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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




SOUTHERN BRANCM, 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, 

LIBRARY, 

±jOS ANGELES, CALIF. 



CAMPAIGNS AND THEIR LESSONS 



THE DARDANELLES 



MAJOR-GENERAL SIR C. E. CALLWELL, K.C.B. 



WITH MAPS 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

1919 



PttlNTBO IN GKBAT BBiTAIN BV W. BBKNDON AND SON, LTD., fLVMOUTH. 



INTRODUCTION 

The contest for the control of the Dardanelles in 1915 brought 
about a struggle by sea and land which was in the main conducted 
quite independently of occurrences in other theatres of the Great 
War. That being so, it can in a military and naval sense be treated 
as a distinct incident in the world-wide disturbance. It con- 
stituted a campaign by itself. Its course, nevertheless, was appre- 
\ ciably affected by belligerent events elsewhere, by the military 
<. situation in Western Europe on various dates — by the progress 
^ ^ of the conflict on the western and south-eastern borders of 
Eussia, for instance, by acute strategical developments in Serbia, 
and even by martial proceedings in the vicinity of the Nile Delta 
■^ and in Mesopotamia. Such influence as the conditions in distant 
regions exerted over the fight for the Straits took, however, almost 
entirely the form of diverting to othei; fields military and naval 
resources which, but for this, might have been profitably employed 
in and about the Gallipoli Peninsula. 
t It was the Allies who especially suffered in this respect, and 
^ they suffered particularly on land. For, lack of troops and muni- 
tions was unquestionably one cause of their failure to wrest domina- 
tion of the Hellespont out of the hands of the Turk. But the 
inadequacy of the means in respect to men and munitions placed 
at his disposal, which so shackled Sir I. Hamilton, were primarily 
— if not indeed wholly — due to the fact that men and munitions 
were urgently needed in other theatres of war and especially in 
France and Flanders. To go into the question as to whether the 
policy adopted in this matter by the Governments concerned was 
right or was wrong, would manifestly be inappropriate in a volume 
that only pretends to deal with one particular campaign of the 



:? 



vi THE DAEDANELLES 

World War. To become immersed in such comprehensive prob- 
lems would involve a strategical disquisition concerning the 
Homeric struggle as a whole. So, when mentioning the relative 
weakness of the Allies' military forces committed to the Dardanelles 
enterprise, and the failure of the responsible rulers to despatch 
the reinforcements and the war material that were called for if 
the undertaking was to be successful, it will simply be assumed 
that the reinforcements and the war material could not be pro- 
vided. The question whether they ought or ought not to have 
been provided will not be debated. 

To review a campaign at a stage when the available information 
concerning it is derived entirely, or almost entirely, from one only 
of the two contending sides, must ever be unsatisfying. We 
unfortunately are at present almost wholly dependent for informa- 
tion as to what occurred upon documents and works emanating 
from the Entente side. No detailed accounts of the operations 
are to hand from Teutonic nor yet from Turkish sources. The 
three published German brochures which do deal with the cam- 
paign — their titles are given in Appendix I — are unconvincing 
and superficial efforts, and they manifestly were written with an 
eye to their effect upon the general public in Germany, while doing 
full justice to the valour and grit of the Turks. As Marshal Liman 
von Sanders observes in a signed Preface, dated the loth of July, 
1916, to one of them, " Only when there shall no longer be need 
to conceal anything can the truth as to facts and numbers be told. 
Any narrative of the Dardanelles struggles written to-day for the 
benefit of friends at home can only serve to throw a passing light 
over what occurred, for it will not be possible to deal with events 
exhaustively." Some of the statements in these unpretentious 
works do, however, bear an almost unmistakable stamp of truth, 
and these add somewhat to our restricted knowledge of what went 
on in and behind the Ottoman lines. For all practical purposes, 
however, this volume is to be regarded as written from the Allies' 
point of view, and Germans and Turks are throughout called the 
enemy in its pages. 



iiNTRODUCTION vn 

The following chapters do not pretend to furnish a history of 
the great adventure. They concern themselves especially with 
the broad strategical aspect of the operations, and with certain 
phases of the fighting that illustrate unwonted classes of tactical 
work and that throw light upon the art of conducting amphibious 
warfare. Thus, the naval attempt to force the Straits without 
military aid is treated in some detail. The famous landing on the 
shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th of April is dealt with 
fairly exhaustively. The successful evacuation some nine months 
later of the sea-girt patch of Turkish territory which had been the 
scene of so much heroism and so much bloodshed, is discussed at 
length in so far as information as to that most memorable operation 
of war is forthcoming. On the other hand, some of the principal 
combats, combats that involved furious fighting and that gave 
rise to serious losses in the ranks of the contending forces, are dis- 
missed briefly because their story suggests no special lessons con- 
cerning the art of war. This applies to the protracted contest at 
the Helles end of the peninsula after the landings had been made 
good, and to the sanguinary affrays which took place in the month 
of August for the possession of the Sari Bair mountain mass. 
The work is in fact designed to be a study of certain phases of the 
campaign rather than as a formal record of its course, and such 
comments and deductions as are sprinkled through its pages are 
meant to be suggestive rather than didactic, seeing that the 
majority of the problems discussed are in reality matters admitting 
of considerable diversity of opinion. 

The author's special acknowledgments are due to Scout Fred 
Giles of the 1st City of Westminster Troop for his invaluable and 
skilled aid in preparing the maps and plans to illustrate the text. 
A list of the authorities consulted is given in Appendix I. 
Some valuable unpublished information has also been at his dis- 
posal. The campaign has given rise to a number of interesting 
and instructive works to supplement official reports. The late 
Mr. Schuler's account of the Anzac operations gives a most 
graphic description of the services performed by the troops from 



viii THE DARDANELLES 

the Antipodes, alike in battle and in making possible their stay in 
a singularly unsatisfactory tactical position. Major Cooper's story 
of the doings of the 10th Division is so informative as to make 
one regret the short stay of his division in the peninsula. Even 
a less remarkable and dramatic series of operations than those 
executed by the Allies in their immortal gamble for possession 
of the Hellespont would inevitably provide attractive reading in 
the hands of Mr. Masefield. The virtues that have been claimed 
for " words of an eye-witness " are to be found in ample measure 
in the GalUpoli Diary kept by Major Gillam, who saw the 
business through from start to finish with the famous 29th 
Division, and in the fascinating pages of A Naval Adventure. 
Mr. Nevinson's The Dardanelles Campaign provides a com- 
plete history of the operations and of the events leading up 
to the initiation of the attack upon the Straits, by one who 
was on the spot during some of the most dramatic incidents of 
the struggle and who remained wdth the Expeditionary Force to 
the very end. Mr. Morgenthau, Mr. Granville Fortescue and Mr. 
Schreiner have placed it beyond doubt that the batteries barring 
passage through the Straits only suffered limited damage from the 
heavy bombardments to which they were subjected by the attack- 
ing fleet. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

THE INITIATION OF THE CAMPAIGN 

Pages 
The entry of the Ottoman Empire into the European War — The objects 
to be gained b}^ success in the Dardanelles — The strategical and 
tactical problem to be solved^ — The pitting of warships against 
coast defences — Application of military force generally necessary 
when coast defences have to be reduced — -The minor operations 
against the Dardanelles in 1914 — The Russian appeal for aid — Means 
at disposal for bringing pressure upon Turkey — Methods by which 
pressure could have been brought to bear upon Turkey at this time 
— The decision to attack the Dardanelles — Preparations for the 
enterprise .......... i~i3 



CHAPTER II 

THE NAVAL ATTEMPT TO FORCE THE DARDANELLES 

The naval forces assembled for the undertaking — The task — The attacks 
on the outer forts — Comments — Operations to the middle of March — 
The early attacks upon the defences of the Narrows — -Comments — • 
Need for military assistance becoming apparent — The attack of the 
1 8th of March — Comments. ...... 14-26 



CHAPTER III 

THE ORGANISATION OF THE MILITARY EXPEDITION 

The concentration of troops for the defence of Egypt— First steps 
towards utilising military force in the Dardanelles campaign — Com- 
ments — Weather conditions in the ^Egean — The development of the 
military plans — The delay in employing the military forces detailed 
— The reorganisation of the Military Expeditionary Force at 
Alexandria — Promises of Russian co-operation . . . 27-37 



X THE DAKDANELLES 

CHAPTER IV 

THE MILITARY PROBLEM PRESENTED BY THE DARDANELLES 

Pages 
Alternatives to actually attacking the Gallipoli Peninsula — Operations 
on the European side — Question of operations on the Asiatic side 
■ — The disposition of the Turkish forces in the middle of March — The 
Gallipoli Peninsula the obvious military objective — The disadvantages 
of selecting the peninsula as objective — Sir I. Hamilton's decision to 
attack the peninsula — The strategical and tactical problem presented 
by the peninsula — Sir Ian Hamilton's plan — The tactical problem that 
arises in the case of a military landing in face of opposition — Ought 
the land campaign to have been abandoned at the last moment ? 38-57 



CHAPTER V 

THE LANDING 

The opening scene of the enterprise favoured by good weather — The 
general plan of attack — -Turkish preparations and the distribution 
of the defending forces — Marshal Liman von Sanders' first dis- 
positions — The distribution of the attacking force at Helles — The 
landing at Beach Y — Comments — The landing at Beach X- — ^The 
landing at Beach W — Comments on the fight for W Beach — The 
landing at Beach S — The landing at Beach V — Comments on the land- 
ing on V Beach — The camber east of Sedd-el-Bahr — Some observa- 
tions on the landings at Helles — The landing at Kum Kale — The 
feint in the Gulf of Saros — The general scheme for the Anzac landing 
—The approach — The landing — Comments — The question of landing 
at dawn — Merits of landing at a topographically inconvenient spot — • 
The importance of making good as much ground as possible at once 
— The value of portable artillery on these occasions — Partially trained 
troops— Conclusion ........ 58—105 



CHAPTER VI 

THE CONSOLIDATION AT HELLES AND ANZAC 

The situation at Helles on the morning of the 26th — The advance from 
V Beach — Reinforcements landed at V Beach — Turkish dispositions 
with respect to HeUes — The wthdrawal from Kum Kale — ^The 
operations at Helles on the 27th — ^The situation at Helles on the 
night of the 27th — The position at Anzac on the morning of the 26th 
— The 26th and 27th at Anzac — The situation at Anzac on the 
night of the 26th as compared with that at Helles — The fighting 
qualities of the Turks — Sir I. Hamilton's division of his forces — 
Boat accommodation and beach space available — Possibilities at 
Helles- — The question of Kum Kale — Possibilities north of Gaba Tepe 
— Conclusion .... .... 106-131 



CONTENTS xi 



CHAPTER VH 

THE GENERAL STRATEGICAL SITUATION PRODUCED BY THE LANDINGS 

Pages 
The Expeditionary Force definitely committed to a certain plan — 
Turkish communications Avith, and in, the Gallipoli Peninsula — 
Ottoman powers of concentration — ^The Allies' power to threaten 
descents upon other portions of the coast, and its consequences — 
Possibilities of severing the Turkish communications — The bases 
of the Allies — The Allies' communications — The Allies' powers of 
concentration^ — Question of drafts — The withdrawal of the Russian 
Expeditionary Force from Odessa ..... 132-146 

CHAPTER VIII 

THE FIRST THREE MONTHS AT HELLES 

The topographical conditions of the Helles area — -Sir I. Hamilton's 
difficulty — -The action of the 28th April — From the 29th of 
April to the 5th of May — The struggle of the 6th-8th of May— 
From the 13th of May to the 4th of June — -From the 5th to the 
end of June^The month of July — Comments . . . 147-165 

CHAPTER IX 

THE FIRST THREE MONTHS AT ANZAC 

The topographical features of the Anzac area — Events during the 
first few days after the 27th — The great Turkish attack upon 
Anzac — From the 25th of May to the end of July — Comments — 
Ought the fleet to have given more assistance with its artillery than 
it did after May 1 66-181 

CHAPTER X 

POSSIBILITIES OF SUCCESS 

The impossibility of achieving the object with the forces available — The 
reinforcements — Sir I. Hamilton's appreciation — -Comments — The 
Expeditionary Force's weakness in artillery — Aviation — The naval 
position .......... 1 82-191 

CHAPTER XI 

THE GREAT EFFORT OF EARLY AUGUST 

Sir I. Hamilton's plan in outline — -The Turkish disposition of force 
at the begirming of August — The combats at Helles — The opera- 
tions from Anzac. Preparations — The frontal attacks from the 
Anzac position- — -The start of the attack upon Sari Bair — The fight 
for Sari Bair from the 8th to the loth — Observations on General 
Bird wood's operations from the 6th to the loth — Operations at 
Suvla Bay — Special conditions of the landings— The orders for 
the IXth Corps — The landings — Operations on the 7th after 
8 a.m. — Comments on the first twenty-four hours of the Suvla 
operations — The events of the Sth — Sir I. Hamilton's direct 
intervention — Comments — The events of the 9th and loth — The 
splitting up of the loth Division — Conclusion . . . 192-240 



xii THE DARDANELLES 

CHAPTER XII 

THE CLOSE OF THE AUGUST OFFENSIVE 

Pages 
The situation on the nth of August — Operations from the 12th to 
the 1 6th — Sir I. Hamilton's request for large reinforcements — 
From the 17th to the 20th of August — The battle of the 21st of 
August — From the 22nd of August to the end of the month — 
Review of the August offensive as a whole .... 241-255 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE THREE AUTUMN MONTHS 

The situation at the beginning of September — An uneventful period 
in the peninsula from the tactical point of view — -The blizzard of 
the 27th of November — The Balkan situation between April and 
October — The effect of the overthrow of Serbia on the Dardanelles 
campaign — Sir I. Hamilton relieved by Sir C. Monro — General 
Monro's instructions and his conclusions — Government indecision ; 
Lord Kitchener proceeds to the ^gean — Partial withdrawal 
ordered — The sailors' insistence on the retention of Helles — General 
Monro's digest of the communications situation at the peninsula 256-275 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE EVACUATION OF ANZAC AND SUVLA 

General Monro's instructions to General Birdwood — General Birdwood's 
general plan — -From the loth to the i8th of December — The final 
evacuation of Anzac— Comments on the final evacuation of Anzac 
—The final evacuation of Suvla- — The withdrawal of the left sector 
of the Suvla force — The withdrawal of the right sector of the Suvla 
force — Comments on the evacuation of the Suvla area — The German 
account .......... 276-304 



CHAPTER XV 

THE EVACUATION OF HELLES 

The decision to withdraw from Helles — The problem — The situation 
on the 28th of December— General Monro's instructions with 
regard to the carrying out of the evacuation — -The preliminary 
stage of the operation — The unfavourable weather — Change of plan 
as to the final evacuation — Events of the 7th — The situation on the 
8th — -The final evacuation — The German version — Comments on the 
operation . . . . . . . . . . 305-33f 



CONTENTS xiii 



CHAPTER XVI 

SOME OUTSTANDING LESSONS OF THE CAMPAIGN 

Pages 
The vital necessity of exhaustive examination of the conditions before 
embarking on a warlike adventure, and of evolving a comprehensive 
plan of campaign for its conduct — The great size of modern armies 
tends to impair the effectiveness of amphibious forms of war — An 
advanced base needed in case of a maritime descent upon an enemy's 
shores — The influence of the submarine upon undertakings of the 
Dardanelles type — Comparative ineffectiveness of boardship gun- 
fire against shore targets — Vital importance in the case of a maritime 
descent upon hostile territory of securing a large area immediately on 
landing — Reserves to replace wastage must be provided on the 
spot in the case of distant campaigns — Conclusion . . 332-347 



APPENDICES 

Appendix I. List of authorities consulted ..... 348 

Appendix II. Order of battle of the Expeditionary Force . . 350 

Appendix III. The arrangements made with regard to water for the 

Suvia landing ......... 355 

Appendix IV. Marshal Liman von Sanders' views and statements . 357 



LIST OF MAPS 

Page 
I. The Helles Area (with insets of J^emnos and Imbros) 62 

II. The Landings on " V " and " W " Beaches ... 70 

III. KuM Kale 88 

IV. Anzac .......... 94 

V. The Anzac and Suvla Areas . . . . . .168 

VI. Evacuation of the Left Suvla Sector .... 294 

VII. The Dardanelles ........ 361 

VIII. General Map . . . . . . . . .361 



CAMPAIGNS AND THEIR LESSONS 



THE DARDANELLES 

CHAPTER I 

THE INITIATION OF THE CAMPAIGN 

The entry of the Ottoman Empire into the European War. — 

Although Turkey delayed acts of war against the Allies until the 
31st of October, 1914, two months after the commencement of the 
European conflict, it had been patent to the world for some weeks 
previously that hostilities were imminent. The unopposed entry 
of the German battle-cruiser Goeben and her consort, the cruiser 
Breslau, into the Dardanelles, had clearly indicated the existence 
of a definite, if secret, understanding between the Central Powers 
and the Sublime Porte, and had made it certain that the Ottoman 
Empire intended to take sides against the Entente sooner or later. 
That being the case, the question of a possible attack upon the 
Dardanelles, as a preliminary to securing mastery over the maritime 
route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and to dealing 
Turkey simultaneously a staggering blow, had not escaped the 
attention of the British Admiralty and War Ofiice. The objects 
to be achieved by the successful execution of such an enterprise 
were so manifest, the consequences of a military triumph in this 
quarter were bound to be so far-reaching, that no special know- 
ledge of the factors was indeed required to enable the importance of 
the matter to be realised. ^ 

The objects to be gained by success in the Dardanelles. — It is 
only proposed to deal with the actual Dardanelles campaign in 
this volume. At the same time it is indispensable, if a correct 

* Maps VII and VIII at the end of the volume illustrate Chapters I to IV. 



2 THE DAPDANELLES 

appreciation of the circumstances attending the initiation and 
prosecution of the venture is to be arrived at, that there should 
be no misunderstanding as to the scope of the undertaking as 
originally designed. By those responsible for setting the campaign 
in motion, the conquest of the Hellespont was rightly regarded as 
merely a preliminary to further combinations of war. The real 
objective that they had in view was Constantinople and the 
Bosphorus — especially the latter. For they realised that the 
acquisition of this remarkable maritime defile by British, French, 
and Russian naval and military forces would assure to Russia 
the means both of exporting the agricultural produce which she 
possessed in abundance and of importing the war material of 
which she stood sorely in need, would efiect a cleavage of the 
Sultan's dominions into two parts, and would set up an insuperable 
barrier against that Teutonic pressure towards the east of which 
signs had been apparent even before the dramatic events of 
August, 1914, provided Germany with an opportunity for gratify- 
ing her Oriental ambitions. The fall of Constantinople would exer- 
cise a tremendous moral eSect throughout Turkey and the whole 
Mahomedan world. So daring and decisive a stroke delivered by 
the forces of the Entente could, moreover, hardly fail to secure an 
attitude of benevolent neutrality towards the Allies on the part 
of the Balkan States, and it might well induce all those kingdoms 
definitely to make common cause with belligerents who had given 
a demonstration so convincing of their fighting potentialities and 
of their capacity for conducting war. As it turned out, the project 
in reaUty never got beyond its introductory stage. The attempt 
to win the Dardanelles, first by naval effort and afterwards by the 
superposition of a military expedition on a great scale upon the 
original operation, came to naught. Hence it has followed 
that the enterprise, in spite of what was contemplated to start 
with, has come to be looked upon merely as a campaign undertaken 
for the mastery of those Straits. 

The inception and the conduct of the adventure have provoked 
bitter controversy. But by no person of intelligence has it ever 
been suggested that the game would not have been worth the 
candle had the means for playing it effectively been available 
and had it been played with skill. A project, which had everything 
to commend it in itself, failed for all practical purposes at the 



THE PROBLEM 3 

outset owing to faulty strategical and tactical conceptions as to 
how it ought to be executed, and owing to its being embarked on 
and carried out with insufficient fighting forces. Under the cir- 
cumstances, it remains open to question whether the objects aimed 
at would have been gained even if the preliminary stage — the 
conquest of the Dardanelles — had been successfully passed. But 
that remains a matter of conjecture, seeing that the campaign for 
the Bosphorus and Constantinople broke down at the start. 

The strategical and tactical problem to be solved. — The Franco- 
British naval forces possessed complete command of the iEgean 
at the end of October, 1914, but this circumstance in reality con- 
ferred no special liberty of action upon them in respect to opera- 
tions to be undertaken for the conquest of the Bosphorus. In 
view of the considerable Turkish military forces gathered around 
the capital of their country, of the absence of communications 
aUke in Thrace and in Anatolia, and of the lack of ports well adapted 
to act as bases for a land campaign on an important scale, the 
only suitable avenue to the objective ran through the Dardanelles. 
That great waterway joining the Sea of Marmora to the iEgean 
must be mastered somehow if the straits connecting the Sea 
of Marmora with the Black Sea were to be won. Command of the 
Sea of Marmora had to be established if the further operations 
were to be prosecuted with vigour and were to be brought to a 
triumphant conclusion. It was necessary for the Allied fleet to 
reach this middle water-area via the Dardanelles, and consequently 
the first problem that presented itself was how this was to be 
accomplished. 

But the mere appearance of the Allied flags in the Marmora 
would not in itself give their navies permanent control of its waters ; 
the communications of the fleet after it had passed the lower 
straits must give no cause for anxiety if the operations were to be 
continued. Moreover, in the event of military effort being needed 
to compass the downfall of Constantinople and to succour the 
warships in mastering the Bosphorus — and military effort inevit- 
ably would be needed — unopposed navigation of the Dardanelles 
for transports must be regarded as a sine qua non. But the Dar- 
danelles were effectively fortified, and they were furthermore 
eminently adapted by nature for confronting attack on the part 
of hostile ships of war. Topographical conditions provided elevated 



4 THE DARDANELLES 

sites for batteries to dominate the channel. Its lack of breadth, 
its length and its winding character all favoured defence. The 
existence of a well-defined current flowing down from the Sea of 
Marmora inevitably ofiered encouragement to the Turk. It was 
a case where nature, supplemented by art, created in some respects 
an almost ideal maritime defile. But, on the other hand, the fact 
that the region forming the European side of the famous straits 
represented merely a narrow peninsula, tacked on to the mainland 
of Thrace by the still narrower isthmus of Bulair, was not without 
encouragement to a commander of amphibious forces engaged on 
devising schemes for conquering the passage, and this geographical 
phenomenon seemed to point unmistakably to the means by 
which success might be achieved should adequate land and sea 
forces be available. 

A British fleet had mastered the Hellespont on a former occasion, 
flouting the Crescent. That event had occurred in 1807, when Sir 
John Duckworth forced the pass at the head of a formidable 
squadron of two and three deckers — in itself a memorable feat of 
arms and of sailorship. But the intruders did not tarry long in 
the Sea of Marmora. The impossibility of provisioning his ships 
while hostile batteries that remained unimpaired in their powers 
of doing mischief could play upon the narrow channel which con- 
stituted his sole line of communications, constrained Duckworth 
to retire ; and in its transit down the Dardanelles his armament 
was handled somewhat roughly. For the enterprise to have turned 
out a profitable one in 1807 it had been essential that those straits 
should not merely have been forced, but that they should also have 
been subsequently held. In this important respect the broad 
strategical features of the problem had undergone no transforma- 
tion when the possibility of pushing an armament from the -^gean 
into the Sea of Marmora came to be considered in the autumn 
of 1914. 

The problem had, as it happened, been carefully examined by 
the British Admiralty and War Office some years earlier. A 
memorandum had been drawn up in 1906 by the General Staff, 
in which there occurred a passage that clearly indicates the con- 
clusion which expert sailors and soldiers had then come to as to 
the expediency of attempting to force the Dardanelles by ships 
alone. " Mihtary opinion," runs this passage, " looking at the 



WARSHIPS VERSUS COAST DEFENCES 5 

question from the point of view of coast defence, will be in entire 
agreement with the naval view that unaided action by the fleet, 
bearing in mind the risk involved, is much to be deprecated." 
The memorandum, moreover, took a discouraging view of the 
prospects of conjunct naval and military operations for securing 
possession of the Straits. The position taken up in the document 
was that a purely naval attack would not be justifiable under any 
circumstances, while an amphibious undertaking was bound to 
prove a most difl&cult and dangerous operation of war. 

The pitting of warships against coast defences. — For many years 
preceding the outbreak of the European War, sailors and soldiers 
had agreed that for warships to attack coast fortresses was in 
principle a mistake. This, needless to say, presupposes that the 
fortresses are reasonably well armed and equipped for the fray. 
Weak or ill-manned batteries can naturally be vanquished readily 
enough by an efficient fleet. Of comparatively recent years, for 
instance, a British squadron has overcome coast defences at 
Alexandria, a few American vessels have disposed of the fortifica- 
tions that protected the harbour of Manilla, and Italian battleships 
and cruisers have destroyed shore batteries at Tripoli as a prelude 
to the disembarkation in the harbour of an accompanying expedi- 
tionary force ; but in none of these cases were the works capable 
of offering a serious resistance. The failure of the naval attack 
upon Sebastopol, on the other hand, and the damage sustained 
by the Italian squadron which assailed the defences of Lissa in 
1866, serve as examples of warships being virtually beaten off in 
ill-advised undertakings against land fortifications. 

Occasions no doubt will arise from time to time in war where 
floating forces have no option and are obliged to throw down the 
gauntlet to shore defences that are strong enough to give a good 
account of themselves — Blake's daring assault upon the Porto 
Farina batteries which sheltered the corsair flotilla that he meant 
to destroy, and Nelson's intrepid action at Copenhagen, can be 
cited as instances. But most experts declare that such ventures 
are to be avoided if it is possible. The justifiable disinclination of 
sailors to risk their ships on such unpromising enterprises has 
been well illustrated within the last few years by the refusal of 
Admiral Shafter to attempt to force his way into the harbour of 
Santiago de Cuba, and by the non-committal attitude so rigidly 



6 THE DARDANELLES 

preserved by the Japanese naval authorities with regard to the 
coast batteries that protected Port Arthur during the prolonged 
operations undertaken for the capture of that stronghold from 
the Russians. 

The Dardanelles presented the case of a narrow channel that 
was more or less fringed with works furnished with heavy ordnance. 
Up to the time of the introduction of mines and torpedoes, warships 
often succeeded in running past efl&cient defences protecting 
channels and rivers, without incurring much injury — as Duckworth 
did on the occasion quoted above. Farragut was in his element 
in such work in the days of the War of Secession. But submarine 
devices have rendered enterprises of this kind incomparably more 
difl&cult for floating forces to carry through successfully than 
they were a few decades ago. The essence of a running past opera- 
tion is that the ships engaged on the venture should proceed rapidly 
through the defile, bringing so intense and violent a fire to bear 
upon the defending batteries that the gun detachments in these 
are driven from their emplacements. But the mine and the 
torpedo have vastly increased the risks inseparable from a resort 
to such uncompromising tactics. Indeed, if these engines of 
destruction are skilfully employed by the defenders, and if they 
are available in sufficient quantities, rushing a channel so pro- 
tected may be wholly out of the question. To attempt the feat 
may mean the destruction of the entire flotilla. 

Application o! military force generally necessary when coast 
defences have to be reduced. — Seeing that it is in general objection- 
able to oppose warships against coast defences, but that circum- 
stances in time of war may render imperative the reduction 
of the works, the duty of dealing with them usually falls upon 
land forces. Records of past campaigns will produce a dozen 
examples of the fall of maritime fortresses brought about by the 
action of soldiers, against one example of the task having been 
accomplished by sailors. The conquest of Port Arthur in 1895 
was achieved by the military, and history repeated itself when the 
same great place of arms was again assailed in 1905. The coast 
batteries of Prevesa and of Salonika were dealt with from the 
land, and not from the sea, side in the Balkan War of 1912. It 
was the United States army and not the navy that overcame 
Santiago. Sebastopol fell to military force. When this country 



THE RUSSIAN APPEAL 7 

lelt itself called upon to attack Copenhagen so as to gain posses- 
sion of the Danish fleet seven years after Nelson's exploit, the 
method adopted was to land troops in the vicinity of the place. 
It indeed is hardly too much to say that a purely naval attack 
upon reasonably efficient coast defences would in practice never 
take place were it not for the difficulty that so often presents itself 
in conveying troops to the locality. For, in the nature of things, 
ftn enemy's maritime fortress will probably be too remote to permit 
of the army intended for its reduction marching thither from its 
own territory. 

On broad strategical principles, therefore, attack upon the 
Dardanelles presented itself in 1914 as an operation that ought 
not to be undertaken without military assistance, if it was under- 
taken at all. This had been fully recognised by the British naval 
and military authorities in 1906. It continued to be recognised 
during the early months of the European War, and, had the 
question received that close and detailed examination by sailors 
and soldiers in consultation that the case demanded when it was 
suddenly brought into prominence in the early days of 1915, it 
is difficult to believe that any other verdict would have been given. 

The minor operations against the Dardanelles in 1914. — A com- 
bined British and French squadron bombarded the batteries at 
the mouth of the Dardanelles on the 3rd of November, the ships 
firing at long range for a few minutes. The works rephed, and 
from their feeble performance it was possible to deduce the capa- 
bilities of the Turkish guns. Nothing further worthy of note 
happened after this afiair till the 13th of December, when a British 
submarine proceeded up the Straits and succeeded in sinking an 
old Turkish battleship — a very fine feat of arms in view of the 
rows of minefields under which the vessel had to pass. There 
was, however, no intention of undertaking serious operations in 
this quarter until the early days of January. Then, however, 
matters were unexpectedly brought to a head. 

The Russian appeal for aid. — On the 2nd of January a telegram 
was received at the British War Office from Russia containing a 
request that a demonstration of some kind should be made against 
Turkey, so as to relieve the very serious pressure that was being 
put upon the Russian forces in Transcaucasia by a superior 
Ottoman army at the moment. To this Lord Kitchener, the War 



8 THE DAEDANELLES 

Minister, sent a reply promising compliance, at the same time 
expressing doubts whether a demonstration would achieve the 
object in view. But an appeal of this kind from an Ally who 
had risked and encountered a disaster four months before in a 
loyal effort to afiord assistance indirectly to the Franco-British 
armies when these were in serious straits in France, could not 
possibly be disregarded, and the British Government felt itself 
bound to consider very seriously what form of demonstration, 
that could be regarded as feasible, would be likely to draw Turkish 
troops away from the theatre of war in Armenia. It may not, 
however, be out of place to observe here that, thanks to masterly 
leadership and to a display of rare martial qualities on the part 
of the soldiery, the Russian forces at the threatened point had 
by their own unaided grit and skill relieved the pressure of the 
enemy upon them before any action was taken to help them from 
the side of the Mediterranean. 

Means at disposal for bringing pressure upon Turkey at this 
time. — The aggregate of warships of the Allies gathered in the 
Mediterranean at this juncture represented force sufl&cient to 
maintain a virtually undisputed command of those waters, always 
provided that no new enemy disposing of maritime resources 
should intervene. The demands made upon it by its duties in 
connection with keeping careful guard over the respectable and 
well-handled Austro-Hungarian marine in the Adriatic, and by 
its responsibilities in connection with ensuring a rigid blockade 
of the Ottoman coast and watching the Dardanelles, however, 
practically absorbed its whole fighting capabilities. There was 
little margin left in hand justifying its embarking on adventures 
that might weaken it. For it to have committed itself to a serious 
attack upon the formidable defences of the Hellespont at the 
moment when Russia called for aid, would have been to impose 
a greater strain upon the squadrons of which it was composed 
than these might have been able to endure. 

Nor had the Allies at this time adequate military forces avail- 
able in the Near East, or capable of being promptly despatched 
thither, to justify their undertaking a land campaign against 
Turkey designed on an ambitious scale. To have detached troops 
from the theatre of war in France and Flanders in the midwinter 
of 1914-15 was out of the question, and not more than a few 



FEW TROOPS AVAILABLE 9 

thousand adequately trained and fully equipped units could have 
been found elsewhere for the task. It is true that the need of 
defending Egypt against threatened Osmanli attack from the side 
of Syria had brought about the assemblage of a numerically con- 
siderable army in the Nile Delta. India had sent its quota of 
regulars, and Territorial units had been despatched from home. 
These troops had been, and were being, supplemented by consider- 
able forces drawn from Australia and New Zealand for which the 
country afforded favourable training ground in good climatic 
conditions. But it was not an army that could have provided 
at the moment a serviceable fighting force on the scale qualifying 
it to launch out on extensive operations. For it consisted largely 
of depots, it was weak in organised artillery formations, and it 
included many corps, made up of exceptionally fine material but 
of material that still needed welding into shape. So it came about 
that at the juncture when the British Government was called 
upon to take some step calculated to afford succour to the Russian 
troops in Armenia, those responsible had neither the requisite 
naval forces nor the requisite military forces at their disposal for 
dealing the Ottoman Empire a telling blow forthwith. 

Methods by which pressure could have been brought to bear 
upon Turkey at this time. — Leaving the question of insufficiency 
of land and sea forces for making an effort out of consideration, 
it may be stated at once that an attack upon the Dardanelles as 
a prelude to threatening Constantinople and the Bosphorus offered 
by far the most effective means of bringing pressure to bear upon 
Turkey, when Russia asked for aid. For, so long as the Sublime 
Porte entertained any solicitude concerning the safety of the 
approaches to the Golden Horn, great Ottoman forces were auto- 
matically fettered to this part of the empire. The moment, more- 
over, that the Allies should embark upon any enterprise directed 
against those approaches, summonses w^ould assuredly go out to 
commanders in distant provinces to despatch reinforcements to the 
threatened point, and the Sultan's lieutenants in Armenia w^ould 
be called upon with the rest to make sacrifices. There is, however, 
one feature in connection with the strategical situation here in- 
volved which must not be overlooked. So long as they were merely 
more or less directly threatened, the Dardanelles and Constantinople 
placed a trump card in the hands of the AUies. Without risking 



10 THS DARDANELLES 

a ship or a soldier, the Entente Powers could keep great Turkish 
forces occupied. Rarely does it occur in war that geographical 
and strategical conditions offer a belligerent such facilities for 
exercising " bluff," as the situation in the Near East and the 
Levant presented in the opening days of 1915. " He that com- 
mands the sea," as Bacon observed, " is at great liberty, and may 
take as much or as little of the war as he will." The naval forces 
of the Entente dominated the ^Egean. Swarms of British and 
Australasian and Indian soldiers were concentrated in Egypt. 
Any rumour skilfully propagated in the bazaars of Cairo and of 
Alexandria as to a contemplated venture against the seat of the 
Caliph was sure to echo ere long in the streets of Stambul. The 
islands of Tenedos and Imbros and Lemnos were available, invit- 
ing detachments to set foot on land that must excite remark. 
A bombardment of somewhat more vertebrate character than that 
inflicted upon the outer defences of the Dardanelles on the 3rd of 
November, would give just that colour to stories of tremendous 
impending events that would ensure their causing panic in Con- 
stantinople. Nor should it be forgotten that a threat of this kind 
could be always repeated at later stages of the war if desired, and 
that it would only cease to be an asset in the hands of the Allies 
if the operation was undertaken in reality — and failed. 

But it must not be supposed that there was no other way of 
affording some relief to the Russian troops in Transcaucasia, than 
by demonstrations or operations directed against the Turkish 
capital. The nearest point on the Ottoman coast to those rugged 
uplands east of Erzerum where the Tsar's forces were hard pressed 
happens to be the Gulf of Alexandretta, and the littoral of this 
gulf was in 1915 of great importance to the communications of 
Ottoman forces on the warpath in Mesopotamia and Palestine. 
Turkish garrisons in this region were known to be small. The 
shore provides satisfactory facilities for effecting landings and for 
setting on foot a suitable military base. Enough serviceable 
troops were to be found in Egypt, after providing for its security, 
to permit of an expeditionary force being detached, adequate 
for the purpose, should it be decided to undertake such an opera- 
tion. Transports to convey the armament to the scene of action 
could have been very rapidly got together, seeing that ships were 
constantly steaming into Suez with contingents from India and 



DECISION TO ATTACK DARDANELLES 11 

Australasia. Another merit that could be claimed for an under- 
taking directed against Alexandretta and its environs, was that 
such a project could readily be combined with demonstrations 
directed against the Hellespont. There was in fact undoubtedly 
much to be said in its favour. Dealing as this volume does merely 
with the Dardanelles campaign, it would be inappropriate to further 
discuss in it the possibilities offered by enterprises to be undertaken 
against other portions of the Ottoman Empire. But it has been 
necessary to point out that the course actually adopted, that of 
concentrating effort upon a scheme involving a hazardous opera- 
tion of war of the first class, was not the only one that was open 
to her Allies when Russia in early January, 1915, appealed to them 
for succour. 

The decision to attack the Dardanelles. — It was on the 3rd of 
January that the British Admiralty invited Admiral Garden, who 
was in command of the British naval forces in the Mediterranean, 
to report whether he regarded forcing the Dardanelles by ships 
alone as a practicable operation. He replied two days later that 
he did not think that the straits could be rushed, but he added 
that in his opinion they might be forced by extended operations 
with a large number of ships. A method of proceeding such as the 
Admiral here suggested had never been seriously considered before in 
this particular connection, and the proposal consequently attracted 
much attention. It was exhaustively considered by the naval 
experts in London and gained a certain measure of approval 
from them, one great merit claimed for the plan being that the 
undertaking could always be abandoned without difficulty should 
the task prove to be too formidable from experiences gained in its 
opening stages. The General Staff in London, on the other hand, 
who had examined this problem very thoroughly in 1906 as a more 
or less academic question, were not called upon to give a considered 
opinion now that the question had become a practical one. The 
War Council, which governed the general conduct of the operations, 
was favourably impressed with Admiral Garden's plan. The idea 
that the project could be given up after having once started seems 
to have carried weight with this body, and on the 13th of January 
a decision was arrived at couched in these quaint terms : " The 
Admiralty should prepare for a naval expedition in February to 
bombard and take the Gallipoli Peninsula, with Constantinople 



12 THE DARDANELLES 

as its objective." Thus came to be launched an undertaking 
which, whatever may be said concerning its expediency and con- 
cerning the prospects of success that it involved in theory, brought 
about one of the most remarkable campaigns recorded in the 
history of war. 

Preparations for the enterprise. — Steps were straightway taken 
to augment the Allied naval forces in the Mediterranean, and to 
get together a fleet composed of the class of vessel considered to 
be particularly well adapted for trying conclusions with the Turkish 
coast batteries. It was adjudged inadvisable to detach any con- 
siderable number of battleships or battle-cruisers of the most 
modern type from home waters, in view of the heavy responsi- 
bilities that the strategical situation imposed upon the Grand 
Fleet. But the Admiralty had at their disposal several semi- 
obsolete battleships, as well as one or two others of somewhat 
superior class but scarcely a match for German Dreadnoughts, 
which seemed admirably suited for carrying out the work in hand. 
All of these mounted heavy ordnance superior to the guns that 
were known to be emplaced in the Turkish batteries, and even if 
vessels of this type were to meet with mishap in the Hellespont, 
their loss would not jeopardise the well-established domination of 
the Allies' navies over those of the enemy outside of the Mediter- 
ranean. So a number of these battleships were despatched to 
Malta and the iEgean from home waters, and the French also 
managed to allot some analogous units to augment Admiral 
Garden's fleet. Flotillas of mine-sweepers and other small craft, 
adjudged to be suitable for the work in hand, were got together. 
By the middle of February the imposing armada that had been 
designated to carry the operation through had, with the exception 
of a very few vessels still on the way, assembled in the vicinity 
of the Dardanelles, and only favourable weather was now needed 
to begin. 

The decision that had been arrived at by the War Council in 
London on the 13th of January was confirmed by another decision 
to the same effect, arrived at on the 28th of the month, which 
finally committed the Allies to an attack upon the Straits by 
naval force alone. But although thesa decisions specifically im- 
posed the duty of winning the avenue to the Sea of Marmora upon 
the fleet, it appears always to have been realised in a vague sort 



ANXIETY AS TO EGYPT RELIEVED 13 

of way that a certain amount of assistance on the part of bodies 
of troops might become indispensable even during the process of 
forcing the Dardanelles. The subsequent programme would in 
any case demand the presence of an army of some kind. More- 
over, just at this juncture, there occurred a military incident which 
appreciably altered the situation in so far as troops were con- 
cerned. For an Ottoman expedition against the Suez Canal, after 
successfully traversing the inhospitable region that lies between 
the canal and Palestine, met with signal discomfiture at the hands 
of the defending troops, and fled eastwards in disorder. All anxiety 
as to Egypt was thus for the time being at an end, the bulk of 
the forces assembled in and about the Nile Delta became available 
for service elsewhere, and the nucleus of an army to share in the 
impending combinations for the reduction of Constantinople was 
found to be available at no great distance from the scene of coming 
action. The despatch of troops from the United Kingdom had 
also received a certain amount of consideration. 

But it will be convenient to defer recording the genesis of the 
military expedition, and to postpone indicating the organisation 
and the disposition of the land forces that took part in it, until 
the arrangements for active intervention by British and French 
soldiers in the campaign come to be dealt with in Chapter III. 
In any case it cannot, in the interests of historical accuracy and 
of placing a correct interpretation on the striking lessons which 
the opening phases of the Dardanelles affair teach, be too strongly 
insisted upon that, at the date when the operations started, trust 
was still officially being placed in ships, unaided by military force, 
to secure the Straite. 



CHAPTER II 

THE NAVAL ATTEMPT TO FORCE THE STEAITS 

The naval forces assembled for the undertaking. — A powerful 

fleet had been assembled in the ^gean in view of the operations 
that were to take place. It included Queen Elizabeth with her 
eight 15-inch guns, the most formidable fighting ship in commis- 
sion at the moment, and included Inflexible with eight 12-inch 
guns, a vessel classed as a battle-cruiser but which for the work 
in hand can more conveniently be regarded as a battleship. The 
remainder of the battleships were for the most part out of date 
for a fleet action against vessels of the most modern type ; but the 
majority of them mounted four 12-inch guns — Agamemnon and Lord 
Nelson being further furnished with ten 9 •2-inch guns — and all of 
them carried a serviceable secondary armament. There were further- 
more a number of cruisers, and an adequate flotilla of destroyers, 
mine-sweepers, and other small craft had also been got together. 
The majority of the ships were British ; but the fleet included a 
squadron of French battleships, and a Russian cruiser arrived 
during the operations. The whole armada was under command 
of Admiral Garden. The islands of Tenedos, Imbros and Lemnos 
had been occupied, the latter providing the naval forces with a 
magnificent, if entirely undeveloped, harbour in the great land- 
locked inlet of Mudros. Large supplies of naval stores of all kinds 
and of ammunition had been collected, arrangements for aerial 
observation had been made, and elaborate " squared " maps on 
a large scale had been prepared to assist the gunnery experts in 
the allocation of targets and in the control of indirect fire. 

Information as to the details and armament of the coast defences 
protecting the Straits at the disposal of the assailants was upon 
the whole sufficient, and it proved to be generally accurate when 
the operations began. There was naturally some uncertainty as 
to the position of hostile minefields, as to the resources of the 

14 



THE TASK OF THE FLEET 16 

Turks in respect to drifting mines, torpedo tubes and so forth, 
and also as to the reserves of ammunition accumulated in the 
forts. Still, the naval authorities had sufficient knowledge of the 
kind of opposition that they would have to cope with, to enable 
them to frame their plans with some measure of confidence, and 
to prepare a detailed programme of the operations contemplated 
in advance. 

The task. — For practical purposes, the operation about to be 
embarked upon can be divided into three stages. Each stage 
could be more or less definitely foreseen and could therefore be 
effectively provided for. To start with, the batteries at the 
entrance to the Dardanelles had to be rendered innocuous before 
the fleet could enter the Straits. Then there were extensive 
minefields, and also some batteries, that must be disposed of before 
the assailants could act effectively against the defences of the 
Narrows. When these two preliminary obstacles to progress had 
been overcome would come the real trial of strength — the destruc- 
tion of the batteries in the Narrows and the clearing away of the 
minefields with which this defile was sown. 

Assuming that all three stages were got through successfully 
and without suffering so great loss as to cripple the naval fighting 
forces, there would still remain the problem of guarding the com- 
munications of the fleet when this passed on into the Sea of 
Marmora. Military forces were, however, assembling in the ^Egean 
and in Egypt, and it was reasonably certain that by the time 
that the sailors had forced the passage of the Straits there would 
be soldiers available who might possibly be able to secure their 
communications. Inasmuch as the naval attack failed when it 
arrived at the third stage, this question of the communications 
never arose, and it is therefore unnecessary to speculate concern- 
ing a portion of the programme which, if the truth must be told, 
had received little scrupulous consideration at the moment when 
the die was cast. 

The attacks on the outer forts. — The attempt to force the passage 
of the Straits by naval power unaided commenced on the 19th of 
February. On that day the batteries and works guarding the 
entrance to the waterway were assailed by a fleet of eight battle- 
ships (five British and three French), mounting forty-six guns of 
9-2-inch calibre and upwards, of which thirty were 12-inch pieces. 



16 THE DARDANELLES 

The defences were not of a formidable kind. They consisted on 
the European side in the main of a modern earthen battery at 
Cape Helles equipped with two 9-2-inch guns, and of the old- 
fashioned fort of Sedd-el-Bahr with six 10-inch and two 6-inch 
guns. On the Asiatic side the battleships were confronted by the 
old works at Kum Kale, which boasted of four 10-2-inch guns, 
and by a modern earthen battery mounting two 9-2-inch guns 
near Yeni Shehr. The Sedd-el-Bahr and Kum Kale forts, low- 
lying and rather conspicuous, offered excellent targets to the 
ships' guns ; the two 9-2-inch batteries had both some little com- 
mand and with their respectable armament had to be more seriously 
considered. But the assailants enjoyed the great advantage of 
having ample sea-room for manoeuvring, with deep water fairly 
close in, and of feeling no solicitude with regard to mines or 
torpedoes. The ships' guns out-ranged those on shore, and the 
fact is that this preliminary part of Admiral Garden's task repre- 
sented as simple a problem as a naval armament can fairly expect 
to be called upon to solve when it is a case of attacking shore 
defences worthy of any consideration at all. 

A morning bombardment at long range took place which seemed 
from the decks of the attacking vessels to have done a good 
deal of damage. Operations were resumed in the afternoon, but 
it was then found that the destruction wrought in the works had 
hardly been so great as had been supposed ; six battleships, 
however, steamed in to comparatively short range, and by the 
evening all the batteries except the 9-2-inch one at Yeni Shehr 
had become mute. No ship was hit, although in the afternoon 
the attacking vessels had been well within range of the shore 
artillery ; for the Turkish gunnery was very eccentric throughout. 
A fresh bombardment was initiated next morning ; but bad 
weather came on, so operations had to be suspended until the 
25th. When work began on that day it was speedily discovered 
that the defences had by no means been definitively placed out 
of action by the cannonade of the 19th. For it took an hour and 
a half to silence the 9-2-inch battery on Cape Helles, Queen Eliza- 
beth eventually accomplishing this feat when lying a long way out. 
The works on the Asiatic side also gave appreciable trouble, the 
gunnery from the land being more effective on this occasion than 
it had been on the first day, although actually doing little damage. 



THE DISCOURAGING START 17 

Before dark, however, all firing from the shore had ceased, in spite 
of some of the ships being close in and offering most tempting 
targets, and the operation of destroying the defences at the entrance 
to the Straits by bombardment had been brought to a successful 
conclusion. Ten battleships took part in this second attack. 

Comments. — This prologue to what was recognised on all hands 
to be a decidedly hazardous operation of war, had admirably 
illustrated the difficulties under which a fleet of warships labours 
when it endeavours to overcome the resistance of coast defences. 
The combat had been almost ludicrously one-sided. It had been 
a case of target practice for the ships and not a battle. The Turkish 
gunnery had been virtually innocuous when the attacking vessels 
closed in to ranges well within the scope of the shore guns, and 
it had always been possible to bring fire to bear from the sea at 
ranges which the shore guns could not compass. And yet it had 
been found by no means easy to silence the coast artillery. The 
first day's cannonade had served to show that a shore battery 
must not be assumed to have been silenced simply because it ceases 
fire. It is indeed very difficult for the sailors to ascertain if they 
have really put the work out of action or not, unless it has been 
observed that the guns of the battery have been hit, or unless the 
air service can report that the battery is abandoned. The attacks 
on the outer forts afforded upon the whole but scanty encourage- 
ment to naval men, who fully realised that these ill-contested 
affairs could only be regarded as preliminary skirmishes. The 
results of long-range bombardment had upon the whole proved 
disappointing. It had been a little disquieting to find the shore 
defences so lively on the second day, after they had been well 
battered six days earlier. The truth is — and it is a truth that was 
well known before the Dardanelles venture was decided upon — 
that it is one thing for ships' guns to drive coast gunners from their 
guns for the time being, and that it is quite another thing to render 
the armament of the coast batteries permanently harmless. 

Operations to the middle of March. — The mine-sweepers got to 
work as soon as darkness fell on the 25th and were little interfered 
with from the shore. They had soon cleared away the minefields 
actually barring the entrance to the Straits, and before morning 
had opened a route for the bigger ships to a point four miles 
within the channel. Next day three battleships entered the lower 



18 THE DARDANELLES 

reach of the Dardanelles and engaged some batteries on the 
Asiatic shore, while landing-parties completed the destruction of 
the forts on the European side. The ammunition was blown up 
and the guns, the majority of which were found to be intact, were 
demoHshed ; there was no opposition. Then came two more days 
of bad weather. But from the 1st to the 4th of March w^arships 
each day steamed into the Straits and bombarded batteries near 
Kephez Point without result. The sweepers, moreover, during 
the dark hours cleared another four miles to the front, opening a 
way for battleships to advance to within two miles of Kephez 
Point. During their efforts to accomplish this, and on sub- 
sequent nights, the vessels were subjected to a good deal of 
annoyance from concealed field guns and howitzers, the enemy 
searchlights being very efiective, and it was made evident 
that this type of artillery was likely to exert a considerable 
influence over the further progress of the undertaking to which 
Admiral Garden was committed. As it had been observed that 
the Turks were maintaining a grip upon the ruined works about 
the mouth of the Straits, landing-parties were put ashore on the 
4th both at Sedd-el-Bahr and Kum Kale. The task was accom- 
plished with little trouble on the European side ; but on the 
opposite shore the enemy offered a stubborn resistance and the 
landing troops were hustled back into their boats, suffering 
appreciable loss. Still, this did not much affect the situation in 
respect to long-range attack upon the defences of the Narrows, 
an operation which had been rendered practicable by the success 
of the small craft in clearing the channel up to within about 
10,000 yards of Chanak. 

The early attacks upon the defences of the Narrows. — The batteries 
and works about the Narrows were from every point of view far 
more formidable to an attacking fleet than those about the 
entrance to the Straits. As will be noted on Map VII, a sharp 
kink occurs in the waterway at the point where this contracts 
into a defile. The consequence is that the defence works for 
practical purposes divided themselves into two groups — those 
which bore down the long reach below the angle, and those which 
guarded the channel above the angle. The lower group comprised 
several batteries terraced on the southern slopes of the Khilid 
Bahr plateau or nestling at its foot, and two on the Asiatic 



EARLY ATTACKS ON THE NARROWS 19 

side about Chanak ; their armament included a number of guns 
of heavy calibre, and, in view of the lack of sea-room and of 
manoeuvring space at the disposal of an attacking squadron, their 
destruction by ships' guns was bound to be a work of difficulty. 
The channel was mined, there was every reason to believe that 
the defenders had torpedo-tubes at their disposal, and the floating 
forces had to face the perils created by drifting mines dropping 
down the channel with the current. 

Operations began on the 5th. On that day Queen Elizabeth, 
accompanied by two other battleships, repaired to the outer side 
of the Gallipoli Peninsula, and from thence her 15-inch guns were 
brought to bear upon three of the Khilid Bahr batteries in succes- 
sion, using indirect fire under control of aeroplanes, a form of 
observation still in its infancy. A magazine was blown up in one 
battery and the others were damaged, but the effect was in reality 
small ; hidden howitzers that opened a harmless fire upon the 
vessels could not be properly located. Next day Queen 
Elizabeth resumed, making the batteries near Chanak her target, 
but the result of this bombardment was disappointing ; in the 
meantime five battleships within the Straits were engaging the 
batteries near Kephez Point and one opposite, and were fired at 
from one of the batteries on the Khilid Bahr slopes which Queen 
Elizabeth had dealt with the previous day. Much had been expected 
from the indirect fire from outside the peninsula by the most 
powerful guns afloat, but the results had not come up to anticipa- 
tions, and were in reality even smaller than was supposed in the 
fleet, and the plan was consequently abandoned during subsequent 
operations. 

On the 7th several battleships continued the attack from 
within the Straits. Two of them, Agamemnon and Lord Nel- 
son, which had modern guns, bombarded the Khilid Bahr 
batteries at long range, while the remainder moved further up 
the channel and engaged the batteries lower down and the con- 
cealed mobile guns. The Khilid Bahr batteries returned the fire 
for a short time, but ceased after discharging a few rounds. Next 
day Queen Elizabeth steamed in and engaged the batteries of the 
Narrows at very long range, while six other vessels moved further 
up ; but the weather on this occasion was not favourable. It was 
noticeable that even the big armoured ships during these opera- 



20 THE DARDANELLES 

tions suffered some annoyance from the field guns and howitzers, 
which almost invariably proved quite irrepressible. On this day, 
moreover, some of the permanent batteries replied with spirit, 
if not very effectively, and information since come to hand goes to 
show that the shore defences had suffered very little from all this 
expenditure of ammunition. It was becoming apparent indeed 
that the complete destruction of the main defences by gun fire 
must form an extremely troublesome operation, the fire of con- 
cealed artillery was interfering a good deal with mine-sweeping 
operations, and a lull of some days took place. The small craft, 
however, continued their labours night after night intent on 
methodically clearing away the minefields up to and above Kephez 
Point, but their progress was much slower than it had been when 
working in wider portions. The craft were insufficient, the crews 
inexperienced, and interruptions from shell-fire frequent. 

Comments. — The operations up to date had served to illustrate 
at once the advantages and the disadvantages of the system of 
deliberate, steady progress which was the basis of Admiral Garden's 
plan. Its advantages displayed themselves in the broad fact that 
the fleet had forced its way well within the Straits and had 
strenuously battered the defences on Khilid Bahr and about 
Chanak, without suffering any loss to speak of ; for not one of the 
bigger vessels had been put out of action, and, considering the 
hazardous nature of their task and the resolution displayed by the 
crews, the mine-sweepers and other small craft had sustained no 
very appreciable damage. But against this had to be set the fact 
that batteries which had been silenced one day kept manifesting 
a disconcerting tendency to come to life again on the morrow. * 
There were, moreover, indications that the Turks were gaining 
valuable experience in respect to employing their movable arma- 
ment, and it was becoming apparent that this armament was 
being reinforced. Clearing away the mines was proving more 
difficult than had been anticipated. The fleet's ammimition supply 
was beginning to cause anxiety. It was, moreover, not unreason- 
able to suppose that the defenders would be developing their 
defensive system about Chanak and Khilid Bahr, that they were 

' " The experience of the Triumph at Tsingtaix was valuable. She had 
leanit to distrust silenced foi'ts." TVith the Fleet in the Dardanelles by the 
Rev. H. W. Price. (rriu?np/i had participated with the Japanese in taking 
Tsingtau.) 



PAUSE IN THE OPERATIONS 21 

accumulating means of resistance, and that they were gathering 
together drift-mines, ready to enlarge these engines of destruction 
when a really favourable opportunity offered itself. There is reason 
to believe that within the main defences the artillery ofl&cers were 
purposely withholding their fire for fear of running short of ammu- 
nition, and so as to reserve this until the attacking ships should press 
forward to closer range than they yet had attempted. Whether 
the comparative ineffectiveness of the Turkish gunnery was due 
to lack of training, or to lack of the requisite adjuncts for ensuring 
good practice, or to the damage that the batteries had suffered 
and were sufiering, is doubtful — all three factors probably con- 
tributed to bring about the result — but for so far the attacking 
fleet had encountered little hurt from the shore artillery. 

Need for military assistance becoming apparent. — It is not quite 
clear why a lull of several days should have occurred after the 8th, 
except on the grounds of shortage of ammunition or because it was 
hoped that a channel through the minefields would be swept up to 
within short range of Khilid Bahr and Chanak before resuming. 
The weather, if not ideal, would not seem to have been such as to 
prohibit a continuation of the bombardment within the Straits. 
It was obviously desirable to give the Turks no opportunities for 
repairing the ravages that their defence works had undergone. 
It almost looks as if the naval authorities on the spot had come 
to recognise that military assistance in some form or other was 
imperatively called for if the venture was to prove successful. 
To anticipate the record of military events that are to be dealt 
with in the next chapter, it may be here mentioned that considerable 
bodies of troops had already arrived at the island of Lemnos, 
that more were known to be available in Egypt, that the despatch 
of additional forces from home had been engaging the attention 
of the Government in London even before the naval operations 
started on the 19th of February, and that Sir Ian Hamilton had 
been selected to command the army on the 11th of March. Sir 
Ian left home on the 13th and arrived at Lemnos on the 17th. 
It is quite true that there was at this time no intention to employ 
military forces in or about the Dardanelles except in an auxiliary 
capacity to the fleet. Still, military co-operation was in the air, 
the idea of bolstering up the original scheme for forcing the passage 
of the Dardanelles by adopting the device of bringing troops into 



22 THE DARDANELLES 

play probably exercised its influence on naval counsels, and in 
any case three weeks' experience of the deliberate method of attack 
suggested that, if the way was ever to be won by the fleet unaided, 
the operations would have to assume a more resolute character 
than had signalised them hitherto. 

The attack o! the 18th of March. — We know from the Report of 
the Dardanelles Commission that a telegram was despatched from 
the Admiralty to Admiral Garden on the 11th in which it was 
suggested for his consideration, " that a point has now been reached 
when it is necessary to choose favourable weather-conditions to 
overwhelm forts of the Narrows at decisive range, by bringing to 
bear upon them the fire of the largest possible number of guns, 
great and small." To this the Admiral repHed on the 13th, " I 
consider that the stage when vigorous sustained action is necessary 
for success has now been reached. I am of opinion that, in order 
to ensure my communications line immediately fleet enters the Sea 
of Marmora, military operations on a large scale should be opened 
at once." Admiral Garden was, however, obliged to resign on 
account of ill-health on the 16th, and was succeeded by Admiral 
de Robeck, previously second-in-command. On the 17th the new 
naval chief met Sir I. Hamilton and intimated that he proposed, 
if the weather proved propitious, to make a general attack on the 
Narrows on the morrow, and, as it turned out, the 18th proved 
to be a day admirably suited for the operations that were con- 
templated. 

At about 11 a.m., favoured by clear atmosphere and an unrufl&ed 
calm, the four most powerful battleships of the fleet steamed up 
to within long range of the Narrows and engaged the batteries 
there, while two other battleships, cruising further ahead, 
busied themselves with the works about Kephez Point and 
opposite. Then four French battleships, passing through this 
group of ships and steaming forward to within a couple of miles of 
Kephez Point, opened a heavy fire on the defences of the Narrows, 
which was returned. The batteries, however, ceased firing after an 
hour, whereupon a fresh squadron, consisting of six British battle- 
ships, moved up the Straits to relieve the French quartette. The 
manoeuvre of substituting one set of ships for another in front line, 
however, obliged the attacking fleet practically to suspend the 
cannonade for the time being, and this encouraged the batteries in the 



THE 18th of march 23 

Narrows to open fire afresh. Nor had the French squadron come un- 
scathed through the contest, for all four ships were more or less 
damaged, and then, just when its troubles appeared to be over for the 
day, it met serious misfortunes. For Gauhis was holed by shell-fire ; 
and while steaming down channel in Erenkeui Bay, Bouvet struck 
a drifting mine with the result that she sank within a few minutes, 
losing the greater part of her crew. Gaulois was found to be so 
seriously injured that she had to be run ashore on Rabbit Island^ to 
save her from sinking, Suffren, holed by shell, had to be docked, 
and Charlemagne was badly damaged. The Turks, realising that this 
was a formidable attack and that there were many warships in the 
fairway, were letting loose drift-mines to float down with the 
current. Inflexible, which was the most powerful unit in the 
fleet next to Queen Elizabeth, struck one, after having already 
been somewhat knocked about by hostile shell, and ran risk 
of foundering, but she succeeded in withdrawing out of action 
and in making Tenedos, and was eventually sent to Malta. 
Another secured a victim in Irresistible ; this vessel remained 
above water long enough to permit of the escape of practically 
all her complement. A little later in the afternoon Ocean also 
fouled a mine, and in her case also most of the crew were got off 
under heavy fire before she went to the bottom. All this time the 
shore batteries were maintaining a creditable fight with the fleet, 
and the mobile guns of the defence were hard at work. In 
spite of the contretemps the battleships continued their bom- 
bardment as long as the light admitted. Then they steamed back 
out of the Straits, having failed to establish a decisive superiority 
over the defences that they had undertaken to crush. 

The great attack by sixteen battleships upon the Narrows had in 
fact met with discomfiture. The defences had suffered but, as we now 
know, not heavily ; and a feature in the combat had been that the 
shore guns had kept up a more effective fire than they had on any 
previous day since the operations commenced. For the first time 
the battle fleet had encountered mines, and it had suffered severely 

* This island is not shown on Map VII or Map VIII. It lies to the north 
of Tenedos and about half-way between that island and the mouth of the 
Dardanelles. In the later stages of the campaign monitors used to lie behind 
it ready to issue out and engage Turkish land batteries on the Asiatic side of 
the Straits that were firing on the troops about the extremity of the Gallipoli 
Peninsula. 



24 THE DAEDANELLES 

at their hands, seeing that three ships had been sunk and another 
put out of action by their instrumentality. Three other battleships 
had, moreover, been temporarily disabled by gun-fire, so that 
only nine of the sixteen capital ships that had steamed into the 
Dardanelles on the morning of the 18th, would have been in a 
condition to renew the attempt on the morrow had it been proposed 
that they should do so. There is reason to believe that the guns 
of heavy calibre in the batteries at the Narrows had expended 
nearly all their armour-piercing projectiles ; but it was not this 
ordnance that was impeding the work of the mine-sweepers. 
Mines, fixed and drifting, were the real obstacle to the fleet's 
progress, and a Turkish shortage of big shell made no very great 
difference. 

It may be observed furthermore that the remarkable results 
obtained by the Turkish drift-mines could be accepted as a warn- 
ing that this form of defence was likely to prove even more efEective 
in case the attacking fleet should on some future date venture 
further forward than it had advanced on the 18th. Sir I. Hamilton, 
who witnessed part of the engagement, entertained no illusions on 
the subject, for, telegraphing to Lord Kitchener, he intimated that 
he was " reluctantly driven towards the conclusion that the 
Dardanelles were less likely to be forced by battleships than 
at one time seemed probable." And he added that if the army 
was to participate, its operations would not assume the subsidiary 
form that had been anticipated. Admiral de Robeck came to a 
similar conclusion after two or three days' consideration, and it 
was virtually admitted that the plan on which reliance had been 
placed for making good a passage for Allied naval forces into the 
Sea of Marmora, had broken down. 

The attempt to force a way through by naval power unaided 
was thereupon abandoned. It was decided that henceforward the 
fleet was, in so far as the Dardanelles were concerned, to revert 
to its proper function of an auxiliary to military forces that were, 
somehow, to deal with the defences of the channel. A naval 
campaign was — somewhat late in the day — converted into an 
amphibious one. Little of interest consequently occurred within 
the Straits during the following month, although units of the fleet 
entered almost daily to ensure that the control over the lower 
reaches which had been acquired should not pass away. 



THE NAVAL FAILURE 25 

Comments. — The battle of the 18th furnishes us with convincing 
evidence as to the advantages which shore batteries inevitably enjoy 
over warships, especially when it is a question of securing a compara- 
tively narrow waterway. The sixteen battleships which attacked 
could claim an overwhelming superiority over the land defences in 
respect to gun power. The batteries had, moreover, been shaken by 
previous bombardments and they would seem to have been somewhat 
short of ammunition. Yet the assailants sustained considerable 
injury in the artillery duel, even if it was the mines that really 
decided the issue for the day ; and, as a matter of fact, the havoc 
in the works was not great, for only five or six guns were definitely 
put out of action, even if parapets and buildings had been badly 
knocked about in some cases. Whether the armada would have 
suffered less from the enemy's shell had it ventured on a dash 
past the batteries it is hard to say ; the danger from mines and 
torpedoes, however, virtually precluded any idea of trying to rush 
the passage after this fashion, and it imposed upon the sailors a 
method of operating which necessarily afforded the hostile gunners 
scope for taking shelter when hard pressed. It must be added 
that the ships, owing to the restricted space at their disposal, 
were compelled to cruise slowly while in action, and that on this 
account they offered particularly favourable targets to the shore 
artillerymen. But it was the peril of the mines and not respect 
for the coast batteries which determined Admiral de Robeck to 
abandon his fleet operations and to await intervention on the part 
of the army. 

The vessels sacrificed on the 18th were replaced within a very 
few days, so that the attack might speedily have been renewed 
with naval forces as strong as those which had failed that day. 
But the fleet would almost certainly have been to some extent 
crippled in the affray, and the number of semi-obsolete battleships 
at the disposal of the British and French and available for sacrifice 
was not unlimited. Any fresh effort must in any case have been 
postponed for a few days, and all the experience gained since the 
19th of February had served to illustrate the advantages conferred 
upon the defenders by a pause. It has been asserted that the 
Turks were completely demoralised and had persuaded themselves 
that all was lost. It has been alleged that victory was within grasp 
of the fleet on the 18th of March had it persevered, that the whole 



26 THE DARDANELLES 

defensive system of the Dardanelles was crumbling, that — in a 
word — the game was in the Allies' hands, but that they threw it 
away. We may learn for certain that this was so some day, but 
there was nothing in what had actually occurred to suggest to 
the naval chiefs that their task was so nearly accomplished. All the 
portents, on the contrary, indicated that the project of winning a 
way through the Straits by ship power alone had been a blunder 
from the very outset, a blunder no less from the technical and 
tactical than from the strategical point of view. 



CHAPTER III 

THE ORGANISATION OF THE MILITARY EXPEDITION 

The concentration o! troops for the defence of Egypt. — The 

exposure of Egypt to hostile attempts from the side of Syria had 
caused the British Government some anxiety from the time when 
the Ottoman Empire entered the lists against the Entente. The 
garrison of British troops in the Nile Delta in September, 1914, was 
small. Although the arid isthmus of Suez presented a useful 
barrier to invasion from the east, reconnaissances that had been 
carried out during recent years had established the fact that this 
tract was not so waterless as had been supposed. Danger, more- 
over, threatened not only from without but also to some extent 
from within. The need of utilising all regular troops that could be 
got together for the campaign in France had, moreover, caused 
some units of the garrison to be withdrawn, their place being taken 
by Territorial units from home. The consequence was that steps 
were taken at an early date to introduce considerable forces into 
the country from India, so as to constitute an efficient corps of 
defence, and by November there were assembled in Egypt strong 
contingents composed of Native Indian battahons, together with 
some mountain batteries and Indian cavalry likewise transported 
from Karachi and Bombay. 

When it became apparent that the Turks were making serious 
preparations for thrusting a force across the Sinai Desert with the 
object of attacking the line of the Suez Canal, some further troops 
were brought from India, while the East Lancashire Territorial 
Division was also sent out from home to swell the garrison. In the 
early days of December, moreover, there arrived in the Nile Delta 
the advanced portions of an army which was destined to win great 
renown in the Dardanelles Campaign. The executives both in 
Australia and in New Zealand had, on the outbreak of the Euro- 
pean War, called upon those young nations to produce military 



28 THE DARDANELLES 

forces by voluntary enlistment to bear a share in the struggle, and 
they had not called in vain. Infantry, mounted troops, artillery, 
and all the other auxihary services that go to form a mobile army, 
had been got together with astonishing rapidity, and they had 
undergone some little preliminary training while awaiting the 
transports that should carry them west from the Antipodes. The 
leading echelon was already nearing the Red Sea when it was 
determined that the Australasian contingents should land in 
Egypt, a decision arrived at, partly owing to the need of still 
further strengthening the forces gathered in the Nile Delta, and 
partly as a consequence of the difficulty of accommodating these 
additional troops in the United Kingdom where all barracks and 
hastily devised cantonments were already full to overflowing. It 
was obvious, moreover, that the climate of Egypt in the winter 
season would be more suitable for a soldiery recruited in warm 
latitudes than that of England, while the desert would provide an 
almost ideal training ground for newly enlisted troops. The conse- 
quence was that in the early days of 1915 there were concentrated, 
in addition to large numbers of Indian troops and of Territorials 
from the United Kingdom, very nearly the equivalent of two com- 
plete divisions drawn from the Antipodes. Lieutenant-General 
Sir J. Maxwell was in supreme charge on the Nile, while command 
of the Australasian forces had been confided to Major-General 
Birdwood. 

A considerable portion of the forces, consisting mainly of Indian 
troops, were disposed along the Suez Canal, while the Austra- 
lasians and the Territorials were busily engaged in training at 
convenient localities selected for the purpose. The Indian troops 
being for the most part regulars were fully qualified to take part in 
serious mihtary operations, but, being composed largely of Moslems, 
they were not too well adapted for encountering the soldiery of the 
Caliph. The Territorials had been mobiUsed for several months 
and had reached a fair state of efficiency. The Australasians, 
although consisting of exceptionally fine material, however still 
had a good deal to learn. It was, moreover, becoming daily more 
certain that the enemy intended to make a serious attack upon 
the line of the Canal. Thus, when the question of an attack upon 
the Dardanelles was raised within the War Council of the Cabinet 
in England, the position in Egypt was such that, while Sir J. Max- 



DEVELOPMENT OF THE MILITARY IDEA 29 

well had under his orders a force which on paper stood for many 
thousand men, he could not have detached a sufficient number 
of efficient troops for operations against the Straits even if the 
Nile Delta had not been threatened at the time. 

First steps towards utilising military force in the Dardanelles 
campaign. — We have seen in Chapter I how, on the 13th of January, 
the British Government decided to prepare a naval expedition 
which was, in the following month, to set about forcing the Dar- 
danelles by a gradual operation, Constantinople being the objective. 
Now, it was obvious that, even should the Allied fleet succeed in 
forcing the Straits single-handed, a considerable military force 
would be required to assist in executing the later portions of the 
programme. Therefore it can safely be assumed that those re- 
sponsible for this venture gave serious consideration to the question 
whether a military army should be prepared for the purpose. But, 
as shown above, Egypt could not at the moment produce such an 
army. Nor could any troops be spared from France nor from the 
United Kingdom. Moreover, seeing that it had been calculated 
that it would take the fleet a month to force the Dardanelles, and 
seeing that the attack was not to begin for several weeks, there 
was no great urgency for preparing a military expedition which 
would not be called upon to act for some considerable time unless 
it was required to help the navy within the Straits. Be that as it 
may, no definite decision on the point was arrived at until the 
16th of February, three days before Admiral Carden commenced 
his operations, and on a date when the Allied warships were already 
assembled in the iEgean ready to begin. In the meantime the 
repulse of the Turkish attack on the Suez Canal and the withdrawal 
of the hostile forces from the Sinai Desert, coupled with the fact 
that the Australasian troops had been making great strides towards 
military efficiency during the past few weeks, had completely 
transformed the situation in the Nile Delta, and Sir J. Maxwell 
was now in a position to detach a force of approximately three 
divisions for operations outside the area of his own command 
should he be called upon to do so. 

On the 16th of February the War Council in London came to 
the conclusion that a military force should be prepared. Arrange- 
ments were to be made for troops to be despatched from Egypt 
" if required." The 29th Division was to be transported from the 



30 THE DARDANELLES 

United Kingdom to the island of Lemnos as soon as possible. 
The Admiralty were to take steps for collecting in the Levant 
small craft, lighters, boats and so forth, such as would be needed 
for landing large bodies of troops. The idea was that an army 
should be massed in the Eastern Mediterranean, that could be 
used as required. It is, moreover, interesting to note that, in a 
memorandum which had been prepared in the Admiralty on the 
previous day, it had been laid down that transports carrying troops 
ought to be in readiness to enter the Straits as soon as the defences 
had been disposed of. But the memorandum went even further 
than this. It declared that " strong military landing-parties with 
strong covering parties " would be necessary to complete the 
destruction of the works defending the channel, and it pointed 
out that full advantage of the undertaking would only be obtained 
if the GalUpoli Peninsula was occupied by soldiers. " The naval 
bombardment," it went on to say, " is not a sound military opera- 
tion unless a strong military force is ready to assist in the operations, 
or at least to follow up immediately the forts are silenced." It 
was four days after this memorandum was signed, and three days 
after the War Council decided to prepare a land force to help the 
fleet " if required," that the fleet attacked the outer forts of the 
Dardanelles and thus began the campaign. 

Comments. — In its first Report, the Dardanelles Commission 
remarked that after the meeting of the 28th of January (at which 
the decision of the 13th of January was finally confirmed) " the 
objective of the British Government remained the same, but the 
views entertained as to the means of realising it underwent a 
gradual change. The necessity for a large military force became 
daily more apparent. The idea of a purely naval operation was 
gradually dropped." Unfortunately, however, the change in views 
on this fundamental aspect of the strategical problem took no 
practical shape between the 28th of January and the 16th of 
February. This may have been due to the difficulty that presented 
itself at this time with regard to finding any troops capable of 
helping the navy ; but the result was that the military side of the 
task to which the Allies were committing themselves only began 
to be taken seriously just when the floating forces were about to 
start work. The Admiralty Memorandum quoted above for all 
practical purposes insisted upon the presence of troops to lend a 



THE QUESTION OF WEATHER 31 

hand in forcing the Straits, and it seemed to put an end to the 
idea of the operation being executed by warships unaided ; but 
both the Memorandum and the decision by the War Council of 
the following day were belated. 

It must necessarily take time to organise and to equip military 
forces that may be detailed for an enterprise involving landing 
on an enemy's shores and carrpng out a subsequent campaign. 
Lemnos, it is true, is only about two days' steam from Alexandria. 
But to fit out a respectable body of troops in the Nile Delta and 
to transport them to the island must have required more than 
ten days, even if definite orders had been issued on the 16th of 
February and if there had been sufl&cient ships available. Nearly 
three weeks would have been needed to get vessels together and to 
convey the 29th Di\'ision from the United Kingdom to the Mgean, 
A mistake had been made when it was resolved to attempt the 
passage of the Dardanelles without the aid of troops. A fresh 
mistake was made when, the necessity of employing troops having 
been recognised somewhat late in the day, operations were not 
suspended until such time as an adequate force equipped for the 
undertaking should be at hand to bear its part in the efiort. 

Weather conditions in the ^gean. — It may not be out of place 
to say a word at this point with regard to a factor in the strategical 
problem which had not been sufficiently taken into consideration 
hitherto. Except during about five months in the year, the 
Mediterranean presents by no means a placid sheet of water on 
most days. On the contrary, its surface is apt to be ruffled by 
sudden and violent storms between the months of October and 
May. The sea, moreover, gets up very quickly at any time of 
the year if a lively breeze sets in. These climatic characteristics 
are, moreover, especially noticeable in the .<3Egean, and neither 
February nor March were months that could be looked upon as 
promising ones for embarking on an enterprise in which the landing 
of a force of all arms on exposed beaches was not unlikely to be 
a feature. We have seen in Chapter II that the weather interfered 
even with the work of the battleships after the attack upon the 
Straits began ; still, climatic irregularities could not justifiably 
have been put forward as an argument against warships trying to 
force the Dardanelles thus early in the year. It was only when 
the original design, which contemplated a purely naval operation, 



32 THE DARDANELLES 

began imperceptibly to resolve itself into plans for carrying out 
elaborate amphibious undertakings, that weather became a factor 
of prime importance in the problem. 

As it turned out, the military campaign only began in the latter 
part of April, owing to circumstances having no relation to climate. 
It is impossible to say whether the storms and strong winds to 
which the ^gean is prone at the time of the year would have 
enhanced the difficulties attending the military expedition, sup- 
posing that the troops had been ready to share in the operations 
at the date when the fleet commenced the attack, or immediately 
afterwards. But it is reasonable to assume that, had the project 
been exhaustively examined in all its bearings by military as well 
as by naval experts when it first found favour with the British 
Government, professional opinion would not have rested content 
with deprecating independent naval action. The experts would 
assuredly also have expressed themselves as averse to opening 
the campaign much before May for fear of rough water. 

The development of the military plans. — The decision of the 
British War Council that had been taken on the 16th of February 
had been of a somewhat tentative nature, except with regard to 
the 29th Division and to the assembling of boats and small craft. 
But even with regard to the 29th Division the decision was not 
acted up to ; it was found that the troops could not be spared 
at the moment on account of the situation in the West, and the 
arrangements for its embarkation had consequently to be counter- 
manded. On the other hand, the French Government determined 
to prepare a force to co-operate with the British in any land 
campaign that might become necessary, and two divisions, made 
up for the most part of colonial troops stationed in Africa, were 
rapidly improvised. Some British marines had already been 
landed in the island of Tenedos, and arrangements were made to 
despatch a division of the troops that had been especially raised 
by the Admiralty during the progress of the war, to the Eastern 
Mediterranean. General Birdwood was also towards the end of 
the month directed to proceed to the Dardanelles to report upon 
the situation, and one Australian brigade from Egypt was moved 
to Lemnos. 

General Bird wood's instructions were to report " whether it is 
considered by the Admiral that it will be necessary for troops to 



MILITARY EXPEDITION DECIDED ON 33 

be employed to take the forts, and, if so, what force will be neces- 
sary ; whether a landing force will be required of the troops to 
take the forts in reverse and generally in what manner it is pro- 
posed to employ the troops." His mission in fact was to find out 
what assistance the naval forces were likely to require in perform- 
ing their preliminary task of forcing the Straits, a task which they 
were to have accomplished without any such assistance according 
to the original programme. His reports, telegraphed to Lord 
Kitchener at the War Office on the 6th and 7th of March, were not 
of an encouraging nature, for he expressed strong doubts as to 
whether the fleet would accomplish its object unaided. The 
situation in other theatres of war had become more reassuring 
in the meantime, and so, on the 10th of March, the British Govern- 
ment definitely committed itself to military action. The 29th 
Division was ordered to embark. Sir I. Hamilton was selected to 
command the forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the French 
simultaneously gave the necessary instructions for their contingent 
to take ship for Lemnos, it having been agreed between the two 
Governments that Sir Ian was to be in supreme command. 

The Commander-in-Chief left the United Kingdom on the 13th, 
and, as we have seen, arrived at Tenedos on the 17th. His instru(?- 
tions did not suggest that one of the main objects that his army 
was to fulfil would be operations on a great scale undertaken for 
the purpose of conquering the passage of the Dardanelles, although 
they did not wholly preclude that possibility. Their tenor was 
rather to the effect that the soldiers' task in those Straits would 
be confined to minor enterprises in support of the warships. It 
was, however, distinctly laid down that before any serious under- 
taking was carried out in the Gallipoli Peninsula, all the British 
military forces detailed for the expedition were to be assembled, 
so that their full weight could be thrown in. Scarcely had the 
military commander arrived on the spot, however, when events 
proved that his instructions had been drawn up on an incorrect 
appreciation of the conditions of the problem. After witnessing 
the unsuccessful naval attack of the 18th, Sir Ian cabled home 
to the effect that the work of the army would not be of the sub- 
sidiary form in respect to the Dardanelles that had been antici- 
pated in his instructions. " The army's share will not be a case 
of landing-parties for the destruction of forts, etc., but rather a 



34 THE DARDANELLES 

case of a deliberate and progressive military operation carried out 
in force in order to make good the passage of the navy," The 
scheme to which the British Government had given its assent in 
January had failed completely. An entirely new condition of things 
had arisen and one for which no proper provision had been made 
in time. 

The delay in employing the military forces detailed. — Numbers 
of transports full of troops were already in Mudros Bay on the 
southern side of the island of Lemnos, and others were on their 
way thither.^ A considerable portion of the army that Sir I. 
Hamilton was to command was actually on the water, and the 
rest of it was ready to take ship from Egypt at short notice. But 
he found that he would be obliged to re-distribute the troops on 
the transports, so as to enable them to disembark ready for 
immediate action. The military forces that he was to command 
had been shipped at distant ports, without those responsible 
knowing exactly what this army was going to try to do and before 
its chief was aware of what was in store for it. The object had 
been to assemble a large military force in the Eastern Mediter- 
ranean which was to act as circumstances might demand, and it 
was inevitable that a certain amount of reorganisation and re- 
arrangement would prove necessary when it reached its destination. 

The extensive inlet of Mudros provides one of the finest anchor- 
ages in the world for a mighty armada. As will be seen from the 
inset to Map I, on p. 62, the entrance is narrow. There is 
shelter against winds from every quarter of the compass. Sufficient 
depth of water exists, covering an extensive area, to permit of the 
largest vessels afloat making use of the haven. But in spite of 
these conspicuous advantages Mudros lacked some of the most 
indispensable qualifications of a military base. There were no 
jetties, and none of the appliances usually found at a shipping 
resort existed on the spot. There was difficulty as to water on 
shore. For numbers of transports to discharge the troops and 
stores borne in them and to re-embark these after they had been 
sorted, would have taken weeks under such adverse conditions. 
Sir I. Hamilton consequently decided that, with the exception of 

1 On the 19th a number of transports full of troops, under escort, made a 
demonstration of effecting a landing on the puter coast of the Gallipoli 
Peninsula. 



EEORGANISATION OF THE FORCE 35 

the one Australian brigade which had already landed, the expedi- 
tionary force must proceed from Lemnos to Alexandria, and must be 
reorganised and be freshly allotted to its transports at that admir- 
ably equipped port. The 29th Division, still on its way out from 
home, was directed to the same base. 

This involved serious delay, and delay at this juncture was 
particularly unfortunate. For a month past the Allied fleet had 
been trying to batter its way through the Dardanelles, and it had 
failed. Preparations for a military expedition had been going on 
openly for some weeks in Egypt and its destination was common 
talk. The mariners of the Cyclades had been sighting transports 
in great numbers steaming in the direction of the islands of Lemnos 
and Tenedos. Any delusions as to the operations of the warships 
in the iEgean merely representing a demonstration against the 
famous waterway leading up to the Sea of Marmora, that may 
at one time have been entertained in Stambul, had long since 
been dispelled by the obvious resolution with which the Allied 
naval effort was being pressed. The Turks and their German 
advisers were now perfectly well aware that a great operation 
for the conquest of the Dardanelles by naval and military forces 
was afoot. Yet now, at the moment when time was all-important 
to both belligerents, the side which possessed the initiative, at 
least in theory, found itself incapable of acting with promptitude. 
Sir I. Hamilton and his troops had to steam away from the ren- 
dezvous, leaving their opponents leisure to prepare undisturbed 
for the military attack which they foresaw was impending. 

The reorganisation of the Military Expeditionary Force at 
Alexandria. — The redistribution of the British and French troops, 
and their allocation in detail, as a prelude to the forthcoming 
landing in force on the enemy's shores, took about three weeks, 
some of the units from hom_e not arriving at Alexandria till the 
second week in April. Sir I. Hamilton was, however, able to 
return to Lemnos by the 7th of that month, to be followed thither 
by the transports in quick succession, and the army had 
assembled in Mudros Bay within a month of the date when the 
need for military effort on a great scale if the Dardanelles were 
to be won, had been placed beyond a doubt. 

Further details with regard to the composition of the army 
will be found in Appendix II. Suffice it to say here that 



36 THE DARDANELLES 

it consisted of the 29th Division, of the Royal Naval Division, 
of the 42nd. East Lancashire Division, of an Australian division, 
of a division made up partly of Australians and partly of 
NeAv Zealanders, of the two French divisions, and of some 
Indian troops. A military force of all arms, comprising seven 
divisions with a few additional units, ought to have represented 
a total of fully 140,000 men. But the divisions did not for the most 
part consist of the full number of units that a division is supposed 
to include. They were very weak in artillery. A proportion of the 
battalions were below war establishment when they started. From 
the nature of the enterprise on which they were about to embark, 
it was expedient for them to leave large part of their impedimenta 
and animals in Egypt. The consequence was that the whole army 
numbered less than 100,000 officers and men, and it is well to 
remember that, throughout the campaign that was to follow, the 
expression " division " was always a somewhat delusive one, partly 
on this account and partly for reasons that will appear later. 

Nor could the troops composing the army be regarded as troops 
of quite the highest class at the outset. Even the 29th Division, 
consisting as it did of veteran soldiery drawn for the most part 
from India and foreign stations and including a comparatively 
small proportion of reservists in its ranks, had practically never 
bean exercised as a division. The Australasian troops had under- 
gone but a brief period of training since their formation. The 
Naval Division was a recently created body of troops, without 
artillery and unprovided with the majority of the departmental 
units that are ordinarily included in a division. The French 
contingent was an improvisation counting a proportion of native 
African troops in its ranks. Still, it w^as a fine force, if not a perfect 
one, but it was to be called upon to adventure a feat of arms 
for which there was no real precedent in modern war. 

Promises of Russian co-operation. — The effort against the Dar- 
danelles, as a prelude to further operations against the Bosphorus 
and Constantinople, had been initiated in January in response to 
a request for aid from Russia ; and, while one of the objects con- 
templated was the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire by striking 
at its heart, the project had for its further object the opening of 
maritime communications with the Russian Black Sea ports in 
the interests of the Tsar's dominions. As was only right and proper, 



RUSSIAN AID 37 

Russian assistance, both naval and military, was promised. An 
army corps was assembled about Odessa, and it was proposed 
that this should be transported across the Black Sea to somewhere 
near the northern mouth of the Bosphorus when, the Dardanelles 
having been forced, the troops and the fleet from the ^gean 
moved forward to undertake the second stage of the great offensive 
enterprise against Turkey. Direct co-operation between the troops 
in South Russia and the military forces assembling for the conquest 
of the Dardanelles was manifestly impossible until those famous 
Straits should be in the hands of the Allies. But it may be pointed 
out here that the concentration of an army on the northern shores 
of the Black Sea constituted a distinct threat against the Sultan's 
capital, and that it acted as a magnet holding Turkish troops fast 
in the neighbourhood of the Golden Horn which might, from the 
Ottoman point of view, usefully have been employed in some other 
region. 



55323 



CHAPTER IV 

THE MILITARY PROBLEM PRESENTED BY THE DARDANELLES 

Alternatives to actually attacking the Gallipoli Peninsula. — As it 

turned out, the military campaign came to be virtually confined to 
the Gallipoli Peninsula. But, before discussing the opportunities 
which that singular tongue of land offered to a military force bent 
on securing command of the Hellespont, it will not be out of place 
to point out that the Allies were not necessarily obliged to deliver 
their attack here. There were alternatives which must have sug- 
gested themselves to Sir Ian Hamilton, when the failure of the 
great naval effort of the 18th of March made it plain to him that 
the forcing of the Dardanelles now depended upon what the troops 
under his command would be able to accomplish in the immediate 
future. The question of combining operations in Thrace, or else 
on the Asiatic side of the Straits, with an attack upon the peninsula 
itself, was bound to receive consideration, and as a matter of 
fact such operations were suggested more than once at a later 
date after the army had gained a footing on the peninsula. 

Operations on the European side. — As will be seen from Maps 
VII and VIII at the end of the volume, the Gallipoli Peninsula 
is linked to the mainland of Thrace by the slender Isthmus of 
Bulair, a neck of land barely three miles wide at its narrowest 
part. It should, however, be noted that a chain of low hills running 
along the spine of this neck hides the Sea of Marmora from view 
even from the tops of ships of war in the Gulf of Saros, and forbids 
their intervening in any land combats for possession of the isthmus 
that might take place on its Sea of Marmora side. The command 
of the sea which the Allies possessed outside the Straits did not 
in fact enable them to dominate the approaches by land to the 
peninsula. Moreover, the lines of Bulair, which had been created 
by Anglo-French enterprise at the time of the Crimean War, 

33 



QUESTION OF LANDING IN THRACE 39 

served to bar the way to any military force endeavouring to enter 
the peninsula from the side of Thrace. The objective of the Expedi- 
tionary Force being positions commanding the Straits, the Isthmus 
of Bulair manifestly became an all-important feature in any project 
based on effecting a landing on the European side of the waterway, 
outside of the actual Gallipoli Peninsula. 

The northern coast-line of the Gulf of Saros provided several 
more or less practicable landing-places, rendered somewhat inviting 
by the fact that the prevailing wind in this region comes from the 
north-east and would thus be off shore. But an army setting foot 
on this littoral would inevitably encounter opposition at the hands 
of the Turkish contingents know^n to be gathered in Thrace, and 
Sir I. Hamilton had not sufficient troops under his control to court 
combat with such formidable forces. To reach the Isthmus of 
Bulair the army of invasion would also be obliged to make some- 
thing of the nature of a flank march. Finally, supposing that the 
flank march was accomplished and that the hostile forces in Thrace 
gave less trouble than might reasonably be expected, the lines of 
Bulair would still have to be stormed, while the attacking army 
ran the risk of being simultaneously assailed in rear. It should be 
noted that the victorious Bulgarians, three years before, had 
signally failed in their efforts to capture these lines at a moment 
when Thrace was at their mercy, that the Turks were known to 
have strengthened the entrenchments since that date, and that 
reconnaissances from on board ship had ascertained that in March 
and April the defences were held in considerable force. Further- 
m^ore, although possession of the Bulair Isthmus would cut the 
defenders of the Gallipoli Peninsula oflt from direct communication 
by land with the European portions of the Ottoman Empire, these 
would still be able to draw their reinforcements and supplies 
unhindered from across the Dardanelles. When the arguments 
for and against a plan of operations contemplating attack upon 
the peninsula from the side of Thrace came to be placed in the 
balance, the disadvantages of selecting such a line of advance were 
found entirely to outweigh its advantages. 

