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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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palm-trees in the neighbourhood of Quma, some miles of reeds*
and the sandhill islands held by the Turks.f Between
these islands and Qurna the depth of water averaged one to
three feet, but channels of varying breadth and depth ran
in every direction and were quite undistinguishable among
the general flood. These rendered it out of the question to
advance by wading; while the shallowness of the greater
part of the area, the concealment of the deeper channels and
the presence of Turkish mines limited the extent to which the
ordinary river craft could be utilised.
The Turkish main position was astride the Tigris about
Abu Aran, Muzaibila and Ruta ; while they held advanced
positions on the sandhills in front of Ruta, on One Tree Hill,
and on the hillocks to the north and south of Barbukh creek.f
The enemy’s strength was estimated at five or six infantry
battalions with eight guns and two thousand Arabs.
Before leaving Basra for Qurna General Townshend had an
interview with General Nixon, to whom he suggested that the
Turks should be driven north of Amara by a combined move
ment from Qurna and Ahwaz. His reason for this was that
the flooded nature of the country in the region of the Tigris
rendered all manoeuvre impossible. He reached Qurna on the
24th April, and after inspecting there, proceeded in the Odin,
first for four or five miles up the Tigris and then along the
Euphrates to reconnoitre the A1 Huwair creek. General Dobbie
advised him that a turning movement to the east of the Tigris
up the Shwaiyib river was not feasible, owing to the narrowness
of the Shwaiyib channel and the probability that it had been
mined. After instructing General Dobbie to send out recon
naissances to see if a practicable fordable route could be found
north-eastward of Muzaira’a towards the sandhills and t e
Ruta creek, General Townshend returned on the 26th to Basra.
Next day he made his report to General Nixon. He had
satisfied himself that the Turkish positions north of Qurna
could not be turned tactically and he again suggested a turning
movement from Ahwaz.
Such a plan did not then commend itself to General Nixon.
General Gorringe’s force had only just commenced its opera
tions in Arabistan and General Nixon was not sure how tar
H.M. Government would approve of operations in Persian
* These reeds were practically everywhere except in the imroe^ate neigh
bourhood of the banks of the Tigris and of the various creeks. They grew to
heights varying from three to six feet,
f See Map 2.

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.' [‎134r] (272/454), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/66/1, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 27 June 2019]

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