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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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Saturday, 11 September 2010
The Battle of Bitapaka, New Guinea, 11 September 1914, Outline
Topic: BatzNG - Bitapaka

The Battle of Bitapaka

New Guinea, 11 September 1914

Outline

 

Details of the Battle at Bitapaka

 

Bitapaka, the only significant action arising from the Australian seizure of German New Guinea at the start of the First World War, was fought on 11 September 1914 south of Kabakaul on the north-east coastline of the Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain. At dawn that day a joint army-navy contingent (the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, or AN&MEF) arrived off Rabaul in ships of the Australian fleet commanded by Rear-Admiral George Patey, to demand the German colony's surrender. Meanwhile, a 25-man party of naval reservists (with about fifteen others who were to provide medical support and maintain communications) was landed at Kabakaul with orders to capture a radio station believed to be in operation at Bitapaka, seven kilometres to the south.

At about 9 a.m., as the Australians pushed inland following a jungle-edged road, two scouts surprised an enemy party of about twenty Melanesian soldiers led by three Germans apparently setting an ambush. They opened fire, wounding one of the Germans and scattering the rest. In addition to the wounded man who surrendered, the other two Germans were soon afterwards captured (one of whom turned out to be the captain commanding the Bitapaka section of the German forces). Reinforcements were called up from the beach at the same time as the advance was resumed. The Australians had only gone some 500 metres when they came under fire from a strongly held trench dug across the road. Joined here by about 50 more men from the ships, a flanking attack was launched under Lieut.-Commander Charles Elwell shortly after 1 p.m. which caused a white flag to be raised by the trench's defenders and terms of surrender requested. To this point the Australians had suffered Elwell and three men killed, and five others wounded (two fatally).

Accompanied by two Germans from the captured trench to serve as interpreters, the Australians proceeded along the road carrying a flag of truce. The Germans persuaded the garrisons of three more trench obstacles to surrender also-though not before a brisk skirmish took place at the last of these in which three Australians were wounded (one fatally) and one of the interpreters and several Melanesian soldiers killed. Another group of German-led Melanesians was encountered and disarmed before the radio station was reached about 7 p.m. This was found to have been abandoned, the mast dropped but its instruments and machinery intact. The No. 2 trench (3 Germans. 20 Natives) AN&MEF personnel killed during the day's fighting were the first Australians to fall in the First World War.

Although successful, the operation could scarcely be rated as well managed. The Australian advance had been effectively delayed by a half-trained force of native police, and plantation labourers, and this opposition had been overcome only at a cost of seven officers and men killed or died of wounds and five wounded; some Germans present later claimed that two of the Australian fatalities had been shot by their own side in the confused engagement. Against this, Bitapaka's defenders had suffered one German NCO and about 30 Melanesians killed, and one German and ten Melanesians wounded. It has been claimed that the heavy losses among the Melanesian troops were the result of the Australian practice of bayoneting all those that fell into their hands during the fighting.



Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 96-97.



Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

S.S. Mackenzie, (1927), The Australians at Rabaul, Sydney: Angus & Robertson;

Hermann Joseph Him, (1995), The Neglected War, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Bitapaka, New Guinea, 11 September 1914

The Battle of Bitapaka, New Guinea, 11 September 1914, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour

Flogging Germans, New Guinea, 30 November 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Bitapaka, New Guinea, 11 September 1914, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 3 February 2011 7:27 AM EAST
Monday, 30 August 2010
The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, 26 August to 14 September 1918, Contents
Topic: BatzO - Baku

The Battle of Baku

Azerbaijan, 26 August - 14 September 1918

Contents

 

 

Items

Outline

The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, August 26 to September 14, 1918, Outline 

 

Baku Maps

British

Area Map 

Turkish

Turkish Maps 

 

Accounts

Bülent Gökay Account 

The Diary of General Lionel Dunsterville 

Captain S.G. Savige, Stalky’s Forlorn Hope 

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, August 26 to September 14, 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, August 26 to September 14, 1918, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 5 September 2010 7:50 AM EADT
Sunday, 29 August 2010
The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, 26 August to 14 September 1918, Outline
Topic: BatzO - Baku

The Battle of Baku

Azerbaijan, 26 August - 14 September 1918

Outline

 

The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, 26 August to 14 September 1918

[From: Purnell's History of the First World War, 1970, p. 2768.]

