Friedrich Kress von Kressenstein, born in 1870 in Bavaria, served as an artillery officer and was a part of Liman von Sanders' military mission to Turkey in January 1914. He spent most of the First World War serving the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany in August 1914, Kressenstein was appointed as a military adviser to Cemal Pasha, who was the commander of the Fourth Army.
Kressenstein is notably remembered for proposing and planning the ill-fated attack on the Suez Canal in January 1915, which marked the beginning of hostilities on the Palestine Front. Unfortunately, this operation damaged Cemal's reputation more than Kressenstein's own. He did regain some respect due to his successful defense in Sinai, leading the 'Desert Force' and achieving victories at Romani and El Arish in 1916. Afterward, he was assigned to defend the garrison at Gaza.
In March and April 1917, Kressenstein played a key role in the successful defense of Gaza during the Battles of Gaza, although he faced a close call in the first encounter. However, the British soon proved to be a resourceful and formidable adversary. Their well-prepared Third Battle of Gaza in late October 1917 ultimately led to the British breakthrough in Palestine and the subsequent fall of Jerusalem in early December.
On November 5, 1917, Kressenstein was replaced as the commander at Gaza by the former German Chief of Staff, Erich Falkenhayn. Kressenstein then assumed command of the Turkish Eighth Army, responsible for defending the coastal sector of the front until the summer of 1918. Afterward, he was transferred to lead a German military mission in the Caucasus.
Following the end of the First World War in 1919, Kressenstein returned to Germany and continued his military service until his retirement as a Lieutenant General in 1929. He passed away in Munich in 1948.
Sultan Mehmed II 'the Conqueror' at the Gates of Constantinople • Oil painting by Fausto Zonaro, 1903