Indian cavalry not only fought but also defeated the Turks in World War 1 through their courage and bravery. But this great achievement of Indian soldiers has always been covered under the pile of clothes which constituted of exaggerated Mughal history and eulogizing of Mughals. There has always been an attempt to make Bharatiyas feel ashamed of their roots and therefore this great war which we won have been kept under the pit.
Indian cavalry fought and won the war by defeating the German- Turkish troops. During 1918, the city of Haifa which presently lies in Israel was under the hold of German- Turkish forces and came under the Ottoman Rule. Due to the rail access and harbour, Haifa was of a significant importance and was a supply base. As the World War 1 was in the process both the powers, Allied forces and Central Powers were trying theit best to take over every significant place in order to win the war and Haifa was one such place which was under Ottoman Rule. As the city Haifa was under the Ottoman Rule , the Allied Forces planned and made their minds to capture the city Haifa from the clutches of German- Turkish forces. The task of annexation of city Haifa and freeing it from the rule of Ottoman was given to the 15th Cavalry Brigade which was initially called Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.
Several earlier attempts were also made to annex the city Haifa but the strong German-Turkish forces prevented the Allied Forces to capture and therefore this task was given to the soldiers from Bharat.The 15th Cavalry Brigade constituted of the troops from Imperial service from the princely states of Hyderabad, Mysore, Patiala, Alwar and Jodhpur. Cavalry Brigade and played an active role in the British victory over Turkish forces in Palestine.
From the war equipments point of view Indian soldiers were way too much weaker in front of Turkish troops. Not only from war equipments point of view but also from the point of view of number of soldiers.The Turkish army was well-equipped with machine guns and artillery, while on the other hand, the Indian troops had only spears (or lances) at their disposal and were not too strong in terms of the number either, 400 Indian soldiers were on a battlefield against 1500 Turkish men which was quite an impossible task to carry on. Absolutely no one expected the Indian troops will be able to win the “War of Haifa”. But the Indian troops made impossible possible through their courage and valour and was able to annex the city of Haifa from the clutches of Turkish troops. On 23rd September 1918, the Cavalry Brigade, led by lancers from Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers, as well as contingents from Bhavanagar, Baroda, Idar and Jamnagar forces attacked the German-Turkish troops and seized the city of Haifa. The regiments with Indian soldiers captured 1,350 German and Ottoman prisoners, including two German officers, 35 Ottoman officers, 17 artillery guns including four 4.2 guns, eight 77mm guns and four camel guns as well as a 6-inch naval gun, and 11 machine guns. Their own casualties amounted to eight dead and 34 wounded. 60 horses were killed and another 83 injured.
The war by Indian troops was fought under the British Empire but the Israelis took note of the origin of the soldiers and also the contributions and sacrifices they made. After the battle of Haifa, the official History of the War described it saying, “No more remarkable cavalry action of its scale was fought in the whole course of the campaign… Machine gun bullets over and over again failed to stop the galloping horses even though many of them succumbed afterwards to their injuries.”On May 21, 1919, the seventh Earl of Mayo had observed, “My Lords, there were two divisions of Indian cavalry employed in Palestine including an Imperial Service brigade. I believe I am right in saying that they were all Indian. It is well-known to the authorities at the War Office and to the military authorities that these brigades did very good work indeed. They had tremendously hard work to do, so hard indeed that they were the first troops to go into Damascus.Israel and especially Haifa has not forgotten the contribution of Indian troops. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel visited the capital, the Teen Murti Chowk in New Delhi was renamed as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, in a symbolic gesture. The Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers are now represented by the 61st Cavalry Regiment in the Indian Army and still commemorate the battle every year on 23 September as Haifa Day.
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