|Part of Mesopotamian Campaign at Middle Eastern theatre (World War I)|
| United Kingdom
|Commanders and leaders|
|Brigadier General W.S. Delamain||Ottoman Empire|
|1 Brigade||Elements of 38th Division, Iraq Area Command (Ottoman Empire)|
|Casualties and losses|
When the Ottoman Empire entered into World War I, the British feared for the safety of the Persian Gulf oil facilities. To protect their facilities, the British decided to capture the Ottoman-controlled section of the Persian Gulf coast. The Fortress of Fao was the main Ottoman fortress on the Persian Gulf coast. The British assigned Indian Expeditionary Force D (IEF D) which consisted of the 6th (Poona) Division led by Lieutenant General Arthur Barrett, with Sir Percy Cox as Political Officer.
The initial landing force was the 16th Brigade under Brigadier General Delamain. The British troops landed on Fao beach on November 6, 1914, and were immediately met with heavy fire from Fao Fortress. As the British advanced towards the fortress, they were met with Ottoman infantry assaults. The British managed to repel the assaults, but could not take the fortress because their heavy artillery had not yet landed. The British then dug trenches around the fortress from which they would occasionally fire shells at the fortress (as the Ottomans fired back).
The Battle of Fao Fortress
The British heavy artillery arrived on November 8 and the British immediately began bombarding the Ottoman fort. The artillery breached the walls and the British troops charged into the fortress. After 45 minutes of close quarters combat inside the fortress, the British managed to capture the fort and 300 Ottoman prisoners. The British marched unopposed into the Port of Fao the next day, and the rest of the division soon began landing.
With Fao captured, the Ottomans no longer controlled any part of the Persian Gulf, and the British facilities were safe. However, the British felt that their facilities would not be truly safe until they managed to capture Baghdad. This led to several campaigns against Baghdad that would result in the capture of that city by the British in 1917.
- Wilson, Sir Arnold. Loyalties Mesopotamia 1914-1917. London: Oxford University Press, 1930.
- Barker A.J. The Iraq War. Enigma Books, 2009.