In July 1916, General Murray, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), which guarded the approaches to the Suez Canal, was made aware that enemy forces were mobilizing in the area. General Kressenstein had assembled a force of some 18,000 German and Ottoman troops at Qatia, and was awaiting heavy artillery. The British defences were built along a string of 18 redoubts running from Lake Bardaŵil southward to the sandy rise of Wellington Ridge. Late on 3 August, their artillery having arrived, Kressenstein attacked, but was delayed for several hours at Mt Meredith by Australian cavalry. Early the next morning, the Ottoman forces launched a massive bayonet charge on Mt Meredith, clearing it, but then becoming bogged down in the assault of Mt Royston. Exposed, facing intense British fire and repeated cavalry charges, the advance turned into a rout, the Ottomans fleeing the field to regroup at Qatia.
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