Allenby’s Offensive in Palestine
Before 1916, British-led forces in Egypt were on the defensive, keeping open the vital Suez Canal and repelling a Turkish attack across the canal at Deversoir in February 1915. In 1916, this changed as the British commander, Archibald Murray, went on the offensive, pushing forces into the Sinai Peninsula towards Palestine. His advance met with several setbacks before halting at Gaza in early 1917. In March and April 1917, Murray launched two assaults on Gaza, both of which the Turks comprehensively defeated. Murray’s biggest achievement was to put in place the logistical infrastructure of railways, roads and water pipelines across the Sinai that would permit a British advance into Palestine.