The Battle of Sannaiyat begins
The orders were to advance in quick time, breaking into double when within charging distance of the enemy. The two leading
lines of platoons were to capture the first line trench, the third and fourth lines to capture the second and 39th Brigade
the third. The Battalion’s War Diary Describes events as follows:
The general attack began at 4.20 a.m., the troops
advancing at that time. Owing however to the fact that there was a marsh to the left front, also to the fact that the Turks
sent up flares on the right flank, which gave the men a false idea as to where their front was, the majority of the troops
wheeled round to the right. Battalions got mixed up, although in spite of heavy fire there was a total absence of panic.
Such was the confusion that it was impossible to reorganise and when dawn came it was found necessary to dig in. Some of the
first line actually reached the Turkish trenches but, being unsupported, had to fall back. The troops remained dug in the
whole day and at dusk the task of reorganisation was commenced. The general consensus was that the firing of blue flares
by the Turks caused the initial confusion, which was then exacerbated by further blue flares and heavy rifle fire.
Another view of what happened in the Battle for Sannaiyat agrees with much of the report in the diary of the Borderers
except in the nature of the wheeling of the troops. The war diary of the 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment describes how the
forward groups came under rifle fire from their left flank.
After a short time the firing became much heavier and Col.
Gover changed direction with the whole Battalion; the movement was carried out as if on a parade ground and a
systematic and well-conducted advance was commenced in the direction (west) of the rifle fire. At no time could the position
of the Turks be distinguished. After advancing about 600 yards the last 300 yards of which was by short section rushes, the
fire became so hot that it [became] necessary to halt the line which was not supported; as it was impossible to retire, the
men made the best cover possible with their entrenching tools and we remained until 7 p.m. when we returned under cover of