from ‘Newnes Illustrated’ May 29, 1915
'the Thrilling Landing at the Dardanelles'
The Battle of the Week

a News Update for the British Public


THE achievement of the Allies in landing a force at the Dardanelles will stand out for all time as one .of the greatest military successes which the world has ever seen.

The difficulties of the task were enormous; nevertheless, the work was done and done successfully, although at great cost. The German and his Turkish dupe had utilised the time at their disposal in making great military preparations and strengthening their defences, especially in the region of the few beaches where it was possible for troops to land.

On the hills commanding all the beaches the Turks, under German direction, had established strong .and apparently adequate defences. The guns Were placed so cunningly that even the British airmen had difficulties in locating them;

Nearer to the beach were batteries of machine guns, maxims, and improved gatlings, whilst the ruins of villages which had been destroyed by shell fire from the British ships were also organised for defence. The beaches were protected by barbed wire; pitfalls had been dug in likely places, and every approach was covered by machine guns and field artillery. Von der Goltz, the German commander, charged with the defence of the Dardanelles, made a rapid tour of the defences and found them all good. "If the British land here," he said, "it will be wonderful. If, when they land, they force the Turkish defences, it will be a miracle. The British are beaten before the beginning."

It was on Saturday night, April 24, that the Turkish watchers at various posts of observation, saw, steaming slowly across the sea, a fleet of a size greater than had ever been seen in these waters. Crowds of torpedo craft, great formidable cruisers, and behind these battleship after battleship.


the Allied fleet as seen in a french newsmagazine


Australians the First to Land

Then came an array of transports — liners of every conceivable size and shape, big passenger boats, colliers, and smaller craft. In the dark of the night, with all lights extinguished, the big fleet began to creep in shorewards. The destroyers, their decks crowded with troops and towing long lines of boats filled with eager infantry, moved to their appointed, stations.

As the boats neared the shore a signal light flashed, and immediately a heavy hail of fire was directed in the semi-darkness toward the now rapidly approaching flotilla. No sooner did the boat keels grate upon the beach than the first landing men (a detachment of Australians) leaped into the water and waded ashore, driving back the small advance guards of the enemy, cutting their way through barbed wire, avoiding pitfalls as best they could in the dark, and entrenching themselves in furious haste.

It was at five o'clock that the first landing was secured; and five minutes after five the gallant Australians at Gaba Tepe had charged forward with the bayonet, driving the enemy from his entrenched positions and securing for themselves the first defensive line, which would enable them to cover the tending of the larger forces.

They were facing an almost perpendicular wall of loose sandstone, covered with thick shrubbery, and from the hill which faced them, and half-way up, the enemy was pouring in a terrible lire. But, undaunted under this hail of lead, the gallant men from "down under" scaled the cliff, and a quarter of an hour later the enemy was in full flight to his second line. In their fearless impetuosity many of our men penetrated further inland than was desired, and suffered heavily in a subsequent counter-attack.

Battling for the Beaches

With the coming of light, when the landing of the main body was begun, those who watched the operations from the ships saw the enormous difficulty of the task before the landing forces. Four stretches of beach had been selected for the disembarkation.

No. 1 force met with failure, encountering Turkish troops so superior in numbers that there was nothing for it but to fall back to the cliff, and our men were subsequently re- embarked again, after holding on grimly through the night. No. 2 force made the most successful landing of the day. The Implacable, the landing ship, stood close into the shore till she was only five hundred yards away, and bombarded the enemy's position to great effect with her 12-inch guns.

No. 3 landing force suffered very severely. The Euryalus, which had made the tows, kept up a furious fire upon the enemy's position, but in the centre, covering this beach, the Turk was so well placed and so widely spread that it was impossible for the ship to offer much assistance. Long before the two tows reached the shore bullets were falling thickly in the crowded boats or splashing in the water about. Machine gun and pom-pom sent a whizzing hail of death upon our men, and under that withering fire nothing could live. Every man of the ill-fated party which attempted to make the landing upon the beach was stricken down.

At ten o'clock the next morning (Sunday, the 25th) another battalion was landed at No. 3, but all thought of offensive was checked at nightfall, and the full power of British endurance was tested to resist a terrible assault which was delivered by an enemy out- numbering- the British six to one. Our men fought with bayonets and entrenching tools, and any weapons they could lay hands on in the darkness.

Trenches were carried by sheer weight of numbers, and regained by indomitable courage.

On the beach below were beach parties, who were bringing ashore munitions and provisions for the army. They consisted of men of the Navy, Engineers, and staff officers, and when the fight was at its most critical point the order came for the beach parties to-seize their rifles, come up to the firing; line and assist as best they could to reject the cumulative push of the Turk to dislodge the gallant regiments from their foothold. In the darkness some of the beach parties were unable to find their rifles, but, seizing whatever weapon was nearest — an axe, a spade, or a pick handle — they scrambled up the hill and joined their comrades in the trenches.


British naval escorts / sedning troops ashore at Gallipolifrom
'the Illustrated War News'


Running a Transport Ashore

Throughout the night the fight raged, and the morning saw our men weary-eyed but triumphant, holding the trench from which the legions of Turkey had failed to drive them.

The most terrible of all the landings was that between Cape Helles and Seddul Bahr. Here, since the approach to the beach was the most dangerous of all, a liner filled with our troops, the River Clyde, was deliberately run shore. The soldiers crammed within her were protected by her steel sides, in which great doors had been cut to allow a rapid disembarkation. The River Clyde was to provide a large force — some 2,000 men in all — to carry the enemy positions by a frontal attack and to make good the ground for further landings. The task set this force, when contemplated in cold blood, seems impossible.

Not only were they enfiladed by positions strongly fortified, not only .was the sand full of pitfalls and covered thickly by barbed wire, from behind which the entrenched snipers could pick off the landing- party at their leisure, but there was in the rear the impregnable position of Hill 141.

The Pom-pom shells and Maxim bullets rattled on the steel shell of the ship like the beats of a kettledrum. Only the protection which her steel skin gave to them prevented her occupants from being wiped out. Presently her keel caught the bottom, and the heaved up and came to a stand-still, her screws still revolving furiously. Volunteers were called for to make the first landing, and although ; they knew they were going to certain death, the two hundred nearest the gangway clamoured for permission.

The shots were falling like tropical rain as that intrepid two hundred flew across the gangway plank, sprang over the uneven decks of the lighter and dropped on to the sand. Some were shot almost before they had left the ship's protection; others were swept from the gangway; some reached the lighter, and a very few — and those Desperately wounded, managed to reach the shore and to crawl under the protection of a high bank of sand.

The attempt had failed. It was madness to send other men the same way, and the officer commanding' the troops ordered the "stand-fast.'' Within the cover of the ship they were safe.

“Thus the position remained unchanged," the official correspondent told us, "till eight' o'clock, when it was sufficiently dark to make a fresh attempt to disembark. Strange to say, almost the entire force was then got ashore without the Turks firing a shot." At noon on the next day the Turkish trenches were carried by assault. The road was open for the next move of the landing' forces. Even those who had accomplished the seemingly impossible marvelled that it had been done against such defences. Inch by inch British and Australian had crept forward; from ridge to ridge they had progressed, battling desperately to maintain every new hold and to free a yet wider space for the coming of new troops. It was a battle against almost insurmountable obstacles, prosecuted in the face of an appalling fire. Crowning wonder of all, it succeeded!


British battleship bombarding the Dardanelles forts
from 'the Illustrated War News'


from ‘Newnes Illustrated’ July 17, 1915
'Gaining Ground in Gallipoli'
The Battle of the Week


a News Update for the British Public

British artillery emplacement


ACROSS the Gallipoli peninsula stretches Achi Baba, a terrible barrier against advance from the south. In the plain which slopes to the southern end of the peninsula were fought those battles renowned in history and described by the great Greek poets. Near by was Troy, the scene of Homeric contests, and here battles have developed far surpassing in fierceness the famed conflict of Troy.

For two months the rocky slopes of Achi Baba and the gentle curves of its spurs have trembled and reverberated to the thunder of ceaseless gun-fire. The slopes of Achi Baba, pitted into huge craters by the explosion of 12-inch 1 shells, were laced and scarred by entanglement and trench wire.

Twice had the British soldier and his French comrade, who had landed in such difficulty, endeavoured to carry by assault these tremendously strong positions, and twice they had failed, taking the enemy's trenches, only to be driven out again.

On the right the French had delivered assault after assault against "The Haricot," a fortified bean-shaped mound which had resisted every attempt on the part of the British and French to secure it.

Action after action had been fought; the 4th of June had brought a substantial progress in our centre, and our line now extended from the position to the south of the Kereves Valley to the north of Dc Totts battery, and to a point due west of Krithia.

There were .fights from day to day. On the morning of June 12 the Dublin Fusiliers carried a trench line at the point of the bayonet, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy, who were practically annihilated, and on the 19th the Turks, fiercely counter-attacking, seized one of the positions we had taken on June 4, and it was not until the 5th Royal Scots and a company of the Worcesters had re-attacked, and in the face of a murderous fire charged up to the lost position, that we were able to regain it.


top : French artillery position on the Dardanelles
bottom : French encampment
from 'the Illustrated War News'


By magnificent bravery the French carried "The Haricot" redoubt. But on the extreme right — that is, near the Dardanelles Straits — the French, though successful at first, were driven back. Again they carried the trenches, and again they were repulsed. Every gun in the French and British lines was turned upon the enemy's position, and a terrific bombardment was opened upon the trench lines, under cover of which the third assault was delivered, driving out the enemy.

