The Ottoman-German Attack on the Suez Canal

WWI battles in the Middle East preserved in photos by the armies of the waning Ottoman Empire.

Lenny Ben David ,

Ottoman Logo
Ottoman Logo

(For more, look at Picture a Day on the web)

The opening shot of World War I in the Middle East was fired along the Suez Canal when the German-led Ottoman army attacked British positions along the Suez Canal in January 1915.  The Canal was essential for keeping the ties open between Britain and its colonies, such as India.  In fact, Indian troops were stationed along the Canal when the attack began.

Over the next three years, the war would rage across the Sinai Peninsula, north to Gaza and Be'er Sheva, through Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area, and to Amman and Damascus.

The Ottoman Imperial Archives provides German illustrations and photograph of the Ottoman attack.  The photographs also show Turkish mobilization in Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva and the Sinai.

German painting of Bedouin fighters against English troops at the Suez Canal (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

Turkish Camel Corps in Be'er Sheva (Ottoman Imperial
Archives, 1915

German commander of the Suez attack, Gen. Kress von Kressenstein (Library of Congress)

Turkish troops leaving Jerusalem, passing through the Jaffa Gate (Ottoman Imperial Archives, 1914)

Druze prince from Lebanon mobilized for the battle at the Suez Canal (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

Illustration of Turkish guns firing at British planes over the Suez Canal (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

German captions: From the battle of our Turkish allies on the Suez Canal Turkish encampment in the Egyptian desert. (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

Turkish artillery on the march to the Suez Canal (Ottoman Imperial Archives)


British and Indian troops in Suez Canal trenches (Q15566, Imperial War Museum - UK)