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  • Australian Light Horse – Beersheba Day 2011

    Artist Wayne visited beautifull Murrurundi for the Commemorative Service to mark the 94th Anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, Palestine On 31st October, 1917.
    The regiments commenced the charge on Beersheba at 4.30 pm, the 12th Australian Light Horse on the left and the 4th on the right. They advanced by squadrons with about 500 yards between squadrons. They were armed with bayonets in hand; their rifles were slung over their shoulders. The Australian 11th Light Horse Regiment and the British 5th Mounted Brigade followed more slowly to the rear, and the British 7th Mounted Brigade, which was attached to the Desert Mounted Corps headquarters, also approached from the south.

    The Ottoman artillery opened fire with shrapnel from long range but it was ineffective against the widely spaced horsemen. Ottoman machine guns that opened fire from the left (which might have inflicted heavy casualties) were quickly silenced by a battery of horse artillery. When the line of horsemen got within range of the Ottoman riflemen in the trenches, they started to take casualties but the defenders failed to allow for the speed of their approach so once they were within half a mile of the trenches, the defenders’ bullets started passing overhead as they found it difficult to alter the sights on rifles quickly enough when confronted with rapidly moving horsemen. This kept the numbers of casualties low for the charging Light Horsemen.

    The light horsemen jumped the front trenches and dismounted behind the line where they turned and engaged the Ottoman forces with bayonets. The Ottoman forces were in many cases so demoralised that they quickly surrendered. One Australian, who was dazed after having his horse shot from under him, recovered to find his five attackers with their hands up, waiting to be taken prisoner!


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