The Royal Regiment of Artillery referred to as the Royal Artillery and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments. Artillery was used by the English army as early as the Battle of Crécy in 1346, while Henry VIII established it as a semi-permanent function in the 16th century; until the early 18th century, the majority of British regiments were raised for specific campaigns and disbanded on completion. An exception were gunners based at the Tower of London and other forts around Britain, who were controlled by the Ordnance Office and provided personnel for field artillery'traynes' as needed, their numbers were small. During the 18th century, the military became professional in the fields of artillery and engineering; when Marlborough was restored as Master-General of the Ordnance in 1714, he initiated a series of reforms, which included splitting the existing Ordnance Service into artillery and sappers or engineers.
This was approved and two permanent companies of field artillery were established in 1716, each 100 men strong. These were increased to four companies and on 1 April 1722 grouped with independent artillery units at Gibraltar and Menorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Selection and promotion within the Royal Artillery was based on merit, rather than the commission purchase system used elsewhere until 1870. A cadet company was formed at the Royal Military Academy or RMA Woolwich in 1741. In 1757, it split into each of twelve companies. Based in the Royal Arsenal, beginning in 1770 the regiment was rehoused in the Royal Artillery Barracks on Woolwich Common. A major innovation in 1793 was the establishment of the Royal Horse Artillery, designed to provide mobile fire support for cavalry units; the regiment was involved in all major campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. This period saw development of the Congreve rocket, their use in the War of 1812 is referenced in the line'rockets red glare' which appears in the Star-Spangled Banner.
After Waterloo in 1815, Europe was at peace until the 1853 Crimean War. Overall supervision of the regiment was transferred to the War Office when the Board of Ordnance was abolished in 1855 and the War Office School of Gunnery established in Shoeburyness in 1859; when the British East India Company was dissolved in 1862, its artillery function was absorbed by the Royal artillery, giving it a total strength of 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries. Military expenditure estimates for 1872 list the regimental strength as a total of 34,943 men and officers, including those in India. On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into three groups: the Royal Horse Artillery of 21 batteries and the Royal Field Artillery of 95 batteries composed one group, while the coastal defence, mountain and heavy batteries were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery of 91 companies; the third group continued to be titled Royal Artillery, was responsible for ammunition storage and supply.
Which branch a gunner belonged to was indicated by metal shoulder titles. The RFA and RHA dressed as mounted men, whereas the RGA dressed like foot soldiers. In 1920 the rank of Bombardier was instituted in the Royal Artillery; the three sections functioned as separate corps. This arrangement lasted until 1924. In 1938, RA Brigades were renamed Regiments. During the World War II there were over 1 million men serving in 960 gunner regiments. In 1947 the Riding House Troop RHA was renamed The King's Troop RHA and, in 1951, the title of the regiment's colonel-in-chief became Captain General; when The Queen first visited the Troop after her accession, it was expected that it would become "The Queen's Troop", but Her Majesty announced that in honour of her father's decision it would remain "The King's Troop". The Royal Horse Artillery, which has separate traditions and insignia, still retains a distinct identity within the regiment. Before World War II, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall.
Men in mechanised units had to be at least 5 feet 8 inches tall. They enlisted for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve or four years and eight years, they trained at the Royal Artillery Depot in Woolwich. From its beginnings, the Royal Artillery has been based in south-east London. In 2003 it was decided to move the headquarters to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire (the RA's training ground, where the Royal School of Artille
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
The Gallipoli Campaign known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Entente powers and France, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia, the third member of the Entente; the invaders launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn, it was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Allies and for the sponsors Winston Churchill. The campaign was a major Ottoman victory in the war. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the state, a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire retreated. Arabs formed a substantial force in the Gallipoli Peninsula being part of the 72nd and 77th regiments.