Question o! operations on the Asiatic side. — There was much more 
to be said for a campaign on the Anatolian side of the Straits. The 
strategical position in that region offered roughly two alternatives. 
It would have been possible to put the attacking army ashore at 



40 THE DARDANELLES 

points some considerable distance from the Dardanelles, where 
there was good shelter in case of bad weather. Or the landing 
might be effected only a few miles outside the mouth of the 
Straits at more exposed localities — a plan that found consider- 
able favour in some quarters both in March, 1915, and at a later 
date. 

As regards the first alternative, the Island of Mitylene affords 
excellent protection to the sound separating it from the mainland, 
and within this sound are a number of small ports where troops 
might have been landed readily enough ; the nearest of them is, 
however, about 70 miles from the Dardanelles. Further to the 
south lies the great maritime city of Smyrna, situated at the head 
of a land-locked gulf, which would in itself have provided an 
admirable base for an invading army. But the harbour of Smyrna 
was guarded by fairly powerful batteries, and to have acquired 
possession of the environs would have involved a special campaign 
as a preliminary. Moreover, Smyrna is about 150 miles from the 
Straits, Anatolia is a region that is backward in respect to com- 
munications, and the undertaking of a campaign in such territory, 
having for its objective positions quite a fortnight's march distant, 
would have called for the assembling of a mass of transport, for 
the establishment of an elaborate system of communications, and 
for the services of an army considerably larger than that which 
Sir I. Hamilton had at its disposal. 

The other alternative was more promising. Besika Bay opposite 
the Island of Tenedos offered marked technical advantages as an 
actual landing-place, seeing that it possessed a suitable beach 
with deep water fairly close in, while Yukyeri Bay a few miles to 
the south also presented similar features. These two bays are 
situated respectively about a dozen, and about twenty, miles from 
Kum Kale at the mouth of the Dardanelles. Facing west as they 
do, both of them are exposed except when the wind comes from 
south-east, east or north-east ; but, as stated above, the latter is 
the prevaihng quarter. In any case, the iEgean is generally smooth 
during the summer. 

It was known that the Turks were not unprepared to meet 
a landing in Besika Bay, and that some entrenchments 
existed ; but it is doubtful whether any serious opposition would 
have been offered to actual disembarkation in the more southerly 



QUESTION OF AN ASIATIC LANDING 41 

bight. ^ On the other hand, the distance from these landing-places 
to the Narrows of the Dardanelles is considerable — fully twenty- 
five miles from Besika Bay and nearly thirty-five from Yukyeri 
Bay. Moreover, the valley of the Mendere (the plain of Troy) is 
marshy, is extensive and is reputed to be unhealthy. To gain 
possession of the Asiatic shores of the maritime defile, an army 
landing at these points would need a considerable amount of 
transport, and, owing to their distance from the objective, such a 
scheme of operations hardly lent itself to the delivery of a sudden 
and decisive stroke. Had the forces under Sir I. Hamilton been 
appreciably larger than they actually were, it would have been 
for consideration whether part of them ought not to undertake 
operations on the Asiatic side of the Straits, based on these two 
bays. At the worst troops so landed could almost certainly have 
gained possession of all the ground about Kum Kale, and would 
have afforded welcome support to comrades on the other side of 
the channel during the prolonged contest at the toe of the Gallipoli 
Peninsula. As it was, there were no troops available in the opening 
stages of the great venture for undertaking ambitious enterprises 
outside the peninsula, if simultaneously an army at all adequate to 
effect the object in view was to be employed on the conquest of that 
vital tongue of land. Separation of force is seldom justifiable in 
war unless there is an ample margin of military strength available, 
and on this occasion that condition did not hold good. 

The disposition of the Turkish forces in the middle of March. — It 
will be convenient at this point to say a word as to the disposition 
of the Ottoman troops around the Dardanelles, at the juncture 
when an enterprise that had started as a naval one for securing 
possession of the Straits was suddenly transformed into a mihtary 
one having the same purpose in view. But information on this 
subject is necessarily still somewhat vague, and it was vaguer 
still during those critical days when the plan of operations was 
being worked out by Sir I. Hamilton and his stafJ. Still, while 
much uncertainty existed as to the actual distribution of the 
defending troops whom the Allied soldiery were about to encounter, 
there were certain assumptions that in this connection could safely 
be made. The presence of a large army in and around Con- 

' As will be seen further on, on page 60, there were two Turkish divisions in 
the Kum Kale-Besika Bay district in April. See also Apijendix. IV, 2. 



42 THE DARDANELLES 

stantinople was well known, and it was apparent that portions of 
this could be transferred to the immediate vicinity of the Hellespont 
at short notice. It was a well-established fact that there was always 
a considerable garrison actually in the Gallipoli Peninsula and 
about Chanak, and that the greater part of the troops in the 
peninsula were stationed either close to the Narrows or else about 
the Bulair lines. Imposing bodies of Turkish troops were quartered 
about Smyrna ; but, seeing that this important centre of wealth 
and population was automatically menaced by the Allies' com- 
mand of the iEgean, it was reasonable to suppose that the Ottoman 
military authorities would hesitate before they drew largely upon 
this particular source of fighting personnel to succour other localities. 

One of the inconveniences that you are a prey to in war is that, 
when you elaborate your appreciation of the military situation as 
a prelude to framing your plan, the enemy is in all probability 
elaborating an appreciation likewise. The very same points as 
may be striking you are probably striking him. As a result of 
your appreciation you decide that your proper course will be to 
do some particular thing, and as a result of his appreciation your 
opponent comes to the conclusion that that particular thing 
is just what you most likely will do. Your intentions are divined, 
not because your antagonist is a thought-reader, nor a wizard, 
nor because his intelligence department gains certain illuminating 
clues from the preliminary dispositions that you may happen to 
be making, but simply because you, both of you, read the situation 
in the same way. This is illustrated by the disposition of the 
Ottoman forces when Sir I. Hamilton attacked. 

It is quite true that the Allies enjoyed in this case the great 
advantage of possessing the initiative. Not only were the Osmanlis 
unable to foresee for certain — whatever they may have expected — 
where the blow would fall, but the liberty of action which sea 
power confers in a case like this necessarily permitted Sir I. 
Hamilton to conceal to the last moment the point or points where 
he meant to strike. But, for reasons to be discussed later, the 
Gallipoli Peninsula was the obvious preliminary objective of the 
Allied army, and that it was the obvious preliminary objective 
was apparent to both sides. The consequence was that the Turks 
and their German advisers saw to it that the bulk of the forces at 
their disposal for the immediate defence of the Dardanelles were 



YUKYERI BAY 43 

gathered on the peninsula, and were content that relatively inferior 
forces should be left to guard the Asiatic shores of the Straits and 
the approaches to these. 

As has been indicated above, Yukyeri Bay offered in 
itself an attractive landing-place. It is not suggested that 
a plan of operations based on disembarking the whole, or the 
bulk, of the Allied forces there would have been the right one to 
adopt ; but there is reason to believe that if that plan had been 
adopted the assailants would in the first instance have met with 
less opposition than they encountered at Cape Helles and at 
Anzac. It is not unlikely indeed that the landing troops would, 
within the first few hours and before the Turks could hurry large 
forces to the spot, have gained possession of a much more extensive 
tract of country than in the event they ever did on the Gallipoli 
Peninsula. Even assuming that the Expeditionary Force was in due 
course brought to an absolute standstill long before getting within 
striking distance of the Narrows, just as it actually was brought 
to a standstill near the water's edge on the peninsula, it might 
nevertheless have penetrated sufiiciently far inland in the mean- 
time to have rendered its landing-place — its advanced base — 
immune from hostile shell fire. And that was a consummation that 
was never in actual practice achieved on the European side of the 
Hellespont. On the other hand, the army might have been suc- 
cessfully dumped down in that region several miles south of Kum 
Kale, and might have been quite comfortable in so far as its piers 
and its beaches were concerned, and would still have been a long 
way from achieving the object that it had come for. 

The Gallipoli Peninsula the obvious military objective. — So long 
as the question of the actual disposition of the defending army is 
left out of consideration, it in reality hardly admits of argument 
that the Gallipoli Peninsula was the proper military objective 
of the Expeditionary Force as a preliminary to securing control 
over the Dardanelles. As had been obvious before any measures 
for gaining possession of the Straits were taken, and as was con- 
clusively proved during the abortive naval operations of March, 
1915, the Narrows were the key of the Hellespont. The task to 
be accomplished was to get Allied troops, in adequate strength 
and accompanied by sufficient artillery, into such a position that 
the Turks would have to abandon the works of various kinds that 



44 THE DARDANELLES 

rendered the passage of ships through the Narrows impracticable. 
Now, as it happens, these Narrows are dominated to a very remark- 
able extent by the Pasha Dagh plateau, the big buttress jutting 
out on the European side and creating the kink at the point where 
the channel is most contracted. 400 to 600 feet above sea-level 
this prominent topographical feature looks down upon the Asiatic 
side of the Straits and the coast batteries defending the Narrows 
from that shore, and howitzers planted upon it by an invading force, 
favoured as they would be by ideal observation facilities, could 
drop their projectiles on any one of them. Whether the occupation 
of this coign of vantage by the Allies would necessarily have 
made an end of the enemy's defences above and below Chanak 
for all practical purposes, remains a matter of conjecture. The 
question never came to be put to the test. But it is a justifiable 
assumption that something of the kind would have resulted from 
an occupation of the Pasha Dagh by the attacking force, and such 
occupation would in any case have given Sir I. Hamilton posses- 
sion of all the most important batteries on the European side of 
the water. 

It must, however, always be borne in mind that the importance 
of the Pasha Dagh plateau was just as apparent to the defenders 
as it was to the assailants. The Turks were bound to have taken 
reasonably effective steps to secure a position of such manifest 
moment. They had hastily thrown up entrenchments protecting 
the plateau on its inner side at the time of the Balkan War, when 
there had been some talk of conjunct military and naval operations 
on the part of the Bulgars and Greeks directed against the Dar- 
danelles. Just as the Gallipoli Peninsula regarded as a whole 
could be set down as the obvious general objective for the attack- 
ing side, so also could this prominent high ground be set down as 
its obvious special objective. Even had the operations for gaining 
command over the Hellespont been conducted on sound lines 
from the outset, i.e. had they taken the form of a surprise military 
attack by a sufficient force, without a naval lever de rideau that was 
warranted to give full warning to the opposing side, it is reasonably 
certain that the Ottoman chiefs would have had sufficient troops 
assembled on the Pasha Dagh to make its capture a task of no 
light order. 

But the fact that this plateau dominated the Narrows was not 



GALLIPOLI PENINSULA AS OBJECTIVE 45 

the sole reason why operations directed against the Gallipoli 
Peninsula seemed to offer the brightest prospect of acquiring 
control over the coveted waterway. Initiating the land campaign 
in this confined tract offered the further inducement that, sup- 
posing the whole of the tract were to be made good by the invaders, 
its subsequent retention would only demand the presence of a 
relatively insignificant garrison. A few thousand troops would 
be ample to man the Bulair lines, and the main body of the army 
could then undertake the accomplishment of the rest of the pro- 
gramme in respect to Constantinople and the Bosphorus which 
was the dream of those who had committed the Allies to the gamble, 
or could even be transferred to some entirely different theatre of 
war should such a course be deemed expedient. Then again, the 
fact that extensive stretches of convenient beach were to be found 
immediately north of Gaba Tepe, provided an opening for a line 
of attack which, if at all successful, must threaten the communica- 
tions of any defending troops that might be stationed about the 
toe of the peninsula. These same beaches were, moreover, little 
more than six miles from the Pasha Dagh heights, the capture of 
which promised such very far-reaching results, and, as transport 
was scarce and would in any case take a long time to land, proximity 
to the immediate objective was in reality of vital importance. 
This difficulty in respect to transport indeed, furnished another 
powerful argument in favour of delivering the attack upon the 
Gallipoli Peninsula, which promised operations in a restricted area, 
where it would be possible to execute effective combinations of war 
within short distance of the advanced base of the army carrying 
them out. 

The disadvantages of selecting the Gallipoli Peninsula as objective. 
— On the other hand, some incontrovertible arguments could be 
adduced against making the peninsula the preliminary goal of 
endeavour. The weightiest objection to adopting such a plan of 
operations has indeed been mentioned already — the advantages 
which such a mode of procedure promised to the attacking side 
were so unmistakable that the Turks could be depended upon 
to have taken steps to meet an eventuality so inconvenient. The 
possible landing places furthermore were few, so few that the 
defending army could probably afford detachments to guard most 
of them. Consequently a military force that proposed to effect a 



46 THE DARDANELLES 

descent upon this region must reckon upon meeting with a certain 
amount of opposition during actual disembarkation ; and the perils 
and difficulties of disembarking troops in face of opposition were 
fully recognised even before the operation came to be tried — 
practically for the first time under modern conditions — on the 
25th of April, 1915, It must be added that in the situation that 
presented itself when Sir I. Hamilton was called upon to solve the 
problem of how to compass the conquest of the Hellespont with 
a land force, the drawbacks to his delivering his attack upon the 
Gallipoli Peninsula indicated above were rendered all the graver by 
the ample warning which his antagonists had received that some- 
thing of the kind was brewing. 

Sir I. Hamilton's decision to attack the peninsula. — As a result 
of his survey of the coast-line on arrival, and after satisfying him- 
self that the naval operations were brought to a standstill, Sir 
I. Hamilton decided that the correct plan of operations would be 
to land his army on the peninsula. There had indeed been an 
understanding between Lord Kitchener and himself before he left 
home that this course would be the best one to adopt should his 
troops be called upon to play a prominent part in securing the 
Dardanelles, although when he left England influential quarters 
clung to the hope that the fleet would force the passage practically 
unaided. In his instructions occurs the passage : " Before any 
serious undertaking is carried out in the Gallipoli Peninsula, all 
the British military forces detailed for the expedition should be 
assembled, so that their full weight can be thrown in." It may, 
moreover, be recalled that when the War Council initiated the 
venture on the 13th of January, their decision was that the 
Admiralty were to prepare an expedition, " to bombard and take 
the Gallipoli Peninsula, with Constantinople as its objective." 
Launching a naval expedition to take a strongly fortified strip of 
territory 45 miles long, 12 miles wide at many points and furnished 
with a considerable garrison, would hardly be the type of war 
policy to arouse enthusiasm in the mind of the average intelligent 
soldier ; but we must acknowledge that even in those early days 
of emotional strategy the War Council appear to have recognised 
the importance of the peninsula, and to have realised in a vague 
sort of way that its occupation was desirable. Sir I. Hamilton 
was in fact scarcely a free agent when making up his mind. It is 



THE PROBLEM OF THE PENINSULA 47 

not suggested for a moment that the decision was not absolutely 
the right one — the writer's view is that it was. But it is for the 
reader to form his own conclusions as to what would have been 
the best solution of a by no means easy problem. 

As we have seen in Chapter III, it was found necessary to 
reorganise and to rearrange the Expeditionary Force before any 
landing on Turkish shores with the whole of the available troops 
would be practicable. The delays which this involved enabled the 
Commander-in-Chief to study the problem still further, and with 
the assistance of fresh reconnaissances carried out during the 
interval. These reconnaissances served to indicate that the enemy 
was making determined efforts to develop the defences of the 
peninsula, intelligence derived from various sources pointed in the 
direction of considerable reinforcements reaching the garrisons 
around the Dardanelles, and it was ascertained that there were 
considerable gatherings of enemy troops about Bulair. Sir I, 
Hamilton, however, never wavered in the decision at which he had 
arrived at the beginning. 

The strategical and tactical problem presented by the peninsula. — 
But the question at issue was not merely whether the army was, 
or was not, to land on the peninsula. After this point had been 
decided in the afi&rmative the problem still had to be solved as to 
how this operation should be effected in such a manner as to secure 
a footing, and such a manner as to secure that footing at a point, 
or points, from which the troops on getting ashore would stand 
the best chance of attaining their real objective, the domination 
of the Narrows. The most cursory examination of the subject 
would serve to show that several different possible courses of action 
presented themselves, and that for more than one of them there 
was much to be said. 

It should be noted that Sir Ian Hamilton had been furnished 
with information as to the various possible landing points, which 
turned out upon the whole to be remarkably accurate, although 
at the outset details as to Suvla Bay were defective. Fairlv correct 
information as to the interior of the peninsula had also been placed 
at his disposal. But, in the absence of regular surveys, the maps 
supplied to the Expeditionary Force were necessarilv untrust- 
worthy in respect to ground not actually visible from the sea ; 
and uncomfortable doubts existed on the very important question 



48 THE DARDANELLES 

of water supply in a region where it could safely be assumed that 
the few insignificant rivulets that existed were liable to dry up 
altogether at certain seasons of the year. Quite apart from the 
uncertainty that necessarily prevailed as to the disposition and 
strength of the Turkish forces to be overcome, the undertaking 
of an attack upon the peninsula in fact partook to some extent 
of a leap in the dark, seeing that thoroughly reliable details con- 
cerning the prospective theatre of operations were not in the hands 
of the directing staff. 

The question of possible points of disembarkation was so vital 
a one in any consideration of the problem of the Gallipoli Peninsula 
that it will be convenient to indicate here where these points 
actually were situated. But there is no need to discuss 
landing-places actually within the Straits except in the immediate 
vicinity of Cape Helles. So long as the Asiatic shore of the 
Dardanelles remained in Ottoman hands, the Allies were bound 
to effect their disembarkation on the outer side of the peninsula, 
or at its extremity. We have then to consider its coast-line from 
the Isthmus of Bulair to the neighbourhood of its southern end. 

On the Isthmus of Bulair itself there was a well-sheltered little 
bay, Bakla Liman, where a landing in some force might have been 
effected had there been no fear of opposition. But this bay lay 
outside the Bulair lines, was under fire from them, and its selection 
would have meant that the disembarking troops must storm this 
extremely formidable position before they could do anything to- 
wards occupying the peninsula. Strategical and tactical considera- 
tions practically vetoed its use, although landing operations could 
have been carried on at this point on many days when they would 
have been impracticable at almost any other locality outside the 
Straits. ^ Between this point and Cape Suvla, a distance of some 
thirty-five miles, there is no place adapted for a military landing 
except the little bight of Ejelmar, by no means an unfavourable 
point in itself for putting troops on shore as there is good shelter 
and a convenient stretch of beach ; but Ejelmar Bay is too 
restricted to admit of any considerable force being disembarked 
within it. As already indicated, details with regard to landing 
facihties within Suvla Bay were somewhat wanting when Sir 
I, Hamilton was forming his plans ; it was obvious, however, that 
1 See Appendix IV, 2, as to Marshal Liman von Sanders' views. 



AVAILABLE BEACHES 49 

the bay provided better shelter than did the open coast-line further 
south. Actually, there existed suitable beaches on both sides of 
the bay which were turned to account at a later date. 

South of this, and extending for a distance of some six miles 
to the promontory of Gaba Tepe, were stretches of beach that were 
fairly favourable for landings at most points, the littoral here 
admitting of an army disembarking on a very broad front. Vessels 
of considerable draft could approach within a few cables' length 
of the shore, and the number of infantrymen that might have been 
disembarked, on a fine day within a given time, on this strip of the 
coast-line reduced itself in reality to the strength of men available 
for putting on shore and to the capacity in boats that could be 
placed at their disposal. Following the coast from Gaba Tepe 
on towards the toe of the peninsula, no very suitable localities 
ofEered themselves until within about two miles of Cape Tekke.^ 
On either side of this there were favourable beaches, known after- 
wards as Gully Beach, Beach X and Beach W, the latter a really 
good landing-place. Between Cape Helles and Sedd-el-Bahr there 
was another convenient beach, which came to be known later as 
Beach V. Finally, on the eastern side of Morto Bay near De Tott's 
Battery and within the Straits, there was a well-sheltered beach, 
afterwards known as Beach S. The beaches about Capes Tekke 
and Helles and Morto Bay in reality formed a group, none was 
sufficiently extensive in itself to admit of a large force being 
disembarked at one time, and they were separated from each other 
by appreciable intervals of virtually impracticable coast-line. 

We may dismiss Bakla Liman from consideration, owing to its 
being on the wrong side of the Bulair lines. Ejelmar Bay is 
isolated, and its distance from the Narrows, fully fifteen miles, 
rendered it so unfavourable a landing-place from the strategical 
point of view that it is hardly likely that Sir I. Hamilton will 
have given it much attention, in spite of its technical advantages. 
For practical purposes therefore, the problem of the peninsula, 
in so far as points of disembarkation were concerned, resolved itself 
into making a selection between three localities — Suvla Bay, the 
beaches north of Gaba Tepe, and the beaches about Capes Tekke 
and Helles and Morto Bay. Suvla Bay promised fair shelter ; 
but some doubts existed, as we have seen, as to landing-places, 

1 See Map I, p. 62. 



50 THE DARDANELLES 

the ground about the Salt Lake was known to be marshy at least 
in the winter months, and the* bay is a good dozen miles from 
the Narrows in any case. Moreover, a disembarkation there meant 
starting operations in a basin of considerable extent dominated by 
hills — tactical conditions that would not favour a force desirous 
of making good a large tract of country rapidly, in case of the 
enemy proving to be in strength and ready for all emergencies. 

The shore line stretching north from Gaba Tepe, however, stood 
on a difEerent footing altogether. Its vicinity to the Pasha Dagh 
heights dominating the Narrows has already been referred to. 
The extensive beaches that offered themselves here, even if they 
only represented narrow strips of sand overlooked at practically 
all points by rising ground, provided some of those very conditions 
which will especially commend themselves to a military commander 
who finds himself committed to undertaking a landing in force in 
hostile territory. But Sir I. Hamilton was evidently unaware 
when originally forming his plans of the length of practicable 
landing ground that was available in this locality, for he mentions 
in his despatch describing the opening events of the land opera- 
tions, that " further to the north of that promontory " (Gaba 
Tepe) " the beach was supposed to be dangerous and difficult." 
This stretch of coast is, moreover, quite exposed, and at no point 
does it ofier any facilities for the construction of a sheltered landing- 
place where stores could always be discharged in ordinary weather. 
A disembarkation here would, moreover, almost inevitably neces- 
sitate the conquest of the rugged Sari Bair mountain mass, before 
the army could hope to advance undisturbed by flank attacks 
towards the Narrows. Still, reckoning up advantages and dis- 
advantages, and fortified by the knowledge that we possess to-day, 
there was much to recommend the selection of this point for a 
landing in the strongest possible force. 

The merits of the toe of the peninsula — it will be convenient to 
designate it henceforward by the name that was adopted, Helles — 
as locality of disembarkation, may be summarised as follows : All 
the beaches along the stretch of littoral inside of Cape Tekke 
towards the Straits were well protected against the prevailing 
north-east wind, a matter of great importance in the interests of 
establishing a permanent landing-place and base. The seizure of 
the extreme end of the peninsula was calculated to aid naval 



SIR I. HAMILTON'S PLAN 51 

operations within the Dardanelles to some extent. The peninsula 
is so narrow at its extremity that an army which has made good 
near its end is automatically secured by the sea on either hand 
against hostile outflanking efforts. Moreover, the troops as they 
advanced would be able to count on naval assistance on either 
flank, although owing to the lie of the ground this was not likely 
to be very effective . These unquestionably were advantages not to 
be ignored. But there were, on the other hand, some serious dis- 
advantages to Helles as a starting-point for the conquest of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula. The available beaches, for instance, were of 
limited extent, they were well defined, and they were sure to be 
closely guarded and to be adequately defended. Landing here 
was to be deprecated in that it involved a direct advance in face 
of the enemy, whereas troops setting foot on shore north of Gaba 
Tepe, or in Suvla Bay, or even at Ejelmar Bay or Bakla Liman 
necessarily threatened the communications of any Turks that 
might be stationed about the Narrows and at Helles. The distance 
from the Helles landing-places to the Narrows was quite double 
the distance from near Gaba Tepe. There was also this 
further unquestionable drawback : Some of the beaches, and a 
good deal of the ground all about the toe of the peninsula, were 
within easy artillery range from across the Straits ; and experience 
within the Dardanelles had already proved that warships find it 
very difficult to cope with mobile shore guns emplaccd behind 
rising ground, so that the army could not reckon confidently 
upon the sister service relieving it of what was almost certain to 
prove a serious nuisance. 

Sir Ian Hamilton's plan. — Having anxiously weighed the advan- 
tages and disadvantages offered by the various landing-places, 
the Commander-in-Chief decided upon undertaking two main 
landings, one at Helles and the other north of Gaba Tepe, the 
former, however, to be supplemented by a descent near Kum Kale 
on the opposite side of the Straits. The force to land at Helles 
was to be made up of the 29th Division, with some additional troops. 
The Australian and New Zealand army corps under Sir W. Bird- 
wood was to disembark north of Gaba Tepe. A contingent of 
French were to deliver the attack on Kum Kale. Part of the Royal 
Naval Division was also to make a demonstration in the north. 
Sir I. Hamilton attached the utmost importance to getting the 



52 THE DARDANELLES 

largest possible force on shore at once, and it seems to have been 
largely on this account that he determined to make use of so 
many landing-places while fully realising the strategical and 
tactical objections attached to such a procedure. 

" The beaches," he wrote in his first despatch, " were either so 
well defended by works and guns or else so restricted by nature 
that it did not seem possible, even by two or three simultaneous 
landings, to pass the troops ashore quickly enough to maintain 
themselves against the rapid concentration and counter-attack 
which the enemy was bound in such case to attempt. It became 
necessary, therefore, not only to land simultaneously at as many 
points as possible, but to threaten to land at other points as well. 
The first of these necessities involved another unavoidable if 
awkward contingency, the separation by considerable intervals of 
the force." It will be convenient to defer comment upon this 
question of numerous landings until the story of the 25th of April, 
and of the subsequent consolidation, has been told in the next 
two chapters. It may, however, be observed here that, as Helles 
is about fifteen miles by road from the beaches north of Gaba Tepe, 
the attacks upon these two localities constituted two entirely 
distinct operations, alike from the side of the assailant and of the 
defender. It would have taken many hours for the Turks to have 
disengaged their troops from the defence of either locality and 
to have transferred them to the other. 

The expeditionary army had been gathering in Mudros harbour 
since the early days of April, after the troops had been reorganised 
and reallotted to their transports at Alexandria. All was ready 
by the 20th, but for a day or two the weather remained unpro- 
pitious and aSorded a warning of the difficulties which the elements 
were likely to cause the Allies, even if they succeeded in gaining 
a footing on the Gallipoli Peninsula. By the 23rd, however, the 
conditions had improved, and on the evening of that day the 
covering troops of the 29th Division put to sea from Lemnos and 
proceeded to the Tenedos anchorage, where on the afternoon of 
the morrow the troops transhipped into the war vessels and mine- 
sweepers which had been detailed to convey them over to Helles. 
The Australians and New Zealanders steamed out from Mudros 
harbour late on the 24th, proceeding direct towards their appointed 
landing-place. The commander of an army undertaking a mari- 



PROBLEM OF AN OPPOSED LANDING 53 

time descent on hostile territory holds a valuable card in his hand 
in that he can generally, with naval assistance, deceive his opponent 
as to the true point of danger by means of false attacks. This 
principle was not overlooked. A pretence of effecting a landing was 
carried into effect near Enos on the 23rd, which seems to have 
misled the Turks, for they announced a notable success at this 
point, claiming to have beaten ofT a formidable onset ; and the 
Royal Naval Division made a demonstration in the Gulf of 
Saros and against Bulair on the 25th. The venture was thus 
fairly launched, and it may therefore not be out of place at 
this point to discuss whether under all the circumstances of the 
sase it ought to have been proceeded with, in view of the elaborate 
preparations which reconnaissances had indicated to be in existence 
for repelling an attack. 

The tactical problem that arises in the case of a military landing 
in face of opposition. — It must be remembered that the Allies were 
embarking upon a tactical enterprise for which there was practically 
no precedent in modern war. Not since Abercrombie got his army 
ashore at Aboukir Bay, in the days of muskets and of smooth-bore 
cannon, had a military force landed on an enemy's beaches in face 
of determined opposition. It is true that in the autumn of 1911 
the Italians had succeeded in disembarking a division at Benghazi 
in spite of some resistance by a motley force of Turks and tribes- 
men ; but, although the operation had been skilfully carried out 
by the attacking side and reflected great credit on all concerned, 
the defenders had consisted of a somewhat tumultuary array, 
destitute of artillery or machine-guns, which, moreover, had not 
made the most of its opportunities. But although, owing to the 
absence of practical illustrations in actual war, military experts 
depended almost entirely upon theory when examining the tactical 
problem of an opposed landing, certain factors influencing that 
problem were fairly patent to those soldiers who had considered 
the subject. 

The progress that has taken place in respect to armament during 
some decades past was generally acknowledged to favour the 
defending rather than the attacking side in an affair of this kind. 
Troops must land in boats, and boats must always offer admirable 
targets to artillery and to riflemen. At Aboukir Bay our infantry 
only came under musketry when within a very few score yards of the 



54 THE DARDANELLES 

beach, they were exposed to no machine-guns riddling them with 
a pitiless hail of lead, and the guns in those days only discharged 
cannon balls or else shell of the most elementary type. Under 
the conditions that prevail to-day, a military force proposing to 
disembark in defiance of serious opposition has to be prepared for 
a tempest of shrapnel and high explosive projectiles when still 
quite a long way out to sea. Machine-guns will worry it when a 
mile or more from shore. Rifle fire is likely to prove murderous 
when the boats have still hundreds of yards before them ere they 
can hope to touch bottom. There is considerable risk indeed, 
supposing the arrangements of the defenders to be skilfully devised 
and their appliances to be formidable in character, that the troops 
will for all practical purposes have ceased to exist before the few 
stricken remnants reach the land and are able to set foot on shore. 
It may be urged, no doubt, that progress in science has aided 
assailants as well as defenders in an affray of this nature, and that 
is perfectly true. Steam and internal-combustion engines admit 
nowadays of strings of boats being towed to near the shore by 
launches of various kinds, and the leading troops can thus traverse 
the bullet-swept water area that has to be passed, more rapidly 
than was feasible in an era when it was a case of rowing the crowded 
craft the whole way from the transports to the selected landing- 
place. Ordnance and machine-guns aboard of fighting ships are, 
moreover, incomparably more effective in these times than they 
were when Abercrombie performed his renowned feat of arms, 
and they can consequently afford far more valuable support to the 
disembarking force than was formerly the case. Those are factors 
favouring the attacking side. But boats towed in batches afford 
a much better target to the defenders than do boats that are pro- 
ceeding independently, and this to some extent neutralises the 
advantages conferred by self-propelled launches. Granted that 
warships of the present day are furnished with a terribly destructive 
armament, the fact remains that the conditions render it difficult 
for ship's gunners to maintain that unerring, that well-sustained 
and that intensive fire that is indispensable if good defending 
troops are to be seriously disconcerted, and are to be kept discon- 
certed up to the moment when the assaulting infantry are wading 
ashore to make their rush. A landing in face of the enemy has 
always been held to be a perilous operation of war, and even before 



BISK IF BAD WEATHER SETS IN 55 

the immortal exploits of the 25th of April, 1915, it was generally 
recognised that under the conditions of to-day an enterprise of this 
kind stood for almost the most desperate imdertaking that a 
soldiery can reasonably be called upon to attempt. 

There is another point which must not be overlooked in this 
connection. The fact of the landing actually being opposed almost 
necessarily aggravates the anxieties, which are inseparable from a 
maritime descent at a point where there is no harbour, for this 
reason. There is always for practical purposes the danger that 
the weather may change for the worse after the expeditionary 
force is committed, that the sea may get up, and that communica- 
tion between the shore and the transports may consequently be 
interrupted or may even be wholly cut ofi. This actually 
occurred to a British force that was landed at Ostend in 1798, 
with the sequel that the troops who had disembarked were com- 
pelled to surrender. It is not merely a question of getting the 
combatant troops to land, but also of disembarking supplies and 
impedimenta of various kinds, and this inevitably takes time. 
It was owing to the failure to land food and artillery before the 
weather broke, that Charles Vs army came to such woeful grief 
in his attempt against Algiers in 1541. Now, if the landing be 
opposed, this in itself almost inevitably means delay. It means 
that the landing troops are harassed by the presence of wounded, 
and that there is less likelihood of their consolidating their position 
within a comparatively short space of time ; so that, if atmospheric 
disturbance supervenes after a start has been made, those portions 
of the anny which have gained a footing in the enemy's country 
may not be in a position to hold their own until the weather 
moderates. Sir I. Hamilton's attack upon the Gallipoli Peninsula 
was deferred till so late in the year that he could fairly count upon 
favourable climatic conditions ; but, had the venture been launched 
in the latter part of March, immediately after failure of the fleet 
imposed definite action upon the army that was gradually 
assembling, the risk of a sudden change of weather would have 
appreciably augmented the perils of an enterprise which was 
hazardous enough in any case. 

It ought to be noted in conclusion that one impediment, which 
troops disembarking in face of the enemy on most littorals have 
to overcome, does not confront an army which is undertaking this 



56 THE DAKDANELLES 

particular class of operation in the Mediterranean. There is 
practically no tide in that great land-locked sea, a circumstance 
which no doubt favoured Abercrombie in Aboukir Bay and also 
the Italians at Benghazi. Rise and fall of tide is apt to add appre- 
ciably to the difficulties of an opposed landing, which will almost 
necessarily be taking place on some beach. In the first place, it 
is usual for the sea to shoal some distance out from a beach, so 
that boats will often be unable to get close to land in tidal waters 
except about the time of flood ; this limits the number of hours 
available for carrying out what is in any case certain to be a 
critical operation. In the second place, ebb and flow may give rise 
to an untoward situation should the troops fail to make good their 
footing after reaching land. Talmash's signal discomfiture at 
Brest in 1694 w^ould have proved less disastrous than it was, had 
the tide not fallen while his men were battling desperately on 
shore and left the boats high and dry when the stricken force was 
hustled back to the water's edge. 

Ought the land campaign to have been abandoned at the last 
moment ? — The risks attending a disembarkation in face of the 
enemy were well known. It had been ascertained by reconnais- 
sance that the Turks were prepared. The army detailed for the 
purpose of conquering the Gallipoli Peninsula was manifestly none 
too large for so critical an undertaking. Reserves ready to fill 
up the gaps that were bound to occur in the ranks during the 
combats in prospect, were not available close at hand — it will be 
seen later what an unfortunate influence this circumstance exerted 
over the operations. The course of the campaign in France and 
Flanders had already made manifest the difficulties in the way of 
compelling a foe to abandon well-entrenched positions under the 
tactical conditions of to-day. It has been hinted in some quarters 
that, after reviewing the situation as a whole on the spot and after 
seeing for himself the localities where his troops would have to 
fight their way ashore. Sir I. Hamilton ought to have informed 
the British Government that the enterprise was too hazardous 
and too unpromising a one to be proceeded with. 

But the instructions which had been sent to him by Lord 
Kitchener in reply to a telegram of his of the 19th March, in which 
he had announced that his army would have to undertake deliberate 
and progressive operations in order to open the Dardanelles for 



SIR I. HAMILTON'S INSTRUCTIONS 57 

the fleet, were explicit. " You know my views that the passage 
of the Dardanelles must be forced, and that if large military 
operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula are necessary to clear the 
way, those operations must be undertaken after careful considera- 
tion of the local defences, and must be carried through." It would 
have been difficult to raise objections at the last moment in face 
of instructions of this uncompromising character, even had the 
Commander-in-Chief come to the conclusion that the venture ought 
properly to be abandoned. It is easy for critics to say now — after 
the event — that this would have been the proper course to adopt. 
A soldier must be very sure indeed of his ground before he 
can be justified in taking up an attitude that will completely upset 
the plans that his Government have commissioned him to carry 
out in time of war. 



CHAPTER V 

THE LANDING 

The opening scene of the enterprise favoured by good weather. — 

The Allies enjoyed good fortune in respect to weather on the night 
of the 24th-25th, and also on the morrow. The sea was smooth, 
the temperature was equable and the atmosphere was fairly clear. 
There was also moonhght lasting nearly till dawn. Such conditions 
were a matter of considerable importance to Sir I. Hamilton's 
army, seeing that the troops had to be transhipped by night from 
warships and transports and mine-sweepers into the boats that 
were to convey them to the shore. Calm water also necessarily 
facilitated operations when the boats came to discharge their 
living freight on the beaches that had been chosen for the purpose. 
It has already been pointed out that there is little tide in the 
Mediterranean. On the other hand, there were awkward currents 
about Helles caused by the outflow of water from the Dardanelles, 
close by ; these as it turned out gave rise to a good deal of incon- 
venience, and, had the sea been rough, they might have added very 
greatly to the terrible difficulties that the troops had to overcome 
even as it was. 

The general plan of attack. — As has been already indicated in 
the last chapter, the Commander-in-Chief had determined on dis- 
embarking part of his force north of Gaba Tepe, another portion 
about Helles, and some French troops on the Asiatic shore at the 
mouth of the Straits, besides making a feint on an important 
scale in the Gulf of Saros. Although all three landings were to take 
place nearly simultaneously, the operations were kept distinct 
from the maritime point of view. Rear-Admiral Thursby was in 
charge of the Australasian force. Rear- Admiral Wemyss officiated 
at Helles, and the French squadron was responsible for putting 
the French troops ashore. The underlying idea was to get as great 

S8 



THE TURKISH DISPOSITIONS 59 

a number of soldiers as possible disembarked, partly on the western 
shore of the peninsula and partly at its extremity, to accomplish 
this with the utmost possible celerity, and by means of a temporary 
descent at Kum Kale to prevent the enemy from unduly hampering 
the operations at Helles by gun-fire across the Straits. The design 
was concealed from the enemy as far as possible by delivery 
of the feint against the northern coast of the Gulf of Saros and 
Bulair, and by warships demonstrating in the direction of Besika 
Bay on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles. The threat in the 
direction of Bulair and about the Gulf of Saros undoubtedly 
served to cause the commander of the Turkish forces a good deal 
of anxiety. 

The landing at Helles will be dealt with first. But before recount- 
ing the details of that memorable exploit of war it will be con- 
venient to give some information as to the distribution of the enemy 
forces at this time, in so far as this is known, and to record some of 
the arrangements that had been made on the side of the defenders 
to meet the impending invasion of the Sultan's territory. 

Turkish preparations and the distribution of the defending forces. 
— On the 25th of March, a week after the repulse of the great naval 
attack upon the Narrows of the 18th, Marshal Liman von Sanders, 
a German officer, was nominated by the Turkish Government to 
command the military forces charged with the defence of the 
Dardanelles. The marshal lost no time in proceeding to the 
Gallipoli Peninsula to take charge, and began at once with the assist- 
ance of his stafi to grapple with the problem of preparing against 
the expected military attack. Especial attention was paid to the 
all-important task of developing the somewhat backward road- 
communications within the peninsula, as also on the Asiatic side. 
Entrenchments were thrown up at likely landing-places, wire 
entanglements were elaborated, gun-emplacements were excavated, 
electric communications were developed in so far as this was practic- 
able with available resources, bridges were constructed, ammunition 
and supply depots were established at convenient localities, and an 
adequate hospital establishment was organised. To facilitate com- 
munication from shore to shore across the Narrows a pier was run 
out at Nagara Point. Thanks to the generous military working 
parties that were at disposal of the high command — the Turkish 
soldier makes a capital labourer — quite remarkable progress appears 



60 THE DARDANELLES 

to have been made with these works during the closing days of 
March and during the first three weeks of April. As a consequence, 
the inevitable difficulties attending a maritime descent followed by 
an advance of the landing troops, was vastly increased just during 
that very period when Sir I. Hamilton was engaged in transforming 
an expeditionary force, that had been detailed and despatched at 
haphazard with no definite operation in view, into an army 
organised to undertake a determinate operation of war of inordinate 
complexity. 

The marshal's troops consisted of the 5th Turkish Army, with 
some additional units, and the distribution of these forces on the 
day before the landing, appear to have been approximately as 
follows : About Helles was the 9th Division, w^ile another division 
was watching the west coast of the peninsula by Gaba Tepe and 
to the north. The 19th Division was in reserve about Boghali and 
Maidos (see Map V on p. 168). The 7th Division lay near Gallipoli, 
and the 5th Division was guarding the Isthmus of Bulair, thus 
making a total of five divisions defending the peninsula and isthmus. 
Near the mouth of the Straits on the Asiatic side was the 3rd 
Division in the direction of Kum Kale and Yeni Shehr, while 
the 11th Division in reserve watched Besika Bay, these two 
being under command of a German ojficer. General Weber. 
Limau von Sanders' principal subordinate, however, was Essad 
Pasha, a distinguished Ottoman commander who had held the 
fortress of Yanina against the Greeks during the Balkan campaign 
of 1912-13. 

Marshal Liman von Sanders' first dispositions. — In addition to 
the special feints on the European side to which reference has been 
made on page 53, the enemy was perplexed by having been con- 
stantly annoyed around the Gulf of Saros during the preceding weeks 
owing to the action of British and French warships. The results 
of this were made apparent by the anxiety which Marshal Liman 
von Sanders displayed with regard to the possibility of a landing 
near Bulair. Immediately on receiving news in his headquarters 
in Gallipoli early in the morning on the 25th that an armada had 
appeared in the Gulf of Saros, the Commander-in-Chief of the 
Ottoman forces hurried to the hill Ghazi Tepe, a little in rear of 
the Bulair fines, and he remained there for the next two days, 
using the telephone system of a neighbouring fort belonging to 



DISPOSITIONS FOR THE HELLES LANDINGS 61 

the lines for transmitting messages. It is claimed that he obtained 
a wide outlook over the gulf and the entire peninsula from this 
eminence, but, although it does overlook the gulf as well as the 
isthmus, much higher hills shut out a view over the peninsula — as 
will be seen from Map VII. 

The marshal heard speedily of the landing near Gaba Tepe, a 
little later came news of landings about Helles, and he thereupon 
decided to give the command of the southern half of the peninsula 
to Essad Pasha, who at once proceeded by launch to Maidos. In 
the meantime the 7th Division had been assembled close to Gallipoli 
ready to be sent in any direction. It was kept there all day, — this, 
although the 5th Division was guarding the isthmus, and although 
the lines of Bulair could be trusted to delay any attack that could 
have been made, supposing that a disembarkation had been effected 
at the landing-place of Bakla Liman. It is a good illustration of 
the difficulties that beset the commander of a force which is charged 
with the duty of beating ofE hostile descents that may fall at various 
points along a considerable stretch of coast-line. Having given 
these details with regard to the dispositions of the enemy the 
narrative of the landings can be proceeded with. 

The distribution of the attacking force at Helles. — The plan of 
operations for securing a footing at the extremity of the peninsula 
was a somewhat elaborate one. Three main landings were to take 
place, and these were to be supplemented by a minor landing on 
either flank. The principal disembarkations were to be under- 
taken respectively at Beaches V, W, and X {vide Map I on 
page 62), all three of which were in themselves favourable places, 
apart from the opposition that might be offered. Comparatively 
gentle slopes rose from the actual beaches in the case of V and W, 
and promised facilities for moving impedimenta forward as soon 
as a footing had been made good. In the case of X, on the other 
hand, the ground abutting on the beach rose somewhat abruptly, 
giving it the character almost of a bluf! ; but this circumstance, 
coupled with the fact that the beach faced west, concealed the 
environs of the landing-place from Kum Kale and gave reason to 
hope that the disembarkation at this point would not be interfered 
with by hostile artillery on the Asiatic side. 

The minor landings were to take place at Beaches S and Y. 
S Beach was narrow and was obviously much exposed to fire from 



62 



THE HELLES AKEA 




THEHELLES 

AREA. '""'■"- 



MAP I. — THE HELLES AREA (WITH INSETS OF LEMNOS AND IMBROS) 



DISPOSITIONS FOR THE HELLES LANDINGS 63 

across the Dardanelles. Y Beach was situated at the foot of cliffs, 
was not for that reason adapted for the landing of troops other 
than infantry and mountain artillery, and was not the kind of 
spot that would naturally be selected to put troops ashore at. 
Sir I. Hamilton hoped by means of these two secondary operations 
to protect the flanks, to disseminate the forces of the enemy and 
to interrupt the arrival of hostile reinforcements. 

The Order of Battle of the 29th Division, commanded by General 
Hunter Weston, is given in Appendix 11. The brigade organisa- 
tion was, however, temporarily broken up in view of the number 
of different landing-places that the division was being committed 
to. The plan was that the Hampshires, the Royal Munster Fusiliers 
and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers should make Beach V their objec- 
tive. The Lancashire Fusihers were to make for the shore at Beach 
W. The Royal Fusiliers were allotted to Beach X. The South 
Wales' Borderers, a battalion which had fought alongside the 
Japanese at the taking of Tsingtau and which was the only one 
in the division that had already gained fighting experience during 
the course of the Great War, was told off to disembark at Beach S. 
The effort at Beach Y was entrusted to the King's Own Scottish 
Borderers and to the Plymouth Battalion of Marines belonging to 
the Royal Naval Division. The remaining five battalions of the 
29th Division were to land at W, V, or X as circumstances might 
direct after the attack was once fairly launched. The " Anson " 
battalion of the Royal Naval Division was distributed in detach- 
ments amongst the troops detailed for landing at V, W, and X 
Beaches. The naval side of the operations was under control of 
Rear- Admiral Wemyss. 

Owing to the fact that the disembarkation at Beach V (for 
which, as will be seen later, especially elaborate preparations had 
been made and which was looked upon as the most important 
landing of all) practically failed in the first Instance, it will be 
convenient to leave it to the last. The different attacks will be 
taken from left to right, beginning at Beach Y. 

The landing at Beach Y. — The King's Own Scottish Borderers 
had a comparatively easy task in gaining a footing on shore at 
Beach Y, for the enemy never anticipated that a lauding would 
be attempted at this point. Lofty cliffs rose abruptly from the 
foreshore, the declivity being so steep that some doubt existed 



64 THE DARDANELLES 

up to the last moment as to whether the troops would be able to 
scramble up or not, and it is not surprising that the Turks had 
taken no steps to defend such a spot. The troops were conveyed 
from the Tenedos anchorage to the vicinity of the beach in the 
cruisers Amethyst and Sapphire and in a couple of transports, 
supported by the battleship Goliath. There was only sufficient 
boat accommodation to provide for half a battalion at a time, so 
part of the Borderers led the way. They were unopposed, they 
landed without difficulty, and they had speedily breasted the 
almost precipitous slopes and established themselves at the top. 
The rest of the regiment followed on the next trip, and the Marines 
were brought ashore in a third one. The orders for the force were 
that after the whole was landed it should move along the top of 
the cliffs towards Cape Tekke, so as to join hands with the con- 
tingent that was disembarking on Beach X two miles off. 

But this project proved to be impracticable. The enemy, while 
wholly unprepared for a landing at Y Beach, had assembled a 
body of troops at the mouth of the Zighin Dere where a good point 
for disembarkation presented itself, afterwards known as " Gully 
Beach." The reserve regiment of the 9th Turkish Division also 
appears to have been drawn up near Krithia awaiting develop- 
ments. These hostile troops combined against the Borderers and 
Marines, and the consequence was that, before the little column 
had got fairly on the move, the enemy was gathering in great 
strength to overwhelm and destroy it, fire from Goliath and the 
cruisers proved of no avail,and although the two battalions promptly 
entrenched they were hard put to it to maintain themselves. The 
ground fell inland from the crest of the cliffs towards the Zighin 
Dere ; so that the watchers on the warships could not see the 
Turks and were thus debarred from lending effective assistance 
to their military comrades in distress. All day long this isolated 
British force was exposed to damaging artillery fire, and was called 
upon to withstand a succession of onsets delivered with unmistak- 
able resolution and pertinacity by antagonists very superior in 
numbers. The hostile attacks continued far into the night. By 
dawn on the 26th the position was getting desperate in view of 
the heavy losses that had been sustained and of the exhaustion 
of the soldiery. It had become plain that this unsupported detach- 
ment was in danger of total destruction if left where it was, so 



THE LANDING AT Y BEACH 65 

orders were sent for it to be withdrawn. The retirement proved 
to be less difficult than might have been supposed, for when the 
troops descended to the water's edge, covered by a small rear- 
guard, the gun-fire from the ships kept the Turks from crowning 
the crest of the cliffs and firing down on the beach. The retreating 
force was therefore able to embark almost unmolested, taking 
with it all its stores and its wounded, but much diminished in 
effectives. The work of the naval personnel both during the land- 
ing and also during the re-embarkation had been remarkably 
efficient, and all concerned had acquitted themselves with no little 
credit. 

Comments. — In so far as the question of landings in face of 
probable opposition is concerned, the most useful lesson taught 
by this isolated effort at Beach Y seems to be this : When, included 
within the general theatre of operations, there are many localities 
which from the topographical point of view favour disembarkation 
and which the enemy will in consequence presumably feel obliged 
to guard, it may always be worth while to reject them all and to 
try instead at some point which is not in itself by any means 
attractive as a landing-place. With the object of avoiding a fight 
at that critical moment when the boats are discharging the leading 
troops, it, in a word, may prove profitable to sacrifice what can be 
described as the technical facilities that a soldier looks for. It is 
true that the attempt to gain a definite footing on the Gallipoli 
Peninsula at Beach Y miscarried, but the fact remains that the 
Scottish Borderers and the Marines did make their way ashore 
easily enough. It seems likely, moreover, that if a considerably 
larger force of infantry had been allocated to this particular enter- 
prise the whole force would have disembarked quite comfortably, 
and that in that case its doings might have played a very prominent 
part in the operations of the 25th of April as a whole. When the 
attacks upon Beaches W and V come to be considered, it will be 
seen what a desperate venture a landing in defiance of determined 
resistance is under the tactical conditions of to-day. That class 
of undertaking is one to be avoided at almost any cost. 

What, after all, is the problem ? Can it not be summed up in 
the phrase that you have got to establish yourself ashore, some- 
how ? May not your best plan be to choose a spot where infantry 
alone can gain a footing — and that only with difficulty owing to 



66 THE DAEDANELLES 

clifPs and so forth — for the sake of disembarking unopposed ? 
Once safely on dry land, the foot soldiers may be able to work 
along the coast and be able to lay their hands on some spot where 
troops of all arms can disembark, thus securing a landing-place 
of the more conventional type. 

We are dealing at the moment with landings. But it should 
be noted that the withdrawal of the defeated force was in some 
respects the most instructive and striking incident in this affair 
of Y Beach. The warships then proved of very real service to the 
troops, thanks to the somewhat peculiar contour of the ground. 
The Turks could not harry the retiring infantry on the beach 
owing to the ships' guns ; and, as it turned out, this spot in spite 
of its apparent draw^backs proved itself a particularly satisfactory 
place to get away from. The subject of withdrawals will, however, 
be treated more at length when the story comes to be told at the 
end of this volume of how the Allied Expeditionary Force evacuated 
the Gallipoli Peninsula many months afterwards. 

The landing at Beach X. — X Beach resembled Y Beach in many 
ways, but its features were less pronounced. It consisted of a 
strip of sand, about 200 yards long, nestling at the foot of an 
escarpment ; but in this case the escarpment was in no sense 
precipitous, it rose only about 40 feet or so above the beach, and 
it therefore offered no obstacle whatever to infantry. The Royal 
Fusiliers had been brought over in the battleship Implacable and 
a couple of mine-sweepers, and the landing was heralded by the 
roar of guns from the battleship Swijtsure ; these began a furious 
bombardment of the vicinity of the landing-places as soon as there 
was light enough to see. The troops were taken ashore in two trips, 
the landing parties on the first trip shepherded by Implacable, which 
crept close in, with the boats on either side of her and an anchor 
swung out over her bows, lowered sufficiently to drag before the 
great vessel ran risk of taking the ground. Her fire at close range 
as she approached the beach kept the Turks from showing them- 
selves in their trenches ; these w^ere well constructed, but they 
were somewhat conspicuous, and, their site being as it were tilted 
up for the naval gunners to lay on, offered the ship's guns excellent 
targets. The consequence was that the Fusiliers made good their 
footing on the beach and mounted the slopes above it without 
suffering any appreciable loss, and they had thus overcome the 



THE LANDING AT X BEACH 67 

difl&culty of getting ashore at all more easily than had been antici- 
pated. As a matter of fact it was found afterwards that the bom- 
bardment had not very seriously injured the hostile defences, but 
it had none the less done exactly what was needed. 

As soon as they were ashore and had breasted the escarpment, 
the Fusiliers pushed sturdily forward, their task in the first place 
being to try and join hands with the troops who were to land at 
Beach W, on the further side of Cape Tekke about a mile away. 
The high ground intervening between the two landing-places, 
however, turned out to be held in strength by the enemy, and, no 
sooner had the Fusiliers gained the crest of the escarpment, than 
they became heavily engaged with a determined and well-posted 
enemy. They, moreover, found themselves exposed to a malignant, 
enfilading shell-fire from a field battery emplaced somewhere near 
Krithia, They found it hard to gain ground under such conditions. 
They were, moreover, vigorously counter-attacked by hostile 
infantry, and were even compelled to give ground slightly under 
very severe pressure at the hands of superior forces. The situation 
was, however, completely restored after a time by the arrival of a 
supporting battalion, the Inniskilling Fusiliers, who were followed 
by the Border Regiment. These battalions as they came ashore 
on Beach X pushed partly south to aid the first comers, and partly 
worked outwards to extend the line. Thanks to their welcome 
assistance, it eventually became possible to deliver a resolute 
attack upon the bluffs near Cape Tekke. They were carried by 
a rush, and connection was thus established with the Lancashire 
Fusiliers, who by a wonderful feat of arms had won a landing for 
themselves on Beach W. But, even so, the position was not 
wholly reassuring. The Turks began coming on in imposing 
numbers and pressed forward with grim determination, so that, 
although Implacable had silenced the troublesome hostile battery 
near Krithia, the British were at one time forced back nearly to 
the cliffs by X Beach. Our troops, however, gradually dug them- 
selves in, they beat off all attacks, and by nightfall they had estab- 
lished a line of entrenchments for about half a mile round Beach X, 
and extending south-west to link up with the battle front of the 
troops that had disembarked at the adjoining beach, W. 

Judged as a landing in face of opposition, the success of the 
Royal Fusiliers at Beach X must be set down as a particularly 



68 THE DAKDANELLES 

memorable exploit, for the enemy was upon the whole well pre- 
pared and was on the look out. The defences which the Turks 
had contrived were, it is true, decidedly less formidable than those 
devised for the protection of Beaches W and V. Little use had 
been made of barbed wire. Nor, owing to the contour of the 
ground, was it a particularly easy point to defend — the defenders 
also may not perhaps have had time enough to make the most of 
such advantages as it possessed. Moreover, the fire of the warships 
was undoubtedly effective in this instance and it contributed 
markedly towards easing the way for the troops when they first 
set about gaining their footing ashore. Still, the actual landing 
was signally successful, and that particular phase of the general 
operation was accomplished with scarcely any loss. It is notice- 
able that the defenders reserved their fire at X Beach, allowing 
the leading boats to approach the shore undisturbed ; but, as will 
be seen later, this same procedure was adopted by the Turks at 
other points — even at Beaches W and V, where a far more deter- 
mined resistance was ofl'ered to the actual disembarkation in the 
first instance than had been the case at Beach X. The reason 
why the enemy had devoted comparatively little labour and 
ingenuity to the fortifications at this locality, probably was that 
it obviously was not a suitable spot for landing artillery and 
impedimenta until communications from the beach on to the higher 
ground had been prepared ; in this respect it was from the attacker's 
point of view decidedly inferior to the Beaches W and V. 

The landing at Beach W. — Had there been no question of 
opposition, Beach W would have provided an excellent landing- 
place. At Y and X bluffs rose abruptly from the strand, rendering 
it difficult (especially in the case of Y) for troops other than infantry 
to penetrate further. At W, on the contrary, there was, as is shown 
in the sketch map of W and V Beaches on page 70, a complete 
break in the cliffs, and as the shore formed a bay, facing south- 
west, the beach was better sheltered against the prevailing north- 
easterly winds than were Beaches Y and X. The Turks had not 
failed to take note of these conditions and they had prepared 
accordingly for eventualities. Sir I. Hamilton describes the 
landing-place as follows in his Despatch of 20th May : — 

" W Beach consists of a strip of deep, powdery sand some 350 yards 
long and from 15 to 40 yards wide, situated immediately south of 



THE LANDING AT W BEACH 69 

Tekke Burnu, where a small gully running down to the sea opens a 
break in the cliffs. On either flank of the beach the ground rises 
precipitately ; but, in the centre, a number of sand dunes afEord a 
more gradual access to the ridge overlooking the sea. Much time and 
ingenuity had been employed by the Turks in turning this landing- 
place into a death-trap. Close to the water's edge a broad wire entangle- 
ment extended the whole length of the shore, and a supplementary 
barbed network lay concealed under the surface of the sea in the 
shallows. Land mines and sea mines had been laid. The high ground 
overlooking the beach was strongly fortified with trenches to which 
the gully afforded a natural covered approach. A number of machine- 
guns were also cunningly tucked away into holes in the cliff so as to 
be immune from naval bombardment whilst they were converging their 
fire upon the wire entanglements." 

The Lancashire Fusiliers were told off to effect the landing at 
this point. They were conveyed to its vicinity in the cruiser 
Euryalus, and by 4 a.m. had transhipped into the ship's cutters 
which were to carry them ashore. It had been foreseen that their 
task would be an exceedingly difficult one, and it had therefore 
been decided that the whole battalion should be conveyed to land 
in one single trip. The arrangement was that eight picket boats, 
each of them towing four ship's cutters, should start for the shore 
simultaneously in line abreast. ^ 

At 5 a.m. the covering warships got to work and directed a hot 

fire against the beach and also upon the ground which commanded 

it ; this preliminary bombardment, however, did riot — as was 

ascertained afterwards — exercise the damaging effect on the wire 

entanglements and the Turkish trenches that had been hoped for. 

During this opening phase of the contest the defences showed no 

signs of life ; it almost looked indeed as if the disembarkation was 

to be unopposed, in spite of the preparations made to meet it, 

of which reconnaissances had established the existence. Then at 6 

a.m., the flotilla of small craft got under way for the shore. The 

steam launches cast off as soon as they reached shallow water. The 

* A 30' cutter takes 32 men in marching order and a 34' cutter will convey 
42 men in marching order ; besides these it is usual to allot 6 sailors to assist 
in working the boat. Thus eiglit of the 30' type will carry a full company of 
infantry, while 6 of the 35' type will suffice for the same load. In this case 
there were altogether 32 cutters, eight to each company ; two picket boats, 
towing four cutters each, provided for a company. Picket boats draw nearly 
5' astern and, as they are ahead, the cutters have to be cast off while still some 
distance from the shore ; these are then rowed the rest of the way to land. 



70 



V" AND "W" BEACHES 




THE LANDING AT W BEACH 71 

majority of the cutters went straight ahead, making direct for the 
beach ; but the company on the left veered away towards Cape 
Tekke and pulled for the rocks below that promontory. A few 
boats also diverged to the right, heading for the cliffs at the ex- 
tremity of the beach nearest Cape Helles. 

All this time the Turks were obstinately holding their fire. 
Only at the moment when the leading boats touched the beach 
did a murderous, converging fusillade from rifles, machine-guns, 
and pompoms suddenly greet the assailants as these made their 
way to land. The losses were extremely heavy as the men struggled 
out of the boats. Many were shot down in the water, others were 
hit before they tried to disembark, some were drowned. Never- 
theless, undismayed by the hail of bullets and regardless of gaps 
in the ranks, the Lancashire Fusiliers strove desperately to force 
their way through the masses of barbed wire which confronted 
them close to the water's edge, and to press on beyond. But, 
had it not been for their comrades who had diverged to the left 
before reaching land, all the efforts of the companies that had 
held their course straight for the beach might have been in vain. ^ 

The platoons which had made for Cape Tekke were skilfully 
landed on the rocks at the foot of the headland, suffered little loss 
during the process, and then straightway set about mounting the 
rugged cliffs that rose above them. They were thus enabled after 
a short but desperate struggle to dispose with deadly effect of the 
hidden machine-guns which were sweeping the beach from this 
side, for the gunners were all bayoneted at their guns. They also 
from this position in a measure enfiladed the enemy's trenches 

' It is interesting to note that Wolfe's memorable landing at Freshwater 
Cove near Louisburg on the 8th of May, 1758, furnishes an incident very 
similar to the successful landing on the rocks below Cape Tekke. The cove 
was not unlike W Beach, the actual strand being about of the same length, 
with rocky bluffs at either end. The French did not hold their fire. On the 
contrary, their musketry, coupled with the fire of eight guns, was so effective 
Trhile the flotilla was approaching that Wolfe had actually signalled to 
call his troops off, when three subalterns on the left flank veered oft" to that 
side with their boats and in spite of the broken waters — the sea was somewhat 
rough — succeeded in landing on the rocks below the bluff at that end of the 
beach. Wolfe instantly signalled to the other boats to follow. The landing 
parties poured ashore, overthrew the defenders of the beach by taking them 
in flank, and gained a firm footing for the British on this inhospitable .shore, 
with the result that the great French stronghold on Cape Breton came to be 
besieged and taken. Those three subalterns played a big part in moulding 
the history of the New World. 



72 THE DARDANELLES 

directly facing the beach, and they thereby afforded some relief 
to the main body of the regiment in its predicament. This, realis- 
ing that there was dead ground below Cape Tekke, hurried in that 
direction and got into shelter below the declivity which the platoons 
on the left had already scaled, and here the shattered companies were 
reformed by such of the officers as had not been struck down. They 
then scrambled up, pushed resolutely on although most of their 
rifles were choked with sand owing to the men throwing them- 
selves down on the beach, and drove off the Turks, thus establish- 
ing themselves firmly on the southern side of the high ground near 
the cape which the troops that had landed at X were already 
preparing to attack from the north. In the meantime the party 
which had landed at the Cape Helles end of the beach had worked 
its way up the cliffs on that side ; but it was brought to a standstill 
at the top by a wire entanglement which had been constructed 
near the edge, under fire from the two infantry redoubts north- 
east of the promontory. A portion of these detachments contrived 
to work their way under shelter of the clifi to the lighthouse, 
getting cover in the small ravines north-west of that point that 
are shown on the map. 

It was now 9 a.m. and much needed reinforcements were 
beginning to arrive in the shape of the Worcesters who, profiting 
by the experience undergone by their predecessors, made straight 
for the rocks below Cape Tekke, got ashore there and, after breasting 
the bluff, hastened to the aid of the Lancashire men. These, on 
receiving such welcome support, pushed forward afresh and carried 
some trenches in their immediate front, which enabled their left 
to unite with the right of the Royal Fusiliers coming from Beach X. 
The Worcesters, moreover, about the same time made themselves 
masters of the gully leading up from the beach. As a consequence 
of these operations the position on the northern flank and im- 
mediately in front of Beach W had, shortly before noon, been 
rendered fairly secure. But the assailants were not making such 
satisfactory progress on the other flank, for the Lancashire detach- 
ments which had gone in that direction at the outset had found it 
impossible to advance from the crest of the cliff, or from the small 
ravines, or eastwards from the lighthouse towards V Beach. So 
the Worcesters were called upon to move across from left to right 
and to storm the high ground overlooking Cape Helles. 



THE LANDING AT W BEACH 73 

This high ground had been appropriately prepared for defence, 
and it was very strongly held by the enemy. In addition to the 
two infantry redoubts which have already been spoken of, a 
substantial wire entanglement ran transversely down from those 
works to the cliff edge, barring lateral movement from west to east. 
Further east, again, lay the 9-2-inch battery of Cape Helles which, 
as we have seen in Chapter II, had been seriously damaged by the 
fire of Queen Elizabeth and other ships during the attack upon the 
outer defences of the Straits at the end of February. This battery 
had been transformed into an excellent lair for infantry, and its 
recesses now swarmed with riflemen. In view of the heavy task 
confronting the Worcesters, the covering warships opened a warm 
fire on the position about 1 p.m. Then, when this bombardment 
had lasted some little time, the battalion advanced to the attack, 
and after a desperate affray wrested the two redoubts from the 
Turks. But, owing to the entanglements and to a withering 
musketry from the 9-2-inch battery, they failed to penetrate 
further to the right when an effort was made to move in that 
direction, with the idea of lending succour to the troops who had 
been endeavouring since early morning to gain a firm footing on 
Beach V and beyond it. 

Some additional reinforcements were now arriving, diverted 
from the force destined for Beach V. But the Turks were pressing 
on in formidable numbers, bent on recovering the ground extending 
from Cape Helles to beyond Beach X that had been wrested 
from them, so that even with the accessions to their strength, the 
depleted ranks of the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Worcesters were 
hard set to hold their ground. Still, a fairly satisfactory position 
had been established by the close of the day, which was fortunate 
seeing that the thrusts on the part of the enemy were very deter- 
mined and were continued long after dark. So critical was the 
situation for a time, indeed, that every available man had to be 
summoned into the firing line ; but the position was stubbornly 
maintained at all points. The result of a day of furious combat 
was that a grip on Beach W had been fixed — although at the cost 
of heavy sacrifice in life — and that British infantry had proved to 
the world how, even under the unfavourable conditions that obtain 
to-day, it is not impossible for troops of the very best class to effect 
a landing in broad daylight in face of relentless and skilfully con- 



74 THE DARDANELLES 

ducted opposition. In recognition of the heroism and fortitude 
that had been displayed in winning a way ashore under the most 
adverse conditions, the beach which had been the scene of this 
brilliant exploit was named " Lancashire Landing." 

Comments on the fight for W Beach. — The struggle of the 
Lancashire Fusiliers, backed by the Worcesters, to secure a landing- 
place at this point ranks as one of the most remarkable and in- 
structive episodes of the Dardanelles campaign. Here was a case 
of an operation of war similar to Abercrombie's daring feat, carried 
out successfully under modern conditions against an enemy who 
had enjoyed far longer warning of what was in store than General 
Friant had been favoured with when he tried to stay the British 
landing in Aboukir Bay. The disembarkation took place in day- 
light. The defenders were fully prepared and had made skilful 
use of technical devices of all kinds to defeat the attempt. It is 
true that imposing warships supported the assailants ; but the 
naval assistance was not in reality on a more lavish scale than 
might fairly be looked for in an enterprise of this class. It was 
an admirable example in fact of this particular nature of tactical 
undertaking, the landing was successful, and its story suggests a 
number of edifying professional lessons. 

In the first place, the effect of the projectiles from the ships' 
guns was disappointing to those who had placed reliance on their 
support, although soldiers and sailors who had seriously considered 
the subject ought not to have been surprised. Experiences of 
somewhat later date in France, in Flanders, and on the Isonzo 
have proved how heavy an expediture of ammunition and what 
accurate gunnery are demanded to sweep away wire entangle- 
ments. Well designed entrenchments require artillery treatment 
of a special kind before they can be safely assaulted by infantry, 
and this treatment a fleet is hardly in the position to apply. The 
essence of artillery preparation in such a case (supposing that flat- 
trajectory guns are being employed) is that fire should be main- 
tained up till the very last moment, so that the defenders dare not 
show their heads ; but ships' gunners are not trained for that kind 
of work, which is an art in itself. Only by dint of high-angle fire 
can artillery hope to destroy earthworks and to so cow the troops 
who are manning them that no serious resistance will be offered when 
the assailants drive home their attack ; but warships are not fitted 



THE LANDING AT W BEACH 75 

out with the necessary type of ordnance for executing the task, nor 
could this be used efiectively, if they had it, from a moving platform. 

A very striking feature in this memorable combat was the 
stubborn fashion in which the Turks held their fire till the last 
moment. This was also their attitude, it may be observed, at 
Beaches X and S ; and, as will be seen later, the same procedure 
had evidently been contemplated at Beach V. It was pointed 
out in the last chapter, when discussing the problem in the abstract 
of opposed landings under modern conditions, that one of the 
advantages which the progress in arms of precision confers upon 
the defenders nowadays, as compared with their position in the 
era of muskets and smooth-bore guns, is that a damaging fire can 
be opened on the advancing boats while these are still a long way 
from the shore. The Turks deliberately threw away this advantage 
and permitted the foremost of the assailants of Beach W to reach 
land untouched. Why was this 1 

The phenomenon may be accounted for in various ways. The 
defenders possibly hoped to trap their antagonists, and feared 
that, if fire were opened as soon as this was likely to be effective, 
the result would be to scare the quarry away. Or they may have 
been afraid of disclosing the exact position of their trenches and 
machine-gun emplacements, and of thereby exposing themselves 
to a devastating fire from the warships before such fire came to be 
virtually masked by the advancing boats — it is as a matter of 
fact open to question whether there were grounds for such an 
apprehension. It is conceivable, no doubt, that the Turks had 
failed to realise how damaging their fire ought to be on crowded 
boats even when these were some hundreds of yards away ; but 
this hardly seems likely. Whatever the reason was, the defenders 
seem to have made a mistake. Even such ideal troops as the 
1st Lancashire Fusiliers consisted of on the 25th of April, 1915, 
are unable to stand unlimited punishment. Had, say, twenty per 
cent of that illustrious battalion been placed hors de combat before 
a single boat reached the beach, this additional loss might have 
just turned the scale and, for the signal triumph which the Lan- 
cashire men placed to their credit, might have substituted a 
sanguinary and mortifying repulse. ^ 

* The range of firearms was of course very different in 1758 from what it 
represented in 1915 ; but it is interesting in connection with the lauding of 



76 THE DARDANELLES 

Another point of interest is the somewhat significant contrast 
between the experiences undergone by those portions of the 
Lancashire Fusiliers that landed below Cape Tekke, and the ex- 
periences which befell the bulk of the regiment landing fair and 
square on the beach. Had it not been for the company which 
made its way ashore with no great loss on the rocks below the head- 
land, and which then rushed the bluffs overhanging them, it is not 
inconceivable that the whole undertaking might have come to 
naught at this point. The rocks did not offer an attractive landing- 
place in themselves. Had there been no opposition, troops told off 
to disembark on Beach W would not have dreamt of selecting so 
inconvenient a spot, when there was an inviting strand close by 
offering easy access into the interior. The striking results obtained 
by the company which made for the flank seem to support the 
theory, already propounded when discussing the events at Beach Y, 
that when determined resistance is anticipated to the landing of 
troops it may pay to choose for disembarkation a point where the 
facilities for getting ashore are, in the topographical sense, 
restricted. 

Only this remains to be said. Except for the extreme flanks, 
the general lie of the ground at Beach W rendered defence par- 
ticularly easy, while its advantages as a landing-place were so 
obvious that the defenders were bound to take special precautions 
to guard so dangerous a locality. It was therefore a bad place to 
select as a point of disembarkation in the first instance. But 
whether the course that was pursued was unavoidable will be 
considered when the landings at Helles come to be discussed as a 
whole further on. 

The landing at Beach S.— Although the Turks had made careful 

Wolfe's brigade at the cove west of Louisburg, to which reference was made 
in the footnote to p. 71, to note the following extract from the diary of an 
officer who took part in the operations : " Had the enemy permitted the 
troops of the left attack " (Wolfe's) " to have landed in the cove, they must 
certainly have put it out of our power to have troubled them afterwards, as 
by reserving their fire till then in all probability they would have put us in 
confusion, and we afterwards must have been at their mercy, the advantage 
mentioned giving them so much superiority.'' The advantage mentioned was 
"their intrenchments being 15 feet above high mark, the approach to which 
was rendered impracticable by large trees being lay'd very thick together 
upon the beach all round the cove, their branches laying towards the sea the 
distance of 20 yards in some places and 30 in others between their lines and 
the water's edge. Then the aurge was e.vtremely violent. ..." 



THE LANDING AT S BEACH 77 

preparations to deal with a landing at Beach S, these were not 
on the same imposing scale as at Beach W. The place was hardly 
suitable for putting a large force ashore ; for the beach was narrow 
and the water to the left shallow, so that there was risk of the boats 
grounding prematurely if they deviated at all from the proper 
course. Slopes rose at a sharp incline from the beach, and well- 
designed trenches had been constructed from which an effective 
fire could be directed on the troops when they were landing and 
while they were still on the water. It has already been pointed out 
that this locality was particularly exposed to artillery fire directed 
from across the Straits ; it turned out, however, that the annoy- 
ance to the assailants from this source was not excessive on the 
opening day. 

The contingent designated for this particular venture comprised 
three companies of the 2nd South Wales' Borderers, some engineers, 
and a landing party especially detailed from CornwaUis. The 
troops were brought over from Tenedos in trawlers, convoyed by 
that battleship, and in Morto Bay they were transferred into ships' 
boats towed by trawlers, six boats to the tow. Their arrival 
had been somewhat delayed by the strong current flowing out of 
the Straits, which hampered the trawlers in making the rendezvous ; 
the disembarkation therefore only began about 7.30 a.m. It was 
effected expeditiously and at no great cost, the Turks only opening 
fire at the last moment when the boats were already close to 
land. Supported by an effective cannonade from the warships, 
the Borderers worked their way forward in masterly fashion after 
setting foot on shore, and by 10 a.m., assisted by the naval land- 
ing party, they had captured the main defences that bore upon 
the beach, and were in possession of De Tott's Battery. They 
then dug themselves in and, aided by the shell from CornwaUis and 
Lord Nelson, were able to repulse a furious counter-attack in the 
afternoon with no great difficulty. The enemy directed some 
artillery fire on the beach from the Asiatic side, but this was badly 
conducted and it did little harm — which may possibly be accounted 
for by the influence of the French descent upon Kum Kale. 

Unquestionably a meritorious performance, the sailors and 
soldiers of the attacking side sharing the credit for what was a 
skilfully contrived and admirably executed amphibious operation, 
the landing at Beach S proves that an undertaking of this character 



78 THE DARDANELLES 

is perfectly feasible if the opposition be not more than moderately- 
formidable. But it has to be remembered that the delay of the 
defence in opening fire while the assailants were still on the water 
probably facilitated their task — troops undertaking an enterprise 
of this class cannot safely count upon such good fortune. In this 
affair the ships' guns, it should be noted, played an important 
role, their supporting fire proving of great assistance to the landing 
troops ; owing to the lie of the ground the enemy's trenches were 
readily seen from the sea, and the battleships here took full 
advantage of conditions that were wanting at Beaches W and V. 

The landing at Beach V. — The difficulties in the way of effecting 
a landing at Beach V proved very nearly to be insuperable, and 
they brought about an embittered contest in which the attacking 
side suffered almost overwhelming loss, A description of the 
landing-place, and of the elaborate arrangements that had been 
made by the Turks for securing it against attack, can best be 
given in Sir L Hamilton's own words : — 

" V Beach is situated immediately to the west of Sedd-el-Bahr. 
Between the bluff on which stands the Sedd-el-Bahr village and that 
which is crowned by No. 1 Fort^ the ground forms a very regular 
amphitheatre of three or four hundred yards' radius. The slopes 
down to the beach are slightly concave, so that the whole area con- 
tained within the limits of this natural amphitheatre, whose grassy 
terraces rise gently to a height of a hundred feet from the shore, can 
be swept by the fire of the defender. The beach itself is a sandy strip 
some 10 yards wide and 350 yards long, backed along almost the whole 
of its extent by a low sandy escarpment about 4 feet high, where the 
ground falls almost sheer down to the beach. The slight shelter afforded 
by this escarpment played no small part in the operations of the 
succeeding thirty-two hours. 

" At the south-eastern extremity of the beach, between the shore 
and the village, stands the old fort of Sedd-el-Bahr, a battered ruin 
with wide breaches in its walls and mounds of fallen masonry within 
and around it. On the ridge to the north, overlooking the amphi- 
theatre, stands a ruined barrack. Both of these buildings, as well as 
No. 1 Fort, had been long bombarded by the fleet, and the guns of 
the fort had been put out of action ; but their crumbled walls and the 
ruined outskirts of the village afforded cover for riflemen, while from 
the terraced slopes already described the defenders were able to com- 

' The 9 2* battery referred to in the account of the landing at Beach W. 



THE LANDING AT V BEACH 79 

mand the open beach, as a stage is overlooked by the balconies of a 
theatre. On the very margin of the beach a strong barbed-wire 
entanglement, made of heavier metal and longer barbs than I have 
ever seen elsewhere, ran right across from Sedd-el-Bahr to the foot 
of the north-western headland. Two-thirds of the way up the ridge 
a second and even stronger entanglement crossed the amphitheatre, 
passing in front of the old barrack and ending in the outskirts of the 
village. A third transverse entanglement, joining these two, ran up 
a hill near the eastern end of the beach, and almost at right angles 
to it. Above the upper entanglement the ground was scored with the 
enemy's trenches, in one of which four pompoms were placed ; in 
others were dummy pompoms to draw fire, while the debris of the 
shattered buildings on either flank afforded cover and concealment 
for a number of machine-guns, which brought a cross-fire to bear on 
the ground already swept by rifle fire from the ridge. 

*' Needless to say, the difficulties in the way of previous reconnais- 
sance had rendered it impossible to obtain detailed information with 
regard either to the locality or to the enemy's preparations." 

Although the defensive arrangements described above were 
necessarily only very imperfectly known to the stafE of the attack- 
ing side, it was fully realised at the time when the plans were 
being drawn up that the landing at Beach V was destined to be 
an exceptionally hazardous operation of war, and especial devices 
were brought into play with a view to overcoming some of the 
difficulties that were foreseen. A collier, the River Clyde, was 
especially prepared for beaching, and was to contain the bulk of 
the assaulting force. Great doors were cut in her sides, giving 
access to gang-planks, slung by ropes and dipping towards the 
bows. Although it might prove possible for the troops to wade 
ashore from the end of the gang-planks, it was expected that 
lighters would have to be got into position beyond the bows so as 
to form a pier to the shore ; these were prepared for the purpose 
and were towed astern of the River Clyde by a hopper. Maxims 
protected by sand-bags were mounted on the bows of the ship 
and on its lower bridge. The Koyal Munster Fusiliers, two com- 
panies of the Hampshire Kegiment, a company of the Koyal 
Dublin Fusiliers and a field company of engineers embarked in 
this vessel, the total force on board exceeding 2000 of all ranks. 
The remaining three companies of the Dublins were brought over in 
a transport and were transferred before dawn to ships' cutters, 



80 THE DARDANELLES 

ready to be towed to land by picket boats. The plan was that 
half a company was to be put ashore at the camber to the east of 
Sedd-cl-Bahr as an isolated operation — this will be dealt with 
later — while the other two and a half companies were to land 
direct on V Beach. The River Clyde was to be run ashore as soon 
as these had disembarked. 

A hot bombardment of the beach and environs was started by 
Albion soon after dawn, but this does not appear to have caused 
commensurate havoc amongst the hostile trenches and entangle- 
ments ; the Turks, as at Beach W, remained quiescent during this 
preliminary cannonade. Queen Elizabeth and other warships 
battered the old castle and the village of Sedd-el-Bahr, Then, 
about 6 a.m., the line of picket boats (five of them, each towing 
four cutters) made for the land, and only when the leading boats, 
after casting off, reached the beach did the defences show sign of 
life. Then the assailants were greeted with a terrific fire, which 
proved disastrous to the troops as they scrambled out of the boats. 
Only a very few of the Fusiliers succeeded in attaining the cover 
of the four-foot escarpment, described above, where they found 
shelter. The majority were either shot down in the water or else 
as they reached the beach, or they were placed hors de combat 
while still in the boats. Many of these were seriously damaged, 
and most of them were rendered unmanageable owing to the sailors 
in charge being struck down or else by the rowers being killed 
or wounded. Within a few minutes, this portion of the attack 
had been to all intents and purposes defeated, the troops detailed 
for the operation were almost wiped out of existence, and the few 
survivors were cowering at the water's edge under the inadequate 
protection of the lip scooped by the waves. 

The River Clyde took the ground rather nearer to Sedd-el-Bahr 
than had been intended, and practically simultaneously with the 
beaching of the boats. It was then seen that the lighters must 
be brought into play to establish a pier, for the water at the bows 
was much too deep for men to land. So under a hail of bullets 
those responsible began to get the lighters into position. It proved 
no easy task. A strong lateral current running along the shore 
towards Cape Helles created almost insuperable difficulties, for 
the lighters swung across under its influence and became unmanage- 
able. How naval officers and sailors stuck to their work in this 



THE LANDING AT V BEACH 81 

emergency has been often told. No sooner had the pier been 
prepared and did troops start for the shore, than a gap occurred 
between the unwieldy vessels. The leading company of the 
Munsters was stopped by the gap ; but the men thereupon scrambled 
down into the sea, those wounded being in many cases drowned, 
and the survivors managed to gain the shelter of the low bank. 
When the next company tried, the lighters had drifted into a 
worse position. By a glorious display of valour and tenacity 
on the part of the naval personnel the pier was re-established after a 
fashion, and the remnants of the company got ashore. When a 
third company was rushing forward it found itself exposed to 
severe shrapnel fire and it suffered so heavily that a pause had 
to be called. Then some Hampshires started for the land. But 
the line broke, and the lighters thereupon drifted into deep water 
with the troops who were lying down on board offering excellent 
targets for every class of fire from the Turkish entrenchments, 
General Napier commanding the 88th Brigade was killed, and it 
was reluctantly decided to abandon a continuation of the heroic 
attempt till dark. The River Clyde was in the meantime being 
bombarded by hostile artillery, and the vessel was struck several 
times by big howitzer shell discharged from across the Straits ; 
but the projectiles upon the whole did less harm than might have 
been expected. In the meantime her machine-guns were doing 
excellent service, and their fire may perhaps have been the con- 
trolling factor in preventing the enemy from delivering a counter- 
attack upon the troops who were crouching at the water's edge, 
shielded by the low escarpment, and who would have found it hard 
to beat off a determined onset. 

Towards evening the position was as follows. There were perhaps 
400 unwounded officers and men spread out along the beach escarp- 
ment, practically unable to move, and about 1000 officers and men 
remained in comparative security on board the collier. Some 
units which in the original plan had been destined for Beach V 
had been diverted to Beach W, because for all practical purposes 
the attempt to effect a landing immediately west of Sedd-el-Bahr 
had miscarried in spite of the elaborate preparations that had been 
made. The losses had been almost overwhelming, and the prospect 
of successful advance by the parties which had actually gained the 
shore looked the reverse of promising, although some individuals 



82 THE DARDANELLES 

did manage towards evening to creep forward as far as the lee of 
the old castle at the south-eastern end of the bay. But, about 
8 p.m., the whole of the troops remaining on board the River Clyde 
emerged from their lair and made their way to land along the 
floating pier without losing a man — a strange sequel to the terrible 
events of the day and to the untoward experiences which had been 
undergone by the Dublins, by the Mmisters, and by portions of 
the Hampshire Regiment when trying to reach the beach by day- 
light. An attempt was then made in the dark to gain a footing 
in the castle and in the village. But the Turks proved to be fully 
on the alert, they opened a destructive fire, and further efforts 
were postponed till the morning. 

Comments on the landing on V Beach. — Of the five separate 
attempts to secure a footing on shore in the Helles region, the 
fight for Beach V undoubtedly presents the most mteresting 
tactical features. The difficulties were greatest. The preparations 
by both sides were the most complete. At each of the other four 
beaches the attack had proved successful early in the day, and the 
troops detailed for the different operations had eftected their 
purpose of securing a footing on land at the first attempt, whereas 
at V the hold of the assailants upon the shore when evening ap- 
proached was in reality so precarious that it might almost have 
been called non-existent. The expedient of running a steamer, 
especially fitted out for the purpose, ashore full of troops may be 
said to have established a new precedent in the art of war. The 
virtual impossibility of effecting a landing from boats in broad 
daylight in face of resolute opposition when there is no dead 
ground to favour the assailants, seems to have been pretty well 
decided by the fate of the Dublin Fusiliers. 

What lessons can be deduced from the striking episode of the 
River Clyde ? Is such a device justifiable and expedient when it 
is a question of effecting a disembarkation on a beach in defiance 
of the resistance offered by a determined enemy fully prepared 
for the struggle ? Now, the passage of a defile in presence of the 
enemy is ever likely to prove a hazardous operation, costly in 
casualties, and it is hardly the class of enterprise that will be 
attractive to most soldiers. Circumstances will no doubt at times 
oblige a commander to force such a pass — the Bridge of Lodi and 
the Dargai Ridge provide examples — but it assuredly is not an 



THE LANDING AT V BEACH ' 83 

undertaking to be sought after. When, however, you convey 
troops imprisoned in the hold of a ship to a fire-swept beach, 
and when you then discharge them from the bows of the vessel 
for the shore along gang-planks and a floating pier, you are creating 
a defile for yourself. You thrust your men along a narrow cause- 
way under converging hostile fire, and in doing so you deliberately 
set at defiance what is in reality one of the most elementary of 
tactical principles. Still the fact remains that the expedient of 
employing the collier must be acknowledged to have proved on the 
whole less unsuccessful during the daylight hours of the 25th of April 
at Beach V, than did the normal plan of throwing the assaulting 
troops ashore in boats. A fair number of infantrymen did manage 
to get to land unwounded from the River Clyde in spite of the 
extraordinary difficulties that arose in connection with the lighters. 

It must also be remembered that Sir I. Hamilton and his staff 
could not possibly foresee that the Turks would hold their fire 
until troops actually began to land. Had the defenders opened 
on the tows that were conveying the Dublin Fusiliers to shore 
when they were still some hundreds of yards out, it is likely enough 
that not a man would have gained the beach. On the other hand, 
seeing that the detachments inside the collier actually suffered 
very little loss from hostile bullets or shell, there is no reason to 
suppose that it would have made any appreciable difference to 
them had the Osmanli soldiery in the trenches started firing on the 
ship when she was still approaching land ; the 2000 men in her 
hold would have been no less fit for their task of getting to the 
beach after she had grounded than they actually were. This is a 
point that should not be overlooked when an attempt is made to 
deduce tactical lessons for guidance from the memorable fight for 
Beach V. For it is, after all, reasonable to anticipate that in 
future affairs of this particular character, the defenders will make 
free use of their artillery, of their machine-guns, and of their rifles, 
from the moment that their antagonists come within range. 

As the beaching of the River Clyde was carried out early in the 
day the incident does not throw much light on the question whether 
this device is likely to prove a success supposing it to be put in 
force during the night watches. Still the fact that such troops as 
remained shut up in the vessel when darkness set in, found them- 
selves able to reach land without sufiering any loss at all, is 



84 THE DARDANELLES 

instructive. It does seem to indicate tliat the plan of running a 
ship full of soldiers ashore may prove to be an excellent way of 
effecting a landing if the entire operation be carried out at night. 
There are, however, obvious nautical objections to adopting such 
a procedure. Even as it was, the River Clyde grounded at a point 
some little way from the spot intended. Had the attempt been 
made in the dark she might have missed the beach altogether ; 
or she might have brought up where the water shoaled some 
considerable way out from the shore, necessitating a long floating 
pier ; or she might even have struck a reef too far out to admit of 
a floating pier being established. 

It should be remembered that the absence of tide in the Mediter- 
ranean militates against the effective employment of a ship for this 
particular purpose. In more open seas a vessel can run her nose 
on to a beach at high water ; then, as the tide ebbs, her bows 
will be left high and dry, enabling the troops to disembark quite 
comfortably by gang-planks or even possibly to dispense with 
these adjuncts. Most of the loss that befell the Munsters and 
Hampshires when they were landing from the River Clyde occurred 
on the lighters and in the water, before they had actually reached 
land. 

The camber east of Sedd-el-Bahr. — Reference was made further 
back to a half-company of the Dublin Fusiliers who were to land 
on the camber east of the village of Sedd-el-Bahr. This camber, 
as will be seen from Map II, was about three hundred yards from 
the south-eastern end of Beach V, and as it turned out this minor 
affair was quite distinct from the operations at that point. The 
half-company disembarked on the camber with less loss than 
might have been expected, and they then tried to work across to 
Beach V, below the castle. This, however, they found to be quite 
impossible. They then strove hard to gain a footing in the village, 
but they found this also to be beyond them. The warships could 
give them little help, and in their isolated and very exposed position 
they naturally suffered heavy losses. Eventually the survivors 
were got away. 

Such an extraneous enterprise undertaken by a handful of troops 
was hardly likely to lead to any satisfactory result. That the little 
force was not wiped out altogether was probably due to the enemy 
not anticipating trouble at so unlikely a spot ; the Turks would 



OBSERVATIONS ON HELLES LANDINGS 85 

naturally realise that any attack at such a point was certain to be 
delivered on a very small scale in view of the narrow front. It has 
been suggested in earlier paragraphs, when discussing the landings 
at Beaches Y and X, that an inconvenient locality for effecting a 
disembarkation may sometimes be a good one to select, because 
there may be little or no opposition at such a spot. But the camber 
was so near to Beach V that the defenders were in a position to 
collect troops very rapidly to bar the way to the half-company of 
Dublins, even had there been no troops actually on guard in the 
first instance. 

Some observations on the landings at Helles. — It is proposed to 
reserve a general review of the plan adopted for securing a lodge- 
ment on the Gallipoli Peninsula for the next chapter. In this one 
we deal only with the details of the preliminary disembarkations. 
But, before turning to the initial operations undertaken by the 
French at Kum Kale and by the Australasians north of Gaba Tepe, 
it may be worth while to draw attention to certain significant points 
in connection with the violent struggles about Helles on the 25th 
of April that formed such a dramatic opening scene to the land 
campaign for the possession of the Dardanelles. 

Sir I. Hamilton has been criticised for deciding to use so many 
different points of disembarkation at the extremity of the peninsula. 
But it is worth noting in this connection that the three beaches 
chosen for the main attack — X, W, and V — taken together only 
provided a length of 900 yards. That represents a somewhat 
narrow frontage when it is a question of getting the largest possible 
number of troops ashore in the least possible period of time. It is 
always likely to be the case — as it was to a large extent in April 
off the Gallipoli Peninsula — that the strength of the force that can 
be landed on a beach, or on beaches, hinges upon the number of 
boats that are available to convey the troops ashore. When tha 
matter comes to be examined into, however, it turns out in the 
case of Helles that it was perhaps hardly so much a question of 
boats as a question of elbow-room. 

