Key Battles of World War I
Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Marne (September 5-12, 1914) marked the end of the German advance into France from Belgium. Following the French army’s “Great Retreat” towards Paris, French Marshal Joseph Joffre ordered the French Sixth Army to advance. While engaging the Sixth Army, the German forces ignored the attacks from a combined British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Fifth Army advancing from the south, opening a 30 mile gap in the German lines. The Germans still hoped to defeat the Allies, but the French were reinforced on the night of September 7 by 10,000 reserve infantry ferried from Paris, including about 3,000 men from the Seventh Army transported by six hundred taxicabs requisitioned by French generals in Paris. Though historians have recently challenged the veracity of the battle’s taxicabs, the story’s impact on French morale was undeniable. Thus, the reinforced Allies held their ground against German counterattacks and drove them into a retreat. The Germans eventually stopped their retreat north of the Aisne River, where they dug in, constructing trenches. The pursuing French and British armies ultimately clashed with the Germans at this spot, resulting in the Battle of the Aisne. The Battle of the Marne was a victory for the Allies, marking the ultimate failure of the German Schlieffen Plan to reach Paris. Yet it also set the stage for four years of trench warfare on the Western Front.
The Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun (February 21 - December 18, 1916) took place north of the city of Verdun along the Meuse River in northeastern France between the German and French armies and was the longest battle of the First World War at 303 days. Knowing the French army had suffered enormous losses in 1915, German strategists believed that if they could force the French to attack with the same intensity as they had a year earlier, the French army would lose even more men and be forced to ask for peace, ending Germany’s difficult two-front war. The German strategy during the battle would be one of attrition, or wearing down French manpower through sustained attack. The German offensive began with a 9-hour artillery bombardment on the French lines along the east bank of the Meuse River. German infantry then advanced, driving the French back over two miles. Yet by July, the German force at Verdun was reduced to provide reinforcements for the British-led Somme Offensive. From August to December, French counter-offensives forced the German army to retreat nearly three miles. The final French offensive on December 15, combining a massive artillery assault and an infantry advance, resulted in 13,500 of the remaining 21,000 German troops being taken prisoner. Total casualties are estimated to be between 700,000 and 1,250,000 men. The combination of intense violence with very minimal visible progress made the Battle of Verdun emblematic of the fighting on the Western Front.
The Somme Offensive
The First Battle of the Somme (July 1 - November 18, 1916) was an Anglo-French offensive whose objective was to overstretch and wear down the German army on the Western Front. Originally, the French were to lead the attack, with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) providing support. Yet after the French army was devastated at Verdun, the British were left to take the principal role. British training was far from complete, and their strategy was also flawed; thinly spread artillery, defective munitions (largely British-produced), and inexperienced troops led to a disastrous initial British assault – some 57,000 casualties. In comparison, the French army, with plenty of combat experience from the engagements at Ypres and Verdun, took its objectives with 1,600 casualties. After a significant Allied advance followed by a period of stagnation in the face of strong German defensive positions, powerful and successive French and British offensives drove the German army back, but failed to break their lines. Only the coming of winter ended the offensive. In its incredible violence, The Somme came to represent the terror and senselessness of the Western Front. The German army suffered heavy losses: more than 500,000 casualties and a serious crisis of morale. The British suffered 420,000 and the French 202,000 casualties. Yet the battle ultimately provided Allied commanders with the strategic experience they needed in order to be successful in the future.
Battle of Cantigny
The Battle of Cantigny (May 27-31, 1918) was the first American battle and offensive of World War I. Led by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), the objective of the attack was to capture the high ground that the village sat upon, reduce a small salient made by the German army in the front lines, as well as to demonstrate the capabilities of the still-inexperienced AEF to its British and French allies. Following an hour-long preparatory artillery barrage, American troops left their trenches and proceeded forward accompanied by a rolling barrage. The French provided the 1st Division with firepower and logistical support, including air reconnaissance, tanks, heavy artillery, trench mortars, and flamethrowers. The village was secured in only in 30 minutes, with 250 German prisoners captured. A series of artillery barrages and counterattacks over the next two days were ultimately held off by the AEF. American forces ultimately held Cantigny with 1,603 casualties, including over 300 killed in action. Most importantly, the AEF's success at Cantigny assured Allied Commander-in-Chief Généralissime Ferdinand Foch and others that the newly-arrived American forces ought to act as a unified, independent fighting unit that could be entrusted to protect Paris.
