The British invasion of Mesopotamia was initially successful in securing the oil fields around Basra by November 1914. Despite evidence of stiffening Turkish resistance and inadequate supply lines which relied solely on the River Tigris, the Expeditionary Force was disastrously ordered to advance on Baghdad under the command of the ambitious, capable but flawed Major General Charles Townshend. After a pyrrhic victory at Ctesiphon in November 1915 the British were forced to withdraw to Kut.
After a five month siege Townshend had little option but to surrender due to heavy losses and inadequate supplies. Such was the humiliation and loss of life that the British Parliament ordered a Mesopotamia Commission to be set up. This attributed responsibility and blame to the toxic combination of incompetent leadership and wholesale military misjudgement. This fine book re-examines the circumstances and personalities that brought about such a disastrous and costly outcome to a classic example of ‘mission creep’.