According to several sources, Arabs made up two thirds of the 19th Division under Colonel Mustafa Kemal. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey eight years with Kemal, who rose to prominence as a commander at Gallipoli, as president; the campaign is considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness. On 27 October 1914, two former German warships, now the Ottoman Yavûz Sultân Selîm and Midilli, still under the command of German officers, conducted the Black Sea Raid, in which they bombarded the Russian port of Odessa and sank several ships. On 31 October, the Ottomans began the Caucasus Campaign against Russia; the British bombarded forts in Gallipoli, invaded Mesopotamia and studied the possibility of forcing the Dardanelles. Before the Dardanelles operation was conceived, the British had planned to conduct an amphibious invasion near Alexandretta on the Mediterranean, an idea presented by Boghos Nubar in 1914.
This plan was developed by the Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Earl Kitchener to sever the capital from Syria and Egypt. Alexandretta was an area with a Christian population and was the strategic centre of the Empire's railway network—its capture would have cut the empire in two. Vice Admiral Sir Richard Peirse, East Indies Station, ordered Captain Frank Larkin of HMS Doris to Alexandretta on 13 December 1914; the Russian cruiser Askold and the French cruiser Requin were there. Kitchener was working on the plan as late as March 1915 and was the beginning of the British attempt to incite an Arab Revolt; the Alexandretta landing was abandoned because militarily it would have required more resources than France could allocate and politically France did not want the British operating in their sphere of influence, a position to which Britain had agreed in 1912. By late 1914, on the Western Front, the Franco-British counter-offensive of the First Battle of the Marne had ended and the Belgians and French had suffered many casualties in the First Battle of Ypres in Flanders.
The war of manoeuvre had been replaced by trench warfare. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary closed the overland trade routes between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east; the White Sea in the arctic north and the Sea of Okhotsk in the Far East were icebound in winter and distant from the Eastern Front. While the Ottomans remained neutral, supplies could still be sent to Russia through the Dardanelles but prior to the Ottoman entry into the war, the straits had been closed; the French Minister of Justice, Aristide Briand, proposed in November to attack the Ottoman Empire but this was rejected and an attempt by the British to bribe the Ottomans to join the Allied side failed. That month, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a naval attack on the Dardanelles, based in part on erroneous reports of Ottoman troop strength. Churchill wanted to use a large number of obsolete battleships, which could not operate against the German High Seas Fleet, in a Dardanelles operation, with a small occupation force provided by the army.
It was hoped that an attack on the Ottomans would draw Bulgaria and Greece into the war on the Allied side. On 2 January 1915, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia appealed to Britain for assistance against the Ottomans, who were conducting an offensive in the Caucasus. Planning began for a naval demonstration in the Dardanelles. On 17 February 1915, a British seaplane from HMS Ark Royal flew a reconnaissance sortie over the Straits. Two days the first attack on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French task force, including the British dreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth, began a long-range bombardment of Ottoman coastal artillery batteries; the British had intended to use eight aircraft from Ark Royal to spot for the bombardment but harsh conditions rendered all but one of these, a Short Type 136, unserviceable. A period of bad weather slowed the initial phase but by 25 February the outer forts had been reduced and the entrance cleared of mines. After this, Royal Marines were landed to destroy guns at
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, short range, long range, long range target engagement; until the early 20th century, field artillery were known as foot artillery, for while the guns were pulled by beasts of burden, the gun crews would march on foot, thus providing fire support to the infantry. This was in contrast to horse artillery, whose emphasis on speed while supporting cavalry units necessitated lighter guns and crews riding on horseback. Whereas horse artillery has been superseded by self-propelled artillery, field artillery has survived to this day both in name and mission, albeit with motor vehicles towing the guns, carrying the crews and transporting the ammunition. Modern artillery has advanced to deployable wheeled and tracked vehicles and precision delivered munitions capable of striking targets at ranges between 15 and 300 kilometers. Field guns – capable of long range fire Gun howitzers – capable of high or low angle fire with a long barrel Howitzers – capable of high angle fire Infantry support guns – directly support infantry units Mortars – weapons that fire projectiles at an angle of over 45 degrees to the horizontal, modern versions being lightweight with fin-stabilized explosive ammunition Mountain guns – lightweight weapons that can be moved through difficult terrain Multiple rocket launchers – mobile rocket artillery launchers Early artillery was unsuited to the battlefield, as the massive pieces could not be moved except in areas that were controlled by the combatant.
