Battles - Seizure of Falluja, 1917

British transport mules in Mesopotamia Forming a crucial component of the Samarrah Offensive, the seizure of Falluja ensured that Sir Frederick Stanley Maude's Anglo-Indian force would not have to cope with flooding of the Euphrates plains during their advance further north from Baghdad.

Falluja, to the west of Baghdad, formed a flood-control area around the Euphrates River.  Garrisoned only by a small force it was handily seized by a British brigade on 19 March 1917, six days after Baghdad fell to the British.

However the retreating Turkish force took care to seriously damage dams protecting floodplains further south.  The problem could have been a serious one for the British but for the fact that the Euphrates was currently low, although repair work was harried by attacks from local marsh Arabs (who attacked both sides equally without prejudice).

Once repair work - which occupied several days - was completed the British force was able to rejoin the main offensive.

Click here to view a map charting operations at the time of the fall of Baghdad.

Photograph courtesy of Photos of the Great War website

"Harry Tate" was the nickname given by British pilots to the R.E.8 aircraft

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