A Turkish regiment which was hurried forward in support was caught in the open and annihilated. In one trench, 200 yards long and 10 yards deep, the bodies lay so thick as to overflow the parapet.

A vivid picture of the fighting in Gallipoli was given us by Private Drysdale, of the 5th Royal Scots, which received high praise from General Sir Ian Hamilton for its brilliant exploits.

Private Drysdale's letter appeared in the Scotsman :

"It was on a Sunday that the men of the 5th made their weary return journey to the trenches. At dusk they moved ? up in single file by the side of a nullah; voices were hushed; occasional bursts of firing could be heard in the distance, and the deep, monotonus croaking of frogs sounded noisily all along the nullah.

"It took close on three hours to accomplish the journey, the long file of men being halted every few minutes." As they approached the danger zone the pathway stopped abruptly, and there was much tumbling over the loose scrub and broken ground. It was a journey of sweating and heavy breathing, with the horrible anxiety that the enemy might open fire at any moment." Cautiously the beginning of the file entered the trench and moved quietly along, but before the main body could get in a terrific fusillade caught them. The men flung themselves down on the far slope of a wooded hill, while the bullets simply rained overhead.

"Then came the hoarse screeching sound which betokened shrapnel. A flash lit up the darkness, and, like heavy rain on the grass, the bullets -scattered close by. Zip ! whiz ! ping ! went the rifle bullets as they swished along the bushes. Occasionally branches of trees were ripped off ; voices called for stretcher-bearers, while some began frantically to dig themselves in with their entrenching tools. As suddenly as it began, the firing died down, and the men got sorted out. The front trench was overcrowded, and half of the men had to return to the second line.

"On the following evening it was decided that progress was too slow, and the battalion made a bold forward movement. The men issued forth from the trenches with implements and rifles, advancing for a hundred yards over ground previously reconnoitred by Captain McCrae.

"They walked right into the enemy's outposts, to the number of about 56. With yells of 'Allah ! Allah !' the Turks fled, while the Queen's hastily threw up head cover and set to work to entrench. Pick and shovel rang on stony ground. For a while they were unmolested, though not for long. "A hail of bullets interrupted operations, but the 5th clung to their position, and, despite all opposition, had completed a line of trenches by morning. Communicating trenches were gradually cut, and the next few days were spent in holding the trench, the men being 48 hours on the front line and 48 hours in the second alternately."


allied airmen at Gallipoli
from 'the Illustrated War News'


On June 28 Sir Ian Hamilton decided to throw forward the left of his line south-west of Krithia, and to establish a new line facing east.

All along the line French and British howitzers dropped their murderous shells upon the close-packed trenches. At 10.30 the field artillery opened fire, dropping shrapnel over the barbed wire entanglements, with the object of cutting the wires, while the light cruiser Talbot and the two destroyers Scorpion and Wolverine directed their attention to the enemy batteries. The first assault was delivered upon the advanced works which the Australians had christened "The Boomerang Redoubt," because of its shape. Trench mortar and howitzer poured fire upon this field, and to the moment as the artillery fire ceased part of the Border Regiment leapt from their trenches and, racing across the open, carried the redoubt with the bayonet.

The main bombardment did not cease until 11 o'clock, when the range was lengthened, the shells being dropped on positions at the rear of the first line, and the trenches were assaulted. The first to be engaged with the Borders were the Royal Scots, a Territorial regiment raised at Lothian, and it is a remarkable tribute to the high efficiency of our citizen soldiers that these trenches were so brilliantly carried. This was to the west of the ravine, on the extreme left of the British front. On the east the 7th City of London Royal Fusiliers led the attack. They were supported by the Lancashire Fusiliers, who, dashing from the trenches already taken in the Boomerang Redoubt, carried two further lines of trenches and reached their objective.

On their right the Gurkkas were engaged, and such was the impetuosity of their rush that not only had they taken the positions they were assigned,, but they went further, capturing the Knoll to the west which commanded Krithia. It seemed inevitable that they should be forced back, for now the enemy was dropping shells with remarkable precision on the newly captured lines. The Gurkhas, however, held fast. They spent that day strengthening the defence of their hard-won position, attacked from the north and from the east.

Throughout the night the enemy launched tremendous assaults against the newly taken positions, but without effect. Further attacks on the right were unsuccessful, though a small section of the old line was still occupied by the enemy.

There was not a moment of the day or the night when these intrepid soldiers of Britain, brown and white, were not fighting off counter-attacks, and against this section the flower of the Turkish army was launched, only to be repulsed with enormous losses. One party of the Turks, however, succeeded in penetrating between two captured trenches, but when day broke their position was discovered. A terrific fire was opened upon them at close quarters, and the few men who were not destroyed surrendered.


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