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Official War History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment 1914-1919

The Occupation of Es Salt

The Occupation of Es Salt

On the morning of September 23rd it was evident that a general retirement of the Turkish IVth Army had begun, and in order to reap the full fruits of the victory the N.Z. Brigade, with the Indian Battery attached, was ordered to follow it up. Leaving the 6th W.M.R. Squadron and a B.W.I. Battalion to hold the Bridgehead at Damieh, the Brigade advanced across the Jordan page 227Valley in intense heat towards Es Salt with the C.M.R. as advance guard. Opposition was encountered among the foothills of the mountains of Moab, but it was quickly overcome, the column wending its way in single file up-the steep and rocky hill face to the plateau three thousand feet above. Under the glare of a tropical sun, the climb was exhausting to all except the mules carrying the guns and ammunition of the Indian Mountain Battery, these wonderful little animals appearing to revel in the difficult country. One mile west of Es Salt a strong redoubt was located, but by skilful manœuvring the advance guard outflanked it, and the Turks therein surrendered without putting up a fight.

The town of Es Salt was taken at 4.20 in the afternoon. In the town and along the road leading thereto evidence of the deadly effect of the bombs of our airmen could be seen. Dead Turks and animals lay scattered amongst the remains of abandoned transport vehicles, which in many places blocked the traffic. A search was made for prisoners and records, and the Brigade bivouacked for the night, after having picketted the town.

The Brigade's captures for the day's operations included:—Five hundred and thirty-eight prisoners, two 4.2 Howitzers, one 77-MM. gun, four machine guns, two automatic rifles, also large quantities of stores and ammunition. Our casualties were nil.