|Kress von Kressenstein in Turkish Service|
|"Little Djemal" (Cemal Mersinli)|
The logistics were daunting, as the British had already sent patrols out to damage wells lest the Turks be able to use them.The historic coast road across northern Sinai via al-‘Arish was considered too vulnerable to shelling by British naval guns, so the force would move across central Sinai instead, via al-‘Auja, where Turkey had concentrated its forces. From al-‘Auja, the force would take several routes in order to reach the Canal at multiple points along its length.
|Turkish Camp at al-‘Auja|
It's usually estimated that the force numbered about 20,000 men.
The order of battle appears to have been as follows:
Fourth Army (Syria) VIII Corps (Damascus)
29th Cavalry Regiment and a Camel Squadron.
Engineers: 4th and 8th Engineer Battalions.
23rd Division (Homs): 68th and 69th regiments
25th Division (Damascus) with part of 25th Artillery Regiment and 73rd, 74th, and 75th Infantry regiments
27th Division (Haifa) with part of the 27th Artillery Regiment and the 80th and 81st Infantry Regiments
These units based normally in Syria had been reinforced from Anatolia by the 10th Infantry Division, with part of the 10th Artillery Regiment and the 28th, 29th, and 30th Infantry Regiments.
There were also bedouin units and some forces detached from the Ottoman forces in the Hejaz.
Next time we'll look at the British defensive plan. Below, a 1915 shot of the Ottoman Camel Corps at Beersheba: