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BRITISH LINES FORCED BACK. RETREAT OF UNDER HAMT-A-MILE. {Received 10.50 a.m.) - , _ LOXDOJf, April 18. General S»r Percy Lake reports that on Monday night a eerics of heavy counter-attacks was made on the right bank of the Tigris. Our lines in places were forced back from 500 to SOO yards. by tt?6riS > l« h^| ,r S b ? Ck i a /° rtion of the t,,rec and a - hal{ railcs I** o * the of f« H S > -° f Saturda y * P»ltton since improved by . • enCl , eS in the sal tj*marshes to the south of the river. areeoS. are designed to outflank the Turks, while the main operations at Fl "°H ank ? f the river - General Aylmert force was held up when 2,!H,, , ,eSeC ° nd WCek in Januar y unti > the «™t week in April, w en they succeeded in capturing Umm-el-Henna. Before the force reaches a Jreat Zr, a hv t f!° CrOSS a narrow - stH P ot CoUntl T between the river and snf£ f• " trac , t , know " as th * Khor-i-Suwekie. This marshy tract, salty, Sit w-«f T a f ■ extc " ds a good man y milcs to the ""A a » <l to art round it with a big force in a country where there is no water available except Pmp™T TV r ' VCr ff eU wou,d > * m °st formidable undertaking. Whether General Aylmer is sending a column round it or not, time alone will tell us; but in the meanwhile lie is making a big effort to drive forward along the narrow corridor between the marsh and the river. Such a narrow corridor would in any circumstances, be comparatively easy to defend; but in this case t is all bare flat country, affording no cover whatever, and the cost of advanc- ■ ing over such a terrain against a well entrenched enemy may be imagined. mc main Turkish position—known as the Es-Sin position'—lies 10 or 12 miles up the river from Umm-el-Henna. It is between Xabba and El Garta, marked on the map. Its flanks stretch out to the Suwekie marsh, in the north, and for several miles across the Tigris on the south. On the northern side of the stream it closes up the western end of the "corridor." us it were, and the lurks will have to be pitched out of it before the British can march on to Kut-el-Amara. General Townshend, when he was making his dramatic advance towards Bagdad last year, reduced the Es-Sin position in a brilliant little battle. He did it with the help of Hanking movements. North of the Suwekie marsh there is another smaller marsh with a narrow but passable isthmus between them. The Turks had entrenched themselves across this isthmus. General Townshend split his forces into twu columns. One. under General Fry, fought its way along the corridor, flanked by the river, and got in touch with the main Turkish position of Ks-Sin. The other column, under General Delainain. after making a feint of attacking on the south side of the river, returned at evening to the north side and marched up around to the north of the Suwekie marsh. Here lie attacked the Turkish entrenchments across the isthmus between the marshes; but in the meantime part of his force was detailed to march round the smaller marsh to the north. This last detachment came round and took the Turks on the isthmus in the rear and they beat a retreat; then thq whole of General Dclamain's column struck down round the western side of the Suwekie marsh to threaten the main Turkish Es-Sin position in the rear, while the column under General Fry was assaulting it from the front. This was, broadly, the strategy which led to the fall of the Es-Sin position and the opening of the way for General Townshend to Kut-cl-Amara and beyond. That strategy of a similar kind will bo adopted in the present case seems highly probable; but, ns indicated above, the sending of a big force out on a wide Hanking movement in this particular country is a very serious undertaking by reason of the lack of water. General Townshend, it must be remembered, was handling comparatively small forces, and owjng fb the inferiority of the Turkish strength the Hanking column was able to accomplish) its mission speedily. In the present instance. General Aylmer wilL need to send out far stronger columns, and in view of the present strength of the Turks there is Always the possibility of the detached British forces finding themselves held up far away from the river—an event which has on several occasions already led to most disappointing retreats in this campaign. As a matter of fact, the formidable numbers of the enemy now opposing the British advance, and the light and heavy guns which they have at command, are in such marked contrast to what General Townshend has had to Jace that it is almost impossible to base any conclusions as to the present operations upon what happened in the original British advance up the river.

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Bibliographic details

TURKS COUNTER-ATTACK AT SANNIYAT., Auckland Star, Volume XLVII, Issue 94, 19 April 1916

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TURKS COUNTER-ATTACK AT SANNIYAT. Auckland Star, Volume XLVII, Issue 94, 19 April 1916