 

Baku, an oil port and town on the west coast of the Caspian Sea, was the scene of desperate fighting between Turkish forces and a special British unit known as 'Dunsterforce' and their Armenian and Russian allies between 26 August and 14 September 1918. In line with its goal of organising resistance to Turkish and German advances in the region, Dunsterforce - under its commander, Major-General Lionel Dunsterville - had attempted to bolster the local forces totalling 6,000 men which were holding a 20-kilometre-long defensive line across the Baku peninsula against some 14,000 Turkish troops. Apart from the small number of Dunsterforce members advising local commanders, elements of the British 39th Brigade were obtained from Mesopotamia totalling about 1,000 infantry, and one artillery battery.

Following the communist revolution in Russia, the task of Dunsterville's mission was an immensely complicated undertaking Russia's formal withdrawal from the war meant that many Russian Army units were disinclined to fight, while Bolshevik sympathies among large sections of the local populace caused the British presence to be widely viewed with suspicion and hostility. Instead of accepting the assistance of Dunsterville's 'advisers' (several of whom were Australians), local authorities largely expected the British to carry the weight of the fighting for them. Consequently, when the Turks attacked on 26 and 31 August, the Armenian levies promptly melted away or failed to give support.

After the first two Turkish assaults succeeded in making significant gains against the right flank of the town's defences, Dunsterville told the local leaders that he would withdraw his troops whenever it was necessary to save them from destruction. When he next advised them that he intended to leave Baku entirely, he was warned that any attempt to sail away from the port would be resisted. Although not intimidated by this, he decided to remain, and was encouraged by an apparent improvement in affairs during the next fortnight. When a deserter from the Turkish lines disclosed that a further assault was to he expected on 14 September, this news was awaited with greater confidence.

In the event, the Turkish attack met with the same absence of fight by the local troops: first reports that morning were of the enemy advancing at the run upon the town. The British, acting with a handful of Cossacks, stemmed the Turkish advance through the rest of the day, but Dunsterville immediately prepared to make good his threat to withdraw once night arrived. The local authorities initially acquiesced in his plans, then attempted to prevent the evacuation. Despite this, the whole of the British force successfully got off under cover of dark and was taken to Enzeli. Two Australians, Major H.B. Suttor and Sergeant A.L. Bullen, although left behind through not being notified of the departure, subsequently escaped in a refugee boat to Krasnovodsk.

 

Russian armoured car captured by Dunsterforce near Baku, 1918.

[Photo: S. Fallance]

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 155-157.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

C.E.W. Bean (1937) The Australian Imperial Force in France during the Main German Offensive, 1918, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, August 26 to September 14, 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Baku, Azerbaijan, August 26 to September 14, 1918, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 5 September 2010 7:52 AM EADT
Friday, 27 August 2010
The Battle for Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915, Contents
Topic: BatzG - Hill 60

The Battle for Hill 60

Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915

Contents

 

Items:

Outline

Hill 60, Turkey, August 21 to 22 and 27, 1915, Outline
The Nek and Hill 60 - The massacre of the Australians  
The Battle of Hill 60, Gallipoli, August 1915, Maps
Hill 60, Gallipoli, August 1915
The Battle of Hill 60, Gallipoli, August 1915, Album Contents  
Photographs of Hill 60
Photographic representation of Hill 60
Turkish Information
Turkish Order of Battle, 27 August 1915 
The Turkish View of Hill 60 - Kayacikagili (Bombatepe) Battle, 27 August 1915 
New Zealand & Australian Division
NZ & A Division Report for 27 August 1915.
15th Infantry Battalion
Report by Captain McSharry to General Monash, 27 August 1915
17th Infantry Battalion 
17th Infantry Battalion, War Diary, August 1915 
3rd Light Horse Brigade 

3rd LHB War Diary, 29 August 1915  

3rd LHB War Diary, 30 August 1915, part 1  

3rd LHB War Diary, 30 August 1915, part 2

3rd LHB War Diary, 30 August 1915, part 3

3rd LHB War Diary, 2 - 6 September 1915

 

9th Light Horse Regiment

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, The Regiment after the Battle of Hill 60

 

10th Light Horse Regiment

10th LHR War Diary 29 - 29 August 1915 

Signals to 3rd LHB regarding 10th LHR attack

 

 

Roll of Honour

The Battle for Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915, Roll of Honour

Lest We Forget

 

Further Reading:

Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915

The Battle for Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915, Roll of Honour

Gallipoli Campaign

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle for Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915, Contents


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2012 6:04 PM EADT
Saturday, 21 August 2010
The Battle for Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915, Outline
Topic: BatzG - Hill 60

The Battle for Hill 60

Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915

Outline

 

Hill 60 showing bones of members of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and New Zealanders, 1919.
[From the CEW Bean Collection.]

 

Hill 60, a low rise on the north-western approaches to Hill 971 (q.v.), which on 21 and 27 August 1915 became the focus of several badly handled attacks which resulted in costly and confused fighting that marked the end of the last major offensive at Gallipoli. The operation was undertaken in an attempt to widen and strengthen the corridor of foreshore which connected newly landed British forces at Suvla Bay with the established beach-head at Anzac (q.v). While elements of the Suvla force concentrated on seizing a detached foothill of the range behind that beach-head known as the `W Hills', troops from the Anzac position were to capture Hill 60, a low rise on the north-western end of the foothills leading to Hill 971 - thereby effectively enabling the two forces to link up.

The first attempt made on 21 August enjoyed only mixed success. The W Hills were not taken, but to the south a mixed force of British, Indian, New Zealand and Australian troops (the latter men of the Australian 4th Brigade under Brigadier-General John Monash) managed to gain part of Hill 60 but not the cap of the rise which was well defended by trenches hastily dug by the Turks. In an attempt to press home the attack, a renewed effort against Hill 60 was made on 22 August using a battalion (18th) of the fresh Australian 5th Brigade, part of the 2nd Australian Division then in the process of transferring from Egypt. These were raw troops who were not up to dealing with such a hastily conceived and poorly arranged attack. Although the unit went bravely into action at dawn, it was gradually pushed back after half its strength became casualties-half of these being killed.

 

Hand drawn map of the 9th Light Horse Regiment attack at Hill 60, 27 August 1915.

 

A further attack was begun on the afternoon of 27 August, the troops advancing after a bombardment. Then followed three days of fighting in which the apparent objective was taken, partly lost, and retaken again. The attacking force included detachments from various British, New Zealand and Australian regiments - in the latter case the 18th Infantry Battalion, the 9th and 10th Light Horse, and a composite group of 250 men from Monash's 4th Brigade - practically all who were well enough to take part. When this attempt was also spent it was found that the crest of the rise was still beyond the ground taken, but since the aim of effecting a junction with the Suvla force seemed to have been sufficiently attained matters were allowed to rest at this time.

 

Hill 60 Cemetery, Gallipoli.

[Picture by Brian Budge.]

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 110-111.



Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

C.E.W. Bean, (1924), The Story of Anzac, Vol. 2 , Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915

The Battle for Hill 60, Gallipoli, 22 - 23, and 27 August 1915, Roll of Honour

Gallipoli Campaign

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Hill 60, Turkey, August 21 to 22 and 27, 1915, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 22 August 2010 7:15 PM EADT

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