Georg Gondos' Raid

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
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Peter H
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Georg Gondos' Raid

Postby Peter H » 11 Apr 2007 09:57

A Polish Jew who assisted the Ottoman war effort:

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17539749

Georg Gondos, a Jewish citizen of Lemberg born in 1891, was employed prior to World War I as a foreman in the Jamsa oil installations on the Egyptian shore of the Gulf of Suez, which served as a fueling station for the British navy. At the outbreak of war he escaped to Vienna and enlisted in the Austrian army. When the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers, Gondos volunteered to participate in a commando raid in the Middle East intended to destroy the Jamsa oil facilities. After the failure of his first attempt to reach Jamsa by sea, he changed his plan. The Turkish command put a detachment of soldiers and beduin volunteers at his disposal with whom he crossed the Sinai Peninsula and conquered the town of Abu Tor at the southern tip of the peninsula opposite Jamsa. The operation succeded beyond expectation: Abu Tor was evacuated by the British officers, their Egyptian soldiers, and the civilian population after a few days of battle despite their superiority in manpower and the presence of British ships. Since no suitable craft was found in the harbor, Gondos had to advance to the northern anchorage of Abu Zneima. This place too was captured and a suitable vessel found, in which he sailed for Jamsa. He overcame the British guards, demolished the oil installations, and returned safely to Abu Tor. For his successful operation Gondos received a distinguished decoration and was promoted to Reserve-Officer rank by the Austrian army. Later he was dispatched on another secret mission in the Balkans from which he did not return.



More here on the Tor raid:

http://omega.nova.org/~lroeder/war.htm

After the abortive Turkish attack at the Suez Canal in 1916 in world War One the Turks created a Bedouin irregular force in the Sinai to raid the Canal and capture the Sinai port of Tor, Quarantine Station of Egypt. Bedouin forces supported by Turkish troops did manage to damage the Mining machinery and plant at Abu Zeneima and make an abortive attack on Tor; however, the port was defended by the famous Ghurkas. The Arabs lost with heavy casualties. Except to act as spies for both sides, the Sinai Bedouin took no further part in the War. Some Bedouins also fought with the British.

In 1915 the first people in the Sinai to join with Turkey were Bedouin policemen from A Tor of the Tiyaha tribe. On January 1, right after pay day, they severed the telegraph to Suez City. This was followed by a conference of war at Wadi Feiran. Attending was a Turkish Officer, Shiekh Nassir of the Garasha, Sheikh Khidr of Muzeina, Sheikh Suleiman Ghoneim of Awarma, Hajj Hamden Abu Zeit, Judge of the Garasha.

The Turks told the Bedouins they must join them in the war against the British or the Turks would war against the bedu. The bedu said they would think about it. Khidr returned to Tor and linked up with Egyptian forces. Nasr stayed with the Turks. Ghoneim a driller from the oil fields called Gondos burned and looted Abu Zaneima.

At the end of January, 1915 30 Turks and 100 Bedouins attacked the outskirts of Tor. Right after the Turkish advance on the Suez Canal was repelled on 2 February Colonel Parker in HMS Minerva landed north of Gebel Hamman Saida Musa with 500 of the 10th Gurkas. Zeidan (Mudakhil's eldest son) led them to attack the Turkish Camp to the North while Egyptians attacked from the south. The Turks were taken by surprise at dawn. 80 were killed, 80 taken prisoner. The Bedu retreated, some with Ghoneim to Abu Zaneima. Husein of Awarma died, and others as well.

A Sawarka survived by covering himself with entrails of a slain brother. Hajj Hamden of the Garasha remained loyal to the Turks for some time. Since NAsir did nothing, Hamden became Sheik of the tribe. Was still sheik in '35.

Tosun Saral
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Postby Tosun Saral » 12 Apr 2007 09:35

The official History book of Turkish General Staff " Birinci......" tells the story of Gondos at pages231, 232, 233

"An Ambush initiative of Gondos Detachment to Canal (Tur Ambush Jan. 19th 1915-Feb. 10 1915)
Jorj/Georg Gondos who was a reserve captain at the order of 4th Army was ordered to sabotage at Turusina. Just before the movement of left wing dedaychment this reserve officer moved with a small group of detachment towards Jerusalem-Hafirülavce-Akabe-Kalatünnahil-Tur village. His force consisted of 50 volunteers from Esref Kuscubasi Detachment and 10 professional Turkish soldiers.

The detachment moved on Jan 2nd from Jerusalem and reached to Akabe on Jan. 5th. They rested in Akabe 2 days. In the meantime they restored to mines. They left Akabe on Jan 7th and come to Kalatünnahil on Jan 9th. On Jan. 19th they reached arounds of Tur village. They discovered that in Tur there were 280 men under command of English officers. They also saw that there was an English Battleship at the port. The forces of English were 13 time stronger then the Turks.

The detachment decided Cebelihannam as HQ. On the same they at afternoon a few men who were send to discover the area reached to the city walls of Tur. They saw that The English were stationed on the 2 sand hills. They immediately attached to English and throw them back to Tur Village. Although the battleship shelled on them they hold the 2 sand hills. On Jan 20th The English attacked under bombardement of the Battleship to that 6 Turkish soldiers who were holding the sand hills. The English were thrown back. Later The English came with other warships carring 2000 soldiers to Tur.
On the night of Jan 21/22 the English again an unsuccesfull assult to those 6 Turks to gain back the sand hills and wells. They again thrown back.

In the mean time Gondos send a few soldiers to Monastry of Tur (Ayakatarin/Saint Katarin) for fresh goods. The group returned with fresh consume goods.

