The Battle of Ayun KaraPalestine, 14 November 1917OutlineMap outlining the action during the Battle of Ayun Kara.
As Cox's brigade entered Deiran, the New Zealanders on the left closed on Wadi Hanein, and further to the west advanced towards Richon. No opposition was met until Wadi Hanein was reached, but the 1st Light Horse Brigade reported columns of troops crossing their front towards the New Zealand sector. Soon after midday Meldrum's brigade advanced strongly, with the Canterbury Regiment on the right, the Wellingtons in the centre, and the Aucklands on the left, and soon located a stoutly-held enemy line running across the sand-hills. Machine-gun and rifle fire for a time obstructed the advance in the centre, but the Wellingtons, with a dashing bayonet attack, in which twenty Turks were killed and two machine-guns captured, drove through the resistance. The Aucklands on the left were then held up by a strong body of infantry, which was being rapidly reinforced, and the regiment came under fire from a battery towards Richon. At 2.30 the Turks opened heavy fire from all arms upon the Aucklands, and a quarter of an hour later a force of 1,500 advanced to the attack.
The New Zealanders, lying down in the open, shot rapidly and accurately; but they were few and scattered, and the Turks, favoured in their approach by cover from the little sand-hills, closed quickly and in overwhelming numbers on the Auckland position. Lieutenant-Colonel J. N. McCarroll,' the commanding officer, reported the situation serious and asked for reinforcements; but only one squadron of Wellingtons was available. For some time a hot duel was waged at close quarters by the rival machine-gunners, but at 4 o'clock the Turks, who were now very close to the New Zealanders, dashed forward with the bayonet and hand-grenades. McCarroll had all his men, including batmen and gallopers, in the firing line. The shouting enemy got within fifty yards of the riflemen; then the Aucklands, who had taken severe punishment with absolute steadiness, rose and met the Turks with the bayonet. The Turks had the numbers, but they were no match with the steel for the powerful young New Zealand farmers. As the two lines closed, the fighting was bloody, but brief; then the Turks broke and fled, leaving 162 dead and a large number of wounded on the ground. The New Zealanders had one officer and twenty other ranks killed, and nine officers and seventy-eight other ranks wounded.
This counter-attack was the last effort made by the enemy to save his Jaffa-Ramleh-Jerusalem communications. With the loss of Junction Station, in the east, the advance of the yeomanry in the centre, and the failure of his spasmodic assault near Richon, his whole line was in retreat by the evening of the 14th (November).NZMR troopers and members of the local Jewish community attend the memorial service of the first anniversary of the Battle of Ayun Kara.[Photograph taken by Trooper Charles Broomfield - permission given by the Cato family, Ohaupo and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association.]
Extracted from H.S. Gullett (1944), The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine
, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, pp. 474 - 476.Lest We Forget
All information sourced from the Australian War Memorial
, National Australian Archives
and the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre