Topic: BatzG - Gallipoli
Gallipoli Campaign - 1915
Questions to the Turkish General Staff, Part 3
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 29 - 31
29. What importance was attached to the head of Monash Valley, Baby 700, Popes Hill and Quinns Post?
30. What importance did they attach to our attack in the Bloody Angle and BABY 700 on May 2nd?
31. When did they begin to mine?
Monash Valley, Baby 700, and Popes Hill were looked upon as very important positions if Kojak Chimen mountain was to be menaced. It was always realised that the British effort was to take Koja Chimen. Quinn’s Post was looked upon as a poor position as it was commanded. The attack on May 2nd was evidently made to better this position.
Mining was started near Quinn’s Post after the attack on May 11th, and the mine exploded o n the morning of May 29th.
Questions 37 - 44
37. What was the Turkish estimate of the position on the Peninsular before they delivered their great counter attack on May 19 at Anzac, and why did they choose Anzac for this attack? When did this plan originate?
38. What was the plan of attack?
39. What units were employed in this attack and who commanded them?
40. Were these battalions good battalions?
41. What was the actual result of the attack?
42. Were the Turkish casualties heavy? Where were they heaviest?
43. Against what part of our line was the attack most strongly thrown?
44. What points of our line were attacked on May 19th, what was the opinion of our defence, and what guns were employed in the preparation for this attack? What was the reason for the tremendous outburst of rifle fire before midnight May 18th?
The position at Anzac was without parallel in History. The opposing trenches were so close together and the Anzac Corps line was very close to the sea, consequently they were much confined and would make every effort to enlarge their position. It was therefore better for the Turks to have the initiative and attack before the Anzac troops attacked. This they did on May 19th. If this attack succeeded, a force of some 4 of 5 Turkish divisions would be freed and available to deal with Seddulbahr. The proximity of the trenches was an advantage in making a surprise attack. The plan was to attack before daybreak, drive the Anzac troops from their trenches and follow them down to the sea.
The following troops were used in this attack:Facing the British left: 19th Division (12 Battalions. O.C. Lieut. Col Mustafa Kemal
Facing the British left centre: 5th Division (9 Battalions. O.C. Lieut.-Col. Hassan Basri Bey)
Facing the British right centre: 2nd Division (9 Battalions. O.C. Col. Hassan Askeri Bey.)
Facing the British right: 16th Division (12 Battalions. O.C Col. Rushdi Bey.)
The whole force was commanded by the 3rd Army Commander (Maj.Gen. Essad Pasha.) The total force numbered about 30,000 rifles, The Divisions were good. The 2nd 16th were fresh divisions; the other two had taken part in all the previous fighting. Everywhere the British trenches were entered but the attack was held up by machine gun fire from the flanks and became abortive. The Turkish casualties were much heavier than was expected. More importance was attached to the capture of Lone Pine and the ground North of it. In this attack the worth of the Anzac soldiers in defence was realised; they shot well and used their machine guns to the best advantage. Our artillery was small - only 6 Mountain Batteries, 4 Field Batteries, Howitzer Battery Without much ammunition, and 1 Mortar Battery being available for the preparation of the attack.
The outburst of fire before midnight May 18th was due to the excitement of the troops. Similar outbursts used to occur on both sides.
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Citation: Gallipoli Campaign - 1915, Questions to the Turkish General Staff, Part 3