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Turkish Orders for Advance on Romani

British Isles Genealogy | The Fifth Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

The following is a translation of Turkish orders, found on prisoners captured near Katia in July, 1916:


GENERAL ORDERS—Infantry and Machine-Guns.

1. I expect every officer, of whatever grade, to give an example of courage to his subordinates. I expect the rank and file to show the superiority of Turks to British troops, as their comrades have done at Gallipoli and in Irak.

2. Men are to make all possible use of entrenching tools and sandbags during attack and defence.

3. Since a continuous supply of S.A.A. cannot be effected, great economy is to be observed in its expenditure. Consequently both in attack and defence fire must be opened only at short ranges.

4. Flanking detachments must exercise the utmost vigilance against flank attacks. Owing to the enemy's great strength in Cavalry, great vigilance is imperative. On this account unsupported wings must dig in as deeply as possible.

5. The effect of the enemy's fire on our firing line must be communicated to the neighbouring Artillery and M.G. Officers, who are ordered to support our firing line.

If the firing line is not so supported, the effect of the enemy's fire is to be communicated to the O.C. Infantry for transmission to the Artillery and M.G. Companies, so that the effect of the enemy's fire may be countered by Artillery or M.G. assistance to our troops.

6. Infantry must be provided with pistols, firing flares, and red signalling flags. Our artillery will thus be better enabled to lengthen their ranges.

7. Our own positions must be indicated by triangular red cloths in wooden frames, which, however, must not be visible to the enemy.

8. Owing to the close nature of the country and the frequency of mist (haze) in the morning, constant communication must be kept up with the first line to avoid accidents from the fire of our own guns.

9. Two Modjidies for every soldier bringing in an enemy rifle.


1. In close country, with many hills and obstacles, our reconnaissances will have a good opportunity of observing the enemy's movements and camps, beginning with his actual front.

ŁT.5 reward for all valuable information about the enemy.

2. Reconnoitring parties must do all in their power to capture prisoners. ŁT.5 reward per head.

3. As there are no cavalry, reconnaissances will be carried out under the direction of mounted officers by Beduins attached to them.


1. In the case of entrenched positions. The Turkish Mountain Gun, firing Austrian Mtn. Gun Shell is to be used against moving (or movable) targets in the enemy's lines, while the German Heavy Guns are to be employed against the entrenched positions thereof.

2. As shell is scarce and can only be replaced with great difficulty, great economy is to be displayed by the Artillery.

3. (Obscure.)

4. Among the chief duties of O.C. Batteries will be choice of observation stations. With this object, when required, the O.C. Battery will leave his Battery and observe fearlessly, keeping up communication with his Battery by telephone over the intervening space.

5. To prevent dust caused by discharge betraying gun positions, mats are to be spread under the muzzle of each gun.

6. During prolonged infantry encounters O.C.'s of Infantry Units will send officers to observe the effect of the Turkish Mountain Batteries and Austrian shells on the enemy's firing line.

H.Q. 1st Expeditionary Force,
July 9th, 1916.

Orders for Advance from El Arish

1. The regulations regarding the march have been explained in previous orders.

2. Fresh orders will be issued to the advanced guard on reaching the line Oghratina—Hod-el-Messia—Mugheibra and to the detachment proceeding to Bir-el-Abd.

The orders issued on July 8th, 1916, refer to the advance from El Arish.

The March

1. The march under war conditions commences from El Arish, i.e. it being probable that hostile reconnaissances will be encountered, the advance must be effected with the necessary screen. There being a Turkish Detachment at Bir-el-Mazar, up to this point precautions need be observed. From Bir-el-Mazar the war zone commences. From this point it is necessary to separate the advanced guard and main body and send reconnoitring detachments ahead of the advanced guard.

2. Silence is to be strictly observed on the march. Special attention must be paid to this by troops moving along the shore. Orders must be given quietly during night marches. No smoking at night and no use to be made, if possible, of electric torches after Bir-el-Mazar.

3. It is probable that units moving along the shore may be exposed to the fire of enemy ships. In this event troops will take to the nearest cover in an orderly manner without waiting for orders.

4. Every precaution must be taken to facilitate the march, e.g. collars, shirts, head-covering to be opened, boots to be removed.

To prevent confusion among the units on the march, the intervals by day must be increased to 100 metres. Files must be opened to give the men air. They must be closed at night and all straggling stopped immediately.

To take advantage of the cool nights to cover long distances, halts must be shortened.

As a rule the troops will march between 6 and 7 p.m. till 11 p.m. After a halt from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. they will proceed so as to reach their destination by 7 a.m. After every 100 minutes marching troops to halt 20 minutes. Men and animals to be given "a breather" (soluk molasi) after passing through difficult ground.

5. Draught oxen to be watered at every watering place.

6. In difficult ground where guns and carts cannot be moved by the teams, they will have to be hauled by guy ropes attached to the wheels. Where planks have been laid down the assistance of men (hauling) is necessary. It is every C.O.'s duty and "his honour" (sheref) to render the maximum assistance to guns and carts in difficult ground. On such ground limbers and carts will have to be emptied if necessary.

Infantry must assist artillery in the above manner. Artillery Officers must inform Infantry Officers of extent of their requirements in men for haulage, and Infantry Officers must obey instructions under this head issued by their C.O.'s or by Artillery Officers.


1. In order to minimize the results of aeroplane bombs, tents in encampments are to be scattered and distributed over a considerable area. Men, animals and transport to be divided into small groups.

2. As enemy aircraft are likely to fly above our camps between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and to take our tents as targets, on the approach of enemy aircraft being reported, troops will disperse in small groups (which are then to remain stationary) for some hundred yards away from the centre of the camp. O.C.'s are to select positions for infantry and machine gun fire against aircraft attacking camps.

No other units (except those detailed for the purpose) are to fire on enemy aircraft, and machine-gun and infantry fire is not to be employed against aeroplanes flying very high.

3. All existing means, and any which can be improvised are to be employed to protect (men) against the sun, and measures must be taken to meet cases in which tents are insufficient.

4. As far as Bir-el-Mazar, the covering troops need not be in great strength. Beyond Bir-el-Mazar the covering forces must be strengthened and precautions organized against surprise.

Patrols and sentries must be posted during daylight on all dominating points, and Beduin camel scouts sent out to observe enemy movements and report in time to the O.C.

In case of surprise the (situation of the) rallying points fixed upon must be carefully kept in mind. These positions must be shown to Officers who are Second-in-Command (lit. Assistant C.O.'s) and must be defensively organized.

5. To avoid discovery by enemy aircraft, tents are to be covered with earth, mud, scrub, etc.

6. Near camps "simili-camps" (Dummy Camps) are to be pitched in order to attract the attention of aircraft. Holes are to be dug in the earth to simulate tents.

7. When the troops are resting a few sentries are to be posted the better to protect their repose.

8. In order to mark the whereabouts of C.O.'s and other high officers, special indications must be placed on their quarters (tents).

9. In cases where detachments are separated by a considerable distance, roads are to be indicated by simple signs.

10. On enemy aeroplanes coming in sight all ranks will lie down, and try to bury themselves in the sand (Kumlar arasinda kendilerini gyome jek dir) in order to avoid fragments of bombs.

The Fifth Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

The Fifth Battalion, Highland Light Infantry in the War 1914-1918

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