Thus, their role was limited to such functions as breaking sieges. Following the beginning of the gunpowder era, the first field artillery came into being as metallurgy allowed thinner cannon barrels to withstand the explosive forces without bursting. However, there was still a serious risk of the constant changes of the battlefield conspiring to leave behind slow-moving artillery units – either on the advance, or more dangerously, in retreat. Artillery units were vulnerable to assault by light cavalry, which were used in this role. Only with a number of further inventions, did the concept of field artillery take off.\ The medieval Ming dynasty Chinese invented mobile battlefield artillery during the early part of the fourteenth century at the time when gunpowder and the primordial cannon were first being adopted in the West. One of the earliest documented uses of field artillery is found in the 14th-century Ming Dynasty treatise Huolongjing; the text describes a Chinese cannon called a "thousand ball thunder cannon", manufactured of bronze and fastened with wheels.
The book describes another mobile form of artillery called a "barbarian attacking cannon" consisting of a cannon attached to a two-wheel carriage. Before World War I, field artillery batteries fired directly at visible targets measured in distances of meters and yards. Today, modern field batteries measure targets in kilometers and miles and do not directly engage the enemy with observed direct fire; the hundredfold increase in the range of artillery guns in the 20th century has been the result of development of rifled cannons, improvements in propellants, better communications between observer and gunner, technical improvements in gunnery computational abilities. Most field artillery situations require indirect fire due to weather, night-time conditions, distance, or other obstacles; these gunners can rely upon a trained artillery observer called a forward observer, who sees the target and relays the coordinates of the target to their fire direction center, which in turn translates those coordinates into: a left-right aiming direction.
Modern field artillery has three distinct sections: All batteries have a Fire Support Man, Fire Direction Control, Cannoners. The FOs are forward with the infantry where they can Call For Fire upon them, they call the FDC on the radio and transmit a request for fire in the format of CFF. The FDC send a deflection and elevation to the gun line; the gun line cranks the specified elevation and deflection on the howitzers, punch the artillery shell followed by the bag. Depending on the CFF, the gunline will fire the round when they are ready or when the FO calls and tells them to fire; the FO spots the round and sends a correction back to the FDC and the process starts all over again until its done. The batteries are many kilometres behind the FLOT, they plan a location where they can be Fire Capability for some certain amount of time and do multiple fire missions before needing to displace. In normal operations the FOs transmits the CFF to the FDCs, they can calculate "defensive fire" tasks. These are pre‑planned missions just in front of or upon one's own positions, designed with the intention of either suppressing potential attacks, or in dropping fire on a abandoned or overrun position to prevent the enemy from consolidating there.
Because the calculations have been done, the fire can be called down quickly when it is needed. The advance party consists of the battery commander, his driver, first sergeant, gu
First Anglo-Afghan War
The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the British East India Company and the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. The British intervened in a succession dispute between emir Dost Mohammad and former emir Shah Shujah, whom they installed upon conquering Kabul in August 1839; the main British Indian and Sikh force occupying Kabul along with their camp followers, having endured harsh winters as well, was completely annihilated while retreating in January 1842. The British sent an Army of Retribution to Kabul to avenge their defeat, having demolished parts of the capital and recovered prisoners they left Afghanistan altogether by the end of the year. Dost Mohamed returned from exile in India to resume his rule, it was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between Britain and Russia. The 19th century was a period of diplomatic competition between the British and Russian empires for spheres of influence in Asia known as the "Great Game" to the British and the "Tournament of Shadows" to the Russians.