The actual disposition of boats was, as we have seen, that 
enough for half a battalion were allocated to Beach Y, for half a 
battalion to Beach X, for a whole battalion to Beach W, for three 
companies to Beach V and the camber, and apparently for about 
half a battalion to Beach S. To the three main beaches was allowed 



86 THE DARDANELLES 

boat accommodation for nine companies, and, as each company 
takes approximately two tows of four boats each, this means that 
18 tows were told off to a frontage of 900 yards. That allows only 
about 50 yards between tows, and it promises that there will be 
a swarm of 72 cutters, with only about 12 yards space to the 
cutter, approaching the shore simultaneously after casting off. 
It furthermore means a mass of some 2000 men discharged more 
or less simultaneously on a front of 900 yards, without cover of 
any sort, necessarily in considerable confusion and under close 
fire from a well-posted enemy. Would more tows and more boats 
and more men have improved the prospects ? It seems extremely 
doubtful. On the other hand, it must be remembered that a 
proportion of the boats are bound to be damaged in an affair of 
this kind — at Beach V a considerable proportion of the cutters 
were rendered unserviceable — and on this account there is some- 
thing to be said for keeping some craft in reserve, so that there 
may be some resources in hand to fill up the gaps in view of landing 
later troops. Sufficient boats for about a battalion were allocated 
to Beaches Y and S ; had operations been confined to the 
three landing-places near Capes Tekke and Helles, these boats 
would certainly have been of use in hurrying reinforcements to 
Beaches X and W after the Royal Fusiliers and Lancashire Fusiliers 
had won their footing. 

It is always easy to be wise after the event. Knowing what we 
do now, no very profound mastery of the art of war is called for 
to perceive that the best course to pursue might have been to make 
the main effort at Beach X, to delay the landing at Beach W till 
a strong force was ashore at X, to keep Beaches Y and V busy 
with feints, and possibly to have deferred the effort at Beach S 
till the following day, using a fresh battalion from Mudros. The 
River Clyde could presumably have been beached on Beach X 
just as easily as on Beach V ; and, if she had been, the troops on 
board would have poured out of her intact, within a few minutes, 
because there was less current at that point than there was near 
Sedd-el-Bahr and because her passengers would have met with no 
opposition at all until they began to advance from the beach. 
The unfortunate part of the operations as they actually took place 
was that three of the battalions — the Lancashires, the Dublins, and 
the Munsters — should have suffered such tremendous losses while 



THE LANDING AT KUM KALE 87 

actually trying to get on land, and at a juncture when they were 
causing no corresponding casualties to the enemy. There was hard 
fighting all along the line on the 25th of April after footings had 
been gained ; but both sides naturally were losing men during that 
fighting, and not merely the attacking side, which makes all the 
difference in the world. 

The landing at Kum Kale. — The descent upon the Asiatic shore 
at the mouth of the Straits was undertaken mainly for the purpose 
of preventing effective hostile artillery fire being brought to bear 
upon Helles across the channel. But it served also to some extent 
as a feint, the efiicacy of which was probably enhanced by the 
action of one of the French battleships which made a demonstra- 
tion towards Besika Bay. The operation w^as entrusted to French 
troops, who were accompanied by General d'Amade, the Commander 
of the French Expeditionary Force, and the contingent detailed for 
the task was composed of the 6th Colonial Regiment (one European 
and two Senegalese battalions), a field battery, and a half-company 
of engineers, under immediate command of Colonel Ruel, It was 
conveyed in five transports, one of which carried 4-inch guns, and 
was under the protection of the three old French battleships, 
Jaureguiberry, Henri IV, and Jeanne UArc and of the Russian 
cruiser Askold. There would appear to have been sufficient boat 
accommodation to carry about 1400 infantry at a time. 

The flotilla sailed from Lemnos about nightfall on the 24th, 
after having practised disembarkation outside Mudros harbour 
in the afternoon. Proceeding under slow steam, the armada had 
arrived within three miles of Kum Kale by dawn, and the four 
warships soon afterwards opened a brisk fire upon the fort and 
village of Kum Kale and upon the village of Yeni Shehr. The 
transports anchored about 7.30 a.m., some of the troops intended 
for the first trip having already been transferred to boats. It 
then at once became apparent that, in view of the strong current 
running out of the Dardanelles and of the low horse-power of the 
picket boats and tugs that were to undertake the towing, progress 
towards shore on the part of the tows would be a slow business ; 
some assistance was to be rendered to the tows by destroyers and 
torpedo-boats. 

The map on the next page illustrates this operation. It had 
originally been intended to carry out the disembarkation north- 



88 



KIBI KALE 



KUM KALE 



Coastline : 
Contours. 




MAP III. — KUM KALE 



THE LANDING AT KUM KALE 89 

east of the fort of Kum Kale, near the pier shown, but at the 
last moment it was fortunately decided to change the venue and 
to carry out the operation on the other side of the fort, and close 
to it. The pier and the shore near the pier were exposed to heavy 
machine-gun and rifle fire from the village and the cemetery, and 
also to artillery fire from rising ground to the east of the Mendere 
flats, whereas the beach close to the fort on the other side was dead 
ground owing to the shelter given by the wall of the stronghold, 
and it was entirely invisible from the other side of the Mendere. 
The whole of the first echelon, composed of five infantry companies 
and the half-company of engineers, had pushed off from the trans- 
ports by 9 a.m., and it moved slowly against the strong current 
towards the appointed landing-place. Owing to some misunder- 
standing, however, the tow under charge of Askold made for the 
pier, came under heavy fire when still some distance off, lost 
heavily and was compelled to withdraw. Owing to difficulties 
experienced in towang, the remainder of the first echelon arrived in 
somewhat straggling order at the beach. But this mode of approach 
offered certain advantages, seeing that only the end of the beach 
nearest the fort was really effectively defiladed ; as only a small 
number of boats arrived simultaneously they could all be discharged 
at the sheltered spot. The Turks did not in this case hold their 
fire as they did at most points on the Helles side ; but they were 
disinclined to expose themselves owing to the gun-fire from the 
ships and the actual landing was effected with little loss, the troops 
being able to form up under cover of the fort wall near the gate. 
The fort had soon been secured, and the troops then attacked 
the village and carried it at the point of the bayonet, although 
they failed to wrest the strongly held cemetery from its garrison. 

The second echelon began proceeding towards shore about 11.30, 
the rafts with guns and horses started about 1.30, and the entire 
force was on land by 3 p.m. As reinforcements arrived the troops 
pushed out from the village of Kum Kale and advanced in the 
direction of Yeni Shehr. They were opposed by considerable 
part of the 3rd Turkish Division moving up from the south into 
a position taken up about 800 yards from the village ; but they 
nevertheless managed to move forward some distance, for they 
were aided by the gun-fire of the warships which took the enemy 
in enfilade. The defenders were, however, in strong force in Yeni 



90 THE DARDANELLES 

Shehr, and wlien night set in the French troops were still held up a 
few hundred yards south of Kum Kale and also by the staunch 
garrison of the cemetery. 

This operation does not call for very much comment. The 
Turks were hardly so well prepared to contest the landing as they 
were in the case of V and W Beaches on the other side of the water, 
although they disposed of considerable forces. It is noteworthy 
that owing to the good cover existing at the point where the dis- 
embarkation took place this met with little dijBSiculty, whereas 
the boats which approached the pier, where there was no cover, 
suffered severely. The difficulties caused by the current and the 
low power of the steam vessels towing the boats apparently did no 
great harm beyond delaying things. The experience of Askold's 
tow certainly suggests that in a case like this the defending side 
should open fire promptly ; the boats never reached land, whereas 
at W Beach, where the defenders held the formidable concentrated 
fire that they were in a position to bring to bear, the troops got 
ashore. The fire of the warships would not seem to have been very 
effective, although the conditions were not unfavourable. But 
the small French force did what was required of it, the capture of 
the village of Kum Kale was a dashing piece of work, the Turks 
suffered appreciable losses in killed and prisoners, and the troops 
had the satisfaction of knowing that they had indirectly afforded 
some assistance to their British comrades who were forcing their 
way ashore on the European side of the Straits, 

The feint in the Gulf of Saros.— Before giving an account of the 
memorable landing of the Australasian forces north of Gaba Tepe,the 
important feint that was made by an amphibious force in the Gulf 
of Saros on the 25th and the night following should be mentioned. 
Part of the Royal Naval Division, escorted by the battleship 
Canopus and some destroyers, proceeded to the Gulf of Saros on 
the evening of the 24th, the Royal Naval Division carried in their 
own transports. The destroyers opened fire against various points 
on the northern shores of the gulf next morning, and later Canopus 
bombarded the Bulair Lines, while preparations as though for a 
landing were made on board the transports. At night an officer 
(Lieutenant-Commander Freyberg) swam ashore carrying flares 
which he lighted on the beaches near the lines, and the destroyers 
then opened fire, to which the Turks replied. 



THE ANZAC LANDING 91 

This feint probably exerted some influence in keeping Marshal 
Liman von Sanders in a condition of nervousness as to the possi- 
bilities of a serious landing in that quarter, and in delaying the 
despatch of the two divisions, which he had assembled about 
Bulair and Gallipoli, southwards during the 25th. ^ The operation 
did not for practical purposes reduce the numbers at disposal for 
carrying out landings at Helles on the 25th, because there would 
not seem to have been boats available on that day for the purpose. 

The general scheme for the Anzac landing. — The plan of action 
decided upon for establishing a lodgment on the outer side of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula, north of Gaba Tepe, differed materially in 
principle and in its details from the method that was put in force 
in winning a footing near Helles. Sir I. Hamilton's design for the 
Australasian Army Corps under General Birdwood was that the 
troops should begin landing at dawn and all at one spot. It was 
practicable to beach boats almost anywhere between Gaba Tepe 
and Suvla Bay, although neither the foreshore itself, nor yet the 
avenues inland from the foreshore, were equally convenient at all 
points ; so that a failure to hit off the exact locality selected for 
the disembarkation did not necessarily involve disastrous con- 
sequences. It was therefore justifiable to accept the risks incurred 
by approaching in the dark. The idea was to effect a surprise. 
The disembarkation was not to be ushered in here by a roar of 
ships' artillery. It was hoped that the leading troops would get 
ashore almost without loss, and the scheme warranted confidence 
that the advanced echelons as they rowed ashore would not at the 
worst come under fire till the last moment. We have seen that 
the Turks deliberately held their fire till the boats reached the 
beach at Helles ; but that could not be foreseen, and we are not 
entitled to assume that the same procedure would have been 

' The account given by the anonymous staff officer on Linian von Sanders' 
staff who wrote Gallipoli, I)er Krieg um den Orient, when describing how news 
of the landings readied headquarters, says : " The first information that 
came to hand" (during the night of the 24th-25th) "intimated that seven 
hostile transports, surrounded by battleships, cruisers and torpedo-boats, had 
entered the Gulf of Saros. The'division that was assembled at Gallipoli was 
immediately warned by the commander-in-chief who happened to be there at 
the moment." He goes on, speaking of the following day : "The fleet of 
transports that has entered the Gulf of Saros is not taken seriously. When it 
is observed that the enemy late in the afternoon makes no preparation for 
landing, the commander-in-chief becomes satisfied that this is only a feint." 



92 THE DARDANELLES 

adopted elsewhere. The project of commencing landing operations 
at daybreak therefore had a good deal to recommend it. 

The nautical difficulties attending a military disembarkation 
on an open beach are, however, manifestly augmented if it be 
effected in the dark or in the half-light of dawn. Navigation, the 
management of tows, controlling individual boats, actual beaching, 
and so forth, are obviously easier to carry out by daylight. But as 
mentioned at the beginning of this chapter the weather on the 
night of the 24th-25th April was particularly favourable for execut- 
ing this class of enterprise. 

Five battleships had been allotted to General Birdwood's army 
corps, Queen, London, Prince of Wales, Triumph, and Majestic, of 
which the first three carried between them 1500 men of the 3rd 
Australian Infantry Brigade.^ These 1500 constituted the first 
echelon of the covering force. Triumph, Majestic, and the cruiser 
Bacchante were to support the landing with their fire. The flotilla 
also included a number of smaller war craft, besides transports 
and trawlers conveying troops. The rest of the 3rd Brigade, which 
constituted the covering force, was to be transferred to destroyers 
to bring it close inshore, while the bulk of the 2nd (Victoria) Brigade 
which was to follow the 3rd made the voyage in trawlers ; these 
likewise were to push in near to the landing-place so as to facilitate 
discharging their troops by boat. 

The approach. — The armada, as we have seen in the last chapter, 
quitted Mudros harbour on the evening of the 24th. It steamed 
slowly with all lights extinguished until it reached the appointed 
rendezvous, about five miles from Gaba Tepe, about 1 a.m. Ships' 
boats were then promptly lowered, the troops from the three 
battleships took their places in these, and the picket boats moved 
to their stations to take the cutters in tow (12 picket boats towing 
4 cutters each — 48 cutters in all). The entire operation proceeded 
without a hitch, the 3rd Brigade having been practised in this 
kind of work while at Lemnos. At the same time the rest of the 
3rd Brigade transhipped from transports into destroyers. The 
moon which had been shining brightly set at 2.30 a.m., and the 
flotilla then proceeded slowly ahead, with the covering warships 
leading. At 3.30 a.m. it had arrived within 2500 yards of the 

' One battalion Queensland, one South Australia, one West Australia, one 
made up from South Australia, West Australia and Tasmania. 



THE LANDING AT ANZAC 93 

shore, the outline of the hills beginning to show up, and the tows 
were thereupon ordered to make for land, followed half an hour 
later by the destroyers. 

It had been intended to carry out the disembarkation on a stretch 
of beach a few hundred yards north of Gaba Tepe, which recon- 
naissance had indicated to be favourable. A broad depression 
here led into the interior of the peninsula, there was some fairly 
level ground near the shore, and, apart from the question of opposi- 
tion, the locality offered a favourable landing point for a force of 
all arms. As it turned out, however, the set of the current running 
northwards along this coast had carried the flotilla out of its course, 
and the point actually hit of! by the tows was just south of Ari 
Burnu which is some two miles from Gaba Tepe, Rugged hills 
here rise abruptly from the foreshore, and, although there is an 
indentation in the coast-line, immortalised under the name of 
Anzac Cove, the enemy had manifestly not expected a serious 
attack at that particular point on account of the inconvenient 
topographical features. On the other hand, there is every reason 
to believe that the Turks were fully prepared to deal with attack 
at the point which had actually been selected, and that they had 
there prepared defences almost, if not quite, as elaborate and for- 
midable as those which confronted the 29th Division on W and V 
Beaches near Helles. 

The landing. — The beach on which the landing was actually 
effected is a very narrow concave strip of sand, about 1000 yards 
in length, fringing the indentation sho^\^^ as "Anzac Cove" on 
Map IV. " At its southern extremity," writes Sir I. Hamilton, 
" a deep ravine, ^ with exceedingly steep scrub-clad sides runs in 
a north-easterly direction. Near the northern end of the beach a 
small but steep gully runs up into the hills at right angles to the 
shore. Between the ravine and the gully the whole of the beach 
is backed by the seaward face of the spur which forms the north- 
western side of the ravine." This was not in fact a spot that could 
be looked upon as a favourable locality for disembarking an army. 
The beach was so narrow that there was no elbow-room, the rugged 
hills that encroached upon it offered no conveniences for moving 
forward ordinary transport and military stores, and there was no 
shelter whatever in case of the sea getting up. Nevertheless it 
' This was christened "Shrapnel Gully," 



94 



ANZAC 



ANZAC 



Scale 

ioioo zoo 300 



Ari Bu 



■Hell Spit 




MAP IV. — ANZAC 



THE L.AJSTDING AT ANZAC 95 

had its advantages, for the Turks do not appear to have detected 
the approach of the flotilla until the tows were very near the shore, 
and they had made no elaborate arrangements for defence. But 
about a battalion of them were perceived in the dim light to be 
running up from the south to intercept the landing parties at the 
last moment, and fire was opened and caused some casualties 
before the boats actually reached the beach. Vice-Admiral de 
^obeck in his despatch gives 4.20 a.m. as the hour at which they 
grounded. 

The troops instantly scrambled out and went for the enemy 
with the bayonet, their antagonists fleeing before them up the 
rugged hill-side. The small gully mentioned by Sir I. Hamilton, 
and the spur between this and Shrapnel Gully (afterwards called 
Maclagan's Ridge after the commander of the 3rd Brigade), were 
secured almost at the first attempt, the active Australian infantry 
breasting the declivities like mountaineers and then rushing after 
the fugitives down into Shrapnel Gully. Meanwhile, the rest of the 
3rd Brigade were landing from the destroyers. But no satisfactory 
line was taken up such as a " covering force " is supposed to secure, 
so as to enable the following troops to assemble in good order. So 
sudden and uncompromising had been the rush of the first comers, 
however, that the enemy offered no very determined resistance at 
any point for the first hour or two. The Turks had no sooner 
become aware that a landing was taking place near Ari Burnu, 
than their guns at Gaba Tepe brought a heavy and, considerhig 
that it was still almost dark, extremely accurate and destructive 
fire to bear from about Gaba Tepe on the troops as they were 
proceeding ashore, and on the narrow beach itself. Their shrapnel 
caused considerable losses and some boats were sunk by high 
explosive shell ; owing to its being enfilading the fire was partic- 
ularl}^ effective and trying. At one or two points there was barbed 
wire below the surface, which added to the difficulties of getting 
ashore. While the troops first landed were striving hard to estab- 
lish themselves on the heights, their first reinforcements were 
losing heavily in getting ashore and immediately after they set 
foot on land, the half-light seriously aggravating the inevitable 
confusion on the beach. 

The 3rd Brigade were, after some delay, followed by the 2nd 
Brigade, which was accompanied by an Indian mountain battery. 



96 THE DARDANELLES 

As these troops landed they hurried forward in support of the 
first arrivals, and seeing that different battalions and companies 
were landing simultaneously and that there was no space for forming 
up on the beach, there was necessarily some confusion of units even 
before they were thrust into the fight ; the 2nd Brigade in general 
worked south-eastwards across Shrapnel Gully, on the right of the 
3rd Brigade, extending the front. The operation of putting troops 
following the 3rd Brigade ashore was somewhat delayed by the 
transports having to lie a considerable distance out in order to 
avoid the howitzer and field gun-fire brought to bear on them, 
and also projectiles from the Ottoman warships stationed in the 
Narrows. 

It is difficult to give a connected account of the disjointed en- 
counters that took place during this day of fluctuating battle. The 
further the assailants pushed inland from the beach the more 
difficult the terrain became, and the more formidable grew the 
resistance of antagonists, who displayed marked skill in utihsing 
the plentiful cover afforded by the scrub and by the very broken 
character of the ground. There had been intermingling of com- 
panies and battalions even at the moment of the first rush from 
the beach, and this naturally became aggravated during a succes- 
sion of haphazard, but sanguinary, affrays in gullies and on the hill- 
sides. In the eagerness of pursuit, parties of Australians pushed 
far ahead, became isolated, and were swallowed up in the ravines 
by much stronger bodies of Osmanlis. Substantial success was 
obtained at many points, and a three-gun battery was taken in 
brilliant style. But as they recovered from their preliminary 
surprise on finding themselves assailed at a point where they had 
not anticipated a landing in force, the Turks rapidly assembled 
strong bodies of infantry to confront the invaders. The 19th 
Turkish Division was hurried into the fight in support of the troops 
especially detailed to guard this portion of the coast, and, owing 
to the inevitable delays that took place in getting the 1st and 4th 
Australian Brigades and the New Zealanders ashore, the defenders 
were able to concentrate on the battlefield more rapidly than did 
the attacking side. 

The 1st (New South Wales) Brigade was, however, on shore and 
fully engaged before noon, taking up a general direction to the left 
of the 3rd Brigade, and apparently making good some of the ground 



I 



THE LANDING AT ANZAC 97 

about what afterwards came to be known as Courtney's Post. It 
was followed by the New Zealand Brigade which worked off to the 
left, occupying Plugge's Plateau and pressing on in the direction 
of Russel's Top, besides pushing out a small force along the low 
ground to the north of Ari Burnu and seizing a spur which came 
to be known as No. 1 Post.^ Fire from that direction had been 
particularly severe when some of the boats tried to disembark 
troops north of Ari Burnu. All this time the beaches and the 
various craft and boats standing close in were being subjected to 
a heavy artillery fire from the direction of Demajalik Bair and 
Ismail Oglu Tepe (see Map V, p. 168), and coming from the guns 
skilfully concealed about Gaba Tepe. Majestic, Triumph and the 
cruiser Bacchante did something towards keeping the fire from this 
promontory down, but it kept bursting out afresh, and the compar- 
ative failure of the warships to crush the Turkish gims and aid the 
troops in the boats was one of the most instructive incidents of the 
day. It is indeed noteworthy that the very heavy losses sustained 
actually in the boats, and on the beach after the landing had 
been made good by the 3rd Brigade, were in fact mainly due to 
hostile gun-fire, whereas during the landings at Helles, and imme- 
diately after the troops had gained their footing on those southern 
beaches, they suffered rather from rifles and machine-guns than 
from artillery. 

The direction taken by the first four brigades to land necessarily 
tended to create a great gap between the Australian 1st Brigade 
and the New Zealanders. Early in the afternoon, however, the 
4th Australian Brigade, imder General Monash, pushed up to fill 
in this gap and succeeded in doing so after a fashion, but by no 
means completely. The one Indian mountain battery which had 
landed with the 2nd Brigade proved invaluable by the encourage- 
ment which its presence gave, and the troops gradually formed a 
more or less continuous line, except about the head of Monash 
Gully. But as the afternoon wore on the enemy kept coming on 
in ever-increasing numbers, and a good deal of loss was also suffered 
on the heights from converging shrapnel fire. The truth was that, 
although the heights immediately dominating Anzac Cove had 
been captured in the grey of the morning, there would seem to 

^ This is not shown on Map IV ; it was about half a mile north of the 
point. 



98 THE DARDANELLES 

have been more spontaneity and valour than of method in the 
early hours. The necessity which had arisen almost from the 
outset of pushing on troops in driblets as they reached the shore, 
the intricacy of the ground, the lack of training from which the 
troops suffered, and the very determined opposition offered by the 
enemy, all combined to create confusion and dissemination of 
units and rendered the duties of command on the part of superior 
officers extremely difficult. The front actually taken up was a 
fortuitous one. It was impossible to dig in rapidly on such ground. 
The process of replenishing ammunition was rendered especially 
arduous by the declivities up which it had to be carried. The 
confused character of the fighting furthermore greatly handicapped 
the naval gunners in respect to selecting targets when endeavouring 
to afford direct support to the infantry who were heavily engaged 
on the heights. It is not quite clear what positions exactly the five 
brigades that had disembarked were holding at nightfall, but 
these would seem to have followed roughly the lines shown on 
Map IV — but not extending so far south in the direction of Gaba 
Tepe and including the more or less detached No. 1 Post, spoken 
of above. The line would not seem to have run quite so far forward 
about Quinn's Post, Pope's Post, and Russel's Top, and there were 
gaps there and at other points. The front appears to have been 
especially thin along the section extending roughly between 
Courtney's Post and The Pimple, largely owing to the very severe 
attacks delivered by the enemy during the afternoon here — probably 
because this locality was the one most conveniently approached 
from the direction of Koja Dere and Maidos where the Turkish 
reserves had been assembled. 

As darkness fell the situation was disquieting. General Bird- 
wood, besides General Bridges and Godley, the commanders of 
the two divisions, had come ashore and they found much confusion 
prevailing on the beaches and between these and the straggling 
front. The Turks were most aggressive and were now in consider- 
ably superior force, as far as could be judged. Over 2000 wounded 
had to be attended to and got away from the shrapnel-swept beach, 
Ammunition was scarce and there was difficulty as to water. The 
question of evacuation was seriously discussed and Sir I. Hamilton 
appears to have been communicated with. But the Commander- 
in-Chiefs instructions received diiring the night were un- 



PLAN OF LANDINC4 AT DAWN 99 

compromising. The troops must hold on, although additional 
naval help would be provided early next morning. 

Comments. — The landing of the Anzacs on the outer coast of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th of April was a very memorable 
feat of arms, and one for which all the preliminaries had been 
admirably arranged by the Royal Navy. Its story suggests a 
number of interesting points for consideration, and as already 
observed this particular enterprise differed in its procedure very 
materially from the operations that were going on simultaneously 
at Helles. The experiences undergone by General Birdwood's 
force throw a valuable light upon one way of solving the problem 
presented by an obligation to effect a landing in force in defiance 
of the efforts of the enemy to repel it. 

The question of landing at dawn. — Although the leading echelon 
of the attacking force did not reach the beach actually in the dark, 
the light was still bad at that critical moment. The armada of 
warships, transports, and small craft had, moreover, approached 
the appointed locality near the shore under cover of darkness. 
The consequence was that the leading troops enjoyed all the 
advantage of surprise, but that they arrived at the wrong place, 
thus illustrating at once the advantage and the disadvantage of 
undertaking an enterprise of this kind at dawn of day. Making 
the land at the wrong spot may, as it turned out, possibly have 
proved a blessing in disguise in this instance ; but such a con- 
tretemps would in the majority of like cases produce inconvenient 
and possibly disastrous results. Owing to the great length of 
foreshore north of Gaba Tepe along which boats could be beached, 
there was ample justification for approaching in the dark — a 
justification that could not have been pleaded at Helles supposing 
that the landings had been attempted there before daylight. At 
Helles it was a case of striking certain short lengths of beach, 
separated from each other by stretches of coast-line where dis- 
embarkation, even on so calm a morning as that of the 25th of April 
turned out to be, would have been almost if not wholly impractic- 
able. 

That the leading echelon of the Australasian contingent did, 
as a matter of fact, have its task appreciably lightened by the hour 
selected for initiating operations, hardly admits of question ; for 
although the 1500 men of the 3rd Brigade who formed the vanguard 



100 THE DARDANELLES 

suffered some loss before disembarkation, and as they dashed out 
of the boats, on to the beach, the casualties in the ranks at this 
juncture were not really serious, and the troops had made good 
their landing and had scaled and secured the heights immediately 
dominating Anzac Cove before the enemy fully realised what was 
afoot. In the race between the two contending sides to achieve 
numerical superiority at the point where General Birdwood's army 
corps was making its descent upon the Gallipoli Peninsula, the 
attacking side got off with a flying start, thanks to the dim light. 
They in fact won the first trick in the game, as a consequence of 
the hour chosen. 

Merits of landing at a topographically inconvenient spot. — Anzac 
Cove was very far from being an ideal place for a force of all arms 
to land at, which was undertaking the invasion of hostile territory. 
Had no hostile resistance been anticipated, nobody would have 
dreamt of pitching upon such a locality for the purpose. It was 
in a technical sense about the worst point to be found within three 
miles of Gaba Tepe. The rugged hill-sides encroached more closely 
upon the foreshore here than anywhere else, and they were, more- 
over, particularly steep and rugged. There is every reason to 
believe that the beach much nearer to the promontory, which the 
flotilla was supposed to be making for, was from the technical- 
topographical point of view incomparably more suitable as a 
landing-place than the spot where the Australian leading echelon 
found itself. But it is almost certain that if the armada had not 
unwittingly diverged to the north and if the disembarkation had 
been attempted at the appointed place, the losses suffered in gaining 
a footing would have been very heavy. It is not impossible indeed 
that the effort to land might have failed altogether. The point 
has already been raised when discussing certain of the landings 
near Helles, that where it is a question of getting ashore in defiance 
of expected opposition there is a good deal to be said for choosing 
a technically unattractive spot, simply because such a spot is not 
unlikely to be weakly defended and may even be wholly undefended. 
The great thing is to get ashore somehow. 

Still, the fact remains that a locality like Anzac Cove makes a 
very bad starting-point for further operations. The cove came 
to be a base — and a most indifferent base — for an army of many 
thousand men during several months. There can be little doubt 



NEED OF SECURING ELBOW-ROOM 101 

that, if a successful landing had been carried out at the spot intended 
by Sir I. Hamilton, the subsequent operations on the western 
shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula would have proved far easier to 
conduct than did the operations based on that slender fringe of 
beach south of Ari Burnu. The accident by which the invaders 
brought up at the "^Tong place may have been a blessing in dis- 
guise, but we cannot be sure of this. 

The importance of making good as much ground as possible at 
once. — When undertaking a landing in face of opposition there is 
one fundamental principle to be observed. That is to frame plans 
with a view to getting a maximum number of troops ashore at the 
start in a minimum period of time. For you want to secure as 
extensive a bridgehead, so to speak, as is practicable before the 
enemy can mass forces to oppose you. Upon the possession of the 
bridgehead, and upon its extent, will largely depend the question 
whether the main body of the landing army and its artillery, and 
later the rest of its impedimenta, can be rapidly disembarked 
without their suffering damage while still on the water and while 
they are actually setting foot on shore. But, for the attacking 
side to fully act up to this principle, it is indispensable that the 
means exist for landing the vanguard and the leading echelons 
very quickly. Therefore, assuming that the troops exist and that 
the transports are available for conveying them to the coast where 
the landing is contemplated, it comes to be primarily a question 
of boats, and of the picket boats or other self-propelling craft 
required to tow the boats to shore. 

Now the Australasians only had at their disposal sufficient boat 
accommodation to land 1500 m^en at a time. The rate of dis- 
embarkation was, it is true, accelerated by a liberal use of destroyers 
and of trawlers that were able to steam in close to the beach. Still, 
even allowing for this, it is obvious that if more boats had been 
available the operation could have been carried out more speedily 
than it was, always taking it for granted that there was sufficient 
length of beach to admit of additional tows approaching land 
without causing undue crowding. During the furious affrays that 
took place on the hill-sides and ridges and amongst the gullies 
and ravines after 7 a.m. on the 25th of April, victory or defeat 
almost hinged upon the result of the competition that took place 
between the contending sides as to which of the two would gather 



102 THE DARDANELLES 

the quicker on the battlefield in strong force. The Turks were not 
prepared for a hostile landing at Anzac Cove, and at first could 
only rush reinforcements from positions to the south and the north 
where the possibility of attack had been foreseen. The numbers 
that could be drawn from these sources were not large, so additional 
troops were hurried across the peninsula from Maidos. All this 
took time, and, in the event, neither side seems to have had the 
advantage in respect to establishing a very decided superiority 
of force during the forenoon, although the defenders were perhaps 
always rather the stronger after about 8 a.m. 

Even with the limited number of boats available, three infantry 
brigades were put on shore by noon, i.e. some 12,000 men were 
landed in under eight hours. Had double the number of boats 
been at the disposal of the troops, those three brigades would have 
been on land by 9 a.m. and they would have enjoyed a decided 
advantage in numbers over the enemy at that time ; all five 
brigades would have been in battle-line by noon or one o'clock in 
the afternoon ; a satisfactory line, instead of a haphazard one, 
would have been taken up ; and it is reasonable to assume that 
the losses suffered by the attacking side would have been less 
severe than they were. Double the number of boats would in 
fact have ensured the triumph of the Australasians in the race for 
securing decisive superiority of force during the critical early hours 
on which so much depended. The question arises whether there 
would have been sufficient beach-space for so large a number of 
tows, and the subject of space taken up by the transports and 
larger craft also manifestly enters into this problem. But there 
was in reality plenty of room at Anzac Cove and on either side 
of that indentation in the coast. Indeed, given sufficient boats, 
there appears to have been sufficient frontage to land quite two 
brigades at a time, representing about 8000 men ; they would have 
needed about 250 cutters, arranged in about 60 tows, and if we 
allow 50 yards between tows would have taken up roughly 3000 
yards of beach ; quite that length of foreshore was practicable 
for beaching boats about Anzac in a flat calm such as prevailed 
on the morning of the 25th of April. 

No criticism of the arrangements is intended, in so far as the 
operation as planned is concerned. The Royal Navy had only 
a certain number of cutters and picket boats at their disposal. 



PORTABLE ARTILLERY AT A LANDING 103 

and this governed the dispositions as a whole. But if ever in the 
future a considerable force of troops formed from the British Empire 
IS called upon to undertake a task analogous to that which General 
Birdwood's army corps was required to perform on the 25th of 
April — the task of landing in face of opposition on a shore where 
the topographical conditions admit of disembarking on a broad 
front and on a calm day — it is to be hoped that there will be a 
sufficiently large flotilla of boats at hand to permit of full advantage 
being taken of tactical and technical conditions which from their 
nature greatly benefit the attacking side. 

The value of portable artillery on these occasions. — The inestim- 
able service performed by the single Indian mountain battery, 
that was put ashore early and was promptly brought into action 
on the heights, deserves a word of notice. Portable guns are 
particularly useful when carrying out a landing because, the equip- 
ment being light, it can easily be handled in boats and can be 
rapidly disembarked from them, and because this form of artillery 
can traverse practically any ground that infantry are able to 
advance over. Two mountain batteries accompanied the infantry 
when the Italians landed at Benghazi in 1913. Anzac Cove, over- 
hung by declivities rising abruptly from the foreshore, presented 
conditions where no other kind of artillery could have been brought 
into action within an hour or two of the leading troops reaching 
land. Published accounts of the day's fighting indicate that the 
arrival of these Indian mountain gmis close to the firing line, at 
a moment when the leading Australian troops were hard put to 
it to hold their own, was of signal import. Their presence afforded 
invaluable moral support to the infantry, and it created a feeling 
of confidence in the ranks just at the very juncture when this was 
most needed. 

Partially trained troops. — There is a point suggested by the events 
of the 25th of April at Anzac to which attention must be drawn. 
It is evident from the official despatch, as also from certain pub- 
lished narratives by Australians justly proud of Australian deeds 
on this great day, that the assailants suffered to some extent from 
a lack of cohesion and as a result of excessive individuality in the 
ranks. In many cases small, isolated parties pushed intrepidly on 
into this wilderness of hills and scrub, wholly unsupported and with 
fatal consequences to themselves. In the enthusiasm of victorious 



104 THE DARDANELLES 

advance a portion of the infantry clearly got somewhat out of 
hand at the start, and this serves to illustrate a weakness that is 
inherent in raw troops — the expression is not used in an invidious 
sense, but in its true meaning of soldiery who are not broken to 
habits of instinctive military submission. It was not in the Gallipoli 
Peninsula alone that the contrast between fully trained and partially 
tramed troops manifested itself in the field during the early months 
of the World War. Our " New Army " divisions, even when 
composed of the best material and after shaping extremely well 
before actually meeting the enemy, did not at the outset of their 
career in the war zones compare favourably with divisions of older 
standing. They fell short in respect to automatic interdependence 
between units and portions of units. Their officers and non- 
commissioned officers had not acquired confidence in themselves 
nor controlling influence over those under their authority. All 
ranks lacked experience, even though they knew their duties and 
could handle their arms. Only a very few weeks at the front 
were needed to transform them into absolutely the right stuff ; 
but their start was not always wholly satisfactory. 

At the date of the opening of the attack upon the Gallipoli 
Peninsula, hostilities had only been in progress for eight and a half 
months, and the contingents from the Antipodes which played so 
glorious a part in the Dardanelles campaign from the outset had 
only come into being within that period. One month of the time 
furthermore had been spent on board ship. They had hardly 
undergone more than four months of profitable training as fully 
equipped and efficiently organised troops when they were called 
upon to join in an exceptionally difficult and trying operation of 
war. That is not time enough ; for it must be remembered that 
we are not here discussing a question of drafts about to be incor- 
porated in regiments of long standing, but of entirely new units. 
The landing at Anzac would have offered a crucial test to the 
best of troops, and it is surely no indication of incapacity on the 
part of subordinate leaders nor of indiscipline amongst rank and 
file if, under such circumstances, the forces but recently raised in 
Australasia failed to combine with their valour and their grit and 
their enterprise that steadiness in advance which comes almost 
like second nature to the personnel of veteran battalions. 

Conclusion. — This has been a long chapter, but for this its subject 



A DAY WITHOUT PRECEDENT 105 

is the best excuse. It deals with the most interesting and illumin- 
ating day's fighting that took place during the greatest of all wars. 
Up till the 25th of April, I9I5, it had for years been purely a matter 
of conjecture as to what would happen were a resolute effort on 
an important scale to be made to effect a landing in face of opposi- 
tion under the tactical conditions of to-day. There was no precedent 
to point to and no example to quote. The subject had been studied 
tentatively and as a matter of theory, and certain conclusions may 
have been arrived at, but few works treating of the art of war 
concerned themselves with the matter at all, and the problem 
involved had hardly received the consideration to which it was 
entitled either from the point of view of the attacking or of the 
defending side. Still, all soldiers who had devoted attention to 
the subject were in agreement on one point. They realised that 
an opposed landing represented one of the most hazardous and 
most difficult enterprises that a military force could be called on 
to undertake, and the events at Helles, and to a somewhat less 
extent at Anzac and at Kum Kale, proved that they had inter- 
preted the prospective situation aright. 

A criticism of the general plan that was adopted for securing a 
footing ashore on the confines of the Dardanelles will be reserved 
till the end of next chapter, wherein will be recorded and discussed 
the consolidation of Sir I. Hamilton's hold upon the fringes of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula. This chapter, for practical purposes, has been 
concerned only with the actual landings, and with suggestions 
as to certain tactical deductions that may be drawn from the 
events that took place. But one point should always be borne in 
mind when formulating theories as to the conduct of enterprises 
of this class, based upon the dramatic episodes of the 25th of April, 
1915 — the achievements of the assailants were in some cases so 
brilliant and so extraordinary on that occasion that the incidents 
of that day of conflict can hardly be accepted as necessarily estab- 
lishing tactical principles, nor as giving a true picture of what a 
disembarkation in defiance of determined resistance is likely to 
involve in warfare of the future. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE CONSOLIDATION AT HELLES AND ANZAC 

The situation at Helles on the morning of the 26th. — Determined 
fighting took place at several points along the scattered, partially 
consolidated, thinly held Helles front during the night of the 25th- 
26th, as has been recorded in the last chapter, fighting in which the 
Turks displayed marked enterprise and in which they gave evidence 
of considerable daring. Especially bitter were the affrays near 
Y Beach, as also along certain portions of the defensive sector 
that had been established between X and W Beaches. Sufficient 
troops had, however, already been got ashore to permit of a stal- 
wart opposition being offered to the Ottoman offensive efforts, 
and the consequence was that the line which had been taken up 
by the late hours of the previous afternoon was held at practically 
all points in spite of the severe hostile pressure exercised against 
it. But the position of the Scottish Borderers and Marines on the 
bluffs above Y Beach was, as we have already seen, rendered 
virtually untenable during the night. Therefore the situation 
about Helles as it presented itself in the early morning hours of 
the 26th of April may be summed up as follows : — 

It had been decided to withdraw from Y Beach and to transfer 
the troops landed there to X Beach. The disembarkation of per- 
sonnel and stores at X and W Beaches had been proceeding all 
night, and the British force based on those two landing-places was 
occupying a position that coincided with high ground which 
stretched, parallel with the shore, from a little north of X Beach 
round to near the dismantled 9-2-inch battery that lay between 
Cape Helles and V Beach. This high ground constitutes the water- 
shed of the basin draining into Morto Bay, a basin of which the rim 
is adjacent to the outer shore of the peninsula right round to the 
back of Sedd-el-Bahr village. Thus the topographical features are 

106 



ADVANCE FROM V BEACH 107 

such that troops put on shore anywhere between X Beach and the 
Sedd-el-Bahr camber had only to push inland a very short distance 
to gain ground from which they overlooked the basin. But the 
companies that had managed to land on Beach V and that had 
suffered so terribly in the effort, had been unable to penetrate 
beyond the outermost fringe of the beach except close to the old 
castle ; there they had gained some little ground and they enjoyed 
a certain amount of cover. As for the detached force formed by 
the South Wales Borderers which was planted down near Beach S, 
this had dug itself in in a favourable position above the landing- 
place, and it could reckon upon holding on unless assailed by great 
numbers. A footing had in short been won at four points, viz. at 
Y Beach, at X and W Beaches, at V Beach, and at S Beach ; but 
of those four points Y Beach was about to he abandoned, and such 
grip as had been fixed upon V Beach remained in the highest degree 
precarious. 

The advance from V Beach. — It was imperative that the somewhat 
critical situation at V Beach should be improved without delay. 
The general position of affairs demanded that the front which had 
already been made more or less good by the invading troops should 
be extended so as to include Sedd-el-Bahr and the high ground 
immediately above the village. The acquisition of additional 
landing accommodation had, moreover, become urgent, and it 
should be borne in mind that, but for its being particularly exposed 
to shell-fire from across the Straits, V Beach was about the best 
landing-place in the entire Holies area. The extrication of the 
detachments of the Dublins, Munsters, and Hampshires from the 
position where they found themselves, still at the water's edge 
after nearly twenty-four hours of combat, was a matter of immediate 
concern. So, realising all this. General Hunter Weston arranged 
with Admiral Wemyss that a strenuous bombardment should be 
directed upon the enemy's entrenchments about the beach by the 
warships as soon as there was sufficient light, and in pursuance of 
this compact Albion and other vessels poured a hurricane of pro- 
jectiles from an early hour upon the village of Sedd-el-Bahr, upon 
the castle, and upon the Turkish entrenchments that furrowed the 
amphitheatre dominating the beach itself. 

The naval gunners having done their work, the remnants of the 
three battalions, their spirit wholly unsubdued by what they had 



108 THE DARDANELLES 

gone through, rushed the castle, and by 9 a.m. they were already 
beginning to force their way into the village. It was only by slow 
degrees, and after gaining the mastery in an infuriated house-to- 
house contest, that the assailants had by about noon succeeded 
in gaining possession of the place. The triumph had, moreover, 
been somewhat dearly purchased in respect to killed and wounded. 

There followed a prolonged pause, which was seized upon by 
Albion for the delivery of a fierce cannonade, taking the redoubt 
of Kharab Kala for target. This work, which crowned the eminence 
behind the village and was held in strength by the enemy, now 
engaged the attention of the victorious troops. Spent as they were 
with fatigue but still undaunted, they emerged from the village as 
soon as the battleship had done her work and began pressing 
resolutely up the bullet-swept incline that led to the redoubt. 
Although greeted by a veritable tempest of musketry, nothing could 
stop this unconquerable band of Irish and English soldiers. The 
Turks offered a staunch resistance and they caused the assailants 
many casualties ; but in spite of their fatalistic fortitude they were 
compelled to give ground, and the fortress was eventually carried 
by storm — a glorious feat of arms under the circumstances. In 
memory of the brave staff ofi&cer who had done much during the 
night to reorganise the weary troops cowering on V Beach, who 
had led them all the forenoon, and who fell at the last almost in 
the moment of victory, the redoubt was thenceforward known as 
Fort Doughty Wyllie. 

Other parties of the force landed the previous day, which had 
been detached from the main body when in the village, had in the 
meantime worked their way off to the left, had ejected the enemy 
from the elaborate trench system which bore upon the landing- 
place, had occupied the ruined barracks overlooking the western 
end of the beach, and had joined hands with the extreme right 
of the troops that were based upon Beach W. For detachments 
from that side had at last succeeded in expelling the riflemen 
from the 9-2-inch battery whence they had given the Worcesters 
so much trouble on the previous afternoon. As a result of these 
combats the landing-place was definitely in the hands of the attack- 
ing side by about 3 p.m., and the little body of infantry which had 
accomplished such great things was at last able to take rest for a 
while. 



J 



FRENCH LAND AT HELLES 109 

Reinforcements landed at V Beach. — No sooner had the enemy 
been turned out of his trenches that overlooked Beach V than 
additional troops were pushed ashore in hot haste. French infantry, 
to the amount of four battalions (other than the troops which had 
landed at Kum Kale), was got ashore rapidly and proceeded 
along the coast towards Morto Bay. The Turks had shown remark- 
able grit and valour on the 25th, and again during the contest for 
Sedd-el-Bahr village and for the Kharab Kala redoubt ; but the 
loss of this latter very important tactical point would seem to have 
caused a profound discouragement in the enemy's ranks in this part 
of the battlefield. For it was found possible to work right round 
Morto Bay by the evening and to gain contact with the South Wales 
Borderers at De Tott's battery beyond S Beach — an important 
acquisition of ground and gained quite easily. In the meantime, 
guns and stores were being landed freely at W and V Beaches, 
both being immune from direct rifle fire owing to the lie of the 
country now that the Allies held all the high ground which has 
been described above as the rim of the basin draining into Morto 
Bay. 

Turkish dispositions with respect to Helles. — According to German 
accounts, Marshal Liman von Sanders, ensconced on Ghazi Tepe at 
the Bulair end of the peninsula, was not made fully aware of the 
condition of things at Helles until 9.30 p.m. on the 25th. He then 
received a message running as follows : — 

" The enemy has occupied the coast just east of Sedd-el-Bahr. 
The landings at the Zighin Dere and by Cape Helles are proceeding 
afresh. An enemy battalion has dug itself in above Eski-Hissarlik. 
The division^ is going to attack in full force after night has set in." 

This information was by no means correct in respect to detail, 
but it intimated to the chief of the defending side that his opponent 
had made good a footing at the extremity of the peninsula. The 
marshal promptly ordered both the 5th and 7th Divisions to pro- 
ceed by ship to Maidos — there were craft assembled for the purpose 
should such a move become necessary — and to march thence towards 
Helles. The leading battalion of the 7th Division is reported to 
have reached the heights above Eski-Hissarhk on the morning of 
the 26th, and a second to have appeared near Helles shortly after- 

1 Evidently the 9th Division. 



110 THE DARDANELLES 

wards ; but these units cannot still have been at Gallipoli at 9.30 
p.m. the previous night, taking into consideration the time required 
to embark them, to move them to Maidos, to disembark them there, 
and then to march them in the dark a distance of from ten to a 
dozen miles. They were probably somewhere near Maidos on the 
25th and marched straight from there. On the other hand, we 
may assume that the infantry of the 7th Division was arriving 
on the Helles battlefield during the latter part of the day on the 
26th, and should all have got to its destination by morning on the 
27th. Unless the Turks were very well off for shipping of a suit- 
able kind it would hardly seem likely that the whole of the 5th 
Division can have reached the Helles area till late on the 27th. 

The withdrawal from Kum Kale. — During the night of the 
25th-26th the Turks made resolute efforts to recover Kum Kale 
village, and they delivered their onsets in such strong force that, 
after desperate hand-to-hand fighting amongst the alleys and 
houses, large part of the place passed back into their hands. About 
dawn, however, the French succeeded in regaining the upper hand. 
They not only expelled the enemy from the village, but they also 
stormed the cemetery, which the Osmanlis had stuck to stubbornly 
on the previous day, after it had been effectively bombarded by 
Latour Treville, which had only arrived on the previous evening. 
As the morning drew on it, however, became apparent that the 
enemy was in strong force to the south — the entire 3rd Turkish 
Division appears to have been on the ground — and it was realised 
that to advance towards Yeni Shehr with a body of troops only 
3000 strong was under the circumstances out of the question. 
General D'Amade, who had landed, moreover received instruc- 
tions from Sir I. Hamilton that the French force now at Kum 
Kale was to be transferred to Helles. The French w^arships continued 
to bombard Yeni Shehr and the positions held by the Turks nearer 
to Kum Kale all day, and it was made possible by this means for 
the troops, who had been very highly tried during the night, to 
keep the enemy busy without their delivering an actual attack. As 
the gun-fire from the vessels took the Turks in enfilade considerable 
losses were inflicted upon them, and they manifested a marked 
readiness to surrender — more than their comrades evinced either 
at Helles or at Anzac. 

Creneral D'Amade decided, t'O defer the retirement ujitil dark, 



SITUATION ON THE 27TH 111 

and it was then effected successfully in spite of the hostile efforts 
at interference. 400 prisoners were carried off, and more had been 
taken and could have been removed had there been the requisite 
boat accommodation available. The French losses in the two days' 
fighting had amounted to 788 killed, wounded, and missing, or just 
about a quarter of the force. That the grip fixed upon the nearest 
point on the Asiatic shore to Helles and maintained upon it for the 
two critical days, the 25th and 26th, proved of value to the British 
troops in their contests for the possession of Sedd-el-Bahr, and also 
to the French when after landing on V Beach on the 26th they 
pushed round the edge of Morto Bay to gain touch with the British 
battalion at De Tott's, there can be no question. For there was in 
reality little interference by artillery fire from across the Straits 
during the Helles operations, compared to what might have been 
expected had this diversion at Kum Kale not taken place. But it 
does not necessarily follow on that account that the troops which 
were landed on the Asiatic shore on the 25th, together with the boat 
accommodation which they absorbed, would not have been more 
profitably employed in the Gallipoli Peninsula instead. 

The operations at Helles on the 27'th. — The Allies could fairly 
claim that the position of the landing army in the Helles area was 
decidedly more satisfactory on the night of the 26th-27th than 
it had been the previous night. The Allies now held all the ground 
near the coast from about X Beach right round to De Tott's 
Battery, the whole of the infantry of the 29th Division and several 
French battalions were already ashore, some guns had been landed, 
and considerable accumulations of stores were already collecting 
on the principal beaches, W and V. But there was urgent need 
of securing more elbow-room, quite apart from the question of 
giving the enemy battle. It was also most desirable to gain posses- 
sion of additional wells. Sir I. Hamilton in consequence felt him- 
self obliged on the 27th to call upon his troops for a fresh efiort. 
The object was partly to push the fighting units further forward 
from the immediate vicinity of the landing-places where it had 
become imperative to start establishing regular store depots, partly 
to occupy the lower portions of the basin near Morto Bay so as to 
acquire possession of additional watering places, and partly to take 
up a better tactical line from which to launch fresh ofiensive 
operations. The Allies on the morning of the 27th were drawn up, 



112 THE DARDANELLES 

as against the enemy, on a concave arc of a circle ; the Commander- 
in-Chief wished the troops to make their front the chord of that arc, 

A general advance accordingly took place, except on the extreme 
right, and the objective was gained with comparative ease. The 
Turks, although the 7th as well as the 9th Division must have 
been present with possibly some units of the 5th Division, only 
offered a very half-hearted opposition. The 29th Division pressed 
forward on the left and in the centre, while on the right four French 
battalions, pivoting on the South Wales Borderers, swung their 
left forward and so completed the new line. By the evening a 
satisfactory front had been secured that extended from near De 
Tott's Battery across to the mouth of the Zighin Dere about two 
miles north of Cape Tekke. The consolidation of the landing at 
Helles could thus be regarded as accomplished. 

The situation at Helles on the night of the 27th. — The Allies now 
occupied the toe of the Gallipoli Peninsula for a depth of about 
two miles, and the two main landing-places, W Beach and V Beach, 
were at least safe from musketry and machine-gun fire. Additional 
French troops had landed, some more guns had been got ashore, 
much useful work had been performed in improving the landing- 
places, and the Turks had had to acknowledge defeat at all points 
except at Y Beach. But the 29th Division had suffered very 
heavily during the severe fighting which it had undergone, the losses 
being by no means confined to those battalions which had been hit 
especially hard in the actual landings ; about a third of the infantry 
of the division was indeed already hors de combat, and there 
were no reserves at hand to fill up the yaw^ning gaps in the ranks. 
The French had up to the present fared better in this respect ; 
but the absence of any machinery for making good wastage amongst 
the troops on shore and amongst those shortly expected was already 
casting a shadow over the undertaking. Moreover, sufficient ground 
had not been gained at the end of three days' fighting to 
protect the landing-places, upon which the force depended for its 
existence, against fire from the feeblest of guns that the Turks 
might be able to bring into action, while the enemy had apparently 
assembled at least three divisions on the spot and probably enjoyed 
the advantage in respect to numbers. 

The position at Anzac on the morning of the 26th. — It is now 
necessary to turn to the efforts of the Australasian force to con- 



SITUATION AT ANZAC 113 

solidate its hold upon the very inconvenient landing-place, and 
upon the position covering this, which General Birdwood's army 
corps had occupied more or less by accident on the previous day. 

The situation at Anzac on the morning of the 26th was by no 
means wholly reassuring. The enemy was manifestly in formidable 
strength. It may, indeed, be observed here that the Turks and 
their German advisers had from the outset realised the vital 
importance to them of the extensive beaches that stretched north 
of Gaba Tepe, in view of the propinquity of these to Maidos and 
to the Narrows of the Dardanelles, and that they had assembled 
substantial reserves in the vicinity in anticipation of a landing. 
The Australasians had found little leisure for improving their 
hastily constructed defences during the night, owing to the per- 
sistent hostile attacks. Some field guns had, however, been landed 
and had been hauled up on to the high ground by dint of great 
exertions. A beginning had been made with the disembarkation 
of stores, and a certain amount of order had been established on 
the congested beach. But companies, battalions, and even brigades, 
had become intermingled to some extent on the previous day, as 
was almost bound to happen with newly organised, partially 
trained troops when flung into battle under particularly trying 
conditions ; and the situation ever since had been too anxious 
and critical to admit of their being re-sorted. 

Although it protected the landing-plac« against frontal fire or 
direct counter-attack, the position which had been taken up on 
the high ground, to some extent at random, remained very far from 
being an ideal one. It suffered from the grave drawback of forming 
a sharp salient, and it therefore almost invited enfilade, and even 
reverse, fire from such enemy's artillery as might be brought into 
action on the flanks. Any effort to extend and improve the line 
carried with it the obligation of expelling hostile detachments 
from a rugged, tangled, scrub-clad terrain, which offered these 
rare opportunities for putting up an obstinate defence. The fighting 
front could only be gained from the beach by an arduous climb up 
steep declivities, and the problem of conveying food and ammuni- 
tion to the firing line was a particularly awkward one. The situation 
in respect to water also gave grounds for much solicitude, for there 
was very little of it to be found within the occupied area. The 
beach, again, was so lacking in depth that its unsuitability for con- 



114 THE DARDANELLES 

stituting the base of a force of all arms was obvious ; moreover, 
in addition to its inconvenience it was exposed to shell fire, alike 
from the side of Gaba Tepe to the south and from the hilly ground 
jutting westwards towards Suvla Bay to the north. Nevertheless, 
there Avere features in the position of affairs that were not without 
encouragement. Such as it was, the footing that had been gained 
almost at the first rush on the previous morning had developed 
into a grip, and, if the Tvirks were fighting stubbornly, the invaders 
from the Antipodes had already proved themselves masters of the 
Osmanlis, man for man. Queen Elizabeth had, morever, steamed 
round from Helles and opened fire with her huge shrapnel shell 
upon the Turkish positions soon after daylight on the 26th. 

The 26th and 27th at Anzac. — Scarcely had day broken when the 
Turks were descried gathering in force and evidently contemplat- 
ing attack. Fresh units were seen to be joining up from various 
points, and as far as could be judged the enemy was in greater 
strength than on the previous day. It is not easy to arrive at a 
clear idea either as to the sequence of events or as to the tactical 
aspects of the fighting in the case of the many encounters that took 
place around the Anzac position during the opening days of the land 
campaign. Vivid descriptions have appeared from the pen of 
participators in those grim combats amid the wilderness of ridges 
and gullies and spurs which constituted the battle area ; but they 
deal with the subject piecemeal, and it is difficult to knit them into 
a well-balanced record. It would seem, however, that the struggle 
of the 26th began in earnest about 9 a.m. when, after a heavy 
preliminary bombardment of shrapnel, a most determined onset 
was launched by the enemy, the shock being especially violent 
along the front that had been taken up beyond Shrapnel Gully, 
facing south-eastwards. Severe fighting lasted for some time, with- 
out the assailants gaining any appreciable advantage. The warships 
joined in the fray and gave the defenders no little encouragement. 
Towards noon, however, there came a pause ; but soon afterwards 
the Turks delivered a fresh assault, which was beaten off decisively. 
Thereupon the Anzacs rushed out from their flimsy breastworks, 
thrust the enemy back in dire confusion, and by this well-timed 
and vigorous counter-stroke eased the situation for the rest of the 
day. The entrenchments were improved and consolidated during 
the afternoon and during the following night, and the line was 



SITUATION AT ANZAC 115 

somewhat pushed forward at a number of points, for the struggles 
that had taken place had indicated the spots that stood in need 
of special care. The 1st Division had suffered the most heavily 
in the furious encounters, the losses during the 25th and 26th mount- 
ing up in the 3rd Brigade to 1900, in the 2nd Brigade to 1700, 
and in the 1st Brigade to 900 — a total of 4500, or about two-fifths 
of the infantry of the division. 

More guns were brought into action by the Turks on the 27th, V 
and they rained shrapnel upon the position, causing many casual- 
ties ; they also bombarded the beach and even fired on the warships. 
No serious infantry attacks were, however, attempted, so that the 
Anzacs were enabled to yet further strengthen their works. By 
the evening the trenches and breastworks were indeed so solidly 
constructed and so skilfully arranged and designed that they 
might almost be considered capable of defying any infantry attack 
that had not been preceded by a destructive bombardment with 
heavy shell. Much work had also already been done in respect to 
improving communications. The steepness of the slopes towards 
the sea, even if they had the disadvantage of making connection 
between the beach and the greater part of the front most cumber- 
some, had on the other hand the merit of providing many welcome 
patches of dead ground that were immune from the enemy's 
projectiles. Masses of stores were already accumulating about the 
landing-place, and subsidiary depots were being organised in con- 
venient, sheltered localities, higher up. General Birdwood's corps 
had in fact consolidated its hold on a morsel of the peninsula, and 
it could confidently reckon upon retaining the ground that it had 
seized against almost any attack that the Turks might be expected 
to deliver on it. 

The situation at Anzac on the night of the 26th as compared with 
that at Helles. — It is interesting to note what a marked difference 
existed between the positions that the Allies had secured and 
consolidated respectively at Helles and at Anzac on the night of 
the 26th. At Helles the invading army held the whole of the 
extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula, having as it were bitten off 
its end ; at Anzac the Austrahan troops had on the contrary 
merely bitten slightly into its flank. At Helles, the left flank 
abutting on the sea was safe, and the right flank abutting on the 
Straits was secure except against shell fire from across the water ; 



116 THE DARDANELLES 

at Anzac, on the contrary, neither flank was completely sheltered 
by the coast-line, although the left flank was somewhat assisted 
by the indentation in the shore north of Ari Burnu. At Helles 
the front was already fully two miles in advance of the two main 
landing-places, the Beaches W and V ; at Anzac the outermost 
point of the line of defence was not 1000 yards as the crow flies 
from the one landing-place. At Helles the Allies had two satis- 
factory beaches at their disposal, both furnished with fairly good 
avenues leading inland ; at Anzac the only avenues leading inland 
from the narrow, cramped beach climbed up steep inclines and only 
offered particularly inconvenient means of communication. In 
so far as the question of the landing-places being under shell-fire 
was concerned, there was not much to choose between the two 
positions ; but, taking all the various considerations together, 
there can be no question that the position of affairs at Helles was 
for the moment decidedly the less unpromising of the two. 

The ground wrested from the Turks at Anzac has already been 
described as constituting a haphazard position as regards the actual 
defensive line taken up. But it was also an eminently haphazard 
one as regards its fitness to serve as a starting-point for further 
offensive operations. As will be seen from Map V on p. 168, the 
ridges and bluffs which formed such conspicuous features within 
the area that the Australasian forces had appropriated, merely 
represent outlying lower spurs of a rugged mountain mass called 
Sari Bair, which culminates in a hill- top known as Koja Chemen 
Tepe, 1000 feet above sea-level and situated about three miles 
to the north-east of the landing-place. It will be convenient to 
defer a more detailed description of the peculiar topographical 
features around Anzac, until an outline of the operations in this 
theatre of war during the next three months comes to be given 
in Chapter IX ; suffice it to say here, that, although General 
Birdwood was firmly established on the outer coast-line of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula, he was planted down at a locality from which 
it was particularly difficult to advance, and where the maintenance 
of a steady flow of supplies to his troops in front line, a few hundreds 
of yards from their base, presented a most awkward problem. 
The failure of the flotilla, as it had groped its way forward in the 
grey of the morning on the 25th, to hit off the point that it was 
aiming for, may peradventure have saved the Australasian corps 



THE TURKS 117 

from a sanguinary repulse at Gaba Tepe. But it had led to the 
troops from the Antipodes being put ashore at a spot on the coast 
that was singularly unpromising for an advance on the Narrows. 

The fighting qualities of the Turks. — Critical discussion of the 
general plan for effecting landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula has 
been deferred till this chapter ; Chapter V only touched upon the 
tactical aspects of the actual disembarkations. But. before examin- 
ing further into this subject, it may not be out of place to refer to a 
factor which exerted no small influence over this campaign from 
start to finish, and to which the stirring experiences of the first three 
days of land operations had already drawn attention. 

The military forces of the Ottoman Empire had by no means 
covered themselves with glory in their bout of 1912 with the 
legions of the Balkan kingdoms. The story of that contest had 
been little better than a tale of successive discomfitures encountered 
by the Turks at the hands of enemies whom they had affected to 
despise. Their organisation had proved to be lamentably defective, 
their armies had been outmanoeuvred and outfought in almost 
every engagement, and their troops had given little evidence of 
retaming those martial virtues for which the campaigners of the 
Caliph in times past had been justly renowned. Even when 
defending prepared positions — a form of combat for which the 
Osmanli had manifested an exceptional bent during his many 
struggles with the Russian in the past — the Sultan's infantry 
had shown themselves incapable of repelling the onsets of Bul- 
garian, of Serb and of Greek foot-soldiers. So it came about that 
when the Allies embarked upon the Dardanelles venture they 
reckoned to some extent upon the enemy offering but a feeble 
resistance. The first few hours of struggle at Helles and at Anzac, 
however, made it plain that there was plenty of fight still left in 
the defenders of the Ottoman Empire when this came to be 
threatened at its heart. 

For, not only did the Turks offer an obstinate resistance to the 
landings, and not only had they made admirable arrangements 
(at least at Helles) for bringing the efiorts of their antagonists 
to naught ; they had also delivered coimter-attacks with a verve 
and with a resolution that was eminently worthy of a warrior 
race of renown dating back to the days of Soliman the Magnificent. 
Even troops so seasoned as, and fortified with an es'prit de corps 



118 THE DARDANELLES 

so bracing as that which bestirred, the 29th Division, found the 
guardians of the Dardanelles to be foemen by no means unworthy 
of their steel. There liad been an untoward miscalculation. The 
idea which had been cherished in influential quarters that Ottoman 
resistance would crumble up, so long as the Allies displayed suffi- 
cient vigour and resolution, had within a few hours of the first 
British soldier setting foot on Turkish soil proved to be a delusion 
and a snare. Those signal episodes of war, the historic landings 
of the 25th of April, had already proved beyond the possibility of 
a doubt that, in deciding to undertake the conquest of the Helles- 
pont, the Western Governments had committed themselves to an 
eminently precarious adventure, that — if the expression be admis- 
sible — those executive bodies had bitten ofE at least as much as 
they could comfortably chew. 
sj/ Sir I. Hamilton's division of his forces. — Separation of forces is 

always to be deprecated on the part of the side possessing the 
initiative in time of war, supposing that the enemy is thereby placed 
in a position to act on interior lines. You may hold the strings ; 
but if you get your people all over the place the enemy may catch 
some of them and give them a dressing down. Sir I. Hamilton did 
disseminate his troops. Was he right ? 

The Commander-in-Chief separated the divisions that he had at 
his disposal for gaining a footing on, and conquering, the Gallipoli 
Peninsula into two roughly equal groups, and he launched those 
two groups against two objectives separated many miles from each 
other. In doing so he in reality gave his adversaries no opening 
for acting on interior lines during those very critical hours when 
the 29th Division at Helles and the Australasian divisions at Anzac 
were forcing their way ashore, and were consolidating their hardly 
won positions after they had got ashore. The Turks were not so 
disposed on the 25th of April as to be able to turn the principle of 
interior lines to account. They could not have transferred troops 
from north of Gaba Tepe to the extremity of the peninsula, or vice 
versa, and have brought such troops into action on the new ground, 
between sunrise and sundown on that day. The distance was too 
great. Allowing for inevitable delays in issuing orders and in 
extricating the units to be transferred from one point to the other 
during the course of actual fighting, there was not time enough. 
As a matter of fact, the Commander-in-Chief carried separation of 



J 



DIVISION OF THE ALLIES' FORCES 119 

force still further, seeing that he detailed a French contingent 
and the available French shipping and boats for Kum Kale, but 
that additional dissemination likewise afforded the Turks no oppor- 
tunity to act on interior lines. For the Ottoman troops to have 
moved from the vicinity of Kum Kale to Anzac would have taken 
quite two days. For them to have moved from Kum Kale to 
Helles via Chanak could hardly have taken them less than three. 
Sir Tan's deliberate splitting up of his forces did not in fact furnish 
the Turks with an opportunity of acting effectively against him on 
the most precarious day of the campaign — that of the first landing. 

But this question has also to be looked at from the other point 
of view. The Allies possessed the initiative and, thanks to com- 
mand of the sea and to their power — speaking in general terms — of 
starting an attack at any point where there happened to be a 
favourable beach, they enjoyed uncommon liberty of action. 
Although the disposition of the enemy forces was not w^ell known, 
it could safely be conjectured that these would be distributed, 
some at Helles, some about Gaba Tepe, some at Bulair, and some 
at Kum Kale and on the coast to the south, with main reserves 
at Maidos and Chanak. Without going into questions of 
detail for the moment, it may be asked whether it would not have 
been in accordance with principles of sound strategy to strike with 
all available forces at one point. 

Certainly it would if practicable ; and that point ought to have 
been either Helles or Anzac, for Kum Kale and Bulair need hardly 
be seriously considered here. Supposing it to have been feasible 
to throw ashore the whole of the troops available on the 25th at 
one place or the other, the enemy could not have concentrated his 
entire strength to meet the attack on a single day, and the balance 
of advantage in respect to numbers would therefore clearly have 
rested with the Allies. Thus the question arises : — 

Would it have been feasible to land the whole of tlie available 
troops on the 25th either at Helles or at Anzac ? 

And the answer to this question obviously hinges upon the 
amount of boat accommodation upon which the troops could 
reckon, and upon the extent of beach in the two rival areas where 
landing was practicable. It will therefore be necessary in the 
first place to examine into these aspects of the question. 

Boat accommodation and beach space available. — The Allies would 



120 THE DARDANELLES 

seem to have had sufficient cutters and other boats at their com- 
mand on the 25th of April to land quite 5500 infantrymen in one 
single trip. They could, moreover, utilise the River Clyde once. 
They were thus in a position to disembark 7500 men as a first 
effort, and could follow this up w4th successive contingents of 
5000 each, always provided that boats did not come to grief during 
the landing process. Now, given ample beach space, the number 
of men who can be put on shore within any given times does not 
depend only upon the number of boats that are being used. It 
depends also upon the distance that the tows have to travel each 
time, or, in other words, upon the distance at which the larger 
vessels in which the troops will have been conveyed to the vicinity 
of the landing-place are obliged to lie out from the shore. It is a 
point worth noting in this connection that at Kum Kale, where 
the troops laboured under the disadvantages of relying on old- 
fashioned picket boats for towing purposes, and of being seriously 
inconvenienced by the contrary current when the tows were pro- 
ceeding inshore, loaded, 3000 men and four field guns reached land 
within six hours. Even in spite of the difficulties of transportation 
and navigation involved, quite 6000 men could therefore have 
landed at this spot between daybreak and sundown on an April 
day. At Anzac, again, with apparently only sufficient boat accom- 
modation for 1500 men available at a time, five infantry brigades, 
and some guns — say 16,000 men — were got ashore on the one day. 
At Helles, on the other hand, with the necessary means of con- 
veying at least 2500 men to land in one trip without counting the 
River Clyde, it was not until after eight o'clock in the evening that 
all twelve battalions of the 29th Division were on shore ; and this 
in spite of the fact that the disembarkation had begun soon after 
dawn. As a question of statistics, the results achieved at Helles 
were disappointing when compared with what was effected at Kum 
Kale and at Anzac, and, seeing the devoted exertions of all con- 
cerned and the admirable nature of the naval arrangements, this 
can only be accounted for by the lack of beach space at the toe 
of the peninsula, and by the stubborn resistance that was en- 
countered in this sector. All the available beach space was turned 
to account except at one point, the mouth of the stream flowing 
down the Zighin Dere, mentioned on page 64 as having later 
gone by the name of Gully Beach. As a matter of fact, this Gully 



HELLES AND ANZAC COMPARED 121 

Beach was, next to W and V Beaches, the best landing-place in 
the Helles area ; but previous reconnaissances had established 
that the locality was elaborately prepared for defence, and any 
attempt to gain a footing there would almost certainly have met 
with stem resistance. Indeed, it was largely due to the action 
of the Turkish forces which had been told off to defend Gully 
Beach that the K.O.S.B.'s and the Marines were unable after dis- 
embarking at Y Beach to make their way along the coast to X Beach 
according to programme. 

Assuming, however, that this additional landing-place had been 
made use of on the 25th, and that troops such as had been told 
off to deliver the attack there had managed to fight their way ashore, 
it is reasonable to suppose that two or three battalions, in addition 
to those of the 29th Division, could have been disembarked in the 
Helles area on that day. But a total of about sixteen battalions 
would seem to have been almost the limit of what could have been 
got on shore at the extremity of the peninsula at the first start. 
In other words, not half of the infantry force that was on the 
water on the night of the 24th-25th could during the all-important 
opening day of the land campaign have been landed in this area. 
And this circumstance was not due to lack of boats, but to the 
absence of extensive beaches and to the sturdy opposition offered 
by an enemy who was well prepared for what was coming. 

When, on the other hand, we turn to the rival scene of opera- 
tions, to the coast-line stretching away to the north of the Gaba 
Tepe promontory, we find totally different conditions. There, 
beach accommodation was, comparatively speaking, plentiful. 
First of all there was the stretch near the promontory that had 
been selected for the landing of General Bird wood's force, but 
which the flotilla missed ; further north there was an extensive 
beach south of Anzac Cove afterwards known as Brighton Beach ; 
then there was Anzac Cove itself ; beyond that again the foreshore 
was practicable for a long way. The only really satisfactory spot 
may have been the one chosen in advance ; but infantry could 
have been put on shore on that still April morning at almost any 
point between Gaba Tepe and Suvla Bay. Bearing in mind that 
in actual practice nearly 16,000 Australasian infantrymen were 
disembarked at Anzac Cove by the afternoon of the 25th, it is 
difficult to avoid the conclusion that the entire infantry force 



122 THE DARDANELLES 

that Avas immediately at the disposal of Sir 1. Hamilton, viz. the 
29th Division, some battalions of the Naval Division, the Anzacs, 
and the 1st French Division, could have been planted down on the 
western coast of the Gallipoli Peninsula within a very few hours 
by making use of all the boat accommodation that he had at 
disposal, reinforced by the River Clyde. To the question whether 
it would have been feasible to land the whole of the available 
troops on the 25th either at Helles or at Anzac, the answer in fact 
is that it would not have been feasible at Helles, but that it would 
have been feasible at Anzac. 

Possibilities at Helles. — Sir I. Hamilton's plan of utilising five 
distinct beaches for landing at in the Helles sector has been 
criticised in some quarters on the grounds that it necessarily led 
to tactical dispersion of force. But, so far from this multiplication 
of landing-places being contrary to sound principles of conducting 
war under the conditions that existed, it would almost seem to be 
a matter of consideration whether the Commander-in-Chief would 
not have been well advised to have taken advantage of a sixth 
beach, viz. Gully Beach, even admitting that troops directed to 
that point would almost certainly have had to fight hard to gain 
a footing. It has, however, to be remembered that it was only pro- 
posed to land the infantry of the 29th Division at Helles on the 
25th. Supposing that the French force, which made its way ashore 
at Kum Kale, had been directed on the Helles sector instead, 
there certainly would have been good reason for turning Gully 
Beach to account ; for it was manifestly of vital importance to 
disembark as large a force as was practicable in a minimum of 
time. 

In debating these matters it must never be forgotten that we 
know much now that the Commander-in-Chief and his staff did not 
know when they were framing the plan and issuing orders for its 
execution. We know now that V Beach was so effectively defended 
that, to all intents and purposes, landing there on the 25th only 
became practicable after dark, and that no real footing was made 
good till the following morning. We know now that a single 
battalion met with no serious difficulty in fixing its grip upon 
Turkish soil near S Beach, in spite of the isolation of that point. 
We know now that the disembarkation of troops at Y Beach and 
at X Beach proved quite a simple operation, and that dangers 



POSSIBILITIES AT HELLES 123 

only tkickened in these quarters after the detachments were safely 
on shore. We know now that the Turks were in strong force at 
Krithia, and we are entitled to assume that reinforcements kept 
reaching the enemy by the road through that village during the 
afternoon of the 25th and during the night of the 25th-26th. We 
are in a totally different position from that occupied by the head- 
quarters of the Expeditionary Force on the 24th of April, 1915, and 
the following observations are not therefore intended as criticisms 
of the plan of operations. 

It wiU be convenient first to consider the situation on the extreme 
left of the British attacks. Now, the two battalions which dis- 
embarked at Y Beach, but which had perforce to be withdrawn 
on the following morning, might have been of great assistance to 
a force landing at Gully Beach. Their failure to get far when they 
moved south along the coast was largely due to the presence of the 
Turkish detachments guarding Gully Beach, where no attack was 
actually delivered. If troops had landed, or even tried to land, 
at that point, the situation would obviously have been considerably 
modified. The attacking side would have been so much stronger 
on this left flank that it might have held its ground against any 
attacks that the enemy could make upon it on the 25th and during 
the following night. A force securely planted down at Gully 
Beach would, moreover, have constituted a serious threat to the 
communications of the defenders fighting in the vicinity of X and 
W Beaches. Still, even with the aid of a friendly force approaching 
from the side of Y Beach, troops landing at Gully Beach might 
have been beaten ofi, or they might have fared no better than the 
Dublins, Munsters, and Hampshires did at V Beach. 

Supposing that the general plan had been for the whole of the 
available force to disembark in the Helles sector. Gully Beach would 
no doubt have been made use of. But as it was, troops to land 
there must have been obtained at the expense of some other point. 
The defences there do not seem to have been so elaborate as were 
those which proved too formidable for the three battalions told off 
to V Beach. Knowing what we know now, it is interesting to 
speculate what the result might have been if those three battalions 
and the River Clyde had been allocated to Gully Beach instead 
of to the landing-place where they sufi'ered so terribly. Given the 
Dublins, the Munsters, the Hampshires, the K.O.S.B.'s, and the 



124 THE DARDANELLES 

Marine battalion firmly established about Gully Beach, with another 
force ashore based on X and W Beaches, and with the South 
Wales Borderers at De Tott's, it is likely enough that the enemy 
would have withdrawn on the night of the 25th-26th to the line 
which the Turks did not actually take up till the 27th. The French 
could in that case have begun landing unopposed at V Beach on 
the morning of the 26th, instead of the afternoon. 

Turning now to the other flank, to the vicinity of S Beach and 
De Tott's Battery, the fact that the South Wales Borderers, retarded 
as their disembarkation was by the current, got ashore at this 
landing-place and held on where they were with no great difficulty 
till supported by the French on the afternoon of the 26th, is one 
of the most singular incidents in the fight for a footing at Helles. 
Had more infantry and more boats been available on the 25th, 
and had some of them been detailed to reinforce the one battalion 
that had established itself at this point, the result would have been 
to assemble a somewhat formidable body of troops on the extreme 
left flank of the Turks, and this must have caused the Ottoman 
staff anxiety. It would have made the position of the defenders 
of V Beach a very uncomfortable one. Nor is there any reason to 
suppose that reinforcements would have found much difficulty in 
disembarking on S Beach, apart from navigation troubles. With 
the knowledge that we now possess, it does seem a pity that more 
advantage was not taken of the somewhat unexpected facility 
with which the enterprise entrusted to the South Wales Borderers 
achieved its object. Still, troops could only have been obtained 
on the 25th for this objective at the expense of some other point. 
Moreover, supposing that some spare battalions had been avail- 
able, these might well have been employed to still greater advan- 
tage on the other flank — at Gully Beach, say, as suggested in the 
previous paragraph. 

Had the untoward outcome of the efiort to land upon V Beach 
on the 25th been anticipated. Sir L Hamilton would naturally 
have refrained from directing troops thither, except possibly as a 
feint, and would have used the three battalions that actually 
operated against it in some other manner. All three could no 
doubt have been landed at X Beach before noon ; or they could 
have proceeded to Gully Beach ; or they might have been employed 
wholly or in part at S Beach, although owing to the shallows the 



POSSIBILITIES AT HELLES 125 

conditions there would not seem to have suited the River Clyde. 
The results, had any one of these alternatives been adopted, would 
probably have been more satisfactory than those actually accom- 
plished by the very gallant assault upon V Beach. The three 
battalions might even have disembarked at Y Beach ; but that 
was so bad a landing-place in the technical sense that to have 
piled up five battalions there would have practically meant gambling 
on the chance of the Turks withdrawing from the extreme end of 
the peninsula under threat of this force planted down on their 
right flank. It may be remarked here that the venture at Y Beach, 
although it turned out to be a mistake, did undoubtedly have the 
effect of occupying the attention of considerable bodies of Turkish 
troops which otherwise would have been available for confronting 
the forces landed at other points. 

Knowing w^hat we do now, it almost looks as if the best disposi- 
tion of the 29th Division for the great landing would have been a 
main operation directed upon X Beach, using the River Clyde and 
six or seven battalions, coupled with the disembarkation of three 
battalions, instead of one, at S Beach. Some of the troops put ashore 
at X Beach could have taken W Beach in rear before any attempt 
to land at that point was launched, which should have made this 
latter operation a comparatively speaking easy one for the two 
or three remaining units. Even now, when we have cognisance 
of the conditions that obtained, the problem of what could be done 
and of what ought to have been done admits of wide diversity of 
opinion. In the conditions of uncertainty that prevailed before the 
event the problem was one of singular complexity. 

The auestion of Kum Kale. — Exception has been taken by some 
critics to the diversion of the three thousand French troops to 
Kum Kale. The purpose of this departure from the rule that in 
war effort should be concentrated, was to relieve the troops that 
were to land at Helles from some of the artillery fire from across the 
Straits that they were otherwise likely to experience. It is not 
clearly established that the capture of Kum Kale in reality made 
very much difference in this respect. Although the promontory 
at the mouth of the Hellespont on the Asiatic side represents the 
nearest point to the Helles area, that tongue of land squeezed 
between the Mendere flats and the .^gean did not provide the 
Turks with gun positions that the warships of the Allies could not 



126 THE DARDANELLES 

efiectively deal with. It was rather from the undulations about 
In Tepe than from Kum Kale that the extremity of the Gallipoli 
Peninsula was exposed to artillery annoyance. Moreover, even 
supposing that the deflection of an important fraction of the 
available force to the far side of the Dardanelles did serve to check 
Turkish gun-fire across the Straits, it remains a matter of opinion 
whether the three French battalions would not have been more 
advantageously employed in the Helles area on the 25th. 

The paramount object to work for on that day in this theatre 
of attack was to get as large a force as possible ashore at the 
extremity of the peninsula, and with that force to wrest as much 
ground as possible from the Turks before nightfall. The French regi- 
ment put ashore at Kum Kale, provided as it was with boat 
accommodation for landing purposes, would have been invaluable 
as a reinforcement to the 29th Division on that strenuous day. 
Various possibilities of allotment of the division have been dis- 
cussed. But however its battalions were told off it is manifest 
that an addition to their number of 25 per cent must have 
proved of great advantage. The French might for instance have 
been allocated to S Beach, allowing the South Wales Borderers 
to take their place at some other point. In so far as the question 
of keeping down Turkish artillery fire across the channel is con- 
cerned, it may be observed that the three French battleships and 
Askold were mainly engaged on the 25th in shelling the vicinity 
of Kum Kale and afterwards that of Yeni Shehr ; had there been 
no landing on the Asiatic side their guns would have been available 
for dealing with enemy artillery that was directing its fire on the 
Helles area. 

While on the subject of artillery bombardment from across the 
Straits, it should be pointed out that, while such fire did constitute 
an unpleasant threat to S Beach and V Beach and to a less extent 
to W Beach, the three landing-places on the outer coast of the 
peninsula — X Beach, Gully Beach, and Y Beach — were much less 
menaced. Even transports and warships lying off those outer 
beaches were practically invisible from the Asiatic shore owing to 
the intervening high ground, while the beaches themselves were 
wholly concealed. During the months that followed, W and V 
Beaches were constantly scenes of bustle and activity, and the 
Turkish long-range gun-fire was a great nuisance. Still, those 



I 



POSSIBILITIES NORTH OF GAB A TEPE 127 

later experiences hardly suggest that the landings even at S Beach 
and V Beach would have been very seriously interfered with had 
no attack been made simultaneously upon Kum Kale. 

Possibilities north of Gaba Tepe. — What might have been accom- 
plished in the other arena, the littoral north of Gaba Tepe, is 
unfortunately a matter of conjecture depending on very indeter- 
minate premises. The possibility of achieving a substantial success 
in this quarter and one leading to far-reaching results, hinged on a 
factor full of uncertainty. For the truth is that we cannot possibly 
tell now whether a landing on that beach just north of the promon- 
tory, which was the real goal of the Australasian corps on the 
morning of the 25th of April, would have succeeded or not. We 
do know that the enemy was well prepared to meet attack in this 
locality, that elaborate devices for beating off any attempt from 
the sea were in existence, and that considerable reserves of Turkish 
troops were within hail. We are entitled to assume, therefore, 
that a disembarkation would only have been effected at the cost 
of heavy casualties, if it proved feasible at all. 

The environs of this particular stretch of foreshore were obviously 
such as to aid defending troops in protecting it against attack. 
The headland of Gaba Tepe, seventy-five feet above sea-level, 
dominated it in flank. A low spur of the Sari Bair mountain 
fronted it at less than a mile distance. It was overlooked from the 
north by other, higher spurs of this mountain rising from the 
position which the Australasians secured on the 25th. There 
appear to have been wire entanglements as at W and V Beaches, 
and Gaba Tepe was a mass of trenches. It is difficult to believe 
that if the first half of the 3rd Australian Brigade, which led the 
way from the beach of Anzac Cove and rushed the bluffs above 
it within a few minutes of quitting the boats, had fetched up at 
this more southerly point instead, those dashing soldiers from the 
Antipodes would not have found the task of securing a foot- 
ing incomparably more difficult than it proved to be at the 
point where they actually made their way ashore. They might 
well have fared no better than the Royal Dublin Fusiliers did 
when their cutters grounded on V Beach to meet with the tempest 
of fire which almost wiped them out. 

On the other hand, assuming that the landing under the shadow 
of Gaba Tepe had proved successful, that the leading troops had 



128 THE DARDANELLES 

been promptly followed by others as occurred at Anzac, and that 
under the impulse of ever-gathering forces the defenders had won 
their way inland far enough to secure some sort of battle-front, 
the situation ought to have been decidedly more promising than it 
came to be in practice a couple of miles further north during the 
early hours of the 25th. General Birdwood's troops would have 
been in the position of having secured one end of a line of opera- 
tions which led somewhere, instead of their merely clinging to a 
wilderness of rugged scrub-clad spurs which led nowhere. As 
will be seen from Map V on page 168, the beach by Gaba Tepe 
is only five miles distant from Kilia Liman, the bight on the 
European side of the Dardanelles a short way north of Maidos 
and at the upper end of the Narrows. The intervening ground, 
although undulating, partakes of the nature of a trough separating 
the mass of Sari Bair and of the hills to the east of it, from the 
Pasha Dagh hill system extending from Kilid Bahr almost across 
to the outer coast-line of the peninsula. This trough represents 
the shortest route from the outer coast-line to the vicinity of the 
Narrows. Strategically it may almost be called the natural gate- 
way for a military force to the Dardanelles. The drawback to it 
has already been mentioned in Chapter IV — its importance was just 
as obvious to the Turks as it was to the attacking side. A landing 
force was consequently sure to meet with most determined opposi- 
tion in any attempt to win its way through a depression of such 
manifest strategical significance. 

Had the attack on the 25th actually been delivered according to 
programme upon the beach just north of Gaba Tepe, it would very 
likely have met with discomfiture. But the result might well have 
been difierent supposing that the entire invading army had made 
this portion of the Gallipoli Peninsula its goal. For in that case 
the stretch of foreshore by Gaba Tepe would merely have repre-r 
sented one extremity — an important extremity no doubt — of the 
battle-front. The flotilla of cutters approaching the shore would 
have done so on a frontage extending from the promontory at least 
as far north as Ari Burnu. Any detachments attempting to gain 
the land about dawn would no doubt only have represented 
advanced parties, the bulk of the first echelon of troops waiting 
until daylight to make sure of arriving at their appointed spots 
on the coast. Starting with a misadventure on the southern flank 



A SINGLE LANDING NEAR ANZAC 129 

need not then necessarily have implied that the coveted beach 
at that end of the line could not have been secured later, seeing 
that its defences would almost automatically have been taken in 
flank by troops thrown ashore to the north of it. The 29th 
Division, the Australasians and the 1st French Division, together, 
would almost certainly have enjoyed for several hours a very 
decided superiority in numbers over the Turks — they would indeed 
probably have remained the stronger side for the whole of the 25th. 
Neither the 5th nor the 7th Turkish Division, from the Bulair end, 
could have reached the scene of action for many hours ; and even 
if Liman von Sanders had been prepared to withdraw troops from 
Helles they could not have arrived before evening. 

Had all gone reasonably well the Allies might, before their 
antagonists could meet them on level terms or nearly level terms 
in respect to numbers, have established their hold upon a very 
useful area near the shore. They might indeed well have won 
their way two or three miles forward before sundown on the 25th 
in the direction of Kilia Liman and have thus on the first day 
created a situation decidedly more promising than that which 
actually was brought about at Helles, at Anzac and at Kum Kale 
within the same period of time. 

Still, it has to be acknowledged that it would have been a daring 
venture to have poured out some 40,000 infantry upon these two 
or three miles of foreshore, which were believed at the time to be 
none too favourable for efiecting military landings. Opposition 
was inevitable. Formidable entrenchments had been observed. 
The littoral was overlooked by hills that must be in hostile posses- 
sion. A plan of operations framed on the suggested lines would 
have been a case of putting all one's eggs in one basket, and, even 
supposing the enterprise to start as auspiciously as could fairly be 
hoped for, it meant disembarking four divisions, with more to 
follow, at a locality where the landing-place, or places, were much 
exposed in the event of bad weather, and where troops ashore 
would run some risk of finding themselves cut off from their trans- 
ports and from their base. There was a good deal to be said against 
the scheme, in fact, as well as for it. 

Conclusion. — Nevertheless, if we take into consideration the 
disappointing course that the campaign was to follow — as will be 
recorded in later chapters — it is difficult to escape from the imprea«- 



130 THE DARDANELLES 

sion that, what would no doubt have appeared to those on the spot 
to be the boldest if not indeed to be an actually foolhardy, plan 
might have been the right one to adopt. But we enjoy a great 
advantage over those who were burdened with the responsibility 
of deciding what was to be done. We know numbers of facts 
germane to the issue, of which the Commander-in-Chief and the 
naval authorities were either wholly unaware, or of which they 
were only partially cognisant. We know how very formidable 
the defences were at the Helles end of the peninsula. We know 
that the foreshore for long stretches north of Gaba Tepe was 
perfectly practicable for boat-landings on a calm day. We know 
that at the actual moment of disembarkation the Turks were not 
particularly well prepared to meet attack north of Gaba Tepe 
except at the particularly favourable spot close to the promontory. 
We know that the enemy would take a tremendous lot of beating 
no matter what the scheme of attack was, and that merely gaining 
a footing on shore — which many thought meant half the battle — 
was in reality but a short step towards the attainment of the goal. 

The truth of the matter is that, under the circumstances which 
ruled the situation in the latter part of April, 1915, the throwing 
of one half of the available forces on shore at Helles and Kum Kale, 
and the throwing of the other half of those forces ashore north of 
Gaba Tepe, could only by extraordinarily good fortune have 
achieved the object that was sought after. That object presum- 
ably was the occupation by the first comers of a sufl&cient area of 
the GalKpoli Peninsula, in the right place, to permit of a triumphant 
offensive being launched from thence as soon as the remainder of 
the troops had disembarked. But the fairly large area acquired 
almost at once at Helles was not in the right place. The forces 
detailed for the other operation, the landing north of Gaba Tepe 
which was the right place, were numerically insufficient to acquire 
immediate possession of an adequate area there. 

That the plan chosen failed for all practical purposes, was not 
so much the consequence of topographical conditions nor of the 
disposition of the enemy forces nor of bad luck, as it was the 
upshot of a factor that had not been sufficiently taken into 
account. This factor was the rare fighting qualities that the 
Osmanli soldier was to display in the campaign. The troops who 
had come so badly out of the struggle with the Bulgars and Serbs 



THE REAL MISTAKE 131 

and Greeks two years before, turned out to be an extremely tough 
proposition. But if Sir I. Hamilton and his stafi at the outset 
possibly underrated Ottoman valour and grit, if they assumed 
too readily that the opposition that would be offered by this 
soldiery would not be of the most whole-hearted type, they were 
only following the lead of Governments which, in a happy-go- 
lucky mood and confident that the enemy would crumble up 
before a show of bluff, had despatched the expedition on a mission 
of which they had failed to realise the danger, and for which suitable 
preparations had not been made by them in advance. ^ 

' lu thus advocating the plan of projecting the whole force upon the littoral 
north of Gaba Tepe, the writer may be pronouncing himself too confidently 
concerning a subject which is, when all is said and done, essentially a matter 
of opinion. But he was called upon in 1906 to consider, more or less as an 
academical proposition, the problem of an attack upon the Dardanelles. He 
had to consider it afresh a few weeks after the World War broke out, because 
the possibility of employing Greek military force.s for the j)urpose in concert 
with Allied warships, was officially raised. As those responsible in this 
country early in 1915 were gradually drifting into the Gallipoli adventure, he 
had to examine the proljlem yet again. From the outset of those successive 
investigations, no other plan of operations ever appeared to him as comparing 
with that of making the main effort at the one point where it was feasible to 
land large bodies of troops rapidly on a broad front within striking distance 
of the Narrows. Nor have the dramatic events which followed, and the 
additional information acquired from their story, caused him to change that 
view. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE GENERAL STRATEGICAL SITUATION PRODUCED BY THE 

LANDINGS 

The Expeditionary Force definitely committed to a certain plan. — 

Before continuing the narrative of militar}'- events at Helles and at 
Anzac, it will be convenient to indicate some of the more important 
strategical considerations that were involved in the land campaign 
now definitely initiated, and to this the present chapter will be 
devoted. Two distinct landings having taken place, both of them 
on an imposing scale, one at the extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula 
and the other on its western coast, the army of the Allies was 
definitely committed to two distinct operations although both of 
them aimed at the same objective, the occupation of the ground 
dominating the Narrows on the European side of the Straits. By 
the night of the 27th-28th the position of both forces had been 
consolidated. To withdraw either of them from the area which 
it had managed to secure would even at this early stage have proved 
a difiicult operation. It was bound to become an even more difl&cult 
operation from hour to hour, as artillery, impedimenta of all kinds, 
and stores of food and ammunition were discharged on the beaches. 
Sir I. Hamilton's plan had been almost automatically disclosed to 
the Turks, who undoubtedly had been w^ell informed of the con- 
centrations of British and French troops at Alexandria and on the 
islands of Lemnos and Tenedos. Uncertainty as to where the blow 
would fall was at an end in the enemy's camp. ^ 

Confronted with a jait accompli, the bilateral invasion of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula in its southern portion, the Ottoman military 
authorities ancl their German advisers had two main questions 

» Owing to the many islands in the iEgean and to the character of their 
population and of [Jjat of Alexwdria, it was almost impossibly tp keep mover 
ments sepret 



THE TURKISH COMMUNICATIONS 133 

to take into consideration. The first was how to reinforce the 
troops already collected in the peninsula for its defence. The other 
was how to supply their army in the peninsula now and in the 
future with the munitions and food which it would stand in need 
of if it was to keep the field. Both depended upon the problem of 
communications, and it is necessary therefore to give some informa- 
tion with regard to these. 

