As January 1917The British knew from aerial reconnaissance that 2000 to 3,000 Ottoman and German troops were entrenched at Magruntein southeast of Rafah and others massing around the border. Meanwhile German aircraft bombed British troops at El ‘Arish.
|Chetwode (in front), El ‘Aris, Jan.1917|
The ANZACs advanced overnight and discovered the enemy strongly entrenched in country that was generally open and without cover. Using similar tactics to Magdhabs, relying on the mobility of the Light Horsemen, tje ANZACs sought to surround the Turkish fortifications and then, fighting dismounted, to attack their positions. But dismounted cavalry may have great mobility but provide a weak line fighting dismounted, and throughout much of the day, Chauvel's men were repeatedly driven back by the Turkish redoubts.
|Firing line at Rafah|
Attacking from the north in a bayonet charge as the Camel Corps attacked elsewhere, the New Zealanders managed to seize the Central Redoubt of the Ottoman position, and the resistance began to collapse. In the process, the Kiwis achieved another distinction: by swinging northeast beyond the Ottoman border, they could claim to have initiated the Palestine Campaign at the moment they were ending the Sinai Campaign.
Rafah was a small action, but it came to conventionally maek the end of the Sinai Campaign and the overture to the Palestine Campaign. Below, a hand-drawn map from 1917.