With the exception of the insane Emperor Paul who ordered an invasion of India in 1800, no Russian tsar seriously considered invading India, but for most of the 19th century, Russia was viewed as "the enemy" in Britain. In 1832, the First Reform Bill lowering the franchise requirements to vote and hold office in the United Kingdom was passed, which the ultra-conservative Emperor Nicholas I of Russia disapproved of, setting the stage for an Anglo-Russian "cold war", with many believing that Russian autocracy and British democracy were bound to clash. In 1837, Lord Palmerston and John Hobhouse, fearing the instability of Afghanistan, the Sindh, the increasing power of the Sikh kingdom to the northwest, raised the spectre of a possible Russian invasion of British India through Afghanistan; the Russian Empire was extending its domain into Central Asia, this was seen by the East India Company as a possible threat to their interests in India. In 19th century Russia, there was the ideology of Russia's "special mission in the East", namely Russia had the "duty" to conquer much of Asia, though this was more directed against the nations of Central Asia and the alleged "Yellow Peril" of China than India.
The British tended to misunderstand the foreign policy of the Emperor Nicholas I as anti-British and intent upon an expansionary policy in Asia. The main goal of Nicholas's foreign policy was not the conquest of Asia, but rather upholding the status quo in Europe by co-operating with Prussia and Austria, in isolating France, as Louis Philippe I, the King of the French was a man who Nicholas hated as an "usurper"; the duc d'Orleans had once been Nicholas's friend, but when he assumed the throne of France after the revolution of 1830, Nicholas was consumed with hatred for his former friend who, as he saw it, had gone over to what he perceived as the dark side of liberalism. The Company sent an envoy to Kabul to form an alliance with Afghanistan's Amir, Dost Mohammad Khan against Russia. Dost Mohammad had lost Afghanistan's second capital of Peshawar to the Sikh Empire and was willing to form an alliance with Britain if they gave support to retake it, but the British were unwilling. Instead, the British feared the French-trained Dal Khalsa, they considered the Sikh army to be a far more formidable threat than the Afghans who did not have an army at all, instead having only a tribal levy where under the banner of jihad tribesmen would come out to fight for the Emir.
The Dal Khalsa was an enormous force, trained by French officers, was equipped with modern weapons and was considered to be one of the most powerful armies on the entire Indian subcontinent. For this reason, Lord Auckland preferred an alliance with the Punjab over an alliance with Afghanistan, which had nothing equivalent to the Dal Khalsa; the British could have had an alliance with the Punjab or Afghanistan, but not both at the same time. When Governor-General of India Lord Auckland heard about the arrival of Russian envoy Count Jan Prosper Witkiewicz in Kabul and the possibility that Dost Mohammad might turn to Russia for support, his political advisers exaggerated the threat. Burnes described Witkiewicz: "He was a gentlemanly and agreeable man, of about thirty years of age, spoke French and Persian fluently, wore the uniform of an officer of the Cossacks"; the presence of Witkiewicz had thrown Burnes into a state of despair, leading one contemporary to note that he "abandoned himself to despair, bound his head with wet towels and handkerchiefs and took to the smelling bottle".
Dost Mohammad had in fact invited Count Witkiewicz to Kabul as a way to frighten the British into making an alliance with him against his archenemy Ranjit Singh, the Maharaja of the Punjab, not because he wanted an alliance with Russia. The British had the power to compel Singh to return the former Afghan territories he had conquered whereas the Russians did not, which explains why Dost M
The Mesopotamian campaign was a campaign in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I fought between the Allies represented by the British Empire troops from Britain and British India, the Central Powers of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire had conquered the region in the early 16th century, but never gained complete control. Regional pockets of Ottoman control through local proxy rulers maintained the Ottomans' reach throughout Mesopotamia. With the turn of the 19th century came reforms. Work began on a Baghdad Railway in 1888; the Anglo-Persian Oil Company had obtained exclusive rights to petroleum deposits throughout the Persian Empire, except in the provinces of Azerbaijan, Mazendaran and Khorasan. In 1914, before the war, the British government had contracted with the company for oil for the navy; the operational area of the Mesopotamian campaign was limited to the lands watered by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. The main challenge was moving troops and supplies through the swamps and deserts which surrounded the area of conflict.
