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11th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)
11th Light Horse hat badge
11th Light Horse Regiment hat badge
Country Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Branch Australian Army
Service history
Active 1915–1919
Size Regiment
Part of 4th Light Horse Brigade
Motto Forward
Battles First World War
North African Campaign
Gallipoli campaign
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Commanders
Insignia
Insignia 11th Light Horse Regiment colour patch

The 11th Light Horse Regiment was a mounted infantry regiment of the Australian Army during the First World War. The regiment was raised in August 1914, and assigned to the 4th Light Horse Brigade.

During the war the regiment fought against the forces of the Ottoman Empire, in Egypt, at Gallipoli, on the Sinai Peninsula, and in Palestine and Jordan. After the armistice the regiment eventually returned to Australia in March 1919. For its role in the war the regiment was awarded fourteen battle honours.

FormationEdit

The 11th Light Horse Regiment was raised in Queensland and South Australia, and came together in Brisbane in May 1915.[1] Light horse regiments normally comprised twenty-five officers and 497 other ranks serving in three squadrons, each of six troops.[2] Each troop was divided into eight Sections, of four men each. In action one man of each section, was nominated as a horse holder reducing the regiment's rifle strength by a quarter.[3] Once formed the regiment was assigned to the 4th Light Horse Brigade.[1]

All Australian Light Horse regiments used cavalry unit designations, but were mounted infantry,[4] and mounted exclusively on the Australian Waler horse.[5]

Operational historyEdit

AdenEdit

The 11th Light Horse Regiment divided into two contingents sailed for the Middle East in June 1915. The first group were diverted to Aden to assist the small British garrison against an expected assault from Ottoman forces. The attack did not materialise and the regiment's contingent re-embarked in July 1915, never having seen any action.[1]

Gallipoli campaignEdit

When the Australian infantry units were dispatched to Gallipoli, it was thought the terrain was unsuitable for mounted troops, and the light horse regiments remained in Egypt. However casualties resulted in the deployment of the 4th Light Horse Brigade as reinforcements in August 1915.[1] On arrival the regiment was split up to reinforce other light horse regiments that had landed earlier and were understrength. The regiment's A Squadron served with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron the 5th Light Horse Regiment, and C Squadron to the 9th Light Horse Regiment.[1]

Sinai and Palestine campaignEdit

11th Light Horse Regiment C Squadron

C Squadron resting their horse en route to Beersheba

When the British forces were withdrawn from Gallipoli, the 11th Light Horse Regiment was reformed in Egypt. Their first deployment was in defence of the Suez Canal in July 1916, and patrolling into the Sinai desert.[1]

In April 1917, following the withdrawal of Ottoman forces, the regiment moved into Palestine. Its first battle as a regiment, was the unsuccessful second battle of Gaza, where they fought on foot. In October during their next at Beersheba the other two regiments in the brigade, the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiment took part in a mounted charge, the 11th operating as flank protection at the time were too widely dispersed to take part.[1] They did however with the 12th Light Horse carry out a charge on 7 November, during the battle of Sheria. Faced with heavy Ottoman gun-fire, the regiment had to dismount to continue the attack, but were eventually forced to withdraw.[1]

When Gaza was captured in November 1917, the Ottoman forces withdrew into Palestine, and the 11th were involved in the pursuit. They then spent the early months of 1918, training and resting. The regiment then moved to the River Jordan, taking part in the raid on Es Salt in April and May. They were still on the river in July, helping to defeat heavy German and Ottoman attacks in July.[1]

August 1918, saw the regiment issued with the traditional cavalry sabre and training began in cavalry tactics, so they were ready to resume the British advance in September. Advancing along the coast, the 11th Light Horse took part in the battle of Samakh on 25 September. The regiment first charged the Ottoman defences on horseback using their sabres, then dismounted and cleared the town with their rifles and bayonets.[1] The Ottoman Empire signed the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, and the war in the Middle East ended. However the regiment had to return to Egypt, where rioting had started in March 1919. Finally in July 1919, the regiment sailed for Australia. The war had cost the regiment over 100 per cent casualties, with 95 killed and 521 wounded.[1]

Battle honoursEdit

Suvla · Sari Bair · Gallipoli 1915–1916 · Romani · Egypt 1915–1917 · Gaza-Beersheba · El Mughar · Nebi Samwill · Jerusalem
Jordan (Es Salt) · Megiddo · Sharon · Palestine 1917-1918 · Damascus 1918 [1]

Commanding officersEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Horner, David; Williams, Dr Peter (2010). Australia's Military History For Dummies. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-74246-894-5. 

Further readingEdit

  • E.W. Hammond, History of the 11th Light Horse Regiment, Fourth Light Horse Brigade, Australian Imperial Forces, war 1914-1919, (Brisbane: William Brooks & Co., 1942).

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