Battles - The Battle of Khadairi Bend, 1917
The Battle of the Khadairi Bend was fought as a prelude to the main offensive at the Second Battle of Kut.
Specifically it was intended at undermining Turkish defences sited at the highly fortified Khadairi Bend, positioned in two deep trench lines at the north of Kut in a loop of the River Tigris along the left bank.
British operations were overseen by newly-installed regional Commander-in-Chief Sir Frederick Maude. Maude's plans for undermining Turk defences around Kut were carefully constructed and executed over a period of some months.
British sappers began to dig positions underneath the Turkish lines from 22 December 1916 with the capture of Turkish outposts. Within two weeks they had succeeded in digging to within just 200 metres of the Turks' eastern position.
Following a series of diversionary attacks launched along the Tigris on 7 and 8 January 1917, and preceded by an unusually effective artillery bombardment, a major British assault against the town was initiated by Maude on 9 January.
British progress was good in the face of impressive Turkish opposition. Khadairi Bend itself fell, after heavy fighting (including two concerted Turkish counter-attacks), on 29 January.
With Kut secured the following month Maude briefly paused before continuing onwards to seek the politically spectacular capture of Baghdad, which duly fell in early March.
Click here to view a map charting operations in Mesopotamia through to 1917.
Photograph courtesy of Photos of the Great War website
Observation balloons were referred to as 'sausages'.
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