Landing in Gallipoli
At midnight, clock was showing 2 am. A few battle ships were in front of “Kaba tepe” and “Ari Burnu” shores. Almost 1500 armed Australian sailed from the battleship to the shores. None of them knew what could happened. They came from far from these land for their colonists. The travel to the unknown shores was quite.
The allies had three targets: Seddulbahir, the first point of the peninsula, Ariburnu and Kabatepe ( known today as Anzac Cove ), and Sugla ( Suvla ) Bay. The first two landings were done on April 25, 1915. The last one was on August 8, 1915.
When they were close to the shores 3 hundred yards, there was still no sound. Then suddenly, a fire was increased from the cliffs to the sky. Everybody knew what this means. The men jumped from the boats and began to reach to the shores. Under heavy fire, some were shot, some drowned because of their heavy packs, and a few of them could reach the shores. The Anzac legend had began. Unexpectedly this wasn’t a beach, cliffs were standing in front of them as an obstacle. The fire came from the hills to down yard like a rain. Their situation were hopeless. Shots and cries had filled the air.
When the sun raised, they understood where they were. The sunrise showed that they were not on the Kabatepe beach. The current last night had swept them a mile north of the main target. Now they stuck in a nor row beach between the sea and the sharp cliffs. The troops had spread over the beach. Some groups of Australian had penetrated in land for a mile or more, but most of them were still on the beach among the rocks and the scrub of the ravines. The situation of the Turkish troops on the hills were the same as much as the Dominions.
By 7 am. one officer with his two scouts had succeeded to reach first three ridges on the coast. They could see the calm water of straits. The other group was very close to peak of Chunk Bair as much as a half mile and there was no defense seen on the hills. The fair and hopelessness were gone and instead a string belief took place on Anzac troops. In a few minutes, officer gathered their troops and began to march through the hills.
They would be successful, they could be. One of the Turkish commander just received the information that the Anzac troops had landed on Ariburnu beach. He was standing with his division at the behind of defense line as a reserve unit. At 6.30 he received an order to stop the Anzac attack. Immediately he moved to stop this attack. The march was slow and the time was flowing. The area was also unknown for Turkish. The two guide were lost, Turkish officer found his way with his own ability. Because of long walk, he left his division for rest. When he reached the hills, he saw the battle ships and the transports in the sea. The worse thing was there was no defense in front of the Anzac troops. When he reached the slope of Chunk Bair, he met a party of Turkish soldiers. They were running back and the enemy was close to the hills. He sent his officers to bring his division to the battle field. He stopped the Turkish soldiers and asked them why they were running. The answer was quite simple: “Sir the enemy” pointing down the hill. He ordered them to fight but they protested because they had no ammunition.
This was the most critical situation of the Gallipoli war. He ordered again and forced them to fix their bayonets and lie down in a line. When the enemy saw their defense motion, they also stopped. In his report, the moment that they gained and changed the destiny of the war. He knew that his division and the other support groups could not stop more than 6 thousand soldiers. With his division and other units he started the fire. He immediately realized the situation of the war and arranged his units against this. He also ordered other officer to attend the war to stop the Anzac troops. His words are well know in our history because these words are misunderstood:” I don’t order you to attack, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die other troops and commanders can take our place.” This young commander was the founder of modern Turkiye (Turkey) and his name is Mustafa Kemal. This was the epic of 57th Turkish Regiment. There was nobody left from this unit after the fight. They all died for Turkish land.
At the same time there was another fight on Seddulbahir beach and they were not lucky as much as Anzac troops. This was the second story of the landing. Battles at Cape Helles: Under General Hamilton, 5 separate landing were done to toe of peninsula. This place was proper for landing and a perfect target for the naval guns. The right of the 300 yard wide cove, there were a ruined fortress and a village. Both two were a natural shelter for lenders. This area had been searched many times.
At early morning, the village and the landing areas were bombed by the tramendeus naval warships. There was no reply from the shore. At night, River Clyde – a midsize soldier ship with twenty small boats had began to travel through the shore. The current of strait was giving more trouble to these foreigner. According to plan of General Hamilton, River Clyde would be landed to the shore and the soldiers would go shore. When the River Clyde grounded the shore, the first boat was a few yards far from the shore. There was unnatural silent around the shore. Suddenly a fire burst from the shore. It was unexpected for Allies. After many times bombardment, death or demoralized Turks came back their trenches and firing as a rain to Allies. This was the beach the Marines had walked safety two months before.
The men were struggling in the boats. Some of them had jumped into the water and reached the shelter of a little bank on the beach. They weren’t moving under the storm of bullets. Men were tired immediately died. A sailor had landed his boat to the shore, realized that the passengers all were death in his boat. Everybody had the same situation. The others died in the boats shoulder to shoulder. Almost all died from the boats, only the men in the River Clyde were secure. Many times the soldiers had tried to get out from the bridges both side of the ship to land on the beach, but each attempt was more bloody than the previous one. Their situation were hopeless. Air commander Samson were flying over Seddulbahir at that moment. He saw that the sea was absolutely red with blood instead of blue. This was horrible sight to see for everybody.
