The Embassy of India held a ceremony in Haifa to mark the Centenary of the Battle of Haifa when on 23rd September 1918, Indian soldiers from the Jodhpur, Mysore and Hyderabad Lancers liberated the city of Haifa.
The ceremony was attended by a delegation from India led by Maj Gen VD Dogra and included personnel from the 61st Cavalry. The honour guard was drawn from the Indian contingent deployed as part of UN mission.
The ceremony was also attended by the Mayor of Haifa, Ambassadors, Military Attaches, representatives from IDF and members of the Indian community.
Battle of Haifa at a glance:
On September 23, every year, the Indian Army celebrates ‘Haifa Day’ to remember the martyrs of the Battle of Haifa. Battle of Haifa is considered one of the fiercest battles ever waged in the history of modern warfare and its significance during the World War I was immense.
The Teen Murti Haifa Chowk was built in the year 1922 to remember the valor of the Indian soldiers from the three princely states namely Jodhpur, Hyderabad and Mysore during the World War I under British India Army.
Israeli port city of Haifa was a strategic supply base and the Allied Forces planned to annex Nazareth and Damascus in present-day Israel and Syria.
The 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade comprising lancers from the regiments of the Indian princely states of Jodhpur and Mysore inflicted heavy assault on the positions held by the Ottoman Turks in and around the city of Haifa on 23rd September1918. Under General Edmund Allenby the forces were able to liberate Haifa from the clutches of the Turkish-German forces, this when the Indian soldiers were inadequately armed with lances (spears) and swords while the Turks had modern military equipment like machine guns.
The Official History of the War noted:
“No more remarkable cavalry action of its scale was fought in the whole course of the campaign. Machine gun bullets over and over again failed to stop the galloping horses even though many of them succumbed afterwards to their injuries.”
1,350 German and Ottoman soldiers were captured by the Indians while eight were martyred and 34 wounded on the Indian side during the Battle of Haifa.