Battle of Belleau Wood
The Battle of Belleau Wood (June 1-26, 1918) occurred near the Marne River on the Western Front between the U.S. Second and Third Divisions along with French and British forces against German units. On June 1, the German army punched a hole in the French lines, forcing American forces to fill the gap in the line north of the highway to Paris. The next day, German commanders ordered an advance through Belleau Wood. Disregarding a French order to dig trenches further to the rear, the commander of the Marines ordered his men to "hold where they stand." The Marines waited until the Germans were within 100 yards before attacking, inflicting many casualties and forcing them to retreat into the woods. On June 6, the Marines advanced from the west into Belleau Wood as part of an Allied counterattack. In the dense wood, Marines and German infantrymen were soon engaged in heavy hand-to-hand fighting. The casualties sustained on this day – 31 officers and 1,056 men – were the highest in Marine Corps history up to that time. Over the next three weeks, the Marines attacked into the woods a total of six times before they could successfully expel the Germans completely. Finally, an attack on June 26 by the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines cleared Belleau Wood of Germans. In a message to AEF Headquarters, the unit's commander wrote simply, "Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely.” The battle has become a key component of the lore of the United States Marine Corps.
Hundred Days Offensive
The Hundred Days Offensive (August 8 – November 11, 1918) was a series of successful offensives launched by the Allies against the Central Powers on the Western Front. Thus, the Hundred Days Offensive does not refer to a long, defensive battle such as the 1916 Somme Offensive, but a series of highly-mobile Allied offensives beginning with the Battle of Amiens and continuing on with the 2nd Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Havrincourt, the Battle of Albert, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and the 2nd Battle of Cambrai. The ultimate goal of the Offensive was to regain territory lost to the German Army during its 1918 Spring Offensive and, ultimately, break the formidable defensive fortifications of the Hindenburg Line. By September 2, the Germans had been forced back over 40 miles to the Hindenburg Line. Allied Commander Generalissime Ferdinand Foch planned waves of overlapping attacks, called the Grand Offensive, against the Line in order to wear down the already demoralized German forces. The first of these attacks was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, launched on September 26 by the French army and the AEF. Despite strong German resistance, the BEF broke the Line at the 2nd Battle of Cambrai and the AEF and French forces broke through on October 17. Through October, the German army retreated across the territory it had gained in 1914, abandoning supplies and munitions as it fled. The Hundred Days Offensive ultimately ended with the armistice between Germany and the Allies at 11am on November 11, 1918.
Battle of Amiens
The Battle of Amiens (August 8-12, 1918) was the opening phase of the Allied Hundred Days Offensive against the German Army. Allied forces advanced over seven miles on the first day – one of the largest advances of the war – with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) playing a key role. The Allies’ great success was largely due to reliance on new technologies and strategic innovations. Amiens was one of the first major battles that incorporated large-scale armored warfare, with 580 tanks supporting infantry movements. The ability to protect infantry advances made fighting mobile again and marked the end of trench warfare on the Western Front. British advances in "sound ranging" to acoustically locate the position of enemy artillery and aerial photographic reconnaissance made the Allied artillery fire more accurate against the German guns, eliminating over 95% of them as the infantry advanced. There was also to be no pre-battle artillery bombardment of German lines, giving the Allied advance the advantage of surprise. The advance continued on August 9, though not with the same results of the first day: in most places, the infantry had outrun the supporting artillery and communication problems back to headquarters prevented the infantry from maintaining the momentum. By August 13, the Allies had captured nearly 50,000 prisoners and 500 German guns, and had advanced a total of 12 miles into German lines.
