Fall of Baghdad (1917)

The Fall of Baghdad (11 March 1917) occurred during the Mesopotamia Campaign, fought between the forces of the British Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire in the First World War.

Fall of Baghdad
Part of the Mesopotamian Campaign of World War I
Maude in Baghdad

General Maude's entry into Baghdad, 11 March 1917
Date8–11 March 1917
Result British victory.
 British Empire
 British India
 Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Frederick Maude Ottoman Empire Khalil Pasha
I Corps
III Corps (50,000 men)
Sixth Army (25,000 men)
Casualties and losses
Unknown Over 9,000 taken prisoner

Arrival of General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude

After the surrender of the Kut garrison on 29 April 1916, the British Army in Mesopotamia underwent a major overhaul. A new commander, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, was given the job of restoring Britain's military reputation.

General Maude spent the rest of 1916 rebuilding his army. Most of his troops were recruited in India and then sent by sea to Basra. While these troops were being trained, British military engineers built a field railway from the coast up to Basra and beyond. General Maude also obtained a small force of armed river boats and river supply ships.

The British launched their new campaign on 13 December 1916. The British had some 50,000 well-trained and well-equipped troops: mostly British India troops of the Indian Expeditionary Force D together with the 13th (Western) Division of the British Army forming the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force. The Indian divisions of the Indian III Corps (also called the Tigris Corps) included British Army units. The Ottoman forces were smaller, perhaps around 25,000 strong under the overall command of General Khalil Pasha.

March on Baghdad

There were no setbacks for the British on this campaign. General Maude proceeded cautiously, advancing on both sides of the Tigris River. He earned his nickname Systematic Joe. The Ottoman forces contested a fortified place called the Khadairi Bend which the British captured after two weeks of siege work (6 January to 19 January 1917). The British then had to force the Ottoman forces out of a strong defensive line along the Hai River. This took them two more weeks (from 25 January till 4 February). Another Ottoman position, called Dahra Bend, was taken on 16 February. Finally, the British re-captured Kut on 24 February 1917 in the Second Battle of Kut.

The local Ottoman commander, Karabekir Bey, did not let his army become trapped in Kut, as General Townshend had been in the First Battle of Kut.

The march on Baghdad resumed on 5 March 1917. Three days later, Maude's corps reached the Diyala River on the outskirts of the city.

Khalil Pasha chose to defend Baghdad at the confluence of the Diyala and the Tigris, some 35 miles south of Baghdad. The Ottoman troops resisted the initial British assault on 9 March. General Maude then shifted the majority of his army north. He believed that he could outflank the Ottoman positions and strike directly for Baghdad. Khalil Pasha responded by shifting his army out of its defensive positions to mirror the move of the British on the other side of the river. A single regiment was left to hold the original Diyala River defences. The British crushed this regiment with a sudden assault on 10 March 1917. This sudden defeat unnerved Khalil Pasha and he ordered his army to retreat north to Baghdad.

The Ottoman authorities ordered the evacuation of Baghdad at 8 p.m. on 10 March, but the situation was rapidly moving beyond Khalil Pasha's control. The British followed close on the heels of the Ottoman troops and captured Baghdad without a fight on 11 March. A week later, General Maude issued the Proclamation of Baghdad, which included the line, "Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators".[1] Some 9,000 Ottoman troops were caught in the confusion and became prisoners of the British.

The British were worried that the Ottoman government might try to flood the Tigris plain. As it happened, this fear was unfounded. The Ottoman troops never attempted to flood the area.


The result was a decisive victory for the British and yet another defeat for the Ottoman government. The humiliation for the British due to the loss of Kut had been partially rectified. The Ottoman government was forced to end its military operations in Persia and try to build up a new army to prevent the British from moving on to capture Mosul.

The capture of Baghdad, a provincial capital, also meant that the first Ottoman province had fallen under British control. Although good news for the british forces, this caused a great deal of bureaucratic fighting between the British government in London and the British government in India.

Once he captured Baghdad, Maude was the de facto Governor of Mesopotamia from Basra to Baghdad. Sir Percy Cox, the Tigris Corps Political Officer, attempted to issue a proclamation stating that the province was under joint British-Indian administration. But London ordered Cox not to issue his proclamation, and came out with its own proclamation asking Arab leaders to aid the British administration.

At the same time, the Indian colonial government had different ideas. After all, they had been the prime movers behind Mesopotamia in the first place. The British government in India wanted this new area placed under its direct control.

This power struggle led to the creation of the Mesopotamian Administration Committee, under the leadership of Lord Curzon. Its main task was to determine who would govern the Basra and Baghdad provinces. Its ruling was a British, not Anglo-Indian, administration for Basra and an Arab authority for Baghdad.


