Military History

This week in History | Week 52

By The Cove December 17, 2020

Week 52 | 21 - 31 December


21 December 1916 | Light Horse capture El Arish

Originally intended as an outpost for the defence of the Suez Canal, El Arish was the staging point for the battle of Magdhaba and became one of the first steps in the Allied advance on Palestine.


22 December 1941 | First United States troops arrive in Australia

Australia soon became a major base for US forces in the war against Japan. They were warmly welcomed as representing a defence for Australia.


23 December 1916 | Battle of Magdhaba, northern Sinai

Magdhaba, a village located in the northern Sinai desert, was the scene of an action fought on 23 December 1916 when Turkish forces blocking the route to Palestine were attacked by Major General Harry Chauvel's ANZAC Mounted Division, which had the Imperial Camel Corps attached.

Success in this hard fought action was secured through a resolute assault with the bayonet by the 1st Light Horse Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Charles Cox, just as Chauvel ordered his force to withdraw.

A mounted charge by the 10th Light Horse to secure vital water supplies nearby was also a vital contributory factor in the victory.

This action, combined with the success at Rafa on 9 January 1917, opened the way for the final expulsion of the Turks from Sinai.


27 December 1943 | 7th Division capture 'The Pimple', Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea

The four-month battle for Shaggy Ridge culminated with the capture of this Japanese position on the ridge's summit.


28 December 1940 | 6th Division in their first action near Bardia

Bardia, the Second AIF's first battle, involved an attack on an Italian frontier fortress. The preliminary operations began several days before the main attack was launched.


29 December 1860 | Action at Matarikoriko, New Zealand

Sailors from the Victorian Colonial warship, Victoria, take part in the action at Matarikoriko, New Zealand. The Victoria's service in New Zealand waters during the second Anglo-Maori war, represents the first overseas military operation by an Australian unit, the beginning of Australia's overseas war history.


31 December 1914 | The second convoy of the first AIF departs Albany

Volunteers for the AIF enlisted so readily that a second convoy left within two months of the first. Many of those on board landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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