Battle of St. Mihiel
The Battle of St. Mihiel (September 12-15, 1918) involving the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and 110,000 French colonial troops under the command of U.S. General John J. Pershing. The reduction of the salient near the village of St. Mihiel would facilitate communication and logistics between various French corps at Nancy and Verdun. Yet Pershing also saw an opportunity for the AEF to break through the German lines and capture the fortified city of Metz. The attack caught the outnumbered Germans in the process of retreating to join the larger body of the German army behind the Hindenburg Line, so that their artillery was out of place and the infantry was generally disorganized. Thus, the American attack proved more successful than expected. The offensive also saw the use of the newly-created U.S. tank battalions under then-Colonel George S. Patton. The AEF also relied heavily on the U.S. Army Air Service to conduct visual reconnaissance before the battle began and provide bombing support during the offensive. In the end, the AEF captured 15,000 German prisoners and 450 artillery in the reduction of the salient. The great success of the St. Mihiel attack further established the effectiveness of the AEF in the minds of the French and British commanders. General Pershing's plan to attack Metz, however, was abandoned as the AEF had a key role in Generalissime Ferdinand Foch's Meuse-Argonne Offensive against the Hindenburg Line.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (September 26 – November 11, 1918) was a major drive by the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and the French army during the final Hundred Days Offensive on the Western Front. The offensive was the largest battle in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers in the AEF commanded by General John Pershing. Yet the offensive also the AEF's costliest: over 26,000 Americans gave their lives and nearly 96,000 were injured. The objective was to break the supply network supporting the German army by capturing the railway hub behind the Hindenburg Line at Sedan. The initial attack on September 26 was met with heavy fighting. While most units achieved their objectives, others struggled to advance, especially after German reinforcements were brought in September 29. Still, by October 3 the AEF gained five miles and French forces had advanced nine. Between October 14-17, the AEF launched a series of costly attacks, together called the Battle of Montfaucon, that finally broke through the formidable German defenses of the Hindenburg Line. By the end of October, U.S. troops advanced ten miles and had finally cleared the Argonne Forest of German forces. On November 6, French forces took Sedan, while the AEF secured the surrounding hills. Fighting only ended with news of the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Battle of Tannenberg
The Battle of Tannenberg (August 26-30, 1914) saw the German Army launch a counteroffensive against the advancing Russian Army in German Prussia during the opening weeks of the First World War. Germany’s strategy for the war, the Schlieffen Plan, assumed that Russian mobilization would take at least two months, giving Germany time to deal a quick and decisive defeat to France. German commanders accordingly concentrated their troops on the Western Front. Russia, however, mobilized its army in two weeks, invading Prussia. Russian commanders split their army into two parts, one advancing northeast, the other southwest, hoping to pin the German Army between them. Yet the two Russian armies were separated by the Masurian Lakes and unable to effectively communicate with each other. Adding to Russia’s troubles, commanders did not encode their radio messages to each other, allowing German radio engineers to intercept their communications. Meanwhile, a new German commander, Helmuth von Moltke – against the advice of his corps commanders – authorized an aggressive counteroffensive against the Russians. On August 26, the German army took the southwestern arm of the Russian army by surprise. After three days of German artillery barrage Russian troops began their retreat, but German forces cut off their path, killing 50,000 troops and capturing 92,000. On August 30, realizing his army’s imminent collapse, Russian commander Aleksandr Samsonov went into the forest and shot himself. Although the battle was disastrous for the Russian army, it was successful in the sense that it pulled German troops away from the Western Front, taking pressure off of France and weakening the German Army enough to halt their advance towards Paris in the Battle of the Marne.
The Brusilov Offensive (June 4-September 20, 1916) was the Russian response to calls by their French allies to draw German energy and resources from the Battle of Verdun. Though he was given the go-ahead, the other Russian commanders had little confidence in General Alexei Brusilov’s strategy. They granted permission for an offensive against the Austro-Hungarian army at Lutsk (in present-day Ukraine). Beginning with a massive bombardment from nearly 2,000 guns along a 200-mile-long front that decimated the Austrian front lines, Brusilov attacked, taking 26,000 prisoners in one day. Within two days, the Russians had broken the Austro-Hungarian army, advancing almost 50 miles, capturing over 200,000 prisoners, and inflicting 130,000 casualties. The great success of the Russians drove Austria to temporarily close the Italian Front and forced Germany to move 50,000 troops from the Verdun front, allowing for a successful French counterattack at Verdun on June 23. Brusilov’s continued victories on the Eastern Front ultimately forced Germany to abandon plans for a larger 1916 offensive in France in order to provide essential support in the crumbing Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yet by the fall, Brusilov’s resources had begun to run out and his offensive was ended on September 20, 1916. The largest and most successful Allied action of World War I, the offensive cost the Austro-Hungarian army a total of 1.5 million men (including 400,000 taken prisoner) and almost 10,000 square miles of territory. Overall, the offensive permanently debilitated Austria-Hungary, leaving Germany to essentially fight alone through the final two years of the war.
