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The record is made up of 1 volume (223 folios). It was created in 1923. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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At this period was introduced a new policy regarding recruit
ment, under which the liability to compulsory service, hitherto
limited to certain classes of Moslems, was extended to include
practically all subject races, whether Christian, Jew or Moslem.
The introduction of this law caused much controversy and met
with considerable opposition in Kurdistan and Arabia. It was
a change from a policy which had, in the past, invested wars
waged against Christian powers with a religious character ;*
it was disliked by the majority of Christians and Jews, who
feared attempts at conversion during the period of colour
service and displayed no enthusiasm at the idea of serving in
the army and, moreover, whose martial qualities were con
sidered by their Moslem fellow-subjects as of a low standard ;
it seemed likely to interfere with the liberty of some of the
semi-independent subject races ; and it was a departure from
custom, a sufficient reason in an oriental country to invoke
distrust and obstruction. Although in the Balkan war the
Armenians had fought well, in contradistinction to the Greeks
and Slavs who had proved unreliable, the experiment so far
failed that, in 1914-1915, the great majority of the Christians
and Jews who had been enrolled were drafted into unarmed
labour battalions, used for road-making, etc.
The Sultan was the supreme head of the army, whose
administrative chief was the Minister for War,| controlled
nominally by Parliament. He was assisted by a Superior
Military Council with consultative and advisory duties, of
which the Vice-President was Field-Marshal von der Holtz
Pasha, who, in 1914, still retained this position although for
three or four years previously he had carried out few of the
duties attaching to the appointment. Early in 1915 he
returned to Turkey. From 1913 a military mission of some
seventy German officers, under General Liman von Sanders
Pasha, had instituted a system of more intensive training.
The army was divided into :—
(i) Active Army (Nizam) ;
(ii) Active Army Reserve (Ihtiyat) ;
(hi) Territorial Army (Mustahfiz).
The actual numbers in the forces at the outbreak of war are
* “ Everyone in Turkey, every Turkish officer, will at once inforni you
that the reason for their defeat by the Bulgars was because all religious
element had been stupidly disregarded by the “ Young Turk party . . ■
and without the religious ‘ touch ’ the Anatolian soldier • • ; • would
not fight.”—“ My Campaign in Mesopotamia,” by Major-General Sir C. V. F.
f When war broke out this post was held by Enver Pasha.

About this item


The volume is the first volume of an official government publication compiled at the request of the Government of India, and under the direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, by Brigadier-General Frederick James Moberly. The volume was printed and published at His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

The contents provide a narrative of the operations of 1914-1918 in Mesopotamia, based mainly on official documents.

The volume is divided into two parts. The first part, entitled, 'Part I. Before the Outbreak of Hostilities', consists of the following five chapters:

  • General Description of the Country
  • The Turks in Mesopotamia
  • British Pre-War Policy
  • The Army in India and Pre-War Military Policy
  • Inception of the Operations

The second part, entitled, 'Part II. The Campaign in Lower Mesopotamia', consists of the following seven chapters:

  • The Landing in Mesopotamia of Force "D" and the Operations Leading to the Occupation of Basra
  • The Occupation of Basra and the Capture of Qurna
  • Commencement of the Turkish Counter-Offensive
  • Development and Defeat of the Turkish Counter-Offensive
  • Operations in Arabistan and the Capture of Amara
  • Operations on the Euphrates and the Occupation of Nasiriya
  • The battle of Kut and Occupation of Aziziya

The volume also includes nine maps, entitled:

  • The Middle East
  • Lower Mesopotamia
  • Map 1 - To illustrate operations described in Chapter VI
  • Map 2 - To illustrate fighting near Qurna
  • Map 3 - To illustrate fighting round Shaiba
  • Map 4 - To illustrate operations in Persian Arabistan
  • Map 5 - To illustrate operations in the Akaika Channel 27th June to 5th July 1915
  • Map 6 - To illustrate operations near Nasiriya 6th to 24th July 1915
  • Map 7 - To illustrate the Battle of Kut 28th September 1915
Extent and format
1 volume (223 folios)

The volume contains a page of errata (folio 5), a list of contents (folios 6-8), a list of maps and illustrations (folio 9), appendices (folios 185v-192), an index (folios 192v-214v), and eight maps in a pocket attached to the inside back cover (folios 217-224).

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the inside front cover with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 225; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: the volume also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR BASED ON OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS. THE CAMPAIGN IN MESOPOTAMIA 1914-1918. VOLUME I.' [‎24r] (52/454), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/66/1, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 August 2019]

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