The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Battle Honour 15th


The Battle for the town of Nablus took place in September 1918. The 15th Light Horse Regiment formed part of the 5th Light Horse Brigade under Brigadier-General Macarthur-Onslow. The 5th Light Horse Brigade had spearheaded the taking of Tul Keram 20 km to the West of Nablus where a column of vehicles had been taken by the 15th Light Horse. The regiment was in the vicinity of Ariebta, 1.5 km east of Tul Keram at about 20:00 on 19 September 1918 when orders were received to move on Nablus.

That night the advance commenced with infantry moving from the south west; the opposition was determined. The country consisted of a series of rocky mountain ridges. The enemy who had anticipated an advance directly on Nablus was fighting from selected positions, well dug in and built up with sangars covered with wire entanglements. The Turkish infantry resisted with exceptional stubbornness, and in places counter-attacked with temporary success. The infantry of the 10th and 53rd Divisions supported indifferently by Artillery made steady progress. They paid dearly for the ground, but by bayonet charge and manoeuvre they forced the enemy from ridge to ridge.

The 5th ALH Brigade left Tel Keram at 05:00 on 21st September supported by armoured cars (No 2 Light Armoured Car Battery). Enemy rear guards were encountered near Deir Sheraf 1 km from Nablus at the seme time as contact was established with infantry moving up from the South West. The road to Nablus led up into the ranges, narrow and flanked by stony hillsides, excellent positions were afforded for small parties of Turks with machine guns. The armoured cars pushed down the road drawing fire from the Turks. The light horse then outflanked the enemy, using their horses to get into position then attacking the individual posts from the rear on foot. Engaged by armoured cars from the front, and dismounted soldiers from the rear, the enemy surrendered freely with their guns.

The advance into Nablus was headed by a squadron of the 14th Light Horse led by Major Denison. Nablus was surrounded by plantations, affording good cover to enemy machine gunners and riflemen. The lighthorsemen were engaged at close range. The town was outflanked to the north and quickly surrendered.

The Australians of the two regiments (14th and 15th) had in their first operation as light horse shown the same zest for the offensive which had distinguished them in the Camel Brigade.

Summarised from H.S. Gullett, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 Vol 8, 1923, by John Howells NSW Lancers Museum, 2001.

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