The Kerensky Offensive (July 1-19, 1917) was the last Russian offensive in the Eastern Front of World War I. Following the February Revolution that overthrew the Czar and placed a democratic Provisional Government in power, this offensive was intended to reassure Allied confidence in Russian capabilities on the Eastern Front as well as to reinvigorate the morale of Russian troops and citizens. Planned by the Provisional Government's minister of war, Alexandr Kerensky and led by the successful general Alexei Brusilov, the offensive sought to sweep through Galicia (present-day Ukraine) and take the city of Lviv. The opening Russian drive, preceded by the largest artillery barrage of the Eastern Front, was initially successful: Russian forces captured 18,000 Austrian prisoners and large quantities of guns and supplies. Yet a number of issues plagued the army after this success, including a lack of planning by commanders and the unwillingness of Russian troops to continue the assault after their initial victory. For these reasons, Brusilov was repeatedly forced to postpone his plans for secondary attacks. While the Russian army idled, Germany sent 75,000 troops from the Western Front to reinforce their Austro-Hungarian allies and coordinate a counteroffensive. Beginning on July 6, the Central Powers drove the Russians back with little resistance, facing only small defensive actions by Russian cavalry and artillery. By July 23, German and Austrian forces pushed the Russians back over 150 miles. The total collapse of the Russian army and the dismal failure of the Kerensky Offensive ultimately fed into growing domestic dissatisfaction with the war and allowed Vladimir Lenin to launch the Bolshevik Revolution, toppling the democratic Provisional Government and ending Russia’s involvement in World War I.
Battle of Tsingtao
The Battle of Tsingtao (August 27-November 7, 1914) was a naval engagement that took place in China against Germany by a combined Japanese and British naval force for control of the key Pacific port city of Tsingtao. On August 15, Japan issued an ultimatum to Germany, demanding the withdrawal of all warships from Chinese and Japanese waters. The ultimatum expired on August 23 and on August 27 a Japanese blockade force arrived at Tsingtao, with two dreadnoughts, two battlecruisers, a seaplane carrier, 142 artillery, and 23,000 infantry troops. This Japanese were reinforced with 1500 British and Indian troops. The German forces numbered just over 3500 troops and included a torpedo boat, four small gunboats, and an Austro-Hungarian battlecruiser. Japanese troops landed on September 2 and 18, forcing German commanders to withdraw their forces into the innermost defenses of the city. German ships attempted to break the blockade a number of times from September 2 to October 31 by both directly attacking Japanese ships, as well as launching raids with their torpedo boat. Japanese land forces captured Tsingtao’s supply railroads on September 13 and began a full artillery bombardment from land and sea against the city of October 31. The barrage from 100 guns firing 1200 shells each continued for seven days, providing cover for the advancing Japanese infantry. Although the Germans used their artillery against the approaching Japanese, by November 6, they had run out of ammunition. Japanese infantry successfully attacked the city that night and Germany asked for peace. All German forces in China were immediately transported to POW camps in Japan, where they remained until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.
South-West Africa Campaign
The South-West Africa Campaign (September 19, 1914 – July 9, 1915) was the conquest and occupation of German South West Africa (present-day Namibia) by South African forces acting as a member of the British Commonwealth. Before South African forces could engage with Germany, however, the Boers – descendants of the original Dutch settlers in South Africa and sympathetic to Germany, having supported the Boers in their war against Britain twelve years earlier – staged a rebellion against South African forces in October 1914. The rebellion was ruthlessly put down by the South Africans and by February 1915, the Boers offered no more distraction to the invasion of German South West Africa. Early skirmishes for control of the Orange River resulted in a decisive South African victory, a success that paved the way for a dual invasion from the north and the south. By May 1915, aggressive tactics and commanders with plenty of experience from the two Boer Wars allowed the southern force, led by Jan Smuts, to drive the retreating German forces directly into the South African force in the north, led by Louis Botha. Germans forces surrendered in July 1915 and in 1919, South West Africa was established as a League of Nations mandate.
