Armageddon's Lost Lessons: Combined Arms Operations in Allenby's Palestine Campaign
Wright Flyer paper no. 20
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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In September 1918, the EEF concluded its campaign in Palestine by routing the Turkish forces at the battle of Megiddo. Under command of British general Allenby, the EEF successfully executed one of the most decisive engagements in any theater of World War I. Ably employing and synchronizing infantry, cavalry, and air forces, Allenby provided future military professionals and historians with a shining illustration of the efficacy of combined arms operations. In terms of surprise, concentration, and operational balance of forces, the culmination of the Palestine campaign was a foreshadowing of the German blitzkrieg used in World War II. Unfortunately, the true lessons of Allenbys campaign were lost for future generations of military officers. Focusing on the culture and romanticism of the horse cavalry, students of the Palestine battles garnered little instruction on the emerging trends of combined arms operations that integrated air and ground mobility into a decisive operational level weapon. This paper analyzes the reasons those in the profession of arms missed the lessons of airpower and its role in combined arms operations. It examines the context of the Middle Eastern theater of World War I, describing how western front myopia added to the overshadowing of operations conducted in Palestine. The paper also delves into the role of airpower in the Middle East and how Allenby integrated a relatively new weapon system into his force structure and operational planning and execution. Though largely unexplored by military professionals and historians, Allenbys final campaign in Palestine proved to be a momentous step in the evolution of combined arms operations.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics