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The Rock-itt : July 2011
The Turkish Attack at ANZAC on 19th May 1915 After the landing on the 25th April 1915 the ANZAC troops had managed to maintain a foothold, literally, on the sea facing slopes of the various ridges that were later to become known in ANZAC folklore. Progress forwards was almost impossible as the Turks had ensured that they had entrenched on the heights above the Cove and overlooked the Aussies and Kiwis at almost every angle. Som e outposts, like The Bloody Angle were constantly subjected to rifle fire from behind as well as from the sides and to their front. As the Turks pressed forward at every opportunity under orders from Mustapha Kemal, a new experience faced the ANZACS; “bombing” as it was to become known, changed the face of trench warfare for the invaders. Not equipped with what were later to become known as Hand Grenades, the khaki clad troops were subjected to close hand combat in the trenches, often only yards away, and explosive projectiles thrown into their trenches often causing mutilation and at times death. Various methods were employed by the troops to counter this unwelcome development. Initially a counter attack would ensue and hand to hand combat with rifle and bayonet would stop, for a while, the Turks from taking control of the ANZAC positions. Thus the battle had already reached a stalem ate, not unlike that being experienced on the W estern Front in France and Belgium. For the Allied High Command there was to be another plan and the ANZAC’s were to be re-assigned in part to the Cape Helles battlefield in front of Achi Baba on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, leaving a garrison at the ANZAC position. But this plan was to be delayed as the Turkish High Command decided that they need to eliminate the threat of a breakthrough at ANZAC and to do that they needed to push the invader back into the Aegean Sea. What they hadn’t planned on was the fact that as Turkish troops assembled in the rear areas, the Allied troops could see them. One of the giveaways was the long bayonets that were attached to the Turkish rifles which were visible as they marched into the frontline and reserve lines trenches. Thus on the early pre-dawn morning of the 19th May 1915, 24 days after the invasion the Turkish attack began against the centre positions of the ANZACs. Forewarned, the Australian and New Zealand troops were ready for the attack and although thoroughly outnumbered (ANZACs 17,000 against 42,000 Turks) the invaders stood for hours on the By Simon Lyon Turkish attackers in No Mans Land on the 24 th May 1915 Truce You can see officers from both sides observing the collection of bodies while conducting a review of opposing positions