Victory Was Written In The Moon

In July 1917, during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman empire, Lawrence of Arabia was making his way across the Sinai desert towards the Turkish stronghold of Aqaba with his Arab army. He had to fight his way past two outpost defenses first. On July 4th they came to the first outpost, called Kethira. The Arabs were fearful, believing the full moon would compromise their chances of a night attack. Lawrence reassured them “for a while there should be no moon”.

Lunar eclipses are when the Earth casts its shadow across the full moon. And in his diary, Lawrence had recorded that a lunar eclipse would happen on the night of 4/5 July. When it arrived right on cue, the moon appearing to drip red, the Ottoman outpost was terrified and distracted. They clanged pots and shot rifles, according to Lawrence, “to rescue the threatened satellite.” Kathira fell to the Arab army.

And the next day Lawrence took Aqaba, the final outpost connecting the Arabian peninsula to the rest of the Ottoman Empire.