The Mesopotamian spring offensive in 1917 had led to the capture of Baghdad, but also heavy casualties. Accordingly, the Allied chief of staff, General Maude, rested his troops over the summer, before a limited autumn campaign saw the capture of Ar Ramadi, a flood control station on the Euphrates. Maude went on to capture Tikrit on 5 November, before dying of cholera. His successor, General Marshall, launched a new offensive in February 1918, moving further down the Euphrates to capture Khan Baghdadi and Hit. He then played a subordinate role in the Middle Eastern theatre, sending troops to reinforce offensives in both Palestine and Persia. In October, with armistice approaching, he was ordered to capture as much territory as possible ‘before the final whistle blew’. A rapid advance up the Tigris defeated the Ottomans at the battle of Ash Sharqat on 29 October, capturing most of their 6th Army.
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