not been in communication since 06:00, continued holding their position, although by then almost surrounded. The attack on Hill 720 by 1,200 Ottoman cavalry was supported by machine-gun and artillery fire. After six hours and two unsuccessful mounted charges, a third combined charge and infantry attack, captured the hill. All the defenders were killed or wounded except three.By As the 9th Light Horse Regiment (3rd Light Horse Brigade) was fighting their way towards el Buqqar and Point 720, at 11:35, the 8th Mounted Brigade reported by phone to the Australian Mounted Divisional headquarters, that the advance by the infantry brigade towards Point 720 was proceeding, but that the garrison on Point 720 had been “presumably wiped out,” as Ottoman soldiers were seen riding over the top of the hill. The 12th Light Armoured Motor Battery was ordered to support the 3rd Light Horse Brigade advance against Point 720. By 14:10 the 9th Light Horse Regiment was reported to be advancing with its right on the cross roads at Taweil el Habari and its left on El Buqqar, with two squadrons of the 10th Light Horse Regiment on their right, facing east within sight. When the 9th Light Horse Regiment had been held up at 13:45 by machine gun fire from Point 820, the 1st Nottinghamshire Battery Royal Horse Artillery came into action, against the Ottoman fire. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade reported to the Australian Mounted Division at 14:37 that Ottoman forces were holding Point 720 on a front 1 mile (1.6 km) long, “in strength.” By 15:05 the 9th Light Horse Regiment, conforming to infantry moves, had advanced to within 1 mile (1.6 km) of Point 720. At 08:35 further infantry reinforcements had been expected to arrive at about 13:00, however they didn’t arrive until 16:35 when the 229th Brigade (74th Division) was reported advancing on the left flank of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, causing considerable Ottoman movements on Point 820. By 17:10 an Ottoman position defended by four machine guns and 400 infantry defending Point 820, was reconnoitred by the armoured cars attached to the light horsemen, which drove to just east of the cross roads east of el Buggar, reporting the 53rd (Welsh) Division deployments of the 159th Brigade against Point 630 and Kh. Imleih, the 160th Brigade opposing Point 720 and the 229th Brigade opposing el Buqqar ridge. At 18:00 the 8th Mounted Brigade’s reserve regiment was still holding the line when the 3rd Light Horse Brigade supported by 1st Nottinghamshire Battery Royal Horse Artillery counter-attacked along with two infantry brigades of the 53rd (Welsh) Division and the Ottoman forces retired during the evening. The yeomanry lost 24 killed and 53 wounded with 10 missing. At 18:50 the 9th Light Horse Regiment reported their patrol reached Point 720 to find 14 dead yeomanry, that the Ottoman forces had dug substantial trenches in the area, and that the 53rd Division had not yet reached them. An officer’s patrol from the 9th Light Horse Regiment at 18:00 established that the Ottoman forces had withdrawn from their positions on Point 720 which allowed the Allied forces to re-occupy El Buggar Ridge without further casualties.That night 229th Brigade relieved the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at 20:10. The 8th Mounted Brigade rejoined the Yeomanry Mounted Division on 28 October,the 3rd Light Horse Brigade arriving back in camp at 24:00. Units of the Egyptian Labour Corps moved forward from Shellal to complete the water pipeline to Karm, and to uncovered their camouflaged work on the railway east of the Wadi Ghuzzee. They completed the railway to Karm on 28 October when the station was opened, two days ahead of schedule. By 30 October the concentration of the EEF force was complete for the attack on Beersheba the next day. Von Falkenhayn ordered the Eighth Army to launch an attack from Hareira “southwards” on 31 October. The size of the force, and its objectives are unknown, nor does the commander of the Eighth Army, Kress von Kressenstein mention the order to attack. 


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