7-11 March 1917


After recapturing Kut-al-Amara in February 1917, the British regional Commander-in-Chief, Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, proceeded to attack Baghdad to capture it from the Turkish forces. Khalil Pasha, regional Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish forces, decided to form defences on either side of the Tigris, 35 km south of the city, and placed his Sixth Army along the Diyala River.

Maude marched his troops along the east bank of the Tigris, arriving at Diyala on the 8th March. Unable to cross the river during the day, the next evening crossings allowed a small bridgehead to be established. A bulk of the British forces were ordered to cross to the west bank by pontoon bridge, to outflank the Turkish forces and to be able to move directly into Baghdad. The newly arrived German Army Air Service made Khalil aware of the British movements, so a majority of the Turkish forces crossed the Tigris to meet the British and only leaving one regiment to defend Diyala.

British action on the 10th led to the Turkish retiring to Tel Aswad to defend the Baghdad-Berlin railway. After a sandstorm, the Turkish retreated from Baghdad. The British forces entered the city without a struggle on the 11th March..

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