The German Factor in Kut Al-Amara Victory: Reflections of the Turkish-German Alliance in the First World War on the Iraqi Front

Kon K.

CTAD-CUMHURIYET TARIHI ARASTIRMALARI DERGISI, vol.15, no.29, pp.87-122, 2019 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 29
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.87-122
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The most important military success of the Ottoman Empire against the Entente Powers in the First World War, after Gallipoli War, was won in Kut al-Amara by the Baghdad-based Sixth Army. The British-Indian Poana Division from India had started to occupy the Shatt al-Arab waterway on November 3, 1914 and the British occupations in Iraq had reached Selman-i Pak (Ctesiphon), near Baghdad, within a year. When the resistance of the Ottoman army in Selman-i Pak stopped the British forces under the command of General Townshend, the British forces had to retreat further south to the Kut al-Amara. The city was taken back by the Ottoman forces after a six-month siege and consequently 13.300 British soldiers surrendered. The head of the Iraqi troops of the 6th Army that besieged and captured Kut Al-Amara back was Halil (Kut) Pasha. The first commander of the Sixth Army, Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz, died of typhus in Bagdad just a week before the fall of Kut al-Amara. The Sixth Army Command, responsible for the operations of the Turkish-German alliance in Iraq and Iran, required a dose Turkish-German cooperation. However, relations between Turkish and German officers, especially Goltz Pasha, had not always been in harmony as planned for. This article attempts to analyse, review and reveal the role that the Germans in general and Goltz Pasha in particular played in the victory of Turks in Kut al-Amara.