East African Campaign
The East African Campaign (August 3, 1914-November 14, 1918) was a series of battles and guerrilla actions across German East Africa (present-day Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania), Mozambique, Rhodesia, British East Africa, Uganda, and the Belgian Congo. The primary strategy of the German army was to divert Allied forces and supplies from the Western Front to Africa. This strategy achieved only mixed results, as Allied forces were predominantly composed of South African, Indian, or other colonial troops. Yet the campaign did divert considerable amounts of money and material that could have been utilized on other fronts. The British initially gained control of Lake Victoria and launched a naval barrage on Dar es Salaam, but these efforts were followed by embarrassing failures at the Battles of Tanga and Kilimanjaro against significantly smaller German colonial forces. The British won victories in various small skirmishes during the Battle of Lake Tanganyika, beginning in 1915. In 1916, British colonial reinforcements from India, Rhodesia, and South Africa, as well as forces from the Belgian Congo and Portuguese Mozambique, constituted a new force of over 70,000 troops. Yet this force was never able to capture the German army and was severely affected by disease. The Belgian Force Publique took primary control over the East African Front later in 1916, occupying Burundi and Rwanda by June 17 and capturing the capital of German East Africa by September 19. A combined British and Belgian force eventually pushed the Germans into Mozambique, where they raided Portuguese supplies and continued to evade the Allied forces. Word of the Armistice finally reached the front on November 14, 1918 and the Germans formally surrendered on November 25. In the Treaty of Versailles, German East Africa became two League of Nations mandates: British Tanganyika and Belgian Ruanda-Urundi.
12 Battles of the Isonzo
The Battles of the Isonzo (June 23, 1915-November 7, 1917) began when Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1915, coaxed by the promise of territory held by Austria-Hungary along the east Mediterranean. The Italian army’s opening offensive would focus on securing that territory, beginning at the Isonzo (present-day Soca) River near the Italian-Austrian border. Flanked by the peaks of the lower Alps, the river marks the entrance to the strategic highlands of the Karst Plateau. On June 23, 1915, Italian forces – outnumbering Austria-Hungary three-to-one – launched an offensive to cross the river and penetrate the strong opposing defenses in the Alp foothills. After fourteen days, the superior Austrian positions made an advance difficult and the Italians failed to drive their attacks far beyond the river. Similar attacks occurred July 18-August 3, October 18 – November 3, and November 10-December 2, 1915. After another attempt in March failed, the Italians finally established a bridgehead across the Isonzo during the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo on August 6-17, 1916. Italian forces continued their attempt to break the defensive positions of the Austro-Hungarian troops September 14-17, October 10-12, and November 1-4, 1916, but the formidable terrain made such efforts devastatingly costly. Small Italian advances marked the Tenth Battle of Isonzo from May 12-June 8, 1917, but the Italian army made major progress from August 19-September 12 with 51 divisions and 5,200 artillery focused on Austro-Hungarian defenses. Such great advances made the Germans fear that the Austrian defense might fall and the Italian Front collapse. On October 24, Austro-Hungarians troops and German reinforcements attacked, driving the Italians over the hard-won Isonzo. By November 7, the Central Powers pushed the Italian forces back 85 miles to the Piave River.
