The Punitive Force
Since here was no chance the impotent Iranian government could provide the compensation demanded for the July attack, the British immediately began assembling a punitive expedition to occupy Bushire and punish the Tangistanis.
|Drury St.A. Wake (as an Admiral)|
|Defenses of Bushire, September 1915|
The landing finally became feasible on August 13 and operations began at 9:30 AM. The tides forced a landing to the south of the original plan. The Tangistanis were in trenches onshore and opened fire with rifles, and Juno's landing boat lost four dead and seven wounded.
I reproduce he map accompanying Major Wintle's report to General Nixon, to illustrate the actions onshore though the resolution isn't great, and another map below it.
Due to considerations of light, it was decided to land he troops at 11 AM. Once the Royal Marines were ashore the infantry landings began.
The British did not have good maps of the area, and thought the villages of Old Dilwar and New Dilwar and its fort lay just beyond a palm grove. At 3:30 on the morning of August 14, Wintle ordered his troops forward to the palm grove, only to discover, as the maps a left show, that it lay some 1200 yards south of the villages.
Wintle's men in the grove began cutting down palm trees to punish the Tangistanis, but encountered resistance (as well as an instance when naval gunfire fell on the grove). After taking casualties, Wintle withdrew toward the British camp, but resolved to take the fort the next day
At the time of the landings, Wintle estimated the hostile forces at Dilwar at 150-200 men, but by late on the 15th at 500 to 600, suggesting that reinforcement had come from other villages in the vicinity. He also makes reference to seeing a "white officer," who he suggested might be a Turk, with the enemy.
Casualties were: Killed: Royal Navy: 1 officer, 5 seamen, 1 Royal Marine; 96th Berar Infantry: 1 Indian officer, 7 sepoys. Wounded: Royal Navy: 1 officer, 12 seamen and 12 Marines; 96th Berar Infantry: 1 Indian officer and 14 sepoys. As noted earlier, some casualties were from friendly fire when the Navy shells fell at the palm grove.
This was not the end of the campaign. The Tangistanis would attack Bushire itself again on September 9, and we will resume the story then.
A note on sources:
I was originally going to list a range of sources, but in the end most of the narrative of the campaign was taken from the primary source, available digitally online from the India Office Records digitzed by the Qatar Digital Library: "Report from General Sir J. E. Nixon, K.C.B., Commanding I.E.F. "D." on the Operations at Dilwar 10th-16th August 1915." This contains the texts of Major Wintle's and Captain Wake's official reports to Nixon, their daily orders, detailed casualty and decoration lists, and maps. The Qatar Digital Library has done a great service in digitizing these India office records.