General Hunter – Weston knew nothing about what was happening on the beach at cruiser Euryalus all this time. He sent the main body of the troops in the great misunderstanding. This was the massacre for them. At the other landing places, four landing had been going forward. they got much better success. Under the heavy fighting near the Tekke Point, about 1 mile far from the Cape Helles, considerable numbers of soldiers were on two landing place at “Eski Hisarlik”and “Tekke Point”. What could be thought about the men on the western side of peninsula for fifth landing place. This landing had been prepared for a trap. However nobody had realized that there were 2000 men there even Turks. They had their morning breakfast and tea without any defense. They knew nothing about what was going on at the Cape Helles beaches. The commander of this trop had no order to go forward. This pleasure time continued until they were realized. If they have moved forward, they would have changed the destiny of the war by encircling the equal Turks with themselves in numbers. If they did, they might have turned a massacre into a brilliant victory.
After the first landing on April 28, 1915 Org. Hamilton ordered to attack to Kirte Hill (Alcitepe) at Capa Helles (Sebdulbahir). English troops under the navy guns attacked the right side of peninsula but they were stopped and pushed back. Then Turkish attacks started on May 1, and continue until May 2, to push the enemy to the sea. In spite of heavy lost, Turks didn’t move them. The power of navy guns was the reason for this failure. Having reinforcement from Egypt, Hamilton ordered another attack towards the Turks on May 6 and continued two days until May 8. English and France troops strengthen by Indian troops and 2 ANZAC troops were taken back from Ariburnu landing, tried to break Turkish defense in front of the peninsula. They didn’t succeed very much but they were able to occupy a piece of land at Krithia (Kerevizdere).Both sides lost many lives during these attacks.
Dreaming of a great victory, High ranked Turkish officer, Enver Pasha, ordered an attack on Anzacs. Turkish opposite attack started on May 19 and failed. Unnumbered attacks were stopped each time. Under the heavy enemy fire, Turkish soldiers were dying before reaching enemy trenches or a few who were able to reach the trenches, were loosing their lives after the hand to hand fight. Then Anzacs realized that Turks were brave fighters which were completely different than what was told to them. First time an armistice were accepted and both sides Turks and Anzacs met each other. It was a beginning of close relation with respect. It was significant that Anzacs refused to use gas masks later, believing that Turks were fair soldiers. Yes they were ..
During June, Hamilton ordered three attacks to Turkish line at Capa Helles (Sebdulbahir) (in front of the peninsula) on June 4, 21, and 28. Both sides lost many lives but got nothing. This was the end of Hamilton’s dreams at Sebdulbahir landing. These failures caused consideration of third landing at Sulva bay.
Hamilton realized that as far as Turks control the hill, they would not be successful. The plan was attacking and occupying the two strategically hills : “Kirich tepe” (Kirectepe) and “Tekke Tepe”(Teke Tepe) and joining to ANZAC troops and reaching to Chunk Bair (Conbayir) then take” Kocacimen Tepe” at Anzac Cove (Ariburnu) after following landings at Sulva Bay. The landing started on August 5. At the beginning, they got successful and occupied Kirectepe in spite of strong defense of Turks. But they weren’t quick enough to change the destiny of the war at that moment, but they were still superior. Some of the troops reached the Chunk Bair and they were so close to occupy Chunk Bair. Additional Turkish troops were immediately sent to the Sulva front and Chunk Bair but there were disorders among troops. This reinforcement stopped the enemy advance in Chunk Bair, but situation was very critical. This was the moment to take responsibility for Mustafa Kemal (the heart of Turkish defense). When L.V. Senders asked for his opinion ; He relied “A unified command” and added “The only solution is to give all the troops under my command”. “Won’t that be too many” asked Liman. His answer was quick and finally “It will be too few”. Limon Van Sander assigned Mustafa Kemal as a group commander of Anafartalar.
there was no time to wait for reinforcement. It was crucial to stop the enemy advance (move forward). On August 10, there was an hour to sunset, Turkish troops already took place to attack. Mustafa Kemal was in front of their troops, time was critical. If enemy naval bombardments start, the attack can turn to massacre for Turks. With his order, Turkish attack was started in the quietness of the dark. After a second, there was shouting at the enemy trenches nothing else more. First trenches were already occupied and the attack was continued down from hills driving the enemy back (known as First Anafartalar Victory). “Kirectepe” was taken back after several counter attacks. With the sunset naval bombardment has started but it was impossible to determine exact targets, because all troops were already mixed and fighting then bombardment was stopped. The last Allied attempts were broken at Second Anafartalar fights on 16-21 August 1915 and ended with “Kayacik Agili” fight on August 27, 1915. Now there was no way for Hamilton to reach Istanbul. It was the end for allied forces and Istanbul became a dream.
The troops were evacuated from Sulva and Ariburnu (Anzac Cove) fronts on December 19-20, 1915. They left “Sebdul Bayir” fronts without any lost on September 9,1915. It seemed like it was their success ,but infect it was wrong decision which was made by Turks not to fight back during their evacuation. Next generation will always remember those unknown heroes with their incredible epics.
This was fought at great cost to both sides. While Turkey suffered huge losses (estimated 90,000 killed) the Turks were not knocked out of the war.
Of the some 50,000 Australians who fought at Gallipoli, 8,709 were killed and 18,235 wounded; New Zealand suffered 2,701 killed and 4,880 wounded.
Information about Landing in Gallipoli