Friday, March 16, 2012

Megiddo IV.

This is coolbert:

Ground attack!

That Turkish army group at Megiddo attempting a retirement, being pursued by the Royal Air Force [RAF] with a vengeance.

Pursuit of the enemy during a breakthrough offensive, not allowing the enemy any respite attack from warplanes operating in the ground attack mode quite common.

The German having pioneered [?] the use of dedicated ground attack aircraft as an integral element of those tactics as used to break the stalemate of trench warfare during the Great War [WW1], strafing and bombing enemy troops while either entrenched or during retirement from the battlefield.

[those three elements of the blitzkrieg type offensive being the use of infiltration tactics, poison gas delivered by shell on target, and the incorporation of ground strafing warplanes!]


"Following the success of Allenby's attack at Megiddo on the 19th of September, the Turkish divisions were forced to retreat through the narrow defile of Wadi Farra.  On the 21st of September the Australians trapped them there, when they bombed the head and the tail of the Turkish column.  Together with RAF SE5as and DH9s [these two aircraft were NOT dedicated ground attack aircraft] the Australians mercilessly bombed and strafed the terrified Turks."

"On 21 September, the Seventh Army was spotted by aircraft in a defile west of the river. The RAF proceeded to bomb the retreating Turks and destroyed their entire column. Waves of bombing and strafing aircraft passed over the column every three minutes and although the operation had been intended to last for five hours, the Seventh Army was routed in 60 minutes. All transport, artillery and heavy equipment was abandoned or destroyed, many Turks were killed and the survivors were scattered and leaderless."

"When the smoke had cleared it was seen that the organization of the enemy had melted away.  They were a dispersed horde of trembling individuals, hiding for their lives in every fold of the vast hills.  Nor did their commanders ever rally them again.  When our cavalry entered the silent valley the next day they could count ninety guns, fifty lorries, and nearly a thousand carts abandoned with all their belongings.  The RAF lost four killed.  The Turks lost a corps." - - T. E. Lawrence,

"A dispersed horde", "trembling individuals", "hiding", commanders not able to rally them, disintegration of unit cohesion, NO amelioration for such air attack. Shock tactics that WORKED!!

A retreat is best understood if done in an orderly manner or as a disorderly rout, mass disintegration and total chaos with units further unable to reconstitute themselves, INEFFECTIVE!!

Prior to 1914 the general staffs of the various European military powers would have seen the warplane as a curiosity, a contraption, an oddity for which there was little if any use. In the aftermath of the war, that perception had changed markedly to the extreme without a doubt!!


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