Turkish communications with, and in, the Gallipoli Peninsula. — 
The Sea of Marmora, and the Dardanelles above Kilid Bahr and 
Chanak, were in the hands of the Turks and there was in con- 
sequence safe water communication with the peninsula. The towns 
of Gallipoli and Maidos offered certain landing facilities, and 
owing to their position in restricted waters these ports, such as 
they were, were not much dependent on the state of the weather. 
It was also possible to land personnel and stores at Kilid Bahr, 
and there were two or three localities like Kilia Liman, at the 
angle north of Maidos, where jetties could easily be erected so as 
to enable lighters and boats to discharge. As the campaign 
progressed arrangements for disembarking goods, as well as roads, 
were a good deal improved about Maidos and Kilia Liman. 

Land communications within the Ottoman Empire are notoriously 
most defective, and those leading to the Dardanelles were no excep- 
tion to the rule. The nearest point to the peninsula on any Turkish 
railway was to be found on the line between Constantinople and 
Adrianople at about seventy-five miles from Bulair, while the 
nearest point on the Asiatic side, within a few miles of Smyrna, 
was quite 130 miles from Chanak. The road communications lead- 
ing to the latter place were, however, fairly serviceable, and there 
was incessant military traffic across the Straits between Nagara 
Point or Chanak and Maidos during the campaign. There was also 
the very important road leading from Thrace to Bulair and Gallipoli, 
a well laid out chaussee ; but where this route traversed the 
Isthmus of Bulair it ran along the Gulf of Saros side of the defile 
and it was consequently under fire of Allies' warships if any 
happened to be on the spot. A road was, however, laid out along 
the Sea of Marmora side of the isthmus during the campaign, 
which proved very useful to the Turkish army that was defending 
the peninsula in the later stages of the operations. 

There were thus three principal lines of communication at the 



134 THE DARDANELLES 

disposal of the Ottoman military authorities for pouring troops 
and stores into the theatre of active operations. There was the 
water route via the Sea of Marmora. There was the wat«r route 
across the Straits from Chanak, which latter place was in road 
communication with the towns in Anatolia. There was the land 
route from the interior of Thrac-e to Bulair. All three lines were 
made use of freely at difierent stages of the campaign. 

Communications within the peninsula itself were few and in- 
different. As shown on Map VII two roads ran from near Gallipoli 
to near Maidos, but neither of them would seem to have been well 
laid out routes in good repair. There was a moderately good road 
leading from Maidos to Krithia and from thence on to Sedd-el-Bahr. 
This strip of Ottoman territory which was to be the scene of one 
of the most memorable of campaigns is a hilly region, the hills 
generally being rugged and broken. Most of the streams that run 
into the Straits or into the iEgean follow a course at right angles 
to the coast-line ; and as such country tracks as are available 
after a fashion for wheels mostly followed the valleys, the com- 
munications, regarded as a whole, were necessarily winding and 
inconvenient from the military point of view. It may be remarked 
here that, since the invading forces never penetrated far into the 
peninsula, the unsatisfactory character of the communications 
within its area was a handicap to the defending rather than to 
the attacking side. 

Ottoman powers o! concentration. — Situated at no great distance 
from Constantinople and from Smyrna, and with water com- 
munication available to act as a link with the Golden Horn, the 
environs of the Dardanelles formed a section of the Sultan's 
dominions where substantial military forces could be assembled 
without those delays taking place, which have as a rule so 
hampered Turkish operations in most portions of their Empire. 
Constantinople and its neighbourhood constituted at all times 
by far the most important centre of military activity in the State. 
In 1915 there, moreover, already existed railway communication 
connecting the Bosphorus with Aleppo, Palestine, and the Hejaz, 
interrupted only for short distances at two points owing to the 
tunnels through a couple of mountain ranges not yet being com- 
pleted ; distant regions could therefore be tapped from the capital 
for troops, and the troops thus obtained could be sent on by water 



i 



ALLIES' LIBERTY OF ACTION 135 

to Grallipoli or Maidos, or by land to Bulair or Chanak. All three 
routes from about Constantinople seem to have been used both 
when mustering the army for defence of the Dardanelles and when 
despatching reinforcements to that army during the campaign 
subsequent to April, 1915. 

It seems doubtful whether large forces were transferred to the 
vicinity of the Straits, from the original garrison of Smyrna and its 
environs. Exposed as it was to maritime attack at the hands of the 
Allies, the Ottoman authorities were hardly in a position to denude 
so important a city of its troops. But Smyrna is the terminus of 
a railway system which connects up with the line above mentioned 
that leads from the Bosphorus to Syria, and it is not unlikely that 
soldiers from far-off portions of the Empire were brought to the 
Dardanelles via the city, following the land route thence to 
Chanak. 

The Allies' power to threaten descents upon other portions of the 
coast, and its consequences. — "While on the question of Ottoman 
facilities for concentration, it may be pointed out that the liberty 
of action which command of the sea conferred upon the Allies 
enabled them to tie Turkish forces down to districts other than 
the actual area of operations about Helles and Anzac. The possi- 
bility of effecting a military landing in force outside of the Bulair 
lines was seriously considered by Sir I. Hamilton in conjunction 
with Admiral de Robeck, even after operations in the Gallipoli 
Peninsula were in full swing. The possibility of such an operation 
on the part of their antagonists must have caused the Turkish 
and Grerman authorities some anxiety, and, as we know from 
Grerman admissions, tended to keep Ottoman detachments stationed 
about the town of Gallipoli and in the lines. Both sides, moreover, 
must have realised in about equal degree that there were promising 
openings for the British and French on the Asiatic shore near the 
mouth of the Straits and further to the south, at Besika Bay and 
beyond. But, whereas the Commander-in-Chief of the Expedi- 
tionary Force was aware whether he was going to commit himself 
to ventures in this direction or not, the Turks could not tell what 
their opponent's intentions might be. They were consequently 
forced to keep troops watching Kum Kale and the possible landing- 
places between that place and Yukyeri Bay, prepared to meet 
attacks that in the end were never delivered. In this matter the 



136 THE DARDANELLES 

invaders undoubtedly enjoyed an important advantage. They 
compelled their adversaries to disseminate forces while remaining 
in a position to keep their own concentrated. 

Even on the night of the 27th-28th, when the British and French 
forces had established themselves at two points on the Gallipoli 
Peninsula and when the defenders were hard put to it to hold these 
invaders in check, it was probably almost as well known to the 
Turkish stafi as it was to the staff of the Expeditionary Force that 
additional forces of the Allies were to be expected almost at once. 
But the Turkish staff could not know where these fresh troops 
would be thrown ashore, whether at Helles, or at Anzac, or near 
Bulair, or on the Asiatic side, and so they had to be prepared at 
all points. Did we possess the distribution " states " of the 
Ottoman forces operating around the Dardanelles during the eight 
months' campaign, we should probably ascertain from them that 
on the average about one-third of the whole of the Fifth Turkish 
Army was disposed at points where it exercised no influence what- 
ever on the course of the struggle. 

Possibilities of severing the Turkish communications. — So long 
as the naval forces of the Allies remained below the Narrows of 
the Dardanelles, the enemy's communications by water could only 
be severed or interrupted either by means of such submarines as 
succeeded in passing the minefields and reached the upper portion 
of the Straits and the Sea of Marmora, or else by gun-fire from 
warships directed across the peninsula from somewhere off Gaba 
Tepe — always assuming that the Expeditionary Force did not 
reach some spot from which it would dominate the channel above 
the Narrows. Some very daring and skilfully conducted raids by 
individual submarines were carried out, and they interfered more 
and more with the transfer of Turkish troops and stores to the 
scene of military action by water as the operations proceeded. The 
fire from warships also caused inconvenience to the enemy about 
the Narrows and compelled ships to discharge at Ak Bashi, a cove 
east of Kilia Liman (not shown on Map V), where there were at 
first no facilities whatever. But such interruption as was caused 
to the Ottoman communications by water was in the nature of 
things of a somewhat fitful character, and was effective against 
transit down the Sea of Marmora and the Straits, rather than 
trafi&c across the Narrows. 



ARRIVAL OF ENEMY SUBMARINES 137 

It has been mentioned above that the question of a military 
descent on the Bulair Isthmus received serious consideration at 
the hands of the chiefs of the Allies. Such an operation, assuming 
it to have been successful, would have effectually severed the 
important land line of communication leading from Thrace to the 
peninsula. Moreover, had such a descent been undertaken, and 
had it led to the forcing of the Bulair lines and to the occupation 
of ground about the town of Gallipoli, it would have meant a very 
serious interference with the Turkish water route from the Sea of 
Marmora to Maidos, for even field guns would have dominated the 
upper reaches of the Dardanelles by day from the European side. 
Marshal Liman von Sanders evidently realised this and therefore 
kept portions of his force near the isthmus. Traffic along the road 
which traverses the Bulair Isthmus was a good deal interfered 
with by the fire from British and French warships, but these could 
not prohibit the passage of transport by night. There can be 
no doubt that a military operation directed against this important 
line of Turkish communication might have achieved most important 
results, but the Turks were prepared for such an eventuality and 
such a project would consequently have involved a landing in face 
of serious opposition. But there was also another strong objection 
to undertaking an offensive in this quarter, and it may be as well 
to mention this here, because the point will serve to introduce the 
question of the Allies' water communications. 

Almost simultaneously with the successful landings at Helles 
and Anzac the danger of enemy submarines, a danger which had 
been fully foreseen for some weeks previously, began to cause 
Admiral de Robeck serious concern. It had been ascertained that 
one or two under-water vessels had passed the Straits of Gibraltar, 
and there could be little doubt that sooner or later these craft, 
which were known to possess a wide radius of action, would appear 
in the ^gean. Within a very few weeks subsequent to the 25th 
of April, the system of bringing troops to the landing-places on 
the Gallipoli Peninsula in oc^an-going transports and great warships 
had, as we shall see, to be abandoned in favour of utilising trawlers 
and tugs for the purpose, such craft being much less likely to be 
struck by torpedoes than vessels of large size and drawing many 
feet of water. This factor of enemy submarines would not have 
affected the question of a landing about the Bulair Isthmus had 



138 THE DARDANELLES 

such an operation been undertaken at the end of April or in the 
esLilj days of May ; but, later on, the naval authorities entertained 
very strong objections against despatching a flotilla of small 
craft from the bases in the islands of Lemnos and Imbros on so 
long a voyage as one to the upper end of the Gulf of Saros. The 
Bulair project, in fact, came, at an early date after the Expeditionary 
Force had gained its footing at Helles and Anzac, to be precluded 
by maritime consideration almost more than by military ones. 

The bases of the Allies. — In discussing the strategical aspects 
of the Allies' communications, it will be best to touch in the first 
place upon the various bases from which the British and French 
drew their reinforcements of personnel and their supplies of all 
kinds, and at certain of which final details of organisation 
were in some cases adjusted before the despatch of troops actually 
to the Gallipoli Peninsula was carried out. The principal base 
throughout was the Nile Delta, with Alexandria as its natural 
outlet. Malta was made use of to some extent. Then there were 
the three islands of Lemnos, Imbros, and Tenedos lying near the 
mouth of the Dardanelles, each of which played its more or less 
notable role in the campaign for the Straits. Finally, there was 
the island of Mitylene which was also utilised to some extent in 
later stages of the operations. 

Alexandria, emporium of commerce and first-class port as it is, 
furnished with abundant wharfage and fitted out w4th most of the 
modern appliances that exist for discharging and loading up ships, 
needs no description. In Egypt were gathered together the training 
units and reserve depots of the Australasian contingents, as also 
the depots of such Indian troops as participated in the contest 
for the Gallipoli Peninsula. We have already seen in Chapter III 
how, when it was decided to undertake land operations on a great 
scale in substitution for the original plan under which the military 
were merely to act as auxiliaries to the fleet, the leading portions 
of the Expeditionary Force, British and French alike, were re- 
organised and repacked into their transports at Alexandria during 
the latter days of March and the opening ones of April, It is 
to be noted, moreover, that the divisions which were sent out from 
the United Kingdom to the iEgean, as also the Australasian 
divisions when these were completed after arrival in Egypt, had with 
them most of the artillery and of the transport which forms part 



MUDROS AND KEPHALOS 139 

of the normal authorised war establishment of such units. Many 
of the batteries and most of the transport were left in Egypt for a 
time ; and latterly guns and impedimenta arriving from the United 
Kingdom were usually s^it straight to the Nile Delta, while the 
infantry with certain selected detachments proceeded straight to 
Lemnos or Imbros. This depositing of artillery in Egypt was 
mainly due to the lack of facilities for disembarking heavy weights 
and for landing animals on the open beaches which had to serve 
for advanced bases in the peninsula. The guns were subsequently 
from time to time transferred to the fighting zone as the campaign 
developed ; but large part of the transport was never required 
at all and it stopped where it was. 

Although Malta was of service chiefly as a port of call, it was 
made use of by the Expeditionary Force in the later stages of the 
struggle for hospital purposes. Valetta, moreover, constituted the 
main base of the fleet, all heavy repairs being carried out at the naval 
dockyard in the Grand Harbour. 

The remarkable physical features of the inlet known as Mudros 
Bay and Port Mudros in the island of Lemnos have already been 
mentioned in Chapter III, and its merits and its disadvantages 
set out. It is situated approximately fifty-five miles from Helles 
and somewhat further from Anzac, so that transit from this base to 
the GalUpoli Peninsula was necessarily a matter of several hours. 
Another objection to Lemnos was that the island was Greek territory 
and therefore at least nominally neutral soil, with the result that 
it was by no means easy to prevent intelligence of military move- 
ments being conveyed from thence to the enemy. But in spite of 
these defects, Port Mudros and its surroundings gradually, as the 
weeks passed, developed into a great military centre and became the 
headquarters of the line of communications of the Expeditionary 
Force. Piers were constructed, the water supply was seen to, new 
roads were prepared and old ones repaired, stretches of light rail- 
way were introduced, and store-buildings, hospitals, and rest camps 
were set up. The harbour, moreover, served as an advanced base 
and anchorage for the Allies' naval forces, its narrow entrance being 
easily made secure against enemy submarines. 

The Bay of Kephalos, situated on the eastern side of the Island 
of Imbros {see the inset to Map I), also became an important 
military base, and its shore was chosen by Sir I. Hamilton as the 



140 THE DARDANELLES 

site of his General Headquarters, as the distance therefrom to 
the nearest point of the Gallipoli Peninsula was only about fourteen 
miles — a twenty-five minutes' run by destroyer. Owing to its 
geographical position, the bay was completely sheltered from west 
and south, but it was, on the other hand, quite open to the north- 
east, and this was the direction from which came the prevailing 
wind. Kephalos served in a sense as a complement to the landing- 
places at Helles and Anzac, seeing that the peninsula beaches 
were exposed to the west and south ; small craft engaged on naval 
and mihtary work ofi the peninsula would run across to Imbros 
for shelter if it came on to blow from those quarters. The bay did 
not possess natural advantages in the shape of a narrow entrance 
such as Port Mudros enjoyed, and consequently provided by no 
means an ideal anchorage ; the safeguarding of so open a stretch 
of water against the enemy's under-water craft also taxed the 
ingenuity and resource of the sailors, and such floating piers and 
jetties as were established were always liable to sudden destruction 
if the wind got up from the bad quarter. Nevertheless, the proximity 
of Imbros to the actual theatre of conflict invested the island with 
a special significance and made its improvised port a scene of much 
activity. The island which was somewhat barren had few in- 
habitants, and these were easily controlled as the place was Turkish 
territory. 

Tenedos, which likewise formed part of the Ottoman Empire, 
was used principally by the fleet, offering as it did a well-sheltered 
anchorage under its lea. This island was at first utilised freely 
by the Royal Naval x4ir Service in view of its convenient position 
with reference to the peninsula. After the port of Kephalos had 
been developed Tenedos was used mainly by the French, and it 
remained their aviation base to the end. 

Then there was also the large, fertile, and populous island of 
Mitylene which belonged to the Greeks. Mitylene possesses two 
fine natural havens, each of them a land-locked sheet of deep water 
with narrow entrance, and one of them covering a considerable 
area. But owing to the distance of the island from the Dardanelles 
— the harbour nearest to the Straits is nearly eighty miles away — 
Mitylene hardly provided a very suitable base for troops operating 
in the Gallipoli Peninsula, especially after the submarine danger 
had become acute. However, as will be seen, this jumping-off place 



ALLIES' COMMUNICATIONS 141 

was used under special circumstances at a critical juncture of the 
campaign. 

The Allies' communications. — From the nature of the contest, 
the communications of the Allies were necessarily maritime, and 
in view of the distance of the ^gean from Great Britain and 
France — to say nothing of the Antipodes — they were also neces- 
sarily of great length. It must be remembered that while Egypt, 
as well as Lemnos and certain other islands, served as bases of 
varying military importance for the Expeditionary Force, the 
communications of that force were not confined to the stretches 
of sea between those bases and the peninsula. They extended 
from the bases back to English ports in the case of troops from the 
United Kingdom, to Australia and New Zealand in the case of 
General Birdwood's corps, and to France or to Tunis according to 
circumstances in the case of the French contingent. A voyage 
from Southampton or Avonmouth to the ^Egean or Egypt might 
be reckoned as a rule to take more than a fortnight, one from 
Marseilles to Lemnos would take fully a w^eek, and the transit 
from Australasia to Egypt was a matter of several weeks. In certain 
cases of exceptional urgency troops and munitions from the United 
Kingdom were transferred by rail to Marseilles and sailed from 
thence ; but unless special arrangements had been made for a 
move of this kind little time was saved by adopting the overland 
route. Nor was the number of days required for the passage from 
home territory to the zone of active operations dependent solely 
upon the period occupied in the long sea voyage. Transhipment 
was almost always necessary before reaching the final destination, 
and in some cases (especially where personnel or goods went in 
the first place to Egypt, as everything from the Antipodes did) 
there was double transhipment, once in Egypt, and a second time 
in Mudros harbour or at Imbros. We may take it that rarely did a 
detachment of troops or a consignment of stores take less than three 
weeks to find their way from the United Kingdom to the shores of 
the peninsula. This was a vital consideration when it came to be 
a question of getting out drafts to fill the gaps caused by casualties 
in action or by sickness. 

We have seen in Chapter V that when Sir I. Hamilton delivered 
his attacks on the 25th of April, the troops were for the most part 
Oonyeyed either in large warships or ejse in ocean-going transport^ 



142 THE DARDANELLES 

to the vicinity of the beaches where they were to disembark, 
although some detachments made the trip in trawlers. Transports 
continued to be used for taking troops to near the landing-places 
for the next few weeks ; but on the 22nd of May the presence of 
submarines was detected, and on the 26th the battleship Trium'ph, 
suddenly attacked ofi Gaba Tepe in broad daylight, was torpedoed 
and sunk. On the very next day the battleship Majestic met with 
a similar fate oS W Beach. The consequence of these two maritime 
mishaps was that from that date forward large ships were seldom 
used for conveying either personnel or material from the islands 
to the peninsula ; their place was taken by trawlers and tugs, of 
which types of craft a great flotilla was gradually got together. 
This arrangement suffered from the drawback that the voyage 
took longer ; but, on the other hand, the smaller vessels could get 
in nearer to the shore, and when piers came to be constructed at 
W and V Beaches and at Anzac it became possible to carry out 
some of the discharging direct without having recourse to cutters 
or lighters. 

It should be noted that the submarine menace did not affect the 
question of the direct shipments to the peninsula alone. The danger 
to troop-transports and freight ships on their way to Mudros, to 
Imbros, and at a later stage to Mitylene, caused the naval authori- 
ties of the Allies much anxiety, and the protection of such vessels 
necessitated a certain diversion of floating force from the immediate 
neighbourhood of the Straits to the sea routes leading thither from 
far afield. As a matter of fact the safeguard so afforded and the 
skill displayed in the naval dispositions proved most effective ; 
for losses were few. Nevertheless, a large transport carrying 1600 
troops on board was torpedoed on the 14th of August, with the 
loss of about 1000 of the passengers and crew, and untoward 
mishaps befell certain other vessels at various times. 

The Allies' powers of concentration. — In respect to reinforcements, 
as apart from drafts, the Expeditionary Force was obliged to look 
almost entirely to the United Kingdom. It is true that British 
troops might have been transferred from France and Flanders to 
the iEgean had the situation on the Western Front permitted of it, 
and that the move might perhaps have been carried out more 
expeditiously than one from the home country ; but the conditions 
on the Western Front never did permit of such depletions. A few 



QUESTION OF DRAFTS 143 

additional units were obtained from Australasia ; but during the 
early months of the Dardanelles operations the military authorities 
in the Antipodes were obliged to devote their attention rather to 
the problem of providing drafts for the existing army corps in the 
Gallipoli Peninsula than to that of creating new formations. The 
not inconsiderable forces of Indian troops stationed in Egypt had 
the defence of the Nile Delta to occupy them, and they could not 
therefore be drawn upon for the Dardanelles, while the military 
resources of India itself were, as it was, so severely strained by 
commitments in Mesopotamia and East Africa that nothing could 
be expected from that quarter. The French Government con- 
tented itself with trying to maintain at their proper establishment 
the two divisions that it had allotted to Sir I. Hamilton's army. 
So it came about that if reinforcements were to come from anywhere 
they had to come from the United Kingdom. 

Question of drafts. — But from the very outset, the question of 
drafts to fill up the gaps in the ranks was an acute one and 
one more pressing even than that of reinforcements. Casualties 
were heavy at the start, as we have seen. Later on there was 
much sickness amongst the troops in the peninsula, and the wastage 
due to this cause, added to the drain in men arising from losses 
in action, seriously depleted units and created very heavy demands 
for drafts ; and as the casualties during the almost incessant 
combats naturally fell chiefly upon the infantry, it was that branch 
of the service that gave especial grounds for anxiety. Moreover, 
to make matters worse, infantry battalions from the United 
Kingdom (especially those belonging to Territorial divisions and 
to the Royal Naval Division) too often took the field short of estab- 
lishment. It has been explained above that the transfer of detach- 
ments from English ports to the scene of action was bound to take 
quite three weeks. No provision had been made — or ever was 
adequately made — for maintaining reserves of infantry ojSicers and 
soldiers more or less on the spot, ready to fill gaps within a day or 
two after these occurred. The consequence was that the infantry 
from the United Kingdom was always below strength, for what hap- 
pened was this. By the time that the drafts intended to make 
good the wastage that had taken place during any particular period 
had arrived from English ports in the war zone, large numbers of 
additional casualties had already occurred. So replenishment was 



144 THE DARDANELLES 

always in arrear. The infantry battalions recruited in the British 
Isles were throughout the campaign from 25 per cent to 40 per cent 
below establishment. 

The truth is that reserves in infantrymen amounting to from 20 
per cent to 33 per cent of the total numbers in the field that had 
to be fed from English ports, ought to have been constantly at 
hand. Those reserves — or a proportion of them — ought to have 
been kept as near to the peninsula as possible, at Imbros say, 
or at Lemnos, or else in Mitylene. None of them should have 
been further away than Malta or Egypt. But, that some arrange- 
ment of this kind was not made, must not necessarily be 
attributed to bad management on the part of the military authori- 
ties. They could not produce what they had not got. A serious 
shortage of armed and trained personnel existed almost continuously 
in the British Islands until compulsory service was introduced in 
1916 ; for new divisions were constantly being formed and the 
demands for drafts from the Western Front were uniformly heavy. 
Sir I. Hamilton may have got his fair share, or more than his 
fair share, of what there was going ; but what was going was not 
enough. As has already been pointed out in the Introduction, a 
discussion concerning the relative importance of the supply of men 
and munitions to the Dardanelles Expeditionary Force, as compared 
to needs arising in other quarters, would be outside the scope of 
this volume. We simply have to take note that the requirements 
in respect to infantry drafts from the United Kingdom were not 
met. It must, however, be observed here that, although the percent- 
age of wastage arising from casualties in action proved to be consid- 
erably higher during the European War than military authorities 
in general had anticipated beforehand, the Dardanelles land 
campaign was not initiated until March, 1915, seven months after 
the outbreak of hostilities. The wastage to be expected could 
therefore to some extent be foreseen when the land campaign was 
being initiated. The fact that the production of reserves to fill 
gaps in the ranks could not be depended upon, ought indeed, if 
the matter was thought of at all, to have provided a powerful 
argument against embarking on the undertaking. ^ 

1 Sir I. Hamilton made representations on this subject before leaving 
England, foreseeing that it WPuW not be practic£ibl^ ^o ma.ke on^elets Vfi\i\- 
QVit breaking eggs, 



RUSSIAN ASSISTANCE WITHDRAWN 145 

The Australasian troops were, upon the whole, better supplied 
with drafts than those from the United Kingdom. As for the 
French, their arrangements were as appropriate as could reason- 
ably be expected ; they maintained a goodly contingent of reserves 
in the Island of Lemnos except just at first, and their infantry was 
consequently fairly well up to establishment at most stages of the 
drama. But, as has already been indicated, it was the troops 
from the United Kingdom that constituted the bulk of the Expedi- 
tionary Force, except during the first few weeks. No critical 
account of this memorable undertaking of war would be other than 
misleading that did not give a due prominence to the persistent 
failure to keep reasonably full the majority of the infantry battalions 
that took part in the operations. It is no exaggeration to say that 
many divisions were, in respect to the principal arm of the service, 
at times only divisions in name. This was not the least of the causes 
which contributed to bring to naught the hopes of winning com- 
mand of the Dardanelles entertained by the Allies in the early 
months of 1915. 

The withdrawal of the Russian Expeditionary Force from Odessa. 
— Another circumstance that impaired the Entente's prospect of 
success in the Gallipoli Peninsula must be mentioned here. We 
have seen in Chapter III how the Russians at an early stage of the 
preparations for the venture undertook to co-operate in due course 
in the contemplated operations for mastering the Bosphorus and 
occupying Constantinople, and how, with this end in view, they 
had massed troops about Odessa who were intended to participate 
in the campaign when the time came. But during the months of 
April and May the course of the war in other theatres — in Galicia 
and in Poland — obliged the Russian commander-in-chief to recall 
this force from the Black Sea coast ; and from that time forward 
there never was any question of a host from the north co-operating 
with the British and French soldiery who were endeavouring to 
penetrate to the Golden Horn from the side of the vEgean. 

It had never been suggested that Russia could assist directly 
in a struggle for the Dardanelles, and there is no occasion to speculate 
here as to what effect absence of help from across the Euxine might 
have created had operations against the Bosphorus and Stambul 
actually taken shape. But the disappearance of a considerable 
Allied force from the vicinity of Odessa exerted an appreciable 



146 THE DARDANELLES 

influence over the struggle for the Hellespont. So long as the 
German and Turkish military authorities were hampered by anxiety 
lest hostile armaments from the far side of the Black Sea should 
imperil the capital, they were compelled to maintain an ample 
garrison at the heart of the Empire. The removal of the Russian 
threat liberated numbers of battalions and batteries for service 
elsewhere, and a proportion of these repaired to the Gallipoli Pen- 
insula during May, appreciably augmenting the strength of the 
Ottoman army which Sir L Hamilton was called upon to overcome. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE FIRST THREE MONTHS AT HELLES 

The topographical conditions of the Helles area. — It is not pro- 
posed to deal at any length with the operations that took place 
at Helles and Anzac during the first three months of the land 
campaign. Although events in both regions took the form of a 
stern and a most continuous struggle, often at very close quarters, 
the incidents were not especially illuminating or instructive from 
the tactical point of view, even if they provided plentiful oppor- 
tunities for a display of grit and valour which was not confined 
only to the side of the Allies. The contest indeed partook to a 
large extent of the monotonous characteristics inseparable from 
trench warfare. Moreover, as vnll be seen from the narrative, the 
general military situation in the Gallipoli Peninsula was not very 
materially altered from that which had been arrived at on the 
night of the 27th-28th, by anything that occurred between that 
date and the end of July. 

It will be convenient in dealing with Helles to give consideration 
in the first place to the topographical features of the tract in which 
the invaders were about to operate, and to the difficulties which 
these features necessarily placed in the way of carrying out the 
formidable task that the troops planted down at the extremity 
of the peninsula were called upon to perform. 

As will be seen from Maps I and VII the ground rises towards 
the interior of the peninsula from the basin west of Morto Bay, 
and a belt of high ground stretches practically from shore to shore. 
The highest point of this belt is the well-defined hill-top of Achi 
Baba, about 700 feet above sea-level, and nearer to the Straits 
than it is to the ^Egean. The slopes leading up to this upland 
from the basin are gradual and form long easy spurs, the ground 
in general being not markedly broken. Two deep gullies, however, 

147 



148 THE DARDANELLES 

run up into it — Zighin Dere, already mentioned in Chapter VI, 
and Kerevez Dere on the opposite side of the peninsula. More- 
over, a couple of long depressions run up in the middle representing 
the valleys of two streams that find their outlet in Morto Bay. 
The village of Krithia is near the highest part of the belt of uplands 
on the iEgean side and lies about 350 feet above sea-level ; the 
cart route from Sedd-el-Bahr to Maidos passed through the place 
in 1915. 

The ground beyond the elevated belt is necessarily hidden from 
the low ground about Helles ; and it was not as a matter of fact 
ever seen by the troops operating in this area except on occasions 
when they proceeded along the ^Egean coast by sea, to and from 
Anzac. But it may be as well to briefly indicate its main features. 
To the south and south-west of the great depression or trough 
mentioned in Chapter VI as running across from about Gaba Tepe 
to the bight of Kilia Liman near Maidos, the ground at most points 
rises abruptly from the Dardanelles and the high ground is mainly 
to be found on that side of the peninsula. Rugged plateaux 
extend from Achi Baba to the Pasha Dagh or Kilid Bahr table- 
land broken into only by two deep ravines opening on the Straits, 
that nearest Achi Baba known as the Soghanli Dere. The slopes 
towards the ^Egean are more gradual, and on that side (except 
where the belt mentioned above makes, as it were, a buttress right 
across the peninsula) there are open valleys which are fairly well 
cultivated. The Pasha Dagh, and a good deal of the high ground 
between it and Achi Baba, are from 550 to 700 feet above sea- 
level, so that the Narrows as well as the country in their vicinity 
are invisible from Achi Baba ; on the other hand, Gaba Tepe 
and some of the spurs about Anzac can be seen. In some respects 
the portions of the Achi Baba belt of high ground that are nearest 
to the iEgean were of more tactical importance to the troops 
operating from Helles than the peak itself, seeing that they over- 
looked the valleys and depressions on that side of the peninsula, 
stretching away towards Gaba Tepe. 

The possession of the culminating point of Achi Baba was 
nevertheless calculated to be of great benefit to the Allies supposing 
that they were to secure it. It necessarily provided an admirable 
observation point in the event of operations taking place between 
it and the Pasha Dagh. It dominated the undulations on the 



QUESTION OF IMMEDIATE ADVANCE 149 

Asiatic side of the Dardanelles about Eren Keui Bay, where folds 
of the ground provided excellent sites for hostile batteries intended 
to fire across the Straits. Its occupation would almost automatically 
bring about the capture of the whole of the high ground on either 
hand, and would thus give the Allies control of the entire belt of 
plateau land extending athwart the peninsula. Most important 
of all, perhaps, the loss of Achi Baba and of this plateau land 
would rob the Turks of their artillery positions for bombarding 
the Helles landing-places, and it would deprive them of all observa- 
tion of the effect of fire from any long-range guns or howitzers of 
theirs which they might manage to emplace further back. The 
fact that the enemy throughout the Dardanelles campaign always 
had good artillery observation posts at his command, while the 
Allies had not, was undoubtedly a contributory cause of the ill- 
success that the Allies' efforts met with as a whole. 

Sir I. Hamilton's difficulty. — Fully realising the urgency of press- 
ing forward if possible and of thereby winning Achi Baba and the 
high ground at and beyond Krithia, the Commander-in-Chief was 
on the night of the 27th-28th placed in a dilemma. All the advan- 
tages that the power to surprise confers upon a combatant force 
had now passed out of his hands. The enemy had had ample time 
to transfer reserves to the scene of action from about Maidos, and 
might at the end of three days even be assembling troops, drawn 
from Chanak and the Asiatic side of the Hellespont, ^ to give him 
battle. The fact that the Allies had contrived to make progress 
on the 27th, virtually unopposed, offered no guarantee that twenty- 
four hours later the Turks would not be in a position to present a 
resolute front were any fresh advance to be attempted, seeing 
how strong was the likelihood of their forces on the spot having 
been substantiaUy augmented in the meantime. The British and 
French troops, especially the former, were, moreover, somewhat 
exhausted ; the 29th Division had suffered exceedingly heavy 
losses, several of its battalions having shrunk to very modest 
proportions and being lamentably short of officers. 

On the other hand, a certain amount of artillery had now been 
landed and was ready for action. There were grounds for hoping 
that the enemy was somewhat discouraged by his discomfitures at 

* According to Gallipoli, Der Kam'pf iim den Orient, one whole division and 
part of another had crossed the Straits by the 28th. 



150 THE DARDANELLES 

the landing-places and by the heavy losses that had been sustained. 
Although considerable reinforcements were on their way from 
Egypt, or were preparing to sail from thence, these would only 
arrive gradually during the next ten days. . There was not much 
object in waiting for them, seeing that the enemy within the same 
period would probably bring up troops from Bulair and from the 
Asiatic side of the Straits. So Sir I. Hamilton decided to carry 
out a fresh advance on the 28th, and he gave orders to that effect. 

The action of the 28th April. — The plan was that the whole force 
should move forward at 8 a.m., pivoting to some extent upon the 
extreme right near De Tott's Battery, The 29th Division was on 
the left, the 1st French Division on the right, with the South Wales 
Borderers on the extreme right ; of the 29th Division the 87th 
Brigade was on the left, with the 88th on its right and the 86th in 
reserve. The troops advanced without meeting with very stifi 
opposition at first. But the further they pressed on the more 
determined they found the resistance that was offered by the Turks. 
Moreover, by the afternoon ammunition began to run short, owing 
to there being insufficient transport as yet available on shore to 
ensure a consistent supply. About 3 p.m. the enemy counter- 
attacked with the bayonet against the centre and right of the line, 
obliged the assailants to give ground to some extent, and caused 
some confusion. 

Practically the whole of the troops had been absorbed into the 
firing line by this time, and the Allies found themselves hard pressed ; 
but they succeeded in holding their ground at most points and at 
the end of the day were in possession of a position considerably 
in advance of that which they had occupied during the preceding 
night. It extended from the .^gean shore a few hundred yards 
short of Y Beach, to a point about a third of a mile south-west of 
the outlet to the watercourse descending the Kerevez Dere ; the 
29th Division had, incidentally, made good the mouth of the 
Zighin Dere ravine, with Gully Beach — both important acquisi- 
tions. But the French had suffered very severely in the affray, 
and there had also been heavy casualties in some of the battalions 
of the 29th Division, depleting their ranks still further. ^ The line 
held on the night of the 28th-29th was, moreover, somewhat longer 

1 The 86th Brigade on the 29th had only 36 officers and 1,860 other ranks 
effective. 



FIGHT OF 28TH APRIL 151 

than that which had been taken up twenty-four hours before, 
and its defenders were necessarily somewhat scattered. Still, the 
day had on the whole been crowned with a very fair measure of 
success, and the results that had been obtained justified the decision 
to attack without awaiting the arrival of further troops. 

The Turks, it should be noted, had borne themselves most 
gallantly in this engagement. They had by no means confined 
themselves to a defensive attitude, and their onsets had been 
delivered with an almost reckless disregard of losses. Nor was there 
any reason to suppose that their strength would not go on being 
augmented from day to day. The formidable character of the 
opposition that was being ofiered, coupled with the increasing 
numerical weakness of the 29th Division and of the French con- 
tingent, and with the fact that there were no reserves anywhere 
near the theatre of war to fill the yawning gaps in the ranks of the 
29th Division, was by this time bringing home to the responsible 
leaders on the spot the exceedingly difficult nature of the problem 
with which the force landed at Helles was confronted. 

From the 29th o! April to the 5th of May.— The 29th and 30th of 
April and the 1st of May were, comparatively speaking, quiet days. 
They were chiefly marked, in so far as the invaders were concerned, 
by the arrival of two more battalions of the Eoyal Naval Division, 
and of the 29th Indian Brigade. These additions to the force 
considerably increased its numerical strength for the moment and 
they added appreciably to its security. Some more batteries, 
British and French, were also landed. The brief lull, however, 
was brought to an end on the night of the 1st by the Turks deliver- 
ing a furious and well-directed attack, the full force of which fell 
upon the Allies' centre about the junction of the British with the 
French contingents. A captured order showed the assailants to 
have numbered 16,000, with 2000 in reserve. The position was 
decidedly critical for a time ; but the prompt arrival of reinforce- 
ments sent up from in rear sufficed to restore the situation. Towards 
morning the British troops delivered an effective counter-offensive 
and drove the Osmanlis back some distance, but before noon the 
whole line was back in its former position. The Turks had lost 
very heavily in this affair, especially from artillery fire when 
retreating, and they had upon the whole the worst cf a well- 
contested engagement. 



152 THE DARDANELLES 

Undeterred by their repulse on this occasion, the enemy, how- 
ever, attacked again on the night of the 2nd-3rd and yet again 
on the next night ; but they were repulsed on each occasion. The 
French, however, had many casualties — so much so that a portion 
of their line w^as taken over by the 2nd Naval Brigade on the 4th, 
during which day an important reorganisation and redistribution 
of available forces was carried into effect on the side of the Allies. 
On the 5th, the Lancashire Fusilier Brigade, the first brigade of 
the 42nd East Lancashire Division to arrive, disembarked, and 
during the following night the 2nd Australian Brigade and the New 
Zealand Brigade (infantry) quietly took ship at Anzac and were 
brought down to Helles, where they landed during the 6th. Sir L 
Hamilton's first despatch carried the story up to the evening of 
the 5th, and it may be recorded here that he therein gave the figure 
of his losses to date as just short of 14,000, exclusive of the French 
— a serious wastage. These heavy casualties had occurred mainly 
in the ranks of the infantry of the 29th Division and of the two 
Australasian divisions, reducing their strength by about two-fifths. 

The struggle of the 6th-8th o! May, — Anxious to secure posses- 
sion of Achi Baba and of the high ground stretching across the 
peninsula on either side of that hill-top, if possible, the Commander- 
in-Chief had resolved to make a fresh effort to press forward, and 
it was in view of the contemplated operation that the two Anzac 
brigades had been transferred from the west coast to Helles, as 
recorded above. The British contingent of the Allied forces at the 
extremity of the peninsula was especially reorganised for the opera- 
tion. The Lancashire Fusilier Brigade and the 29th Indian Brigade 
were added to the 29th Division, a composite division was formed 
out of the two Anzac brigades and the 1st Naval Brigade, while the 
2nd Naval Brigade remained attached to the French contingent ; 
the composite division was to be employed as a general reserve 
during the coming combat. On paper, the troops destined to carry 
out the undertaking represented a formidable total, in so far as 
infantry was concerned, for three divisions and a spare brigade 
at war establishment would represent about 40,000 infantrymen ; 
but battalions had started short of establishment, as has already 
been indicated, and losses in action had been so heavy that the 
total did not approach such a figure. 

There w^as every reason to believe that the Turks had been 



6TH-8TH OF MAY 153 

substantially reinforced. They had held practically their present 
position ever since the fight of the 28th. They had dug themselves 
in, had emplaced numbers of machine-guns, and had introduced 
wire entanglements to strengthen awkward points. They more or 
less overlooked the ground occupied by the Allies and they enjoyed 
a great advantage in respect to artillery observation, thanks to 
their holding Achi Baba and the uplands on either side of it. On 
the other hand, the Allies were decidedly better ofE in respect to 
the number of guns landed than they had been on the 28th of 
April, and they could furthermore reckon upon the warships 
lending them some effective aid. 

The attack of the 6th brought about a battle which lasted for 
three days almost without intermission. A little ground was gained 
on the first day by the 29th Division, as also by the French on the 
right ; but such progress as they could lay claim to had only been 
purchased at the cost of many casualties. On the 7th a little more 
ground was made good ; on this day the New Zealand Brigade, 
detached from the Composite Division in reserve, was partially 
thrown into the fight. The 8th found the Allies attacking again. 
They were unable to make much progress during the early part 
of the day, but in the afternoon, following on a very heavy bom- 
bardment by artillery ashore and afloat, a general advance was 
ordered and this secured a certain measure of success ; the Anzacs 
were prominent in this final effort, and that night the whole force 
of the Allies dug itself in on a line that was from 400 to 600 yards 
further forward than the position that they had held on the night 
of the 6th-7th. Several Turkish trenches and works had been 
captured during these three days of obstinate combat, in spite of 
the sturdy resistance of the enemy and of the murderous fire of 
the hostile machine-guns. The high ground, however, had not 
been conquered, the invaders' left still found itself some distance 
short of Krithia, and the casualties incurred within their ranks had 
again been serious. The 2nd French Division under General 
Bailloud landed at V Beach betv.een the 6th and 8th and began 
reinforcing the 1st Division. 

The 9th proved a more or less quiet day ; but the Turks delivered 
a fierce assault at nightfall, and their attacks continued until 
morning. This nocturnal struggle was prosecuted with especial 
violence on the Allies' right, but the Osmanlis were eventually beaten 



154 THE DARDANELLES 

off at all points, and the discomfiture met with on this occasion 
appears to have disheartened them, for they refrained from 
embarking on a serious offensive for some time to come after their 
bitter experiences of that night. It was found possible to with- 
draw the 29th Division from the front line on the 11th, relieving 
it by the 42nd Division under General Douglas, the two remaining 
brigades of which had completed disembarkation on the 8th. The 
troops at Helles then perforce settled down to the monotony of 
trench warfare, which, however, was enlivened on the 12th by a 
particularly successful tactical enterprise, and one that appreciably 
ameliorated the position on the extreme left, adjacent to the 
iEgean. 

Steep slopes interspersed with almost perpendicular clifTs rise 
abruptly from the foreshore for a considerable distance north-east 
of Gully Beach, although there are occasional narrow strips of 
strand at their foot, such as Y Beach. As shown on Map I, the 
ground rises as one proceeds north-east and the declivity con- 
sequently becomes higher and higher. Since the 25th of April 
the Turks had been crowning a prominent blufi just beyond 
Y Beach and had prepared a strong entrenchment on it. A party 
of the l/6th Ghurkas had crawled along the lower part of the 
escarpment on the night of the lOth-llth in hopes of surprising 
this work, but the project had failed. It was, thereupon, decided 
to undertake a more formal attack, and, early on the 12th, the 
two cruisers Dublin and Talbot steamed suddenly round from Cape 
Tekke and opened a brisk bombardment of the fortress, while a 
demonstration was carried out directly towards it by infantry and 
artillery on either side of the Zighin Dere ravine. In the mean- 
time a company of the Ghurkas were creeping along the declivity 
overhanging the shore and, the attention of the defenders of the 
work being otherwise occupied, this little force succeeded in rushing 
the bluff unexpectedly, more Ghurkas pressed forward, and speedily 
the captured ground had been united by entrenchments with the 
line held further back and to the right flank. The result was that 
the extreme left of the Allies had been pushed forward more than 
a quarter of a mile, and that their hold upon the lower end of the 
important ravine had been considerably strengthened. 

From the 13th of May to the 4th of June. — For nearly a month 
after this the operations were confined to minor raids and to 



THE TURKISH SHELL FIRE 155 

methodical sapping work, in which the Allies contrived from time 
to time to gain a little ground. The 2nd Australian and New 
Zealand Brigades had returned to Anzac after the struggle of the 
6th-8th ; but on the other hand, the artillery of the 2nd Division 
of the French corps had disembarked by the 14th, on w^hich day 
General D'Amade handed over command to General Gouraud. 
The battleship Goliath had been sunk by an enemy destroyer 
while anchored in the Straits covering the flank of the French 
on the night of the 12th-13th. The 29th Division, 42nd Division, 
and Royal Naval Division were formed into the Vlllth Army Corps 
under General Hunter Weston, the British contingent continuing 
to hold the left of the Allies' line while the French held the right. 

The troops at Helles in general, as also the landing-places, were 
from the outset subjected to a good deal of desultory and spasmodic, 
but none the less somewhat damaging, artillery fire. This at times 
caused appreciable losses. It emanated mainly from behind the 
enemy's positions facing the front of the Allies ; but a certain 
amount was also directed from across the Straits, and this took 
the invaders in flank and even to some extent in reverse. Transports 
and other vessels lying off the extremity of the peninsula were 
occasionally taken by the Turks as their target and were some- 
times hit. Partly owing to the length of the range, and partly 
also owing to howitzers being used as well as flat trajectory guns, 
this fire was of a very searching, plunging character, and, seeing 
that it was also in a measure converging, perfect shelter against it 
could not readily be found or be devised at any point. The two 
principal landing-places, V and W Beaches, suffered somewhat 
severely from hostile shell at times, and the fact that there was 
scarcely one single spot within the area which the invaders had 
succeeded in occupying, that was not liable to be hit by a Turkish 
projectile at any moment, threw a constant strain upon the troops, 
besides often causing material injury. As a consequence of their 
being on the right, the French naturally sufiered particularly from 
the hostile pieces that were emplaoed on the Asiatic side of the 
Dardanelles, 

The landing-places were being constantly improved by skilled 
workers. At W Beach a serviceable breakwater was gradually 
constructed running out from Cape Tekke, alongside which small 
craft and lighters could discharge even when the sea was moderately 



156 THE DAEDANELLES 

rough ; a pier was also added, sheltered by this breakwater, and 
one or two small boat jetties were thrown out from the beach. 
The River Clyde served for a useful bulwark at V Beach and was 
joined to the shore, one or two modest jetties being added, and the 
French, who had charge of this landing-place, converted it gradually 
into a satisfactory and well-arranged advanced base. A small pier 
was in due course constructed at S Beach. These various harbour 
works naturally took time to develop, and they were continually 
being elaborated and rectified for the first three or four months 
of the occupation, light railways being laid down at W and V 
Beaches. Koads and communications of all kinds were also taken 
in hand, and the water arrangements were placed on a satisfactory 
footing. As a matter of fact, it had turned out that there was a 
fairly good natural water output within the area, so that this 
particular matter did not cause much anxiety at Helles, although a 
portion of the supply needed had to be imported. 

The weather was rapidly getting hotter, and by the end of May 
the ground was already in that parched condition that is customary 
in summer time in warm latitudes. Vegetation dried up, the dust 
began to cause serious inconvenience and discomfort, and a plague 
of flies set its hold upon bivouacs and hospitals. Such conditions 
naturally bred sickness after the early weeks, and this created a 
serious drain on the fighting strength of the force. Such incon- 
veniences were not, however, confined to the side of the Allies ; 
for the Turks also suffered, and in view of their very defective san- 
itary arrangements their wastage from disease was probably fully 
as high as that of their opponents. 

From the 25th of May to the 3rd of June there was much inter- 
mittent fighting on a minor scale, in which both British and French 
gradually improved their position and gained some little ground. 
The Turks, who in former times had often displayed a quite peculiar 
aptitude for contriving earthworks, had laboured hard to fortify 
the slopes of Achi Baba and the ground about Krithia, and they 
had converted the whole of the high ground confronting the Allies 
from shore to shore into a veritable fortress. The trenches were 
deep and were skilfully constructed. There were ample covered 
communications along which reinforcements could be pushed 
unseen. Skilful use had been made of any accidents of ground 
that could be turned to account for defensive purposes. They had, 



THE 4TH OF JUNE 157 

moreover, received reinforcements and were holding their line in 
strength ; but, on the other hand. Sir I. Hamilton had received 
some drafts for his British troops and the gaps in the ranks of the 
French caused by the severe fighting of the 6th-8th of May had 
to a great extent been filled up. The Commander-in-Chief, there- 
fore, decided upon delivering another general attack, to take place 
on the 4th of June, and in this combat the 29th Division, the 42nd 
Division, the 2nd Naval Brigade (these three, mustering between 
them 20,000 bayonets) with the 2nd French Division and 1st 
French Division, in the order named from left to right, were engaged. 
It will be remembered that the appearance of enemy submarines 
in the latter days of May, coupled with the sinking of Triumph 
and Majestic, had made it somewhat awkward for warships to 
assist in the land operations of the Allies ; but by the beginning 
of June both British and French were fairly well supplied with 
field artillery, and on this occasion the affair opened with a pro- 
longed bombardment from the Allies' guns on shore, the British 
having six batteries of French 75's placed especially at their 
disposal. Then, at noon, the whole line advanced. 

All went encouragingly at first, except on the left of the French 
where the troops were unable to gain ground, and on the British 
left where also great difficulty w^as experienced in making any 
advance. Any success achieved at the outset was, however, only 
temporary, for after having made a most successful start the 
French on the right were very heavily counter-attacked and were 
forced back. This set-back exposed the right flank of the 2nd 
Naval Brigade, already somewhat en Vair owing to the left of the 
French having been unable to advance at the beginning, and as 
a consequence the right of the Naval Brigade had to fall back 
with heavy loss. The 42nd Division, and especially its Manchester 
Brigade, had made a substantial advance ; but as a result of 
what had occurred on the right and in the right centre, these troops 
were taken in enfilade from that flank, and although they held on 
grimly all the afternoon they had to be withdrawn from what 
had come to be a critical position in the evening, suffering severely 
during the retirement. The net result of the day's operations was 
a gain of from 200 to 400 yards along the whole of the centre, 
involving the capture of the Turkish front lines of trenches in this 
part of the field which had been won in the first few minutes of the 



158 THE DARDANELLES 

action ; but the Turks could upon the whole claim to have had 
the best of the encounter as they had repulsed the assailants on 
the right. The casualties had been heavy on both sides. 

This combat affords an interesting illustration of the tactical 
value of an immediate counter-attack by the defending side after 
losing ground in consequence of a hostile assault. The French had 
made a brilliant advance at the outset, taking one particularly 
strong redoubt and securing a number of enemy trenches ; but 
the Turks counter-attacked in formidable force before the victors 
could consolidate, and by doing so practically regained all the 
ground that they had lost. The story of the fight also illustrates 
another point, the importance of which was impressed upon com- 
batants on the Western Front on numberless occasions during the 
World War — in trench warfare it is seldom of much avail for portion 
of an attacking force to gain ground. The whole force engaged 
must make progress more or less simultaneously and the same 
distance, otherwise a salient is created or else a flank is exposed 
in the battle line. Because the extreme left of the French was held 
up, the right of the Royal Naval Division was compromised ; 
because the Royal Naval Division had to fall back, the Manchester 
Brigade found itself thrust out considerably in advance of the 
troops on its right, and, as we have seen, its position eventually 
became untenable. The experiences of this day, indeed, almost 
seem to suggest that an attack on a broad front is a mistake in 
warfare of this type unless, owing to previous overwhelming bom- 
bardment with heavy artillery, or owing to known weakness of the 
defending side, or in virtue of complete surprise being rendered 
practicable by the circumstances of the case, success at all points 
is reasonably certain. Before the end of June two very satisfactory 
actions were to be fought by the Allies in the Helles area ; but, as 
will be noted, neither of them covered a broad front. 

From the 5th to the end of June. — Early in June the British 
force at Helles was strengthened by the arrival of the 52nd (Low- 
land) Division, raising the number of divisions in this area to six ; 
but like all Territorial divisions it was short of establishment when 
it arrived. In view of the losses incurred in the struggle of the 4th 
of June and of those that were constantly occurring, and of the 
incessant wastage caused by sickness, the army of invasion at the 
extremity of the peninsula did not really represent six divisions. 



21ST AND 28TH OF JUNE 159 

or anything like it. For the first few days after that combat the 
Turks made several attempts to regain some of the few hundreds 
of yards that the Allies had deprived them of as a result of it ; 
but these efforts all proved unavailing, being invariably repulsed 
and often with considerable loss to the assailants. 

Then, on the 21st, the French Corps under General Gouraud 
brought off a most gratifying minor success. Attacking at dawn, 
the 2nd Division on the left and 1st Division on the right, the 
2nd Division carried a number of entrenchments on the forward 
slopes of the big spur west of the Kerevez Dere. The 1st Division 
was, however, less successful ; for although it gained ground satis- 
factorily to start with, prompt counter-attacks on the part of the 
Turks recovered from them much of what they had won. Then, 
late in the afternoon, the 1st Division attacked afresh and this 
time its infantry established themselves firmly in the enemy's 
nearer trenches, thereby safeguarding the 2nd Division in the posi- 
tions that it had taken up as a result of its brilliant assault of the 
morning. The Ottoman troops lost very heavily in this day's 
fighting, which in the end had gone entirely in favour of the French, 
and the Allies had good reason for congratulating themselves on 
the results, seeing that valuable ground had been secured on the 
extreme right on the heights that flank the Kerevez Dere from 
the west. 

A week later the Allies scored an even more important success 
on the opposite flank. For this operation General Hunter Weston 
made use of the 29th Division and the 52nd Division, and its object 
was to push the extreme left flank of the line forward from Ghurka 
Bluff, and thereby to gain possession of a long stretch of the 
Zighin Dere — or Gully Ravine as it had come to be called — pivoting 
the attack upon a point about a mile from the sea. The cruiser 
Talbot, closely guarded against possible enemy submarines by a 
curtain of destroyers and small craft, took part in this action, and 
her fire, and that of the destroyers Wolverine and Scorpion which 
stood close in, proved useful in enfilading the Turkish trenches 
nearest the coast. The attack was completely successful, planning 
and execution alike being beyond reproach. As regards the front 
as a whole it was a sectional operation, all guns along the line that 
would bear taking part, and it was carried out in waves, a fresh 
force on two occasions passing through troops that had gained 



160 THE DARDANELLES 

the objectives which they had been detailed to make good, and 
the artillery co-operating before each successive advance. The 
timing was admirable and the entire programme was carried out 
practically without hitch. The result of the combat was that, 
when fire died down, the extreme left flank resting on the edge of 
the declivity that overhung the shore had been pushed forward 
from Ghurka Bluff to " Fusilier Bluff," and that several hundred 
yards of the important Gully Bavine, with the ground on either 
side of it, had fallen into the hands of the 29th Division.^ The 
losses on the side of the assailants were, moreover, relatively 
small considering the value of the gains, and the enemy would 
seem at this time to have been somewhat short of ammunition. 

Nevertheless, the Turks counter-attacked vigorously on the two 
following nights. Their efforts to eject the victors from the trenches 
that had changed hands, however, proved of no avail, they cost 
the Osmanlis a number of casualties, and that such counter-strokes 
should have been delivered indicated unmistakably that the 
Ottoman stafE realised the importance of the ground that had been 
lost. The affair of the 28th, following as it did so closely on General 
Gouraud's stroke on the opposite flank, seemed to suggest that if 
there had been plentiful reserves to throw into the scale at this 
juncture on the Helles front, this might have proved the psycho- 
logical moment for initiating a determined effort to secure Krithia, 
the high ground beyond that coveted village, and even possibly 
Achi Baba itself ; no such reserves were, however, available. The 
month of June ended with a grave misfortune for the Allies. 
General Gouraud was very seriously wounded on the 30th, the 
command of the French corps devolving upon General Bailloud 
who had previously been at the head of the 2nd Division. It is 
interesting to note, as indicating how thoroughly the troops on 
both sides were settling down to trench warfare, that hand grenades 
began to be largely used at Helles in the latter part of June. 

The month o£ July. — The bulk of the Expeditionary Force 

1 Mr. Nevinsou in his The Dardanelles Campaign writes in regard to 
the advance on the immediate right of the Giilly : "These rapid successes 
were mainly due to two trench-mortars lent by General Gouraud and dropping 
bombs containing some 30 lb., some 70 lb., of melinite, vertically into the 
trenches at short range. The British force at this time possessed a few 
Japanese trench-mortars — very effective, but numbering only six, and these 
very short of ammunition. We liad no others of any kind. Yet in the 
scarcity of howitzers, trench-m.ortars were more needed than any gun.'' 



SITUATION IN JULY 161 

originally detailed for the undertaking that was to ensure the 
passage of the Dardanelles by the Allies' fleet, had now been 
planted down at the extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula for about 
two months, and yet its front followed a line that was barely four 
miles in advance of W and V Beaches at any point, and that was 
barely a quarter of the way from those landing-places to the Kilid 
Bahr plateau which was the immediate objective. At this rate 
of advance the Helles army would not reach the plateau before 
Christmas — trench warfare is a slow process even when progress 
is continuous and when a terrific artillery preparation can be 
indulged in at frequent intervals. The affairs of the 21st and 28th 
of June had been satisfactory enough in themselves and had given 
much encouragement to the invading troops ; there was reason 
to believe that the Turks had suffered even heavier losses during 
the continuous fighting since April than had the Allies, and yet 
it could not be said that from the tactical — still less from the 
strategical — point of view the situation in this section of the theatre 
of war was reassuring. Early in July the Turks in the peninsula 
were considerably reinforced — by as much as five divisions it would 
seem. But it will be convenient to defer a further consideration 
of the general situation, as this will be discussed in Chapter X. 

The events in the Helles area during July hardly call for detailed 
description. The Turkish defence works were constantly being 
strengthened. A new trench system guarding Achi Baba on the 
Krithia side had also been devised which necessarily added to the 
difficulties that confronted the Allies, because owing to its existence 
the capture of that village and of ground immediately beyond it 
by no means rendered Achi Baba untenable by the enemy. The 
successes on either flank in the closing days of June had, no doubt, 
improved the outlook of the Allies, but hardly sufficiently for such 
progress as had been made to ensure further tactical triumphs. 
This indeed was proved on the 12th-13th of July, when a general 
attack was delivered all along the Ottoman front extending from 
the Krithia-Sedd el Bahr road to the Straits, but which upon the 
whole only secured a moderate measure of success. 

The two French divisions and the 52nd Division delivered this 
attack. Advancing after a heavy bombardment had been directed 
upon the Osmanli's lines, the assailants began in promising style. 
The first two lines of enemy's trenches were secured at once, and 



162 THE DARDANELLES 

the 4th K.O.S.B.'s, belonging to the 52nd Division, even captured 
the third line in front of them — only, however, to be thrust back 
with heavy loss. But the Allies had to rest content on that day 
with the capture of the two front lines of trenches, whereas the 
third line had been their objective. As usual the Turks counter- 
attacked that night with great determination ; but they failed to 
shake the French, and they only obliged the 52nd Division to give 
way somewhat on its left. On the 13th three battalions of the 
1st Naval Brigade were pushed up in support of the 52nd Division 
on its left so as to secure that flank, and the French thrust their 
right down to the mouth of the Kerevez Dere. The result of the 
two days' fighting, however, merely produced an advance of from 
200 to 400 yards, and it did not very appreciably alter the situation. 
But 500 Turkish prisoners had been secured, and although the fight 
had been well contested the Allies had not lost unduly ; the French, 
however, had to deplore the death of General Masnou, commander of 
the 1st Division, who was mortally wounded during the combat. 

In this affair Sir I. Hamilton had been somewhat embarrassed 
by want of artillery ammunition, only having sufficient in hand to 
justify his committing himself to one single serious operation during 
the month. The shortage consequent upon the heavy expenditure 
incurred on the 12th and 13th precluded any idea of a further 
offensive during July, and no important combats took place in the 
Helles area during the remainder of the month. It should, how- 
ever, be noted that, although the actual advance made on the two 
days, the 12th and 13th, amounted to less than a quarter of a 
mile on the average along about half of the front, the ground that 
had been gained on this occasion had in the words of the Commander- 
in-Chief provided " far the best sited line for defence with much 
the best field for machine-gun and rifle fire " that had hitherto 
been secured on the peninsula. A few days later General Hunter 
Weston left the scene of action, ill, and was succeeded temporarily 
by Lieutenant-General Sir F. Stopford, who had arrived in advance 
of the IXth Army Corps. This corps was on its way out from the 
United Kingdom, as part of large reinforcements which were being 
despatched somev.'hat belatedly to swell the Expeditionary Force. 
One of its divisions, the 13th, under General Shaw, arrived at 
Helles towards the end of the month, and for the time being 
relieved the 29th Division on the left of the line. 



COMMENTS 163 

Comments. — The story of the first tliree months at Holies is 
instructive as illustrating, in the case of a campaign that originates 
in landing on an enemy's coast, the vital importance of gaining 
ground at the outset with the utmost rapidity. The Allies' front 
on the third day after disembarkation had commenced ran roughly 
from Gully Beach to De Tott's. That was not nearly far enough 
forward to create a situation that could be regarded as encouraging. 
Three months later the front ran roughly from Fusilier Bluff to the 
mouth of the Kerevez Valley, two miles having been gained on the 
left and little more than one mile on the right. The disappointing 
results of the operations between the 28th of April and the end of 
July are directly traceable to what occurred between the 25th and 
27th of April. 

The dispositions made for the original landing have been dis- 
cussed in Chapter VII, and that point need not be referred to 
further here. But after a careful study of the course of events 
during those early months of conflict at the extremity of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula, it is difficult to escape from the conclusion 
that, had it been possible to get the infantry of a couple of divisions 
ashore on the first day (the 25th of April), and had the troops 
so landed been able to win their way forward on that same day to 
somewhere about the line that was not actually secured till two 
days later, Krithia and even possibly Achi Baba would have fallen 
within less than a week. For the forward thrust could have been 
started before the Turks had recovered from the effects of their 
initial defeat at the landing-places, and before they had brought 
up large reinforcements from the vicinity of the Narrows. We 
know from German accounts that two Ottoman divisions from 
about Bulair arrived on the 26th and 27th. It is not suggested 
that this would have meant a strategical success in the sense of 
clearing a path to Kilid Bahr. That consummation would bv no 
means have followed as a matter of course. But the capture of 
the buttress of high ground stretching from shore to shore across 
the peninsula which faced the 29th Division and the French on the 
26th and 27th of April, and which continued to face the invaders of 
the Helles region till they withdrew from it many months later, would 
have made the situation of the Allies in this area incomparably 
more comfortable than, in the event, it ever came to be at any time 
during their prolonged sojourn in that patch of Ottoman territory. 



164 THE DARDANELLES 

The campaign in this part of the Gallipoli Peninsula took the form 
of trench warfare from an early date in May, of trench warfare in 
which neither side was well supplied with the guns, the howitzers, 
the trench mortars, and the ample stores of hand grenades that 
have come to be regarded as indispensable for effectively prosecuting 
operations of this class. Invaders and invaded developed their 
artillery resources as time went on, but these never dominated the 
situation as they did on the Western and the Italian Fronts during 
the World War, while the Allies, and also at times their antagonists, 
were harassed by an insufficiency of ammunition. Reference has 
been made in preceding paragraphs to bombardments preparing 
the assaults delivered by the Allies ; but these bombardments 
were carried out almost entirely with field guns. The British 
gradually brought a few field howitzers into play as the operations 
proceeded, and got a few 60-pounders ashore ; but the French 
had no field howitzers, and it took a long time to get any heavier 
pieces of this type landed. The British gunners, moreover, were 
always restricted in respect to rounds, although the French were 
adequately supplied. 

Even for the latest attack mentioned in this chapter, that of the 
12th-13th July, the artillery preparation meant nothing in the 
slightest degree approaching to the volume of that, for instance, 
which had introduced the advance of the infantry at Neuve Chapelle 
in the preceding February, still less could it be compared to the 
intense bombardment which was to usher in the struggle around 
Loos in the following autumn. Nor did gun-fire from the warships 
afiord much assistance, the trajectory of naval ordnance being so 
ill-adapted to fulfil the object of overwhelming deeply excavated 
trenches in anticipation of an infantry assault. Moreover, naval 
gun-fire almost came to an end for several weeks after the later 
days of May, pending the arrival of craft especially contrived with 
an eye to immunity from submarine attack. On the other 
hand, the ships' artillery did undoubtedly prove of much assistance 
on one or two occasions, when by its direction it enfiladed enemy 
trenches — as, for instance, in the case of the combat for Ghurka 
Bluff. 

As appears from the narrative, the Turks by no means confined 
their activities to a passive defensive during these Helles opera- 
tions. On the contrary, they almost invariably, sooner or later, 



COMMENTS 165 

hit back hard on any occasion when ground or trenches worth the 
keeping were wrested out of their hands. Their counter-attacks 
generally proved especially effective when they were delivered at 
once, or almost at once, and therefore before the assailants had 
had time to settle down in the conquered position. This was the 
case on the afternoon of the 28th of April, it was the case at one 
or two points during the combat of the 6th-8th May, and it was 
the case on the 4th of June, when territory that had been wrested 
out of the hands of the Osmanlis in masterly fashion by the French 
in the morning, was recovered by the enemy that same afternoon 
and with untoward consequences to the Allies all along the line of 
battle. The Helles campaign indeed teaches us an important 
tactical lesson in this particular connection. Some of its most 
conspicuous and dramatic incidents illustrate the virtue of the 
immediate counter-stroke in striking fashion. 

Bearing in mind how successful counter-attacks delivered by 
the Turks on a number of occasions were owing to their having 
been delivered with promptitude, it is singular that the enemy's 
bent should have so long remained one for tarrying till nightfall 
before attempting to restore a situation. Those nocturnal offensives 
of theirs were often repeated for several nights in succession. 
They almost invariably failed, these belated ripostes, and there 
are good grounds for assuming that the Osmanlis got decidedly 
the worse of the deal in the majority of cases in so far as casualties 
were concerned. Leadership would indeed seem to have been 
somewhat at fault in this matter on the Turkish side. But 
Chapter X will show that a very different procedure was to be 
the order of the day during the furious encounters that were to 
take place in the Anzac region in the month of August. That 
alteration in method may have been the result of lessons some- 
what slowly learnt in the theatre of operations at the extremity of 
the peninsula. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE FIRST THREE MONTHS AT ANZAC 

The topographical features of the Anzac area. — Some references 
have already been made in Chapters V and VI to the topography 
of the region about Anzac and Gaba Tepe, and to that trough 
which extends right across the Gallipoli Peninsula from near Gaba 
Tepe to the vicinity of Maidos and the Straits above the Narrows. 
A more detailed description of some of the principal physical 
features of the rugged tract in which the Australasian army corps 
had succeeded in planting itself down as a result of the successful 
landing of the 25th of April, will not be out of place before pro- 
ceeding to give an outline of the events in this quarter during the 
first three months of the land campaign. As an introduction, it 
will be convenient to point out how the peculiarities in the conforma- 
tion of the tumbled hill mass of Sari Bair affected the military 
position. As will be seen from Map V (p. 168) the troops from the 
Antipodes had forced their way ashore at the spot where com- 
manding spurs of this hill mass approach most nearly to the shore, 
and the result of this was that unless further advance was to 
diverge at a tangent northwards or southwards, practically along 
the coast, any further thrust must inevitably be directed right into 
these jagged, furrowed, jungle-clad uplands. 

Now, as will be seen from Map V, Sari Bair takes the general 
form of a central ridge or spine running from south-west to north- 
east, starting, so to speak, from the big, pear-shaped spur to the 
south-east of Anzac Cove that came to be known as Lone Pine 
and Pine Ridge, and finishing up near the Biyuk Anafarta village. 
Its culminating point at Koja Chemen Tepe is situated nearly 
three miles to the north-east of Lone Pine. But it should also be 
noted that the slopes on the north-western side of the ridge are 
abrupt and that the spurs on that flank are generally short, while 

166 



THE ANZAO AREA 167 

the slopes on the south-eastern side of the ridge are gentler and 
the spurs are elongated. These extensive spurs on the south- 
eastern side of the ridge and the valleys between them, more- 
over, run roughly north and south at an acute angle to the direction 
of the ridge, whereas the spurs and valleys on the other side are 
roughly at right angles to the ridge. A consequence of the direction 
and of the length of the spurs and valleys on the south-eastern side 
of the ridge was that, if the force at Anzac wished to advance 
straight across the peninsula or if it were to take a direction slightly 
to its right front direct for Kilia Liman, it was necessarily called 
upon to traverse a succession of ridges and depressions. A con- 
sequence of the general direction of the mam Sari Bair ridge was 
that, should the force at Anzac propose to secure possession of its 
higher portions, Chunuk Bair and Koja Chemen Tepe (from which 
the Narrows and the reach of the Dardanelles immediately above 
them could be seen), it was almost bound to advance obliquely 
nearly at right angles to the direct line to Kilia Liman. 

One ravine, however, and one which played a very important 
part in the Anzac operations, has a general direction eccentric to 
the rest. This is Shrapnel Gully, already mentioned in Chapter V, 
the upper portion of which came to be known as Monash Gully. 
(In this wilderness of crags and declivities and depressions it was 
necessary to give names to minor physical features ; these came 
to be called after officers who had distinguished themselves in 
combats around them.) As will be seen on Map IV, Monash and 
Shrapnel Gullies run from north-east to south-west, almost in 
prolongation of the higher portions of the main ridge, although 
they are situated to the north-west of the great Lone Pine spur. 
This pear-shaped spur separates Monash and Shrapnel Gullies 
from an extensive valley situated to the east and south-east, the 
stalk end of the pear-shaped spur forming a neck between Monash 
Gully and the valley. From this neck — it came to be known as 
" The Neck " — the ridge keeps rising to the north-east, more or 
less overlooking the two gullies. The conformation of the ground 
about The Neck and the head of the two depressions played a very 
prominent part in shaping events at Anzac, owing to the troops 
not having secured at the outset what experience was to prove to 
be a point of vital tactical importance. It dominated the Shrapnel- 
Monash artery of traffic after a fashion, and it furnished the stage 



168 



ANZAC AND SUVLA 




MAP V. — THE AXZAC AND SUVLA AREAS 



THE ANZAC POSITION 169 

for many infuriated afirays between invaders and invaded during 
the early weeks of the struggle. 

Australian troops had made themselves masters of the slopes 
and under-features of Lone Pine spur almost at once, and they 
maintained an effective line of defence along these from the first 
day. The Lone Pine spur partakes, however, to some extent of 
the nature of a plateau, and most of it remained in the hands of 
the Turks. On the other side of Monash and Shrapnel Gullies 
there is a sharply defined ridge that runs in a direction rather 
south of west from The Neck towards Ari Burnu. At first it forms 
a narrow table-top with almost precipitous sides, which was 
christened Russel Top ; it then drops considerably, to rise again 
and form Plugge's Plateau, and from thence it falls abruptly down 
to the shore. To the north of this, also starting from near The Neck, 
a minor spur known as Walker's Ridge runs north-westwards, 
falling rapidly to near Ocean Beach. At the start, the left of 
General Birdwood's force only occupied Plugge's Plateau and part of 
the ridge leading thence to Russel Top ; but Walker's Ridge was 
taken up as the line of defence on the left flank after a day or two. 
It may be observed that the distance from the mouth of Shrapnel 
Gully up to the head of Monash Gully is fully a mile, while the 
upper end of the depression is barely 1000 yards as the crow flies 
from the nearest point of the shore. The lie of the ground in fact 
is such that the position taken up by the Anzac corps almost 
inevitably assumed the trace of a right-angle triangle, with one 
long side extending from near The Neck along the Shrapnel Gully 
side of the Lone Pine spur to Brighton Beach, and with a short 
side descending more abruptly from near The Neck to Ocean 
Beach. 

The main ridge of Sari Bair mounts gradually above The Neck, 
with prominent blufis at intervals marking steps, as it were, in 
the ascent. The nearest of these steps came to be known as Battle- 
ship Hill, further along was Chunuk Bair, then about a mile beyond 
Chunuk Bair the ridge after a sharp drop rises again and reaches 
its highest point at Koja Chemen Tepe. At the back (i.e. to the 
east) of the Sari Bair hill system lies a well-defined depression, the 
valley of a stream which passes the village of Boghali and flo\\'s 
into the Dardanelles a little above Kilia Liman ; along this depres- 
sion runs the route from Maidos to the two Anafarta villages. To 



170 THE DARDANELLES 

the south of Sari Bair is the trough already spoken of as marking 
a natural approach from Gaba Tepe to the Straits. To the north- 
west of the mountain stretches a plain extending to Suvla Bay, 
which was destined to play an important part in the campaign 
from August onwards ; but it did not af!ect the course of the opera- 
tions at Anzac during the first three months of the operations and 
need not therefore be considered here. 

Events during the first few days after the 27th. — A brief lull 
ensued after the furious combats of the first three days. This 
pause was very welcome to the Anzacs, exhausted as they were 
with their long-drawn-out efiorts ; for it gave them the leisure to 
get thoroughly re-sorted, to draw up supplies from rear to front, 
and to commence the construction of systematic road communica- 
tions within the conquered area. Four battalions of the Royal 
Naval Division and the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade arrived 
as reinforcements on the 28th and 29th. This pause must, how- 
ever, also have been welcome to the Turks, who cannot have been 
less exhausted than their antagonists at the end of the three days 
of continuous fighting. It afiorded them an opportunity for 
developing their hastily improvised defences at points like The 
Neck and on the Lone Pine plateau and joining these up, and it in 
fact enabled the Ottoman forces to start a close blockade on the 
land side of the position held by the Australasian corps. By 
establishing themselves firmly on the front that they had taken 
up to some extent by hazard, they were enabled to confine the 
invaders rigidly to the cramped, tangled patch of heights which 
these had made themselves masters of on the opening day. 

General Birdwood had contemplated a general advance on the 
30th, convinced of the vital importance of extending his conquest 
before the enemy should have fenced him in with elaborate lines of 
circumvallation. The contemplated ofiensive had, however, to be 
abandoned after orders for its execution had been issued ; but this 
change of plan appears to have been unavoidable. The truth was 
that he had not reserves at his disposal to restore his units to the 
establishment at which they had entered upon the furious contest. 
The 1st Australian Division had suffered very heavily, many of its 
battalions having shrunk almost to skeletons. No fresh troops 
had come to hand other than Light Horse and the four naval 
battalions, and these latter as it happened "vrere very short of estab- 



NIGHT OF 2ND-3RD OF MAY 171 

lishment. Serious difficulties presented themselves to anything in 
the nature of a general advance owing to the conformation of the 
ground in front of the Anzac position, because a thrust outwards 
meant advancing on both sides of the Sari Bair ridge and therefore 
created a divergent movement. To undertake such an operation 
with depleted forces in face of an enemy who enjoyed all the 
advantages of position would have been to run a serious risk, and 
Greneral Birdwood was no doubt well advised when he cancelled his 
orders. 

Apart from an almost incessant bombardment maintained by 
the Turkish artillery, the situation remained quiescent until the 
2nd of May ; but an important local offensive was undertaken on 
the evening of that day. Its object was to clear the head of the 
Monash valley of the enemy, and to secure possession of those 
portions of The Neck from which hostile riflemen and machine-guns 
— ^now firmly dug in — were able to fire down the ravine. The 
Osmanlis fought with no little spirit on this occasion. The combat 
lasted all night and such ground as the Anzacs succeeded in making 
good was only won after hard fighting. Practically every point 
that had been secured during the night had, moreover, to be given 
up again in the morning, as found to be untenable by daylight. 
One patch of ground that had been acquired had to be abandoned 
owing to destroyers mistaking their target and firing into an 
Australian battalion which was hard pressed at the moment — an 
unfortunate occurrence, illustrative of the danger of introducing 
gun-fire from on board ship into a hotly contested scuffle at close 
quarters of this kind. On the 4th a party was landed near Gaba 
Tepe as an experiment ; it found both the beach north of the 
promontory (where the disembarkation had been intended to take 
place on the 25th), and the promontory itself, very elaborately 
prepared for defence. 

The 2nd AustraKan and New Zealand Brigades were moved from 
Anzac to Helles on the night of the 5th, as already mentioned on 
page 152. This weakening of the force at Anzac rendered any 
offensive operation in this quarter out of the question for the time 
being, and there was consequently a lull for a fortnight. Both 
sides employed themselves busily in developing their fortifications 
and in adding to their artillery. But in this latter respect the Turks 
enjoyed a decided advantage ; they managed indeed to bring a 



172 THE DARDANELLES 

number of heavy guns and howitzers into action, with which they 
shelled exposed portions of the Anzac position and maintained a 
troublesome fire on the beach. The Australians were all this time 
suffering a good many casualties from snipers and from shrapnel, 
and on the 15th they sustained a severe loss in General Bridges, 
commanding the 1st Australian Division, who was mortally wounded 
while going his rounds. He was succeeded by General Walker. 
The two brigades returned from Helles on this day. In the mean- 
time the communications were much improved and were to some 
extent converted into covered approaches ; but the labour of 
conveying ammunition, food supplies, and water (especially the 
latter) from the shore to the high ground where the bulk of the 
troops were located was tremendous. The water problem may 
indeed be said to have remained almost acute throughout ; very 
little was found in the area occupied, the springs dried up as the 
season advanced, and distribution was always a most troublesome 
business. ^ 

The great Turkish attack upon Anzac. — On the 18th it was ascer- 
tained by aeroplane reconnaissance that a fresh division of Turks was 
being landed near Maidos, and that afternoon an intensive bom- 
bardment was directed upon the Anzac position, a number of heavy 
guns and howitzers that had not previously been located taking 
part in the cannonade. At midnight that night a violent musketry 
fire was opened by the enemy all along the line, accompanied 
by heavy bombing at points where the opposing trenches were in 
close proximity. This, however, died down for a short time, the 
intention of the Turks apparently being to lull the Australasian 
troops into a false sense of security, for at 4 a.m. a determined 
assault was delivered on the right centre of the Anzac position. 
This was beaten off, but it was taken up at other sections along the 
line ; at one or two points Turks indeed actually reached the 
defenders' trenches, but they were all killed or taken. These attacks 
were delivered throughout in dense formation, and the assailants 
in consequence suffered very severe losses from musketry and 
machine-gun fire. The combat continued after daylight and it 
lasted till near noon, resulting in a complete victory for the de- 
fenders, whose losses amounted all told only to about 100 killed and 

1 It may be observed here that the Australian soldier will get on with 
much less drinking water than the British soldier finds necessary. 



THE ARMISTICE 173 

500 wounded. The enemy's casualties, on the other hand, were very 
high, over 3000 dead lying in the open in view of the trenches. 
30,000 Turkish troops appear to have taken part in an undertak- 
ing which not merely failed completely, but which in reality greatly 
strengthened the position of the invaders. From that day forward 
no serious anxiety was ever felt as to the security of the Anzac 
position, except in respect to water and to communications. 

During the following four days the Turks carried on negotiations 
for a suspension of arms with the object of burying their slain, 
and this was eventually assented to for the 24th. The agreement 
was loyally observed and great numbers of Ottoman dead, some 
of whom had been killed earlier than the big attack of the morning 
of the 19th, were interred. It may be observed here that, although 
a few instances of outrages did occur both at Helles and at Anzac, 
the Turks generally acted scrupulously in accordance with the rules 
of civilised warfare during the Gallipoli operations and thereby 
gained the respect of their antagonists. 

From the 25th of May to the end of July. — The two months 
subsequent to this suspension of arms were signalised by only two 
actions of importance, which took place on the 28th of June and 
on the night of the 29th-30th of June respectively. Minor affairs, 
raids on a small scale and surprises, were constantly taking place 
at various points along the front ; either side from time to time 
took the initiative, although this usually rested with the 
Australasian troops. The two fortified points, Pope's Hill and 
Quinn's Post, guarding either side of a little ravine at the head of 
Monash Gully were the scene of many such broils, the antagonists 
being at very close quarters at this point and the Turks enjoying 
some advantage in respect to position. Quinn's Post served as a 
centre of much activity ; sorties were delivered from thence on 
the 4th and 5th of June to distract Ottoman attention from Helles, 
where the attack recorded on page 157 was about to be delivered. 
These two localities gradually developed into very formidable little 
strongholds. 

Other strong points along the front were the commanding 
Russel's Top, a salient in the line known as The Pimple which 
confronted a particularly elaborate hostile entrenchment system 
on Lone Pine plateau, and Tasman and Chatham Posts near where 
the extreme right of the Anzac position dropped down on to 



174 THE DAKDANELLES 

Brighton Beach. The trenches were virtually continuous, although 
at one or two spots where it was impracticable to excavate there 
were short gaps kept closely under fire from positions near at hand 
in flank and in rear. The enemy, it may here be noted, enjoyed a 
decided superiority in artillery at this time and indeed throughout, 
although German accounts indicate that ammunition was scarce. 
It was especially in respect to suitable howitzers that General 
Birdwood found himself at a disadvantage ; pieces of that type 
were wanted to search the ravines and depressions all round the 
Anzac position — a work for which field and mountain guns were 
not adapted. Moreover, in addition to the lack of artillery material 
under which the Australasian corps suffered, it was by no means 
easy to find suitable gun position within the cramped space that 
was available. 

As the days passed, the work strenuously carried out in respect 
to developing communications began to bear fruit. A network 
of routes spread itself through the position, defiladed for the most 
part either by epaulmcnts or else by being excavated so as to 
secure cover. The " Great Sap " shown on Map IV was run out 
from Anzac Cove along the foot of the spurs that rise abruptly 
from Ocean Beach, and by this means a sheltered highway came 
into being extending northwards, which proved very useful at a 
later date. Nor were the labours of the working parties confined 
to road construction. Condensing plant was set up, pumping 
arrangements were devised and reservoirs were prepared ; but 
water always remained a source of anxiety.^ Dugouts for 
personnel were; constructed at many spots, and sheltered magazines 
for ammunition and supplies created. Seeing that the area 
in occupation of the invaders at An«ac was much more limited 
than was the case at Helles, and that the position was, moreover, 
hemmed in on a half-circle by the enemy. General Birdwood's 
troops suffered more from the desultory fire of the Turkish artillery 
than their comrades at the extremity of the peninsula. The Anzac 
beach was indeed particularly exposed to hostile shell-fire. Con- 

^ Water was conveyed to the peninsula from Egypt and from Malta. Some, 
drunk by the troops, had even been brought out as ballast from home. The 
demand on Malta became so heavy that the supplies nearly gave out, and in 
the later stages of the campaign the army depended largely on a slow-steam- 
ing tank ship which brought Nile water to the peninsula at considerable risk 
of being torpedoed. 



TURKISH ENTRENCHMENTS 175 

sidering how frequently it was swept by the enemy projectiles it 
is almost surprising that more harm was not done. The weather 
during these early summer months, it may be added, was generally 
fine and favoured the landing of stores ; but the sea occasionally 
got up and caused interruption. 

While the men from the Antipodes toiled at their positions and 
communications, the Turks were not idle. Always on the watch 
and gathered in strong force, the enemy lost no opportunities of 
developing his counter- works. As at Helles, the OsmanHs 
manifested no little skill and resource in improvising defences, in 
elaborating them into formidable works and in linking these up 
with the rear by means of covered approaches. Their trench system 
was especially laid out with the object of barring any advance 
from the Anzac position in the direction of Boghali and Kilia Liman. 
Lines stretched down from the higher ridges of Sari Bair along the 
extensive spurs that thence jut southwards and which provided 
natural defensive positions. The Lone Pine spur and plateau 
were particularly strongly fortified. The positions of the Ottoman 
lines of trenches were reported to the Anzac stafi by aeroplane 
reconnaissance, and photographs were obtained ; but the British 
aviators found it particularly difficult to locate the enemy's gun 
emplacements as the scrub that covered the hill-sides and the 
valleys greatly favoured concealment. 

Reinforcements in the shape of several mounted units without 
horses and of certain other corps arrived from the Nile Delta during 
June and served to swell the numbers ^of the Anzac army. The 
troops furnished by Australia and New Zealand were in no better 
plight than those recruited in the United Kingdom at first as 
regards being maintained at their war establishment. The grievous 
losses sustained during the first few days, and those undergone 
by the two brigades that were transferred temporarily to Helles, 
were not made good for some little time. But, thanks to the exer- 
tions of the Governments concerned and to the existence of sub- 
stantial depots in Egypt, the failure to replace wastage did not 
upon the whole hamper the forces at Anzac so seriously as it did 
the British troops at the extremity of the peninsula during the 
early months of the campaign. 

The combats of the 28th of June and of the night of the 29th- 
30th, mentioned above, although they occurred within a period 



176 THE DARDANELLES 

of three days were not closely connected with each other. The 
first affair resulted from a wish expressed by Sir I. Hamilton that 
some activity should be displayed with the object of preventing 
the transfer of Turkish force to Helles on the occasion of the attack 
intended to take place in that area on the 28th. It took the form 
of a very realistic and effective demonstration. On the afternoon 
of the appointed day a force advanced from its trenches near 
Tasman Post on the extreme right of the line and occupied portions 
of the lower spurs of Pine Ridge. The Turks speedily brought up 
reinforcements from the direction of Eski Keui, moving these by 
roundabout routes up the valleys from the south in the hopes of 
the columns remaining unobserved. They were detected, how- 
ever, and were subjected to a most damaging artillery fire both 
from the position and also from destroyers which w^ere co-operating 
and were making demonstrations against Gaba Tepe. In the 
evening the force was quietly withdrawn to its trenches. 

The combat of the night of the 29th-30th was better contested, 
although the result was never seriously in doubt. Soon after 
midnight the Turks delivered strong attacks upon the line about 
Quinn's Post, Pope's Hill, and Russel Top, some of the assaulting 
parties succeeding in forcing their way into the trenches at one 
or two points, only to be quickly disposed of. The assailants were 
in strong force and they fought with desperation, the struggle 
lasting till daylight ; but they were ultimately beaten off at all 
points decisively and they suffered heavy losses. The lesson 
taught the enemy by the reverse suffered on this occasion, following 
as it did upon the bloody repulse that the onslaught of the 19th of 
May had met with, created a marked disinclination in the hostile 
ranks to commit themselves to any further efforts to expel the 
invaders from the position that they had won and which they had 
so strongly fortified. As no special object was to be gained at 
this time by offensive action on the part of General Birdwood's 
troops, the consequence was that the month of July passed quietly. 

Comments. — It has been suggested in some quarters that the 
troops from the Antipodes planted down at Anzac served no useful 
purpose during the first three months of the Gallipoli campaign, 
beyond causing the Ottoman forces heavy losses in the Homeric 
encoimters that took place between them. But there is no warrant 
for such a contentioa, The German and Turkish military authorities 



ADVANTAGE OF HOLDING ANZAC 177 

from the outset manifested uncommon solicitude with regard to 
the possibility that their opponents might contrive to force a way 
through to the Straits from the extensive stretches of beach that 
marked the coast-line north of Gaba Tepe. At the moment when 
the Australasians effected their landing on the 25th of April, there 
was a hostile army near at hand which, as we have seen, speedily 
confronted them in superior strength. From that time forward 
till the end of July the Anzacs were always containing at close 
quarters hostile forces at least equal in numbers to themselves, 
besides obliging the enemy to maintain strong reserves about 
Kilia Liman and Maidos. The anxiety that the Turks felt with 
regard to this body of invaders thrust ashore close to the narrowest 
portion of the peninsula, is well illustrated by the way that rein- 
forcements were hurried up from Eski Keui on the occasion of the 
demonstration from about Tasman Post on the 28th of June. 
Once Greneral Birdwood's corps was thoroughly dug in in its 
position, and after the Turks had definitely tried conclusions with 
it and failed, as they did on the 19th of May, some of his troops 
might perhaps have been transferred to Helles by night to take 
part in the offensive operations carried on in that quarter. But 
sufficient forces to alter the situation in the other arena very 
appreciably could not safely have been withdrawn from Anzac. 
Moreover, as will be seen in the next chapter, an entirely new 
framework of operations was to be erected on that restricted area 
of hilly wilderness upon which the Australians and New Zealanders 
had fijxed their grip. 

It has to be admitted that their failure to gain possession of a 
more extensive territory at the start exercised — as at Helles — an 
almost paralysing influence over the subsequent career of the 
troops from the Antipodes. It is not suggested that the failure 
was due to blameworthy errors in design and execution on the part 
of the force which had been emptied out, so to speak, upon a patch 
of abnormally awkward ground, ground that was unreconnoitred 
and unknown and that furthermore happened not to be the locality 
that the force was aiming for. Only a supernatural eye for country, 
for instance, would have realised the tactical significance of The 
Neck and of the Lone Pine plateau during the swaying conflict 
that took place in this bewildering terrain during the first few hours 
on shore. Nor, even had the tactical significance of those localities 



178 THE DARDANELLES 

been realised, does it follow that they could have been secured and 
held. Nevertheless, their possession would have been of incal- 
culable advantage to the Anzacs during the first three months of 
the struggle. The Neck was almost vital from the defensive point 
of view. Occupation of the Lone Pine plateau would have been a 
priceless asset from the offensive point of view. It was only after 
the Turks had dug themselves in and after the situation had settled 
itself that the value of such points became apparent. 

