Topic: BatzG - Gallipoli
Gallipoli Campaign - 1915
Questions to the Turkish General Staff, Part 2
During 1919, after the defeat of Turkey, a unique opportunity was opened up for CEW Bean to question the members of the Turkish General Staff about the Gallipoli Campaign. Bean presented a list of 111 questions. In June 1919, he received the answers. In the following transcription, the answers given by the Turkish General Staff will be qualified by the questions asked by Bean.
Questions 11 - 14
11. On April 25th what was the first report of the Ari Burnu landing?
12. Were our troops seen in the boats before reaching the shore?
13. What was the first sign seen? What was the alarm?
14. How did the news come to the reserves?
The first report was that the British troops were landing at Gaba Tepe and to the North of it. This report reached A.H.Q., Gallipoli, at 6 a.m., April 25th. An hour or two later, news arrived that landings were also being made in the Gulf of Saros, Seddulbahr, Morto Bay, Sighin Dere, Kum Kale, and Beshika. The report of the landing at Beshika was false.
Questions 16 - 20.
16. How far did the Australian troops advance at ARI BURNU or, April 25th, and how did they fight?
17. What were the casualties of the Turks?
18. What reserves were sent to CAPE HELLES and what was the strength of these reserves?
19. What Turkish artillery was there at CAPE HELLES?
20. What was the Turkish artillery at ARI BURNU on April 25th? How many land guns and ships guns were used, respectively?
At first the 2 battalions of the 27th Regiment at Maidos were sent to Ari Burnu via Kodja Dere. They started at 7.30 a.m. after the Australians had landed. A Mountain Battery of the 19th Division was sent from Bighali towards Chunuk Bahr. The Australians that day advanced as far as the Western hillocks of Kamalyeri and in the direction of Chunuk Bahr as far as the Line between Duz Tepe and Chunuk Bahr. The Australians succeeded well in throwing back our advanced troops and in reaching the points they did. Their first effort in this difficult country was beyond praise. But when the 27th and 57th Regiments began to make their counter attack, the advance was checked and the first attack broken. On counting the casualties of these two Regiments it was realised how well the Australians had fought in their efforts to hold the line they had reached. The casualties of these two Regiments during the day and following night were 50% of their strength. The two Regiments were together slightly more than 4,000 strong. The three Australian Brigades which landed were estimated at 12,000.
The Turkish. Artillery in Ari Burnu consisted of 2 Mountain Batteries of which one was captured but retaken in the counter attack. 2 Field Batteries took up positions in the afternoon but remained in observation. On 26th April, 2 more Mountain Batteries took up positions in Kamalyere. There were no Naval guns.
Questions 22 - 23
22. Where were the guns stationed later?
23. What did they think of our Naval Artillery? What did they think of our land guns?
The effect of the British Naval Artillery was moral without being material. The effect of the land guns was to force our infantry to keep out of view in the centre and also prevented free movement.
Questions 24 - 28
24. What were the first counter attacks delivered by the Turkish Force at Anzac on April 25th, April 26th, April 27 - May 1?
25. What was the idea of the Turkish Staff as to the plan and motive of our attack at ARI BURNU?
26. When did they estimate that our attack was checked?
27. What apprehension had they of any further attacks?
28. When did they realise that the British attack at Helles had been checked?
No demonstration or counter attack was made by us on the 26th April. Real counter attacks were made on the 25th and 27th April, and 1st May, the aim being to drive the Anzac Corps into the sea. In all these attacks the Anzac troops were superior in number and consequently no decisive result was obtained, though the Anzac troops were pressed back to the line that they remained in up to the evacuation of the Peninsula. The distance between opposing trenches was very small. During the counter attack of April 25th, 5 more battalions were put in to the line, and on April 27th six more were put in, making a total of 16 battalions against the 6 British brigades.
In the counter attack of May 1st, 5 more battalions joined the line. By that time the British Naval Brigade had also landed.
The tactics of the Turks were to prevent the British from landing or if not, to prevent lodgements being made.
We imagined the tactics of the Anzac landing to be as follows :
By landing in two different places the result would be more of a surprise and the allotted task effected quicker, further, by drawing more troops to Anzac the task at Seddulbahr would be more easily effected.
By holding the Kavak Tepe - Sanjak Tepe - Chunuk Bahr - Koja Chimen - Abdul Rahman Bahr line, communication between Gallipoli and the rest of the Peninsula would be cut. The command of the Straits would also be gained. The above mentioned line was marked on maps found on dead Australian or New Zealand officers.
It was realised that the attack was checked in April but it was always expected that further attacks would take place.
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Citation: Gallipoli Campaign - 1915, Questions to the Turkish General Staff, Part 2