Before the World War I, there were two Turkish units in Mesopotamia 7th Unit (35th and 36th Divisions) at Mosul and 8th Unit (37th and 38th Divisions) at Baghdad. At the beginning, The Turkish High Command was not expecting a big attack in this region and because of that, by November 1914, the entire divisions in Mosul was shifted to Syria, where the head commands and the 37th Division of the 8th Unit were on the road to the Caucasus. The Sixth Army Head Office has become the “Iraq Area Command” with the 38th Division under its command. At the same time, British army was planning to attack to Shatt-al-Arab area, where Tigris and Euphrates reached to the Persian Gulf, in order to protect their oil interest. Also, they were planning to take the support of infantry division from the Indian Army, the 6th Poona Division.
After receiving intelligence on these plans, the Turkish head officers shifted the 38th Division at the mouth of Shatt-al-Arab under the command of Süleyman Askeri Bey, the rest of the Turkish army was waiting in Basra. The British armies attack began with the naval force bombing of the coasts of Fav, which was located at the point of where Shatt-al-Arab meets the Persian Gulf. The coast was defended by very weak Turkish defense, which was helpless against the Indian troops attacks there and Indian army was settled to the coast on November 6, 1914. In very short time period, half of the Indian army was already in the land. Sayfa Sonu With the support of the Indian army, British armies next target was the town of Basra, which was defended by almost with 3000 troops commanded by Suphi Pasha.
Basra fell on November 22, with a Turkish loss of 1,200 prisoners, including Suphi Pasha himself. After this unexpected and easy victory, British army started to keep pushing the Ottoman army near the river. Ottoman army had come back to Qurna. After some battles around the town, Qurna fell on December 9, 1914. Ottoman army lost 1,200 soldiers as prisoners which meant that the 38th Division was already dissolved. Enver Pasha had realized the mistake of underestimating the importance of the Mesopotamian Front.
The 35th Division, which was commanded by Mehmet Faz?l Pasha, was called back to Iraq, and the 38th Division was rebuilt.