Those parties of gallant Australians of the 3rd and 2nd Brigades 
referred to on page 96, who pressed on unsupported into the heart 
of the hills after the first rush and were never heard of again, no 
doubt blundered. But, none the less, quite apart from their eager- 
ness to close with the foe, they were animated by a sound instinct 
— the craving for elbow-room. In the case of effecting a landing in 
presence of the enemy you have got to grab as much ground as 
you can before you are brought up short by gathering hostile 
strength. You are without artillery and you are likely to remain 
so for some hours. The enemy is almost bound to be taken by 
surprise to some extent, as until the boats head for the shore he 
does not know where you mean to land. If you do not occupy an 
adequate area at the start you may never have another chance. 
There is perhaps no strategical and tactical situation arising in war 
that demands more imperatively that hay shall be made while the 
sun shines. Commander, staff, subordinate leaders, rank and file, 
everybody, ought to be thoroughly imbued with that idea when 
they are committed to an enterprise of this character. The 
principle is fundamental. Its recognition on all hands is likely to 
prove the keystone of success. 

The speed with which, within a very few weeks of their arrival 
on the shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula, the Australians and New 
Zealanders transformed themselves out of a body of relatively 
raw troops into a soldiery of the very highest class, is a signal 
illustration of the value of experience in presence of the enemy to 
newly created contingents of fighting men — especially if those 
fighting men be endowed by nature with martial qualities of a 
high order. From the many vivid accounts of the performances 
of these recently constituted battalions and batteries and engineer 
companies that have appeared, it is evident that their efficiency 
increased by leaps and bounds during their early days at Anzac, 



HILL TERRAIN AND ARTILLERY TARGETS 179 

owing to their close contact with gallant and skilfully handkd 
foemen — this, moreover, in spite of the fact that many of the most 
brilliant of the ofl&cers and men had gone down in the bitter combats 
of the first few days. The troops from the Antipodes who watched 
the Turkish burying parties carrying out their gruesome task on 
the 24th of May, were no longer troops to fall into such confusion 
as occurred on the 25th of April and who consequently very 
nearly had that night to abandon what had been so bravely 
won. They would have retained their cohesion instinctively in 
spite of difficulties caused by awkward ground, by strange surround- 
ings and by the grim resistance that was being encountered. 
Within one single month they had learnt their job. 

One other point deserves a brief reference. A hilly terrain is 
wont to provide particularly inviting targets for the artillery arm 
under certain conditions. This is because the ground, so to speak, 
stands up facing the batteries and thereby at once favours observa- 
tion of fire and assists the gun-layers. This, however, only holds 
good when slopes and crests present comparatively smooth surfaces, 
and when the topographical features are moulded on grand lines. 
When the ground is, on the contrary, rocky and clothed in scrub, 
when the hill-features — as was the case at Anzac — are framed on 
a small scale and are tangled and intricate, the conditions are 
unfavourable for artillerists. The guns of the warships were most 
helpful to the Australasian troops on shore on several occasions ; 
but the task of those directing their fire was a very anxious one 
as a rule. Owing to the nature and the configuration of the ground 
that the troops were engaged on, it was very difficult to distinguish 
from aboard ship what exactly was going on — the more so seeing 
that the afirays were generally fought out at close quarters. The 
Turks also were able to hide their reserves in the elongated valleys 
that run north and south at the back of the main Sari Bair ridge. 
These valleys could not be seen into or searched by gunners in 
vessels lying west of Anzac, and they could only be seen into very 
partially and enfiladed to a limited extent from ships stationed 
ofi Gaba Tepe and to the south of that promontory. 

But in discussing the work of artillery whether ashore or afloat 
there is always this to be said : The value of guns to a side is not 
wholly material. Their effect is not alone to be judged by the 
actual havoc that their shell cause in the hostile ranks. Their 



180 THE DARDANELLES 

influence is also moral, and on many occasions at Anzac the mere 
fact that naval projectiles were flying overhead gave welcome 
encouragement to General Birdwood's men, even though the 
damage that they were doing to the Turks at the moment may 
have been inconsiderable. 

Ought the fleet to have given more assistance with its artillery 
than it did after May ? The above remarks suggest consideration 
of a question that has been raised as to the attitude of the naval 
authorities on the spot after the German U-boats appeared on the 
scene. It has been suggested in some quarters — notably by Mr. 
E. Dane in his informative work British Campaigns in the Near 
East — that in spite of the disasters to Triumph and Majestic the 
battleships and cruisers ought to have continued hanging about 
off the shores of Helles and Anzac aiding the army with the fire 
of their guns, that they ought to have risked being sent to the 
bottom by hostile torpedoes instead of thenceforward remaining 
as a rule behind nets in Mudros Bay. It may be remarked that 
ships must anchor or else must cruise very slowly if they are to 
do the slightest good with their gun-fire at targets ashore, and that 
under such circumstances they are particularly liable to come to 
grief if hostile submarines are about. Still there might be some- 
thing to be said for accepting the risk if their support were of any 
great value to the troops on shore, especially as the Dardanelles 
fleet consisted so largely of almost obsolete vessels. But even if 
the vessels were of no great value the crews were of the highest 
class and w^ere almost irreplaceable, and the truth of the matter is 
that naval artillery fire, even from monster guns, is not particularly 
effective when directed against an enemy on shore. The ordnance 
is not of the right sort, the business is not properly understood by 
those directing the gunnery, and establishment of that close co- 
operation between the artillery and the infantry, dependent on 
forward or overhead observation, which is the very basis of latter- 
day tactics on land, is virtually impracticable — certainly as regards 
forward observation. 

Even with well-defined targets to practise at, their positions 

accurately marked on large-scale maps, the naval bombardments 

"> of the batteries defending the entrance to the Straits and guarding 

the Narrows had caused very little damage at the cost of a heavy 

expenditure of ammunition. The task of the naval gunners at a 



EMPLOYMENT OF WARSHIPS 181 

later stage became a far more difficult one, except on a few special 
occasions where there happened to be some conspicuous object to 
fire at, and when the exact position of the friendly troops near 
that object was known. Such situations did not, and could not, 
often arise, the more so as Marshal Liman von Sanders, who 
realised the difficulties under which warships labour in this sort 
of work, gave special instructions that the Turks should always 
try to establish their trenches as close to those of the invaders as 
possible. Nothing hampers the artillerist more than the fear of 
shelling his own side. The theory that constant support from the 
warships would have greatly aided the army in its operations is 
based on a misconception. 

Nor should it be forgotten in this connection that the sinking of 
one of the Allies' warships would be bound to give great encourage- 
ment to the enemy. Triumph and Majestic were sent to the bottom 
in broad daylight in full view of the Turkish trenches. German 
and American accounts make it quite clear that those events 
caused great enthusiasm, not only in the Ottoman lines near the 
Dardanelles but also in Constantinople, following as they did on 
the successful night attack upon Goliath within the Straits. 



CHAPTER X 

POSSIBILITIES OF SUCCESS 

The impossibility o! achieving the object with the forces available. 

— Already early in May it had become manifest that the campaign 
undertaken by the Allies in the Gallipoli Peninsula was bound to 
prove a failure, unless the strength of the force which had been 
originally detailed for the enterprise and which had initiated the 
venture was to be substantially increased. Foiled as it had been 
in its attempt to acquire domination over the Narrows of the 
Dardanelles by a sudden descent upon the enemy's shores, brought 
to a standstill by a hostile array superior in numbers to itself and 
better equipped with guns and howitzers, the expeditionary army 
could not hope to accompHsh its purpose without considerable 
reinforcements. If any uncertainty had been entertained on the 
point after the troops at Helles, although reinforced from Anzac, 
had been unable to gain more than a few hundred yards by their 
determined offensive of the 6th-8th May, doubt must have been 
dispelled by the combat of the 4th of June and by the stalemate at 
Anzac following on the great Turkish effort of the 19th of May. 
A good deal of perplexity always existed as to the numerical strength 
of the Ottoman army, even if the number of divisions and their 
approximate distribution in the immediate theatre of operations 
was usually known. Still it could be foreseen that this army would 
grow as time went on and as Ottoman resources about the heart of 
the Empire were developed under German guidance. 

The Commander-in-Chief was under no illusions as to his pros- 
pects. He realised that, as matters stood during May and June, 
the odds against him were too great to justify his indulging in any 
hopes of a strategical triumph with the army then at his disposal. 
So early as the 10th of May he had cabled home asking for two 
more divisions ; and a week later, apprised in the meantime that no 

182 



NEED OF REINFORCEMENTS 183 

assistance was to be expected from the Russians even in the 
indeterminate shape of threats to Constantinople from across the 
Black Sea, he followed this message up with another requesting 
that two additional army corps should be sent him. But although 
arrangements were at once made by the War Office in London 
to ship the 52nd Division to the Mgesm — as we have seen on page 
158, it arrived early in June — it was not until June that the Home 
Government decided to send out the further troops that Sir I. 
Hamilton had asked for. The course of events on the peninsula 
during the three weeks following his second message had indeed 
shown almost conclusively that it had become a question between 
withdraw'ing the Expeditionary Force, with all the dangers military 
and political which such a course involved, and complying with 
the demands of the man on the spot. The delay of the British 
Government in arriving at a decision appears to have been to some 
extent due to a political crisis, the " Coalition Government " 
replacing the Liberal Government previously in power. 

The reinforcements. — Sir I. Hamilton was informed that his 
army was to be augmented by three complete divisions and by the 
infantry of two more Territorial divisions, all of them coming from 
the United Kingdom. They were timed to arrive between the 10th 
of July and the 10th of August — a striking illustration of the number 
of days needed to embark and to move a force of all arms, mustering 
considerably less than 100,000 men, oversea on a fortnight's voyage. 
The new divisions actually selected were the 10th, 11th, and 13th 
(which latter it will be remembered was utilised at Helles at the 
end of July) belonging to the " New Army," together with the 
53rd (Welsh) and 54th (East Anglian) belonging to the Territorial 
Forces ; the accession of these additional troops would raise the 
strength of the expeditionary army to thirteen divisions,^ besides 
the Indian brigade and four Anzac mounted brigades.^ The 
infantry composing thirteen divisions and five independent brigades 
would on paper represent about 160,000 bayonets. But, as has 
already been indicated, the infantry (and especially the Territorial 
infantry) was almost always short of establishment when it joined. 
Drafts were invariably seriously in arrear. Some of the divisions had 

» The 10th, 11th, 13th, 29th, 42nd, 52nd, 53rd, 54th Royal Naval, 1st 
Australian, Australian and New Zealand, 1st French and 2nd French. 
* For order of battle, see Apijendix II. 



184 THE DARDANELLES 

not their proper complement of twelve or thirteen battalions even 
on paper. In actual practice Sir I. Hamilton apparently never 
had more than about 110,000 bayonets under his orders, and he 
only had that number for a very few days. 

His chances of success were, moreover, prejudiced by the fact 
that the whole of the reinforcements were not to be available until 
so late a date as the 10th of August, three and a half months after 
the successful landing of the 25th of April. Although the Allies 
were assailing the Ottoman Empire very near its heart, the enemy's 
facilities for despatching troops, munitions, and food supplies to 
the point of danger were limited ; the extent to which this was 
the case has been already explained on pages 133 to 135, Time 
therefore meant much. Could the additional contingents from the 
United Kingdom have arrived several weeks earlier, there would 
have been a strong probability of their forestalling the Turks in 
respect to assembling a preponderance of force in the peninsula. 
The question of the despatch of British forces from the United 
Kingdom to the Mgean in the early summer of 1915, however, 
depended upon a variety of strategical considerations, amongst 
which Sir I. Hamilton's requirements only represented one item. 
It is not proposed to discuss the merits of the attitude taken up 
by the Home Government in this matter ; but, not to mention the 
fact that the delay in sending out the additional troops to the 
Dardanelles was detrimental to the prospects of securing posses- 
sion of them, would not be justifiable in a record of the campaign 
for the Straits. 

Sir I. Hamilton's appreciation. — Once he had been made aware 
of the forces that he could reckon upon, Sir I. Hamilton was in a 
position to frame his plans, and in the despatch written on laying 
down his command in the following October he summarises the 
situation as it presented itself to him at this time. 

" Eliminating the impracticable," he writes, " I had already narrowed 
down the methods of employing these fresh forces to one of the follow- 
ing four : 

(a) Every man to be thrown on the southern sector of the peninsula 

to force a way forward to the Narrows. 

(b) Disembarkation on the Asiatic side of the Straits, followed by 

a march on Chanak. 



SIR I. HAMILTON'S PLAN 185 

(c) A landing at Enos or Ebrije for the purpose of seizing the 

neck of the Isthmus of Bulair. 

(d) Reinforcement of the Australian and New Zealand Army- 

Corps, combined with a landing in Suvla Bay. Then with 
a strong push to capture Hill 305/ and, working from 
that dominating point, to grip the waist of the peninsula." 

He goes on to explain that he rejected the first alternative 
because there was not room enough for a large force, because of 
the special defences erected for the security of Achi Baba, and 
because any landing on the coast south of Gaba Tepe at the 
narrowest point of the peninsula would have to be carried out 
under artillery fire from Achi Baba and the Kilid Bahr plateau. 

The objection to the second alternative was that there would 
not be troops enough for a serious undertaking on the Asiatic side 
unless the force actually on the peninsula was to be reduced to a 
strength that would render it incapable of effective operations. 
The Commander-in-Chief admits that the project of an advance 
on the Asiatic side was from some points of view attractive. He 
does not discuss the possibility of making such an advance the main 
operation ; but in this he was probably influenced to some extent 
by the consideration that, as pointed out on page 41, such a plan 
would have involved the employment of a large amount of transport. 

The arguments that could be adduced against the scheme of a 
landing north of the Gulf of Saros were that the landing-places 
were unsatisfactory ; that Admiral de Robeck objected strongly to 
disembarking troops at so great a distance from the concentration 
points, Mudros and Imbros, and under conditions exposing the 
transports and covering ships so much to submarine attack ; and 
that, even supposing a force landed successfully and after over- 
coming such opposition as might be met with securing possession 
of the Bulair Isthmus, it did not follow that the enemy would 
abandon opposition to naval passage of the Dardanelles. To cut 
the Turkish communications in the peninsula, artillery fire must 
be brought to bear upon those communications whether they were 
by land or were by water. 

Sir Ian therefore decided in favour of the fourth alternative, 
that of capturing Sari Bair and effecting a landing in Suvla Bay 

' Koja Chemen Tepe, the culminating point of Sari Bair. 



186 THE DARDANELLES 

simultaneously, and in his appreciation he goes into his reasons for 
coming to this conclusion fully. He hoped by means of a vigorous 
offensive from Anzac, combined with a surprise landing to the north 
of it, to win through to Maidos, leaving behind him a well-protected 
line of communications starting from Suvla Bay. This inlet would 
provide a submarine-proof base, only a mile further from the 
islands than Anzac, and affording satisfactory shelter against bad 
weather except from the west and south-west. He realised the 
difficulties that broken country and lack of water might create, 
but " it can only be said that a bad country is better than an 
entrenched country, and that supply and water problems may be 
countered by careful preparation." As his plan involved landing 
large numbers at Anzac without the enemy becoming aware of it, 
as well as surprise disembarkation at Suvla Bay in the dark, it 
was necessary to deliver the stroke during the short period when 
the moon was hidden ; and, as the bulk of the reinforcements would 
be available by that time, the dark nights early in August were 
selected for the undertaking. 

Comments. — It will be more convenient to comment on the 
actual plan that was adopted when the operations come to be 
narrated. But there are one or two points in connection with the 
discarded alternatives that invite a few observations. Sir L 
Hamilton seems to have considered the possibility of effecting 
landings south of Gaba Tepe, although he rejected such a plan of 
operations for fear of artillery fire ; the idea has generally pre- 
vailed that there were no suitable landing-places anywhere between 
Gaba Tepe and Gully Beach, but reconnaissance may have proved 
this to be an error. H practicable beaches really existed, that fact 
would strengthen the arguments in favour of the whole of the 
Expeditionary Force having been put ashore on the western coast 
of the peninsula at its " waist " at the start. The plan of landing 
at Ebrije or Enos was undoubtedly, as the Commander-in-Chief 
expressed it, " a better scheme on paper than on the spot." It 
was just the kind of project to commend itself to a body like the 
" Dardanelles Committee " sitting at 10 Downing Street. There 
can be no doubt that the seizure of the Isthmus of Bulair would 
have caused the Turks great inconvenience, even if no attempt 
had been made to force the lines and press southwards ; the enemy 
constructed a road during the campaign along the shore of the 



SIR I. HAMILTON'S PLAN 187 

isthmus on the inner side, where traffic could not be molested by 
the Allies' warships owing to the intervening high ground. But a 
plan on such lines would have meant further dispersion of force, 
the matter has already been discussed on pages 38 and 39, and 
in any case the naval objections were conclusive. 

Sir I. Hamilton no doubt gave serious consideration to the 
possibilities of making the Asiatic side of the Straits his main 
theatre of operations, although he did not discuss the merits of 
such a disposition of forces in his despatch. A plan of campaign 
on these lines always found some supporters, especially among 
the French ; but the objections to it were very strong. It would 
have been difficult to withdraw any considerable force from the 
peninsula to swell the numbers of the five divisions that were coming 
as reinforcements. The Anzacs, clinging to their singular position, 
were doing invaluable work in containing great numbers of Turks ; 
for the enemy could not afford to run risks at this point, with 
antagonists not six miles from Kilia Liman ; a brigade or two of 
General Birdwood's force might have been withdrawn for service 
elsewhere, but not more than that. Troops could no doubt have 
been spared from Helles, where there were nominally six divisions ; 
but it would have been dangerous to remove more than two out 
of the six. By adopting an almost purely defensive attitude on 
the peninsula, the Commander-in-Chief might in fact possibly have 
transferred three divisions to the Asiatic coast, creating an army 
of eight divisions for an efiort on that side. 

Operations based on Besika and Yukyeri Bays have already 
been discussed in Chapter IV, and the drawbacks to such a plan 
of campaign from the point of view of a sudden stroke have been 
indicated. There could be no question of a sudden stroke now, 
and, even assuming that there would have been awkward defences 
to overcome at the landing-places, a more or less formal military 
advance on this side of the Dardanelles would no doubt have been 
feasible. But the distance to be covered to the Narrows was far 
greater than that from Helles or Anzac or Suvla, there was no 
position on the Asiatic side that commanded the defile as the 
Kilid Bahr plateau did, and a more or less direct move from Besika 
and Yukyeri Bays towards Chanak did not threaten Turkish 
communications as an advance from Anzac or Suvla Bay on Maidos 
did. Had ten divisions been joining the Allied army instead of 



188 THE DARDANELLES 

five, four or five of them might well have been landed on the 
Asiatic side as a secondary operation. That would have greatly 
worried the Turks, have drawn off some of their numbers from 
the peninsula, and have decidedly improved the position of the 
troops at Helles. As it was, there was very little to be said for 
starting such an undertaking. 

The Expeditionary Force's weakness in artillery. — It may not be 
out of place to refer here to what undoubtedly was one of the 
contributory causes to bringing about the failure of the Dardanelles 
venture. Sir I. Hamilton's army was very badly off for artillery — 
not 80 much perhaps in regard to actual number of guns placed in 
the field, taking the peculiar conditions of the campaign into 
consideration, as in regard to the nature of the ordnance employed 
and in regard to the volume of ammunition placed at the disposal 
of the batteries. There were obvious administrative objections to 
the getting together of a great assemblage of guns in arenas of 
operations such as Helles and Anzac. The demands involved on 
ship-tonnage, the problem of horses and of their forage and their 
water on shore, the lack of sites for batteries within the Anzac 
position, the landing difficulties in respect to disembarking heavy 
ordnance, all these considerations dictated a reduction of pieces to 
a minimum. But, on the other hand, that being the case, it became 
all the more imperative, if there was a limit on the number of guns 
and howitzers, to ensure that the right types were allotted and that 
those employed should have ample stores of ammunition at their 
disposal. 

The insufficiency of field howitzers was undoubtedly a serious 
impediment to success. Tactical operations in the Sari Bair hill 
mass demanded the comprehensive searching of gullies and the 
sweeping of steep, reverse slopes with shell, and neither field guns 
nor the armament of warships was adapted for work of that kind. 
The Turks, moreover, had evolved deeply sunken trench systems 
alike at Helles and at Anzac, and to make defences of that character 
untenable howitzers of some sort were almost indispensable. Owing 
to the nature of the terrain and to transport difficulties, field 
howitzers were the class of ordnance especially desirable ; but a 
very few medium howitzers would also have been a great boon to 
the invading army. A few, old pattern, 6-inch guns provided by 
the French and mounted on the right flank of the Helles area 



WEAKNESS IN ARTILLERY 189 

proved very useful for counter-battering work across the Straits, 
and the few 60-pounders landed did good service of the same kind ; 
but searching fire was lacking. * 

In so far as field guns were concerned, the army was reasonably 
well fitted out with this form of artillery from June onwards, even 
in spite of the Territorial divisions in some cases having none ; 
but the ammunition allowance was inadequate throughout. It 
had been almost inevitable that the Allies should be short of guns 
in the early days, even had large numbers been detailed to form 
part of the Expeditionary Force, and in the fights of April and of 
May a want of guns was much felt. But that would always be likely 
to occur in the case of a maritime descent upon an enemy's shores. 
It is at the start that landing difl&culties are most troublesome, and 
in April and May several batteries were kept in Egypt waiting for 
ship-transport and for the development of jetties, and so forth, at 
the beaches. But such obstacles had been pretty well overcome 
before the August operations were initiated, and there would then 
have been no difiiculty in disembarking and iu distributing an 
abundance of ammunition. At the end of July there were 124 guns 
at Helles and about 70 guns at Anzac, these latter in many cases 
emplaced in very inconvenient position owing to lack of space and 
of suitable localities. 

As regards trench mortars it should be remembered that weapons 
of this kind were still in their infancy iu the first half of 1915. The 
improved types of this form of armament that made their appear- 
ance in later stages of the European War would have been in- 
valuable in the Gallipoli Peninsula. The opposing trenches were 
very adjacent to each other, and, in view of topographical conditions, 
mobility and lightness were almost a sine qua non in the case of 
any war material that was to be employed in such a theatre of war. 

Aviation. — A word will not be out of place here as to air-work 
during the early months of the campaign, and as to the general 
position in respect to aviation at the end of July when Sir I. 
Hamilton W'as giving the finishing touches to his plan for a great 
offensive in the coming month. Although the Royal Navy had 

^ A brigade of field howitzers was sent out from the United Kingdom at 
the last moment under special arrangements late in July, proceeding to 
Marseilles by rail and being shipped on from thence ; but it arrived too late 
for the critical opening days of the August offensive. 



190 THE DARDANELLES 

employed aeroplanes with a fair measure of success for " spotting " 
operations during the attacks of the warships on the Dardanelles 
defences in March, and although airmen had carried out some 
extremely informative reconnaissances before the April landings, 
aviation hardly played a very important part in the conduct of 
the struggle on the peninsula during the first three months. But, 
as the weeks passed, a moderate number of machines, British and 
French, gradually came upon the scene and made Tenedos their 
home. That island, however, gradually came to be looked upon 
more and more as a French preserve, as Imbros became more and 
more suitable for an advanced base on its harbour being made 
secure ; and so, towards the end of June, an aerodrome was estab- 
lished at Imbros for the British air service. By the end of July 
there were about sixty British planes there, and the French had 
about twenty at Tenedos. Half would generally be available at 
any one time. 

The British airmen from the outset performed excellent service 
in the way of reconnaissance and bomb-dropping ; but it took the 
naval flyers time to master the art of effective co-operation with 
the artillery on shore, a service that was new to them. Another 
weak point about this service was the lack of fighting machines. 
Owing to this it was not easy to prevent the enemy from carrying 
out raids with their large planes for the purpose of observation 
and of bomb-dropping. Hostile machines would appear very 
suddenly, and they occasionally dropped bombs on Imbros and even 
so far away from home as Mudros. Some small airships used for 
naval service also had their hangar at Imbros ; they were employed 
chiefly to look out for enemy submarines in the waters traversed 
by shipping connected with the operations. The atmospheric 
conditions, it may be observed, were almost ideal for aeronautics 
during the summer about the iEgean. Skies were generally un- 
clouded, the weather was calm, and visibility left little to be desired. 
The nature of the terrain on the Gallipoli Peninsula rendered con- 
cealment very easy owing to the rocks and the scrub. Allied 
aviators found it very difiicult to locate enemy guns, and the 
hostile flyers no doubt experienced similar difficulty in detecting 
the artillery positions at Anzac and Helles. 

The naval position. — Reference has been made in earlier chapters 
to the subject of the submarine menace and to its efiect upon the 



THE NAVAL POSITION 101 

activities of the Allies' fleets. No sooner had it become obvious 
that German and Austro-Himgarian under- water craft were likely 
to hamper the work of battleships and cruisers very seriously, than 
steps were taken by the British Admiralty to despatch some 
shallow-draught monitors, carrying very heavy ordnance, to the 
iEgean. The sides of these vessels bulged out a distance of about 
ten feet below the waterline, making a protective waist-belt in the 
event of a hit by a torpedo ; this, if it gave security, necessarily 
reduced their speed considerably. Three old cruisers, Endymion, 
Talbot and Theseus, were treated in like fashion as to equipment 
with the protective waist-belt. Most of these freak craft had 
become available before Sir I. Hamilton launched his August 
offensive, and they performed useful service during those opera- 
tions and subsequently. But it stands to reason that a limited 
number of such vessels, aided by destroyers, did not represent the 
aggregate of gun-power that the imposing armada of great warships 
which had co-operated with the land operations at the time of the 
first landings had boasted of, and that, in so far as naval artil- 
lery support can be made effective in such cases, the army was 
less well supported than it had been in April and May. Such 
Grerman accounts as have appeared of the Dardanelles campaign 
always lay the utmost stress upon the aid that naval forces afforded 
to the British and French troops, and they suggest that these troops 
always had the support of a great fleet of the most powerful ships 
of w^ar. But owing to the submarines that was not the case 
subsequently to the month of May. 

British submarines, handled with rare daring and skill, were 
managing occasionally to pass up the Dardanelles in spite of mine- 
fields and other obstacles, and to reach the Sea of Marmora ; 
but it was always a most difficult and hazardous operation. 
These raids were of the utmost service to the army ashore in 
that they harassed the enemy's water communications. On the 
8th of August the old Turkish ironclad Barbaroussa together 
with a torpedo-boat were sunk above the Narrows. But a much 
more sustained and continuous effort would have been necessary 
to bring about serious interruption of the traffic across the Straits 
from about Chanak, or absolutely to have put an end to the 
despatch of supplies and w^arlike stores from the Golden Horn in 
small vessels to Marshal Liman von Sanders' army in the peninsula. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE GREAT EFFORT OF EARLY AUGUST 

Sii* I. Hamilton's plan in outline. — The general scheme of opera- 
tions which the Commander-in-Chief had decided to carry into effect 
as soon as his reinforcements were all on the spot comprised three 
distinct, but interdependent, undertakings. They may be indicated 
in outline as follows :— 

The most important of the three sets of operations consisted of 
an attack to be carried out from Anzac upon the Sari Bair mountain, 
with the object of securing its topmost ridges, from which the 
Dardanelles were visible and the possession of which would provide 
observation posts enabling artillery to be directed upon the com- 
munications of the Turkish forces guarding the Narrows on the 
European side. The capture of these dominating ridges would, 
moreover, be a first step towards accomplishing a thrust eastwards 
and south-eastwards, w^hich would carry the troops from Anzac 
to Kilia Liman, to Maidos, and to the Kilid Bahr plateau. Against 
a direct advance being midertaken by General Birdwood from the 
position that he held as against those three points, his adversaries 
were well prepared, alike in respect to disposition of available 
troops and to alignment of entrenchments. His plan of action, 
which was accepted by Sir I. Hamilton, was therefore to strike at 
the Turks from a direction that they would not anticipate attack 
from, to move out from his Anzac position northwards near the 
shore and then to wheel to the right and assail Sari Bair on the 
side where its slopes were abruptest, viz. the north-west ; the 
operation was to be a surprise and must therefore be carried out 
by night. But although the bulk of the forces under his orders 
were to be detailed for this enterprise, attacks w^ere also to be 
delivered from Anzac against the hostile positions extending from 
The Neck to the Lone Pine plateau, partly with the object of 



SIR I. HAMILTON'S PLAN 193 

occupying the attention of the enemy, but partly also for the purpose 
of gaining ground on that side, as a preliminary to further advance 
should the assault of the higher ridges of Sari Bair prove successful. 
To carry out this set of operations General Birdwood's force was 
strengthened by the addition of the 13th Division from HeUes and 
of the 29th Brigade of the 10th Division which had newly arrived 
in the war zone, bringing it up to a total of approximately 37,000 
rifles, with 72 guns. He was to be supported by two cruisers, four 
monitors, and two destroyers. 

Of almost equal importance with the task to be undertaken by 
the troops at Anzac was the project for landing a fresh force in 
and near Suvla Bay, with the twofold object of securing a new base 
and of throwing forward a force on General Birdwood's left to 
co-operate in his offensive. There w^as every reason to believe that 
the enemy forces near the bay, and occupying the hills looking 
down on the flats that stretch eastwards from the bay, were not 
formidable. The landing was to be a surprise and was therefore 
to be carried out by the bulk of the infantry by night, the design 
being kept secret from all except the principal ofiicers concerned 
until the last moment. The date was dependent to some extent 
on the moon ; this, in its last quarter, rose so late as 2 a.m. in 
the morning on the 7th August, and the night of the 6th-7th was 
therefore selected as the earliest ; this indeed fixed the date of the 
oflensive as a whole. Sir F. Stopford was to be in command, and 
his troops were to consist of the 10th Division, less the 29th Brigade, 
and the 11th Division. The 11th Division was assembled at Imbros ; 
but the 10th Division was awaiting the move to the peninsula 
partly at Mitylene (six battalions) and partly at Mudros (three 
battalions), and the Royal Navy thus had to arrange to bring 
considerable bodies of troops from three different points, respectively 
15 miles, 60 miles, and 120 miles from the point of disembarkation, 
and to get them all ashore within a few hours of each other. 

The third of the three undertakings comprised in the Commander- 
in-Chief's general scheme of operations was an attack to be delivered 
by the force at Helles. Its primary purpose was to hinder the 
enemy from sending any troops from that area to aid those defend- 
ing Sari Bair ; but the Higher Command also hoped that ground 
would be gained by the attack and that the front would be 
improved locally in consequence. 



194 THE DARDANELLES 

It was recognised that the Turks were bound to learn that large 
British reinforcements were arriving in the islands, and special 
steps were therefore taken to hoodwink the enemy and to deceive 
Liman von Sanders and his staS as to the plan that was actually 
in contemplation. A surprise landing of a small force was carried 
out on the northern shore of the Gulf of Saros. The arrival of part 
of the 10th Division at Mitylene served as a diversion in itself, 
and the efiect of this was increased by demonstrations on the part 
of French warships against the Anatolian coast opposite the island ; 
Sir I, Hamilton and Admiral de Robeck, moreover, made a parade 
of an inspection of its environs. Soundings and the registration of 
guns were also carried out by monitors along the littoral south of 
Gaba Tepe — operations which served their purpose, for we know 
from the German account that the enemy diverted a couple of 
regiments to the neighbourhood before it was discovered that the 
affair was merely a feint. Reports were spread by the Intelligence 
Department calculated to deceive the opposing side, and there is 
reason to believe that the sum of these various devices proved 
effective in misleading the defenders of the peninsula as to the Allies' 
plan up to the last moment. In giving a brief account of the very 
remarkable series of operations carried out in prosecution of Sir I. 
Hamilton's design, it will be convenient to dispose first of the 
fighting that took place at Helles, seeing that this presents no 
points of any special interest as illustrating the art of war. But 
before doing so it is necessary to indicate the distribution and 
dispositions of the Ottoman forces at this important juncture of 
the campaign, in so far as these are known at the present time. 

The Turkish disposition of force at the beginning of August. — 
Although the General Headquarters Staff of the Allies was probably 
fairly well acquainted with the " Order of Battle " of the Ottoman 
army and with the disposition of its various divisions, few details 
on this subject have as yet appeared in published narratives of the 
campaign. There is reason to believe that at the beginning of 
August there were more than a dozen Turkish divisions on the spot, 
but only the following have been definitely indicated as being 
located within the area : the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 
12th, 15th and 19th, together with one or two others referred to by 
the name of their German commander. Only some of these are 
mentioned in the accounts of actual combats and it is therefore 



DISTRIBUTION OF TURKISH FORCES 195 

difficult to identify the position of most of them. We, however, 
know that Marshal Liman von Sanders always had two groups, 
a " Northern Group " facing Anzac, and a " Southern Group " 
facing Helles, and that in addition to these there was a special 
group up in the north about Bulair. No general reserve about 
Maidos is mentioned ; but it is remarkable that we find the 4th 
Division to have been transferred from the Southern to the Northern 
Group late, if not after dark, on the 6th and yet to have arrived on 
Sari Bair early on the following day, and this seems to suggest 
that part of the Southern Group was stationed about Maidos and 
not immediately fronting Helles. 

At the time when the important August operations began, we 
know that the 9th Division was facing Anzac and that, as mentioned 
above, the 4th Division was in a position to be moved to Sari Bair 
at short notice. The only other divisions of which the position is 
indicated were the 7th and 12th which were near Bulair. A German 
major had been especially looking to the defence works about 
Suvla Bay ; but according to enemy accounts there were only 
three battalions and some artillery in that part of the zone of 
operations, two of the battalions being gendarmerie. 

The combats at Helles. — The great offensive on the Gallipoli 
Peninsula was to commence on the 6th of August and during the 
following night. On the afternoon of that day an attack was 
delivered on a section of about 1200 yards of the Turkish trenches 
near the centre of the enemy's Helles front, coupled with minor 
thrusts more to the left. Some little ground was gained on the 
left at the outset ; but the defenders were found to be in unexpected 
force all along the front, the trenches as well as the communications 
leading to them from in rear were crammed with troops, and the 
resistance was marked by the utmost determination. The con- 
sequence was that the main British attack was repulsed ; and 
certain short lengths of hostile trench that had been secured on 
the left at the start had perforce to be abandoned during the night 
in face of the heavy counter-attacks of the Osmanlis. It turned 
out that the Turks had themselves been just about to launch an 
offensive, when they were forestalled, and that two new divisions 
had very recently arrived to relieve two others that had been 
roughly handled in previous encounters. 

Next morning the Turks in their turn embarked on an offensive ; 



196 THE DARDANELLES 

but their assaulting troops were beaten ofi with no great difl&culty, 
and portions of the 42nd and 52nd Divisions thereupon advanced 
afresh to the attack. This led to very severe fighting. Ground was 
as usual gained at the first rush, but what was won at the outset 
had speedily to be relinquished owing to the prompt and fierce 
Turkish counter-strokes, all except a certain vineyard west of the 
Krithia road which was held unyieldingly in spite of all efiorts of the 
enemy to reconquer it. On the day following Lieutenant-General 
Sir F. J. Da vies arrived, and he took over command at Helles while 
the conflict for the vineyard was still in progress. On the 9th 
activity by both sides was somewhat relaxed, but on the night of 
the 12th-13th the enemy succeeded by a sudden onset in wresting 
the vineyard from the troops that were holding it. This Ottoman 
success was, however, short lived, because next day the bone of 
contention was retaken by the British and thenceforward it re- 
mained in their hands. 

Such advantages as had been gained by the Allies in this Helles 
fighting represented so little in themselves that the combats of the 
6th-8th of August could only have been regarded as a reverse, 
but for the influence that the outbreak of activity at the extremity 
of the peninsula probably exerted upon the course of events further 
north. Sir I. Hamilton claims that Turkish reinforcements were 
actually drawn south to aid in holding the Krithia-Achi Baba 
position. This does not quite fit in with the German story that the 
4th Turkish Division was transferred from the Southern to the 
Northern Group as a consequence of the operations from the side 
of Anzac, and that the transfer was carried out in spite of the 
remonstrances of General Weber commanding the Southern Group. 
But it is reasonable to suppose that the Helles attacks at all events 
prevented any more Ottoman troops being withdrawn, and it is 
likely enough that the transfer of the 4th Turkish Division was 
merely a nominal arrangement, that division being located in reality 
near Anzac, while reserves were being drawn down from about 
Maidos to reinforce the enemy's forces actually engaged about 
Krithia. 

Seeing that they must have had a shrewd idea that their task 
was only a subsidiary one, the Lancashire and Lowland Territorials 
had acquitted themselves admirably in these afiairs. That the 
actual successes in respect to gaining ground were not more marked 



PREPARATIONS AT ANZAC 197 

can probably be attributed largely to the want of really effective 
artillery preparation. The entrenchments to be assailed had been 
developed from day to day for weeks past — indeed almost for 
months past. The Osmanli bent for elaborating earthworks, 
furnished with head-cover and laboriously scooped out to a con- 
siderable depth underground, had been a feature in the Turkish 
mode of making war since dates long before the German General 
Staff came upon the scene within the Sultan's dominions. Search- 
ing howitzer fire — and plenty of it — was needed to pave the way 
for an infantry triumph over obstacles so formidable. In view of 
the observations regarding counter-attacks on page 165, the 
success of the Turkish counter-strokes on the night of the 6th-7th 
and on the 7th should be noted. 

The operations from Anzac. Preparations. — The problem which 
General Bird wood had to solve was not merely one of tactics. 
He and his staff had also to devise such arrangements that the fact 
that his force was being substantially augmented should remain 
unknown to the enemy. They had furthermore to provide for the 
new arrivals, and had to accumulate food, ammunition, and water 
in conformity with the tactical plan about to be carried into 
execution. 

" All the work," writes Sir I. Hamilton in his final despatch, " was 
done by Australian and New Zealand soldiers almost entirely by 
night, and the uncomplaining efforts of these much-tried troops in 
preparations are in a sense as much to their credit as their heroism 
in the battles that followed. Above all, the water problem caused 
anxiety to the Admiral, to Lieutenant- General Birdwood and to 
myself. The troops to advance from Suvla Bay across the Anafarta 
valley might reckon on finding some wells — it was certain, at least, 
that no water was waiting for us on the ridges of Sari Bair. There- 
fore, first, several days' supply had to be stocked into tanks along the 
beach and thence pumped up into other tanks half-way up the moun- 
tains ; secondly, a system of mule transport had to be worked out, 
so that, in so far as was humanly possible, thirst should not be allowed 
to overcome the troops after they had overcome the difficulties of the 
country and the resistance of the enemy. 

" On the nights of the 4th, 5th and 6th of August the reinforcing 
troops were shipped into Anzac very silently at the darkest hours. 
Then, still silently, they were tucked away from enemy's aeroplanes 
or observatories in their prepared hiding-places. The whole sea 



198 THE DARDANELLES 

route lay open to the view of the Turks upon Achi Baba's summit 
and Battleship Hill. Aeroplanes could count every tent and every 
ship at Mudros or at Imbros. Within rifle fire of Anzac's open beach 
hostile riflemen were looking out across the iEgean no more than 
twenty feet from our opposing lines. Every modern appliance of 
telescope, telegraph, wireless, was at the disposal of the enemy. Yet 
the instructions worked out at General Headquarters in the minutest 
detail (the result of conferences with the Royal Navy, which were 
attended by Brigadier-General Skene of General Birdwood's staff) 
were such that the scheme was carried out without a hitch. The 
preparation of the ambush was treated as a simple matter by the 
services therein engaged, and yet I much doubt whether any more 
pregnant enterprise than this of landing so large a force under the 
very eyes of the enemy, and of keeping them concealed there three 
days, is recorded in the annals of war." 

The troops thus gathered together in the restricted Anzac posi- 
tion were to assume the oflfensive on the 6th and on the following 
night ; the Helles operations commenced, it will be remembered, 
on the afternoon of the 6th. German accounts of the operations 
suggest that the enemy remained wholly unaware of the great 
accessions to the strength of the Anzac army until their presence 
was made apparent in the fighting that ensued. 

The frontal attacks from the Anzac position. — As has already 
been indicated when describing Sir I. Hamilton's plan of operations 
in outline at the beginning of this chapter, General Birdwood's 
troops were to undertake two more or less distinct tasks. Besides 
the main eifort against the higher ridges of Sari Bair from the 
north-west, there was to be a frontal attack from the Anzac 
position against the Turkish trenches extending from above The 
Neck to the Lone Pine plateau, and it will be convenient to tell 
the story of the secondary operations first — the more so seeing that 
they actually commenced some hours before the main operation 
was set in motion. Map IV on p. 94 illustrates these frontal 
attacks best. 

During the 4th, 5th, and 6th the works on the enemy's left and 
centre were subjected to a slow bombardment. Then, on the after- 
noon of the 6th, an assault was delivered upon a series of formidable 
works on the Lone Pine plateau, the nearest point to which in the 
Anzac line was the salient known as " The Pimple." The line from 



LONE PINE 199 

Russel's Top to the sea near Tasman Post was being held by the 
1st Australian Division under General Walker and the 1st and 3rd 
Australian Light Horse Brigades, and the attack upon the Lone 
Pine trenches was carried out by the 1st Australian Brigade. The 
barbed-wire entanglements and the loop-holed, roofed galleries 
(which had not been seriously damaged by the preparatory bom- 
bardments) proved to be even more elaborate than had been 
anticipated. They were nevertheless taken after a furious combat, 
and the victors at once set to work to consolidate themselves. At 
7 p.m., and again during the night, the Turks delivered counter- 
attacks in great force, which were only beaten ofi with considerable 
difficulty, hostile detachments penetrating into the works at 
certain points. Another formidable counter-attack was delivered 
at 1.30 p.m. on the 7th, and a last one on a great scale was tried 
about dawn on the 9th. But the 1st Australian Brigade, reinforced 
later by two battalions from other brigades, held on grimly to 
the end to what it had won, in spite of the heavy losses incurred 
in a struggle which had throughout been maintained against very 
superior forces. 

The operations on Lone Pine were supplemented by others 
further to the left. At midnight on the 6th-7th an attack was 
delivered upon an enemy work situated north of Johnston's Jolly, 
about midway between The Pimple and Quinn's Post ; but this 
effort proved unsuccessful. Then, at 4.30 a.m., an advance on a 
more ambitious scale was made from about Russel's Top by the 
2nd Australian Brigade and a regiment of Light Horse against the 
Turkish trenches on The Neck and Baby. But although some of 
the hostile breastworks were carried at the first rush, it was found 
impossible to remain in occupation of them in face of the con- 
centrated machine-gun fire of which they were made the target, 
and eventually the troops had to fall back to their original line. 

Even taking into account the stirring achievement of the 1st 
Australian Brigade on the Lone Pine plateau, it has to be admitted 
that these frontal attacks from Anzac hardly brought about any 
really important improvement in the tactical situation along the 
sections of front where they were delivered. They were in them- 
selves, in fact, crowned with but a limited measure of success. 
They, nevertheless, no doubt accomplished their main object — that 
of hindering the transfer of Turkish forces on this front from left 



200 THE DARDANELLES 

to right to meet the turning movement which Greneral Birdwood 
was developing against the higher portion of Sari Bair. As a con- 
sequence of the menace that they offered to such vital localities as 
The Neck and the eastern edge of the Lone Pine plateau, large bodies 
of enemy troops remained on guard on the 7th in the entrenched 
line stretching from Baby down to the extremity of the Turkish 
defences opposite Chatham Post. The repeated efforts, efforts 
that were continued for several days, of the Osmanlis to re-take 
their works on Lone Pine plateau, necessarily meant so many 
fewer battalions available on the enemy's side to participate in 
the struggle on the more dominating spurs and ridges and summits 
of the Sari Bair hill-mass, the story of which has now to be told. 
The capture of those particular works, moreover, did strengthen 
the right centre of the Anzac position from the defensive point of 
view, and it constituted a pronounced step towards acquiring the 
whole of the plateau and of the spurs dropping down from it towards 
Gaba Tepe. It may be remarked that the limited success attending 
these frontal attacks by the 1st Australian Division and the Mounted 
Brigades was probably largely attributable to the absence of 
really effective artillery preparation by howitzers or trench mortars. 
With opposing lines so closely in contact, trench mortars, of short 
range but throwing heavy bombs, must have been extraordinarily 
effective had they been available. 

The start of the attack upon Sari Bair. — We come now to the 
consideration of what constituted the most important item in Sir 
I. Hamilton's comprehensive scheme for a general offensive in the 
Gallipoli Peninsula — the attack upon the higher ridges of Sari 
Bair from the west and the north-west that was to be executed by 
bodies of troops issuing from the northern portion of the Anzac 
position. This undertaking was to bring about fighting of the 
most determined character, but as its various incidents and phases 
can only be followed on a large scale map it is only proposed to 
give an outline sketch of what was a very memorable struggle. 
The opening stages of this operation were fixed to take place after 
dark on the 6th. General Birdwood proposed to use for it the 
Australian and New Zealand Division, the 13th Division, the 29th 
Brigade of the 10th Division, the 29th Indian Brigade, and the 
New Zealand Mounted Brigade. 

It will be seen on Map V (p. 168) that three valleys debouching on 



SCHEME OF ATTACK ON SARI BAIR 201 

to Ocean Beach bite into tke hill-mass on this side. The two nearest 
to Anzac, the Sazli Beit Dere and the Chailak Dere, lead up to 
that portion of the main ridge that is known as Chunuk Bair. The 
other, further to the north, the Aghyl Dere, runs up towards Hill 
Q and Koja Chemen Tepe, which latter is the culminating point. 
All three of these pronounced depressions partake of the character 
of gullies and ravines rather than of valleys ; they are deep, winding, 
rocky, rise rapidly, and are choked with scrub, while the spurs 
between them, as also the minor promontories separating the 
small gullies that fork out from the main depressions, are steep- 
sided, serrated, and in some cases crowned with craggy hillocks 
most dijfficult of access. Sari Bair is not an eminence of com- 
manding altitude, for its topmost crest does not reach a height 
of 1000 feet above sea-level — in Switzerland it would not be reckoned 
a mountain, and even in Carnarvonshire it would be held of mean 
account. But the side of it where the above-mentioned valleys cut 
deep into the heart of the mass, partakes almost of the nature of an 
escarpment, and for assaulting columns to breast such declivities 
and to work their way along ravines so intricate in the dark, was 
an undertaking warranted to try the very best of troops and calling 
for skilful leadership and highly efficient staff work. 

General Birdwood's plan was for a right assaulting column to 
move up the Sazli Beit Dere and Chailak Dere, with Chunuk Bair 
as its objective, and for a left assaulting column to move up the 
Aghyl Dere, aiming for Hill Q and the prolongation of the main 
Sari Bair ridge between Chunuk Bair and Koja Chemen Tepe. 
The assaulting columns were to be preceded by two covering 
forces. Of these the right covering force was charged with the 
duty of securing the foot-hills about the mouths of the Sazli Beit 
Dere and the Chailak Dere and to capture Bauchop Hill, and it 
was furthermore to gain possession of the jagged ridge between 
the two valleys together with the rugged eminence known as 
Table Top. The left covering force was to push right on to the 
mouth of the Aghyl Dere and was then to seize the Demajalik 
Bair hill, and was thereby at once to guard the outer flank of the 
left assaulting column and to establish a connecting link of the 
Anzac troops with the force to be landed about Suvla Bay. In 
addition to these four bodies of troops there was a reserve. The 
different forces varied in strength from two battalions to a couple 



202 THE DARDANELLES 

of brigades ; the whole was under charge of Greneral Godley, 
commander of the composite Australian and New Zealand Division, 
and it tsas made up of that division, of portions of the 13th Division, 
and of the 29th Indian Brigade. The four days' fighting for the 
possession of the Sari Bair mountain which followed took place in 
exceptionally intricate ground, and it was signalised by numberless 
stirring incidents in which Australian, New Zealand, English, Irish, 
and Indian troops alike bore themselves with rare fortitude and 
valour. Their Moslem adversaries, moreover, vied with them in 
their display of martial qualities. The struggles were of such a 
nature, however, that, as already stated, they can only be followed 
satisfactorily on a large scale plan of the ground, and it is therefore 
only proposed to indicate their general course.^ 

An encouraging start was made. The left covering column had 
carried Demajalik Bair by 12.30 a.m. in brilliant style. The right 
covering force gained possession of Bauchop Hill and of the 
jagged spurs between the Sazli Beit and Chailak gorges ; then by 
a brilliant feat of arms it stormed the precipitous-sided, strongly 
fortified Table Top. The left assaulting column, its flanks secured 
by these conqilests, began working its way up the Aghyl Dere at 
as early an hour as could reasonably be expected. Part of the 
right assaulting column was delayed for some time at the mouth 
of the Chailak Dere by a very formidable wire entanglement ; but 
this difiiculty was in due course overcome and, in two bodies, the 
column pressed on up the twin gorges, but not without suffering 
considerable loss. Then progress became extremely slow and 
laborious. For the few hours left before dawn, both assaulting 
columns were struggling with topographical difficulties of no common 
order m the night watches, their progress seriously impeded 
by rifle and machine-gun fire from nooks and crannies commanding 
the routes that they were endeavouring to follow. For troops 
starting by day from Ocean Beach to reach the topmost ridges 
of Sari Bair, would probably not have taken two hours if unopposed. 
But, as it was, the leading detachments were still some distance 
short of their objectives when day broke, and the Turks, apprised 
before midnight that hostile forces were in movement at a number 

1 Sir I. Hamilton in his final despatch gives a detailed account of this epic 
contest, as do also Mr. Schuler in his Australia in Arms and Mr. Nevinson in 
his The Dardaaelks Campaign. 



POSITION EARLY ON 7TH AUGUST 203 

of points between Ari Burnu and Demajalik Bair, were mustering 
on the heights in swarms to bid defiance to the advancing foe. 

As has been mentioned on page 195, the 4th Osmanli Division, 
although properly speaking included in the Turkish Southern Group, 
was early diverted to the Anzac area, and its leading units appear 
to have reached Chunuk Bair during the night, or soon after dawn, 
to reinforce the detachments already entrenched on the main ridge. 
The troops of General Godley's assaulting columns were too ex- 
hausted after their all-night contest with nature and with the 
slowly retiring Turks to be in a position, after securing possession 
of Rhododendron Spur, until 9.30 a.m. to launch a formal attack 
upon Chunuk Bair ; and, although some battalions were hurried 
up to help from the reserve, it was apparent before noon that the 
project of winning the heights by surprise had failed. A fine 
advance had been made, much ground had been won, but the 
attacking troops were worn out and the enemy still firmly held the 
dominating ridge. It was therefore decided to stand fast and to 
organise a fresh attack from the now positions that had been 
taken up for the following morning. In the meantime, however, 
the enemy was hurrying reinforcements to the threatened point, 
and much more formidable opposition was to be expected than if, 
as had been hoped, the assaulting columns had been in a position 
to assail Chunuk Bair and Hill Q at dawn on the 7th. 

The plan had been a daring one. To move a number of columns 
into such a terrain in the dark in presence of a brave and vigilant 
enemy was to throw a very heavy strain upon oiBficers and men. 
Only efficient battalions composed of genuine fighting material 
could indeed have undertaken such an enterprise at all with any 
reasonable hope of success. The difficulties had, however, proved 
to be greater than had been expected, progress at all events had 
been slower than the staff had been prepared for, and consequently 
the troops when the time came for the final eSort were too spent 
to push an onset victoriously home.^ The plan was perhaps some- 
what ambitious. It suggests itself that, had the units — or some 
of them — composing the left covering force and the left column 
been detailed instead to closely follow the right assaulting column, 

^ In his orders to General Stopford with regard to the Suvla operations Sir 
I. Hamilton stated that General Godley's advance would be " timed so as to 
reach the summit of the main ridge near Chunuk Bair about 2.30 a.m." 



204 THE DARDANELLES 

their instructions being to push through this if necessary so as to 
deliver the attack upon Chunuk Bair with reasonably fresh 
troops, the ridge might possibly have been secured soon after 
dawn. Confident battalions, unexhausted by fighting all night in 
extraordinarily difficult terrain, might perhaps have struck a decisive 
blow from Rhododendron Spur before 8 a.m., at an hour when the 
enemy was still comparatively weak on the heights. But it is 
easy to criticise after the event and when in possession of 
knowledge that was not at the disposal of General Birdwood and 
his Staff. 

The fight for Sari Bair from the 8th to the 10th. — It was arranged 
that the renewed effort should be made in three columns on the 
following morning, starting at 4.15 a.m. The plan for this opera- 
tion of the 8th inst. was that the right and centre columns should 
assail Chunuk Bair, while the left column, starting from the position 
near the head of the Aghyl Dere which had been secured early on 
the previous day, was to advance against Hill Q. This hump of 
the main Sari Bair ridge, it should be noted, is separated from 
Koja Chemen Tepe by a well-marked depression ; its elevation is 
about fifty feet above the highest part of Chunuk Bair, to which 
it is joined by a neck. It will be noted that the experience of the 
night of the 6th-7th and of the following forenoon had already 
decided Generals Birdwood and Godley to restrict their objectives, 
as compared to what these had been in the original plan. It had 
been intended on the 6th that the left attacking column should 
head for Koja Chemen Tepe as well as for Hill Q. In the project 
for the 8th the front of attack was shortened, Koja Chemen Tepe 
ceased to be a point aimed at, and the extreme left of the assaulting 
troops was not to extend beyond the approaches from the upper 
part of the Aghyl Dere to Hill Q. 

The right column did well. For after a severe struggle it succeeded 
soon after dawn in forcing its way on to the south-western end of 
Chunuk Bair. The centre column did not fare so favourably, for 
it met with a stout resistance, and was unable to attain its objective. 
Nor did the left column accomplish much ; after it had made some 
ground to its front, it found itself stubbornly opposed and then 
counter-attacked, and it was obliged, after maintaining what had 
been won for a time, to fall back to the line that it had started from. 
Still, if the centre and left column could claim practically no success, 



FIGHTING ON THE 9TH OF AUGUST 205 

and although the attacking side suffered heavy loss this day, a 
substantial gain had been registered in that a footing had been 
gained on one point of the main ridge. This was the more satis- 
factory seeing that help which had been hoped for from the force 
that had landed about Suvla Bay during the night of the 6th-7th 
had not been forthcoming. On the other hand, the Turks were 
gathering strength rapidly, still less than on the previous day 
was there now any question of surprise, and the enemy enjoyed 
all the advantage of position as at the start. 

Yet another attack was devised for the morning of the 9th — to 
take place in the form of three separate groups. The right group 
was merely called upon to hold the stretch of Chunuk Bair that 
had been made good on the previous morning and to consolidate 
this captured ground. To the centre group was assigned the task 
of delivering an assault upon the neck joining Chunuk Bair to Hill Q. 
The left group was to play the most important part in the opera- 
tions ; it was to attack Hill Q itself, and was numerically the 
strongest force of the three. The advance was to take place after 
a heavy bombardment by every gun ashore and afloat that could 
be brought to bear. 

The centre group achieved a signal triumph at the outset, suc- 
ceeding in its task of gaining the main ridge and in capturing a 
commanding height on the neck between Chunuk Bair and Hill Q, 
from which it was able to look down upon the Dardanelles. But 
the left group was unable to perform the all-important task assigned 
to it in the general scheme of operations, and this proved to be most 
unfortunate seeing how much depended upon its effort. Seriously 
delayed by diflSculties of ground in the dark and by losing its way, 
this force was late, and the result was that the centre group found 
themselves deprived of the support of troops on their outer flank 
when in a critical position. For the Turks, fully realising the vital 
importance of the portion of crest near Hill Q which they had lost, 
made desperate endeavours to recapture this. A salvo of big high- 
explosive shells landed at the critical moment amongst the 6th 
Ghurkas and 6th South Lancashires, the troops that had made 
themselves masters of the height ; the enemy counter-attacked 
in force ; and so it came about that, after a brief spell on the ridge 
that had been won, the assailants were flung back down the hill- 
sides on the top of the left group which had now reached their 



206 THE DARDANELLES 

rendezvous. 1 Such formidable attacks were at the same time 
delivered by the Osmanlis upon the right group that was holding 
the portion of Chunuk Bair taken on the morning of tlje 8th, that 
this was hard put to it to maintain itself. The 7th Turkish Division, 
which had marched from about Bulair, appears to have to some 
extent intervened on this day from about Biyuk Anafarta, although 
partly occupied with the British attack from Suvla. 

At the end of the day on the 9th the position was much the same 
as it had been twenty-four hours earlier, in so far as the actual 
ground held by the contending sides was concerned. But the 
Turks were now in strong force and they enjoyed all the advantage 
of ground, while Greneral Birdwood's troops were not merely 
harassed by the enemy, but were also in diificulties as to water — 
the enemy did not suSer to the same extent as regards this because 
water is to be found in the valleys running southwards from Chunuk 
Bair and Koja Chemen Tepe. No help, moreover, was coming 
to the Anzac force from the side of Suvla Bay. The situation was 
in fact far from reassuring. 

The troops on Chunuk Bair were relieved during the night. 

The new-comers were heavily attacked at daybreak before they 

had settled down and after having been exposed to a concentric 

bombardment, with the result that they were swept ofi the heights 

with very severe loss and with the enemy at their heels. The Turks 

had been reinforced by a fresh division, the 8th, and they now 

advanced with much confidence and on a comparatively broad 

frontage ; but once over the crest they came under the full blast 

of the invaders' guns, naval and military, and were mowed down 

in swarms. In spite of the casualties sufiered, the Osmanlis, 

however, pressed forward and obliged their opponents to yield 

a good deal of the ground that they had won early on the 7th 

and had held ever since ; and, although checked after a time, 

the enemy undoubtedly had the best of the morning's struggle, 

for no attempt was made then, or later, by General Birdwood's 

troops to initiate a fresh efiort against the heights. 

1 Doubt appears to exist as to the source of the disastrous ealvo of high 
explosive shell, which had so much to do with driving the troops that had 
established themselves on the crest off that dominating position ; but the 
nature of the detonation made it clear that they were British and not Turkish 
projectiles ; it has been assumed too readily that they were naval 6-inch 
shell. The fact that there was only a single aalvo is additional evidence that 
this cannot have come from the Turkish side. 



END OF THE FIGHT FOR SARI BAIR 207 

At the end of four days the enemy had, in fact, proved the victor. 
The attempt to win Sari Bair had definitely failed, and at the cost 
of 12,000 casualties to the attacking side. At the same time, the 
invaders had something to show for their resolute offensive, for the 
Anzac position had been considerably extended in a northerly 
direction. Demajalik Bair had been secured, and also the high 
ground between the Sazli Beit and Chailak Deres, which gave 
elbow-room and which permitted the Anzac position to be joined 
on to the Suvla position within a few days. The troops concerned 
in the assaults had been highly tried throughout, as they suffered 
much from heat and thirst. The Turks also had fought with the 
utmost grit and courage, their counter-attack on the morning of 
the 10th being delivered with remarkable spirit and maintained 
for a considerable time in spite of the murderous gun-fire to which 
they found themselves exposed. 

Observations on General Birdwood's operations from the 6th to 
the 10th. — That the project of capturing the main ridge of Sari 
Bair by surprise failed early on the first day of the battle has 
already been pointed out. All the preparatory arrangements had 
been devised and carried into effect with masterly skill — it is note- 
worthy that Grerman accounts of the affair make no mention of 
the swelling of the Anzac force that took place in anticipation of 
this offensive, and it may be inferred from this that the first intima- 
tion which reached Liman von Sanders that serious events were 
impending in this particular quarter came to his headquarters 
when the attacking troops, moving northwards after dark on the 
6th, came into collision with the Ottoman outposts amongst the 
foot-hills near Ocean Beach. The essence of the operation designed 
by General Birdwood and approved by Sir I. Hamilton, however, 
was that the crest should be gained at a very early hour on the 7th 
— before the Turks could call up reinforcements on to the heights. 
But the stubborn resistance of the enemy — probably not gathered 
in strong force — on the lower spurs of Sari Bair and in the ravines, 
during the night of the 6th-7th, coupled with the extreme difficulty 
of working forward in the dark through such intricate terrain, 
acted as so fatal a drag upon the assailants that they were unable 
to make their supreme effort before the defending side had assembled 
in great numbers. 

Under the circumstances, the success achieved on the 8th in 



208 THE DARDANELLES 

securing a footing on Chunuk Bair, as also the short-lived triumph 
of the following morning when a couple of battalions for a brief 
period were in possession of the neck between Chunuk Bair and 
Hill Q, must be set down as very striking feats of arms. All the 
advantage of position was on the side of the defenders, and by that 
time these were prepared and were in formidable strength. The 
mischance that befell the left assaulting group on the morning of 
the 9th is instructive, seeing that the failure of this part of the 
plan was not the result of enemy action but was attributable to 
topographical causes. The incident illustrates the risks that attend 
movements in the dark in a broken region. There are grounds 
for assuming that the non-appearance of this group at the critical 
juncture exercised a fatal influence over that morning's work as a 
whole, for had the left been so successful as the centre group, and 
had it made itself master of even a portion of Hill Q, it is con- 
ceivable that the two groups, mutually supporting each other, 
might have maintained their grip on the all-important crest long 
enough to admit of reinforcements coming up and making the 
conquest definitely good. Movements in the dark as a prelude to 
assault were, however, imposed upon General Birdwood, because 
his antagonists held dominating positions and were therefore enabled 
to detect any preparations for attack if these were made by daylight. 
German accounts only speak of the 4th and 9th Turkish Divisions 
having taken part in the fighting of the 7th and 8th, but there must 
have been other Ottoman troops engaged. Those two divisions are 
only spoken of as arriving on the heights on the morning of the 7th. 
That would not account for the enemy forces which the Australian 
1st Division encountered at Lone Pine on the 6th, nor those which 
held their ground about The Neck during the night of the 6th-7th ; 
nor does it account for the detachments which General Godley's 
columns had to press back from about the Aghyl Dere, the Sazli 
Beit Dere and the Chailak Dere that night. The assailants no 
doubt enjoyed an advantage in respect to numbers during the first 
twelve hours ; but the difficulties and delays of the night advance 
from Ocean Beach deprived them of the benefit to be derived from 
that advantage. On the 8th, 9th, and 10th the Turks were con- 
tinually gathering strength, whereas General Birdwood received no 
reinforcements. There seems to be little doubt that the fight for 
Sari Bair was in reality lost between dark and dawn of the 6th-7th, 



THE 13TH DIVISION 209 

owing to the unwonted topographical difl&culties which the attacking 
columns had to overcome in the dark, and owing to the extreme 
exhaustion in the ranks to which those difficulties gave rise. 

The incident of the unfortunate salvo referred to in the footnote 
to page 206 is instructive, although it is fully realised by tacticians 
of the day that such contretemps are inevitable. Many similar 
incidents occurred during the course of the World War, although 
none possibly had so disastrous a result. The very essence of artillery 
co-operation with infantry lies in its continuing its shelling up to 
the very last moment and in its not being afraid to drop its pro- 
jectiles very close to its own side. In the later stages of the campaign 
on the Western Front the barrage system and the lifting barrage 
were executed with wonderful precision and with the very best 
results. The Ghurkas and South Lancashires had been awaiting 
the cessation of the bombardment lying quite close up to where the 
shells were dropping very accurately ; on the bombardment ceasing 
at the given time they advanced at once and it was after they had 
won the crest that a perfectly ranged salvo caused all the confusion 
and loss. There was clearly a misunderstanding somewhere as 
regards the guns ceasing fire at the given time, and as to their not 
resuming without some very clear idea what exactly the position 
was at the front. 

In conclusion, it should be stated that the infantry of the 13th 
Division, commanded by General Shaw, had from the outset of 
these days of incessant and strenuous combat, vied in. its valour 
and intrepidity as well as in the skill with which battalions and 
companies were handled, even with the highly practised troops 
from the Antipodes and from India alongside which it fought. 
The division had clearly profited by its short experience face to 
face with the Turks at Helles before being brought round to Anzac. 
Events on the Western Front had served to indicate the importance 
of breaking New Army divisions in gradually by contact with the 
enemy, before committing such troops to hazardous enterprises on 
a big scale. This was borne out by what occurred in the 
Gallipoli Peninsula during the August offensive. 

The operations at Suvla Bay. Special condition of the landings. 
— We now come to the story of the third of the three operations 
which had been designed by Sir I. Hamilton with the intention 
of using to the best advantage the considerable reinforcements 



210 THE DAEDANELLES 

that had been placed at his disposal by his Government. It con- 
cerns the landing at Suvla Bay and the events immediately succeed- 
ing that successfully conducted undertaking. The manner in which 
the operations in this locality were executed in their early stages 
has given rise to warm controversy between highly placed officers 
engaged in the campaign, and they are on that account somewhat 
difficult to deal with in edifying fashion at the present stage. Some 
day a full account of the proceedings will no doubt be officially 
published ; but in the absence of any such authoritative work of 
reference it seems expedient to deal in no excessive detail with the 
facts involved, and to express any views that may suggest them- 
selves in regard to the points in dispute somewhat guardedly. 
Happily there has been no contention concerning the mode in 
which the actual disembarkations were conducted, and, seeing 
that these were effected in face of a certain amount of opposition 
and were largely carried out in the dark, they undoubtedly represent 
the most interesting and instructive phase of a memorable series of 
events. 

Special conditions o£ the landings at this point. — There are one or 
two matters to which special attention ought, however, to be drawn 
before the narrative is proceeded with. Thus, it should be remem- 
bered that, from the general naval point of view, the conditions 
attending the descents in August at this new locality in the Gallipoli 
Peninsula differed materially from the conditions that had prevailed 
when the Expeditionary Force originally succeeded in winning a 
way ashore in the previous April. No submarines had been about 
in April, and there had in consequence been no question whatever 
then of a possible maritime attack upon the troopships as they 
approached the scene of action. There was, on the other hand, 
much less likelihood about mid-summer of bad weather setting in 
than there had been in the spring, although this particular factor 
had not in fact influenced the course of events on the earlier 
occasion. Then again, the land and sea forces had at the time of 
the first venture been engaging themselves in an enterprise for 
which there was virtually no tactical precedent with modern 
armament, whereas at Suvla both the Royal Navy and military 
headquarters enjoyed the benefit of the valuable experiences that 
they had acquired at Helles, at Anzac and at Kum Kale. Another 
circumstance that altered the conditions was that, thanks to an 



THE "BEETLES" 211 

improved air service and to the labours of the Intelligence Depart- 
ment, the attacking side was furnished with much more complete 
information as to the dispositions of the defending army in August 
than it had possessed four months before. 

Naval preparations in respect to the craft to be employed for 
getting the troops ashore were also on a more elaborate scale than 
they had been in April. Then the infantry had relied aknost 
wholly upon ships' cutters hauled by picket-boats. Since that 
time a number of special vessels of the large lighter class had been 
sent out, designed for just such a purpose as this. These craft, of 
which a large number had been constructed in the spring although 
none were available at the time of the early landings, were fitted 
with motor engines enabling them to travel five knots under their 
own power. They were of the nature of large barges of iron plating, 
which was proof against bullets. A swinging platform projected 
from the prow, which could be lowered so as to form a broad ramp 
leading ashore when the lighter was beached stem on. When 
fully loaded they were calculated only to draw about four and a 
half feet of water, and would take 500 men with stores, ammu- 
nition, and water, or 50 horses, although experience proved that it 
was better not to ship more than about 360 men. They were 
christened " beetles " by the troops owing to the appearance of 
their prow. 

In fine weather these lighters could be quite safely towed for 
considerable distances with troops on board, and they were thus 
peculiarly well suited for such a trip as that from Imbros to Suvla 
in August. The idea with regard to them was that transports, 
cruisers, or battleships would be able to bring them to, or near to, 
the coast and that they would then be cast ofi to make the rest 
of the way under their own power. During the Suvla landing 
operations they were for the most part towed by destroyers until 
within a mile or so of their objective. They were largely used 
during the campaign from this time on. 

The orders for the IXth Corps. — In Sir I. Hamilton's orders issued 
to General Stopford commanding the IXth Corps on the 22nd of 
July, a special point was made of as few ofi&cers as possible being 
made acquainted with the plan. After indicating the general scheme 
that the Commander-in-Chief had in mind for his offensive, the 
strength of the enemy facing the Suvla area was intimated. It 



212 THE DARDANELLES 

was put at five battalions with some gendarmerie, three battalions 
in the Anafarta villages, and two about Ismail Oglu Tepe and 
Chocolate Hill, this high ground forming, as appears from Map 
V, a species of promontory running out into the plain that 
stretches east and south-east from Suvla Bay and the Salt Lake. 
There were known to be two heavy guns on this high ground and 
three field guns, all protected with entanglements and trenches. 
The German account puts the strength of the Turks at three 
battalions, two of gendarmerie, with " some guns " and a 
squadron. 

It has already been explained that the force detailed for these 
operations — the IXth Corps, less the 13th Division and the 29th 
Brigade of the 10th Division — was starting from the islands of 
Mitylene, Lemnos, and Imbros, and that the larger part of it, 
viz. the 11th Division, was coming from the latter point. The plan 
was that this latter should land first on the 6th of August after dark, 
with the idea of its all being ashore before daylight. The two 
brigades of the 10th Division from Mitylene and Mudros would 
land later. General Stopford was informed that his first objectives 
would be " the high ground at Lala Baba and Gazi Baba, and 
the hills near Yilghin Burnu^ and Ismail Oglu Tepe. It will be 
necessary to send a small force to secure a footing on the hills due 
east of Suvla Bay. It is of the utmost importance that Yilghin 
Burnu and Ismail Oglu Tepe should be carried by a cowp de main 
before daylight, in order to prevent the guns which they contain 
being used on our troops on Hill 305^ and to safeguard our hold 
on Suvla Bay. It is hoped that one division will be sufiicient for 
the attainment of these three objectives." 

General Birdwood's contemplated operations were then described 
in some detail, and it was pointed out in the orders how the IXth 
Corps would be in a position to co-operate effectively with what 
was to be the main attack upon the enemy. It was hoped that, 
after the remainder of the corps had landed on the morning of the 
7th, this would be able to advance on Biyuk Anafarta and move 
up the eastern spurs of Koja Chemen Tepe. General Stopford was 
warned that the landing of sufiicient transport to secure mobility 
for the force would be a matter of great difiiculty, and that at first 

1 Chocolate Hill. 

2 Koja Chemen Tepe. 



LANDING ARRANGEMENTS 213 

everything practically would have to be carried by hand. " Water 
is plentiful throughout the Anafarta Valley, but, pending the dis- 
embarkation of water carts, a number of mules with special eight- 
gallon water bags will be attached to the units under your com- 
mand." 

The landings. — The plan for the disembarkation of the Uth 
Division was as follows. The division's three infantry brigades, 
the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th, were to be put ashore as follows : The 
32nd, followed by the 33rd, at Beach C, shown on Map V, and the 
34th was to land within the bay at Beach A. The artillery was in 
due course to be landed at Beach B. The Commander-in-Chief 
had originally contemplated landing all three infantry brigades 
south of Nibrunesi Point, where there were extensive stretches of 
foreshore quite practicable for infantry to land on in fine weather 
from boats or lighters, but it was subsequently decided (rather 
unfortunately as it turned out) to put the 34th Brigade ashore 
within the bay. The landing scheme really hinged upon a very 
free use of comparatively small craft, as a security against sub- 
marines. In this respect, as well as in the employment of the 
beetles, it difiered widely from the plan that had been put into 
execution at Helles, Kum Kale, and Anzac in April, when the 
troops, as will be remembered, were brought up to near the landing- 
places in transports and large warships. The 11th Division being 
detailed to carry out the landing by night, a complete surprise of 
the Turks was contemplated. 

Nearly all the infantry were conveyed in the beetles from 
Kephalos Bay in Imbros to the coast near Suvla Bay, each towed 
by a destroyer. To provide against the contingency of the beetles 
grounding too far from the shore or meeting with some other 
misadventure, the flotilla was accompanied by a number of ketches, 
each in charge of several lifeboats intended to take the troops ofi 
the beetles if necessary ; there were picket-boats available to tow 
the lifeboats to shore if they should be required. The destroyers 
carried troops in addition to towing the beetles, and the plan was 
that after a beetle had discharged its living freight on the beach it 
would return to its destroyer and take off the troops on board of 
that. The destroyers and beetles were to be followed from Imbros 
by the two specially belted cruisers Endymion and Talbot, each 
with 1000 men on board ; these troops were to be taken off by 



214 THE DARDANELLES 

beetles making a third trip. Two mountain batteries and three 
field batteries, with their animals, were to follow as a third echelon, 
the whole conveyed in lighters and horse-boats towed by a sloop 
and by ketches. 

The transfer of the division from Imbros to the beaches assigned 
was carried out according to programme. The flotilla quitted 
Kephalos Bay soon after 8 p.m. and the leading beetles appear to 
have reached the shore about 10 p.m. The 32nd and 33rd Brigades 
encountered practically no opposition on the stretches of foreshore 
south of Nibrunesi Point, which proved quite suitable for the lighters 
although the beaches in themselves hardly deserved the name, being 
very steep, and awkward also in other respects. It took some hours 
to put the whole of the two brigades ashore ; but about 2 a.m. 
two battalions of the 32nd Brigade had already moved north to 
near Lala Baba which was occupied by some Turkish infantry 
ensconced in trenches, and had stormed the eminence with the 
bayonet. This was an important gain, because the 34th Brigade 
landing at Beach A had been a good deal troubled with musketry 
from this high ground — musketry fire which took the lighters, and 
the troops as they landed, to some extent in enfilade. Beach A 
as a matter of fact had turned out to be a bad landing-place, 
quite apart from this particular trouble. The water inshore was 
shallow and several of the beetles grounded some way out, obliging 
the troops to struggle to land through water as much as four and 
a half feet deep. Beetles and troops were, moreover, enfiladed 
from about Gazi Baba as well as from Lala Baba, and the beach 
itself was sown with land mines which caused casualties and 
confusion in the dark. The enemy was not in strong force ; but 
snipers were enterprising and, knowing the ground intimately, 
made themselves very annoying, with the result that the disem- 
barkation of the 34th Brigade was somewhat retarded. 

After the loss of Lala Baba the Turkish outposts withdrew to 
Hill 10, which had been entrenched. The 34th Brigade began 
advancing against this hillock (which hardly deserves the name, 
being merely a very low undulation) some little time before dawn, 
one battalion diverging northwards to secure the end of the Karakol 
Dagh. The 34th Brigade was supported by the 32nd, which had 
turned the interval between landing and the approach of daylight 
to account by moving along the isthmus between the Salt Lake 



AEKIVAL OF GENEEAL HILL 215 

and Suvla Bay. (The Salt Lake, it may be observed, was fairly 
dry at this time of the year, but represented a virtually impassable, 
sticky marsh over its whole area.) Some delay, however, took 
place before an attack was launched upon the Turkish detachments 
on Hill 10 ; soon after dawn, moreover, the hostile artillery opened 
fire and began to cause casualties. In the end it had come to be 
broad daylight before the Ottoman infantry had been driven oj3 
Hill 10 ; they retired slowly across the plain in an easterly direction, 
scrub serving to some extent to conceal their movements and their 
strength. The 33rd Brigade in the meantime remained south of 
the Salt Lake and about Lala Baba. Two mountain batteries and 
a field battery were ashore soon after daybreak, and two of the 
mountain guns promptly came into action on Lala Baba. But 
the Ottoman artillery was scattered and it proved diflB.cult to locate, 
so that the arrival of British batteries did little to neutralise the 
efiect of the enemy's shell-fire. 

The 10th Division now came upon the scene. A flotilla with the 
six of its battalions that had assembled at Mitylene — the 31st 
Brigade and two battalions of the 30th Brigade — arrived at dawn 
under Brigadier-General Hill, and anchored ofi Nibrunesi Point. 
This Irish division had been somewhat unfortunate since quitting 
the United Kingdom, for its infantry had been split up into three 
portions, the 29th Brigade proceeding, as we have already seen, 
from Mudros to Anzac before the start of General Birdwood's 
offensive, the above-named force concentrating at Mitylene, and 
the other two battalions of the 30th Brigade with the divisional 
battalion and the brigade headquarters remaining in camp in 
Lemnos, together with the divisional commander. Sir B. Mahon 
and his staff. Since arriving in the iEgean the troops at Mity- 
lene had remained on board their transports in the land-locked 
inlet which constitutes the better of the island's two famous 
havens. 

General Hill's battalions had during the previous afternoon tran- 
shipped from their transports into trawlers and channel steamers, 
the flotilla had got under way in the evening, and it had covered 
the 120 miles that had to be traversed exactly according to schedule, 
so that the troops were ready to begin disembarking as soon as the 
lighters had become available after discharging the 11th Division. 
The scheme had originally been that the whole of the 10th Division 



216 THE DARDANELLES 

(except the 29th Brigade) ^ should be put ashore within Suvla Bay 
and should operate on the left of the 11th Division ; but, in con- 
sequence of the landing difficulties that had been experienced by 
the 34:th Brigade owing to the shallows, the naval authorities 
decided that the infantry from Mitylene must land at Beach C, 
instead of at Beach A as had been intended. 

General Stopford's instructions to General Hill, on learning of 
this change, were to the effect that he was to support the left of the 
11th Division, which was being delayed by the Turkish detach- 
ments on Hill 10 and on the outer spurs of the Karakol Dagh. 
The consequence was that the task of the new arrivals after getting 
ashore came in the first place to be that of working their way 
round from Beach C by Lala Baba and the causeway between the 
Salt Lake and Suvla Bay to somewhere north of Beach A and Hill 
10. This fresh disembarkation of infantry at Beach C began a 
little after dawn, and, as the light improved, it was a good deal 
interfered with by Turkish shell-fire which proved extremely 
accurate. The range to the beach had evidently been carefully 
registered by the enemy, and the troops suffered appreciable losses 
both on after reaching land and while still in the lighters. 

About 8 a.m. the general position of affairs would seem to have 
been somewhat as follows : The surprise of the Turks had been 
carried out as contemplated, and, in spite of some delay in getting 
the troops ashore at Beach A, the landing of the 11th Division 
had been carried out most successfully in the dark, the trifling 
opposition of the Turkish detachment on Laia Baba having been 
brushed out of the way smartly, although not without some loss. 
There had been some hesitation in dealing with Hill 10, but the 
position had eventually been carried by the very superior British 
forces available. The 33rd Brigade was at Lala Baba and south 
of the Salt Lake. General Hill's troops were disembarking on 
Beach C, and those first ashore had already assembled under the 
lee of Lala Baba where there was some shelter from the hostile 
artillery fire that was causing annoyance all along the line. The 
Turks were slowly retiring eastwards across the plain towards the 
high ground on either side of Kuchuk Anafarta. But the advance 

^ In speaking of divisions it must be remembered that their artillery had 
for the most part been sent to Egypt. This was the case with all the 10th 
Division batteries and with most of those belonging to the 11th Division. 



FACTORS DELAYING THE ADVANCE 217 

of the 11th Division was hanging fire, although two of its moun- 
tain batteries were in action about Lala Baba and a field battery 
was getting to work among the sand-hills near Beach C. 

Sir I. Hamilton had estimated that the strength of the detach- 
ments with which the IXth Corps would have to deal at the outset 
would be about 4000. That would seem to have been about correct, 
although, as we have seen, the German account only gives three 
battalions. Against this exiguous force there were the thirteen 
battalions of the 11th Division all virtually in action, most of them 
having already been several hours on shore, while General Hill's 
force of the 10th Division was in the position of a rapidly growing 
reserve. Any fighting that had taken place had gone most favour- 
ably for the attacking side, and there was every incentive to push 
on at once and relentlessly. But certain factors militated against 
the prosecution of a vigorous offensive, and of these due note must 
be taken. 

In the first place, staff arrangements and organisation had been 
dislocated to some extent by the intermingling of the 11th and 10th 
Division, although this caused more inconvenience to the 10th 
Division, which was not in a position to act as early as 8 a.m., 
than it did to the 11th Division. Then there was the congestion 
along the shore, coupled with the sandy character of the soil about 
Beaches C and B where most of the disembarkations were being 
carried out, to be contended with. The beaches in themselves were 
suitable enough for discharging the big lighters which played so 
important a part in the landing operations, so long as it was merely 
a question of infantry soldiers ; but they were steep, narrow, and 
awkward for landing guns or animals or impedimenta. They 
were furthermore exposed to a harassing shell-fire, and the fact 
that nearly everything landed on them had in the nature of things 
to move flankwards, instead of straight to the front, necessarily 
aggravated congestion. Yet another cause of delay, and one which 
was to exert an untoward influence over the operations at Suvla 
during their critical opening stages, was the difficulty as to water, 
although the troops did not suffer much from lack of this in 
the early hours of the day ; this water question, however, played 
so important a part in affecting the issue on the 7th and 8th that 
it is especially dealt with in Appendix III. About 8 a.m. a fresh 
flotilla transporting troops appeared in the ofl&ng. This was the 



218 THE DARDANELLES 

force from Mudros Bay — the remaining three battalions of the 10th 
Division, with General Mahon. 

Operations on the 7th after 8 a.m. — The infantry from Mudros 
did not begin to land for some hours, as the naval authorities were 
opposed to a further disembarkation at Beach A. The capture of 
Hill 10, and the sturdy advance of the one battalion of the 34th 
Brigade which had been directed northwards from Beach A about 
dawn, had, however, induced the enemy practically to abandon the 
whole of the Suvla Point promontory ; this enabled the sailors to 
reconnoitre, and they discovered a fairly suitable landing-place 
near Gazi Baba. The Mudros contingent therefore, after a pro- 
longed pause, began disembarking at this new point, which (as it 
turned out) was not very suitable owing to shallow water that 
caused the beetles to ground before getting close in. A battalion 
of the 30th Brigade from Mitylene which had not yet started for 
shore at Beach C was also transferred to the Gazi Baba landing- 
place. The disembarkation at this point was interfered with to 
some extent by the enemy's artillery, the stranded beetles offering 
a favourable target ; land mines caused loss ; and the first of the 
Mudros battalions would not seem to have been in a position to 
advance from the beach before noon. 

Nor had much progress up to that time been made by the 11th 
Division. The 34th Brigade, supported by the 32nd (which had 
lost its brigadier, wounded) remained about Hill 10. General 
Hill's battalions had by midday assembled about Lala Baba, 
and they then began their awkward flank march northwards along 
the shell-swept causeway between the lake and the shore where 
there was no cover, and it was not until after 2 p.m. that this force 
was ready to advance across the northern Azmak Dere.^ Two 
battalions of the 33rd Brigade followed General Hill's column ; 
the remaining two appear to have stopped about Lala Baba as a 
reserve. Thus at about 3 p.m., when a general advance took place 
from about Hill 10 and from between that point and the lake, 

^ There are two Azmak Deres within a very few miles of each other, as 
shown on Map V. The Osmanli has singularly little originality in selecting 
his geographical nomenclature and his rivers are generally called after the 
supposed colour of their waters — black, white, blue, yellow and red. 
"Azmak" means blue. The upper valley of the southern Azmak Dere 
represents an important depression separating Sari Bair and its northern foot- 
hills from the Chocolate Hill-Ismail Oglu Tepe promontory of high ground 
that was to play an important part in the Suvla operations. 



CAUSES OF DELAY IN ADVANCE 219 

a force of more than three brigades was getting on the move, two 
of which had scarcely stirred for six hours although the spirit of 
the Commander-in-Chief's orders enjoined an extreme activity. 

It had become apparent early in the day that the capture of 
Chocolate Hill and Green Hill was almost imperative, if an effective 
offensive was to be carried out in the direction of Kuchuk Anafarta 
and the heights on either side of that village without incurring heavy 
loss from enfilading fire. The salient formed by those two hills 
together vnth the higher hills — Scimitar Hill and Ismail Oglu Tepe — 
flanked the Suvla plain from the south, just as the Karakol Dagh 
and Kiritch Tepe Sirt flanked it from the north. But, as will be 
seen from Map V, the range of heights to the north recedes from the 
plain as this is crossed from about Hill 10 in an easterly direction ; 
there do not, moreover, appear to have been any enemy guns 
emplaced on it, and its occupation was therefore of less vital 
importance than that of the southern promontory. 

The instructions given to General Hill when he arrived off Suvla 
at dawn had been that he was to operate on the left of the 11th 
Division ; but this arrangement was altered before his troops came 
definitely into action. He was directed instead to act on the right 
of the 34th and 32nd Brigades, and to move against Chocolate 
and Green Hills, while the two brigades of the 11th Division on 
his left advanced eastwards and south-eastwards against Kuchuk 
Anafarta Ova and Sulajik. The inevitable consequence of these 
dispositions — which had perhaps been rendered necessary by the 
deliberation of the 34th and 32nd Brigades — was that the incon- 
venient dispersion of the 10th Division continued and that General 
Hill's five battalions, after having landed at C Beach, about two 
miles in a straight line from Chocolate Hill, made a march in the 
heat of the day of at least five miles right round the Salt Lake 
before they were in a position to assail that all-important tactical 
position. The reason for the alteration was no doubt that, by the 
time that General Hill's force was ready to press forward across 
the northern Azmak Dere, the 34th and 32nd Brigades were already 
to some extent committed to their advance across the plain in an 
easterly direction in extended formation. Could the situation as 
it had developed by about noon have been foreseen when the 
contingent from Mitylene appeared off Nibrunesi Point, it would 
evidently have been better for the contingent to have been directed 



220 THE DARDANELLES 

straight upon Chocolate Hill from about C Beach, taking a line of 
advance south of the Salt Lake. Nor is it clear why the 33rd 
Brigade was not employed for action south of the Salt Lake instead 
of its hanging about Lala Baba, apparently as a reserve. The 
Commander-in-Chief's orders had spoken of the occupation of 
Ismail Oglu Tepe by daylight, so as to dispose of the Turkish 
guns emplaced about there and Chocolate Hill. Even if that 
was impracticable the situation demanded action as quickly as 
possible with such troops as were available. 

The troops were somewhat exhausted after their night voyage, 
after the fatigues and excitement of disembarkation, after trudging 
through the sand and the long waits in the forenoon, and on account 
of the great heat and the want of water. They had also suffered 
some loss from shelling and snipers ; but as a matter of fact the 
loss had fallen mainly on two or three of the battalions. The 
advance was slow and, as General Hill's troops wheeled round the 
lake before heading straight for their objectives, they were troubled 
by enfilade fire, so the two battalions of the 33rd Brigade, which 
had been following in reserve, came up on their left flank to meet 
this difficulty. Eventually this mixed force, receiving some 
support from the three batteries that had been landed and the 
ships' guns, delivered a highly effective attack upon Chocolate Hill 
and Green Hill towards evening, in spite of thirst and fatigue, and 
secured them both. The 34th and 32nd Brigades got as far forward 
as Sulajik and a line extending north from that point. 

In the meantime the rest of the 10th Division had moved forward 
through difficult ground along the Karakol Dagh and Kiritch Tepe 
Sirt heights, opposed determinedly by a battalion of Turkish 
gendarmerie. Like the troops further to the south, these battalions 
suffered much from thirst ; but they, nevertheless, made a consider- 
able advance, taking into consideration their late entrance into the 
fray. By nightfall they had made good nearly three miles of the 
narrow range of hills, but they do not seem to have been in close 
touch with the 34th Brigade which formed the left of the 11th 
Division. The general line ran from their advanced posts south- 
ward to the Kuchuk Anafarta Ova and across this by Sulajik to 
Green Hill — a very different line from that which the Commander- 
in-Chief had hoped would represent the front of the IXth Corps at 
the end of the day. 



UNSATISFACTORY RESULTS ON THE 7TH 221 

The troops were much exhausted at nightfall and had suffered 
greatly from thirst at practically all points. Very little water 
had been found, although there existed a number of wells that were 
discovered afterwards. The arrangements for providing water and 
bringing it forward, although elaborate and apparently well thought 
out, had broken down completely owing to unsatisfactory adminis- 
tration and to some little lack of discipline on the part of certain 
detachments. A fair amount of ground had no doubt been gained 
eventually ; but the advance had taken place so late in the day that 
by the time darkness had set in there had been no leisure to arrange 
for pushing forward supplies, ammunition, and so forth, methodically 
and to good purpose. The situation could not in fact be considered 
as satisfactory, and, in spite of the success of the landing in the first 
instance, in no way fulfilled what had been contemplated in the 
general scheme for the main offensive. The losses do not 
appear to have exceeded a total of 1000, and they had fallen almost 
entirely on three or four units. 

Comments on the first twenty-four hours of the Suvla operations. 
— The two points of special interest in connection with the landing 
of the 11th and 10th Divisions in and south of Suvla Bay are the 
fact that most of the infantry were landed by night in presence of the 
enemy, and that specially constructed lighters provided with their 
own motive power were used. In so far as the question of landing 
in the dark is concerned, the experiences of the night of the 6th- 
7th August offer eloquent testimony to the advantages of a nocturnal 
disembarkation when opposition is to be expected. The thirteen 
battalions of the 11th Division got ashore almost without being 
touched by artillery fire, whereas the 10th Division when landing 
a few hours later in the daylight was worried by the Turkish shell, 
and would in all likelihood have been interfered with worse had 
the hostile gunners not by that time had their attention distracted 
by a number of other targets. Darkness probably added very 
appreciably in some respects to the trouble that arose when several 
lighters conveying portions of the 34th Brigade grounded off 
Beach A at some distance from the shore, because the obscurity 
necessarily aggravated difficulties of control and of communication. 
Still, so long as they remained in the motionless, grounded lighters 
and while they were making their way ashore from these, the troops 
at least were not under shell-fire, as they would have been had there 



222 THE DARDANELLES 

been liglit ; and such musketry as they were exposed to from Lala 
Baba and Gazi Baba cannot have been so damaging as it must 
have proved in the daytime. On the other hand, it is reasonable 
to suppose that the land-mines that were concealed along the shore 
and which caused some loss, would have been more easily detected 
and avoided after the sun was up, than by night. 

In the absence of detailed statistics as to the exact hour when 
disembarkation began at the different beaches and as to the hour 
when the different brigades of the 11th Division had completed 
their landing, no opinion can well be formed as to whether the 
actual process of getting the troops ashore was more rapid or less 
rapid than it presumably would have been had the same operation 
been taking place by daylight. Those responsible had calculated 
upon getting the work nearly, if not quite, completed before the 
moon rose about 2 a.m., and it was apparently only at Beach A 
that any serious hitch occurred and that all the infantry were not 
on land some considerable time before dawn. 

