Saturday, March 11, 2017

That Time The British Captured Baghdad (one hundred years ago today)

From the Middle East Institute, Friday, March 10, 2017:

March 10-11, 1917: General Maude Takes Baghdad
Following the Second Battle of Kut, in February, the renewed British advance on Baghdad paused 
Khalil Pasha
only briefly. General Frederick Maude (who had been the last man off the beach at Gallipoli), continuing to show far more speed than his predecessors, advanced to ‘Aziziziyya, paused there, and on March 5 began his final approach to Baghdad.

The British had been uncertain about the value of taking Baghdad due to its limited strategic value but eventually saw it as a symbolic goal; in addition it was seen as a way to close a pincer on the Turks with British advances from Baghdad and Russia pushing south from Mosul. That was not to be: at this same moment the February (March New Style) Revolution was under way in Petrograd.

The defense of Baghdad was commanded by the hero of the 1916 victory at Kut, Khalil Pasha, who was the uncle of Ottoman Minister of War Enver Pasha and was both governor of Baghdad and Commander of the Ottoman Sixth Army. After the war he would take the surname Kut from his victory and be known under the Turkish Republic as Halil Kut. He had the Turkish XIII and XVIII Corps defending the Baghdad region....MORE