  1. ^ The proclamation of Baghdad, Sir Stanley Maude, Harper's Magazine


  • Bruce, A. (n.d.). 17 February – 11 March 1917 – The Capture of Baghdad. [Electronic Version]. An Illustrated Companion to the First World War.
  • Duffy, M. (2002). Battles: The Capture of Baghdad, 1917. The First World War. Retrieved 17 August 2005.
  • Fromkin, D. (2001). A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-6884-8.
  • Official Dispatch about the Operations Leading to the Fall of Baghdad, General Maude.
  • Report about the capture of Baghdad, Manchester Guardian.

Further reading

  • Barker, A. J. The Bastard War: The Mesopotamian Campaign of 1914–1918. New York: Dial Press, 1967. OCLC 2118235
102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers

The 102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers was an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army. It could trace its origins to 1796, when it was raised as the 13th Battalion, Bombay Native Infantry.

The Grenadiers were part of the Indian army which was sent to Egypt in 1801, to fight against the Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt in the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1818, the regiment's soldiers fought in the Peshwa Wars, distinguishing themselves at the Battle of Koregaon in the Third Anglo-Peshwa War.

In 1824 when it became a regiment in its own right, when it was named the 2nd or Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry.

In 1840, it took part in the First Afghan War and then the 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia which was a punitive expedition carried out by armed forces of the British Empire against the Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia. In 1880, the unit took part in the Battle of Maiwand during the Second Afghan War. The regiment was stationed in Mhow, when in October 1902 it was order to go to Berbera, to fight in the Somaliland Campaign.World War I began with it being stationed at Muscat, Oman and served in the Mesopotamia Campaign with the 14th Indian Division, taking part in the Second Battle of Kut and the Fall of Baghdad (1917). A second battalion was raised in 1917 that served in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.

After World War I the Indian government reformed the army, moving from single battalion regiments to multi-battalion regiments. In 1922, the 102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers became the 2nd Battalion, 4th Bombay Grenadiers. After independence it was one of the regiments allocated to the Indian Army.

14th Indian Division

The 14th Indian Division was formed during World War I, for service in the Mesopotamian Campaign. It was composed of Battalions of the Regular British Army, the British Territorial Force and the British Indian Army.

28th Indian Brigade

The 28th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service wirh the Indian Army during the First World War. Formed in October 1914, it defended the Suez Canal in early 1915, ended the Ottoman threat to Aden in July 1915, took part in the Mesopotamian Campaign in 1916 and 1917, before finishing the war in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. It remained in Palestine until it was broken up in 1920.

35th Indian Brigade

The 35th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. It took part in the Mesopotamian campaign and was disbanded shortly after the end of the war. It was not reformed for the Second World War.

36th Indian Brigade

The 36th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. It took part in the Mesopotamian campaign and later formed part of the North Persia Force. It remained with the Force until withdrawn in June 1921.

37th Indian Brigade

The 37th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. It took part in the Mesopotamian campaign and was disbanded shortly after the end of the war.

67th Punjabis

The 67th Punjabis were an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army. They could trace their origins to 1759, when they were raised as the 8th Battalion Coast Sepoys.

The regiment's first action was during the Carnatic Wars followed by the Third Anglo-Mysore War.In 1914, during World War I the regiment was at first in the 4th (Quetta) Division which remained in India, on internal security and as a training unit. A second battalion was formed and both were posted overseas and served in the 12th Indian Division which fought in the Battle of Shaiba, the Battle of Khafajiya and the Battle of Nasiriya in the Mesopotamia Campaign. Two platoons were also posted to Tabriz, Iran as part of the Norperforce. The second battalion was also involved in the Mesopotamia campaign with the 14th Indian Division and fought in the Second Battle of Kut and the Fall of Baghdad (1917). Both battalions then served in the Third Afghan War.After World War I the Indian government reformed the army moving from single battalion regiments to multi battalion regiments. In 1922, the 67th Punjabis became the 1st and 10th (Training) Battalions, 2nd Punjab Regiment. After independence they were one of the regiments allocated to the Indian Army.Post independence, the regiment was renamed the Punjab Regiment (India) and the original battalion became part of the 50th Parachute Brigade along with 3 Maratha and 1 Kumaon. In April 1952, 1st Punjab (Para), along with 3 Maratha (Para) and 1 Kumaon (Para) were amalgamated to form the Parachute Regiment, with 1st Punjab (Para) being renamed 1 Para (Punjab), 3 Maratha (Para) being renamed 2 Para (Maratha) and 1 Kumaon (Para) 3 Para (Kumaon). The suffix 'Punjab' was later dropped in 1960. In 1978, the unit became the third commando battalion of the Indian Army after 9 and 10 Para Cdo. Presently, the unit is called 1st Para (Special Forces) and celebrated its 250 Raising Day in October 2011.


Baghdad (; Arabic: بغداد‎ [baɣˈdaːd] (listen)) is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is approximately 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world (after Cairo, Egypt), and the second largest city in Western Asia (after Tehran, Iran).

Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions (e.g., House of Wisdom), garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning".

Baghdad was the largest city of the Middle Ages for much of the Abbasid era, peaking at a population of more than a million. It was during this time that Baghdad became the centre of the scientific world and many renown first-time discoveries and developments were made in various fields of philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, mechanics, astrology, optics, as well as a spectrum of subjects in the arts and humanities. Although the height of Baghdad's intellectual scholarship and discoveries was during the Islamic Golden Age, and under use of the Arabic language, it involved not only Arabs, but also Persians, Syriacs, Nestorians, Arab Christians, and people from other ethnic and religious groups native to the region. These were fundamental elements that contributed directly to the flourishing of scholarship in the Arab world. The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition of Iraq as an independent state (formerly the British Mandate of Mesopotamia) in 1938, Baghdad gradually regained some of its former prominence as a significant center of Arab culture.

In contemporary times, the city has often faced severe infrastructural damage, most recently due to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent Iraq War that lasted until December 2011. In recent years, the city has been frequently subjected to insurgency attacks. The war had resulted in a substantial loss of cultural heritage and historical artifacts as well. As of 2018, Baghdad was listed as one of the least hospitable places in the world to live, ranked by Mercer as the worst of 231 major cities as measured by quality-of-life. In 2013, Baghdad was inaugurated as the Arab Capital of Culture, and in 2018 it was awarded the Capital of Arab Media.

Battle of Baghdad

Battle, Capture, Fall, or Siege of Baghdad may refer to:

Siege of Baghdad (812–813), Fourth Fitna (Islamic Civil War)

Siege of Baghdad (865), Fifth Fitna

Battle of Baghdad (946), Buyid–Hamdanid War

Siege of Baghdad (1157), Abbasid–Seljuq Wars

Siege of Baghdad (1258), Mongol conquest of Baghdad

Siege of Baghdad (1401), by Tamerlane

Capture of Baghdad (1534), Ottoman–Safavid Wars

Capture of Baghdad (1624), Ottoman–Safavid Wars

Siege of Baghdad (1625), Ottoman–Safavid Wars

Capture of Baghdad (1638), Ottoman–Safavid Wars

Siege of Baghdad (1733), Ottoman-Persian Wars

Fall of Baghdad (1917), World War I

1941 Iraqi coup d'état, World War II

Battle of Baghdad (2003), United States invasion of Iraq

British Raj

The British Raj (; from rāj, literally, "rule" in Hindustani) was the rule by the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called British India or simply India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also informally called the Indian Empire.

As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.This system of governance was instituted on 28 June 1858, when, after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India). It lasted until 1947, when it was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states: the Dominion of India (later the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the eastern part of which, still later, became the People's Republic of Bangladesh). At the inception of the Raj in 1858, Lower Burma was already a part of British India; Upper Burma was added in 1886, and the resulting union, Burma, was administered as an autonomous province until 1937, when it became a separate British colony, gaining its own independence in 1948.

Catterick Garrison

Catterick Garrison is a major garrison and military town three miles (4.8 km) south of Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.

It is the largest British Army garrison in the world with a population of around 13,000 in 2017 and measuring over 2,400 acres. Under plans announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November 2005, the population of Catterick Garrison was expected to grow to over 25,000 by 2020, making it the largest population centre in the local area.

Index of articles related to the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire (1299–1922) is a historical Muslim empire, also known by its contemporaries as the Turkish Empire or Turkey after the principal ethnic group. At its zenith in the second half of the 16th century it controlled Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia and North Africa. Below are the links to articles about the Ottoman Empire.

Military history of Iraq

The military history of Iraq, due to a rich archaeological record, is one of the longest in written human history. The region of Iraq, which used to be Mesopotamia, has been referred to as the "cradle of civilization", and wars of conquest have been recorded in this region as far back as the third millennium BC. The area possesses strategic value, initially for the rich, fertile agricultural region in the Mesopotamian plain, and more recently for large petroleum deposits and access to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The present territory of Iraq lacks significant strategic barriers, making it difficult to defend against foreign invasion.

Sieges of Baghdad

There have been at least 8 major sieges of Baghdad.


The Tigris (; Sumerian: 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idigna or Idigina; Akkadian: 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idiqlat; Arabic: دجلة‎ Dijlah [didʒlah]; Syriac: ܕܹܩܠܵܬ‎ Deqlaṯ; Armenian: Տիգրիս Tigris; Դգլաթ Dglatʿ; Hebrew: חידקל‬ Ḥîddeqel, biblical Hiddekel; Turkish: Dicle; Kurdish: Dîcle, Dîjla دیجلە‎) is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties itself into the Persian Gulf.

Timeline of Baghdad

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Baghdad, Iraq.

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