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Battle of Haifa 1918: A Saga of Indian Valour

13 0 19
22.09.2021

“Exceptional qualities of character, a deep devotion to duty, and a well-rounded personality are the prerequisites of military leadership. They are necessary to overcome the frictions inherent in war and to reach ‘heroic decisions based on reason’, which are the truest expression of superior leadership.

Clausewitz

Introduction:

The Battle of Haifa in 1918 was part of World War I. In this battle, the 15th Cavalry brigade had regiments of lancers with troops from various Indian princely states such as Mysore, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, and Patiala. The allied army also had a British yeomanry regiment.

The allied armies encircled the Ottoman army. The allied armies captured 2 German officers, 35 Ottoman officers, artillery guns etc. The allied causalities were much about ten dead, thirty-five wounded. The Indian army, formed after independence, still commemorates the battle with ‘Haifa day’.

The Battle of Haifa was a significant battle fought on Sept 23 1918, where the elements comprising mainly of Indian troops of the British Army engaged and defeated the forces of the Ottoman Empire and their German allies. The battle was one of many battles fought during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I.

Approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in World War I, and over 74,000 lost their lives. However, history has mostly forgotten these sacrifices, which were rewarded with broken promises of Indian independence from the British government, writes Shashi Tharoor.[1]

Nevertheless, though the war took the flower of Europe’s youth to its untimely grave, taking away the lives of a generation of gifted poets, artists, cricketers and others whose intellect bled into the trenches, it also included the soldiers from distant lands that had nothing to do with Europe’s hostile outdated hatreds.

Background:

World War I, also recognised as the First World War, was a worldwide war in Europe, which started on Jul 28, 1914, and continued until Nov 14, 1918. The war persisted precisely over four years, three months and 14 days. Before World War II, which commenced in 1939, World War I was termed the Great War or the War to Culmination of all Wars. In total, 135 countries participated in World War I, and more than 15 million people died.

World War I was a military conflict that involved almost all the major powers of the world. The fight was between two opposing alliances, i.e. the Allies and the Central Powers. The Allies’ countries were Russia, France, British Empire, Italy, United States, Japan, Rumania, Serbia, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Montenegro. The countries of the Central Powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.

Closing to the 19th century, the growing rivalry among the European nations became all too apparent. On Jan 18 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France, the amalgamation of Germany into the German Empire mainly dominated by Prussia with a federalist structure was announced. This event would have had a significant impact on European politics for decades. Before this alliance, Germany was comprised of small kingdoms. These kingdoms came into being after the Treaty of Verdun in 843 AD. These domains would form the basis of the Holy Roman Empire. However, there was no homogenous German identity until the 19th century. This was partly due to the princely states’ independence, and most inhabitants not governed in a straight line by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire broadly identified with their prince instead of the German emperor.

The new German state would write its chapter on colonialism when it undertook expeditions to Africa and........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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