Northern Africa 1914: Ottoman Entry into WWI

Political map of Northern Africa on 29 Oct 1914 (World War I in Northern Africa: Ottoman Entry into WWI), showing the following events: Siege of Mora; Miracle of the Marne; British occupation of Abadan; Battle of Zanzibar; Ottoman entry into World War I.

The outbreak of World War I exacerbated mistrust between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied powers of Britain and Russia. After the British requisitioned warships being built for them, the Ottomans signed a secret alliance with Germany, agreed to provide sanctuary to German cruisers, and closed the Turkish Straits. In October they raided Russian bases in the Black Sea, prompting Russia to declare war.

Main Events

26 Aug 1914–18 Feb 1916 Siege of Mora

In mid-August 1914 British mounted units moved into northern Kamerun from Nigeria to discover that the Germans under Captain Ernst von Raben had set up a fortified position on and around Mora mountain (Moraberg). When the Germans drove off their initial attacks, the British, joined by French arriving from Chad, set up a siege. Despite several more Allied assault attempts, the Germans held out until February 1916, by which time the fall of the rest of Kamerun convinced von Raben to surrender with his 155 remaining wikipedia

5–12 Sep 1914 Miracle of the Marne

By early September 1914 the German advance had reached the eastern outskirts of Paris, prompting the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to consider evacuating France. They were persuaded otherwise by Joseph Simon Gallieni, the military governor of Paris, who launched a counter-offensive by six French armies and the BEF along the Marne River. The Allied attacks brought the Germans to a halt, then forced them back north 65 km to the Aisne. The threat to Paris had been ended, at the cost of some 250 thousand casualties on each wikipedia

Sep 1914 British occupation of Abadan

With the outbreak of war in Europe, the British sent a military force to protect Abadan, Persia, and the oil refineries in that region against a potential attack by the still-neutral Ottoman wikipedia

20 Sep 1914 Battle of Zanzibar

Learning that a British cruiser-HMS Pegasus-had arrived in Zanzibar for repairs, the German cruiser SMS Königsberg sailed from the Rufiji Delta into Zanzibar harbor. When Pegasus came within range, Königsberg opened fire; surprised, immobile, and outranged, the British ship was unable to mount an effective response and had to be abandoned after 40 minutes. With the destruction of Pegasus, Königsberg returned to the Rufiji Delta, bombarding the picket ship HMS Helmuth as it left Zanzibar wikipedia

29 Oct 1914 Ottoman entry into World War I

In a surprise attack, Ottoman warships bombarded the Russian ports of Odessa and Sevastopol in late October 1914, initiating war with the Russian Empire and bringing the Ottoman Empire into the Great War on the side of the Central wikipedia