One of the great hindrances to a night landing on an open beach 
in an enemy's country will generally be that the sailors find it by 
no means easy to hit off the appointed spot, in the presumable 
absence of beacons or of special navigation marks. The Australasian 
troops, it will be remembered, were not intended to have landed at 
Anzac Cove on the 25th of April, but at a beach near Gaba Tepe 
about a mile and a half away ; it was largely owing to the current 
that the flotilla conveying them arrived at the wrong spot, but a 
background of heights close to the shore must have made it hard 
to hit off the right point in the dark in any case. Bringing up at 
the proper locality was facilitated at Suvla by two circumstances. 
In the first place, the actual voyage from Kephalos Bay was only 
fourteen miles, whereas the distance from Mudros to Gaba Tepe 
had been sixty miles. In the second place, Suvla was an easy point 
to make on a clear night ; for the two-miles-wide plain in rear 
caused Lala Baba to stand out conspicuously, and the lofty pro- 
montory of Suvla Point, with the coast receding thence at right 
angles to the general line of the littoral, indicated the northern 
limit of the zone of landing operations unmistakably. Besides, 
there was an ample length of practicable foreshore south-east of 
Nibrunesi Point, so that where exactly the lighters fetched up 
was not of vital moment ; as for the landing operations inside 



MERITS OF THE " BEETLES " 223 

Suvla Bay, Lala Baba and the range of hills to the north of the 
bight made it easy to find Beach A in the dark. 

The beetles upon the whole proved a great success, even admitting 
that their getting aground at some distance fi'om shore both at 
Beach A and at Gazi Baba created regrettable delay and incon- 
venience. At Beaches C and B, where these craft could run their 
bows right on to the foreshore at almost any point, they discharged 
their passengers very rapidly. They also proved extremely handy 
when moving under their own power. Vessels of this class — 
assuming that the actual beaches are favourable to their employ- 
ment — possess certain obvious merits, where it is a question of 
disembarking by night in presence of the enemy. One beetle 
represented practically the equivalent of three tows, of four ships' 
cutters each, in respect to number of men transported. The beetle 
also requires far less sea-room than the tows. Supposing, for in- 
stance, that three beetles are making for some particular, limited 
stretch of beach, the risk of collisions and disorder will not be so 
great as if nine tows — a total of thirty-six cutters — were per- 
forming the same service instead. 

Confusion is less likely to arise by day than by night. The 
question of hostile fire has, on the other hand, to be taken into 
account much more seriously by day than by night. In so far as 
the enemy's musketry and machine-guns are concerned, lighters 
of the beetle type would seem to afford troops decidedly better 
cover than open boats, and the same holds good as regards shrapnel. 
But this only holds good while the troops approach the beach. 
Once it becomes a matter of disembarking from the lighter, the 
troops on board become exposed to concentrated fire (as was the 
case when the Munsters and Hampshires issued forth from the 
River Clyde during the landing on V Beach), whereas boats offer the 
enemy a dispersed target. Moreover, even if the lighter provides 
good cover against shrapnel, a high explosive shell hitting one of 
them might easily sink it altogether and would assuredly cause 
many casualties on board. It should be noted that an important 
point in favour of the beetles used at Suvla was that they could 
make five knots under their own motor-power ; a tow of cutters 
astern of a picket boat would not travel at anything like that 
speed. 
The great objection to the lighter as compared to the cutter or 



224 THE DARDANELLES 

other ship's boat, however, is its draught. On many beaches — 
Brighton or Eastbourne at high water for instance — a vessel 
drawing four and a half feet can run its prow on to the shingle 
quite comfortably. But if the sea happens to shoal a long way 
out from the shore — as it does at Brighton and Eastbourne when 
the tide is out — the lighter is bound to take the ground prematurely, 
and four and a half feet of water is inconveniently deep for a fully 
loaded-up infantryman to struggle through. Moreover, the water 
may turn out to be deeper inshore than it is where the lighter has 
fetched up, and it will only take a very few additional inches to 
drown the soldier. This is unquestionably a serious drawback to 
the employment of such craft. It has to be remembered that a 
military descent upon the coast of an enemy's country will often 
perforce take place at some spot where no soundings close inshore 
have been taken, and of which no thoroughly trustworthy charts 
exist. 

Turning now from the technical conditions that were involved 
in getting the troops actually to land at Suvla, to the question of 
their tactical employment on disembarkation, the critic is con- 
fronted by a certain divergence in the views that have been ex- 
pressed by prominent actors in these dramatic events. There has, 
moreover, been conflict of evidence as to what occurred at given 
junctures. This makes a review of the operations somewhat 
difficult. But the outsider who is obliged to form his opinions 
from the various narratives, official and other, that have appeared, 
will find it hard to escape from the broad general conclusion that 
amongst the commanders, the staff and the regimental officers 
concerned in the landing, and especially amongst those connected 
with the troops who disembarked by night, the vital importance 
of a very early advance, and therefore of the initiation of vertebrate 
offensive action at the first possible moment, was not sufficiently 
recognised. The enemy would indeed appear to have been taken 
altogether too seriously during the opening phases of the operation. 

Too much was, however, perhaps expected by the High Com- 
mand, for in his final despatch Sir I. Hamilton writes : — 

" The first task of the IXth Corps was to seize and hold Chocolate, 
and Ismail Oglu Hills, together with the high ground north and east 
of Suvla Bay. If the landing went off smoothly, and if my informa- 



THE DELAY IN ADVANCING 225 

tion regarding the strength of the enemy were correct, I hoped that 
these hills, with their guns, might be well in our possession before 
daybreak." 

This does strike one as an optimistic forecast. The Ismail Oglu 
hill, 350 feet high, is situated a good three miles from Beach C, 
and the later battalions of the 11th Division could hardly hope 
to be on land before 2 a.m. For troops thrown ashore by night 
in an unknown country to have occupied this height by 5 a.m. 
would have been a creditable performance even if there had been 
no enemy. But there is, on the other hand, a very wide difference 
between what the Commander-in-Chief had hoped might be 
achieved by that hour and what was actually accomplished in 
practice. For at daybreak two whole brigades were only beginning 
to set about advancing against Hill 10, which was not half a mile 
from Beach A where one of the brigades had landed. Nor was 
any forward movement south of the Salt Lake attempted then or 
at a later hour. During the early hours of the day — from 
6 a.m., say, till 10 a.m. — ^when the heat was not yet trying and 
when the troops could not have been suffering intensely from thirst, 
there were thirteen battalions of the 11th Division available to move 
to the attack. They enjoyed a numerical superiority of at least 
three to one over the enemy. They were, moreover, sustained by 
the moral support of part of the 10th Division, already on shore, 
and the Turks had manifestly already lost the first round in failing 
to stop the landing and in abandoning Lala Baba. A steady, 
resolute offensive, set in motion as soon as there was light enough 
to distinguish the topographical features and to ensure a suitable 
distribution of the troops, ought to have carried the line forward 
before noon to points that actually were not made good till late 
in the afternoon, after an exhausting advance in great heat by a 
soldiery parched with thirst. 

Even supposing that the front had then remained on the line 
Green Hill-Sulajik-Kuchuk Anafarta Ova, the fact of its advancing 
80 far forward in the forenoon would have left several hours of 
daylight to get the line properly organised and for bringing forward 
water, stores, and ammunition. The situation would therefore 
have been incomparably more satisfactory when night set in, than 
it actually was on the 7th of August. There is a good deal of 
analogy between a landing in an enemy's country and crossing a 

Q 



226 THE DARDANELLES 

river into territory in hostile occupation, for in either case you 
require to occupy as large an area of country — to establish as 
extensive a bridgehead — as possible, and as soon as possible. 
That fundamental tactical principle does not seem to have been 
realised by those immediately concerned. 

One point, to which reference must be made in this connection, 
was brought to the notice of the author by certain of the prominent 
participators in the opening phase of these Suvla operations. It 
was this. However it came about, the regimental officers and troops 
in the 11th Division when they set foot on shore had no definite 
conception of what they were about to do, or of what they were 
being called upon to face. May not that lethargy that supervened, 
at the very time when truculent, uncompromising vigour was called 
for, have been attributable to this circumstance ? The instruments 
detailed to carry out the project of the High Command were not 
aware of the vital importance of pushing rapidly forward, nor did 
they know that the enemy opposing them was the reverse of 
formidable. Now it was necessary to conceal the nature and the 
details of the enterprise to the last. News would spread all over 
the ^gean in no time from Mitylene, Lemnos, and Imbros, peopled 
as they were with polyglot, largely seafaring, islanders. Every 
soldier who has become versed in such matters by contact with 
actual events, realises how imperative confining information to a 
strictly limited circle is, if you wish to keep your designs secret. 
The fewer people, be they general-officers or be they drummer-boys, 
who know what is afoot the better. But this only holds good up 
to a certain stage in the proceedings. Thanks to the care with 
which the principle was enforced from general headquarters and 
from corps headquarters before the Suvla landings, these landings 
came upon the Osmanlis as a complete surprise. And yet the very 
reticence and mystification which made the landings a surprise 
appear to have contributed to some extent to bring about the 
failure of the operation as a whole. 

There can be no question but that, until the flotillas started on 
their trip from the islands, only a favoured few of the actors in the 
forthcoming drama could safely be made acquainted with what 
was contemplated. But, the moment that the armadas weighed, 
all need for secrecy was at an end. Then, on the contrary, it became 
in the highest degree expedient that all concerned should learn the 



TROOPS UNAWARE OF THEIR TASK 227 

nature of the task to which they were being committed. Ought 
it not to have been a case of sealed envelopes, of sealed envelopes 
on a lavish scale ? The senior ofl&cer on every separate vessel 
might have had his sealed orders, to be opened as soon as she got 
into motion. A sketch-plan and a very few general instructions 
might have sufficed, the significance of rapid progress after landing 
being emphasised and the weakness of the enemy insisted upon. 

It must be remembered that the situation, speaking topo- 
graphically, was a remarkably straightforward one — Suvla Bay, the 
Salt Lake, Lala Baba, Chocolate Hill, and the general line of heights 
which it was so important to secure as soon as possible, were all 
very well defined. No especial proficiency in map-reading was 
called for to grasp the essentials. Lights no doubt could not be 
shown, but an officer charged with sealed orders could easily have 
conned them over between decks on a destroyer, or down in the 
hold of a beetle. Having soaked in the information the officer 
could then have collected the subalterns and non-commissioned 
officers and have told them what it was so necessary for them to 
know, and these again would have passed it on to the rank and file. 
One can imagine how a man who had spent a few months in a mobile 
column on the veld would have improved the occasion — especially 
with regard to the weakness of the enemy, and as to the risk of 
rifle shots by a handful of men in the dark or in the half-light of 
early morning deceiving and holding up a considerable force, if 
this allows itself to be bluf!ed. But there probably were few such 
practised soldiers aboard the Imbros flotilla, except in the upper 
grades, in the 11th Division. " We've got to keep pushing for all 
we're worth, we must get well clear of the beaches before the 
Turkish gunners have light to see or they'll give us a bad time, 
and we must get those hills right away before any more of the enemy 
come up." Every infantry soldier in the division ought to have 
been infected with this idea before he stepped on shore or waded 
towards the beach, well aware that brigadiers and staff and those 
sort of people could be trusted to give the impulse in the right 
direction. 

Still, it has to be remembered that the troops of the.IXth 
Corps who landed at Suvla represented newly constituted formations 
that had not been even thought of when the European War had 
broken out, almost exactly a year before. There was no precedent 



228 THE DAKDANELLES 

in modern times for a force of anything approaching to the size of 
three infantry brigades being landed on open beaches in presence 
of the enemy at dead of night. The 29th Division had performed 
its great feat of the 25th of April in broad daylight ; the French 
likewise had disembarked at Kum Kale by day; the Anzacs 
had only begun their landing at dawn. The Suvla venture con- 
stituted a new departure altogether, and one that might well have 
tried the nerve and shattered the cohesion of seasoned troops. 
Something undoubtedly went wrong after the disembarkation had 
been most successfully effected. But, even admitting this to be the 
case, those New Army divisions accomplished much to be proud of 
between nightfall on the 6th of August and nightfall on the follow- 
ing day. 

The events of the 8th. — Before recording what occurred on the 
British side at Suvla on the 8th, it will be convenient to indicate 
the action that appears to have been taken by the defenders to 
meet this new attack upon the Gallipoli Peninsida. We have 
seen on page 195 that, at the date when Sir I. Hamilton's August 
offensive started, there were according to Grerman accounts two 
divisions, the 7th and the 12th, stationed somewhere about the 
Bulair Isthmus ready to meet danger in that direction of which 
Marshal Liman von Sanders always appears to have been inordin- 
ately afraid. As soon as news of the Suvla landing reached Turkish 
headquarters, about the same time as intelligence also came to hand 
of General Birdwood's night advance against Sari Bair, the 7th 
and 12th Divisions were set in motion, and they apparently pro- 
ceeded entirely by march route to reinforce the troops that were 
already on the long line extending from the Kizlar Dagh to near 
Gaba Tepe, a line which was by far at its thinnest at its northern 
end, facing Suvla. The German account makes no reference to 
using ships in the Dardanelles to convey portions of these two 
divisions to near the scene of action, as had been the case under 
somewhat similar circumstances when Turkish troops were trans- 
ferred from the Bulair end of the peninsula to Anzac and Helles 
on the occasion of the original landing. The 12th Division headed 
straight for Kuchuk Anafarta, while the 7th on its left made for 
Biyuk Anafarta and the northern spurs of Sari Bair, and, assuming 
that they started from near the Bulair lines, the distance would be 
about thirty miles in either case. 



I 



OPERATIONS OF THE 8TH 229 

While some of these Ottoman troops were probably further 
away than the Lines, others may well have been stationed about 
Gallipoli or even nearer to the new concentration points. Suppos- 
ing that they started about noon on the 7th, the leading units 
might have been arriving in the Suvla region fairly early in the 
day on the 8th. But, as a matter of fact, no reinforcements would 
seem to have joined the Turkish detachments in this quarter 
before dark on that day. These had withdrawn their guns and 
evidently expected attack, and during the whole of the daylight 
hours of the second twenty-four hours that the IXth Corps spent 
on the peninsula, it continued to enjoy that great superiority 
in numerical strength which it had possessed since the landing of 
the infantry had been completed early in the afternoon of the 
previous day. 

But this infantry had not yet recovered from the effects of the 
exertions and trials that it had undergone. Nor had the problem 
with regard to water been overcome. This, as well as food supplies 
and ammunition, had to be carried from the beaches to the front 
line by hand, a condition of things that meant a most inconvenient 
depletion of the j&ghting ranks, and which was attributable to the 
landing of transport animals still being seriously in arrear. Some 
of the units that had joined in the advance on the afternoon of 
the 7th had, moreover, returned to the beaches. Apart from the 
weakness of the enemy, the conditions were no doubt somewhat 
unfavourable for the institution of a vigorous offensive. But, be 
that as it may, the second day of the IXth Corps' stay at Suvla was, 
from the fighting point of view, practically a day of rest. Only 
two movements forward of any note took place. Two battalions 
of the 32nd Brigade advanced into the hills, one occupying the 
important Scimitar Hill, and the other, the 9th West Yorks, pushing 
forward nearly as far as the point Abrikja and a line running north 
from there ; this ought to have represented a very pronounced 
gain, had further advantage been taken of it. On the extreme left 
the 10th Division won some little ground on the Kiritch Tepe Sirt 
early in the morning. 

The omission to profit by what was unquestionably a promising 
tactical situation, in view of the great numerical superiority of the 
British on this second day, does not appear to have been wholly 
due to the exhaustion of the troops nor to the disorganisation of 



230 THE DARDANELLES 

the transport service. Weakness in respect to artillery would also 
seem to have contributed, at a juncture when delay was Likely to 
prove fatal to the prospect of the operations being successful as a 
whole, towards deciding those in high command to forego attack. 
It is true that only one field battery and two mountain 
batteries were yet ashore, and that difficulties of intercommunica- 
tion were bound to militate against any effective employment of 
the ships' guns. But the idea that an infantry attack may not be 
launched against a hostile position without an elaborate bombard- 
ment as a prologue, is founded on the assumption that the assailants 
enjoy no overwhelming superiority of force. The situation was, 
moreover, emphatically one that demanded unconventional action, 
and in this connection Sir L Hamilton pertinently observes in his 
final despatch : — 

" Normally it may be correct to say that in modern warfare infantry 
cannot be expected to advance without artillery preparation. But in 
a landing on a hostile shore the order is inverted. The infantry must 
advance and seize a position suitable to cover the landing and to 
provide artillery positions for the main thrust. The very existence 
of the force, its water supply, its facilities for munitions and suppUes, 
its power to reinforce, must depend upon the infantry being able 
instantly to make good sufficient ground, without the aid of artillery 
other than can be supplied for the purpose by floating batteries." 

Sir I. Hamilton's direct intervention. — The Commander-in-Chief 
had remained at his headquarters at Imbros on the 7th, satisfied 
that he could most effectively keep his finger on the pulse of the 
complex combination of war involving three distinct though inter- 
dependent operations to which he was committed, by stationing 
himself at what was the central point as between Helles, Anzac, 
and Suvla. Becoming, however, gradually aware from reports 
coming to hand that the progress of the IXth Corps was very much 
more deliberate than he had pictured, and that there was con- 
sequently a risk of its failing to perform its role in the task that was 
being entrusted to the forces launched on the great offensive north 
of Gaba Tepe, he decided during the afternoon of the 8th to repair 
personally to Suvla, and he arrived at corps headquarters, afloat, 
about 5 p.m. In his final despatch he gives a graphic description 
of his experiences after landing, and of the sequel. Suffice it to 



SIR I. HAMILTON'S INTERVENTION 231 

say here that, although General Stopford was most anxious that 
active operations should be pressed and although Sir Ian urged 
that even at that late hour orders should be issued for an immediate 
advance by the 11th Division — under the circumstances this must 
almost necessarily have meant a night attack — it was not deemed 
practicable by the divisional general and the brigadiers to get the 
instructions for such an undertaking out in time, seeing how 
scattered the force was. They were, moreover, not perhaps alto- 
gether unnaturally, indisposed to venture upon nocturnal operations 
under the conditions then existing and with inexperienced troops. 
A good deal of doubt, moreover, appears to have existed at corps 
and divisional headquarters as to where exactly the various infantry 
units were. 

Eventually the Commander-in-Chief ordered that the 32nd 
Brigade, which was believed to be more concentrated than the 
others and therefore better situated for promptly resuming the 
offensive than they were, should act alone. It was to endeavour 
to gaiu a footing on the high ground north of Kuchuk Anafarta, 
before the inevitable arrival of hostile reinforcements had con- 
verted the weak Turkish detachments that had been in occupation 
of the heights all that day into a force capable of offering a stal- 
wart resistance to a determined onset. As a matter of fact, however, 
the 32nd Brigade was by no means concentrated, for two of its 
battalions 1 were, as narrated above, on Scimitar Hill and on the 
high ground about Abrikja and to the north of it, having pushed 
forward during the day. These units had to be brought back from 
their advantageous position before the brigade could be launched 
against its fresh objective. It did not actually start till next morn- 
ing, and its experiences do not therefore come within the scope 
of an account of the day's doings on the 8th. 

Thus, in spite of the direct intervention of the Commander-in- 
Chief, the second twenty-four hours of the Sulva venture remained 
for all practical purposes a day of inaction in so far as fighting was 
concerned, because the two battalions of the 32nd Brigade which 
did push on into the hills were virtually unopposed. Much useful 
work was, on the other hand, got through on the beaches this day 
in respect to unloading stores, animals, water-cart, and so forth. 

1 One of these, the 6th East Yorks, did not actually belong to the brigade 
being the divisional pioneer battalion, but was attached to the brigade. 



232 THE DARDANELLES 

The disembarkation of the 53rd Division was, moreover, begun 
late in the afternoon and it continued all night, certain of its units 
taking part in next day's affray. 

Comments. — It is not surprising that the situation in this portion 
of the theatre of operations should have caused Sir I. Hamilton 
grave concern. He had been confident that the 11th Division 
would have secured possession of much of the high ground dominat- 
ing the Suvla Plain, and including the important tactical positions 
on Chocolate Hill and Ismail Oglu Tepe, at an early hour on the 7th. 
But at nightfall on the 8th only some of the heights on the extreme 
left (which were of secondary importance) and Chocolate and Green 
Hills had been occupied, in so far as the situation was understood 
on the beach. The encouraging fact that Scimitar Hill and some 
of the high ground further to the north was likewise in British hands 
appears only to have been known to the two units which, realising 
their opportunities, had made good this very valuable position. 

Sir Ian had hoped that, after the arrival of the 10th Division on 
the 7th, the weight of the IXth Corps could have been brought to 
bear to some extent against Sari Bair from about Ismail Oglu Tepe 
and Biyuk Anafarta, so as to lend at least some indirect assistance 
to General Birdwood's forces in their very arduous operations. 
But no succour of any kind had been afforded to that vital main 
attack from the Suvla side. We may presume that the Com- 
mander-in-Chief had pictured to himself the troops of the IXth 
Corps, as placed beyond serious anxiety as to their water supply 
consequent on having mastered the wells that were known to exist 
about the two large Anafarta villages. But so far from this being 
the case, he found that those troops at the end of thirty-six hours 
remained scattered about on the Suvla plain, which, although it 
was by no means waterless, only provided a few wells far apart 
and under fire of aggressive snipers. The position of affairs was 
rendered all the more disquieting from the knowledge that, even if 
the offensive from the side of Anzac had made gratifying progress 
in face of rare difficulties and resolute opposition, it had not achieved 
its object of riveting a grip upon the uppermost ridges of Sari 
Bair before the enemy could mass his men to hold these coveted 
heights. 

That a great opportunity was lost on the 8th, in spite of the delays 
that had taken place on the 7th, does not seem to admit of doubt. 



OBSTACLES TO ADVANCE 233 

Aeroplane reconnaissance during the day revealed that the Turks 
were removing their guns, which indeed had remained silent in 
spite of the attractive targets which the crowded beaches were 
presenting. Aeroplane reconnaissance also revealed the fact that 
hostile reinforcements were hurrying from the Bulair end of the 
peninsula. The troops had had a night's rest of a sort. The 
importance of capturing Ismail Oglu Tepe — " an abrupt and savage 
heap of clifi, dented with chasms, harshly scarped at the top, and 
covered with dense thorn scrub," according to Mr. Masefield — was 
obvious, seeing that this prominent height dominated the Biyuk 
Anafarta valley from the north. The occupation of Kuchuk 
Anafarta would provide the troops that accomplished it with water. 
The situation was one calling imperatively for vigorous action. 
Still there is also something to be said on the other side. 

The infantry on Chocolate Hill and stretching northwards from 
thence to Kuchuk Anafarta Ova were gravely handicapped owing 
to the difficulty in getting up supplies to them across the plain, 
seeing that everything practically had to be carried by hand. 
Moreover, the further they advanced on the 8th, or at least early 
in the day on the 8th, the greater this handicap would necessarily 
become. Then there was also that water difficulty, which had not 
yet been overcome. The troops had suffered terribly from thirst 
on the previous day, and they were still suffering. Some of the few 
wells found about the plain were filled with corpses put there by 
the Turks, others were brackish, others were guarded by enemy 
snipers, and in any case wells were few and far between. The fact 
of a successful advance to Kuchuk Anafarta on the part of the left 
of the 11th Division would not provide drink for its right, even 
supposing that this secured the Ismail Oglu height. The brigadiers, 
the battalion commanders, and the brigade staffs might be assumed 
to be better able to judge of the fitness of the troops for a forward 
movement, than the divisional commander away back on the shore, 
or the corps commander on board ship, or the Commander-in-Chief, 
suddenly arrived from an island fourteen miles off, could be. The 
question is : did brigadiers, regimental officers, and troops realise 
how much depended upon a prompt advance ? Were they aware 
that it meant all the difference between success and virtual failure ? 
" Thirst and fatigue were forgotten," writes the author of The 
Tenth (Irish) Division in Gallipoli, " as the Fusiliers, exulting in 



234 THE DAKDANELLES 

the force of their attack, dashed over trench and communication 
trench until the crest of the hill was gained." That was the story 
of how General Hill's infantry had delivered their onset on the 
previous evening after their trying march round the Salt Lake 
from Beach C. Thirst and fatigue might likewise have been 
forgotten on the morning of the 8th had all ranks of the 11th 
Division been informed of what the strategical and tactical situa- 
tion so insistently demanded. 

The events of the 9th and 10th. — A general attack upon the 
Ottoman position between the southern Azmak Dere and the 
heights stretching away north of Kuchuk Anafarta, to be executed 
by the 11th Division assisted by the 31st Brigade (which had 
remained in occupation of Chocolate Hill and Green Hill) and 
some troops of the newly arrived 53rd Division, had been decided 
upon for the early morning of the 9th, before Sir I. Hamilton 
intervened with regard to an immediate advance by the 32nd 
Brigade. The defenders manifestly enjoyed the advantage as 
regards position, considering that they were holding all the high 
ground lying east of the Suvla flats except some high ground near 
Abrikja and the promontory in the hands of the 31st Brigade — as 
will be seen, Scimitar Hill had been abandoned during the night. 
The Turks in fact completely overlooked the terrain across which 
the assailants were called upon to advance. 

The operation was timed to commence at 5.30 a.m. ; but in 
consequence of Sir I. Hamilton's intervention on the previous 
evening the 32nd Brigade, which had been unable to carry out his 
orders as to an immediate advance, but which had assembled near 
Sulajik during the night, moved off at 4 a.m. Its objective was 
the terrain north of the Kuchuk Anafarta gap in the hills, and 
divisional orders had laid down that the attack was to be led by 
the 6th East Yorks — the very battalion which had occupied 
Scimitar Hill the previous day and which had been obliged to 
withdraw from that point and to retire in the darkness to the 
brigade rendezvous. The objective indicated to the 31st Brigade 
on the right of the 32nd was practically the very ground which 
the two battalions of the 32nd Brigade that had pushed forward 
on the previous day had occupied and had since abandoned. The 
33rd Brigade was to advance on the right of the 31st ; but part 
of this brigade was obliged to start from the beach so early as 



THE ACTION OF THE 9TH 235 

2 a.m., as two of its battalions had retired thither after the affair 
of the 7th ; the brigade nevertheless advanced to the attack up 
to time. The 34th Brigade was on the left of the line, and two 
battalions of the 53rd Division acted in reserve. 

The introductory incidents of the day's afirays were not wholly 
unpromising, for the 32nd Brigade speedily secured the Baka Baba 
spurs, and in spite of their sleepless night the 6th East Yorks 
pressed stoutly up the commanding spur north of Kuchuk Anafarta. 
On the right, a portion of the 33rd Brigade managed temporarily to 
master portions of the Oglu Tepe crest, after heavy fighting. But 
the 9th West Yorks when it advanced towards Abrikja was soon 
checked, and although some of the 31st Brigade troops struggled 
on to Scimitar Hill they could not maintain the position. For the 
enemy was gathering strength from hour to hour and was bringing 
numbers of batteries into action — a considerable part of the 12th 
Turkish Division seems to have been on the ground and fully 
committed to action before the battle reached its height, and these 
new arrivals threw themselves into the encounter with enthusiasm. 
In spite of its good beginning the 32nd Brigade was driven back, 
and, by giving way, it to some extent compromised the troops on 
its right. Ismail Oglu Tepe and Scimitar Hill were recovered by 
the enemy as a result of violent counter-attacks, burning scrub 
caused much confusion, and the assailants eventually fell back 
at all points. Ammunition replenishment caused serious difficulty 
during the retirement, and when the engagement gradually died 
down the 11th Division found itself back practically on the line 
that it had started from, but with much depleted ranks. The 
losses on the 7th had been almost insignificant ; in this unfortunate 
action they were very heavy. 

It is recorded that Marshal Liman von Sanders had intended 
that the Ottoman forces should have delivered a counter-attack 
during the night of the 8th-9th. The Turkish commander who 
had been placed in charge of operations in this Anafarta area 
when news came of the Suvla landing appears, however, to have 
fallen suddenly ill. According to the Grerman account, this 
contretemps prevented the night attack from materialising. It 
seems very doubtful, however, whether the Turks were strong 
enough during the night of the 8th-9th to have assumed the 
offensive with much prospect of success ; if orders for a coimter- 



236 THE DARDANELLES 

attack were really issued by the enemy commander-in-chief it 
would indeed seem to have been an error of judgment. The German 
work Der KampJ um die Dardanellen contains some interesting 
information as to Turkish movements and as to Liman von Sanders' 
intentions, but there appear to be mistakes of date in some of its 
passages. The proposed counter-attack may have been intended 
for the following night, the 9th-10th, by which time the Turks 
were in strong force. As will be seen, however, it was the British 
and not the Turks who attacked on the 10th. 

The action of the 9th was upon the whole well contested, but its 
result was that the IXth Corps suffered a mortifying discomfiture 
at the hands of their sturdy antagonists, having given these ample 
time to assemble. Twelve hours' respite from molestation had 
sufficed to transform the thin line of Moslem defenders of the high 
ground overlooking the Suvla plain, out of a scattered line of foot 
soldiers bereft of all artillery support, into a force of all arms that 
was well qualified to ofier an unyielding resistance to the efiorts 
of the British brigades launched against its position on the morning 
of the 9th. " Time," says Clause witz, "is on the side of the 
defence," and on this occasion the defence had been granted time, 
thanks to a species of torpor which had gripped assailants who, 
forty-eight hours earlier, had entered upon their venture with all 
the advantages that the initiative confers when initiative is coupled 
with surprise. 

The confusion that may arise when the ordinary channels of 
communication are departed from is very well illustrated by what 
occurred on the afternoon of the 8th and during the night following, 
with untoward consequences on the 9th. Sir L Hamilton, after 
discussing the situation with General Stopford (whose headquarters 
were on board ship) proceeded to the headquarters of the 11th 
Division on shore at Lala Baba, and, upon ascertaining there that 
the 32nd Brigade were fairly well concentrated, gave orders that 
this should attack as soon as possible. As a matter of fact the 
brigade was not concentrated by any means, as we have seen, the 
6th East Yorks actually being in occupation of Scimitar Hill, and 
the 9th West Yorks more or less in line to the north, while the 
remaining battalions were on the low ground about Sulajik and to 
the north and north-west of that locality. The divisional general, 
moreover, named the 6th East Yorks as the battalion that was to 



MISUNDERSTANDINGS 237 

lead the advance ; it is true that this was the divisional battalion, 
but it was under the orders of the brigadier of the 32nd Brigade 
at the time. The result was that the very important Scimitar Hill, 
which had been occupied without diflficulty, was abandoned, and 
that one of the two battalions which had pushed on a consider- 
able distance during the 8th had to withdraw by night — neces- 
sarily a somewhat exhausting process — and by the time that it had 
reached the rendezvous had to start off to the front and to lead the 
attack of its brigade about dawn. 

The general attack by the 11th Division had been arranged for 
the morning of the 9th, and the possession of Scimitar Hill from 
the very start must have been of great advantage — the more so 
seeing that the Turks reoccupied that eminence, and were able 
from thence to take in flank the 32nd Brigade when this ad- 
vanced to the attack on Kuchuk Anafarta. Although the hill was 
retaken, this was only after tough fighting, and it was only held 
then for a very short time. The need for action at the earliest 
possible moment was obvious to the Commander-in-Chief on the 
afternoon of the 8th, as he was well aware that Turkish reinforce- 
ments were on the march and would probably be arriving during 
the night. But in view of the ignorance that prevailed as to the 
position of the troops — of which he was unaware — it would perhaps 
have been better if he had not interfered with the divisional arrange- 
ments. The fact that the 6th East Yorks were the divisional 
battalion might have excused its being especially designated by 
divisional headquarters, even though it was under the orders of 
the brigadier of the 32nd Brigade, had divisional headquarters 
known where it was. But that would not seem to have been the 
case. The incident is a very instructive one. 

The attack on the high ground east of Suvla plain was repeated 
on the 10th. The operation was on this occasion entrusted to the 
53rd Division, supported by the 11th Division. Two whole brigades 
of artillery were now on shore, and these, seconded by the mountain 
batteries and by ships' guns, were able to bring a respectable body 
of fire to bear upon the enemy's commanding positions. But the 
Turks were now fully prepared and in stronger force than on the 
previous day ; then many units had only been coming on to the 
ground as the British advanced and during the ensuing engage- 
ment. They had had time to consolidate the position and to 



238 THE DAEDANELLES 

strengthen their lines. Therefore, although the 53rd Division 
gained some ground to start with, it was before long brought to a 
standstill and was ultimately obliged to fall back to the old lines 
down in the plain. The losses in this unsuccessful attack were 
again somewhat heavy. Further frontal attacks offered little hope 
of success, so General Stopford ordered the troops to dig them- 
selves in on what was practically the line that had been occupied 
on the evening of the 7th. This had, however, been linked up with 
the position which the 10th Division had secured on the Kiritch 
Tepe Sirt ; and during the next two or three days the Blst Brigade 
was relieved by other infantry and moved ofi to rejoin its division, 
from which it had been separated since leaving the United Kingdom. 

The splitting up of the 10th Division. — As complaints were made 
at the time that the 10th Division was unfairly treated in that it 
came to be so much scattered during, and before, the August 
offensive, it may perhaps be pointed out that this was the fortune 
of war and was merely a matter of bad luck. The Commander-in- 
Chief considered that five brigades of infantry were sufficient for 
the Suvla operations to start with, and he required an additional 
infantry brigade for the Sari Bair operations. Therefore, either 
the 10th or the 11th Division had to be deprived of one brigade 
for the time being, and the choice fell upon the 10th. There was 
nothing to complain about in that. As the essence of the Suvla 
plan was that there should be a surprise by night in force, and as 
there were good grounds for trying to make the Turks anticipate an 
attack upon the Asiatic coast from Mitylene, the arrangement 
under which the whole of the infantry of the 11th Division was 
assembled at Imbros and shipped across early on the night of the 
6th to the Suvla region was the obvious one to adopt. The 11th 
Division being told off thus, the 10th Division naturally had to 
proceed in part to Mitylene ; to have sent the whole of the 30th 
and 31st Brigades thither, together with the divisional battalion, 
would have created difficulty in respect to shipment thence to Suvla. 

In view of the experiences undergone at A Beach during the 
night of the 6th-7th, there could be no question of landing General 
Hill's force from Mitylene at such a place in daylight under artillery 
fire, and, the Gazi Baba landing-place not having been discovered, 
its relegation to C Beach was practically unavoidable. The anxiety 
of the corps commander to keep the 10th Division concentrated 



CONCLUSION 239 

appears indeed in reality to have been the cause of General Hill's 
battalions making their troublesome march round the Salt Lake, 
instead of their being directed on Chocolate Hill straight from their 
landing-place. Then, by the time that they had assembled near 
Hill 10, the 32nd and 34th Brigades of the 11th Division were 
apparently already committed to a somewhat belated movement 
to their front. Chocolate Hill had to be secured on tactical 
grounds, so Hill was called upon to march against this as his 
were practically the only troops available, thus preventing their 
uniting with the rest of their division to the north. The truth is that, 
although it may be possible to avoid splitting up units supposing 
that you have eight or ten of them, it will seldom be possible to 
avoid splitting at least one of them up during active operations 
if you only have two at your disposal. It is indeed an elementary 
military axiom that two infantry units working by themselves 
are an anachronism, because you have nothing ready to your 
hand to form a reserve. 

Conclusion. — Synchronising as it did with the final defeat of 
the efforts on the part of General Birdwood's troops to master 
and to hold Hill Q and the Chunuk Bair ridge, the reverse suffered 
by the Suvla force on the 10th may be said to have connoted the 
definite failure of Sir I. Hamilton's boldly conceived design. In 
so far as the Suvla venture was concerned, the outstanding features 
of that design had comprised (1) the winning of a landing by 
surprise, (2) securing a sheltered base on the coast by promptly 
occupying the high ground, weakly held by the enemy, which 
dominated the sheltered base within easy artillery range, and (3) 
intervening thereafter, with a strong military contingent operating 
from the newly acquired jumping-oii place, in the contest that was 
raging for the possession of the Sari Bair mountain. The first 
item in the programme — conquest of the landing-place by dint 
of a surprise — had been triumphantly carried into effect. But the 
project of the Commander-in-Chief in respect to the early capture 
of the heights overlooking Suvla Bay had not materialised. Nor 
had the substantial force that had been thrown on shore in a few 
hours within and around that bight lent any appreciable succour 
to the Australasian, British, and Indian troops that were embattled 
on the mountain ridges not half a dozen miles to the south-east. 
The activities of the IXth Corps had not indeed even drawn off 



240 THE DARDANELLES 

any of the enemy troops engaged about Sari Bair ; and, although 
the 12th Turkish Division from Bulair hurried to the Anafarta 
heights, the 7th Division from the same quarter ignored the Suvla 
threat and made for the more southerly field. The IXth Corps had 
in fact only performed the first portion of the hard task that had 
been set it. 

A general consideration of the Commander-in-Chief's plan, 
regarded as a whole, will be deferred till the end of the next chapter, 
in view of the length of this one. Chapter XII will briefly record 
the course followed by later aggressive operations in August, 
operations that were virtually confined to the Suvla area, and that 
represented a final offensive flicker, before the Dardanelles Expedi- 
tionary Force became constrained by its relative inadequacy in 
fighting potentialities to resign itself reluctantly to a discouraging 
and unprofitable inaction. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE CLOSE OF THE AUGUST OFFENSIVE 

The situation on the 11th of August. — As pointed out at the end 

of the last chapter, the events of the 10th marked the definite 
failure of the scheme of offensive operations for August, as it had 
been elaborated by the Commander-in-Chief. That scheme had 
hinged upon effecting a strategical and tactical surprise upon the 
enemy. Sir lan's idea had been to secure Sari Bair after unex- 
pectedly and secretly massing forces within striking distance of 
the objective to accomplish its conquest. Its capture was to serve 
as a preliminary to advancing from Anzac and Suvla on Maidos 
and the Narrows of the Dardanelles, while artillery emplaced on 
the commanding heights that had been secured should exercise 
domination over the water-way. Bodies of troops, decidedly 
stronger in numbers than the Turks immediately on the spot, had 
been gathered together both at Anzac and at Suvla as a result 
of skilfully conceived and admirably executed concentrations of 
force. But from neither point had the attack been driven home 
sufficiently to establish an unquahfied tactical superiority on the 
spot, before Ottoman reinforcements hurrying to the scenes of 
action from different quarters had succeeded in restoring numerical 
equihbrium. 

General Birdwood's divisions had gone very near to success. 
They had borne themselves with conspicuous grit and gallantry 
during a succession of furiously contested affrays, affrays in which 
the enemy had always opposed them from dominating fortified 
positions. They had inflicted very heavy losses upon the Turks. 
But they had also suffered very severely themselves both in officers 
and in men, and they now stood sorely in need of generous drafts 
calculated to bring them up to their authorised establishment 
again. As for the IXth Corps, this had gained its footing at Suvla. 

K 241 



242 THE DARDANELLES 

But the line which it had succeeded in occupying and entrenching 
was not nearly far enough forward to render the newly acquired 
landing-place thoroughly secure, and it had played no part in the 
combats for Sari Bair. Moreover, the troops that had made good 
the new landing-place had suffered heavy losses, whereas they had 
not inflicted much damage upon the Sultan's soldiery, who were 
now in great force about the Anafartas and were strongly posted. 

General Birdwood for a brief space contemplated a renewal of 
his attack upon the upper ridges of Sari Bair. But fuller considera- 
tion convinced him that offensive operations on any ambitious 
scale, directed against the Osmanli legions who were crowning the 
heights overlooking Anzac and Ocean Beach, had become inadvis- 
able. The enemy was too formidable and too well posted to justify 
further attempts to win the mountain. On the other hand, the 
desirability of joining up with the Suvla force was manifest. 
Advance northwards from about Demajalik Bair towards the 
southern Azmak Dere and the valley of Biyuk Anafarta, moreover, 
offered a reasonable prospect of success. Consequently such 
offensive operations as were embarked upon from Anzac during 
the remainder of August were confined to movements in this 
direction. 

As regards the situation around Suvla Bay, the necessity for the 
British force that had planted itself down in this area to gain some 
elbow room, if it were possible, was obvious. Soundings, coupled 
with a thoroughgoing examination of the foreshore, had estab- 
lished the fact that it would be feasible to construct good landing- 
places both at Gazi Baba and also on the southern shore of the 
bay under the shelter of Lala Baba — the bight in fact offered by 
no means a bad base, if only the Turks could be thrust back off the 
Anafarta hills so that the newly acquired haven should at least be 
immune from the effects of hostile field-gun fire. It furthermore 
was almost imperative that the Ismail Oglu eminences should be 
wrested out of the hands of the enemy, because guns had been 
enfilading the Anzac landing-places from thence ever since the 
Australasian corps had established itself on the outer coast of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula four months earlier. The Commander-in-Chief 
consequently made up his mind that the Suvla offensive must 
continue. He had already ordered the 54th Division, the last of 
the reinforcements from home, to proceed thither, and its infantry 



ACTION OF THE 15TH AUGUST 243 

were put ashore on the 11th. Some additional artillery was also 
landed, and the Anafarta hills became the focus of interest during 
the third week of August. 

Operations from the ISth to the 16th. — On the afternoon of the 
12th a brigade of the 54th Division, the 163rd, was deputed to 
clear some intricate, scrub-clad ground about the Kuchuk Anafarta 
Ova, this operation being intended as a prologue to a night march 
that was to be followed by a general attack upon the range north 
of Kuchuk Anafarta village. But the brigade detailed for the job 
found the enemy in force and full of fight, the project of the night 
march and attack was abandoned, and further ofiensive operations 
against this part of the enemy's positions on the Suvla front were 
for the moment deferred. It had, however, become desirable that 
the troops on the extreme left should gain ground forwards if 
possible, as that flank of the British line was somewhat thrown 
back relatively to the positions held in the centre. So steps to 
overcome this defect in position were decided upon, and in pursuance 
of that object an attack was undertaken in the Kiritch Tepe Sirt 
section by the 10th Division on the 15th. Its two brigades were 
supported by war vessels that bombarded the Turkish right from 
the Gulf of Saros, as well as by a brigade of the 54th Division 
which acted on the low ground on the 10th Division's right. 

This offensive proved very successful to start with on the left ; 
for, aided by naval gun-fire, the assailants made good a considerable 
amount of ground on the northern slope of the ridge facing the sea, 
this in spite of topographical difficulties of no common order and 
of a stubborn resistance on the part of an enemy abundantly 
supplied with machine-guns.^ But on the southern side of the 
line of hills the heavy fire of the Turks brought movement speedily 
to a standstill. Activity on the part of the left flank of the IXth 
Corps had, it appears, been anticipated by the defenders and these 
were found to be in strong force ; Marshal Liman von Sanders is 
indeed understood to have been on the spot and to have personally 
superintended the disposal of the reinforcements that were hurried 
up to confront the 10th Division — in view of the reverses suffered 
by the IXth Corps on the 9th, 10th, and 12th the enemy naturally 
anticipated an effort further north on the part of the invading 
forces. The result of the day's combat was that at nightfall the 
^ See Appendix IV, 6. 



244 THE DARDANELLES 

left of the division was thrown forward considerably in advance 
of the right, and that its line of battle resembled the letter Z, 
with the diagonal line roughly coinciding with the crest of the 
Kiritch Tepe Sirt ridge — an awkward line, and one that was rendered 
all the more awkward during the night and the following day by 
the fact that the Turks were well supplied with hand grenades, 
whereas the infantry of the 10th Division were not. The upshot 
on the 16th was that after a somewhat one-sided struggle the 
battalions which had pressed forward so effectively on the previous 
day along the coastward side of the ridge, enfiladed as they were 
and almost threatened in rear, were obliged to fall back to their 
original line, much diminished in numbers. 

This affair offers some points of noteworthy tactical interest. 
It, for instance, furnishes a good illustration of the value of naval 
co-operation when the battle conditions are such that the engage- 
ment is taking place close to the shore and at right angles to it. 
As had been the case on the occasion of the struggle of the 12th 
of May in the Helles area which has been described on page 154, 
war vessels were able to act against the Turkish flank where it 
approached the shore; and although the flotilla only comprised 
two destroyers, their guns pertinaciously worried the enemy holding 
the slopes of the Kiritch Tepe Sirt range on the seaward side, and 
they played an important part in promoting the early successes of 
the 10th Division on that flank. On the other hand, the destroyers 
could afford no assistance to the battalions of the division that 
were engaged beyond the crest of the ridge on its southern side, 
and these were unable to make any progress. The efiect of the hand 
grenades is also instructive. The adversaries had hardly settled 
down to trench warfare yet in this section of the front ; but, 
owing to the intricate, gully-streaked character of the ground, 
the combatants speedily got to grips at close range even if it 
remained a case of open fighting. Such conditions lent them- 
selves readily to bombing work. Better fitted out with these 
missiles than the British were, the Turks enjoyed a very decided 
tactical advantage, and of this they made full use. 

Sir I. Hamilton's request for large reinforcements. — Sir I. Hamilton 
had now had time to arrive at a conclusion as to what prospects 
were left of success, in spite of the discomfiture met with in the 
second week of August, and he had satisfied himself that heavy 



SIR I. HMIILTON REQUESTS REINFORCEMENTS 245 

reinforcements were indispensable if he was to carry out the task 
that his Government had entrusted into his hands ; he had already- 
summoned from Egypt the Second Mounted Division of Yeomanry, 
under General Peyton, who were to act as a dismounted body of 
troops. On the 16th he telegraphed home to Lord Kitchener at 
the War Office asking that drafts to the number of 45,000 infantry 
should be sent out to fill the gaps in the ranks of his depleted 
battalions, and that 50,000 fresh rifles should be sent as additional 
formations. The latter figure was equivalent to four fresh divisions 
at full war establishment, and, with the 45,000 drafts to replace 
the wastage in the divisions already in the Gallipoli Peninsula, 
would have given him an army of seventeen divisions — about 
190,000 rifles, or double of the 95,000 rifles actually at his disposal 
when putting forward his demand. Of these 95,000, 25,000 were 
at Anzac, 40,000 were at Helles, and 30,000 were in the Suvla area. 
The Turks were believed to have about 110,000 rifles within the 
peninsula. 

But the Home Government was unable to comply with the 
demands of the Commander-in-Chief, and even the drafts asked 
for to make good wastage were not sent. Whether 190,000 infantry, 
backed by the artillery already available, would have gained 
possession of the heights on the European side of the Dardanelles 
which dominated the Narrows it is impossible to say. But the 
decision taken in London to refuse Sir I. Hamilton's request created 
what was strategically a deplorable state of afiairs. It meant that 
a force that was too small to carry out a successful campaign in 
the Gallipoli Peninsula, but that was nevertheless large enough 
to represent a valuable military asset in the Great War, was con- 
demned to remain planted down in an isolated theatre of conflict, 
depending upon precarious communications, disposed in positions 
that were tactically most unfavourable, and called upon to operate 
under conditions that could not be other than discouraging in 
view of past experiences and of future prospects. The Commander- 
in-Chief in putting forward his request for substantial reinforce- 
ment had forced upon the Home Government a choice between 
three alternatives — despatch of additional troops to enable the 
man on the spot to carry out the work that he had been called 
upon to do ; withdrawal of the expeditionary army from the 
Gallipoli Peninsula ; holding on with no hope of success, but with 



246 



THE DARDANELLES 



the certainty of heavy loss from sickness, if not on the battlefield. 
There was a good deal to be said for either the first or the second 
alternative. There was very little to be said for the alternative 
that was actually chosen. 

From the 17th to the 20th of August.— Sir I. Hamilton was 
naturally much disappointed on receiving the intimation from 
London that the reinforcements for which he had asked could not 
be sent him. He, however, resolved upon making a fresh efiort 
to improve the Suvla position and to secure its junction with the 
Anzac area, hoping at the same time to gain possession of Ismail 
Oglu Tepe, as capture of this hill would constitute an important 
step towards securing both Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove from 
artillery fire. In view of efiecting these objects, he moved the 
29th Division round to Suvla from Helles and he also disembarked 
the Mounted Division, that was coming from Egypt, in the northern 
area. The arrival of the 29th Division, the achievements of which 
during the campaign had already been common talk in the United 
Kingdom before the troops operating in the Suvla region had started 
from home, had, it should be recorded, a most stimulating efiect 
upon the army that was facing the Anafarta hills, many units in 
which had suffered heavily since its landing without their having 
much to show for the sacrifices that they had experienced. Problems 
of supply and transport had in the meantime to a great extent 
been overcome in the newly occupied area, and the number of guns 
available, including some howitzers, had been appreciably increased. 
The force in the Suvla region now comprised a total of five divisions, 
together with a Mounted Division. Greneral De Lisle, previously in 
command of the 29th Division, had taken over charge as a temporary 
measure, his place at the head of his division being taken by General 
Marshall, and on the 21st a fresh attack on an important scale was 
undertaken. The engagement took place in presence of Sir I. 
Hamilton, although Greneral De Lisle was in executive command. 

The battle of the 21st of August. — The special objective of this 
offensive operation was the capture of Ismail Oglu Tepe. This 
task was assigned to the 29th and 11th Divisions, the 29th Division 
advancing on the left from about Chocolate Hill and the ground 
immediately on either side of it, while the 11th Division on the 
right was to advance in the low ground on the north of the Azmak 
Dere, storming the line of trenches which the enemy had con- 



BATTLE OF 21ST OF AUGUST 247 

stmcted across this about Hetman Chair, The 10th Division and 
the Mounted Division were retained as corps reserve. To the 
53rd and Sith Division was assigned the duty of holding the front 
from Sulajik to Kiritch Tepe Sirt. The Anzac force was to co- 
operate by swinging forward its left from Demajalik Bair towards 
the Azmak Dere, 

But the enterprise to which this considerable army was being 
committed was manifestly an extremely formidable one. Except 
in the case of the contingents advancing from just about Chocolate 
Hill and those starting from Demajalik Bair, it was a question 
of moving across an open plain overlooked by the positions held 
by the enemy. The Turks had entrenched themselves at all points, 
they were fully prepared, they were well equipped, and they were, 
moreover, in strong force. The artillery support to the assailants,^ 
even supplemented as it was by the guns of the warships, ^ was 
scarcely adequate for an operation of this class. The heat was 
intense. Scrub fires created serious difficulties to the advancing 
troops at many points. Finally on the afternoon of the 21st, the 
time of day appointed for the operation, there was mist which 
seriously interfered with the development of a really effective 
bombardment of the hostile position about to be assailed. This 
was a somewhat serious matter seeing how formidable the position 
was, also taking into consideration the fact that there were now 
two heavy and two howitzer batteries available, the fire of which 

^ Thirty-two field guns, eight mountain guns, eight 5-inch howitzers, eight 
60-pr3. 

- Owing to Suvla Bay having been netted it was possible to employ un- 
belted warships within it in support of the troops, and the two battleships 
Venerable and Svnftsure, as well as two cruisers, took part in the action from 
this station. A passage in A Naval Adventure throws an interesting light 
upon their work on this occasion and upon naval bombardments of this kmd 
in general. The ships naturally took the high ground about Scimitar Hill 
for their target — the low ground about Hetman Chair will no doubt have been 
invisible, at least from the decks. 

" In a short time," we read, " the Turks had to abandon many of their 
trenches ; and if only it had been possible to continue bombardment until the 
attacking infantry had almost reached their trenches, the 29th Division might 
have stormed them without much loss. But this was not possible. For one 
thing the range was too great — over four miles — to make certain of not hitting 
our own troops. The ships had to cease fire, and this gave time for the Turks 
to rush back into their trenches and bring their machine guns with them." 

A bombardment which stops just when it is going to be of real use is not of 
much assistance. But guns firing at 7000 yards, or so, range, without forward 
or overhead observation, will never help an attack much under modern 
conditions. 



24^ THE DARDANELLES 

might be expected to have a considerable efiect. Sir I. Hamilton 
was disposed at first to postpone the attack on this account, but 
he decided in the end to let the action proceed as ordered. 

Although the operation had been carefully thought out, it went 
amiss almost from the start. For when the advance began the 11th 
Division found itself unable to gain any ground along large portions 
of its front, partly owing to loss of direction by some of its units ; 
it therefore failed to perform its very important share in the pre- 
liminary phase of the operation which was to proceed to a general 
assault of Scimitar Hill and Ismail Oglu Tepe. A battalion of the 
29th Division did speedily crown Scimitar Hill, but it was shelled 
off the height again ; and although that division made good some 
advance beyond Green Hill, the rebuff met with by the 11th 
Division on its right rendered attempts to push well forward 
impracticable, and the whole operation was soon brought to a 
standstill. In the meantime, however, the 2nd Mounted Division 
was advancing right across the plain from Lala Baba in support, 
suffering considerably from artillery fire during the movement. 
On arrival about Chocolate Hill the yeomanry pressed forward 
eagerly into the fight and they appear to have become a good deal 
intermingled with the 29th Division. The momentum, however, 
carried both forward some little distance, in spite of the strenuous 
resistance of the Turks, and of the heavy losses suffered from fire 
during a confused movement across broken ground and through 
patches of burning scrub in the growing darkness. But eventually 
the whole force had to fall back to its original position, much 
reduced in numbers. ^ 

It was indeed only on the Anzac side that any appreciable gain 
of ground was made in the course of this general action, which 
ranks perhaps as the biggest fought during the campaign. There, 
a mixed force composed of the 29th Indian Brigade, assisted by 
New Zealand Mounted Riflemen and units from the 10th and 13th 
Divisions, the whole under Greneral Cox, fought its way forward 
very nearly to Hill 60, beyond Demajalik Bair, and secured posses- 
sion of an important well in the low ground to the west of that 
eminence. The troops were at nightfall holding a position which 
made it possible a day or two later to join the left of the Anzac 

* Mr. Nevinson, who was ou the ground, gives a clear account of this com- 
bat in his The Dardanelles Campaign. 



BATTLE OF 21ST OF AUGUST 249 

front satisfactorily to the right of the Suvla front on the further 
side of the Azmak Dere. 

The casualties sufiered by the British in the battle of the 21st of 
August were particularly heavy, especially in the case of the 29th 
Division ; but the 11th Division and the Mounted Division had also 
sufiered severely. Except near Hill 60 nothing had been gained 
by these sacrifices. Nor is there any reason to suppose that the 
Turks, who were on the defensive in dominating and entrenched 
positions which were not very efiectively bombarded, were much 
diminished in numbers in an engagement in which they could 
fairly claim to have gained the victory. As it turned out, this 
was to be the last action on any extended scale that was to take 
place in the Gallipoli Peninsula, and it has to be admitted that 
from the point of view of the Allies it was a somewhat unfortunate 
afiair. 

The unwonted atmospherical conditions that prevailed during 
the early part of the afternoon were no doubt a handicap to the 
attacking side, and it might perhaps have been better to have 
postponed the attack until the following day. But in that case 
the presence of the 29th Division would in all likelihood have been 
discovered by the enemy, and there is always a certain difiiculty 
in changing plans at the last moment when they affect a large 
force that is in close contact with a hostile army. The tactical 
situation, moreover, so favoured the Turks that it seems doubtful 
whether the efforts of the 29th and 11th Divisions and the 
Yeomanry would have accomplished any satisfactory result, even 
had there been no mist in the afternoon and even if the advance 
of the 11th Division had not become distorted owing to faulty 
direction. 

From the 22nd of August to the end of the month. — The forces at 
Anzac had received a most welcome reinforcement, beginning on 
the 20th of August, in the shape of the 2nd Australian Division 
— two infantry brigades, formed of fresh contingents from the 
Antipodes. The arrival of these troops made it possible to relieve 
the 1st Australian Division towards the end of the month, and 
the Australasian army in this portion of the theatre of war con- 
sisted thenceforward of three divisions, besides the four mounted 
brigades. On the 24th of August General Byng arrived at Suvla 
and took over command, General De Lisle reverting to the 29th 



250 THE DARDANELLES 

Division, while General Marshall took up charge of the 53rd Division. 
About the same time Grenerals Fanshawe and Maude arrived from 
home, the former taking up command of the 11th Division at 
Suvla, and the latter that of the 13th Division at Anzac, General 
Shaw having fallen ill. Thenceforward until the end of the cam- 
paign Helles was under charge of General Davies, and Suvla re- 
mained under that of General Byng. 

One more not unimportant episode in the closing days of August 
remains to be recorded. As a result of very severe fighting,^ which 
lasted from the afternoon of the 27th until the small hours of the 
morning of the 29th, a composite force under leadership of General 
Cox gained possession of Hill 60, and by its victory rendered the 
junction of the Anzac and Suvla armies reasonably secure against 
hostile efforts from the side of Sari Bair. Even if the extent of 
ground occupied on this occasion was not great, the affair was of 
no small local importance. The Turks, moreover, paid a heavy 
price for their gallant resistance to the onsets of the Australian, 
New Zealand, and Irish troops who eventually proved their masters 
in a prolonged trial of stamina. This combat for Hill 60 was 
destined to be the last serious fight of the campaign. 

At the end of the month the position held by the British and 
Australasians, with the 29th Indian Brigade, represented what was 
virtually a continuous line of trenches running from near Gaba 
Tepe in the south up to the shores of the Gulf of Saros at the 
foot of Kiritch Tepe Sirt. But the link between Suvla Bay and 
Anzac, although at a considerable distance from the Ottoman 
lines, was much exposed to shell-fire from Ismail Oglu Tepe and 
from the upper ridges of Sari Bair. The twelve miles long front 
was, moreover, at almost all points overlooked by loftier positions 
in occupation of the Sultan's regiments. Serviceable jetties were 
being rapidly prepared at Suvla ; but these were open to artillery 
fire from the enemy's lines. Anzac Cove and jetties to the 
north of Ari Burnu continued to be exposed to enfilade bombard- 
ments from Ismail Oglu Tepe. The anticipation that, with Suvla 
Bay in British hands, the Allied forces on the western shores of 
the Gallipoli Peninsula would possess a secure and convenient 
base during the coming winter, had not been justified owing to 

1 Sir I. Hamilton in his despatch describes the preliminary bombardment, 
somewhat significantly, as '* the heaviest we could afford." 



THE AUGUST OFFENSIVE 251 

the Anafarta hills and Sari Bair remaining in occupation of the 
enemy. The elaborate scheme of operations devised for August 
had met with discomfiture, and before proceeding to deal with the 
closing events of the Dardanelles venture it will be fitting that the 
merits of that project as a whole should be discussed. 

A review of the August offensive as a whole. — There are few 
matters relative to the Gallipoli drama that have not served as 
excuse for plentiful discussion in this country, and the majority 
of the plans elaborated and of the decisions taken in connection 
with what turned out to be an ill-fated enterprise have been almost 
savagely animadverted on at times in some quarter or other. 
But even the least friendly of critics have generally been prepared 
to concede that, regarded on broad lines, Sir I. Hamilton's concep- 
tion for his August effort was fundamentally a sound one, deserving 
of better fortune than in the event attended it. The objections 
raised to it have for the most part emanated either from the band 
of believers in descents upon Bulair and Enos, who failed to appre- 
ciate the conclusive maritime objections to such a programme, or 
else from the French, who throughout hankered after operations on 
the Asiatic side of the Straits. 

The Commander-in-Chief was convinced that the key to open 
the Hellespont was to be found in the Khilid Bahr plateau 
that dominated the Narrows from the European side. The 
obstacles that lay in the way of attaining that goal from the Helles 
area had been demonstrated over and over again from April up till 
July. The virtual impossibility as a tactical proposition of moving 
direct towards Maidos from out of the cramped, " fly on a wall " 
Anzac position, admitted of no dispute. Some new scheme of 
offensive warfare that hinged upon its inauguration taking place 
on the outer shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula and at as near a 
point as possible to the objective — Khilid Bahr — appeared to be 
dictated by a situation which had practically degenerated into 
one of stalemate. The project of assailing the Sari Bair heights 
from the unexpected direction of the littoral immediately north of 
Anzac, supported by action on the part of a force that was to be 
landed at Suvla and was to move against the mountain from 
thence, was perhaps as promising a scheme for securing the purpose 
in view as could have been devised. Nor in a case like this is the 
opinion of the adversary to be despised. The Germans have borne 



252 THE DAEDANELLES 

a not ungenerous testimony to the merits of Sir I. Hamilton's 
design. They have taken no little credit to themselves, and have 
given no little credit to the Turkish commanders and their troops, 
for bringing to naught so well imagined and so dexterously initiated 
a thrust. 

But while testifying to the approbation that has been expressed 
in most quarters of the general design, it is perhaps permissible 
to point out that the plan was based upon decidedly optimistic 
estimates of the capabilities of the troops who were to carry it out. 
The High Command, for instance, hoped that General Godley's 
assaulting columns would crown the topmost ridges of Sari Bair 
before daybreak on the 7th of August. That hardly took sufl&cient 
account of the arduous climb by night that was involved in the 
operations, nor of the retarding power that even insignificant 
opposing detachments can exercise on broken ground in the dark. 
The assumption, again, that the 11th Division would establish 
itself on the hills overlooking the Suvla flats by the early morning 
of that same day must be set down as a sanguine forecast, even 
had the division concerned been composed of a war-trained soldiery. 
A hint has already been ventured (on page 203) that if their 
programme had been a somewhat less ambitious one, the forces 
launched from Anzac against Sari Bair on the night of the 6th-7th 
might perhaps have fixed their grip firmly upon part of its crest 
next forenoon and before the Turks had had time to gather strength. 
Nor can it be denied that, even had the IXth Corps been handled 
with greater vigour than it actually was, those newly landed troops 
could not reasonably have been expected to exert any direct 
influence over the contest for Sari Bair on the first day of the great 
offensive. General Godley could not at the best hope for more 
than some little moral support from the presence of battalions 
that had been thrown ashore by night some half-dozen miles away. 
Some urge that Helles ought to have been more freely drawn 
upon to augment the legions that were charged with the task of 
breaking through to the Narrows. But there were two obstacles 
in the way of effecting a redistribution of the available fighting 
resources in that direction. The water problem, coupled with 
insuperable difficulties as to concealment, made it virtually im- 
possible to employ more troops at Anzac than actually were 
assembled there. The amount of ship transport available did not 



THE AUGUST OFFENSIVE 253 

admit of any additional troops being transported by sea on the 
night of the 6th-7th, nor on the immediately previous nights. 
Seeing that the 10th and 11th Divisions were inexperienced troops, 
it has been suggested that they ought to have been exchanged for 
formations from Helles — say, for the 29th and 42nd Divisions. 
But here again the shipping difl&culty would have arisen. To have 
effected such a substitution, i.e. to have landed the two New 
Army divisions at the extremity of the peninsula and to have 
transferred the 29th and 42nd Divisions from thence temporarily 
to Imbros, Lemnos, and Mitylene, would have taken considerable 
time, seeing that the number of trawlers, destroyers, and lighters 
was limited ; and Sir I. Hamilton was tied down by the dates of 
arrival of the reinforcements and by the moon. Still, even a single 
division that was broken to warfare on the Gallipoli Peninsula 
replacing the unenlightened 11th Division on which so much 
depended, might have completely transformed the situation at 
Suvla on the critical 7th and 8th of August, and one does not feel 
certain that such an interchange would have been wholly out of 
the question. 

The measure of success crowning the efforts of the Anzac force 
when evening closed in on the 7th undoubtedly fell far short of 
the Higher Command's somewhat buoyant anticipations, and this 
was perhaps fatal to the success of the plan. Still the fact remains 
that the renewed efforts of General Godley's columns on the 
following morning carried some of the assailants on to Chunuk 
Bair, and that the ground then won was held for forty-eight hours. 
On that second day Greneral Birdwood might fairly look for at 
least indirect support from the side of Suvla, and such aid would 
have been particularly welcome because it was the left one of the 
Anzac columns that, after making a highly satisfactory advance, 
was brought to a standstill and was eventually forced to retire. 
But on that day the IXth Corps failed to move, and in the mean- 
time General Godley's troops were confronted with strong and 
growing hostile forces. 

On the 9th the Anzac army was the victim of ill-fortune. Those 
units that won their way that morning on to the crest between 
Chunuk Bair and Hill Q — a great feat of arms considering the 
strength of the enemy — were shelled by their own side at the 
critical moment. The left column lost its way. Such contretemps 



254 THE DARDANELLES 

may always occur where complex tactical operations are in pro- 
gress in particularly difl&cult terrain. Still, had they been favoured 
by better luck, the assailants might possibly even on the third day 
of combat and without help from Suvla have laid firm hold upon 
the backbone of Sari Bair, Aid from Suvla, again, had it been 
forthcoming might have counterbalanced the untoward effects of 
unfortunately timed gun-fire and of the misadventure to the left 
column. But ill-fortune and the default of the IXth Corps, together, 
were too severe a handicap. They turned the scale, and the negative 
results of that day's combat on the heights decided the issue. By 
the 10th the Turks were in stronger force than ever, and the Anzac 
troops had suffered so heavily in the furious affrays of the three 
previous days that they could hardly hope to maintain their 
precarious hold upon a patch of Chunuk Bair. Still less could 
they hope to extend that exiguous conquest of two days before. 
The Osmanlis no doubt paid somewhat dearly in casualties for 
their victory on the 10th, but under the circumstances their 
retention of the Sari Bair mountain was a foregone conclusion. 
They had gone very near to losing it. 

Whether uncontested possession of the upper crests of Sari 
Bair would have provided a master-key to open all gateways on 
the road to the Narrows must remain a matter of conjecture. It 
cannot be said that experience in those theatres of the world-wide 
conflict that provided a stage for sustained combats — Flanders, 
for instance, and Verdun and Helles — encourage the theory that 
a capture of heights such as Chunuk Bair and Koja Chemen Tepe 
would as a matter of course have rendered further advance 
practicable. Nor does it necessarily follow that the acquisition of 
artillery observation posts on this commanding site would have 
forbidden military use of the Dardanelles to the Turks during 
subsequent struggles for Maidos and Khilid Bahr. But, that the 
triumph of the Anzac force in that grim fight of the second week 
in August would have profoundly modified the situation in the 
Gallipoli Peninsula, admits of no question. There may have been 
faults in framing the plan — there undoubtedly were faults in its 
execution. But it ranks as one of the most remarkable amongst 
latter-day combinations of war. That it was nipped in the bud 
constitutes without question a misfortune for the student of the 
soldier's art in the abstract. Nor will the impartial critic deny 



THE AUGUST OFFENSIVE 255 

that the early August ofiensive furnished a not unworthy climax 
to a campaign that had been entered upon without sufficient 
foresight and that had to be prosecuted with inadequate military 
resources. 

The later events of August hardly call for comment. The battle 
of the 21st, the biggest general action on land of the Dardanelles 
adventure, partook of the nature of a forlorn hope, for it was in 
the main merely an attempt to improve the very unsatisfactory 
defensive position extending from Gaba Tepe to the Gulf of Saros 
which the invaders had fortuitously taken up. The plan of attack 
on that day was unquestionably a somewhat venturesome one, 
for it amounted in reality to frontal assault upon a commanding 
position which coincided to some extent with an amphitheatre of 
high ground. Looked at simply from the tactical point of view, 
a more promising method of obtaining possession of the heights 
which overlooked the Suvla plain might have been to have massed 
forces amongst the gullies and depressions about the Kiritch Tepe 
Sirt and to have worked forward thence against the left of the 
Anafarta hills. In such an operation the ships' guns would have 
been of immense use on the outer flank ; but they would have 
helped little on the southern slopes of the range of heights that 
rose from the shores of the Gulf of Saros. The drawback to any 
such scheme of operations would have been that, strategically, 
it represented an eccentric undertaking launched at the point 
furthest away from Ismail Oglu Tepe, Sari Bair and the 
vicinity of the Narrows. Be that as it may, the Expeditionary 
Force met with defeat on the 21st. Thenceforward the Allies had 
to rest content with what was virtually a passive role, while their 
adversaries settled down to trench warfare and confined themselves 
to trying to preserve the strategical and tactical impasse that had 
resulted from the great August offensive. 



CHAPTER XIII 



THE THREE AUTUMN MONTHS 



The situation at the beginning o! September. — The position of 
affairs in the peninsula was not an encouraging one from the 
point of view of the Allies at the beginning of September. They 
had suffered much in the August combats, and the gaps in their 
ranks remained unfilled. In respect to rifles and to artillery alike, 
the enemy was in superior force. It was manifest from the course 
that the campaign had hitherto followed that the expeditionary 
army was not even on paper strong enough to accomplish its 
purpose ; nor was there any prospect of its numbers being swelled 
by reinforcements. The Turks had shown themselves doughty 
antagonists — skilful marksmen, apt in trench warfare, valiant in 
fight — and at practically all points they enjoyed the advantage 
in respect to tactical position. All along the Helles and northern 
fronts, British, Australasian, and French troops saw themselves 
confronted by elaborate earthwork systems, without having at 
their disposal the weight of howitzer fire or of trench-mortar fire 
needful to render the hostile entrenchments even temporarily 
untenable. The entire area included in the enclaves that were in 
the Allies' occupation was exposed to shell-fire, which emanated 
from concealed pieces that could not be silenced. Finally, autumn 
was at hand, and autumn would in due course merge into the 
stormy winter season, when communication from ship to shore 
at the extremity of the peninsula, at Anzac, and at Suvla would 
for days on end be rendered impracticable by angry seas. 

Another disquieting feature w^as that the health of the troops 
was the reverse of satisfactory. They were not perhaps the prey 
as a body to distempers of a malignant kind ; but the type of 
malady that attacked them was enervating in its after-effects, 
and, even when its victims had not actually to be invalided, their 

256 



SITUATION IN SEPTEMBER 257 

fighting potentialities were appreciably diminished for the time 
being. Disease had indeed been playing havoc in the ranks ever 
since May, and the fresh units, no less than newly arrived drafts, 
were proving as prone to its ravages as had been the earlier arrivals. 
On the other hand, there is reason to believe that the Ottoman 
soldiery were suSering likewise. Nor indeed is it unlikely that 
the wastage from medical causes may have been to the full as 
great in the enemy's ranks as in those of the Expeditionary 
Force. 

There is another point which deserves a word here. The French 
Government and the French people no longer put trust in the 
enterprise. As has been mentioned in one or two earlier passages, 
our neighbours across the Channel had throughout been disposed 
to favour military effort on the Asiatic shores of the Straits, such 
effort to be either complementary to, or in substitution of, a 
peninsular campaign. They could fairly urge at the beginning of 
September that, even admitting Sir I. Hamilton's decision as to 
confining operations to the European side to have had much to 
recommend it, his policy had not after an exhaustive test accom- 
plished what was expected of it. The French contingent under 
General Bailloud no doubt only represented a fraction (about 
one-sixth) of the Allied army. It was co-operating loyally as ever 
with its British comrades over against Achi Baba. None the less, 
the knowledge that men of afiairs in Paris were inclined to look 
askance at the campaign must have added appreciably to the 
preoccupations of the Commander-in-Chief in his island head- 
quarters at Imbros. 

Still, certain reassuring symptoms were not wanting in the 
situation. Much admirable work had been, and was being, put 
in towards consolidating the hold of the Allies on the strips of 
ground that they had wrested from the Turk. Some additional 
artillery of medium calibre had been got on shore. Suvla Bay 
was already transformed into a fairly satisfactory maritime base, 
protected by wire netting against submarine activities, and on 
that account a haven where transports of some size could anchor 
and where their cargoes could be rapidly discharged from the 
beetles and other craft which now abounded. Two good landing- 
places had been constructed near Gazi Baba, the outer one known 
as West Beach ; while another landing-place had been devised 



258 THE DARDANELLES 

between D Beach and Nibrunesi Point, where there was good 
shelter from southerly winds. The somewhat flimsy trestle struc- 
tures at Anzac, alongside which small craft could unload in favour- 
able weather, had been solidified ; and there were also light jetties 
north of Ari Burnu. W Beach and V Beach were transformed into 
quite respectable little harbours, especially the latter where the 
French had shown great skill in making full use of the River Clyde. 
Gully Beach had one or two small piers, and a little jetty had been 
run out within Morto Bay. Roads had been laid out at all points 
within the lines, water arrangements had been developed and 
perfected in so far as circumstances admitted, and mountains of 
stores were heaped up in the vicinity of every landing-place. 
The Royal Navy had, moreover, in its combatant capacity to a 
great extent triumphed over the early anxieties caused by the 
German U-boats. The monitors and the specially belted cruisers 
were proving their merits daily. The large numbers of small vessels 
now under Admiral De Robeck's control also compensated to a 
great extent for the limitations that had been imposed upon 
the traffic of large steamers between the islands and the peninsula 
by the submarine menace. Nor, in view of the outrages committed 
by their German allies in other quarters, will it perhaps be out of 
place to mention here that the Turks scrupulously refrained from 
interference with the British hospital ships. One of these stately 
ocean greyhounds was often to be seen riding at anchor in Suvla 
Bay within easy artillery range of the Ottoman guns dotted about 
on Ismail Oglu Tepe and the Anafarta hills. 

Early in September the 13th and 54th Divisions changed places, 
the 13th Division having properly belonged to the IXth Corps all 
along. Some more additional regiments of Yeomanry and of North 
Country Horse also arrived from the United Kingdom. But 
numbers of small units such as mounted regiments are, piled on 
the top of great numbers of other units all of which were far 
below strength and without reserves close at hand to make good 
wastage as it occurred, were but a poor substitute for the huge 
drafts that were in reality needed if the British forces in the 
Gallipoli Peninsula were ever to improve their position. To have 
made Sir I. Hamilton's army efficient its infantry units required 
to be made fully up to establishment, and ample reserves were 
required in addition at Lemnos and Imbros so as to maintain a 



A QUIET AUTUMN 259 

constant dribble of men into the peninsula to replace others 
removed as wounded and sick. Additional howitzers, together 
with generous supplies of light trench-mortars and an ample 
supply of artillery munitions, were, moreover, sorely needed. On 
paper the Commander-in-Chief disposed of a mighty army. He 
did not dispose of a mighty army in fact. 

An uneventful period in the peninsula from the tactical point 
of view. — The encounters that were to take place between the 
belligerent forces during the autumn were confined to insignificant 
affairs, although the Allies made a point of keeping the enemy busy 
by dint of raids and demonstrations. Especially amongst the newly 
arrived English divisions was the spirit of the offensive fostered 
by minor operations, which served to heighten the moral of the 
troops. The fruits of this wise policy soon began to be gathered. 
The efficiency of the new units increased apace and all ranks 
rapidly gained confidence in themselves. It was indeed very largely 
due to the methods adopted during the autumn months, when 
there was little of importance to record in the way of fighting, that, 
when the delicate and dangerous operation of withdrawing from 
the peninsula in the winter came to be carried out, commanders 
and stafPs had highly efficient units to deal with, units which 
acquitted themselves with the very utmost credit, although many 
of them had not been in existence fifteen months before. 

We have seen in the last chapter how eight divisions — the 10th, 
11th, 13th, 29th, 53rd, 54th, and the two Australasian — came to 
be assembled in the northern area during the progress of the August 
offensive, together with large contingents of dismounted troopers 
and the Indian brigade, and that a third Australasian division 
arrived at the end of the month. Only five divisions remained in 
the Helles region, viz. the 42nd, 52nd, Royal Naval, and the two 
French. That remained the distribution at the beginning of 
September, roughly speaking one-third of the army being at the 
southern end of the peninsula while the remaining two-thirds were 
divided between Anzac and Suvla. A somewhat analogous dis- 
position of their forces had taken place on the Turkish side ; but 
the ratio as between north and south would rather appear to have 
been that three-quarters of their formations faced Generals Bird- 
wood and Byng, while one-quarter opposed General Davies. It 
was much the same in respect to gun-power within the enemy's 



260 THE DAKDANELLES 

lines. Although heavy ordnance continued to pound Helles from 
across the Straits, the bulk of the larger types of guns and howitzers 
during the autumn months were gathered on the northern front, 
Anzac especially being at times exposed to severe bombardments 
which did not, however, cause as much damage as might have been 
expected. The chiefs of the Ottoman host would seem, quite 
rightly, to have felt a special anxiety as to the possibility of a suc- 
cessful advance on the part of the Allies somewhere between Kuchuk 
Anafarta and Gaba Tepe. 

The whole of the Expeditionary Force (which, as will be seen 
later, underwent substantial reductions in October and November) 
was not present in the peninsula during the autumn period. The 
sufferings caused by climate before cooler weather set in, the dis- 
comforts arising from insufficient water, especially at Anzac, the 
nerve-shattering effects of a persistent, harassing shell-fire, and the 
debility resulting from the lighter forms of sickness by which practi- 
cally the entire personnel was affected, made it expedient that whole 
brigades, and even whole divisions, should be relieved at a time, 
and should repair to Lemnos or Imbros to recuperate. This cir- 
cumstance, coupled with the fact that the numbers of the tem- 
porarily indisposed amongst the troops actually on the peninsula 
diminished the quota of the fit, brought it about that the fighting 
strength of the Allies always fell far short of the total ration strength 
of the Expeditionary Force. The ration strength, moreover — as 
had practically been the case throughout the campaign — fell con- 
siderably short of the establishment. This might have constituted 
a serious danger had the Osmanlis not manifested such marked 
reluctance to assume the offensive.^ An unmistakable lack of 
enterprise on the part of the enemy justified the temporary de- 
partures for Lemnos, and it rendered the shortage in respect to 
establishment less alarming than it must otherwise have been. 
In so far as the temporary transfers across the Mgesm were con- 
cerned, the ample tonnage in small craft that was now at the dis- 
posal of the naval authorities, permitted these trips to be carried 

1 The Turks were no doubt seriously hampered by the activity of the 
British submarines. These could not prevent traffic across the narrow part of 
the Dardanelles, but they made direct water communication between the 
peninsula and Constantinople very hazardous. During the campaign they 
sunk 2 battleships, 12 gunboats and mine-layers, and 200 transports a»d 
supply ships. 



LIMAN VON SANDERS' INACTIVITY 261 

out without discomfort to the troops nor hindrance to the supply 
service. 

It may be remarked here that the policy deliberately adopted 
by Marshal Liman von Sanders at this time — it was virtually a 
policy of passive defence — was probably based on a desire to 
conserve personnel. Nor, all things considered, would this policy 
appear to have been an unwarrantable one under the circumstances. 
References to the general strategical situation in the World War 
as a whole have as far as possible been avoided in this volume ; 
but it may be allowable to point out that after the August offensive 
the condition of affairs had practically degenerated into one of 
stalemate in the Gallipoli Peninsula. That stalemate, however, 
favoured the cause of the Central Powers and their Near Eastern 
alKes. Important Entente forces, which were condemned by cir- 
cumstances to inactivity, were being contained by a Turkish army 
in a theatre of war that was far removed from the home bases of 
those forces — France and the United Kingdom. The Dardanelles 
campaign was proving a greater drain upon the fighting resources 
of the Allies than if the divisions and the other somewhat hetero- 
geneous military detachments that were fighting under the orders 
of Sir I. Hamilton had been engaged instead on the Western 
Front. The Grerman Higher Command no doubt realised this 
clearly, even if the British Government, which was mainly 
responsible for the Gallipoli operations, did not. Short of embark- 
ing on aggressive action calculated to hustle the invaders of the 
peninsula back into the ^Egean, the non-committal inaction favoured 
by Liman von Sanders was probably the wisest course that he 
could have chosen. The German Great General Staff would 
indeed in all likelihood have been well content if a military 
impasse at the outer portals of Constantinople, such as prevailed 
in the autumn of 1915, had continued to immobilise large Allied 
and large Turkish forces right on to the end of the war. 

Such spasmodic activity as was displayed by the opposing sides 
during the autumn period was almost invariably the direct out- 
come of the offensive spirit animating the British and the French 
troops. Their enterprises were on a small scale — the most important 
attack delivered during these months was one carried out by the 
156th Brigade of the 42nd Division near Krithia on the 15th of 
November. But they had something to show for their policy of 



262 THE DARDANELLES 

alarms and excursions by the end of November, seeing that on 
that date the line both at Suvla and at Helles had been advanced 
on the average quite a quarter of a mile from its position immediately 
after the August offensive, and that the 11th Division on the extreme 
left had pushed forward double that distance. At Anzac the 
Australians developed a marked aptitude for mining operations, 
at which they proved more than a match for the Osmanli ; but 
from the nature of the ground they were not able to advance their 
front very appreciably at any point. The gains of ground at Suvla, 
on the other hand, proved particularly useful in that they tended 
to advance the line in some sections from the levels on to sloping 
ground, which was a matter of importance when heavy rains 
began to fall with the approach of winter ; for these deluges con- 
verted portions of the plain into a morass and at times flooded the 
defences down on the flats. 

The rains also caused much inconvenience at other points, the 
shelters and dug-outs not infrequently having been sited in the 
troughs of gullies down which the water rushed in cataracts in wet 
weather, although such contretemps had been foreseen and pro- 
vided against by many units. Indeed the most memorable incident 
to break the monotony of the autumn months that befell the 
belligerents took the shape of a furious gale on the 27th of November, 
which is said to have been almost without precedent for violence 
at that time of the year. 

The blizzard o£ the 27th o! November. — The storm was accom- 
panied by torrential rain which lasted for twenty-four hours, 
and the continuous downpour was followed by hard frost and a 
blizzard. It was especially the troops at Suvla who suffered from 
this fierce atmospheric disturbance, in consequence of the lack of 
protection against the icy blast in that area and of the inundation 
of its low-lying ditch-systems. The watercourses were converted 
into raging torrents, the excavations became conduits, all means 
of communication were for the time being interrupted, the defence 
works were in places almost obliterated, and several soldiers w^ere 
drowned in the rush of waters. The 29th Division, and particularly 
its 86th Brigade, were the worst sufferers, as their lines w^ere sited 
in the basin of the northern Azmak Dere where there was a verit- 
able inundation. Drenched as they were by the deluge and the 
floods, the troops suffered terribly afterwards from the cold, many 



THE GREAT BLIZZARD 263 

collapsing from exposure and exhaustion. The casualty list, 
which included nearly 50 per cent of the 29th Division, amounted 
to 200 deaths and to 10,000 sick who had to be evacuated from the 
peninsula ; there is reason to believe, however, that the Turks 
suffered even in greater degree, some of their dead being washed 
down into the British trenches at Suvla. 

Much damage was furthermore done by the tempest to the fragile 
piers and unsubstantial breakwaters on which the Allies so much 
depended, and a number of barges and of kindred craft foundered 
or were seriously injured. The facilities for landing and embarka- 
tion at Helles were greatly reduced for the time being. The 
harbour that had laboriously been created at Kephalos was wrecked, 
the ship which had been sunk to form the breakwater going to 
pieces and everything afloat under its lee being washed up high 
and dry on shore. That memorable hurricane of the 27th of 
November served as a significant warning of what was to be expected 
should the Expeditionary Force tarry much longer on the littoral 
on which it had planted itself down eight months before. 

The Balkan situation between April and October. — While the 
situation in the Dardanelles arena of conflict was signalised by no 
event of importance from the tactical point of view during the 
autumn months, the strategical situation underwent a profound 
alteration during the same period consequent upon political and 
military occurrences in other fields. Up till November, 1915, 
Turkey remained to all intents and purposes completely cut off 
from its Grerman and Austro-Hungarian confederates. Warlike 
stores, it is true, had been percolating through in limited quantities 
from Central Europe via Roumania and Bulgaria ever since the 
Sultan started hostilities ; but the Ottoman Empire was in reality 
almost as much obliged to depend on its own resources as if it had 
been an island State engaged in war with a foe possessing undis- 
puted command of the sea. Those conditions were, however, 
completely transformed by what took place in the Balkans during 
the autumn, and an entirely new state of affairs had arisen by the 
date when autumn gave place to winter. 

In the early days of the Dardanelles venture the military situation 
in the east of Europe had differed fundamentally from the state 
of things that obtained towards the close of 1915. At that time 
Russian armies were in the position of having overrun large part 



264 THE DARDANELLES 

of Galicia, of having captured the renowned stronghold of Przemysl, 
and even for some weeks of threatening Cracow. The legions of 
the Central Powers, it is true, had portions of Russian Poland 
under their heel, but neither side could upon the whole claim to 
have definitely obtained the upper hand in the main eastern 
theatre of war. That the Russian prospects were in the highest 
degree precarious owing to their insufi&cient munitions' supplies, 
was known only to those behind the scenes. The Greek and Bul- 
garian Governments may have been in possession of secret informa- 
tion on the subject, but the people of the Balkans in general 
accepted the situation as it was shown on the map, and did not 
in the least anticipate a dramatic collapse of the Tsar's military 
forces during the coming summer. Serbia, moreover, had during 
the previous winter inflicted a humiliating defeat upon the hosts 
of the Dual Monarchy, at a juncture when these had already 
penetrated far into King Peter's dominions. So that, in appearance 
at least, the outlook of the Entente in the East and the Near East 
had seemed to be by no means unpromising outwardly when, 
first. Admirals Carden and De Robeck, and then General Sir I. 
Hamilton, committed formidable fighting forces of the Allies by 
sea and land to the campaign for the Straits. 

Following upon the miscarriage of the purely naval undertaking, 
and after it had become manifest that, in spite of its having solved 
the initial problem of effecting a landing, the Expeditionary Force 
was effectually held in check, strenuous efiorts to bring Bulgaria 
into the war against the Central Powers and the Ottoman Empire 
were instituted by the diplomatists of the Entente. Inducements 
were likewise held out to Greece for that kingdom to throw its lot 
in with the Allies against its time-honoured foe, the Turk. These 
negotiations might have achieved their object- — if they had, their 
success must have exerted a tremendous influence over the course 
of the fight for the Dardanelles — had not the armies of Germany 
and of Austria-Hungary early in the summer fallen upon the hosts 
of the Tsar, with an overwhelming superiority in artillery and 
ammunition at their command. The Russian bubble was pricked. 
Within a very few weeks Galicia had been practically cleared of 
the Muscovite invaders. Warsaw fell. The great places of arms, 
Novo-Giorgevsk and Brest-Litovsk, yielded without a struggle. 
A couple of months had scarcely passed before the " honours 



THE BALKAN SITUATION 265 

easy " situation in the main eastern theatre of war had been con- 
verted into one that permitted the conquering legions of the Central 
Powers, after a triumphant progress which had carried them to 
the Dviua and the Pripet marshes, to gird their loins for a blow to 
be delivered in an entirely new direction. 

The efiect upon the wavering Balkan peoples of these stirring 
events in the north was immense. One more example was set 
up in support of the dictum of history that it is not the wiles of 
the ambassador that count in time of war, but the achievements 
of the belligerent armies. All prospect of Bulgaria or Greece 
joining the Entente came to an end, and the British and French 
Governments had perforce to acknowledge to themselves that if 
they were going to force the Dardanelles they would have to do 
it unassisted. Nor was this all. The position of Serbia, ally of 
the British Empire and the French Republic, suddenly became one 
of imminent peril. The Russian debacle had liberated vast numbers 
of enemy troops and made them available for employment in other 
fields. The correct strategical policy for the Central Powers to 
adopt in the early autumn clearly was to overthrow once and for 
all the weak and isolated little Slav State whose frontiers coincided 
with those of the Dual Monarchy on the south — and to have done 
with it. That policy the Central Powers adopted. 

The Bulgarians, moreover, were embittered rivals of the Serbs, 
so that, when great German and Austro-Hungarian forces swarmed 
into Serbia from the north early in October, Bulgaria suddenly 
mobilised and joined in the fray from the east. King Peter's 
armies found themselves in hopeless plight from the outset. They 
were overborne in several encounters. They lost most of their 
artillery and of their impedimenta. They were herded south- 
westwards in disorder into the mountain fastnesses on the confines 
of Montenegro and Albania. A possibility of Salonika actually 
falling into the hands of the Central Powers had to be faced by the 
Allies, for Greece, although bound to Serbia by a solemn com- 
pact, declined to fulfil her engagements. There appeared, how- 
ever, to be some hope of disentangling the remnants of the beaten 
Serbs by a Franco-British advance from that great port, and the 
planting down of troops of the Entente in southern Macedonia 
promised at the worst to fend the enemy ofi from the western 
iEgean. The only Allied contingents immediately available were 



266 THE DARDANELLES 

engaged in the Gallipoli Peninsula or were resting in the islands 
of Imbros and Lemnos. So it was decided to call upon Sir I. 
Hamilton to furnish an advanced force for Salonika. The 1st French 
and 10th British Divisions were detailed for this new duty, and 
they left for the new theatre of war early in October. 

The effect of the overthrow of Serbia on the Dardanelles campaign. 
— But it was not only in respect to diversions of force from the 
peninsula and the islands that the Serbian disaster affected the 
Dardanelles operations. The triumph of the Central Powers south 
of the Danube, coupled with the accession of the Bulgarian kingdom 
to their side, put an end to the isolation from which the Ottoman 
Empire had been suffering since the outbreak of hostilities. 
Although some little time must elapse ere railway communication 
could be restored, it was obvious that as soon as this had been 
accomplished material of war of all kinds from Essen and Skoda 
and other arsenals of Central Europe would pour through Bulgaria 
towards Thrace and the Golden Horn, and that the arrival of these 
munitions must sooner or later vastly enhance the difficulties under 
which the Allies were labouring in the Gallipoli Peninsula, Even 
as it was, Suvla, Anzac, and Helles were constantly suffering from 
bombardments from which there was practically no escape. The 
transformation that was taking place in the strategical situation 
in the Near East suggested that the position of Sir L Hamilton's 
force clinging to narrow strips of Turkish littoral would in time 
become impossible, and the French Government, bent on a 
Macedonian campaign, began to press insistently for an abandon- 
ment of the Dardanelles undertaking. 

