Established in late 1917, Dunsterforce was an Allied military mission of under 1,000 Australian, New Zealand, British and Canadian troops (drawn from the Mesopotamian and Western Fronts), accompanied by armoured cars, deployed from Hamadan some 350 kilometres (220 mi) across Qajar Persia. It was named after its commander General Lionel Dunsterville.Its mission was to gather information, train and command local forces and prevent the spread of German propaganda. Later on, Dunsterville was told to take and protect the Baku oil fields. The force was initially delayed by 3,000 Russian Bolshevik troops at Enzeli but then proceeded by ship to the port of Baku on the Caspian Sea. This was the primary target for the advancing Turkish forces and Dunsterforce endured a short, brutal siege in September 1918 before being forced to withdraw. Some 50,000 Christian refugees accompanied the column on its retreat to Baghdad.