Fighting in the Garden of Eden

Qurna, 9 December 1914


Background  

Qurna lies at the spot where the Tigris and Euphrates converge and is the legendary site of the Garden of Eden. However, in December 1914 the opposing British and Turkish forces found that Qurna and the surrounding area was no paradise - a cheerless land, scorching by day and ice could by night. A contemporary verse posed the following:

Is this the land of dear old Adam,

And beautiful Mother Eve?

If so, dear reader, small blame to them

For sinning and having to leave!

 

I've tried to solve the riddle

You wish to know it? Well,

If Qurna's the Garden of Eden

Then where the dickens is Hell?

Following the capture of Basra in November the defending Turkish 38th Division had retreated to Qurna some 50 miles north of Basra. The British wished to consolidate their position and a small force (two and a half battalions with Royal Navy support) from 6th (Poona) Division set out on 3 December to capture Qurna. Initial attacks failed and on 6 December another two and a half battalions arrived to lend a hand. The attack was planned for the morning of 9 December. This scenario was researched, written and submitted by Eric Spicer.

Designer’s notes  

The  Turks at Qurna surrendered before the attack on 9 December took place, but would have happened if the Turks had decided to stand and fight. Ideally this scenario should be umpired with the Turkish player informed to expect a British attack from the east.

Objectives  

The side that controls Qurna at the end of the game wins.

Set up

The set up for each side is detailed on the maps provided with each OOB. Ideally, each player should NOT have seen the opposing OOB, or map. 

The Turkish player is allowed to position ONE pontoon bridge at any chosen point crossing the Tigris before either player prepares orders. Should the bridge be targeted by artillery fire by either side, it should be considered to have a Def = 6, and would be destroyed after 1D6 hits by artillery guns, determined by the umpire. If an umpire is not available, then the Turkish player should roll the die for the number of hits required to destroy the bridge AFTER it receives its first hit. 

This scenario should be played using the 'Advanced Morale' rule (SH Page 30).

Orders of Battle

The Anglo-Indian OOB, and map, can be found here.

The Turkish OOB and map can be found here.

Terrain

A battle map is included with each OOB. This map illustrates both the terrain and the set-up areas for the force concerned. Grid squares are 12" x 12". Qurna and Muzereh (on the eastern edge of the battle field) are both town sectors. The villages are outskirts. Neither the Tigris and Euphrates rivers may be crossed unless using a bridge.

 

References
A J Barker "The Neglected War"

 

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