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Monday 20 of March 2023 02:57:40 AM


RRX Culture Research Retrospective
Culture research
  • dynamic arts
    • screen plays
      • war years
        • retrospective views

RRX is conducting preliminary research of next generation culture based on retrospective views.

One might conclude, from some of the activities, in the Middle East, from 1914 to 1918, the existence of parallels to current historic events. Notably Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence of British Military Intelligence, in conjunction with his amazing role in the Arab Revolt was, it seems, able to a remarkable degree, to discern the somewhat complex culture of the Arab world at that time, possibly in part due to his propensity to mix with various peoples of the Arab population, before the hostilities of 1914 emerged. Although political maps and names have changed somewhat, in the interim, from the 1914 to 1918 renditions through to current times, the main characteristics of the region are, it seems, quite similar. While the bulk of Colonel Lawrences' operations were to take place along the west coast, of what is now Saudi Arabia, along the Red Sea from Jidda to Akaba, including adjacent inland areas, and to some degree the Mediterranean coast from Gaza to Beyrout, considerable rather dramatic activity was covariantly taking place in proximate inland areas, in what is now called Iraq.

British Army Crest

The British Army initiated strategic action during late 1914 in Mesopotamia (now Iraq), following Turkish Army activities in the region. One might consider the motivation for this, on the part of the British Army high command, may have been to deny access of potential oil resources to the German Army, which in light of pending developments in Europe, may have been particularly insightful. In hindsight, it seems the Turkish Army might well have been inclined to consider the potential strategic position of the the German Army to be somewhat superior to that of the British Army, in terms of land based formations, and prospects for victory in Europe. Notably, in 1916, the Sinai Desert was between the British Army ensconced in Egypt, and the Turkish Army partially arrayed in what was then Palestine, and further south along the coast and inland. The British Army constructed a rail line and water pipe across the Sinai, enabling forward positioning of main battle groups. British Army reinforcements, in late 1917, then created a localized numerical superiority. Leveraging this numerical advantage, combined with a weakened Turkish Army, due, in part, to the activities of the Arab Revolt, the British Army was able to push the Turkish Army back, in a series of strategic moves.

Map of Middle East showing 1918 disposition of forces

September 1918

A British Army Indian Division apparently occupied the port of Basra, in November 1914, with subsequent forces pushing north up the Euphrates, to Nasiriya, and along the Tigris to Amara, which was routed in mid 1915. After considerable losses, in the tens of thousands, and heavy fighting, by late 1917, the British Army front pushed to the north of Baghdad, while the allied Russian Army front fought southwest, along a line between Mosul and Tabriz, slightly south west of the Caspian Sea, thereby jointly forcing the Turkish Army to retreat. The British seaward front, on the Mediterranean, supported by British Navy gun and supply ships, had moved up to a position south of Gaza, and Beersheba, by October of 1917, hence pushing north of Jaffa, Jerusalem and Jericho by mid September 1918, and finally to Damascus a few days later, by the end of September 1918. It seems the combined Turkish Army losses, from 1914 to 1918, mounted to the several hundred thousand range, with a considerable number of prisoners being taken. Similarly the British Army and Russian Army suffered combined losses in the order of several hundred thousand men, in the region, many of whom were victims of various exacerbated bacteria, and virus disorders, which spread rapidly under, what might be considered today, primitive conditions.

Much of the Arab Revolt, against Turkish Army domination, was, it seems, in support of what might be considered a context appropriate strategy, on the part of Colonel Lawrence, to correlate the self directed autonomous strengths of the Arab Army, in the form of nomadic tribes' traditional fighters, and particular charismatic leaders, for the effective harassment of the better equipped, but less mobile Turkish Army. The main advantage of the Arab Revolt strategy was, essentially, the benefit of surprise, attained by a somewhat weaker, but highly mobile minimally equipped force, often with a clear line of escape, and hence reduced risk. Clearly it was much preferable, all around, to cultivate Arab Army support, in a contest, for the most part, aligned with long term Arab political interests, for autonomous government, in which the likelihood of direct confrontation was minimal. For their part the Arab Army was, it seems, glad of the chance to participate, for various reasons, perhaps not the least of which was the opportunity to loot, and possibly kill an enemy, with somewhat limited chance of reprisal, while supporting ones family with flexible compensation, earned in proportion to contributions. This line of approach apparently fitted the context, in an optimal manner, perhaps not least in that it offered participants, and leaders, a significant chance for glory and honour, in alignment with established norms.

Colonel Lawrences' insight, on some occasions, took the form of transporting explosives, by camel, to somewhat distant, and unlikely sections, of Turkish built rail line, which nonetheless were critical to the Turkish Army war effort. Over the course of hostilities considerable damage was apparently incurred, which, it seems, may have influenced the Turkish, and German, high command to, possibly somewhat foolishly, in highly disciplined and somewhat dogmatic manner, divert more of their forces from other areas, to little avail, in defense of the rail system, rather than consider a strategic withdrawal, hence enabling the hard pressed British Army, with coordinated artillery, and British Navy support, to grind the Turkish Army, supported by German Military Intelligence advisors, to greater effect.

Explosives were dug in under rail tracks, and skillfully disguised, in such a manner that it was apparently often difficult to discover the location again, in the case of a fault of the trigger pin. Also, it seems Turkish Army inspection patrols would even walk right by the devices unknowingly, in broad daylight. The trigger was, apparently, often a metal pin which when pressed down, by the weight of an oncoming supply or troop train, would detonate explosive devices, separated by some metres distance, thereby causing considerable damage. On some occasions bridges were attempted, however proved a more difficult target, due to increased surveillance.


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