Diary December 20, 1917

British field artillery in Palestine
British field artillery prepares for combat in Palestine.
World War One Diary for Thursday, December 20, 1917:

Middle East

PalestineBattle of Jaffa (­until December 22): XXI Corps’ 8,100 men and 88 guns surprise cross river Auja on December 21, take 259 PoWs and 5 MGs from 6,200 Turks with 60 guns. 6 Royal Navy ships and 36 Royal Flying Corps planes aid 52nd Division 5-mile coast advance to Arsuf on December 22, Jaffa put out of Turk gun-range. 54th Division captures Bald Hill and two villages inland.

Western Front

France: Petain Directive urges defence in depth (and on December 22) but not all generals comply.
Flanders: ­Germans capture fog-shrouded British advanced post west of Messines.

Eastern Front

Don: Kornilov arrives at Novocherkask, is made White C-in-C.

Home Front

Austria: Lower House adopts peace resolution.
Australia: Second referendum again defeats conscription 1,181,747 vs 1,015,159 votes; 1918 recruiting falls to c.2,500 per month.
Russia­: Bolshevik Cheka Secret Police founded under Pole Dzerzhinski to ‘fight counter­-revolutionaries and saboteurs’.

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