The British Government had been in two minds ever since the 
August rebuff with regard to the prosecution of a campaign from 
which they had at one time hoped much. Had the decision rested 
with soldiers and sailors there would probably have been no 
halting between two opinions — the policy that was actually adhered 
to for a time would in all likelihood have been rejected without 
hesitation. For, from the military point of view, there was in 
reality no middle course between despatching sufficient reinforce- 
ments of all kinds to render victory secure, and withdrawing the 
Expeditionary Force. But the Cabinet in London was obliged 
also to take into consideration the efiect that an incontinent 
abandonment of the enterprise might have in regions where British 



SIR C. MONRO TAKES COMMAND 267 

prestige was an asset not lightly to be relinquished, although the 
event proved that the solicitude of Oriental experts on this head 
was not justified. Be that as it may, the War Council in England 
would not during October go further than to cable out to Sir I, 
Hamilton on the 11th asking him for an estimate of the losses 
which would be involved in the evacuation of the peninsula. " On 
the 12th," writes Sir Ian in his final despatch, " I replied in terms 
that such a step was to me unthinkable." Thereupon the Govern- 
ment decided to recall him, as a step towards obtaining a fresh 
and unbiassed opinion on the question of an early withdrawal, 
and they appointed a new Commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean 
Field Force. 

Sir I. Hamilton relieved by Sir C. Monro. — The choice of the 
British Government fell upon General Sir C. Monro, who was at 
the time at the head of the First Army in France. Sir I. Hamilton 
received orders on the 16th to return home, and he sailed on the 
following day, making over command temporarily to General 
Birdwood. After a few days in London, engaged in study of the 
situation in the -i:Egean as interpreted at the War Office, General 
Monro left to take up his new appointment, and he arrived at 
Imbros on the 28th and took over charge. In addition to the troops 
in the peninsula and the islands, this charge included the 10th 
Division together with certain other British detachments that had 
proceeded to Salonika, 

His predecessor had been called upon to undertake a task of 
extraordinary difficulty and had been obliged to carry on his 
campaign under disheartening conditions. Although the very 
essence of an enterprise such as the military conquest of the 
Dardanelles by a force arriving by sea lay in effecting a surprise, 
the conditions at the start had been such that the enemy was both 
fore-warned and fore-armed. The consequence had been that, 
although a landing had been effected on the Gallipoli Peninsula 
by a very fine feat of arms, the enemy had been able to bring 
Sir I. Hamilton's forces to a standstill before these could establish 
themselves in a dominating situation, had been able to entrench 
himself in tactically favourable positions, and had bid defiance 
to the invader. During the months of trench warfare that ensued, 
the Expeditionary Force had throughout lacked the artillery 
resources that are almost indispensable if a line of fortified ground 



268 THE DARDANELLES 

is to be pierced under present-day conditions, its units had not 
from start to finish been kept up to estabhshment, and the rein- 
forcements which its chief demanded arrived — when they did 
arrive — too late. 

Sir I. Hamilton when he pronounced evacuation to be unthink- 
able was no doubt very largely actuated by concern as to the effect 
that such a confession of defeat would create in the East in general 
— a concern shared by many others, although as it turned out the 
solicitude entertained in some quarters on this account was exag- 
gerated. He could not but be influenced to some extent by distress 
at the idea of all that his troops had suffered and that they had 
accomplished, going for naught. But he would also seem to have 
felt an excessive apprehension as to the tactical difficulties of 
effecting a withdrawal from the peninsula — as did many experienced 
soldiers on the spot and elsewhere at the time. It should not, at 
the same time, be forgotten that there are sailors and soldiers, 
whose opinion is worth having, who hold to this day that the policy 
recommended by his successor and eventually most skilfully 
executed ought not to have been adopted, and that the effort to 
gain possession of the Straits ought to have been proceeded with. 
General Monro's instructions and his conclusions. — In his despatch 
of the 6th of March, 1916, which records the course of events while 
he was holding command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary 
Force, Sir C. Monro explains that his duty on arrival was in broad 
outline : (a) To report on the military situation in the Gallipoli 
Peninsula, (b) To express an opinion whether on purely military 
grounds the peninsula should be evacuated, or whether another 
attempt should be made to carry it. (c) To suggest the number 
of troops that would be required to carry the peninsula, to keep 
the Straits open, and to take Constantinople. The new Com- 
mander-in-chief did not take long to make up his mind. On the 
3rd of November he telegraphed to Lord Kitchener at the War 
Office to say that he could see no military advantage in our con- 
tinued occupation of the peninsula, and that in his opinion steps 
ought to be taken to evacuate it. 

His impressions after visiting the peninsula he summarises shortly 
in his despatch, as follows : — 

" The position occupied by our troops presented a roihtary situation 
unique in history. The mere fringe of the coaet-line had been secured. 



GENERAL MONRO'S APPRECIATION 269 

The beaches and piers upon which they were dependent for all require- 
ments in personnel and material were exposed to registered and 
observed artillery fire. Our entrenchments were dominated almost 
throughout by the Turks. The possible artillery positions were in- 
sufficient and defective. The force, in short, held a line possessing 
every possible miUtary defect. The position was without depth, 
the communications were insecure and dependent on the weather. 
No means existed for the concealment and deployment of fresh troops 
destined for the offensive — whilst the Turks enjoyed full powers of 
observation, abundant artillery positions, and they had been given 
the time to supplement the natural advantages which the position 
presented, by all the devices at the disposal of the Field Engineer." 

General Monro goes on to say that he was also guided in arriving 
at his conclusions by the state of health of the troops, by the 
shortage of o£&cers competent to take command of men, by the 
impossibility of giving the force proper rest owing to shell-fire, 
and by the fact that yeomanry and mounted troops had perforce 
been called in to act as substitutes for infantry. But his outspoken 
view as to the virtual impracticability of the undertaking to which 
his army stood committed, is of special interest. 

" (a) It was obvious that the Turks could hold us in front with a 
small force and prosecute their designs on Baghdad or Egypt or both. 

(b) An advance from the positions we held could not be regarded 
as a reasonable military operation to expect. 

(c) Even had we been able to make an advance in the peninsula, 
our position would not have been ameliorated to any marked degree, 
and an advance on Constantinople was quite out of the question. 

(d) Since we could not hope to achieve any purpose by remaining 
on the peninsula, the appalling cost to the nation involved in con- 
sequence of embarking on an overseas expedition with no base avail- 
able for the rapid transit of stores, supplies and personnel, made it 
urgent that we should divert the troops locked up on the peninsula 
to a more useful theatre." 

One comment on this clear and uncompromising pronouncement 
suggests itself. It does seem open to question whether the assump- 
tion that the Turks could hold the Expeditionary Force with much 
inferior bodies of troops was entirely warranted by the circum- 
stances, and in any case there was little likelihood of the enemy 
adopting such a course. That the Allied army which had in- 
truded itself into the Gallipoli Peninsula had ever since its arrival 



270 THE DARDANELLES 

caused serious apprehension to the Sublime Porte and to the 
Teutonic officials who had established so effective a control over the 
Sultan's affairs, does not admit of doubt. The danger to the capital 
might not be imminent, and yet the authorities charged with main- 
taining the safety of the State could not afford to run the slightest 
risks when a place of such paramount strategical and political 
importance as Constantinople was at stake. The menace, such 
as it was, pointed too directly at the very heart and focus of the 
Empire to permit of the least laxity in respect to defensive counter- 
measures. So long as a further advance on the part of the invaders 
could not be regarded as wholly impracticable, the situation, as 
it was bound to be viewed by the Ottoman Government and its 
military chiefs, demanded that considerable bodies of Turkish 
troops should be on the spot to make certain of defeating any 
such attempt were it to be made. 

It may be pointed out that the position of affairs in the British 
Isles at this same period provided a counterpart to that which held 
good at the Dardanelles. An army was maintained in the United 
Kingdom during the whole of the World War for no other purpose 
than for meeting the very remote contingency of hostile invasion. 
It was fully realised that the eventuality which was being 
provided against was so unlikely to occur, that it might almost 
be regarded as out of the question. But those responsible had to 
bear in mind that the results would be fatal if it did occur, unless 
there were military forces available in the country to bring the 
invaders to a halt. You do not, after all, take the same precautions 
when you only have a few coppers about you as you do when you 
have a sheaf of bank-notes in your pocket, although the chances of 
being robbed may be no greater in the one case than in the other. 

Government indecision ; Lord Kitchener proceeds to the ^gean. 
— Having despatched a soldier of high rank and of great experience 
of war in its most recent phases to take over command of the 
Expeditionary Force, for the express purpose of his furnishing 
them with a perfectly unbiassed report on a situation that obviously 
gave cause for anxiety and that furthermore cried aloud for a prompt 
decision as to the policy to be followed, the British Government 
would not be guided by that soldier's advice when they got it. 
They remained immersed in hesitation, and Lord Kitchener pro- 
ceeded to the theatre of war to consider the position of affairs 



GOVERNMENT VACILLATION 271 

afresh and then to acquaint his Cabinet colleagues with his views. 
He left England early in November for Mudros where he met the 
British High Commissioner in Egypt and General Maxwell who 
commanded the troops in that country, as well as General Monro 
and other superior officers. He made an inspection of the Gallipoli 
fronts, arrived at very much the same conclusion as General Monro* 
had arrived at a fortnight earlier, and in due course reported his 
opinion to the Home Government. 

But irresolution still prevailed in Downing Street, although time 
was passing. Winter was approaching apace. If there was as yet 
no direct evidence that the Central Powers were getting munitions 
through by way of Bulgaria to the Turkish armies, it was safe to 
assume that the produce of such military traffic must soon make 
its presence felt in the Gallipoli Peninsula. The French were 
insisting upon the withdrawal of their other division from Helles 
at an early date. But even the intelligence of the great gale of the 
27th of November, with its dire effects on portions of the troops 
and its destructive results to landing stages and small craft, failed 
to convince the Executive in London that the sands were running 
out and that they were jeopardising the safety, and even the 
existence, of a considerable army by their vacillation. It is, 
however, only fair to place on record that one reason for procrastina- 
tion in arriving at a decision, was the unwillingness of the naval 
authorities to assent to the abandonment of Helles, whereas General 
Monro had advocated unconditional evacuation. There may have 
been something to be said from the sailor's point of view for retain- 
ing a military hold on the southern extremity of the peninsula, 
but, be that as it may. General Monro was cabled to so late as the 
3rd of December to enquire whether he would be able to under- 
take an ofiensive, if reinforced. His reply was in the negative. 

Partial withdrawal ordered. — Then, at last, on the 8th of December 
the Commander-in-Chief received instructions from London, direct- 
ing him to withdraw his forces from Anzac and Suvla. But he was 
ordered to leave troops at Helles. It will be noted that by that 
dat^ nearly six weeks had elapsed since the general had com- 
municated to the Home Government his considered opinion that 
evacuation was the only sensible course to adopt. 

Leaving the question of the retention of Helles out of the question, 
the reluctance of the British Cabinet to consent to the abandonment 



272 THE DARDANELLES 

of the Dardanelles enterprise would appear to have been due to 
three principal causes. They naturally sharnk from relinquishing 
an undertaking which had been entered upon with no little con- 
fidence, which had been prosecuted with devoted gallantry by 
soldiers drawn from most parts of the Empire, and which had been 
made memorable by the deplorable loss of life that it involved. 
They dreaded the eSect which such a confession of defeat might 
exert throughout Oriental regions where the upholding of British 
reputation was of vital import. They conjured up in their imagina- 
tions a tactical disaster at the moment when the armies should 
be vacating their precarious positions on the enemy's shores. As 
regards this last point it must, however, be remarked that, in the 
absence of any modern precedent to go by, military opinion had 
long inclined to the view that an embarkation under the nose of a 
vigilant and resolute foe must in ordinary circumstances prove a 
most perilous operation of war. 

The sailors' insistence on the retention of Helles. — As the import- 
ance which the naval authorities attached to the continued occupa- 
tion of Helles protracted the Government's deliberations concerning 
Dardanelles policy, some observations on this point will not be 
inappropriate. It is a little difficult to understand why the sea 
service should have been so anxious for persistence in holding the 
toe of the peninsula. Under the maritime conditions existing in 
the Mgean at the time, and under those to be anticipated in the 
early future, the value of naval bases in close proximity to the 
mouth of the Straits was obvious. But the floating forces of the 
Allies had Tenedos, Imbros, and Lemnos at their disposal as it was, 
all three of them islands situated within touch of the water-area 
to be watched and controlled. Nor had Helles hitherto been used 
to any appreciable extent as a place of refreshment and repair 
by fighting ships great or small. The coves known as W Beach 
and V Beach were under shell-fire from the high ground beyond 
Kjithia and about Achi Baba, Morto Bay was even more exposed 
to the enemy's artillery, and ships at rest oSer particularly attractive 
targets to the shore gunner. The idea that Helles would provide 
some sort of advanced naval base would hardly seem to have been 
responsible for the attitude taken up by the Admiralty on the 
question. 

But it has to be remembered that, so long as Allied troops clung 



NAVAL VIEWS AS TO HELLES 273 

to the extremity of the peninsula, their presence there precluded 
the possibility of the Turks emplacing mobile gims or howitzers at, 
let us say, Sedd-el-Bahr or De Tott's Battery. Weapons of that 
sort at work in that neighbourhood would be in a position to molest 
light craft engaged in watching the outlet of the Dardanelles or 
in examining the lower reaches of the waterway. The very fact 
of the force under General Davies quitting the spot, would auto- 
matically liberate a number of pieces of this type, and these the 
enemy might employ for firing seawards. Naval craft had not, 
it is true, been sufiering much from this kind of annoyance since 
early mine-sweeping days ; but this comparative immunity could 
be attributed to the Ottoman artillery being too much taken up 
with bombarding the Allies' land positions to pay attention to 
vessels that were on the move and were therefore hard to hit. 
This possibility at all events did provide a reason for holding on to 
Helles — even if the reason was not a very convincing one. 

This, however, must not be forgotten. The Eoyal Navy had, 
as Sir I. Hamilton had happily expressed it in one of his early 
despatches, been father and mother to the army during the 
Dardanelles campaign, and if troops were to remain in the peninsula 
the cares of parenthood could not be shuffled ofi by the Senior 
Service. Its personnel and its material would have to remain 
servants to a considerable body of troops isolated on an inhospit- 
able shore. Neither the landing of soldiery and stores, nor yet 
the evacuation of sick and wounded had at all times proved quite 
a simple matter up to date. Nor were such responsibilities likely 
to become less exacting and arduous in the winter months, when 
the provisional harbour- works that had been set on foot were likely 
to be swept away at any time, and when all communication with 
the shore might be interrupted for periods lasting over several 
days. Clinging on to Helles inevitably meant maintaining a strain 
on the resources of the Allied fleets. Would its results repay this ? 

General Monro's digest of the communications situation at the 
peninsula. — Some quotations from Sir C. Monro's despatch of the 
6th of March have been given in the course of this chapter, and 
before closing it and proceeding to deal with the evacuation of the 
peninsula, it seems worth while to include in it his summary of 
the work that had to be carried on on the communications of the 
army that had been landed on the shores of the iEgean. Although 



274 THE DARDANELLES 

only intended to describe the situation during the time that he was 
in command, his account may almost be said to cover in many 
respects the whole period of the land campaign. It runs as follows: — 

" Before concluding this inadequate account of the events which 
happened during my tenure of command of the forces in the Eastern 
Mediterranean, I desire to give a brief explanation of the work which 
was carried out on the line of communications, and to place on record 
my appreciation of the admirable work rendered by the officers 
responsible for this important service. 

On the Dardanelles Peninsula it may be said that the whole of the 
machinery by which the text-books contemplate the maintenance 
and supply of an army was non-existent. The zone commanded by 
the enemy's guns extended not only to the landing-places on the 
peninsula, but even over the sea in the vicinity. The beaches were 
the advanced depots and refilling points at which the services of supply 
had to be carried out under artillery fire. The landing of stores as well 
as of troops was only possible under cover of darkness. The sea, the 
ships, lighters and tugs took, in fact, the place of railways and roads 
with their railway trains, mechanical transport, etc. — but with this 
difierence, that the use of the latter is subject only to the intervention 
of the enemy, while that of the former was dependent on the weather. 

Between the beaches and the base of Alexandria, 800 miles to the 
south, the line of communications had but two harbours, Kephalos 
Bay on the island of Imbros, 15 miles roughly from the beaches, and 
Mudros Bay, at a distance of 60 miles. In neither were there any 
piers, breakwaters, wharves or storehouses before the advent of the 
troops. On the shores of these two bays there were no roads of any 
military value, or buildings fit for military usage. The water supply 
at the islands was, until developed, totally inadequate for our needs. 

The peninsula landing-places were open beaches. Kephalos Bay is 
without protection from the north, and swept by a high sea in northerly 
gales. In Mudros harbour transhipments and disembarkations were 
often seriously impeded with a wind from north or south. These 
difficulties were accentuated by the advent of submarines in the 
Mgea,n Sea, on account of which the Vice-Admiral deemed it necessary 
to prohibit any transport or store-ship exceeding 1500 tons proceeding 
north of Mudros, and although this rule was relaxed in the case of 
supply ships proceeding within the netted area of Suvla, it necessitated 
the transhipment of practically all reinforcements, stores and suppHes 
— other than those for Suvla — into small ships in Mudros harbour. 
At Suvla and Anzac, disembarkation could only be effected by hghters 



THE COMMUNICATIONS 275 

and tugs, thus for all personnel and material there was at least one 
transhipment, and, for the greater portion of both, two transhipments. 
Yet, notwithstanding the difficulties which have been set forth 
above, the army was well maintained in equipment and ammunition. 
It was well fed ; it received its full supply of winter clothing at the 
beginning of December. The evacuation of the sick and wounded was 
carried out with the minimum of inconvenience, and the provision of 
hospital accommodation for them on the Dardanelles line of com- 
munications and elsewhere in the Mediterranean met all requirements. 
The above is a very brief exposition of the extreme difficulties with 
which the officers responsible were confronted in dealing with problems 
of peculiar complexity. They were fortunate in being associated in 
their onerous and anxious task with a most competent and highly 
trained naval staff. The members of the two staffs worked throughout 
in perfect harmony and cordiality, and it was owing to their joint 
efforts that the requirements of the troops were so well responded to." 

General Monro's observations with regard to the army being 
maintained in equipment and ammunition perhaps hardly apply 
fully to the early days of the land campaign. The water diffi- 
culty had always been a source of anxiety at Anzac, and there was 
but a short supply all through the summer. Nor could it be 
asserted that the evacuation of the sick and wounded was carried 
out with a minimum of inconvenience during the weeks immediately 
following the first landing, at a stage when appliances were still 
of a very makeshift order and when the administrative services 
were grappling with a situation for which, through no fault of 
theirs, no sufficient provision had been made. But during the last 
six months of the stay of the Expeditionary Force on the Gallipoli 
Peninsula the operations in rear of the fighting fronts proceeded 
smoothly, except on occasions of exceptional stress such as during 
the August offensive. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE EVACUATION OF ANZAC AND SUVLA 

General Monro's instructions to General Birdwood. — The Com- 
mander-in-Chief had realised that the British Government must 
sooner or later make up their minds and order a withdrawal from 
the peninsula or at least from part of it. He had therefore towards 
the end of November ordered General Birdwood to draw up a scheme 
for carrying such an operation out should retirement be decided 
on. The general principles upon which evacuation was to be 
effected he sketches in his despatch of the 6th of March, 1916, 
and the passage deserves to be quoted. 

" I had in broad outline contemplated soon after my arrival on the 
peninsula that an evacuation could best be conducted by subdivision 
into three stages. 

The first, during which all troops, animals and supplies not required 
for a long campaign should be withdrawn. 

The second, to comprise the evacuation of all men, guns, animals 
and stores not required for defence during a period when the conditions 
of weather might retard the evacuation, or in fact seriously alter the 
programme contemplated. 

The third or final stage, in which the troops on shore should be 
embarked with all possible speed, leaving behind such guns, animals 
and stores as were needed for mihtary reasons at this period. 

This problem with which we were confronted was the withdrawal 
of an army of a considerable size from positions in no case more than 
300 yards from the enemy's trenches, and its embarkation on open 
beaches, every part of which was within range of Turkish guns, and 
from which, in winds from the south and south-west, the withdrawal 
of troops was not possible. 

The attitude which we should adopt from a naval and mihtary 
point of view in case of a withdrawal from the peninsula being ordered, 
had given me much anxious thought. According to text-book principles 

276 



ORDERS TO GENERAL BIRDWOOD 277 

and lessons from history it seemed essential that this operation of 
evacuation should be immediately preceded by a combined naval and 
military feint in the neighbourhood of the peninsula, with a view to 
distracting the attention of the Turks from our intention. When 
endeavouring to work out the concrete fact how such principles could 
be applied to the situation of our forces, I came to the conclusion 
that oiir chances of success were infinitely more probable if we made 
no departure of any kind from the normal life which we were following 
both on sea and on land. A feint which did not fully fulfil its purpose 
would have been worse than useless, and there was obvious danger 
that the suspicion of the Turks would be aroused by our adoption 
of a course, the real purport of which could not have been long dis- 
guised." 

We have seen in the last chapter that General Monro was enabled 
on the 8th of December to issue definite orders to General Birdwood 
that the evacuation of Anzac and Suvla was to be proceeded with 
at once. It was thereupon decided that, if weather permitted, 
the final abandonment of these portions of the peninsula should 
take place on the night of the 19th-20th. It may be remarked, 
however, that already during the opening days of the month and be- 
fore the issue of these orders, some steps were being taken towards 
reducing numbers ashore by a process of weeding out sickly men, 
or rather by encouraging these to report themselves sick and thus 
to enable the medical authorities to draft them ofi to the islands ; 
such methods were not, however, always successful, for the troops 
in general, and especially the Australians and New Zealanders, 
manifested little inclination to quit the front if they could help it. 
Moreover, to accustom the enemy to the period of quiet nights 
which would necessarily form part of the proceedings leading up 
to final evacuation should withdrawal be decided on, scarcely a 
shot was fired by the invaders after dark during the first ten 
days in December. If some of the troops realised that they might 
shortly quit the peninsula for good and all, the forces as a whole 
had no idea of the position of affairs and did not know what was 
the reason of this nocturnal inactivity. It was facilitated by the 
fact that during the closing days of November and the early days 
of December the Turks showed no enterprise, although their artillery 
was often busy and caused the British and the Anzacs a good deal 
of annoyance at times. 



278 THE DARDANELLES 

General Monro's reference to lessons gathered from history in 
the passage quoted above from his despatch, evidently relates to 
the question of making a feint elsewhere when preparing for any 
sudden operation that is to partake of the nature of a surprise — a 
very common practice in land warfare or when undertaking a 
landing in hostile territory. Military and naval annals, up to the 
time of the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula, threw little light 
upon the problem that the Commander-in-Chief and General Bird- 
wood were setting themselves to solve ; as a matter of fact there 
was really no precedent for such an operation under modern con- 
ditions. The retirement from Corunna in 1809 did, it is true, 
afford an example of carrying out an evacuation virtually in pre- 
sence of the enemy ; but that enemy had been very roughly 
handled in battle before the troops took to their ships and was 
hardly in a position to molest the embarkation ; the emoarka- 
tion, moreover, took place within a harbour. M'Clellan's with- 
drawal from Harrison Landing on the James River in 1862 was 
scarcely interfered with, although his army had been hustled back 
on that place by Lee and Jackson ; the Confederate forces had, 
however, for the most part been suddenly transferred northwards 
for the invasion of Maryland. But going back to a somewhat 
earlier date, our own military history provided an example — the 
affair of St. Cas in 1758, when half the force that had been left by 
General Bligh as rearguard to cover the embarkation of the 
remainder was either killed or taken during a final sanguinary 
struggle on the beach. Withdrawals by sea from hostile soil in 
face of the enemy have been unusual events in war, and the plan 
of making feints elsewhere with the object of facilitating the 
evacuation seem to have played no part in such few instances of 
this type of operation as have occurred in modern times. 

General Birdwood's general plan. — However ill-advised the 
decision of the Home Government may have been in respect to 
retaining Helles, that decision at least offered the advantage 
that for the moment it somewhat lightened the responsibilities 
of the naval and military authorities in charge of the Dardanelles 
operations. A withdrawal such as these had been charged to 
carry out necessarily absorbs shipping in various forms. Under 
the circumstances actually obtaining in the -^gean, it meant the 
employment of a huge fleet of small craft, as well as of a great 



GENERAL BIRDWOOD'S PLANS 279 

number of boats. Having only Anzac and Suvla to deal with 
reduced the strain that was being placed on the naval resources 
by quite one-third. That in itself was a not unwelcome relief, 
and it appreciably facilitated the framing of his arrangements 
by Greneral Bird wood, in consultation with Admiral Wemyss. 

It was decided to carry out the evacuation of both areas in 
driblets, night after night, from the 10th to the 17th, and to 
embark roughly half of what remained on the following night ; so 
that when the final very critical operation of withdrawing the 
troops in front line and getting them away by boat during the 
few hours intervening between the closing in of complete dark- 
ness on the 19th and the first streak of dawn on the 20th came 
to be accomplished, practically no troops or material should remain 
to be dealt with other than the minimum of infantry, of artillery, and 
of engineers necessary to hold the positions during the 19th, together 
with such munitions and stores as were to be abandoned. Atmo- 
spheric uncertainties had, moreover, always to be taken into 
account while elaborating the plans. Winds from south or from 
south-west might be expected at this season of the year, and if 
these attained even moderate force they would stop all com- 
munication between ships and shore at Anzac and about Suvla 
Point, while if they developed in violence even embarkation 
within Suvla Bay near Lala Baba would become impracticable. 

Then again, it was imperative that what was going on should 
remain unknown to the Turks who, it will be remembered, over- 
looked the Allies' positions at almost all points and whose airmen, 
even if they were not particularly enterprising, did none the less 
conduct reconnaissances from time to time over the areas occupied 
by the forces that were to disappear. That the fighting line and the 
trenches held by the invaders should remain occupied to the very 
last moment, however thinly, was furthermore an essential feature 
in the scheme contemplated by the Commander-in-Chief and 
worked out by General Birdwood and his staff. 

But although that was fully intended, it behoved those responsible 
to consider whether some form of interior lines, or of reduit, covering 
the beaches from which the troops who should remain to the last 
were to embark, ought not to be constructed. In the southern 
area the fighting front was so near Anzac Cove, where the final 
embarkation must take place, that scarcely any measures of this 



280 THE DAEDANELLES 

kind were adjudged to be called for, although a keep was created 
on the hills immediately overlooking the cove. But at Suvla, 
where the lines were traced considerably further out, General 
Byng made special arrangements. He divided his front into two 
sectors, one to the north and the other to the south of the outlet 
joining the Salt Lake with Suvla Bay. He had a regular system 
of rear defences laid out. The northern extended from the " D " 
in "Karakol Dagh" {vide Map V) through Hill 10 to the lake. 
The other stretched from the southern portion of the lake to 
the "n" in "Sand," while Lala Baba was especially fortified. 
" These lines were only to be held in case of emergency," writes 
General Monro, " the principle governing the withdrawal being 
that the troops should proceed direct from the trenches to the 
distributing centres near the beach, and that no intermediate 
positions should be occupied except in case of necessity." 

From the 10th to the 18th of December. — The Allies had not 
at all times been favoured with the best of luck during previous 
months of campaigning for the control of the Dardanelles. Still 
in one respect fortune had smiled on them as a rule. They had 
almost always enjoyed fair weather at junctures that were critical 
and when a calm sea was of vital importance, and this proved to 
be the case again during the days immediately preceding the 
evacuation of the peninsula by the Australasians and the IXth Corps. 
Such wind as there was blew ofi shore and the waters remained 
placid in spite of the inclement season, so that the highly delicate 
operation of removing troops and impedimenta from exposed beaches 
and jetties in the dark proceeded for more than a week, virtually 
without interruption. Night after night, working to a carefully 
drawn-up scheme. General Godley commanding at Anzac and 
General Byng commanding at Suvla lightened themselves of part 
of the personnel and of the material imder their respective charge. 
What was embarked was transported to the islands, and the 
Osmanlis had no idea of what was going on almost under their 
very noses. Care was taken to foster the notion in the minds of 
the enemy staff that the situation within the British and the 
Australasian lines was normal. Such indications of permanency 
as were likely to attract Turkish attention by day were turned to 
account to mislead the foe. Hostile observers whether they were 
perched on the hill-tops, or lurked in camouflaged recesses in 



REMOVAL OF TROOPS AND STORES 281 

front line, or were carrying out reconnaissance by aeroplane, noted 
troops moving up from the beaches in ordinary relief and detected 
supplies being pushed forward to the front line in the usual 
methodical fashion. Some animals were even landed, and an enemy 
aeroplane one day soared overhead just as a few mules were being 
disembarked at Anzac. Occasional bursts of musketry or machine- 
gun fire suggested to the enemy that their opponents still meant 
business. And although guns and howitzers were being quietly 
withdrawn by night from their hidden emplacements, generally 
on the principle of reducing batteries first to sections and then to 
single guns, the Turkish troops scattered along the front from the 
bluffs overlooking the Gulf of Saros to Gaba Tepe were deceived 
as to the waning strength of the invaders' artillery by the swelling 
of the volume of fire from the pieces left. Firing remained at a 
minimum at night so as to keep the enemy accustomed to quiet 
during the dark hours in view of the final evacuation. 

The operation, taken as a whole, was carried out on the principle 
of removing first whatever might be looked upon as of least im- 
portance from the fighting point of view, while also removing 
brigades and particular units which could be spared. Men who 
were not thoroughly fit, non-combatant units, animals that would 
not be needed during the last day or two, stores of ammunition, 
engineer material and ordnance requisites — there were vast accumu- 
lations of such both at Anzac and at Suvla — departed during the 
first four or five days. After that, whole infantry units selected 
for embarkation in advance were got away, and guns and howitzers 
were quietly withdrawn, run down to the beaches and shipped off 
to the islands. All this involved heavy work and close super- 
vision on the beaches, which in the case of the left Suvla sector 
were placed especially under Brigadier-General Percival, and in 
that of the right sector under General Marshall. Quantities of 
stores were destroyed at Anzac on the 17th and 18th by an acci- 
dental conflagration. 

Admiral Wemyss, who was temporarily in naval charge owing to 
Admiral de Robeck being ill, in his despatch of the 22nd of 
December which describes how the evacuation of Anzac and Suvla 
was carried out, explains that on each of the last two nights over 
10,000 men had to be removed from either area, and he indicates 
the perils attending the undertaking had bad weather set in ; the 



282 THE DARDANELLES 

period of calms during mid-December had enabled light piers to 
be constructed for the special purpose of accelerating the with- 
drawal at the last. 

" A southerly wind of even moderate force," he writes, " at any 
time during this period must have wrecked piers, and have caused 
considerable loss among the small craft assembled for the operations, 
and would have necessitated the embarkations being carried out from 
open beaches. Such loss of small craft would have made anything 
in the nature of rapid evacuation an impossibility, and would have 
enormously increased the difficulties. To cope with such an eventuality 
a reserve of small craft up to 50 per cent would not have been too 
great ; actually the reserve maintained had to be n uch smaller. 

Interference by the enemy would have been most serious, as the 
beaches were fully exposed to shell-fire, and the damage inflicted to 
personnel, small craft, piers, etc., might have been most serious, as 
he would have had no inducement to husband his ammunition. Under 
such conditions it is most improbable that anything except personnel 
could have been evacuated. Casualties would have been heavy and 
the removal of the wounded out of the question. To meet the latter 
possibihty, arrangements were made to leave the hospital clearing - 
stations intact, with a proportion of medical staff in attendance, and 
thus ensure that our wounded would not suffer from want of atten- 
tion, which the enemy, with all the goodwill in the world, might have 
been unable to supply. It was also arranged that in such circumstances 
an attempt would have been made to negotiate an armistice on the 
morning after the evacuation to collect and, if possible, to bring off 
our wounded. Fortunately neither of these two dangers matured, 
but the probability of either or both doing so made this stage of the 
operations most anxious for all concerned. The final concentration 
of ships and craft required at Kephalos was completed on the 17th of 
December, and in order to prevent enemy's aircraft observing the 
unusual quantity of shipping, a constant air patrol was maintained to 
keep these at a distance. Reports of enemy submarines were also 
received during these two days ; patrols were strengthened, but no 
attacks by these craft were made." 

In the case of Anzac, most of the preliminary work (as also that 
on the nights of the 18th-19th and 19th-20th) was done at the 
cove itself, although removals were also carried out from the 
piers on Ocean Beach just to the north of Ari Burnu. The Suvla 
area had, as stated on page 280, been divided into two sectors ; 
that on the right (facing the enemy) had been placed in charge of 



EVACUATION OF ANZAC 283 

Greneral Maude, and its main embarking place was in Suvla Bay 
at the " o " in " Shallow " in Map V ; that on the left, under General 
Fanshawe, had two embarking places near Gazi Baba and also a 
newly constructed little harbour on the northern side of the extremity 
of Suvla Point. Everything up to the morning of the 18th worked 
smoothly alike at Anzac and Suvla, and, although the enemy 
shelled the beaches from time to time both by day and by night, 
the damage done was small and little interruption to the evacua- 
tion operations was caused. An enormous amount of personnel 
and material had been got away. The troops holding the long 
twelve miles' front had shrunk numerically to insignificant propor- 
tions, and the number of guns still left merely represented the 
skeletons of a proportion of the batteries that had formerly been 
emplaced in these a^reas. The weather remained extraordinarily 
favourable, and commanders, stafis, and troops could fairly con- 
gratulate themselves upon what had been accomplished, and were 
in a position to look forward with some confidence to the develop- 
ment of the final scenes in the unrehearsed drama. It may be 
added that — in so far as can be judged from published narratives 
emanating from the enemy's side — neither Turks nor their German 
advisers had the slightest idea that, of the forces which had been 
opposing them on what they called the Northern and Anafarta 
Fronts, most of the artillery and the animals, enormous quantities 
of stores, and more than half of the infantry personnel, had dis- 
appeared since the beginning of the month. 

The final evacuation of Anzac. — It will be convenient to deal 
with the final withdrawals from Anzac and from the Suvla area 
separately. Both evacuations were carried out on analogous lines 
in most respects, and it had been arranged that on the last night 
the front trenches at Suvla and on the left of the Anzac position 
would be vacated simultaneously at 1.15 a.m. But there were 
some features that distinguished the operations of General Godley's 
force very markedly from the work being carried out simultaneously 
under the orders of Generals Fanshawe and Maude a few miles ofi 
to the north-west. 

Nearly 11,000 officers and men had been taken ofi during the 
night of the 18th-19th, the work finishing at 5.30 a.m., and by 
daylight the beaches had resumed their usual appearance. About 
11,000 of all ranks remained. The front line of the Anzac com- 



284 THE DARDANELLES 

mand stretched from the southern Azmak Dere valley to the southern 
end of Brighton Beach. It was being held intact, but very thinly. 
The withdra\\'al of the troops in this area presented an especially 
embarrassing problem owing to the general trace of the fighting 
front in respect to the shore, and to the position of the embarking 
points in relation to the fighting front. That this was so becomes 
apparent at a glance if Map V be examined. From the Azmak 
Dere north of Hill 60 to about Chatham Post measures a distance 
of some five miles or so, and the front followed a line running less 
than a mile from the sea at all points except north of the Aghyl 
Dere. The troops were to embark mainly at Anzac Cove, a few 
being taken off at a pier a little north of Ari Burnu, that is to say 
they had to assemble at localities that were not opposite to the 
middle of the front, but that were opposite to the right centre 
of the front. Moreover, the embarking points were less than a 
mile in direct line from the Turkish positions abreast of them 
and in a sense overlooking them. The consequence was that the 
troops on the extreme left were called upon to make a flank march 
of about three and a half miles to get to their boats and beetles. 
In the event of the Turks discovering what was afoot and of 
their delivering a vigorous thrust towards Anzac Cove from about 
The Neck or from their positions further to the south, the distance 
that the enemy would have to traverse to approach the beach, or to 
bring an effective musketry to bear on it from the heights over- 
looking it directly, was merely a matter of a very few hundred yards. 
The ground furthermore was extremely broken, and it was 
especially awkward on the left and in the left centre, seeing that 
the troops falling back on that flank would be traversing to some 
extent a succession of transverse spurs and gullies. At one point 
in the left centre, known as " The Apex " resting on an offshoot 
of Rhododendron Spur, the advanced trenches were high up in 
the hills, involving a steep descent. These difficulties were, how- 
ever, overcome to some extent by the elaborate system of road 
and track communications that had been laid out, and by the 
fact that the moon on the night of the 19th-20th afforded fair 
light. Owing to the distance to be covered from about Hill 60,^ 

' 400 Indian infantry on the low ground about the Azmak Dere were by 
special arrangement moved off to the embarking places near Nibruneei Point, 
coming under General Maude's orders. 



EVACUATION OF ANZAC 285 

the detachments that were to remain there longest must quit their 
positions at a considerably earlier hour than the detachments 
holding such points as Quinn's Post. Were the abandonment of 
Hill 60 or of trenches near it to be detected by the enemy, 
the discovery might encourage the Turks to press forward at points 
further south, and might lead to the overthrow of the thin line 
that was still holding the front directly covering the beaches, before 
the troops from the far-off left had completed their flank march. 

It had very reluctantly been decided that a few pieces of 
artillery which were high up and in forward positions would have 
to be abandoned ; these kept up a lively fire during the day, to 
which the Ottoman guns responded with some vigour, the beaches 
being somewhat heavily shelled at times. The men were instructed 
to show themselves freely so that the enemy should fail to notice 
how few of them there in reality were. Vigilant watch was kept 
by the aeroplanes to prevent any hostile aviators approaching 
and taking note of the situation. To prevent the noise of tramping 
over rocky patches and over places where timber had been laid 
down being heard when the retirements were in progress during 
the night, a carpeting of sacks was made use of at such points. 

All three Australasian divisions were represented in the final 
scene, as were also the mounted brigades from the Antipodes. 
What may perhaps be called the post of honour — the sections of 
front nearest to Anzac Cove about Pope's, Quinn's, and Courtney's 
Posts and stretching thence southwards towards Lone Pine — were 
held by battalions of the 2nd Australian Division, which had only 
arrived after the severe fighting of August was over. Australian 
Light Horse were on the extreme right towards Chatham and 
Tasman Posts. Hill 60 and adjoining trenches were held by Norfolk 
and Suffolk Yeomanry and Welsh Horse, with the Ghurkas who 
were to embark in the Suvla area on the extreme left. New Zealand 
Mounted Riflemen, the 4th Australian Brigade and Australian 
Light Horse were on their right. The Apex was in the hands of New 
Zealanders. The schedule of movements had been drawn up with 
meticulous care. The exact hour at which each detachment was 
to quit its post, the route that it was to follow, and the point at 
which it was to dovetail into other bodies of troops streaming in 
the same direction had been worked out with infinite pains. Every 
precaution had been taken that subordinate commanders should 



286 THE DAKDANELLES 

be in possession of clear and detailed instructions, and it is indeed 
scarcely an exaggeration to say that every rank-and-file soldier 
engaged in this very delicate operation of war knew exactly what 
he was to do at any given hour of the night. The plan, describing 
it in broad outline, was to call in the troops on the flanks first and 
to continue to hold the line in the right centre — the sector where 
the fighting front ran nearest to the embarking places — for some 
time longer. The whole was governed by the understanding with 
Suvla that the front line trenches on the left must be held till 
1.15 a.m. Yet even from the flanks the retirement was to be 
very gradual. Detachments were, moreover, in pursuance of 
progressive withdrawal all along the front, already to be on their 
way towards the beaches even from the right centre, within 
an hour of complete darkness setting in, i.e. before eight o'clock. 

The weather proved propitious, for the night was still and the 
sea calm, while fleecy clouds drifting across the full moon served 
to shroud the unwelcome brilliancy of its illumination to some 
extent. Embarkation started about 8 p.m. and from the outset 
it proceeded virtually without the slightest hitch. Slender 
detachments, composed of specially chosen men, remained scattered 
along the front until 1.30 a.m. The Turks were in the meantime 
giving no indication that they realised what was in progress ; 
the occasional crack of fixed rifles, that were discharged by a 
mechanical device from abandoned trenches, deceived the enemy 
and fostered the illusion that the defences were occupied as usual. 
As each detachment finally quitted any particular enclave of trench 
the men also fired their rifles off. To this sputtering musketry the 
enemy merely replied in his usual desultory fashion. 

By 1.30 a.m. the troops who still held those parts of the front line 
that remained occupied had been reduced to a very few hundred 
resolute men, and at 2.30 a.m. Chatham Post on the extreme right 
near Brighton Beach was abandoned. Lone Pine was evacuated 
about 3 a.m., and by 3.30 a.m. Pope's, Quinn's, and Courtney's 
Posts, which had been held for some time longer, were no longer 
tenanted, the entire frontline was clear, and the detachments that had 
been clinging to those very important positions directly covering 
Anzac Cove in the centre were hurrying down the familiar tracks that 
led to the place of embarkation. Kifles left in position still chattered 
fitfully, and although hostile infantry were ensconced at some spots 



EVACUATION OF ANZAC 287 

within a very few paces of the empty trenches in this sector, the 
Turkish watchers evidently remained in complete ignorance that 
their antagonists had so deftly slipped away. 

Then of a sudden, about 3.45 a.m., the air was rent with a 
tremendous report. A series of mines about the head of Monash 
Gully had been exploded by the engineers, and the Turks evidently 
at last detected that there was something out of the ordinary 
afoot. For artillery, machine-gun, and rifle fire was opened by 
them on the trenches all along the line — a mere waste of ammuni- 
tion, as the trenches had been evacuated some time before. The 
rearmost Australasian detachments were already pouring on to 
the beach and were speedily afloat, and the naval officer in charge 
was able to report all clear to Admiral Wemyss at 4.15 a.m. The 
retirement had in fact been wholly unmolested by the enemy, and 
the total casualties suffered during the night amounted to three men 
wounded, a few stragglers being taken off by picket boats at dawn. 
The Turks did not open fire on the beaches till about 5.30 a.m. 

Four 18-pounder guns, two 5-inch howitzers, one 4-7-inch gun, 
one anti-aircraft gun, and two 3-pounder Hotchkiss weapons were 
abandoned, all of them representing ordnance already worn out ; 
the pieces were, however, rendered wholly unserviceable before 
departure. Fifty-six sorry mules had to be left behind, as well 
as a few damaged vehicles that were set on fire before they were 
abandoned. Large quantities of stores, however, could not be 
carried off. It was not considered advisable to set these alight 
before retirement, but a heavy bombardment was opened upon 
the dumps near the shore after day had broken, and by this 
means a conflagration was caused. The bombardment both 
here and at Suvla was, however, cut short by Admiral Wemyss, 
who feared a hostile submarine attack, as the presence of enemy 
underwater craft was known ; but one of the specially protected 
cruisers remained off Anzac and claimed to have caused consider- 
able loss to the Turks when these began swarming down from the 
hills to take possession of such booty as had not been destroyed by 
fire. According to German accounts considerable accumulations 
of undamaged stores were captured, and it is possible that the fires 
started by the naval bombardment may have caused less destruc- 
tion than appeared to be the case according to boardship observa- 
tion. Owing to the nature of the area, and to the extent to which 



288 THE DARDANELLES 

the whole position was overlooked, it had been impossible to very 
largely reduce some of the magazines of stores up in the hills, and 
the Turks no doubt acquired a certain amount of loot from these. 

The evacuation of Anzac had proved a greater success than even 
the most sanguine on the side of the Allies had anticipated. All 
the movements had been carried out according to schedule. There 
had been no confusion at any point, neither in clearing the trenches, 
nor between different parties converging in the dark by hill tracks 
towards the beach, nor yet at the points of embarkation where 
enshipment had proceeded like clockwork. The withdrawal had 
proved a triumph of foresight and of organisation. The troops 
had, however, been favoured by a spell of exceptionally favourable 
weather. On the very next day, the 21st, it came on to blow hard 
from the south-west, so that the Anzac force, as also that at Suvla, 
had little more than twenty-four hours to spare in effecting their 
remarkable evacuation. 

Comments on the final evacuation of Anzac. — It will be agreed 
that the behaviour of the weather was a matter of paramount 
importance on the occasion of the final departure from Anzac. 
The beaches were completely exposed, and even a moderate on- 
shore breeze would have made embarkation almost impracticable 
and would have upset all arrangements on the night of the 19th- 
20th. The enemy manifestly had not on the 19th discovered how 
large a portion of the force had been withdrawn during previous 
days, but the hostile staff might well have obtained an inkling of 
the position of affairs had evacuation been compulsorily postponed 
on the critical night. Bad weather might, moreover, have lasted 
several days — it often does in the winter in the .-^gean. Nor was 
this the only danger. There was always the possibility of the 
wind getting up during the night, after a considerable part of the 
garrison that had held the position on the 19th had embarked, 
and after, say. Hill 60 and other outlying positions had been 
abandoned. Had that taken place the Turks must next day have 
discovered how the land lay and might well have overpowered 
the troops that had been left in the lurch on shore. 

A point that should be borne in mind in the case of the Anzac 
evacuation, as also in that of the simultaneous retirement from 
Suvla and of the subsequent departure from Helles, is that dark- 
ness under such circumstances does not help the withdrawing 



EVACUATION OF ANZAC 289 

force merely in that it conceals movements. The Anzacs could 
also count upon darkness lending them valuable aid supposing the 
enemy to discover that evacuation was in progress, because it was 
bound to hamper their antagonists in pursuit. The elaborate 
trench systems and their barbed- wire protection offered the adver- 
sary a serious obstacle at night, even supposing the trenches to 
have been abandoned. The fear of mines and the impossibility of 
finding and cutting electric connections in the dark could be 
depended upon to delay the enemy. This had been foreseen by 
the Commander-in-Chief and General Birdwood. Assuming the 
Osmanlis to have traversed the Anzac trench systems, following 
up the retiring troops, they would be moving in unknown country, 
whereas the withdrawing detachments would be following well- 
known tracks, and darkness would be altogether in their favour. 
But The Neck and adjacent Turkish positions were so near to the 
embarking points that these difficulties would be likely to impede 
the Ottoman forces less at Anzac than would be the case under 
similar conditions at Suvla, where the enemy would be starting at 
a distance of three miles or so from the beaches. 

In so far as the question of slipping away unnoticed out of 
trenches in the close vicinity of hostile positions is concerned, it 
may be remarked that an example of such an operation had been 
provided in Flanders at the end of April, 1915. General Plumer 
had managed to withdraw two divisions by night out of the 
trenches near Ypres and to introduce them into a position some 
distance back, unnoticed by the enemy. But very good arrange- 
ments are required if such a retirement is to be entirely uninter- 
rupted, and it takes efficient troops to carry out this class of opera- 
tion successfully. 

Although the matter was not put to the test, the immediate 
surroundings of Anzac Cove ofEered certain especial advantages 
to the retiring side, supposing that its movements had been dis- 
covered betimes by the enemy and that the Turks had followed 
the departing troops up closely. On the steep hillsides overhanging 
the cove, the Osmanlis would have ofEered a fine target to the 
warships, lighted up as their movements would have been by the 
powerful searchlights of the naval forces. Searchlights indeed may 
prove in themselves a by no means ineffective weapon in a case 
like this, owing to the dazzling effect of their rays upon troops 



290 THE DARDANELLES 

who come within their beams and are obliged to face them ; given 
more level ground about the embarking place than existed at 
Anzac Cove, the searchlights would, if used, be not unlikely to 
dazzle the retiring troops equally with their pursuers — it would 
not be a case of the embarkation proceeding below the level of the 
beams. On comparatively level ground the task of firing over the 
heads of embarking troops at an enemy endeavouring to prevent 
their departure would also necessarily be a more delicate operation 
for ships' gunners, than where the ground rises steeply from the 
foreshore, as at Anzac ; and this would be particularly the case 
during a night retirement. The risk of firing into the fugitive 
force will always act as a deterrent to the warships under such 
circumstances. At St. Cas (the afEair alluded to on page 278) 
Commodore Howe — the hero of the " Glorious First of June " 
many years later — who was in naval command and who had come 
ashore when the situation on the beach was becoming critical, was 
obliged, as the French pressed their attacks relentlessly home, 
to signal to the fleet to stop firing for fear of hitting their own men. 
That afiray took place in daylight. It is easy to imagine the 
difficulty that boardship gunners would experience under at all 
analogous circumstances supposing the struggle to be proceeding 
in the dark, or the arena to be merely illumined by searchlights. 

The final evacuation of Suvla. — As at Anzac, the fighting line 
along the Suvla front on the evening of the 19th of December 
was the same as what had been held for some weeks, and, except 
at its northern end on the Kiritch Tepe Sirt, it was practically the 
line which had been taken up when the severe fighting of August 
came to an end, having only been pushed forward slightly in the 
meantime at most points, as a result of the nibbling offensives 
practised by the various divisions that had at different times 
occupied the trenches. From the seaward slopes of the Kiritch 
Tepe Sirt on the extreme left, the front followed a wavy course 
running west of Aghyl down into the upper basin of the northern 
Azmak Dere and from thence across the Kuchuk Anafarta Ova 
to a little east of Sulajik. South of Sulajik it took the line to 
the neck between Chocolate and Green Hill and beyond that ran 
south-eastwards to the southern Azmak Dere, east of Kavaklar, 
where it came in contact with the Anzac front. This represented 
a length of about five miles. 



EVACUATION OF SUVLA 291 

The northern end of the front on the Kiritch Tepe heights was 
(as is shown on Map VI) about three miles and a half from Suvla 
Point and rather less from the West Beaches, the localities where 
the left half of General Byng's command was to embark. About 
Sulajik the front was only two miles from the embarking places 
about Nibrmiesi Point whence the right half of the Suvla force 
was to depart, while the front further to the south was somewhat 
further off from that point of departure. Thus the last troops to 
quit the trenches had in all cases to march fully two miles to reach 
their boats, while on the extreme left the distance was quite three 
and a half miles. 

When Greneral Birdwood received his definite instructions from 
the Commander-in-Chief to evacuate Anzac and Suvla, Greneral 
Byng had under his command five divisions, with some additional 
troops. The 11th Division had been on the extreme left of the 
line since the end of August ; on its right was the 29th Division 
under General De Lisle ; to the right of this again was the 53rd 
Division under General Marshall ; occupying Chocolate Hill and 
some low ground to the south towards the southern Azmak Dere 
was the 13th Division under General Maude ; on the extreme 
right was the 2nd Mounted Division under General Peyton. That 
represented twelve infantry brigades and some regiments of horse. 
The whole of the 53rd Division, together with the 86th and 
87th Brigades of the 29th Division had, however, been with- 
drawn before the 18th, as well as the 34th Brigade of the 11th 
Division. On that day the line was held as follows, proceeding 
from left to right along the front : 32nd Brigade, 33rd Brigade, 
88th Brigade, 39th Brigade, 38th Brigade, 40th Brigade, Mounted 
Troops. Of these, the first four brigades on the left were to 
embark about Suvla Point under arrangements made by General 
Fanshawe, while the two remaining brigades and the mounted 
troops were to embark near Nibrunesi Point under the orders of 
General Maude. General Maude furthermore had most of the 
artillery that still remained ashore in his sector, as the main gun 
position ever since the first landing in this area had been about 
Lala Baba. 

It is proposed to describe the final operations at the Suvla Point 
end in some detail as they so well illustrate how a considerable 
body of troops can be withdrawn by sea at night although in close 



292 THE DARDANELLES 

touch with the enemy, at a minimum sacrifice in men, animals, and 
material. But before doing so it will not be out of place to point out 
that in many respects the problem of withdrawing General Byng's 
force from the two extremities of Suvla Bay differed very materially 
from that with which General Godley and his subordinate com- 
manders were confronted in the Anzac area. In the first place, owing 
to there being two distinct embarking places and to their position 
in respect to the general line of the fighting front, the troops under 
Generals Fanshawe and Maude were not called upon to make any- 
thing resembling a flank march to reach the boats, such as the 
Australasian detachments about Hill 60 and Demajalik Bair were 
obliged to carry out.^ In the second place, the two promontories 
at either extremity of Suvla Bay were naturally favourable positions 
for rearguards to protect in the event of the retirement being 
followed up. In the third place, it was possible for the last troops 
holding the trenches all along the Suvla front to quit these 
practically simultaneously, whereas at Anzac the trenches on the 
left were abandoned two hours before Pope's Hill and Quinn's Post 
were finally relinquished w^hich made the operation as a whole 
more complicated. Furthermore, the front line at Suvla was not 
dominated by the hostile positions at close range to at all the 
same extent that the front line was at Anzac. It is well to bear 
these factors in mind, as helping to explain why the evacuation of 
General Byng's corps was carried out with much less sacrifice of 
material than was that of General Godley's very awkwardly 
situated troops. 

The withdrawal of the left sector of the Suvla force. — There were 
three points of embarkation about Suvla Point, viz. Suvla Cove at 
the extreme end, and West Beach and Little West Beach inside the 
bay by Gazi Baba. Of these. West Beach was the most con- 
venient in view of the works that had been established during the 
occupation, but Little West Beach was favourable enough, and 
Suvla Cove, as being the most sheltered, was selected for the em- 
barkation of the last detachments of the 32nd Brigade which were 
to cover the final withdrawal of all. The practice of giving names to 
all roads, paths, crossing places, etc., names which came to be very 

1 The march of the 400 Indian troops, and some of the mounted troops on 
the extreme right of the right sector, was to some extent a, flank movement, 
but not at all to the same extent. 



GENERAL FANSHAWE'S SECTOR 293 

well known to all concerned, greatly facilitated the issue of intricate 
orders such as were necessary for an operation such as that which 
the troops under General Fanshawe's charge were called upon to 
carry out on the nights of the 18th-19th and of the 19th-20th. 
It is only proposed to give details as regards the final night's work. 

As will be seen from Map VI, the 32nd Brigade on the extreme 
left occupied in front line the seaward slope of the Kiritch Tepe 
heights, and, thanks to enterprises undertaken during the previous 
two months, its trench system formed a somewhat pronounced 
salient pushed forward in advance of the general front. The 
trenches of the 33rd Brigade followed almost a straight line down 
the southerly face of the ridge, joining on to those held by the 
88th Brigade near the bottom. These joined on to the trenches 
occupied by the 39th Brigade in the plain, the latter extending 
southwards across the Kuchuk Anafarta Ova to near Sulajik. 
The line of demarcation between General Fanshawe's area and 
General Maude's area ran roughly east from the embouchure of 
the Salt Lake to a short distance north of Sulajik. The special 
defence line that had been prepared, which is shown as " 2nd 
Line " on Map VI, extended from the shore beyond the Karakol 
Dagh to the Salt Lake. The " 3rd Line " only extended across 
the area held by the 32nd and 33rd Brigades within the promontory 
north of Suvla Bay ; there was no 3rd Line for the 88th and 39th 
Brigades. But, as it turned out, neither the 2nd nor the 3rd Line 
came to be seriously occupied during the night of the 19th-20th. 
It has to be remembered that the Kiritch Tepe-Karakol Dagh 
ridge was extremely rugged, cut into by dongas and ravines which 
cannot conveniently be shown on a sketch map, and that the 
communications marked on Map VI represented in some cases 
well-marked roads constructed during the past three months, but 
in others were mere paths ; down in the plain there was less need 
for regularly constructed routes, and less difficulty when moving 
off them in the dark. The 32nd and 33rd Brigades were to embark 
at Suvla Cove and West Beach, while the 88th and 39th Brigades 
on their right were to embark at Little West Beach. 

Two field batteries and one mountain battery had been emplaced 
on the high ground occupied by the 11th Division, but by the night 
of the 18th-19th only three sections were left (at the positions 
shown on Map VI), and in the course of the withdrawal on that 



294 



THE LEFT SUVLA SECTOR 




MAP VI. — EVACUATION OF THE LEFT SUVLA SECTOR 



GENERAL FANSHAWE'S SECTOR 295 

night the sections were reduced to one gun each ; a similar plan 
had been adopted with one field battery emplaced on Hill 10. 
Practically everything requiring animals to carry it was removed 
during that night, and the mules were nearly all embarked. The 
four infantry brigades were reduced by 6090 of all ranks, includ- 
ing attached gunners, engineers, medical personnel, etc. — rather 
more than half of the total numbers that had remained on the 
morning of the 18th. The embarkations began immediately after 
dark on the evening of the 18th and they were completed before 
3 a.m., all having proceeded most satisfactorily. 

During the 19th the dumps of rations collected at various points 
were destroyed by puncturing the tins, soaking contents with 
paraffin and fixing automatic arrangements for firing ; it had been 
necessary to leave stores of supplies near the front in the event 
of bad weather setting in at the end, but there was now every 
appearance of the calm continuing. Wells were destroyed during 
the day and tanks broached. Every care was taken during the 
day that the commanders of all detachments, and any individual 
officers or men told off for special duties in connection with the 
coming night's operations, had their schedules and orders and 
were fully acquainted with the programme that they had to carry 
out, that they understood the movements of neighbouring detach- 
ments, and so forth. A complete system of cable communications 
had been laid down extending from the front-line trenches back 
to Suvla Cove, and these would admit of General Fanshawe's 
headquarters keeping touch with the four brigade headquarters, 
and for these keeping touch with their battalions and details as 
withdrawal progressed. Control stations had been set up at points 
where the main routes to be followed by the retiring troops crossed 
the rearward defensive positions, so that the precise whereabouts 
of detachments on their march to the embarking places could be 
ascertained ; it was arranged that each officer in charge of a 
control station would, on the last detachment passing through, 
report the fact and would then disconnect the telephone and pro- 
ceed to his embarking place. This communication system had 
been tested during the night withdrawal of the 18th-19th and had 
worked most satisfactorily. 

The numbers left in the area under General Fanshawe's orders 
at dusk on the evening of the 19th were calculated to be 5114 of 



296 THE DARDANELLES 

all ranks, besides divisional staff, of whom 4614 were in front line, 
holding about two and a half miles of trenches. The strengths of 
the four brigades, with the details attached to them, varied between 
1035 and 1630 — the latter the figure of the 32nd Brigade under 
General Dallas. This brigade was occupying the advanced salient 
on the extreme left of the line and was thus furthest from its 
embarking place at Suvla Cove. 

For some days prior to the 19th a uniform method had been 
followed in regard to artillery and trench-mortar fire after dark, 
and exactly the same procedure was followed after dark on the 
19th. Trenches were relieved as usual, late in the afternoon, and 
working parties were sent up with tools ; tins used for carrying water 
were conveyed up to the front trenches after dark with the usual 
noises, and patrols were sent out at one or two points to make a 
show of activity. There had, moreover, usually been a destroyer 
lying off the shore opposite the extreme left flank of the 
line, ready to assist with shell-fire should the enemy show any 
signs of liveliness on the outer slopes, and this vessel fired a few 
rounds after dark at the Turkish trenches. Occasional bursts of 
machine-gun and rifle fire were indulged in during the early part 
of the night. Especial frameworks of barbed wire had been got 
ready, to be drawn into communication trenches to block these 
should the Turks discover that their adversaries were retiring and 
should they follow the retirement up. To deaden the sound as 
parties quitted the front trenches, the men's boots were as far as 
possible to be wrapped in sacking. The mines in advance of the 
front line were made active at 6 p.m. 

The first detachments began to move quietly off from the front 
line about 5.30 p.m., an hour when it was just dark enough to 
conceal their departure, and by 7.15 p.m. the troops in the front 
trenches had already been reduced in number from 4614 to 3241. 
The three guns that remained on the high ground had completed 
their customary evening shoot by 7.35 p.m. and they thereupon 
moved off, the mountain piece having to follow a very awkward 
track until it reached the nearest main communication leading 
to the rear ; the field gun which remained on Hill 10 was with- 
drawn about the same time. At this hour the 2nd Line was being 
held by 200 men of the 32nd Brigade across the high ground, and 
by 200 men of the 88th Brigade on Hill 10. The first embarkation 



GENERAL FANSHAWE'S SECTOR 297 

commenced both at West Beach and at Little West Beach at 7.15 
p.m. ; the troops detailed for this arrived well up to time, enship- 
ment by means of beetles commenced at once, and the work was 
carried through without difficulty and most expeditiously — as was 
also the case in the later embarkations. 

Between 7.15 p.m. and 9.45 p.m. a great reduction in the numbers 
in front line took place, the total falling during these two and a half 
hours from 3241 to 877. Allowing for non-combatants, staff and 
so forth, it may be assumed that, subsequently to 9.45 p.m., there 
were not more than 800 infantrymen, machine-gun men, and trench- 
mortar men to hold a front of fully two and a half miles. From 
this time on till towards 1.15 a.m., when the trenches were to be 
finally quitted, was the critical period in so far as risk of a hostile 
infantry ,attack was concerned ; but the danger to the force 
as a whole necessarily decreased from hour to hour, if we take 
into consideration the difficulty that the enemy would find in 
advancing in the dark across very broken ground, cut up as it was 
by trenches and intersected in places by barbed wire. The Turks 
would not know where the roads were and must move much more 
slowly than the retiring British. Beyond occasional sniping the 
enemy was, however, showing few signs of life, and was affording no 
indication of having observed what was going on within their 
opponents' lines. Bivouac fires were carefully made up as the 
troops moved off ; and the men still left in occupation of the trenches 
were instructed to make the customary trench noises, and they 
occasionally let off a few rounds. Trench mortars and a few 
machine-guns still remained in position, firing from time to time. 
The advanced dressing stations had been withdrawn at 9 p.m. 
and proceeded partly direct to the embarking places, and partly 
took up positions in rear of the 2nd Line as a temporary measure. 
The second embarkation began according to programme at 9.45 p.m. 
The final stage approached. The trench mortars were all with- 
drawn from the front about 11.15 p.m., and half an hour later 
the detachments of the 32nd Brigade in occupation of the advanced 
salient fell back from this to the old line abreast of the 33rd Brigade 
under special arrangements, so that the whole of the groups still 
left in front line, numbering now 677 of all ranks, were able to move 
off simultaneously at 1.15 a.m. in accordance with General Fan- 
shawe's programme. The enemy still displayed no signs of activity, 



298 THE DARDANELLES 

although some of the supply dumps had by this time been fired 
under special orders received from corps headquarters. It had been 
intended that the 2nd Line should be held if necessary ; but as 
the enemy was quiescent all along the front, the troops marched 
straight to the beaches. The third embarkations began at 1.15 a.m. 
and the fourth about 3 a.m., the last of the 39th Brigade (330 men), 
of the 88th Brigade (187 men), and of the 33rd Brigade (255 men) 
being timed to pass the 2nd Line, or to withdraw from it, at 2 a.m. 
Of the 32nd Brigade 200 men had taken up position at the 4th 
Line at 1.15 a.m. to act as final rearguard to the embarking troops ; 
the last of the troops of this brigade from the front line (230 men) 
were timed to pass the 2nd Line at 2 a.m. like those of the other 
brigades. The fourth embarkation was carried on between 3 a.m. 
and 4.30 a.m., and at 4 a.m. the supply dumps down on the shore 
were fired ; by that time the whole of the 33rd, 39th, and 88th 
Brigades were afloat. 

The 200 men of the rearguard left by the 32nd Brigade at the 
4th Line were ordered down to Suvla Cove at 4.30 a.m., and they 
embarked at once in a beetle, pushing off about 5.15 a.m. ; Generals 
Fanshawe and Dallas with the signalling detachment were taken 
off at the same time in a picket boat. Everything at the beaches 
had worked smoothly during the night, the naval arrangements 
having been admirable throughout till the very end ; but by a 
singular coincidence the transport which w^as to have conveyed 
the last detachments and the staff across to Imbros sailed without 
them, and these had to make the fifteen miles' voyage from Suvla 
Point to Kephalos Bay in the picket boat and lighter ; the weather 
being calm this presented no difficulty. Every man, gun, vehicle, 
and animal had been withdrawn, and only one or two men had 
been wounded by accidental bullets during the night. It had not 
been possible to remove the cables ; but all the ammunition had 
been got away, and the few stores left behind were in full blaze 
as the last of the troops quitted the shore, leaving merely an 
insignificant, undamaged booty for the Turks to seize when they 
eventually advanced. 

The warships opened a bombardment on the abandoned trenches 
as soon as it was light, and the enemy promptly followed suit, 
showing thereby that the trenches had not been seized. The 
Turkish artillery also fired on the burning dumps apparently 



GENERAL MAUDE'S SECTOR 299 

under the impression that the conflagrations were accidental. 
Only then would the Osmanlis seem to have realised that their 
antagonists had disappeared, although, as will be seen in the 
quotation given from an anonymous German staff ojSicer on page 
303, it is claimed that they had become aware of the retirement 
early in the night. The navy also directed fire on the dumps on 
the beaches, and by the same means they destroyed four beetles 
w^hich had been driven ashore during the gale at the end of 
November mentioned on page 262, and which it had not been 
found possible to get off again. The enemy does not appear to 
have occupied the Suvla Point promontory until after 9 a.m., 
being kept at a distance by the belted cruiser which remained 
off the coast after the rest of the naval flotilla had (as already 
mentioned on page 287) retired to Kephalos for fear of enemy 
submarines. The withdrawal of the left sector of the Suvla force 
had been effected with remarkable precision, in perfect order and 
in brilliant style. 

The withdrawal oJ the right sector of the Suvla force. — General 
Maude's arrangements for retiring the troops from the right sector 
were drawn up on analogous lines to those framed by General 
Fanshawe, and the story of the operation need not therefore be 
told in detail. About half of the 38th and 40th Brigades and the 
mounted troops still left, together with a large amount of impedi- 
menta and some guns, embarked on the night of the 18th-19th ; 
nearly the whole of the troops still left in the sector on the 19th 
occupied the trenches throughout that day. The beach inside of 
Nibrunesi Point, which was protected by a sunken vessel and was 
furnished with a good pier, was a favourable point for embarking 
troops and material, and C Beach was also used to some extent. 
All that it was proposed to remove on the night before the final 
evacuation was got afloat without difficulty by 3 a.m. It in- 
cluded two field howitzers, and four field guns. The Turks made 
some good practice at C Beach and the pier on the 19th, smashing 
one span of the pier. 

The scheme for the final night was that the troops should all 
retire by the southern side of the Salt Lake to the embarking 
places. It was considered necessary to keep two howitzers in 
action on Lala Baba, as well as eight field guns, so as to deceive 
the enemy and also so as to support the infantry in case the 



300 THE DARDANELLES 

enemy should deliver an attack during the day anywhere between 
the northern line of heights and the right of the Suvla front. 
The withdrawal of the howitzers and six of the guns began as soon 
as it was dark enough to hide movements of men on the hill from 
the Turkish lines two miles away, a few rounds having been fired 
during the day, as usual ; they were embarked especially at Little 
West Beach. The two remaining guns were withdrawn at 8 p.m. 

The hour for the final retirement from the front trenches was 
fixed for 1.15 a.m., so as to coincide with the withdrawal of the 
troops in front line in the left sector. The programme contem- 
plated holding the second line if necessary, which, as already 
stated, included Lala Baba and entrenchments running diagonally 
from the Salt Lake across to B Beach. But, as in the left sector, 
the precautions taken to hoodwink the Turks, the care with which 
the schedules of movements had been drawn up, the dexterity 
displayed by subordinate leaders in carrying out their delicate 
tasks, and the admirable discipline of the rank and file, caused the 
abandonment of the front line to remain unnoticed by the opposing 
side. Consequently the last detachments to quit the trenches were 
able to move straight through to the place of embarkation. 
Special arrangements had been made for passing them through the 
defensive system stretching across the isthmus south of the Salt 
Lake. 100 men with 3 machine guns held this line, and 250 men 
with 6 machine guns held Lala Baba. But these troops had no 
work to do, and were able to move down to the beach about 3 a.m. 
and to embark at 4 a.m. — an hour and a quarter earlier than the 
rearguard in the northern sector got afloat at Suvla Cove. The 
supply dumps about the beach were ignited at the same time. As 
in the evacuation of the northern sector, every man, gun, vehicle, 
and animal was brought of!, and there were no casualties. 

The arrangements for rendering the few abandoned stores useless 
to the enemy were very complete and the material was in 
a blaze as the last of the troops quitted Suvla Bay. A short 
but brisk bombardment by the warships as soon as day broke 
completed the destruction. As far as could be ascertained the 
enemy remained as entirely unaware in the right sector that the 
invaders had slipped away, as was the case in the left sector. The 
action of the navy apparently first made the Turks acquainted 
with the dramatic change that had taken place during the night 



THE SUVLA EVACUATION 301 

watches almost within a stone's throw of their sentries. They had 
been particularly busy digging and improving wire entanglements 
during the night, and appear to have expected attack in the 
morning. 

Comments on the evacuation of the Suvla area. — The most 
significant feature in the withdrawal of General Byng's forces 
from the Suvla area was the situation created on the 19th, when 
practically the whole of the infantry still left was occupying a line 
of trenches nearly five miles in length, without reserves, the 
number of rifles not much exceeding 8000. The only support was 
provided by a very small number of guns and some trench mortars. 
It is strange that neither here nor at Anzac does the enemy appear 
to have had the slightest idea that there was so little in front of 
him on that date, and that such huge withdrawals of men, guns, 
vehicles, and material of all kinds had taken place during the 
previous few days. Served by more numerous and more enter- 
prising aviators, the Turks must have discovered the true position of 
affairs, and if so they would surely have delivered a furious attack 
upon the thin line of invaders. That is a point worth noting, because 
what occurred during this first evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula 
must not be taken as an assured precedent. 

The plan actually adopted proved emphatically the right one. 
It is difficult indeed to see what other method could have achieved 
so remarkable a success. A retirement by stages, with the idea 
of opposing the enemy advancing in pursuit, would inevitably 
have meant delay ; and, although the winter nights were long, 
the last of General Fanshawe's troops, as it was, only got away 
on the morning of the 20th a short time before dawn. But the 
essence of the plan was that the enemy should remain wholly 
unaware that retirement was in progress. Supposing the Turks 
had attacked about 10 p.m. — and in the earlier days of the 
Gallipoli campaign they had shown a marked bent for night 
attacks and had delivered these with great determination — they 
might easily enough have broken through at certain points, seeing 
how weak were the detachments that were spread out at that 
hour along the extended line. The assailants would thereupon 
have realised that their foes were in full retreat and would surely 
have made desperate efforts to follow up, in spite of the mines, 
of the barbed wire, and the trenches, and of the difficult terrain 



302 THE DARDANELLES 

at least in the northern sector. Much would then have depended 
upon whether the 2nd Line had been effectively taken up, upon 
the rate at which the Turks moved in the dark and upon whether 
the 2nd Line would hold. Supposing the 2nd Line to go, the 
triumphant Osmanlis would have been able to get very near to 
the embarking places. Still, the Suvla Point promontory, as also 
the peculiar topographical conditions about Lala Baba and the 
fortified isthmus to the south, would have greatly favoured rear- 
guard work, and it is likely enough that even under such untoward 
conditions the greater part of the personnel left in the Suvla area 
on the 19th could have been got away by daybreak, before a 
heavy rifle fire could be brought to bear by the enemy on the 
embarking places. 

But the most serious danger to be anticipated, supposing that 
the enemy should, discover that the troops in the front trenches 
were retiring or had retired, did not lie in what their infantry might 
do in the way of harassing retreat and of bringing musketry or 
machine-gun fire to bear on the beaches. It lay in the possibility 
of the Ottoman artillery opening a furious bombardment of the 
beaches, which were accurately registered from the enemy's gun 
emplacements. Realising that their antagonists were evacuating 
the Suvla area, the Turks would have been justified in using up 
pretty nearly the whole of their artillery ammunition in a final 
effort to do as much damage to the retiring forces as possible. 
This might have caused serious loss and confusion, beetles might 
have been sunk alongside the jetties, the jetties might have been 
seriously damaged, and the embarking process might have been 
so much retarded as to give the Osmanli infantry time to come 
up with the later echelons of the British ere these could be got 
afloat. This held good both in the northern and the southern 
sectors at Suvla, and it held good likewise during the subse- 
quent evacuation of Helles. At Anzac, as we have seen, the 
position was somewhat different ; but there also a heavy bom- 
bardment of the beaches while the withdrawal was in progress 
on the night of the 19th-20th would have been in the highest 
degree inconvenient. 

Looking at the problem of embarkation in presence of the 
enemy in the abstract, it is well to remember that the conditions 
at Suvla, as also at Anzac (and also later on at Helles, although 



A GERMAN ACCOUNT 303 

not to the same extent in the latter case), during the w ithdiawals of 
the Allied forces from the Gallipoli Peninsula scarcely supply typical 
examples of a military operation of this particular kind. Such 
an operation will, as a rule, be the epilogue to some strategical or 
tactical failure. The enemy will be alert and on the watch and will 
be endeavouring to improve upon his previous successes. He will 
be fully aware that the troops opposed to him are trying to escape, 
and he will press them for all he is worth. The Suvla force had been 
in occupation of the trenches that it held to the last for several 
weeks, and the Turks were satisfied to maintain a passive defensive. 
They appear indeed to have been keeping somew^hat careless guard. 
Sir J. Moore's army w^as enabled to effect its embarkation undis- 
turbed after its strategical retreat from Sahagun,as a result of the 
victory of Corunna. General Bligh's little force at St. Cas, on the 
other hand, had to fight it out while embarkation was actually 
in progress, it met with a minor disaster in spite of vigorous naval 
assistance, and, although conditions of armament and of tactics 
have undergone a transformation since that day, the affair on the 
Brittany coast perhaps provides a more pertinent example of an 
evacuation by sea in face of the enemy than do the operations 
on the shores of the .'Egean on the night of the 19th-20th of 
December, 1915. 

The German account. — It was given out at the time from German 
sources that the invaders had been hustled off the peninsula from 
Anzac and Suvla, suffering heavy losses in personnel and material. 
This story is repeated by an anonymous staff officer of Marshal 
Liman von Sanders in Gallifoli. Der Kampf um den Orient, and, 
as the account of the withdrawal given in this chapter has been 
based entirely on British sources of information, it seems in accord- 
ance with the fitness of things to quote what the staff officer in 
question has to say. The passage may be translated as follows : — 

" Or the night of the 19th-20th of December information reached 
the higher command from the Northern and Anafarta Sectors " (Anzac 
and Suvla areas) " that the enemy was abandoning his advanced 
positions. Orders were instantly given for a general attack on this 
front. The enemy was unable to offer effective resistance at any point. 
Where he tried to hold his ground he was overwhelmed. Line after 
fine of defence fell into our hands. The shore was alive with a multitude 
of troops, artillery was brought up and poured shot and shell into 



304 THE DAEDANELLES 

the crowded hostile ranks ; the confusion was terrible. Those who 
escaped the holocaust rushed to the boats, which put ofE in disorder 
and hurried helter-skelter to the ships." 

The reader is entitled to take his choice between the story as 
it is related by the German staff officer and as it has been related 
in foregoing paragraphs. But to show that the stafE officer's 
interpretation of the operations was not universally accepted 
within the Turkish lines, it may be permissible to give the view 
of a German correspondent who was with the enemy on the night 
of the evacuation, which is quoted by Mr. Nevinson in his book 
on the campaign. " So long as wars exist," wrote this correspondent 
in the Vossische Zeitung on the 21st of January, 1916, " the British 
evacuation of the Ari Burnu and Anafarta fronts will stand before 
the eyes of all strategists of retreat as a hitherto quite unattained 
masterpiece." Marshal Liman von Sanders in the interview re- 
corded in Appendix IV also tells a different story from that of his 
staff officer. 



CHAPTER XV 



THE EVACUATION OF HELLES 



The decision to withdraw from Helles. — His Majesty's Govern- 
ment had been, as we have seen, in a condition of painful indecision 
as to what course to pursue in respect to the Dardanelles venture 
ever since September, and they had not been prepared, when they 
did make up their minds, to do the thing thoroughly. 

The naval situation did not change appreciably during December. 
Any arguments that could be put forward at the beginning of that 
month for maintaining a military grip upon the extremity of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula, remained equally cogent in its closing days. 
But the signally successful evacuation of the two northern areas 
would seem to have modified the views of the home authorities 
concerning the position at the Straits, and certain noteworthy 
changes that took place at the War Ofiice about Christmas time 
helped to decide the issue. For orders were despatched to Greneral 
Monro on the 28th to carry out a withdrawal from Helles, and the 
matter was at once taken in hand by him in consultation with 
General Birdwood, who still commanded the Dardanelles forces, 
and with Admiral de Robeck. General Davies was in immediate 
command of the troops that were to be removed. 

While granting that there was something to be said from the 
naval point of view for keeping a footing at the toe of the peninsula 
and on the European side of the mouth of the Straits, it can fairly 
be insisted that the military objections to such a course were 
conclusive. Relieved of all anxiety as to the Anzac and Suvla 
fronts whence the Narrows had so long been menaced, the enemy 
was now in a position to concentrate the whole of the land forces 
at his disposal in this theatre of war against General Davies' 
divisions. It was, moreover, inevitable that the Turkish artillery 

X 305 



306 THE DARDANELLES 

facing Helles would sooner or later receive substantial accessions 
of strength, quite apart from the pieces that could be moved across 
from the northern area ; the Central Powers were in a position to 
despatch heavy ordnance with abundant ammunition from the 
German and Austro -Hungarian factories to Thrace for service at the 
Dardanelles. The entire Helles area was swept by shell-fire from 
the north and also from the east across the Dardanelles, and the 
possibility existed that the enemy would in due course assemble 
such a weight of guns and howitzers as to render the Allies' position 
at the extremity of the peninsula wholly untenable owing to artillery 
fire alone. In any case, losses were bound to be extremely heavy 
from this cause even if there were no active operations, and the 
landing of stores might be rendered virtually impracticable except 
at night. An especially severe bombardment on the 24th of 
December afforded the troops holding this unprofitable position 
a foretaste of what might be expected later. Moreover, the longer 
the position was held, the more difficult would it become to evacuate 
the troops should withdrawal be eventually decided upon. 

The problem. — Generals Birdwood and Davies were now called 
upon to deal with a situation which, if in some respects a less 
anxious one than that which had been disposed of so effectively 
at Anzac and Suvla in mid-December, in realitypresented a decidedly 
more difficult problem. 

It is true thatHelles enjoyed, from the point of view of evacuation, 
certain distinct advantages as compared with Anzac and even with 
Suvla. There was, for instance, a considerable choice of embarking 
points at Helles, Gully Beach, X Beach, W Beach, V Beach, and 
Morto Bay all being available. The three latter were decidedly 
better sheltered than Anzac in case of bad weather, W Beach with 
its fairly solid little breakwater could be made use of even with 
moderately strong south-westerly winds, thanks to sunken ships 
V Beach was well protected in ordinary weather, and Morto Bay, 
apart from danger of hostile shell-fire, was serviceable under almost 
any atmospheric conditions. Owing to the direction of the front 
line (extending from about Fusilier Bluff to the Kerevez Dere) 
in relation to the embarking places, retirement would naturally 
be carried out direct to the rear, there would be no occasion for a 
flank march such as the troops about Hill 60 and Demajalik Bair 
had been called upon to carry out on the night of the 19th-20th 



THE HELLES PROBLEM 307 

of December, the withdrawal from the front trenches at the last 
could therefore be carried out simultaneously all along the front 
if thought desirable. Then again, General Davies enjoyed the 
benefit of the experiences gained during the evacuation of the two 
northern areas ; Admiral de Robeck and his subordinates had like- 
wise learnt useful lessons while the clearing of Anzac and Suvla 
was being effected. Furthermore — and this was a point of con- 
siderable importance — the trench systems at Helles were decidedly 
more elaborate than those which had been created in the northern 
areas, because (largely owing to the advances which had taken 
place on several occasions) there actually were several lines in 
existence. These several lines would constitute very awkward 
obstacles for an enemy to traverse in the dark, assuming — as it 
was safe to do — that the final retirement would take place by 
night. All these were points to the good. 

But there was also another side to the picture. Marshal Liman 
von Sanders was almost as well able to appreciate the situation 
as this presented itself to General Monro and Admiral de Robeck 
as were the authorities now called upon to effect the withdrawal, 
and he must have realised that there was at least a strong likeli- 
hood of an evacuation of Helles. General Davies was, moreover, 
face to face with relatively far stronger forces in respect to numbers 
and to artillery than those which had been opposing the Anzac 
and Suvla armies when these were quitting the peninsula. The 
Turks had naturally received great encouragement from what 
had occurred in the northern areas ; they were in a much more 
aggressive mood than they had been during the first three weeks 
of December, their patrols were showing enterprise and activity, 
and hostile aircraft were operating with increased energy and 
daring. Most important of all, however, was the fact that the 
difiiculty of carrying out a withdrawal by surprise had been vastly 
increased owing to the warning that the enemy had received at 
Anzac and Suvla, because the opposing troops would be likely to 
maintain much more careful guard than had been the case when 
the attenuated forces under Generals Godley and Byng had slipped 
away so cleverly on the night of the 19th-20th of December. It 
must also be remembered that General Davies could scarcely hope 
to enjoy such good luck in respect to weather as had favoured the 
Anzac and Suvla forces, from the date on which their evacuation 



308 THE DARDANELLES 

had been definitely ordered up to the climax of their dramatic 
operations. 

The situation on the 28th of December. — The Commander-in- 
Chief had foreseen the likelihood of orders arriving from home 
for the evacuation of Helles, and on the 24th of December he 
instructed General Birdwood to make all preliminary preparations 
for such an operation. By that date the damage done to the 
landing-places at W and V Beaches on the occasion of the gale 
at the end of November had been made good. Orders had come 
early in December for the transfer of the 2nd French Division 
under General Brulard from the Gallipoli Peninsula to Salonika ; 
and by the 21st the greater part of the infantry of that division 
had already been taken out of the line, the Royal Naval Division 
replacing the troops so withdrawn in the right sector of the front. 
In addition to the French still left, and to the Royal Naval Division 
under General Paris, the troops at Helles on the 24th consisted 
of the 29th Division that had been transferred in the latter part 
of the month from Suvla under General de Lisle, the 42nd Division 
under General Douglas, and the 52nd Division under General 
Lawrence. The 11th Division and the 13th Division, troops just 
withdrawn from Suvla, were available as a reserve in the islands. 
Arrangements had already been made for the removal of the 53rd 
and 54th Divisions and of the three Australasian divisions, as well 
as of the mounted troops, from the islands to Egypt. 

General Birdwood at once arranged with General Brulard to 
relieve the French infantry still in front line, so as to escape the 
inconveniences of divided command. But it M^as agreed at the 
same time that the French artillery still in the peninsula should 
be lent to the VHIth Corps under General Davies and should in case 
of evacuation only be withdrawn at the same time as the British 
artillery was removed. Besides a number of 75-mm. field guns, 
this French artillery included six old heavy guns that had done 
very valuable service in combating the hostile artillery on the 
Asiatic side of the Straits during the previous months, but which 
were practically worn out. 

General Monro's instructions with regard to the carrjang out of 
the evacuation. — In his despatch of the 26th of January, 1916, 
describing the withdrawal of the troops. Admiral de Robeck gives 
the following summary of the instructions given by General Monro 



I 



GENERAL MONRO'S INSTRUCTIONS 309 

on the occasion of his conference with the admiral and General 
Birdwood on the 28th of December : — 

" In considering the evacuation of the Helles position it was laid 
down by Sir Charles Monro, for the guidance of the army, that : 

(a) The withdrawal should be conducted with the utmost rapidity, 
the final stage being limited to one night. 

(b) Every effort should be made to improve embarkation facilities 
at as many points on the coast as could be used, other than " W " 
and " V " Beaches. 

(c) Every endeavour should be made to evacuate as many as possible 
of the following : British — 18-pounder guns,^ 4-5-inch howitzers, 
60-pounder guns, 6-inch guns. French — 75-mm. guns, heavy guns. 
Also artillery ammunition and such small arm ammunition as could 
safely be withdrawn before the final stage. 

(d) The period of time which must elapse before the final stage 
could be undertaken would be determined by the time required to 
collect necessary shipping and to make essential preparations ashore 
(work on beaches, pathways, etc.) taken in conjunction with the 
necessity for evacuating the superfluous personnel and as much as 
possible of the material mentioned in (c). 

(e) During the " intermediate stage," the duration of which would 
be determined by the foregoing considerations, such other animals, 
material, stores, and suppHes as could be embarked without prolong- 
ing this period would also be evacuated. 

Forty-eight hours before the evacuation was completed the number 
of men remaining on the peninsula was to be cut down to 22,000. 
Of these 7000 were to embark on the last night but one, leaving 15,000 
for the final night ; at the request of the mihtary the latter number 
was increased to 17,000.^ As few guns as possible were to be left to the 
final night, and arrangements were made to destroy any of these 
which it might be found impossible to remove or which, by reason 
of their condition, were considered not worth removing." 

The Commander-in-Chief also expressed a wish that animals and 
vehicles as well as the artillery above named should be got away, 
in so far as was compatible with reasonable safety to personnel, 
and that the troops from the front trenches should on the last night 
withdraw straight to the beaches, and should not take up an inter- 
mediate position unless they were to be seriously molested, thus 

' Territorial divisions (42nd and 52nd) had the semi-obsolete 15 pr. 
^ These figures do not appear to be correct, vide p. 316. 



310 THE DARDANELLES 

following the precedents set at Anzac and Siivla. He at the same 
time explained the course which he thought ought to be adopted 
as regards deceiving the Turks : — 

" The situation on the peninsula had not materially changed owing 
to our withdrawal from Suvla and Anzac, except that there was a 
markedly increased activity in aerial activity over our positions and the 
islands of Mudros and Imbros, and that hostile patrolling of our 
trenches was more frequent and more daring. The most important 
factor was that the number of heavy guns on the European and 
Asiatic shores had been considerably augmented, and that these guns 
were liberally supplied with German ammunition, the result of which 
was that our beaches were being continuously shelled, especially from 
the Asiatic shore. I gave it as my opinion that in my judgment I did 
not regard a feint as an operation offering any prospect of success. 
Time, the uncertainty of the weather conditions in the j^gean, the 
absence of a suitable locality, and the withdrawal of small craft from 
the main issue for such an operation, were some of the reasons which 
influenced me in the decision at which I arrived. With the concur- 
rence of the Vice-Admiral, therefore, it was decided that the navy 
should do their utmost to pursue a course of retaliation against the 
Turkish batteries, but to refrain from any unusually aggressive attitude 
should the Turkish guns remain quiescent."^ 

General Monro had selected Mudros as his headquarters from 
the outset, General Birdw^ood making his at Imbros from the date 
of his taking over command of the Dardanelles Army. On the 30th, 
the Commander-in-Chief, having received orders from home that 
he was to hand over charge of the Mediterranean Force and was to 
resume command of an army in France, broke up his headquarters 
at Mudros and proceeded to Alexandria. He made over command 
at Cairo on the 9th of January to his successor, the evacuation of 
Helles having (as will be seen) been completed during the previous 
night. He had realised from the time of his arrival in the ^gean 
at the end of October that a withdrawal from the peninsula was 
imperative, and he had the gratification of remaining in general 
control of the very complex operation of evacuation to the end, 
and of knowing before laying down his responsibilities that the 
task had been triumphantly accomplished. 

The preliminary stage of the operation. — Two brigades of the 

1 Sir C. Monro's despatch of the 16th March, 1916. 



PREPARATIONS FOR EVACUATION 311 

13th Division, already experienced in the art of evacuation by sea 
in presence of an enemy, were shipped across from Imbros on the 
29th of December in relief of the 42nd Division. As a means of 
deceiving the Turks as to what was in contemplation, it was given 
out in published orders that this transfer of troops was part of a 
general relief of the Vlllth Corps by the IXth Corps gradually to be 
carried out. General Maude's division took over the left of the 
line — the stretch of trenches between the Great Gully and Fusilier 
BluS, with some ground also to the right of the gully. The front 
next to the right of the 13th Division was in occupation of the 29th 
Division ; to the right of that again was the 52nd Division ; while 
on the extreme right, in occupation of the sector previously held 
by General Brulard's French division, was the Royal Naval Division. 
It had been in contemplation to bring the 11th Division over from 
Imbros in relief of the 29th ; but this arrangement was not carried 
out in the end, although a brigade of the 11th Division was held 
in readiness to be shipped across should its services be required. 
The French infantry still left within the area took ship between 
the 2nd and 4th of January and proceeded to Mudros, and the 
86th Brigade of the 29th Division left on the night of the 
3rd-4th. 

Greneral Lawrence was chosen to supervise actual embarkation 
operations on the military side, naval arrangements being placed 
in the hands of Captain Staveley, R.N. Both officers were furnished 
with especially selected stafis to assist them. General Bird wood 
had furthermore placed the services of some of the staff officers 
who had gained experience in the withdrawals from Suvla and 
Anzac at the disposal of General Davies. 

Work was at once taken in hand at the beaches in respect to 
increasing the facilities for effecting rapid embarkation. It was 
proposed at the outset to make use of Gully Beach, X Beach, 
W Beach, and V Beach. The pier at Gully Beach was therefore 
thoroughly repaired, having been little used latterly. Six piers 
were put in hand at X Beach. Many important improvements 
were effected at the last at W Beach ; a couple of ships had been 
sunk, end on to each other, beyond the outer extremity of the 
breakwater pier rimning out from Cape Tekke, which protected 
the beach from the west ; a floating bridge was taken in hand 
to connect the end of the pier with these hulks, and arrangements 



312 THE DARDANELLES 

were made on these to admit of troops being taken off them both 
on their outer and their inner side. There were also three other 
shorter piers at W Beach ; these were considerably improved by 
the engineers. The pier arrangements at V Beach had been greatly 
developed by the French during recent months, providing better 
shelter than existed at W Beach, with superior jetty facilities ; 
besides the River Clyde, dating from the original landing, there 
were now sunk as block ships the French battleship Massena and 
another vessel ; useful work was nevertheless carried out during 
the first few days of January at this beach also in improving means 
of embarking in lighters. In such constructions as were taken 
in hand subsequent to the 29th of December, the object ever 
particularly kept in mind was the devisiog of means to accelerate 
the rate at which personnel would be able to embark in the 
beetles on the last night of evacuation. 

