Topic: BatzG - Lone Pine
The Battle of Lone Pine
Turkey, 6 - 9 August 1915
Lone Pine, the result of the attack.
Lone Pine, an action fought on the southern flank of the Anzac (q.v.) position at Gallipoli on 6-9 August 1915, which has become famous as a glorious debacle. The operation was planned purely as a diversion aimed at drawing Turkish reserves away from a major attack to be launched from the northern end of the perimeter (see Hill 971). It involved the Australian 1st Brigade dashing across the lower half of a wide flat hump known as the 400 Plateau and seizing a network of trenches along its eastern edge. In preparation for the assault, the intended objective was pounded by slow artillery shoots at intervals over the preceding three days.
The Australian force locations, 27 July 1915, just before the attack in August.
[From: Hand drawn map from the Australian Division Artillery, 2 August 1915.]
At 4.30 p.m. on 6 August the rate of fire of the guns was increased, and an hour later the troops scrambled out of the trenches in which they had assembled and rushed forward with the setting sun behind them. They were virtually upon the enemy positions before the Turks were able to bring effective fire to bear, but only now discovered that the trenches were roofed over with pine logs which prevented their entry. While some began tearing at the logs to create openings through which to get at their opponents, the majority continued on past the main parapet to the open communication trenches in the rear. Most men jumped down into these and began fighting back towards the covered firing line, using mainly their bayonets to deal with the enemy garrison as they went. A few went on further still, until they stumbled into a depression known as the cup which sheltered the enemy's battalion headquarters and support units. Here they were stopped by Turkish troops who quickly came up to hold this ground.
While the attack had achieved its primary goal within half an hour of its commencement, the Australians now in possession of the main Turkish trench-line found themselves in a desperate struggle to maintain their hold. Parties of the troops quickly threw up sandbag barricades to block any enemy approach along communication trenches or continuations of the trenches they were manning. As darkness fell the Turks made their first attempt to push the Australians out using hand grenades, and this effort continued without relent for the next three days. So fierce was the fighting which followed that the 1st Brigade and the 3rd which reinforced it suffered 2,277 casualties; Turkish losses were claimed as 5,000. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded for this battle.
Even though the Australians still held the ground they had won when fighting here subsided on 10 August, in every other respect the battle was a disaster. Apart from being immensely costly as a feint, it had actually succeeded in drawing towards this sector of the line major Turkish reinforcements. But as soon as the enemy realised that these were not needed at Lone Pine they were readily at hand to deal with the main British attack as this developed-thereby helping to frustrate the overall plan behind the August offensive.
The end of the attack at Lone Pine.
[The sentry guards the most farthest advance at Lone Pine. From: CEW Bean Collection.]
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 107-108.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
C.E.W. Bean, (1924), The Story of Anzac, Vol. 2 , Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
The Battle for Lone Pine, 6 August 1915
The August Offensive, Gallipoli, August 1915Gallipoli Campaign
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: The Battle of Lone Pine, Turkey, 6 - 9 August 1915, Outline