The Battle of Ramadi

Date: September 1917

War: Mesopotamian Campaign in World War I

The Battle of Ramadi was fought in central Iraq late in September 1917 between the British and the Ottomans; it was part of the Mesopotamian Campaign in World War I.

The 15th Indian Division was sent to the town of Ramadi, about 100 kilometers (62 mi) west of Baghdad on the south bank of the Euphrates River, where an important Ottoman garrison was quartered. A defeat of that garrison would allow the British further advance along the river. There had already been an abortive attack on the town on 11 July, where the British forces were driven off and retreated to Dhibban at a cost of 566 casualties.

General Brooking ordered the building of a dummy bridge and road on the north bank, to fool the Ottoman forces that the assault they expected would come from that side. He then sent the 6th Cavalry Brigade on a wide flanking march to take up positions to the west of the town (on the Ottoman line of retreat). The attack began on September 28, on the south bank of the Euphrates, with two brigades of the 15th Div forcing their way into the town. Although the Ottomans expected an enemy assault, the British made ample use of armoured cars, which the defenders of the town were not ready to fight against, and the Ottoman garrison was quickly outflanked and surrounded. Nocturnal escape attempt was thwarted by the British cavalry, and the Ottoman forces surrendered in the morning of September 29.

The British maneuver had been especially effective, and Ramadi was conquered quickly and with fewer-than-usual casualties.

6th Cavalry Brigade:

  • 14th King’s Hussars
  • 21st Cavalry
  • 22nd Cavalry
  • 15th Machine Gun Squadron
  • S Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
  • No 2 Troop, 2nd Sappers & Miners
  • 6th Cavalry Brigade Supply & Transport Company

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