The fighing continued on Jan 22-23th. On the night of Gondos and his Turks entered the Tur Village and destroyed the village. The English on the other hand escaped with their ships towards Suez. Only Karantina was remained at the hands of English.

The Detachent made continuesly ambushes to English during the days Jan 30th-Feb.2nd. On Feb 4th they destroyed the waterwells, pumps and electric engine at Karantina and let the English abondon Karantina. On the night of Feb 6th they ambushed an English mine work which was 90 kms away from Tur. They destroyed also the minework. An English attack made the Arabian civil forces run away. Gondos remained with his Turks. They even shot an English officers and made them reteat to their ships.

At that time the Arabs of the Detachment began to fire on Gondos and his Turks assuming that they were English. Gondos was wounded from his finger.

The Detachment gained many material such as compasses, medicals, tents, lots of important and useful things. Many of them which they couldnt carry was burned. The medicaments and conserves were presented to the hospital at Birussebi.

Later Gondos and his Detachment loaded all the metarial on a motorboat and a sailboat. They sailed towards Cemsa at the west of Suez. They destroyed 3 oilwells and 3 tanks. Here they lost 6 brave Turkish soldiers. At the end Gondos returned to Kalatunnahil

As Gondos arrived at Jerusalem he reported the heroic tasks Warschool Cadet Hanefi, Austrian doctor Simon and Civil Major from Bingazi Seyh Hasan to the Army command and wanted that they should awarded."

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 13 Apr 2007 03:45

Thanks Tosun.

Good to see the existence of the Gondos Detachment is confirmed.

Regards
Peter

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Mehmet Fatih
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Postby Mehmet Fatih » 13 Apr 2007 09:24

I have written an article about Gondos' raid on Jemsah oil installations which was published on Altay Atli's website, http://www.turkeyswar.com
Unfortunately, the website is now under mantainance.

What was really interesting for me about this mission was the behaviour of beduins in Arabic desert. They declared loyalty to the sultan and aided Gondos' detachment.

Best
Fatih

Tosun Saral
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Postby Tosun Saral » 13 Apr 2007 11:08

Dear Mehmet Fatih, The Arabs that you call beduins were from Senussi Tribe of Trablusgarb (Todays Libya). They were always loyal to their Turkish Brothers. After the Turks abondoned Trablusgarb, Derne and Bingazi they also refuged to Turkey and were sattled in to days Noth Iraq. They fought with their Turkish brothers till bitter end. Seyh Sunussi the leader of the tribe enlisted himself and his tribe to the national Forces of Mustafa Kemal Pasha and fought againts invading British and French at the battles in Maras, Antep, Urfa. After the declaration of the Republicseyh Sunissi was made Mp in Turkish Grand National Parliament.
Other brother of seyh Sunussi who stayed at Libya became later king of Libya. He was also a Turcofil. He was enttroned by Kaddafi. and died at exil in Bursa/Turkey.

Not all Arabs rebelled againts Turks. Syrians, Iraker, Palastiner fought with their Turkish brothers againts British. Only at the last months of the war They decided to be independant.

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 13 Apr 2007 13:56

1,500 Libyans also joined the expedition to attack the Suez Canal in January 1915.

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Mehmet Fatih
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Postby Mehmet Fatih » 16 Apr 2007 12:42

Tosun Saral wrote:Dear Mehmet Fatih, The Arabs that you call beduins were from Senussi Tribe of Trablusgarb (Todays Libya). They were always loyal to their Turkish Brothers. After the Turks abondoned Trablusgarb, Derne and Bingazi they also refuged to Turkey and were sattled in to days Noth Iraq. They fought with their Turkish brothers till bitter end. Seyh Sunussi the leader of the tribe enlisted himself and his tribe to the national Forces of Mustafa Kemal Pasha and fought againts invading British and French at the battles in Maras, Antep, Urfa. After the declaration of the Republicseyh Sunissi was made Mp in Turkish Grand National Parliament.
Other brother of seyh Sunussi who stayed at Libya became later king of Libya. He was also a Turcofil. He was enttroned by Kaddafi. and died at exil in Bursa/Turkey.

Not all Arabs rebelled againts Turks. Syrians, Iraker, Palastiner fought with their Turkish brothers againts British. Only at the last months of the war They decided to be independant.


Thanks for the detailed info Mr. Saral. Much appreciated.

Best
Fatih

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Postby david_2 » 03 Sep 2007 08:41

Tosun Saral wrote:The official History book of Turkish General Staff " Birinci......" tells the story of Gondos at pages231, 232, 233


Can you write the whole name of the book, please? Thanks in advance.

Tosun Saral
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Postby Tosun Saral » 03 Sep 2007 09:13

Sorry for the late answer I missed.

b]Birinci Dunya Harbinde Turk Harbi
IV ncu Cilt 1 nci Kisim
Sina-Filistin Cephesi
Harbin Baslangicindan Ikinci Gazze Muharebeleri Sonuna Kadar.[/b]
(Turkish War During WW1
IV th Vol. 1st Part
Sinai-Palestina Front
From the beginning of War till the end of 2nd Gazze battle.)

Printed by:
T.C. Genel Kurmay Askeri tarih ve Stratejik Etud Baskanligi
Askeri tarih yayinlari
Seri No: 3
Ankara, 1979

(Department of Military History and Strategical Studies of the General Staff of Turkish Republic.
Military History publications
serial nr: 3)

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Postby david_2 » 03 Sep 2007 09:32

Thank you.


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