31st Oct 1917: Palestine – the Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade

After a period of stalemate in Southern Palestine from April to October 1917, on 31st October General Edmund Allenby, who replaced General Murray in June, attacked the Turkish garrison of Beersheba with some 47,500 rifles of the XX Corps and about 15,000 troopers in the Anzac and Australian Mounted Divisions (Desert Mounted Corps). Orders were issued for a general attack on Beersheba by the dismounted 1st and 3rd Light Horse Brigades and the mounted 4th Light Horse Brigade. As the leading squadrons of the 4th Light Horse Regiment of Victorians, and the New South Wales’ 12th Light Horse Regiment came within range of the Ottoman riflemen in defences directly in their track, a number of horses were hit by sustained rapid fire. While the 4th Light Horse Regiment attacking these fortifications dismounted after jumping the trenches, most of the 12th Light Horse Regiment on the left rode through a gap in the defences to gallop into Beersheba to capture the garrison. The Turkish defenders suffered many casualties and between 700 and 1,000 troops were captured, paving the way for the British capture of Gaza.

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