Egyptian Expeditionary Force

Egyptian Expeditionary Force
Active 1916–19
Country  British Empire
 French Republic
 Kingdom of Italy
Engagements First World War
Archibald Murray (1916–17)
Edmund Allenby (1917–19)
A mint stamp of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force available at EEF post offices in Lebanon.

The Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) was a British Empire military formation, formed on 10 March 1916 under the command of General Archibald Murray from the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and the Force in Egypt (1914–15), at the beginning of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War.

1920 EEF Laissez-passer issued at Jerusalem, British Mandate.


Formed in the British protectorate of the Sultanate of Egypt, the initially small force was raised to guard the Suez Canal and Egypt. After the withdrawal from the Gallipoli Campaign the force grew into a large reserve force designed to provide reinforcements for the Western Front, while the Western Frontier Force fought in the Senussi Campaign from 1915 to 1917, and the Eastern Frontier Force defended the canal at the Battle of Romani in August 1916.[1][2][3][4] Following the victory at Romani, part of Eastern Force pursued the Ottoman Empire invading force back to Palestine after the victories at the Battle of Magdhaba in December 1916 and the Battle of Rafa in January 1917, by which time Desert Column had been formed within Eastern Force. These victories which resulted in the recapture of substantial Egyptian territory were followed in March and April, by two EEF defeats on Ottoman Turkish Empire territory, at the First and Second Battles of Gaza in southern Palestine.[5]

During the Stalemate in Southern Palestine from April to October 1917, Murray consolidated the EEF's position and in June General Edmund Allenby took command and began preparations to take the offensive, employing manoeuvre warfare He reorganised the force into the XX Corps, XXI Corps and Desert Mounted Corps formerly Desert Column.[6] On 31 October two corps captured Beersheba defended by the Turkish III Corps (which had fought at Gallipoli), which weakened their defences stretching almost continually from Gaza to Beersheba. Subsequently the Battle of Tel el Khuweilfe, the Third Battle of Gaza and the Battle of Hareira and Sheria forced the withdrawal from Gaza on the night of 6/7 November at the beginning of the pursuit to Jerusalem. During the subsequent operations, about fifty miles (80 km) of formerly Turkish territory, was captured as a result of the EEF victories at the Battle of Mughar Ridge, fought between 10 and 14 November, and the Battle of Jerusalem fought between 17 November and 30 December.[7]

Serious losses on the Western Front in March 1918 during the German spring offensive, forced the British Empire to send reinforcements from the EEF. During this time, two unsuccessful attacks were made to capture Amman and to capture Es Salt in March and April 1918, before Allenby's force resumed the offensive, again employing manoeuvre warfare at the Battle of Megiddo. The successful infantry battles at the Battle of Tulkarm and the Battle of Tabsor, created gaps in the Ottoman front line, enabling the pursuit by the Desert Mounted Corps to encircle the infantry fighting in the Judean Hills when fighting occurred during the Battle of Nazareth, the Afulah, Beisan, the Jenin, the Battle of Samakh, and the capture of Tiberias. In the process the EEF destroyed three Turkish Armies during the Battle of Sharon, the Battle of Nablus and the Third Transjordan attack, capturing thousands of prisoners and large quantities of equipment. Subsequently the EEF pursued the surviving German and Turkish forces to Damascus, and Aleppo, before the Ottoman Turkish Empire agreed to the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, ending the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. The British Mandate of Palestine, and the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon were created to administer the captured territories.[7]


See also


  1. ^ Bruce 2002, p. 34
  2. ^ Keogh 1955, p. 32
  3. ^ Wavell 1968, p. 41
  4. ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 1 pp. 69–204
  5. ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 1 pp. 242–350
  6. ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 1 pp. 351–372, Vol. 2 pp. 1–43
  7. ^ a b Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 44–647


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