Battle of Vittorio Veneto
The Battle of Vittorio Veneto (October 24-November 3, 1918) was the last major battle of the Italian Front. Italian forces had been unable to advance to the east for three years as Austrian forces had held the strategic high ground of the lower Venetian Alps. Seeking to win a complete and decisive victory over Austria-Hungary, the Italian Army waited a full year after their devastating defeat at the Battle of Caporetto (12th Isonzo) before launching their next offensive. This allowed for Allied reinforcements, including three British, two French, and one American unit (332nd Infantry), as well as additional artillery to arrive. Early in the morning, an Allied artillery barrage against the entrenched Austrians began. Infantry then moved forward across the flooded Piave River to cut the Austrian army in half. Austro-Hungarian commanders ordered a counterattack, but ill and demoralized troops refused. The following day, Czechoslovakia and the South Slavs declared independence from Hungary, forcing that empire to withdraw from the Austro-Hungarian union on October 31. Austria ordered a general retreat from the region and called for a cessation of hostilities on November 3 with the Armistice of Villa Giusti. By the armistice’s terms, Austria’s forces were required to evacuate not only all Italian territory occupied since August 1914, but also regions farther east, including Trieste and the Dalmatian Coast. The Battle of Vittorio Veneto marked the end of World War One on the Italian Front and assured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Gallipoli Campaign (April 25, 1915-January 9, 1916), also called the Dardanelles Campaign, was an Allied offensive that took place on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Ottoman Empire. The peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles, a strait that connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea and provided a route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers during the war. Intending to secure the route and gain access to Russian supply lines, British and French forces launched a naval bombardment followed by an April 25 amphibious landing on Gallipoli led by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and with the aim of disabling Ottoman artillery to allow the British Navy into the Dardanelles. Under heavy artillery fire from Ottoman troops on the high ground, Allied forces secured their positions on Gallipoli’s beaches, despite many casualties. But the superior Ottoman position made a continued Allied advance difficult and, eventually, both sides were forced into trench warfare. After eight months of fighting with many casualties and little progress on both sides, as well as deadly winter weather, the land campaign was abandoned and the Allied force withdrew. During the campaign, over 8,000 Australians and nearly 3,000 New Zealanders were killed, while Turkish forces suffered an estimated 87,000 killed. The campaign was one of the greatest Ottoman victories during the war, and is still considered a key moment in the history of modern-day Turkey. The Gallipoli Campaign is also often considered as an important part in the formation of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand. The date of the landing, April 25, is known as "ANZAC Day" and is the most significant commemoration of veterans in those countries.
Battle of Jerusalem
The Battle of Jerusalem (November 17-December 9, 1917) was a key British strategic and symbolic victory in the Palestine Campaign of World War I. With orders to take Jerusalem before Christmas, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) Sir Edmund Allenby sought to build upon key British victories at Beersheba, Gaza, and Jaffa. Under strict instructions to avoid fighting both within and immediately around the holy city, Allenby planned to encircle Jerusalem with two divisions of his EEF troops moving in from opposite directions in order to cut off the Ottoman garrison within the city. After attacking an entrenched Ottoman force from November 17-24, the British gained the strategic high ground at Nebi Samwil, clearing the path to Jerusalem. The first attempt to take the city in late November stalled for the lack of artillery support, the need for reinforcements, and the onset of the winter rains. Allenby repositioned his troops and attacked again on December 7, a central thrust from Nebi Samwil and a secondary attack from Bethlehem. The unrelenting offensive from multiple sides dealt a serious blow to Ottoman morale. In the evening of December 8, Ottoman forces withdrew from the city. Allenby, with explicit guidelines from London on how not to appear disrespectful to the city, its people, or its traditions, entered the Holy City on foot two days later. In a proclamation, Allenby assured the protection and respect of every holy place in the city, “according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.” No British flags were flown over the city and Muslim troops were called from India to guard the religious landmark the Dome of the Rock.
Battle of Damascus
The Battle of Damascus (September 26-October 1, 1918) saw British cavalry under Sir Edmund Allenby and fighters of the Arab Revolt under Prince Feisal of Hejaz capture the key Ottoman city of Damascus in Syria. Australian aircraft flew over Damascus for the first time on September 27, gathering intelligence about the mass retreat of Ottoman and German forces from the city via rail. On September 30, the Australian Mounted Division moved west of the city to block the road to Beirut and north along the road to Aleppo, while the British cavalry moved to the south of the city. The Australians were first to enter the city on October 1, capturing over 7,000 Ottomans at the train station as disorganized troops attempted to retreat to the few remaining Ottoman strongholds to the north. The provisional governor officially surrendered to combined British and Australian forces, which then continued their pursuit of the remaining Ottoman troops as they traveled north. Prince Feisal and his fighters of the Arab Revolt also rode into Damascus, along with British officer T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). As arranged by Allenby and King Hussein of Hejaz, Feisal proclaimed the independence of Damascus from Ottoman rule, ordered the Hejaz flag of the Arab kingdom raised over the Governor's palace, and appointed a new Arab governor to oversee the administration of the city. The strategic and symbolic significance of the capture of Damascus by joint Arab and British forces essentially ended the Allied campaign in Palestine until the Armistice on November 11.