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2. Command in the Indian Expeditionary Force D: Mesopotamia, 1915–16

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Chapter Summary

The growth of German influence within the Ottoman Empire, after the turn of the century and manifested in construction of the Baghdad Railway, threatened British influence and trade in the Persian Gulf and moreover was viewed as a threat to India. Haig's attempts at planning and preparing for despatch of an Indian expeditionary force overseas to fight German or Turkish opponents were, however, peremptorily squashed by Hardinge, who ordered his plans to be destroyed. This chapter aims to revise the perception through an exploration of command in the IEFD during 1916-18 and the important role played by a new generation of Indian Army commanders. It divides its examination of command - as the army staff in Mesopotamia was divided - into a consideration of logistics and operations. With specific regard to the pre-1914 Indian Army, the administrative branches suffered from conflicting opinions as to its purpose during the decade preceding the First World War.

Keywords:Baghdad; First World War; Indian Army commanders; Indian Expeditionary Force; Mesopotamia



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