Shortly after the European war started, the British sent a military force to protect Abadan, the site of one of the world's earliest oil refineries. British operational planning included landing troops in the Shatt-al-Arab; the reinforced 6th Division of the British Indian Army was assigned the task, designated as Indian Expeditionary Force D. Aside from oil, a major British interest in Mesopotamia in the minds of politicians like Austen Chamberlain and former Viceroy Lord Curzon, was in maintaining British prestige in the eyes of India's Muslim population. At first the campaign was run by the India Office and Indian Army, with little input from the War Office; the Ottoman Fourth Army was located in the region. It was composed of two corps: the XII Corps, with the 35th and 36th Divisions at Mosul, XIII Corps, with the 37th and 38th Divisions at Baghdad. On 29 October 1914, after the pursuit of Goeben and Breslau, Breslau bombarded the Russian Black Sea port of Theodosia. On 30 October the High Command in Istanbul changed the force distribution.
On 2 November Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha expressed regret to the Allies for the actions of the navy. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Sazonov said it was too late and that Russia considered the raid an act of war; the Cabinet tried to explain that hostilities were begun without its sanction by German officers serving in the navy. The Allies insisted on reparations to Russia, the dismissal of German officers from the Goeben and Breslau, the internment of the German ships until the end of the war, but before the Ottoman government could respond, Great Britain and France declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 5 November; the Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress's official Declaration of War came on 14 November. When the Caucasus Campaign became a reality with the victorious Bergmann Offensive, Enver Pasha sent the 37th Division and XIII Corps Headquarters to the Caucasus in support of the Third Army; the entire XII Corps was deployed to the Palestine Campaign. Fourth Army Headquarters was sent to Syria, to replace the Second Army Headquarters, sent to Istanbul.
In place of the Fourth Army was the "Iraq Area Command" with only the 38th Division under its command. Mesopotamia was a low priority area for the Ottomans, they did not expect any major action in the region. Regiments of the XII and XIII Corps were maintained at low levels in peacetime. Lieutenant Colonel Süleyman Askerî Bey became the commander, he redeployed portions of the 38th Division at the mouth of Shatt-al-Arab. The rest of the defensive force was stationed at Basra; the Ottoman General Staff did not possess a proper map of Mesopotamia. They tried to draw a map with the help of people who had worked in Iraq before the war, although this attempt failed. Enver Pasha bought two German maps scaled 1/1,500,000. On 6 November 1914, British offensive action began with the naval bombardment of the old fort at Fao, located at the point where the Shatt-al-Arab meets the Persian Gulf. At the Fao Landing, the British Indian Expeditionary Force D, comprising the 6th Division led by Lieutenant General Arthur Barrett with Sir Percy Cox as Political Officer, was opposed by 350 Ottoman troops and 4 guns.
After a sharp engagement, the fort was overrun. By mid-November the Poona Division was ashore and began moving towards the city of Basra; the same month, the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, contributed to the Allied war effort by sending forces to attack Ottoman troops at Umm Qasr, Safwan and Basra. In exchange the British government recognized Kuwait as an "independent government under British protection." There is no report on the exact size and nature of Mubarak's attack, though Ottoman forces did retreat from those positions weeks later. Mubarak soon removed the Ottoman symbol from the Kuwaiti flag and replaced it with “Kuwait” written in Arabic script. Mubarak’s participation and previous exploits in obstructing the completion of the Baghdad railway helped the British safeguard the Persian Gulf by preventing Ottoman and German reinforcement. On 22 November, the British occupied the city of Basra after a short fight with soldiers of the Iraq Area Command under Suphi Bey, the Governor of Basra.
The Ottoman troops retreated up the river. After establishing order in the town the British continued their advance, at the Battle of Qurna they succeeded in capturing Subhi Bey and 1,000 of his troops; this put the British in a strong position, ensuring that Basra and the oilfields would be protected from any Ottoman advance. The main Ottoma