Saturday, July 11, 2009
The first German troops came to assist the Ottoman Army in 1914 and 1915 were Pioneers, who assisted in the construction of roads in Sinai. In December 1914, a Tropical Medical expedition was sent to work with Turkish sanitary units in Palestine to combat epidemics of typhoid, typhus, dysentery and cholera.
Once Serbia had been conquered, it became possible to send large quantities of equipment and munitions to the Ottoman Armies via the Danube River and Balkan railways. A detachment of specialist troops and officers, the Asia Korps, was assembled to increase the Ottoman Army's effectiveness in the use of equipment they hitherto lacked. In March 1916, the "Pasha I Expedition" set out for Palestine. The various units of the expedition included:
* Infantry Battalion 701
* Infantry support gun sections 701, 702, 703
* Machine gun company 701
* Asia Korps Cavalry squadron
* Pioneer detachment 701
* Pioneer company 205 (from the Hessian 11th Pioneer Battalion)
* Flying detachment (Fliegerabteilung) 300 ("Pasha")
* Mountain Signal detachment 27
* Survey section 27
* Medical section
Fortress Railway Construction Company No. 11 and Railway Operating Companies Nos. 44 and 48 were also deployed to assist the Turkish railway authorities on the lines of communication.
In April, the 300th Flying Detachment ("Pasha") was stationed in Beersheba with 14 Rumpler C.I aircraft. The other troops of the expedition joined them there in April. The Flying Detachment was subsequently stationed in El Arish and Bir El 'Abd. After Turkish defeats in the First Suez Offensive and Battle of Romani, they subsequently fell back to Beersheba and Ramallah.
On 11 March 1917, after the Fall of Baghdad to the British Army, the Ottoman Army assembled an Army Group codenamed Yilderim ("Thunderbolt", the nickname of Sultan Bayezid I) to recover Baghdad. The German Army increased the strength of the detachments with the Ottoman troops by despatching a second expedition, "Pasha II" under Major General Werner von Frankenberg zu Proschlitz, in August. Following Ottoman defeats in the Battle of Beersheba and Third Battle of Gaza in late October, the Yilderim group was diverted to prevent further collapse in Palestine. After the capture of Jerusalem in December, further reinforcements were despatched, including substantial fighting ground formations.
The German troops forming Pasha II, and subsequent reinforcements were under the administrative control of the 201st Infantry Brigade commanded by Major General Werner von Frankenberg zu Proschlitz, and included:
* Infantry Regiment No. 146 (Masurian)
* Infantry Battalions 702 and 703. Together with infantry 701
* A Jäger battalion, subsequently withdrawn to Germany.
* Flying detachments 301, 302, 303, 304 (Bavarian), 305
* Fighter squadron (Jagdstaffel) 55
* Mountain Signal detachment 28
* Pasha II Intelligence detachment (Nachrichtenabteilung)
German staff officers with signal and other personnel formed a Corps headquarters within the Ottoman Eighth Army in Palestine, which was also termed the "Asia Corps", although it is also referred to in Turkish histories as the "Left Wing Group", commanded by Colonel Gustav von Oppen.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The Jerusalem Railway Station, (sometimes called the Khan Railway Station, the Refai'im Valley Railway Station or the Old Railway Station), is the historic Station situate in the Bakaa Quarter of Jerusalem, close to the Jerusalem Khan. The Station is one of the first to have been built in what was then Palestine, having been inaugurated in 1892 as the final stop on the Jaffa - Jerusalem Line. This Railway Station is one of the few public buildings to have been built in Jerusalem during the Ottoman period.
The concept of laying a railway-line connecting the coastal lowlands with Jerusalem had already been aired in the middle of the 19th century by Dr. Konrad Schick, Moshe Montefiore and others. The Concession for laying the railway was obtained from the controlling Ottoman authorities by Yossef Navon, but due to financial and other difficulties he was obliged to sell the Concession to a French Company. In 1892 the building of the Jaffa - Jerusalem railway was finally completed, having been laid along the "Donkey Track" route, an ancient way going up to Jerusalem and taking in Sorek Brook and the Refai'im Valley. The Line was inaugurated with much celebration in Jerusalem on the 26th of September, 1892 in the presence of City Notables, both Jewish and Arab. Amongst those at the ceremony was Eliezer Ben- Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew Language, who gave the as yet unnamed "Iron Horse" its Hebrew name of "Rekeveth".
The Station operated almost without a break until 1948 when, due to the War of Independence, transportation on the Jaffa - Jerusalem Line ceased. The end of that War found sections of the Line in Jordanian hands. Under the Rhodes Agreements, Jordan transferred to Israel those areas of the railway which were under its control thereby allowing Israel Railways to operate the service to Jerusalem anew. On the 7th of August, 1949, the first official train to Jerusalem carried a symbolic consignment of wheat, "Nesher" cement and Holy Scrolls.
The hangar, which was built at a period a little later than the Railway Station itself, was used for goods storage. One can see that the hanger entrances are actually built in such way as to be square with the doors of railway carriages so that the unloading of goods into the hanger was much easier. The hanger floor is paved with ancient stones which had in the past served as road paving.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The Palestine Mandate, also the Mandate for Palestine,or the British Mandate for Palestine, was a League of Nations Mandate drafted by the principal Allied and associated powers after the First World War and formally approved by the League of Nations in 1922. By the power granted under the mandate, Britain ruled Palestine in the years 1920-1948, a period in history referred to as the "British Mandate.
Termination of the Mandate
The British had notified the U.N. of their intent to terminate the mandate not later than 1 August 1948., but Jewish Leadership led by future Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared independence on 14 May. The State of Israel declared itself as an independent nation, and was quickly recognized by the Soviet Union, the United States, and many other countries, but not by the surrounding Arab states. Over the next few days, approximately 1,000 Lebanese, 5,000 Syrian, 5,000 Iraqi, 10,000 Egyptian troops invaded Israel. Four thousand Transjordanian troops, commanded by 38 British officers who had resigned their commissions in the British army only weeks earlier (commanded by General Glubb), invaded the Corpus separatum region encompassing Jerusalem and its environs, as well as areas designated as part of the Arab state by the UN partition plan. On the date of British withdrawal, the Jewish provisional government declared the formation of the State of Israel, and the provisional government said that it would grant full civil rights to all within its borders, whether Arab, Jew, Bedouin or Druze
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Despite Israel’s appeal to Jordan to stay out of the war, Jordanian forces fired artillery barrages from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although Israeli forces did not respond initially, not wanting to open up a Jordanian front in the war, Jordan continued to attack and occupied UN headquarters in Jerusalem. Israeli forces fought back and within two days managed to repulse the Jordanian forces and retake eastern Jerusalem. (For more details, see War: Jordanian Front)
Israeli paratroopers at the Western Wall
On June 7, 1967, IDF paratroopers advanced through the Old City toward the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, bringing Jerusalem’s holiest site under Jewish control for the first time in 2000 years. There are sound recordings of the scene, as the commander of the brigade,Lt. General Mordechai (Motta) Gur, approaches the Old City and announces to his company commanders, “We’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City...” and shortly afterwards, “The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!” General Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of the IDF, sounded the Shofar at the Western Wall to signify its liberation. To Israelis and Jews all over the world, this was a joyous and momentous occasion. Many considered it a gift from Go