The total number of officers and men on shore to be embarked 
in due course was in round numbers 40,000 of all ranks, with 
150 guns, on the 29th of December ; there were furthermore 4500 
animals to be got oS if possible, besides great quantities of valuable 
stores, of ammunition, and so forth. The evacuation of men who 
were not thoroughly fit, of guns, of animals, of certain non- 
combatant services, and of war material of all kinds began at once. 
A Greek Labour Corps, which had been performing very useful 
service on the beaches, was embarked on the pretsxt that the 
shelling was for the present too severe to justify their remaining, 
the men being told that they would be brought back as soon as 
the Turkish guns had been silenced. The withdrawal of the artillery 
was carried out on the same lines as at Suvla ; four-gun batteries 
were reduced to two guns each, and later on to a single gun, the 
artillery personnel being shipped off as the number of guns 
diminished. Actual departures from the beaches and piers for 
practical purposes only took place by night. 

The work was continuous, the weather, as will be seen below, 
serving fairly well for loading-up operations at the shore end, but 
proving less propitious on certain nights for transferring the 
personnel, animals, and stores from the lighters to the " carrier 
ships " lying further out. The beach parties were engaged all 
day long in loading up the beetles so that these should be ready 
to move off to the store-ships after dark. The operations had to 



PREPARATIONS FOR EVACUATION 313 

be interrupted on several occasions by day on the appearance of 
enemy aeroplanes, which were showing ever-increasing activity 
although the invaders in general held command of the air. On 
such occasions animals and transport that happened to be moving 
down to the beaches turned hastily round and proceeded in the 
opposite direction, and loading up at the piers and lighters was 
converted into discharging work for the time being ; animals 
were even taken out of the lighters on some occasions so as to 
deceive the hostile reconnoitrers. As it turned out, only W and V 
Beaches were actually used, although it had originally been intended 
to carry out evacuation work at X and Gully Beaches as well. 

All this time the bouts of shelling of the beaches and the trenches 
on the part of the enemy were recurring with a growing frequency 
and were conducted with ever-developing intensity, in spite of 
efiective reply from monitors and cruisers, so that the average 
number of daily casualties from this source kept on the upward 
grade. ^ Alike about Achi Baba and on the further side of the 
Straits the Turkish gunners had accurately registered their pieces 
on W and V Beaches, and heavy bombardments were carried out 
by day and by night at uncertain intervals, showing that the enemy 
realised, or assumed, that preparations for withdrawal were in 
progress. The guns on the Asiatic side firing high- explosive shell 
were particularly troublesome ; heavy howitzers were emplaced 
near Kum Kale at the very end. " That the actual loss of life from 
this fire was very small," Admiral de Robeck remarks in his 
despatch, " borders on the miraculous ; the beach parties were 
completely exposed, and piers and foreshore were constantly hit 
by shell while officers and men were working on them ; even when 
resting in the dug-outs security from enemy fire could not be 
assured, and several casualties occurred under these conditions." 

In the meantime, special defensive positions were chosen and 
were prepared in view of possible eventualities at the last ; they 
were designed for accommodation of small detachments, whose 
task would be to maintain themselves in them for a short time. 
General Mauds selected a suitable line for covering Gully Beach, 
that locality having at the time been told ofi as the place of embarka- 

^ The monitors generally lay under cover of Rabbit Island, and when they 
issued out devoted their attention especially to the enemy artillery on the 
Asiatic side of the Straits. 



314 THE DARDANELLES 

tion of what would be left ashore of his division on the last night. 
Certain detached positions covering X Beach, W Beach, and 
V Beach were prepared. The old lines which extended right across 
the peninsula, and which represented fronts that had been held 
successively by the invaders at different times during their gradual 
advance to the trenches now in their occupation, were repaired 
to some extent, and gaps occurring in the lines of barbed wire 
were filled up at important points. A fresh line of posts extending 
across from De Tott's Battery to near Gully Beach was established. 
Finally a small " keep " was designed at Cape Tekke to which it 
was proposed that men who should be left behind by any chance 
on the last night should repair ; food and water were arranged 
for here, the idea being that it might possibly be feasible to get 
such a party off subsequently. All communications that were 
not to be used on the last night were gradually barred at points 
where they passed through the defensive lines, and arrangements 
were made for closing at the last moment the communications to 
be left open, after the final parties had passed through. " Con- 
trols " were to be established at these points in telephonic com- 
munication with divisional headquarters, as at Suvla {vide page 
295). 

As the withdrawal of the whole of the heavy guns that were in 
the habit of replying to the Turkish guns would have made the 
enemy suspicious, it was decided to retain, and to destroy at the 
last moment, one British 6-inch gun and the six French heavy 
guns mentioned above — the latter with the full approval of General 
Brulard ; it was foreseen that it would be impossible to remove 
these pieces on the last night. From the date of the order of 
evacuation being issued, the rate of artillery fire was reduced to 
that which the number of guns to remain on the last day would 
be able to keep up. At the same time it was arranged that all 
rifle fire and hand-grenade throwing should cease nightly at 1L30 
p.m., as it was intended that the final detachments should quit 
the trenches at 11.45 p.m. on the last night ; there was to be no 
activity after that hour unless the enemy became very aggressive. 
The object of these orders was to accustom the Turks to a period 
of quiescence on the British side each night after 11.30 p.m. This 
plan produced the desired result. The opposing side followed 
suit, and during the last few nights before the Helles force quitted 



UNFAVOURABLE WEATHER 315 

the peninsula hostile activity after 11.30 p.m. was practically 
confined to the long-range bombardments of the beaches. 

The unfavourable weather. — Reference has been made above to 
the losses and the annoyance caused on the beaches by the Turkish 
artillery fire, and to the delays caused at times by the appearance 
of enemy aviators. But a much graver cause of anxiety and of 
inconvenience arose from the weather conditions, which had become 
much less settled than had been the case while the Anzac and Suvla 
forces were effecting their withdrawal. The apprehension which 
the possibility of strong winds and rough seas had caused to Admiral 
Wemyss during those operations has been referred to on page 282, 
but still days and nights were, as it turned out, then to be the 
rule. That he had had good grounds for solicitude had, however, 
been shown on the 21st of December and again on the 24th, days 
which were signalised by some very boisterous weather. That 
break marked the close of the spell of calms which had prevailed 
during the middle weeks of the month, and heralded a period of 
atmospheric disturbances occurring at short intervals for some 
time to come. 

Strong north-easterly winds lasted all day on the 2nd and 3rd 
of January and during the following nights. The 4th was calm ; 
but a change came on that evening, and it blew a gale from the 
north-east during the night which only gradually died down in 
the course of the following day ; on the 6th the weather was favour- 
able. Owing to the direction of the wind being off-shore at W 
and V Beaches on the occasions of its blowing with force during 
these days and nights, actual embarkation work at the shore-end 
was not much interfered with ; but the rough water and strong 
wind outside rendered the transhipment of animals and stores 
from the lighters on to the larger vessels that were to transport 
these to the islands a labour of considerable difficulty, involving 
frequent minor delays which in the aggregate served to throw 
the whole programme of movements back. After the rough night 
of the 2nd-3rd, some of the personnel that ought to have been 
got aboard the bigger ships during the dark hours was embarked 
by daylight on the following morning, and in the m.orning the 
French also managed to get a quantity of animals afloat from 
V Beach after creating a smoke screen by igniting a haystack on 
shore. During the night of the 4th-5th a lighter, fully loaded up 



316 THE DARDANELLES 

with transport vehicles and mules and their native Indian drivers, 
was swept out to sea ; but it fortunately fetched up on Rabbit 
Island and was got oil again by a war vessel. 

Gully Beach and X Beach could not have been used on the nights 
of the lst-2nd, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th ; nor might embarkations 
at those localities perhaps have been feasible even on the night of 
the 5th-6th ; but it had not been intended to use those points on 
the outer coast of the peninsula except at the end. Although the 
unsettled weather caused serious delays, these represented nothing 
approaching to what they might have meant had the wind during 
the first few days in January blown from the south or the south- 
west, instead of being northerly. The fact remained, however, that 
great quantities of material and a good many animals which the 
naval and military staffs had hoped to have sent afloat by that 
date still remained on shore on the 6th. Moreover, by an un- 
fortunate contretemps, a horse-ship had been sunk by a French 
battleship in collision, and this threw out all calculations as to the 
rate of evacuation of animals. It therefore became necessary on 
the morning of the 6th to review the position of affairs, in view of 
the course of events during the previous few days and of the 
threatening atmospheric conditions. 

Change of plan as to the final evacuation. — The plan agreed upon 
by the naval and military authorities at the start had been that 
only 13,450 troops wdth about 25 guns should be left ashore on 
the last day, 6000 troops and the same number of guns being taken 
off on the night before. The scheme was that the bulk of the 
troops and all the guns left for the last two nights were to embark 
at W and V Beaches, but that, although Gully Beach and X 
Beach were not to be used on the penultimate night, all that 
was left of the 13th Division and a portion of the 29th Division 
were to be embarked at those two points on the last night of all — 
about 3000 of all ranks at Gully Beach and about 950 at X Beach. 
But the experiences of the previous two or three days and nights 
decided General Da vies (who had issued orders in the above sense 
on the 3rd) on the 6th to propose some very important alterations 
in the plan. 

In the first place, the unsettled state of the weather justified 
the fear that two successive favourable nights would not present 
themselves, and that, should the programme be carried out as 



CHANGE OF PLAN 317 

contemplated for the last night but one, a force of only 13,450 of 
all ranks, with very few guns, might be left to hold a front of 8000 
yards for some days. There would be a strong likelihood of the 
enemy detecting its weakness. Then there was also the question 
as to the wisdom of using Gully Beach and X Beach at all. Those 
two embarking places could not be depended upon with strong 
winds from the north such as had been experienced since the 
1st of January, although under such conditions withdrawal by 
way of W and V Beaches might be perfectly practicable ; while 
they were just as exposed as the two others during periods of bad 
weather from the south or south-west. It was, moreover, pointed 
out that any assembling of boats or shipping, or a conspicuous 
development in respect to piers, at those points might if observed 
by the Turks serve to disclose the fact that evacuation was in 
progress, because those beaches on the outer side of the peninsula 
had been very little used during recent months. General Davies 
therefore proposed that the number of troops and guns to be with- 
drawn on the last night but one should be reduced, and that the 
force to be left for evacuation on the final night should be fixed 
at 17,000 of all ranks, with a total of 54 guns (including those which 
it had been decided to destroy). He further proposed that the pro- 
ject of using Gully and X Beaches should be abandoned. 

The additional strain thrown upon W and V Beaches, were these 
suggestions to be adopted, demanded careful consideration on the 
part of the naval authorities. They, however, came to the con- 
clusion that the difficulty created by having to embark about 
6500 additional troops and a larger number of guns at those localities 
could be met by employing destroyers alongside the sunken ships, 
leaving the previously made arrangements with regard to the 
disposal of the beetles to stand, subject to some slight modifica- 
tions. It was agreed that the use of X Beach should be given up 
and that the bulk of the 13th Division should embark at W Beach 
instead of at Gully Beach on the last night, but that the final 
detachments of that division to quit the trenches should be taken 
off at the latter point. General Birdwood gave his sanction to this 
change of plan, and General Davies issued fresh orders at once to 
meet the revised programme. Work at X Beach was suspended, 
and the engineers engaged at that point were transferred to W and 
V Beaches to make certain alterations necessitated bv the new 



318 THE DARDANELLES 

programme. The naval authorities had to revise many details, 
in conjunction with the military staff ; but they nevertheless had 
their fresh schedules drawn up and communicated to all concerned 
during the morning of the 7th. It was decided that, subject to 
change in the weather conditions, the nights of the 7th-8th and 
8th-9th were to be the two last nights of withdrawal ; but under 
the revised scheme the importance of the penultimate night had 
been considerably reduced. 

Events of the 7th. — Apart from vigorous shelling of the beaches 
and from activity on the part of hostile aviators, the enemy had 
not shown much sign of life during the past few days, except in the 
form of liveliness on the part of patrols and of some increase in 
artillery work against the trenches. But about noon on the 7th the 
Turks suddenly opened a very heavy bombardment of the stretch 
of front held by the 13th Division, especially to the left of the 
Great Gully, and at the same time they directed a heavy shell-fire 
from across the Straits against the trenches that were being held 
by the Royal Naval Division. The artillery attack upon the lines 
occupied by the 13th Division proved to be the heaviest that had 
hitherto been encountered on the peninsula, while the Turkish 
pieces also played freely upon the sectors held by the 29th and 
52nd Divisions. This lasted until about 5 p.m., and the bombard- 
ment was intensive between 3 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. ; considerable 
damage was done to parapets and communication trenches, and 
telephone communication was interrupted. At 3.30 p.m. two mines 
were fired near Fusilier Bluff and it was then seen that the Turkish 
trenches were full of men. An assault upon the lines held by the 
13th Division appears to have been intended ; but when the 
Osmanlis did make a half-hearted attempt to advance they were 
soon driven back again by the accurate fire to which they were 
subjected at the hands of the 13th Division. General Davies' 
weakness in artillery owing to a number of guns having already 
been withdrawn was compensated for this day by the fire from a 
supporting squadron consisting of monitors and destroyers, which 
was able to act effectively against the enemy's flank. The 
casualties suffered by the British in the affair only amounted to 
164, these falling almost entirely upon the 7th North StafEords, 
whose section of trenches was much knocked about by the enemy's 
concentrated shell-fire directed on that particular point. The 



FIGHT OF 7TH OF JANUARY 319 

enemy is believed to have lost heavily from the naval guns, owing 
to being massed in the trenches opposite the 13th Division which 
were very effectively taken in enfilade. 

The Turks would not seem to have been well-advised in selecting 
the left flank of the British line for delivering an attack, seeing that 
fire from the warships was likely to be particularly troublesome to 
the assailants in that portion of the front. That Marshal Liman 
von Sanders adopted such a plan certainly suggests that he was 
entirely unaware that a large part of the British artillery had been 
w^ithdrawn and that the British commander on shore was very 
dependent upon naval assistance in consequence. All arrange- 
ments were made to reinforce Helles by a brigade from Imbros 
when the hostile bombardment of the trenches began ; but the 
move was not carried out w^hen it became apparent that the 
expected Ottoman offensive was petering out. 

There seems to be little doubt that from the invader's point of 
view this aft'air was a most fortunate one. The Turks clearly 
intended either to deliver a serious attack, or else to make a 
reconnaissance in force so as to ascertain whether their opponents 
were holding their trenches in strength. Whatever was intended 
— and in this connection the quotation from a German account 
given on page 326 is not without interest — the result would seem 
to have convinced the enemy that the defenders of the British 
front were gathered in amply sufficient numbers to give a good 
account of themselves, and it is reasonable to suppose that General 
Davies' antagonist came to the conclusion that afternoon that, 
even supposing the invaders to contemplate an early retirement 
from Helles, such an operation was not actually imminent. 

The day's combat did not in any way interfere with the pro- 
gramme for the coming hours of darkness. The night turned out 
fine and calm, and before dawn on the 8th the dwindling British 
army had been cut down by a further 2300 of all ranks, by nine 
guns, and by 880 animals. This reduced the numbers of personnel 
and guns remaining to the figure that had been fixed between 
General Davies and the naval authorities as the force that should 
remain to be removed on the last night. 

The situation on the 8th. — During the eight nights between the 
31st of December and the 8th of January, 15,975 ofiicers and men, 
85 guns, 2667 horses and mules, and great quantities of ammuni- 



320 THE DARDANELLES 

tion, ordnance stores and other forms of war material had been 
embarked. But, owing to the delays that had been caused on 
some nights by unfavourable w^eather, a considerable number of 
animals that it had been hoped to get off still remained on shore, 
and there were such vast accumulations of material that much of 
it must have been abandoned in any case. 

" It would have been possible, of course," Sir C. Monro wrote in 
his despatch, " by extending the period during which the process of 
evacuation proceeded to have reduced the quantity of stores and 
material that was left behind on the peninsula, but not to the degree 
that may seem apparent at first sight. Our chances of enjoying a 
continuity of fine weather in the Mgean were very slender in the 
month of January ; it was indeed a contingency that had to be 
reckoned with that we might very probably be visited by a spell of 
bad weather which would cut us off completely from the peninsula 
for a fortnight or even longer. 

Supplies, ammunition, and material to a certain degree had there- 
fore to be left to the last moment for fear of the isolation of the garrison 
at any moment when the evacuation might be in progress. I decided 
therefore that our aim should be primarily the withdrawal of the bulk 
of the personnel, artillery, and ammunition in the intermediate period, 
and that no risk should be taken in prolonging the withdrawal of 
personnel at the final stage with a view to reducing the quantity of 
stores left." 

The 8th was fiine and calm, but the glass had fallen and the 
wind was inclined to back. It was, however, decided that the 
final embarkation should be undertaken that night, and all 
necessary arrangements in anticipation of that operation which 
required to be put in effect during the day, were therefore carried 
out. 

The arrangements for the coming night were briefly as follows : — 
The 13th and 29th Divisions (except the last parties of the 13th 
Division to quit the trenches) were to embark at W Beach, the 
route to be followed by the detachments of the 13th Division 
being by the road which had been constructed along the shore 
below the bluffs, while the 29th Division took a route more inland. 
The forming-up place for the 13th Division was just north of Cape 
Tekke, while that of the 29th Division was at the head of the little 
gully leading down to W Beach {vide Map II, p. 70). The last parties 



SITUATION ON THE 8TH 321 

of the 13th Division were to embark at Gully Beach. The 52nd 
and Royal Naval Divisions were to embark at V Beach, the forming- 
up place being beside the old castle on its north-western side ; 
two distinct routes leading from the front to the forming-up place 
had been arranged for. 

There were to be three trips each from W and V Beaches, 4000 
being taken off at W Beach and 3200 at V Beach by the first trip, 
3246 from W and 2795 from V by the second trip, and 1596 from 
W and 1611 from V by the third trip ; the numbers to be taken off 
at each trip decreasing, as shown, allowed for accidents to destroyers, 
beetles, and so forth. Only one trip, equivalent in respect to the 
hour to the third at the other two beaches, was to take place from 
Gully Beach, 670 being allowed for. The strengths of the divisions 
and other troops were, 13th Division 3645, 29th Division 4145, 
52nd Division 2845, Royal Naval Division 4445, Artillery 700, 
and various base details, beach parties, etc., 1138, making a grand 
total of 17,118. Of these 8842 were to be taken off at W Beach, 
7606 at V Beach, and the 670 at Gully Beach. The troops for the 
first trip were to reach their forming-up places between 7 p.m. 
and 7.30 p.m., and those for the second trip between 10.30 p.m. 
and 11 p.m. The hour for the remainder to reach their forming- 
up places was not definitely fixed. This must depend upon the 
time taken to reach the forming-up places by routes that were 
not quite the same length in each case, the detachments all quitting 
the front trenches simultaneously at 11.45 p.m. The third trip 
included beach parties, engineers working at the piers, special 
staffs, and so on, as well as the forces mentioned below as detailed 
for the beach defences. 

During the afternoon special forces, consisting of 600 men from 
the 29th Division and of 400 men from the Royal Naval Division, 
took up position along the lines of special defences that had been 
established to cover W and V Beaches. Arrangements had been 
made that the piles of stores at various points which it had not 
been possible to remove to the beaches should be ignited by time- 
fuses set to act about the hour that the last troops would be 
embarking. An especial staff was told off to destroy the great 
dumps of ammunition, ordnance stores, engineer material, supplies, 
etc., near the two beaches. Orders were also issued for the destruc- 
tion, as far as practicable, of animals that it would be impossible 



522 THE DARDANELLES 

to embark, as also for the complete demolition of the guns that 
were to be lelt behind, before they were finally abandoned. 

The final evacuation. — By the time that darkness closed in the 
wind was from the south, but was as yet of little strength. At 

7 p.m. General Davies shifted his headquarters from the shore to 
H.M.S. Triad, which was connected with the land by cables, so 
that he remained in close touch with the various divisional head- 
quarters and with General Lawrence. The troops for the first 
trip arrived in good time and their embarkation commenced at 

8 p.m. By 9 p.m. " the wind had freshened considerably, still 
blowing from the south ; a slight sea got up, and caused much 
inconvenience on the beaches."^ The work nevertheless proceeded 
everywhere without a hitch, except at the hulks in extension of 
the W Beach breakwater. The floating bridge connecting these 
with the breakwater became very unsteady in the choppy water, 
which delayed the passage of the troops on to the hulks from which 
they were to be taken ofi by destroyers. Various devices were 
tried to get over the difficulty during the next two or three hours ; 
but beetles kept fouling the bridge and damaging its structure, 
and in the end, after 3000 troops had been safely got off at this 
point and the sea by this time being decidedly rough, it was decided 
to abandon this method of embarkation. The naval officer in 
charge at W Beach was satisfied by that time that he could get off 
all the troops still to come without it. Embarkation was in the 
meantime proceeding quite satisfactorily at the other W Beach 
piers ; and progress was particularly satisfactory at V Beach, 
where the arrangements that had been hastily made after the 
change of plan of the 6th for using the two sunken French vessels 
as embarking places, proved most effective. By 10.30 p.m. fourteen 
British guns and all the French 75's had been embarked at V Beach. 
The second trip began, well up to schedule time, at 11.30 p.m. 

At 11.45 p.m. the last detachments quietly moved out of the 
advanced trenches all along the front and proceeded direct to their 
forming-up places. As had been the case at Suvla, the men's boots 
were muffled with sacking and every precaution had been taken 
to keep the enemy in ignorance that anything unusual was in pro- 
gress ; as on previous nights a certain amount of rifle fire and 
grenade throwing had been kept up until 11.30 p.m. Various 

I Sir J. De Robeck's despatch. 



THE FINAL EVACUATION 323 

devices for firing fixed rifles from time to time were set in action 
before the detachments filed out of the trenches, and lights and 
fires were left burning. On the last detachments passing through 
the different controls the communications were in each case blocked 
and the mines that had been laid down were made active. At no 
point was there, however, the slightest indication that the enemy 
had detected that the trenches were no longer tenanted. The Turks 
were indeed particularly quiescent on this night and there was 
less bombardment of W and V Beaches than had been the case 
on any night for some time previously ; the few shell that did 
plunge down did no harm whatever. The last detachments from 
the front began to arrive at the forming-up places at W and V 
Beaches about 1.30 a.m., and the beetles told off for the third trip 
at once started taking them off, but under ever-increasing difficulties 
caused by wind and swell. As there was no sign of hostile activity 
orders were sent at 1.45 a.m. to the covering forces in occupation 
of the beach defences to move down to the embarking places. 
In the meantime the last detachments of the 13th Division, having 
had less distance to go, had arrived at Gully Beach before 1 a.m. 
and they were all embarked in their beetles by 1.45 a.m., ready 
to push off to the cruiser Talbot. 

The weather was growing rapidly worse, and the first and only 
alarming contretemps occurred at Gully Beach, where the swell 
caused serious trouble and where one lighter with its living freight 
on board got aground and could not be refloated, although the 
troops were able to disembark in safety. This was communicated 
to the chief embarking officer who immediately despatched a fresh 
beetle to replace the one ashore. But after some little delay General 
Maude, noting that the sea was getting up, decided to march the 
disembarked detachment to W Beach, where they arrived at 
3.15 a.m. He and his divisional headquarters, following in rear, 
had considerable difficulty in getting through the entanglements, as 
all gaps had been closed. 

" After a temporary lull," Admiral de Robeck wrote in his 
final despatch, " the wind again increased, and by 3 a.m. a very 
nasty sea was rmming into W Beach. It was only by the great 
skill and determination displayed by the beach personnel that the 
embarkation was brought to a successful conclusion, and that all 
the craft except one steamboat (damaged in collision) got away in 



324 THE DARDANELLES 

safety." The delay caused by the lighter load of the 13th Division 
gave rise indeed to great anxiety. The last gun had been shipped 
from V Beach soon after 2 a.m. and work at that point was com- 
pleted by 3 a.m., that better protected embarking place feeling 
the effect of the rising sea less than was the case at W Beach. But 
at W Beach the question at the end almost became one of minutes, 
and getting the last troops and the beach staff taken off came to 
be a decidedly critical operation. All the troops were clear at 
3.45 a.m., however, without serious mishap, although the utmost 
difficulty was experienced in getting the last few beetles and boats 
away owing to the heavy seas running into the harbour. The 
naval beach personnel then left. Unfortunately one magazine 
that had been prepared for destruction appears in the hurry at 
the end to have been fired somewhat prematurely, for it blew up 
before all the boats were clear and one sailor was killed by the 
debris. This was the one serious casualty that occurred in this 
most remarkable operation ; amongst the troops one man was hit 
by a spent bullet and three met with accidents while embarking. 

The anxieties of the vice-admiral, it should be mentioned, had 
been considerably increased during the night by the knowledge 
that a hostile submarine was at large. The battleship Prince 
George, which had taken off about 2000 troops together with the 
headquarters of the 29th Division, and which was sailing for Mudros, 
was actually struck by a torpedo that failed to explode. Under 
the circumstances it was decided to modify the project for bom- 
barding the evacuated positions from the sea, that had been con- 
templated. 

The arrangements that had been made by the military for ignit- 
ing the dumps of stores and for blowing up the magazines proved 
(except for the premature explosion mentioned above) most 
satisfactory as far as could be judged from afloat. The conflagra- 
tions and concussions that ensued were apparently the first intima- 
tion received by the Turks that General Davies' force had 
withdrawn. Red Verey lights were then discharged from the enemy 
trenches, this firework display apparently representing a pre- 
concerted signal to place the Ottoman forces on the alert should 
it be discovered that evacuation was in progress ; and a brisk 
artillery fire was opened upon the empty British trenches and on 
the beaches, which was maintained until 6.30 a.m. The enemy 



THE FINAL EVACUATION 325 

had been particularly quiet between midnight and 4 a.m., and 
there is every reason to believe that Greneral Davies' plan of 
shutting down trench activity nightly at 11.30 p.m. during the 
period immediately preceding the final embarkation, had effected 
its purpose. 

Leaving out of account four serviceable 15-pounders which had 
been destroyed earlier in the month, the ordnance that was 
abandoned comprised the one British 6-inch gun and the six old 
French heavy guns already mentioned, together with ten other 
worn-out 15-pounders ; all these pieces were blown up. Besides 
the artillery, 508 animals (most of which were shot) were left on 
the peninsula, with a number of vehicles and considerable quantities 
of appliances, ordnance stores and food supplies. Steps had been 
taken to destroy all the material by burning, and there is reason 
to believe that very little fell into the hands of the Turks in service- 
able condition ; but the goods left behind and destroyed none the 
less represented a large sum of money. Still, the financial sacrifice 
involved was a matter of trifling importance to set against the 
memorable achievement involved in successfully extricating an 
army of some 40,000 men out of such a trap as the Helles area 
represented, in presence of superior forces in a position to foresee 
the operation which their antagonists were carrying out. 

The withdrawal of the troops from the advanced trenches and 
the embarkation of 17,000 men and 35 guns on the last night were 
a veritable triumph of finished staff work on the part of the navy 
and the army. They were only made possible, however, by the 
high standard of discipline that prevailed amongst all ranks of 
the land forces. The most praiseworthy feat of all, however, lay 
in the getting off of so large a body of soldiers, under weather 
conditions such as prevailed on the night of the 8th-9th of January, 
1916, from embarkation points so exposed to the winds and the 
waves as were W and V Beaches, almost without a single mishap. 
The handling of the destroyers alongside the blockships in a strong 
onshore wind raising choppy seas, was the admiration of the 
military, while the crews of the beetles managed their awkward 
craft in broken waters with a rare combination of nerve, skill, 
and judgment. That under such circumstances not a single soldier 
was drowned, and that the operation was actually completed in 
less time than had been anticipated when framing the programme, 



326 THE DARDANELLES 

constitute a performance which the Royal Navy have every 
reason to be proud of, and for which the army that was served 
so well have every reason to be grateful. 

The German version. — A German staff officer's account of the 
withdrawal from Anzac and Suvla was given at the end of the last 
chapter, and it may not be out of place to quote here the same 
author's story of the evacuation of Helles. 

" On the afternoon of the 7th of January, Marshal Liman von 
Sanders came to the conclusion that the decisive moment had arrived 
for bringing the Gallipoli campaign to a satisfactory termination. A 
terrific drum fire from the whole of the artillery served for a finale 
to the months' long infernal concert. The enemy must have guessed 
that the fateful hour was at hand. When the fire of the Turkish 
batteries ceased for a moment, the hostile commander-in-chief, General 
Monro, adopted a desperate expedient to disengage his troops. He 
offered up his best regiment, the Staffordshire, to certain death, send- 
ing it forward to meet the Turks and to provide the opening scene in 
the melancholy drama which, under the title of the ' glorious retire- 
ment from Gallipoli ' was to make its Don Quixote progress though 
the journalistic forest of the Entente press. And indeed, had it not 
been for the ever active hostile fleet, not an enemy would have left 
the soil of the peninsula alive. On the night of the 8th-9th the enemy 
tmcceeded in extricating himself from the clutches of the strenuously 
pursuing defenders under protection of the warships, but at the cost 
of abandoning enormous masses of munitions and provisions, the 
counting of which took weeks. A fully loaded transport was struck 
by heavy shell and sank. Only a handful of those on board were saved." 

The author goes on to give a glowing description of the vast 
captures in material that compensated the Osmanlis and their 
German advisers for the escape of the stricken remnants of the 
invading army. 

Widely as this version of the business differs from the account 
given in preceding paragraphs of this chapter, it is worth noting 
that there are certain points of resemblance between the two 
stories in respect to matters of detail. As to the violence of the 
bombardment of the 7th of January there appears to be agreement 
between the contending sides. General Monro was in Egypt on 
that day ; still, a mistake of that kind is natural enough and would 
not in itself seriously discredit the anonymous staff officer's tale. 



^HH 



COMMENTS 327 

The special reference to the StafEordshire Regiment, with its 
gratifying tribute to the efficiency of the corps, is deserving of atten- 
tion, seeing that it was the 7th North Stafiords who suffered by 
far the most heavily of any battalion engaged, although their losses 
arose from the concentrated bombardment to which their section 
of trenches was subjected and not under conditions such as the 
German writer portrays. Even the tragedy of the fully loaded 
transport sunk by shell with disastrous loss of life, finds some 
sort of counterpart in Admiral de Robeck's mention of a steamer 
that foundered after collision on the last night. We can leave it 
at that. Marshal Liman von Sanders' version (Appendix IV) does 
not agree with that of his staff officer. 

Comments on the operation. — The evacuation of Helles provides 
a particularly instructive illustration of the extent to which an 
operation of this kind is dependent upon weather conditions. 
Although General Davics was not favoured with such good fortune 
in this respect as had been Generals Godley and Byng in their 
withdrawals from Anzac and Suvla, he can hardly be called un- 
lucky considering the season of the year at which he was called 
upon to retire from the peninsula. The strong winds that pre- 
vailed in the north-eastern ^gean on certain days and nights of 
the first week of January, 1916, blew from the north-east and 
north, from which point W and V Beaches were sheltered ; it was 
only on the last night of all that a breeze set in from the south 
which increased in force as the minutes passed until, in the small 
hours of the morning, it threatened to prohibit the embarkation 
of the last few detachments left ashore — at a stage of the pro- 
ceedings, moreover, when the regular lines of defence had been 
abandoned, when the artillery remaining serviceable was already 
afloat, and when the situation ensured that the enemy would 
concentrate a violent and accurately directed shell-fire in the morn- 
ing on the marooned residue of what a week before had been a 
formidable army. 

As it was, and although the general direction of the wind even 
when strong favoured the embarkation of animals, munition, and 
supplies in boats and lighters at the two beaches in use for the 
purpose, a large amount of war material had to be left behind. 
The enemy also enjoyed the satisfaction of laying hands upon 
several guns ; although these, it is true, had been rendered wholly 



328 THE DARDANELLES 

unserviceable. Had the wind, on the contrary, come from the 
south or south-west on the occasions when it was blowing fresh 
during the preliminary stage, not only would the embarkation of 
horses and armament and stores have been wholly impracticable, 
but the piers that had been especially contrived to facilitate the 
work would inevitably have broken up, greatly retarding pro- 
ceedings on the calm days and making the embarkation of 17,000 
men on the last night a virtual impossibility. 

There finally supervened the disquieting atmospheric conditions 
of the hours of darkness of the 8th-9th. Had the " very nasty 
sea " spoken of by Admiral de Robeck in his despatch been running, 
let us say, at 10 p.m., instead of the weather only creating those 
untoward conditions by about 3 a.m., the bulk of the troops could 
not have been got off, although a considerable proportion would 
by that hour already have embarked. It would have become 
impossible to use the lighters at a stage when the work was only 
about one-third completed, even if the piers had stood, and the 
blockships at W Beach would have ceased to serve at an earlier 
hour than was actually the case, because the connecting bridge 
between them and the shore would have become useless so much 
the sooner. It is continuous battering by the seas that gradually 
smashes structures up — they may hold together for half an hour 
or an hour, but will be totally wrecked by three or four hours of 
heavy weather. It may be admitted that wind and waves rise 
more suddenly and quickly in the Mediterranean than in most 
waters, but the evacuation of troops in presence of the en amy 
must always be largely dependent upon atmospheric conditions. ^ 

The remarkable success that attended the British naval and 
military operations at Helles at the beginning of 1916, as also 
the similar operations at Anzac and Suvla a few days earlier, 

^ This was shown by the minor disaster which befel a body of British 
troops at Ostend in 1798 already referred to on p. 55. They landed on the 
shore north of the town and performed the task assigned to them — the destruc- 
tion of the lock-gates of the Bruges canal. But when they returned to the beach 
about noon on the following day, with the enemy approaching in force, they 
found an awkward surf beating. The second-in-command (General Eyre 
Coote, nephew of the famous Indian general, was in command but was 
wounded) wrote in his despatch that they had "attempted to get oft' some 
companies, but the boats soon filled with water and it was with extreme 
difficulty that the men were saved." The upshot was that, attacked in 
superior numbers, the little force consisting of 60 officers and 1076 rank and 
file had to surrender. 



COMMENTS 329 

reflected the utmost credit upon all who were concerned in the 
evacuations on the spot. But it would be absurd to pretend 
that the invaders of the Gallipoli Peninsula were not lucky in the 
matter of the weather when they came to depart, or to suggest 
that the happy sequel to operations of a critical nature relieved 
the home authorities of a very heavy responsibility for having 
refused to act upon the recommendation of Greneral Monro when 
he reported in favour of complete withdrawal at the end of October. 

The motor lighters proved a great success under somewhat 
difficult conditions on the last night at Helles. Leaving the ques- 
tion of broken water entirely out of the question, it seems doubtful 
if some 16,600 officers and men could have been got off from 
W and V Beaches during the course of a single winter's night 
but for these craft. A force of that strength would have represented 
rather more than five hundred 30-foot cutter loads — say, 130 tows 
— besides special horse-boats for the guns. Even if it had been 
possible to bring off five trips within the hours of darkness, that 
would mean about twenty-six tows to each trip, with only about 
700 yards of beach space available, or less than 30 yards to the tow. 
It would also mean that about 130 cutters would be loading up 
and lying off 700 yards of beach, manned by men of whom probably 
very few would be watermen, and in the dark. Add to this such 
weather conditions as prevailed on the night of the 8th-9th of 
January after the first three or four hours of darkness, and it is 
easy to picture the confusion that would almost certainly have 
occurred. Some of the cutters would assuredly have been swamped ; 
others would have been dashed ashore on the beaches ; there 
must have been loss of life amongst the military, even if the numbers 
of the drowned were not large. The beetles, it should be added, 
proved of the utmost use during the earlier stages, when material 
was being embarked. 

As far as the embarking forces and the naval forces were able 
to judge, the enemy made no attempt to follow up the last detach- 
ments to quit the front trenches (although that is not the impres- 
sion that the German account quoted on page 326 conveys). 
Assuming this to be correct, the reason for it — apart from the 
various special precautions taken in the trenches, the devices to 
deceive the Turks, the skill displayed by detachment leaders, and 
the military virtues displayed by the troops — possibly was that 



330 THE DARDANELLES 

the opposing side had persuaded itself, as a consequence of the 
engagement of the previous day and of the uncompromising front 
displayed by the 13th Division on that occasion, that no immediate 
withdrawal of the invading army from the Helles area was in 
contemplation. If appreciation of the situation took that form 
within the Ottoman lines, the enemy outposts may have been 
exercising less vigilance than usual and than would otherwise 
have been the case. The change in the direction of the wind may 
also have suggested to Marshal Liman von Sanders and the Turkish 
staff that evacuation on this particular night was, on the face of 
it, improbable ; those very atmospheric conditions which caused 
such trouble on the beaches may indeed from this point of view 
have been a blessing in disguise. 

The enemy may, no doubt, have become aware about midnight, 
or a little later, that the British trenches were empty and may 
have been creeping forward during the small hours under great 
difficulties arising from the lines of excavations, the barbed-wire 
and the blocked communications. But in that case some of the 
" booby trap " mines would surely have gone off, and the reports 
would have been heard ; a heavy artillery fire would also surely 
have been opened on the beaches. The fact that the Turks dis- 
charged lights and opened bombardment, as soon as the dumps 
of stores were ignited and the magazine of explosives and ammuni- 
tion bbw up towards 4 a.m., does suggest that only then did they 
have any inkling that their antagonists had slipped them for a 
second time. As a matter of fact, it is extremely doubtful whether 
the enemy, even if the evacuation of the front trenches had been 
observed at the last, could have interfered appreciably with the 
embarkation except by long-range gun-fire directed on the beaches. 
Advance in the dark across the lines of obstacles which the British 
trenches created must have been extremely slow, and the mines 
would have proved very disconcerting. It was artillery fire on the 
beaches and not infantry pursuit that General Davies feared, and 
it was the rising wind, far more than the Turks, that gave just 
grounds for anxiety during the last four hours of the famous 
evacuation of the extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula. 

The change of plan arrived at upon General Davies' representa- 
tions on the 6th of January was unquestionably a judicious step. 
It is true that there is no reason to suppose, in viiw of the torpid 



COMMENTS 331 

attitude displayed by the Turks on the 8th, that the increase in 
the British force left in the Helles area on that day by some 4000 
men and several guns made any difference from the point of view 
of security, while it added appreciably to the amount of work 
that had to be got through on the beaches under somewhat difi&cult 
conditions on the following night. But although activity on the 
part of the enemy was not unexpected on the 6th, the abortive 
Ottoman ofiensive of the 7th, with its depressing experiences for 
the Ottoman leaders and troops, could not be foreseen when the 
alteration of programme was agreed to by the naval and military 
authorities. One of the arguments used in favour of introducing 
the modification in arrangements was that two successive nights of 
favourable weather could not be depended upon ; although em- 
barkation was in the event possible both on the 7th-8th and the 
8th-9th, there was not much to spare on the latter night. In view 
of what occurred at Gully Beach at the end, it seems very doubtful 
whether anything like the total number of troops which it had 
been in contemplation to take ofi at that point under the original 
scheme, could have been embarked there. The work at X Beach 
was intended to be completed fairly early under the first pro- 
gramme, and at an hour when there cannot have been much sea 
running on the night of the 8th-9th. But under the weather 
conditions of early January it would certainly have been risky 
to place much dependence on embarking places which were exposed 
whether the wind blew from the north or the west or the south, 
and when the piers would have been hasty improvisations. 

In concluding this account of the withdrawal from Helles, 
Greneral Monro's summary covering that operation and also the 
withdrawals from the northern areas may fittingly be quoted. 
" The entire evacuation of the peninsula had now been completed. 
It demanded for its successful realisation two important military 
essentials, viz. good luck and skilled disciplined organisation, and 
they were both forthcoming to a marked degree at the hour needed. 
Our luck was in the ascendant by the marvellous spell of calm 
weather which prevailed. But we were able to turn to fullest 
advantage these accidents of fortune." 



CHAPTER XVI 

SOME OUTSTANDING LESSONS OF THE CAMPAIGN 

The vital necessity of exhaustive examination of the conditions 
before embarking on a warlike adventure, and of evolving a com- 
prehensive plan of campaign for its conduct. — The most significant 
lesson taught us by the story of the operations with which this 
volume deals is not one illustrative of the art of war, as that 
expression is ordinarily interpreted by the sailor or the soldier. 
It is not a lesson concerned with tactics, nor with strategy, nor 
yet with the technicalities that are of absorbing interest to the 
naval or the military expert. It is not a lesson that needs to be 
instilled into the youngster at Dartmouth, nor at Woolwich, nor 
at Sandhurst. But it nevertheless goes to the very root of the 
principles on which war policy must be conducted if a cause is to 
triumph. The lesson is one to be learnt by the statesman rather 
than by the fighting man ashore or afloat, and it amounts to this : 
If they wish the realm that they govern to overcome its enemies 
in times of national emergency, rulers of a country must take 
exhaustive counsel with professional advisers, and they must see 
to it that those professional advisers are given full opportunity 
to state their case unhampered by political interference. 

It is no use mincing matters about the Dardanelles. The dis- 
comfiture of the Allies in their campaign for the Straits was primarily 
due to their fighting forces having been committed to a ticklish 
adventure without adequate forethought. A martial operation 
of an altogether abnormal kind was undertaken without searching 
investigation of the whole of the factors that bore on the con- 
templated enterprise. The plan of campaign decided upon at the 
start — what there was of it — only dealt with a portion of the 
project that those responsible for commanding action to proceed 
had in mind, and it was drawn up on the assumption that an 

332 



THE GOVERNMENT'S BLUNDER 333 

entirely novel scheme of making war was necessarily going to 
succeed. Hostilities between embattled nations are too serious 
a business to be conducted in this haphazard fashion. 

The published Report of the Dardanelles Commission discloses 
that no joint naval and military scheme for carrying out the 
undertaking was laid before the British Government before the 
fleets were launched on their attack, nor apparently was this 
considered necessary. The document leaves it to be inferred that 
the General Staff, as representing military opinion, was never called 
upon to formulate its considered views as to the merits of the plan 
proposed by Admiral Garden and accepted by the Admiralty, 
although the project manifestly bespoke military as well as naval 
considerations.^ The Government in fact committed a cardinal 
blunder at the very outset. The deliberate, creeping method of 
attack upon the defile was perhaps from the sailor's point of view 
a sagacious one, even if the method failed when put in practice. 
But its advocates — naval and civilian — would seem to have over- 
looked one point of vital importance. The essence of the plan 
was that it would take some weeks to complete, and that fact 
in itself rendered it in the highest degree objectionable from the 
soldier's point of view. Such conditions necessarily afforded the 
enemy time for preparation, and they made it certain that if the 
warships were to fail and if it were then to be decided to try 
military effort instead of, or in supplement of, naval effort, the 
difficulties in the way of the army would be vastly increased. 

Nor was that the only error committed by the Government in 
leaving the military aspect of the contemplated operations out of 
account. It does not seem to have been realised that the attack 
of coast defences, that operations which bring floating force into 
collision with enemy troops, create not a naval but an amphibious 
situation. If it was to be the warships of the Allies that were to 
force the Straits, it was the Turkish army with its forts and its 
artillery that represented the principal obstacle in the way. The 

' The writer can vouch for it that the matter was never considered jointly 
by the Naval War Staff and the General Staff at the War Office. Had it been, 
he is coniident that the idea of a purely naval attack, either in the nature of 
trying to rush the passage or in the form that the attack actually took, would 
have been abandoned in deference to the representations that the soldiers 
must have made. For the military objections were manifest and were over- 
whelming. 



334 THE DARDANELLES 

dangers that the British and French vessels would encounter from 
concealed ordnance, to which the ships' guns would be unable 
effectively to reply, was a point likely to be far more apparent to 
soldiers than to sailors, seeing the extent to which the system of 
employing guns and howitzers from hidden positions has entered 
into land tactics of late years. 

Be that as it may, the result of the British Government's irra- 
tional procedure was that the fleet operations began at a juncture 
when there were no troops available to assist in major, or even in 
minor, degree. The afEair indeed started at a season when the 
landing of troops, had there been troops, was bound to be rendered 
particularly difficult owing to unsettled weather conditions. All 
this, moreover, only takes into account the attempt to conquer 
the actual Dardanelles. The project for accomplishing this particular 
object was, however, only part of what was in reality an almost 
entirely undigested scheme. The forcing of the Straits was only 
supposed to be a preliminary to operations that were to supervene 
further ahead — the passage of the Bosphorus, occupation of 
Constantinople, and so on — and goodness only knows what would 
have happened had Admiral de Robeck beaten down the Turkish 
defences on the 18th of March and had he passed up the Narrows. 
But the sequel never materialised and the struggle of 1915 was 
consequently confined within somewhat narrow limits. 

The conduct of war in these latter days has become exceedingly 
complex, as a result of advance in science, and it is studied by its 
professional exponents to an extent hardly dreamt of a few decades 
ago. Efficiency on the water or in the field, armament, resources 
of all kinds, skilled leadership — all these factors count towards 
achieving victory. But, other things being the same, it is the 
belligerent who has the more carefully of the two prepared his 
plans in advance, and who has provided for all eventualities more 
completely than his opponent as a result of foresight and of cal- 
culation, who will prove the conqueror. Talented and voluble 
civilians sitting round a table do not provide an auspicious machinery 
for devising plans of campaign. That is work for experts, and it is 
work that requires to be grappled with very methodically and at 
infinite pains. Cabinets, War Councils, Dardanelles Committees, 
and kindred executive gangs are generally composed entirely, or 
almost entirely, of persons, who if they have any knowledge of war 



GREAT ARMIES IN AMPHIBIOUS WORK 335 

at all, are merely furnished with that modicum of it that is so 
dangerous a thing. The most important lesson taught by the 
Dardanelles affair is that governments should leave the contriving 
of military and naval operations to those who understand them, 
that they should make certain that plans of campaign have been 
exhaustively elaborated before these are put in execution in face 
of the enemy, and that they must never allow the importance 
of an end in the conduct of war to blind them to an absence of the 
means requisite for securing that end. 

The great size o! modern armies tends to impair the effectiveness 
of amphibious forms of war. — Although the Dardanelles campaign 
does not perhaps drive the lesson home so forcibly as do certain 
other sets of operations that have taken place during the World 
War, the struggle for the Hellespont does suggest that in these 
days, when whole nations take the field and when armies con- 
sequently muster as vast multitudes, command of the sea cannot 
be turned to account to such good purpose in connection with 
land operations as was formerly the case. The liberty of action 
which maritime control will sometimes confer upon a military 
commander has of late years formed a popular theme for the 
expositions of writers and lecturers on the art of war in this 
country. Such incidents as Sir J. Stuart's descent upon Calabria 
in menace of Reynier's communications which heralded the Battle of 
Maida, as the transfer of the Allies' forces from Varna to the 
Crimea by sea while the Russians had to conform by an arduous 
land march, as the shipping of McClellau's legions from the James 
River to near Washington when Lee invaded Maryland in 1862, 
as the sudden appearance of Suliman Pasha in the Shipka Pass 
in 1877 after a voyage from the Adriatic to Thrace, and as the 
landing of Japanese troops near Port Arthur in 1894 and their 
facile capture of that coast fortress, have in the past served to illus- 
trate the efficacy of command of the sea in amphibious operations. 

But the more dramatic amongst historical incidents which come 
properly under this designation have generally been affairs on, 
what we should now regard as, an insignificant scale. Louisbourg 
and Quebec were conquered by military contingents which accord- 
ing to present-day ideas were numerically almost contemptible. 
The army which landed near Copenhagen in 1807 and compelled 
the Danes to deliver up their fleet, did not approach the strength 



336 THE DARDANELLES 

of an army corps as we reckon one to-day. Sir A. Wellesley had 
barely 17,000 men, all told, under his orders in his extraordinarily 
successful campaign of Vimiera, which hinged so greatly upon 
difficult disembarkations on the storm-swept western littoral of 
Portugal. Indeed, even the expeditionary force under Marshal 
St. Arnaud and Lord Raglan which put ashore north of the Alma 
and initiated the Crimean War, only numbered some 60,000 men, 
with, moreover, an exceedingly small proportion of artillery and 
of cavalry. It stands to reason that sudden maritime descents 
upon an enemy's coasts can be more readily effected with small 
than with large armies, and that, the more numerous be the forces 
detailed for such ventures, the less likely is it that full value will be 
obtained from the element of surprise which is the essence of that 
class of enterprise. 

The Gallipoli operations were carried out on a greater scale 
than any previous undertaking of at all analogous kind. Our 
forces that assembled in South Africa from 1900 to 1902 were, 
it is true, larger than the invading army was in the Gallipoli 
Peninsula, and the Japanese likewise landed much bigger hosts 
in Manchuria and Korea during their duel with the Russian Empire. 
But in both those contests the belligerent who was carrying out 
hostilities beyond the seas had harbours at his disposal in the 
theatre of war, and the disembarkations were in either case carried 
out throughout without interference by the enemy. It may be 
urged that the transport of troops across the seas is in the present 
day much facilitated by the size of the vessels that are used for 
the purpose, and by the conveniences of all kinds that have been 
introduced for facilitating the taking in and the discharge of 
personnel and goods, as compared to the days of the Peninsula 
and the Crimean War. But against this has to be set the fact 
that armies of the twentieth century require far more paraphernalia 
and appurtenances than was formerly the case, and that military 
forces committed to an adventure on foreign soil without their 
recognised quota of such impedimenta, are more than likely to come 
to grief. Sir I. Hamilton was always badly ofi for guns as com- 
pared with his antagonists ; and although this circumstance was 
mainly attributable to the right type of ordnance and of ammuni- 
tion not being available in requisite quantities, it was also partly 
due to difficulties in landing such artillery as was to hand. 



NEED OF ADVANCED BASES 357 

Means of communication are so backward within the dominions 
of the Caliph that the Turks and their Grerman advisers were never 
able to assemble more than a fraction of the total of the Osmanli 
land forces on a war footing in the environs of the Dardanelles — 
and this in spite of the vital strategical importance of the defile 
from the Ottoman point of view. Thanks, however, to the great 
resources in personnel at the disposal of the Seraskierate, owing to 
the existence of universal service, Marshal Liman von Sanders 
had many divisions under his orders, and so the condition of the 
struggle compelled the Allies to place a large army in the field 
and thereby to throw a great strain upon their shipping resources 
of all kinds. The scale upon which the invasion had perforce to 
be carried out rendered all movements deliberate, and caused 
concentrations to be slow. Consequently, certain of those advan- 
tages which ^re apparently conferred upon military forces when 
they contrive the invasion of hostile territory from the sea, were 
automatically lost. Dardanelles experiences in this matter are, 
it is true, suggestive rather than compelling. But the story of the 
operations gives at least some indication as to what a maritime 
descent upon the coasts of a great military state that is furnished 
with ample railway communications, would be likely to mean. 

An advanced base needed in case of a maritime descent upon an 
enemy's shores. — One point has been brought into great prominence 
by the events with which this volume deals. Maritime invasion 
of a distant country — assuming the enemy to be in the military 
sense formidable and that there is no harbour available for the 
invaders within the prospective theatre of operations — is virtually 
impossible unless some secure advanced base is held or can be 
acquired. In the hazardous imdertaking to which the Allies com- 
mitted themselves in the iEgean early in 1915, they enjoyed one 
great advantage. The island of Lemnos with its spacious haven, 
and that of Imbros situated close to the Gallipoli Peninsula and 
offering a fairly well sheltered anchorage, were at Sir I. Hamilton's 
disposal. One has but to imagine what the conditions would have 
been had those islands not existed, to realise what a leading, if 
unobtrusive, role they played in the campaign. 

The expansion in the dimensions of modern armies, and the 
developments that have taken place in respect to military impedi- 
menta, have made advanced bases virtually indispensable. Aber- 



338 THE DAKDANELLES 

crombie's expedition, which has been referred to in Chapter IV in 
connection with the famous landing in Aboukir Bay, stood across 
the Mediterranean from Marmarice Bay in Anatolia, and the 
troops were straightway landed in face of the enemy. But it is 
doubtful whether it would have been feasible for Sir I. Hamilton 
to have transferred his army direct from x^lexandria to the Helles 
and Anzac beaches, although in point of time the distance from 
Egypt to the Dardanelles in 1915 was less than that from Mar- 
marice to Aboukir in 1800. Nor should it be forgotten that the 
landing on the 25th of April took place before the arrival of the 
enemy's submarines in ^gean waters. 

It is no exaggeration to say that the attack upon the Dardanelles 
hinged upon those two islands, Lemnos and Imbros. Secure from 
hostile attack and conveniently placed in regard to the actual 
scene of fighting, they provided priceless advanced bases for the 
expeditionary army. Stores were gathered together there. 
Transhipments took place under their shelter. Station hospitals, 
rest camps, and kindred establishments were created on their 
shores. Mudros Bay, moreover, served as rendezvous and rest 
house to the naval forces as well as the expeditionary army. Those 
two island bases also acquired an added importance as military 
depots, owing to the landing-places on the peninsula being at the 
mercy of enemy bombardments all the time that the campaign 
lasted. 

The influence of the submarine upon undertakings of the Dar- 
danelles type. — The story of the campaign subsequent to the month 
of May, 1915, illustrates the effect that hostile submarines may 
exert upon the course of invasions of an enemy's country from the 
sea. It has been remarked above that, but for the islands, it might 
have been impracticable to have carried out the military attack 
upon the Gallipoli Peninsula at all. The appearance of the U-boats 
in the ^gean rendered the possession of Lemnos and Imbros more 
valuable than ever. We have seen that the use of ocean-going 
transports to convey the troops and stores to the peninsula was 
promptly abandoned after Triumph and Majestic succumbed to 
the torpedo, and that thenceforward this service was performed 
almost entirely by small craft. Under such circumstances advanced 
bases that are capable of being rendered unassailable by submarine 
attack become absolutely essential. 



INFLUENCE OF SUBMARINES 339 

The course of the World War has shown that the submarine is 
not unconquerable. Experience has proved that by means of 
special devices in the shape of nets and of mines, stretches of 
water can be rendered virtually immune from its depredations. 
The history of the struggle at sea has shown that, by utilising 
immense flotillas of small vessels aided by an enterprising and 
efficient air servicf, damage inflicted by hostile underwater craft 
can be kept well within bounds in almost any maritime area. 
But it is manifest that their introduction as instruments of war 
must tend as a broad general rule to render maritime descents 
upon an enemy's shores more difficult to carry into efiect than they 
were before. 

It has always been recognised that the transport of troops across 
the seas during hostilities is in principle only permissible if the 
state carrying out the operation enjoys maritime command ; but 
so long as opposing submarines are about, maritime command is 
necessarily merely relative and cannot be complete. The invasion 
of hostile territory may be almost said to presume convoys of 
troopships offering particularly favourable objectives to the under- 
water vessel. It suggests transports lying at anchor which must 
provide tempting targets for the torpedo. One of the great advan- 
tages of Suvla Bay was that it could after a time be protected by 
nets. An argument that was occasionally put forward for trans- 
ferring operations to the Bulair Isthmus was that, by similar arrange- 
ments on a much larger scale, it would be possible to render the 
upper end of the Gulf of Saros safe. But it is necessarily more 
difficult to adapt such methods to the conditions of a perfectly 
open stretch of coast like Anzac than to those of a bight ; and in 
any case it must take time to carry the construction out. 

Comparative ineffectiveness of boardship gun-fire against shore 
targets. — The somewhat disappointing character of what the Allies' 
naval artillery accomplished when acting against forts, against 
trenches, and against hostile troops engaged in battle, has been 
touched upon here and there in preceding chapters. Indeed, 
the unsatisfactory results obtained by sea power on the very first 
day of the campaign — the virtual failure of a relatively speaking 
formidable squadron to settle the coast batteries that defended 
the entrance to the Straits for good and all — were to be reproduced 
in various forms throughout the months of stirring naval and 



340 THE DARDANELLES 

amphibious warfare that was to follow in this theatre of operations. 
The tremendous effect produced by our sailors' gunnery at the 
affair of the Bight, on the occasion of the trapping of Von Spee's 
armament ofi the Falkland Islands, and on the day of Jutland, 
prove that any shortcomings of our warships in their efforts against 
the coast of the Gallipoli Peninsula and against targets ashore 
within the Dardanelles, cannot be attributed to bad shooting nor 
yet to defective technique. Such discomfitures as were met with 
must be set down to the abnormal conditions that supervene when 
floating force is pitted against the land. 

Only a limited number of artillery officers in this country had 
realised before the World War to what an extent the efficacy of 
their arm in combat depended upon " close-up " observation of 
fire. There had been ample discussion as to the virtues of co- 
operation between guns and infantry, it is true. The importance 
oJE such concert was fully recognised. How it ought to be secured 
in principle as a- tactical proposition was a matter of general 
agreement. But the practical methods of arriving at the desired 
end had not been grappled with. We know better now. We have 
learnt that in the absence of really intimate observation of fire, that 
without telephonic communication between the eyes of the battery 
— ^projected far to the front of the position where the guns are in 
action — and the battery itself, the only means of obtaining edifying 
results are to be found in aerial observation, if that be practicable. 

Now, when it is a case of warships that are engaging targets 
ashore, close-up observation of fire can only be established con- 
veniently if the targets happen to be near the water's edge, or else 
if circumstances admit of the vessels steaming in to short range. 
You can hardly send in some little craft — say a motor launch — to 
cruise about, observing, half a mile or so from a coast battery 
which your battleship is engaging at 10,000 yards range, because 
the enemy will sink the launch with a big shrapnel or by dint of 
a few rounds from some anti- torpedo-boat" gun. Supposing, on 
the other hand, the objective to be situated three or four miles 
inland (like Chocolate Hill and Ismail Oglu Tepe on the 21st of 
August) it may be feasible to overcome the observation difficulty 
by sending an observing party ashore to go forward on foot ; but 
it will be difficult for them to communicate what they see to their 
ship. The telephone arrangements made use of by the land 



SHIPS' FIRE AGAINST THE SHORE 341 

gunner might be introduced ; but it would not be easy to improvise 
such a system suddenly for the purpose of bridging the gulf between 
a ship ofi the coast and a party a mile or two inland. The con- 
sequences of a lack of forward observation may cause projectiles 
from supporting vessels to do serious damage to the troops in 
the middle of a general action ; and although such contretemps 
are not wholly unknown where land batteries are working in 
conjunction with other arms, they generally nowadays only occur 
when the friendly infantry is very close to the target. Or lack 
of forward observation may oblige the ships' guns to cease fire 
just when this is most wanted — as happened on the 21st of August. 

Bearing in mind the imposing calibre and the unquestionable 
might of the ships' guns that the Allies had at their disposal, it 
can hardly be said that this monster ordnance achieved com- 
mensurate successes, except when its targets happened to be 
exceptionally easy to hit — as for instance Sedd-el-Bahr Castle 
when Albion battered its ancient walls on the morning of the 26th 
of February, and the trenches overlooking X Beach when Im-placable 
on the previous morning had crept in to within short range and let 
them have it with a v/ill. Moreover, the fleet, as was to be ex- 
pected, did scarcely anything against concealed howitzers and guns, 
and they were able to efiect less than might have been expected 
towards easing the wearing strain that was suffered by the troops 
at Helles and Anzac, and, later, in the Suvla area, at the hands 
of artillery equipments that were incomparably less powerful than 
the armament carried by the monitors and belted cruisers. 

There was nothing new in this. On the contrary, the history of 
war abounds in instances of naval ineffectiveness when coping with 
military force. Most soldiers who had devoted attention to the 
subject had indeed foreseen that the advance in the science of 
armament need not necessarily alter the tactical relations as between 
laud and sea very appreciably, and that former experiences of war- 
fare of this class, although carried out with ruder appliances and 
w^ith less accurate and less potent weapons, would be found still 
to hold good. The events of the campaign showed that they 
were right, and this is one of its most significant lessons. Still, 
in this connection it is necessary to make one radical reservation. 

Aeronautics introduce new factors into operations of war, and 
there is reason to suppose that they will in the future exert con- 



342 THE DARDANELLES 

siderable influence over amphibious contests. Although air- 
craft played a part in the fight for the Straits it was not a very- 
important part. That does not prove that a flying service may 
not in future campaigns render fleets more formidable in amphibious 
combats than they proved to be in the struggle for the Hellespont. 
Aerial observation was of use on certain occasions during the naval 
attacks upon the Narrows in March, and it enabled Queen Elizabeth 
to sink a Turkish transport off Maidos. But air power was not 
seriously turned to account with a view to its prosecuting accurate, 
scientific, communicated observation in the interests of the attack- 
ing guns, until after the appearance of the U-boats was already 
restricting naval activity. In the later stages of the campaign 
this form of observation was employed rather by the batteries on 
shore than by the ships' gunners. 

Vital importance in the case o! a maritime descent upon hostile 
territory of securing a large area immediately on landing. — One 
lesson that is impressed upon us with signal force by the story 
of the Dardanelles campaign has already been expatiated upon 
in earlier chapters, and the point need perhaps hardly be laboured 
further here. That lesson is that when you are conducting an 
invasion by sea of an enemy's country with prospect of meeting 
opposition, it is imperative for you to secure as extensive an area 
of ground as possible near the landing-place with the utmost 
despatch. Had a considerably larger tract been conquered at any 
one of the three localities where the Gallipoli landings took place, 
within a few hours of the commencement of disembarkation — at 
Helles, or at Anzac, or at Suvla — the effort against the peninsula 
might conceivably have accomplished the primary object of the 
campaign, and the Narrows might have been wrested out of the 
keeping of the Turk. Resistance proved too strong to be brushed 
aside at Helles. Grim opposition coupled with topographical 
difficulties of no common order served to confine the space won 
at Anzac to exceedingly restricted limits from the very start. 
In the case of Suvla, a number of circumstances which have been 
commented on in Chapters XI and XII combined to prevent the 
occupation of essential positions which were weakly held by 
Ottoman troops when the invaders first set foot on shore. The 
result was, however, practically identical in all three cases. A 
footing was gained — and that was all. 



NEED OF ELBOW-ROOM ON LANDING 343 

A landing in an enemy's country bears, it may be observed, a 
marked resemblance to the passage by troops of some great military 
obstacle which is only traversable by armed forces at certain 
indicated localities — a mighty river, say, or a range of mountains, 
or a stretch of desert wilderness. The principal difference indeed is 
that in the case of the river, or of the range, or of the desert, the 
enemy may be able to assume the offensive on your side of the 
obstacle ; a maritime descent, on the other hand, postulates a 
situation that imposes the defensive upon the adversary. In this 
latter case the sea creates the obstacle; and, owing to the con- 
formation of normal littorals, the practicable landing-places are 
usually limited in number, and they thus present the counterpart 
of points where the river may be bridged, or where tracks fit for 
troops traverse the hills, or where chains of wells permit of a 
multitude of men crossing the desert. It is an accepted tactical 
and strategical axiom that, when forcing the passage of a military 
obstacle, reaping the fruits of preliminary success hinges upon 
securing ample space on its further side as soon as may be, so as 
to admit of the army deploying as accessions swell its numbers, 
and so as to ensure that the issues from the defile shall not be 
under hostile fire. It is just the same in the case of the landing. 
You stand in need of elbow-room, and your points of disembarka- 
tion, as well as the exits leading immediately outwards from them, 
require to be out of range of hostile projectiles. 

But that is not all. As with the river, or the range, or the 
desert, success will often be contingent on surprise. It will be a 
question of debouching unexpectedly on the enemy's side of the 
obstacle and while the foe is still weak in numbers at the point 
which you select. Once your antagonist ascertains your inten- 
tions, he is likely to hold some precious trump cards in his hand. 
He may be in a position to gather his forces from all sides ; whereas 
you are for some time hampered by having to get your troops 
and impedimenta across bridges, or through mountain defiles, 
or along desert tracks, or on to terra firma out of ships. The 
enemy is not unlikely to be able to mass the bulk of his forces 
adjacent to the scene of action a good deal more rapidly than you 
can. So your task during the early hours is to secure as big a 
" bridgehead " as circumstances permit. You require also to make 
yourself master straightway of favourable positions where your 



344 THE DARDANELLES 

leading troops, weak as they must be, will be able to sustain them- 
selves against superior numbers until those reinforcements have 
joined up which, it is to be assumed, you have at command — for 
otherwise you presumably would not be venturing on an offensive 
on the further side of the obstacle. It is all fairly obvious — at all 
events in theory. 

The position warfare (or trench warfare, as it has come to be 
called in view of experiences on all fronts during the World War) 
which appears to be an almost automatic consequence of the great 
progress that has taken place in the science of armaments of late 
years, provides a fresh incentive for securing a maximum of space 
immediately, when effecting a landing in an enemy's country. 
Anzac illustrates this principle. It will be remembered that, 
although General Birdwood's forces did contrive to extend the 
area in their occupation flankwards, they virtually stood still in 
so far as advance directly inland from the starting-point was 
concerned. The line Russel's Top — Quinn's Post — Pimple was 
secured within a few hours. What was virtually that same line 
remained the battle-front from the night of stress which suc- 
ceeded the 25th of April, down to the early hours of that memorable 
December morning when the shrunken parties of Australians, who 
were holding this mile or so of sterile crag and naked ridge to the 
last, stole silently away in the darkness and made for their boats. 

A reasonably defensible line taken up by -fficient troops who 
are fitted out with the weapons of to-day, can, experience of the 
World War has proved, be maintained almost for certain so long 
as the enemy does not mass a prodigious weight of artillery to 
batter the line with. This feature in contemporary tactics is due 
to the magazine rifle and to the machine-gun. Accepting the 
above as an axiom, the advantage of thrusting your bridgehead 
as far as possible outwards seems to stand to reason. The position 
hastily occupied at the start ought to be tenable for the few days 
that will in most cases elapse before the reinforcements shall have 
disembarked, which are required first to make the line secure 
and then to permit of an offensive onwards with an army pre- 
sumably superior to that which the enemy will have been able to 
gather together. 

Reserves to replace wastage must be provided on the spot in the 
case of distant campaigns. — Amongst the various factors that con- 



DEPOTS MUST BE CLOSE AT HAND 345 

tributed to bring about a miscarriage of the Entente Powers' 
efforts to obtain mastery over the Dardanelles, not the least potent 
was their inability to maintain the expeditionary army at its proper 
establishment. The point has been dealt with in former chapters, 
and it teaches us an important lesson with reference to the conduct 
of war under analogous conditions. A nation embarking upon a 
military adventure to take place in some region far removed from 
the home country, and in the course of which losses are likely to be 
heavy, should collect ample reserves in, or near, the theatre of war, 
upon which the commander can draw to replenish his ranks. 

The requirements in respect to location of draft-producing depots 
for prosecuting the Dardanelles operations, differed widely there 
from what was appropriate in France and Belgium during the World 
War. The belligerent armies in action on what we came to call 
the Western Front — French, British, German, and Belgian — were 
all fighting within a day or two by rail and sea from their homes. 
So long as the personnel, trained and equipped, was in existence, 
the despatch of drafts from Germany or from the United Kingdom 
to Flanders or Artois was merely a question of hours. But warfare 
on the shores of the iEgean was quite a different story for the 
French, and even more so for the British. To carry on the campaign 
in the Gallipoli Peninsula effectively, huge depots of officers and 
men ought to have been available in the islands of Imbros or Lemnos, 
ready to despatch reinforcements to depleted units at the scene of 
action at a few hours' notice. Because the reserves were not where 
they ought to have been, because they were located away back 
in France and the British Isles, they were invariably weeks behind 
time when they were wanted. W^e are here assuming that the troops 
actually did exist somewhere. But as a matter of fact there was 
always a shortage of trained men during 1915, at least as far as this 
country was concerned, and the way in which Sir I. Hamilton was 
starved for drafts was perhaps unavoidable. 

The truth is that, to despatch a division to a distant theatre of 
war fitted out with all its paraphernalia of personnel and material, 
but deprived of those reinforcing resources in officers and men 
that are bound to be needed as soon as the division gets to work, 
is to court disaster. Such dispositions mean that — possibly within 
a very few hours of its first taking the field — the division may have 
become, and will remain, a mere framework, without vitality, 



346 THE DARDANELLES 

without efi&cacy, and without worth. An army that has degenerated 
into a mere aggregate of non-combatant clusters, because its 
combatant services have melted away in the furnace of battle and 
because their wastage has not been made good, is an imposture 
and an anachronism. Even in the case of a fighting unit, it must 
be remembered, a portion of the personnel is inevitably employed 
in rear and out of the firing line ; this portion is apt to remain 
numerically constant, although the numbers in the firing line 
diminish ; and the consequence is that the comparative combatant 
potentialities of the unit as a whole depreciate out of proportion to 
its actual losses in action. There are few things, moreover, more 
discouraging to a battalion, or to a squadron of horse, or to a 
battery of artillery, than to see its ranks evaporating without 
observing any signs of their being replenished. From every point 
of view, in fact, the maintenance of those establishments which 
experience has proved to be fitting is a matter of cardinal military 
importance. But such maintenance will only be assured if ample 
reserves of personnel are planted down within, or reasonably near 
to, the arena of operations. 

Conclusion. — Events that preceded and that occurred during the 
struggle for the Straits teach us other lessons besides those that 
have been particularly touched upon in this chapter. Some of 
them have been discussed in earlier passages scattered through 
the volume. Others may suggest themselves to its readers. The 
Dardanelles operations were indeed charged throughout with in- 
struction for the thinker on the methods of war. Were it not that 
they represent merely one episode in the greatest of all inter- 
national conflicts, the various incidents that signalised the contest 
would be conned over by the professional fighting men of all lands 
to the full as keenly as of late years have been the annals of the 
American Civil War, the history of the Franco-German duel of 
1870-71, and the records of the hostilities between Russia and 
Japan in the Far East. 

An ofl&cial account of the fight for the Hellespont will, we may 
assume, appear in due course, elucidating many matters that 
to-day remain obscure and bringing to light factors bearing on the 
issue that are at present only realised by those who were fully 
behind the scenes. Still, even as it is, we know enough about what 
occurred to be in a position to appraise the principal occurrences 



CONCLUSION 347 

of the campaign fairly correctly, and to justify our deducing 
theories from them as to the principles which govern certain 
aspects of the naval and the military art. The attempt to reach 
Constantinople made by the Entente Powers in 1915 ranks as 
one of the most remarkable martial undertakings recorded in 
history. Not one set of operations that can be named since the 
conquest of Canada, so nearly embodies the ideal of amphibious 
warfare. On the side of the Allies, admirals and generals were 
continually being called upon to grapple with novel tactical and 
administrative problems of rare complexity. Their opponents, 
labouring as they were under a crushing responsibility and hampered 
by indifferent land communications and an inefficient military 
system, remained undismayed and managed to keep their flag 
flying in spite of all. The withdrawal of the British and Australasian 
forces from the Gallipoli Peninsula furnishes an illuminating 
example of what method, combined with foresight, will accomplish 
when war-experienced and well-disciplined troops under mettle- 
some leadership serve as the material to be handled by a competent 
staft'. Nor, if the annals of campaigns ancient and modern be 
ransacked for deeds of heroism and of grit, will there be found a 
more inspiring story than the inmiortal tale of the first landing 
by Sir I. Hamilton's troops on Turkish soil hard by the Dardanelles. 



APPENDIX I 

LIST OF AUTHORITIES CONSULTED 

Official Despatches of General Sir I. Hamilton, General Sir C. 
Monro, Vice-Admiral Sir J. de Robeck, and Vice- Admiral Sir R. 
Wemyss. 

Nelson's History of the War. — J. Buchan. 

The Dardanelles Commission Report, Part I. 

" The Tim.es' " History oj the War. 

The Straits Imfregnable. — S. de Loghe. 

Last Cruise of the Majestic. — G. Goodchild. 

What of the Dardanelles ? — Granville Fortescue. 

Two Years' War in Constantinople. — H. Stuermer. 

Australia in Arms. — P. F. E. Schuler. 

Froin Gallijjoli to Baghdad. — W. Ewing. 

Gallipoli. — J. Masefield. 

Experiences in the Dardanelles. — E. Pebody. 

The Diary of a Padre at Suvla Bay. — Rev. D. Jones. 

The Immortal Gamble. — Comdr. A. T. Stewart and Rev. C. J. E. 
Peshall. 

Trenching at Gallipoli. — J. Gallishaw. 

The Tenth (Irish) Division in Gallipoli. — Major B. Cooper. 

At Suvla Bay. — J. Hargrave. 

The Truth about the Dardanelles. — J. Moseley. 

With the Fleet in the Dardanelles. — Rev. H. C. Price. 

With the 29th Division in Gallipoli. — Rev. 0. Creighton. 

Ashmead BartletVs Despatches from the Dardanelles. 

With the Zionists in Gallipoli. — Licut.-Colonel J. H. Paterson, 
D.S.O. 

The Big Fight.— C&i,tAin D. Fallon, M.C. 

A Naval Adventure. — Fleet-Surgeon J. T. James, R.N. 

At Antwerp and the Dardanelles. — Rev. H. C, Foster. 

348 



APPENDIX I 349 

GalUpoli Diary. — Major G. S. GiJlam, D.S.O. 

The Dardanelles CampoAgn. — H. W. Nevinson. 

On Four Fronts with the Naval Division.— SuTgeon G. Sparrow, 
M.C., R.N., and Surgeon J. N. Macbean, M.C., R.N. 

Three Years of Naval Warfare. — R. H. Gibson. 

British Campaigns in the Near East. — E. Dane. 

Antwerp to GalUpoli. — A. Ruhl. 

Inside Constantinople. — L. Enstein. 

Secrets of the Bosphcrus. — H. Morgenthau. 

From Berlin to Baghdad. — G. K. Schreiner. 

L' Expedition des Dardanelles. — C. Stienon. 

Combat d' Orient. Dardanelles- Salonique (1916-16). — Capitaine 
Canudo. 

Dardanelles, Serbie, Salonique. — J. Vassal. 

Les Compagnons de I'Aventure. — A. Tudesq. 

Deux annees de guerre navah. — Rene La Bruyere. 

GalUpoli. Der Kampf um den Orient. — Von einem Offizier aus 
dem Stabe Marschalis Liman von Sanders. 

Der Kampf um die Dardanellen. — Major E. R. Prigge. 

Im Turkischen Hauptquartier. — P. Schweder. 



APPENDIX II 

ORDER OF BATTLE OF THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 

(exclusive of artillery) 

The British and Australasian Divisions are enumerated in order 
of arrival in the Gallipoli Peninsula. 

29f^ Division 

86th Brigade. — 2nd Royal Fusiliers ; 1st Lancashire Fusiliers ; 
1st Royal Munster Fusiliers ; 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers. 

87th Brigade.— 2nd South Wales Borderers ; 1st K.O.S.B.'s ; 
1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers ; Ist Border Regiment. 

88th Brigade. — 2nd Hampshire ; 4th Worcesters ; 1st Essex ; 
5th Royal Scots. 

Royal Naval Division'^ 

1st Naval Brigade. — Anson Battalion ; Howe Battalion ; Hood 
Battalion ; Collingwood Battalion. ' 

2nd Naval Brigade. — HawJce Battalion ; Nelson Battalion ; Drake 
Battalion ; Benhow Battalion. 

Marine Brigade. — Chatham Battalion ; Plymouth Battalion ; 
Portsmouth Battalion ; Deal Battalion. 



' Owing to the very heavy casualties that the division suffered and to the 
difficulty in filling the gaps, it was reduced from three brigades to two com- 
paratively early in the operations, certain amalgamations taking place. In 
the autumn and at the time of the evacuation the 1st Brigade was composed 
of the Drake, Nelson, Hawke and Hood Battalions, and the 2nd Brigade com- 
prised the Howe and Anson Battalions and 1st and 2nd Battalions of 
Royal Marines. 

'Did not arrive till the end of May. 

}S0 



APPENDIX II 351 

1st Australian Division 

1st (New South Wales) Brigade.— 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th N.S. 
Wales Battalions. 

2nd (Victoria) Brigade. — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Victoria Battalions. 

3rd Brigade. — 9th Queensland, 10th South Australian, 11th West 
Australian, and 12th Tasmania Battalions. 

Australian and New Zealand Division 

4th Brigade. — 13th N.S. Wales, 14th Victoria, 15th Composite, 
and 16th Composite Battalions. 

New Zealand Brigade. — Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, and 
Otago Battalions. 

1st Australian Light Horse Brigade. — 1st, 3rd, and 4th Light 
Horse. 

4:2nd East Lancashire Division 

125th (Lancashire Fusilier) Brigade. — 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th 
Lancashire Fusiliers. 

126th (East Lancashire) Brigade. — 4th and 5th East Lancashire ; 
9th and 10th Manchesters. 

127th (Manchester) Brigade.— 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Manchesters. 



29th Indian Brigade.— 1 /5th and l/6th Ghurka Rifles ; 2 /10th 
Ghurka Rifles ; 14th Sikhs. 



52nd Lowland Division 

155th (South Scottish) Brigade. — 4th and 5th Royal Scots Fusiliers ; 
4th and 5th K.O.S.B.'s. 

156th (Scottish Rifle) Brigade.— 4th and 7th Royal Scots ; 7th 
and 8th Scottish Rifles. 

157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade.— 5th, 6th, and 7th High- 
land Light Infantry ; 5th Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. 



352 THE DARDANELLES 

IZth Division 

38th Brigade. — 6th Royal Lancashire ; 6th Lancashire Fusiliers ; 
6th South Lancashire ; 6th Loyal North Lancashire. 

39th Brigade. — 9th Warwick ; 7th Gloucester ; 9th Worcesters ; 
7th North Stafford. 

40th Brigade.— 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers ; 4th South Wales 
Borderers ; 8th Cheshire ; 5th Wiltshire. 

Divisional Battalion. — 8th Welsh. 

11^^ Division 

32nd Brigade.— 9th West Yorkshire ; 6th Yorkshire ; 6th York 
and Lancaster ; 8th West Riding. 

33rd Brigade. — 6th Lincoln ; 6th Border Regiment ; 6th South 
Stafford ; 9th Notts and Derby. 

34th Brigade. — 8th Northumberland Fusiliers ; 9th Lancashire 
Fusiliers ; 11th Manchester ; 5th Dorset. 

Divisional Battalion. — 6th East Yorkshire. 

10^^ Division 

29th Brigade. — 10th Hampshire ; 6th Royal Irish Rifles ; 5th 
Connaught Rangers ; 6th Leinster. 

30th Brigade.— 6th and 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers ; 6th and- 7th 
Royal Munster Fusiliers. 

31st Brigade. — 5th and 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers ; 5th and 
6th Royal Irish Fusiliers. 

Divisional Battalion. — 5th Royal Irish. 

53rd! Welsh Division 

158th Cheshire Brigade. — 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Cheshire. 

159th (North Wales) Brigade.— 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Royal Welsh 
Fusiliers. 

160th Brigade. — 4th Queens ; 4th Royal Sussex ; Ist Hereford ; 
10th Middlesex. 



APPENDIX II 353 

64:th East Anglian Division 

161st Norfolk and Suffolk Brigade.— 4th and 5tli Norfolk ; 4th 

and 5th Suffolk. 
162nd East Anglian Brigade. — 5th Bedford ; 4th Northampton ; 

1st Cambridge ; Herts Battalion. 
163rd Essex Brigade.— 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Essex. 



The 2nd Mounted Division 

1st South Midland Brigade. — Warwickshire Yeomanry ; Worcester- 
shire Yeomanry ; Gloucestershire Hussars. 

2nd South Midland Brigade. — Buckinghamshire Hussars ; Berks 
Yeomanry ; Dorset Yeomanry. 

North Midland Brigade. — Derbyshire Yeomanry ; Notts Yeomanry; 
South Notts Yeomanry. 

London Brigade. — City of London Roughriders ; 1st County of 
London Yeomanry ; Surrey Yeomanry. 

Divisional Troops. — Westminster Dragoons ; Herts Yeomanry. 

3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade.^ — 2nd, 5th, and 7th Light 

Horse. 
2nd AustraUan Light Horse Brigade. ^^ — 8th, 9th, and 10th Light 

Horse. 

New Zealand Mounted Brigade. ^ — Auckland Mounted Rifles ; 
Canterbury Mounted Rifles ; WelUngton Mounted Rifles ; 
Otago Mounted Rifles. 



2nd Australian Division 
5th Brigade.— 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Battalions. 
6th Brigade.— 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Battalions. 

Troops that arrived after August. Newfoundland Battahon ; 
Scottish Horse ; 1st and 2nd Lovat's Scouts ; East Kent, 
West Kent, Sussex, North Devon, Devon and West 
Somerset Yeomanry. 

* These arrived at various dates between May and July. 
2 A 



354 THE DARDANELLES 

FRENCH FORCES | 

Ist Division'^ 

1st Metropolitan Brigade. — 175th Regiment ; Composite Regiment 
of Zouaves and Foreign Legion. 

Colonial Brigade. 2 — 4th. Colonial Regiment ; 6th Colonial Regiment. 

2nd Division^ 

3rd Metropolitan Brigade. — 176th Regiment ; 2nd African Regi- 
ment (Zouaves). 

Colonial Brigade. ^ — 7th Colonial Regiment ; 8th Colonial Regiment. 



Two Regiments of Chasseurs d'Afrique. 

^ Each division had six batteries of " 75's" and two of mountain guns. 
2 The Colonial regiments were made up partly of battalions of French 
Colonial troops and partly of Senegalese battalions. 



J 



APPENDIX III 

THE ARRANGEMENTS MADE WITH REGARD TO WATER 
FOR THE SUVLA LANDING 

The serious difficulties that arose as to water after the landing 
had taken place at the beaches at Suvla were mainly due to the 
problem of distribution to the troops, and not to any failure to 
provide water. The arrangements for its provision were as 
follows : — 

A tank steamer, towing water lighters, accompanied the 11th 
Division from Imbros, its arrival being timed for daybreak. 
Another vessel carried hose, tanks, and troughs, as well as water- 
pumps and the requisite ordnance stores for developing any wells 
and springs that might be found. The design M^as that the lighters 
were to bring up at the beaches and were to be emptied by pumps 
and hose. But several of the lighters grounded some way from the 
shore, and in some cases the hose was pierced by thirsty soldiers, 
so that the supply even on the beaches did not reach the volume 
anticipated. The plan was that after the lighters and tank-ship 
were emptied they would return to Imbros, to fill up afresh from 
the parent water-ship stationed there. 

For purposes of distribution a large number of mules had been 
specially provided, and most elaborate arrangements had been 
made in respect to assembling receptacles in the shape of petrol 
tins, milk cans, camel tanks, and water bags, sufficient having been 
procured to contain 100,000 gallons. Neither mules nor water- 
carts were, however, landed during the first hours after disembarka- 
tion had commenced, and the consequence was that the troops 
that had advanced from the beaches were entirely dependent 
upon what could be carried by hand in water bottles and so forth 
during the greater part of the day on the 7th of August. When the 
serious position at the front in respect to water was ascertained, 

35S 



356 THE DARDANELLES 

the landing of the artillery horses was stopped so as to accelerate 
getting ashore the mules intended to carry the receptacles to the 
troops. But all this took time, with the result that the men suffered 
very greatly from thirst in most sections of the line. Considerable 
delay took place in landing the material on board the vessel carrying 
troughs and hose, as well as special gear for sinking wells. 

The organisation in respect to bringing the lighters full of water 
to the shore was in the hands of the Royal Navy. Drawing the 
water from the lighters and distributing it on shore was in the 
hands of the army. As regards the latter operation Sir L Hamilton 
writes in his final despatch : " Undoubtedly the distribution of 
this water to the advancing troops was a matter of great dijficulty, 
and one which required not only well worked-out schemes from 
Corps and Divisional Staffs, but also energy and experience on the 
part of those who had to put them in practice. As it turned out, 
and judging only by results, I regret to say that the measures 
actually taken in regard to the distribution proved inadequate, 
and that suffering and disorganisation ensued." 



APPENDIX IV 

MARSHAL LIMAN VON SANDERS' VIEWS AND 
STATEMENTS 

Since this volume was sent to press, an interesting report of an 
interview with Marshal Liman von Sanders which took place 
towards the end of November, 1918, at Constantinople has 
appeared in a number of journals in this country. The various 
points, which were then raised by the enemy commander-in-chief 
during the land campaign for the Dardanelles, are briefly dealt 
with below. 

1. The marshal remarked : " The attack on the Straits by the 
Navy alone, I don't think could ever have succeeded owing to the 
mines. I proposed to flood the Straits broadcast with mines, 
and it was my view that these were the main defence of the 
Dardanelles, and that the function of the guns in the forts was 
simply to protect the minefields from interference." Many sailors 
and soldiers in this country will agree with the view that a sufficiency 
of mines would make the passage of the Straits virtually impractic- 
able, so long as the defenders had searchhghts, field-guns, and 
howitzers to oppose to the mine-sweepers. The point, however, 
suggests itself that the Turks may not have possessed sufficient 
mines to " flood " the channel " broad-cast " with such engines 
of destruction. The drifting mines certainly proved very effec- 
tive in the general action of the 18th of March ; but the Ottoman 
Crovernment was none too well supplied with munitions at that 
time. 

2. " If I had been the attacker instead of the defender of the 
Dardanelles," the marshal continued, " I would not have landed 
at Cape Helles and Anzac. I should have made the principal 
landing on the coast of Asia Minor from Tenedos. There you have, 
first of all, a convenient base close at hand, while by only two 

357 



358 THE DARDANELLES 

days' march you would be in rear of the Dardanelles forts which 
can only fire seaward. At the same time I should have landed on 
the neck of the Gallipoli Peninsula close to the Bulair lines. So 
strongly did I expect that the British would choose those places 
that when I took command a month before the landing I posted 
two of my six divisions opposite Tenedos, two on the peninsula, 
and two at Bulair." 

It may be remarked that if Sir I. Hamilton had chosen to try 
landings at Besika Bay and Bulair, he would have been doing exactly 
what his opponent thought he was going to do, and that is what 
a commander generally avoids if he can. But there were other 
strong objections to selecting those points for attack, which have 
been pointed out in Chapter IV. The only two practicable beaches 
" close to the Bulair lines " are of very limited extent and the 
wider of the two is outside the lines. A landing imdertaken there 
in presence of two hostile divisions would have been a much more 
difficult operation than the landings at Helles and north of Gaba 
Tepe — which proved quite difficult enough. The most obvious 
tactical lesson that is taught by this campaign as regards landings 
in presence of an enemy is the necessity of getting the troops 
ashore very rapidly and of gaining ground at once — in other words 
of landing on a broad front. That was impossible at Bulair, although 
it might have been feasible at and near Besika Bay and Yukyeri 
Bay. Marshal Liman von Sanders indicates one serious objection 
to operating on the Asiatic side of the Straits when he says that it 
would take two days' march to get in rear of the forts ; one day's 
march would do it from Helles, and half a day's march from Gaba 
Tepe, judged merely by distance and not taking opposition into 
account in any of the three cases. 

3. With regard to the Suvla landing the marshal said he would 
have preferred to make it between Anzac and Helles, because 
there the peninsula is narrower and the Turks at Helles could have 
been attacked from the rear. Possibly Sir I. Hamilton would have 
preferred it too, had there been any place to land ; but this would 
not seem to have been the case — the information at his disposal 
at all events did not suggest that there was any suitable spot for 
disembarking a large force rapidly between Gaba Tepe and Gully 
Beach. 

4. Marshal Liman von Sanders put his force at Suvla on the 



APPENDIX IV 359 

7th of August at only two battalions, two squadrons and two 
batteries of old guns (a somewhat lower total than which is given 
in Chapter XI), and he considered that if the British troops had 
pressed hard they would have won the heights. That is an 
interesting admission. 

5. He stated that when the push was made for Chunuk Bail 
he rushed a division across from the Asiatic side, which would 
have been blown to pieces by the British guns if it had arrived 
only half an hour later. It is not clear what date this refers to, 
but it sounds as if that date was the 8th of August ; a division 
could scarcely have been got across from the Asiatic side and 
hurried on to the Sari Bair mountain by the morning of the 7th. 
But it was no doubt the case that much depended upon time during 
the encounters of the Anzac force with the enemy on the 7th and 
8th, and possibly also on the 9th ; not until full particulars are 
known from the enemy's side will it be possible, however, to piece 
together properly the story of the great four days' fight for the 
Sari Bair mountain. 

6. The marshal quoted the case of an attack by the Allies at 
Kiretch Keui, three days after the Suvla landing, as having been 
" touch and go." This probably refers to the attack of the 10th 
and 54th Divisions on the 15th of August (dealt with on pages 
243 and 244), there being a mistake of date. No village known as 
Kiretch Keui is shown on our maps, but there may have been such 
a place somewhere ahead of our lines across the Kiritch Tepe 
Sirt. 

7. He entirely agreed with the wisdom of the British decision 
to evacuate the peninsula, and he stated that he was constantly 
being reinforced so that at the end he had twenty-one divisions. 
This hardly calls for comment, but the figure as to the number of 
divisions is worthy of note. 

8. The marshal spoke highly of the arrangements made by his 
adversaries for the final evacuation at Suvla, and he stated that 
when his patrols sighted red flares on the beach it was thought for 
a time that fresh troops were being landed. The flares referred to 
no doubt were the burning dumps. He mentioned that when the 
Turks advanced they suffered serious loss from our mines ; this 
perhaps accounts for the deliberate movements of his troops on 
the morning of the 20th of December, and it is a tribute to the 



360 THE DARDANELLES 

efficacy of this particular form of defence in the case of a with- 
drawal from trenches by night. 

9. He claimed to have seen the preparations for evacuation 
going on at Helles, but he stated that he was never able to guess 
on which day it would actually take place. If that was so, how 
comes it that his troops displayed such torpor at night and fell in so 
readily with their opponents'plan of knocking off rifle-fire and bomb- 
ing about midnight ? With twenty-one divisions available and 
only about 8000 yards of front to watch, it ought surely to have 
been possible to relieve the Ottoman forces in the trenches at 
frequent intervals so as to ensure their being on the alert. There 
must have been laxity somewhere. The marshal's foot-soldiers 
could not, it is true, have interfered very effectively with the 
British embarkation after midnight on the 8th-9th ; but, had 
they observed an appropriate vigilance, they ought to have become 
aware that the trenches in front of them were untenanted very 
soon after the last of the retiring detachments slipped away. The 
Turkish artillery could then have been warned and their shell 
might have caused very serious havoc on the beaches, where 
personnel was being got aboard the beetles and into boats under 
considerable difficulty owing to the heavy seas. 



THE DAEDANELLES 



361 




MAP VII. — THB DARDANELLES 

MAP VIII (inset). — general 



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