Topic: BatzG - Gallipoli
Gallipoli Campaign - 1915
Questions to the Turkish General Staff, Part 4
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 45 – 50.
45. What was the situation as viewed from the Turkish standpoint at Ari Burnu after May 19th?
46. What were their tactics in regard to Quinn's Post?
47. Was our bombing severe or negligible? Then? And later?
48. Did our snipers in the trenches or in the scrub gain superiority; and if so, when?
49. What did the Turks think to be the meaning of our cheering and firing demonstrations at night.
50. Were they able to patrol regularly in front of our trenches?
After 19th May it was realised that the British defence at Anzac was too strong to enable us to effect anything against it without heavy artillery with plenty of ammunition, and realising that our position was also very strong in defence, two weak divisions were left in the trenches and the other two divisions were withdrawn.
The bombing was severe and caused most casualties in the late afternoon and evening. Anzac snipers were very annoying. Sniping was very effective when the sun was in our faces.
The cheering and firing at night at first caused the idea that an attack was impending but after a while it was realised that it was only a demonstration and was a waste of ammunition.
Regular patrolling was impossible. The small valleys between trenches were patrolled every night but nothing was done when the trenches were very close. At Quinn’s Post both sides used the same tactics. It was thought the Australians were endeavouring, firstly, to improve their tactical positions at that point and, secondly, fighting took place there because the trenches were so close.
The ground was very suitable for mining and bombing. The mining of the Australians was very good. They seemed to make every effort to gain the upper hand. Apparently they were well provided with the necessary machinery and implements.
Questions 53 - 55.
53. What was the Turkish estimate of our sortie at ANZAC on June 4th?
54. Did this demonstration prevent assistance being sent at the time the Turkish forces facing the British attack at CAPE HELLES?
55. How many men did they think were attacking them?
The attack on June 4th was not heavy. The Australians took our trenches during June 4/5th and by the morning of June 5th our counter attacks retook then. The strength of the Australians was estimated at 2 Coys. No troops were taken from the Seddulbahr front on account of this attack.
Questions 56 - 57.
56. What estimate was made of our sortie of June 28th?
57. What reserve, if any, was used in meeting this attack?
The attack on 26th June was made by day and directed against our left flank. The strength of the attack was estimated at one Brigade, a new force - the dismounted Cavalry Brigade. No reserves were necessary to stop this attack.
Questions 58 - 60.
58. Was any Turkish attack planned between. 19th May and 28th June?
59. What was the reason for the attack by the Turks at the Nek on June 29th?
60. What was the intention and plan?
A plan of attack was made to take the "high mounds" on June 28th. It was determined to increase our heavy artillery and artillery preparation. The attack was made on June 29th with the object of taking the "high mounds" and if possible to reach Khan Tepe and thus command the landing place. The Australian demonstration on June 28th forced the attack to be postponed to the 29th.
Questions 61 - 72.
61. Did the Turks expect our attack on the 6th August; when were they expecting the attack to be made?
62. Did they observe us landing troops during the first days of August?
63. Had they any information of the attack?
64. Where were they expecting the attack - to the North or South of ANZAC?
65. What was their estimate of the situation?
66. What steps did they take to meet the attack?
67. What troops were facing ANZAC on August 6th before the beginning of attack?
66. What numbers of Turkish troops were at HELLES at this date (August 6th.) and how many at SUVLA (Turkish ANAFARTA)? Total?
69. What reserves were at ARI BURNU during the attack on LONE PINE?
70. What units were brought up and from where?
71. What reserves were brought up during the attack on CHUNUK BAIR?
72. What reserves were moved to SUVLA (Turkish ANAFARTA)?
The attack on August 6th was unexpected but it was known that a general attack was being prepared and that a new landing would take place about the beginning of August. The landing was not seen from Anzac but the movements of the ships awoke suspicion. There were two possibilities as to the point of landing and direction of attack:1. From just N of Anzac or else directly on Anafarta because the activity of the Australian left wing was noticeable.
2. Between Anzac and Seddulbahr because the British had always tried to obtain a decisive result at Seddulbahr.
All preparations were made to meet either eventuality.
Before the attack of 6th August, the 19th and 16th Divisions were in the Anzac trenches. A regiment of the 5th Division was between Aghid Dere and Sajli Dere. A regiment was in Kurt Dere and another was on our left flank S of Kodja Dere. Altogether the total force was 38 battalions. All units were unseasoned soldiers.
The strength of Battalions averaged 500 to 600.
The Anzac reserve consisted of the 13th Regiment or the 5th Division, in position S of Kodja Dere, and the 15th Regiment of the same division in Kurt Dere.
When the attack was made towards Lone Pine, these two regiments were sent to check it, and a battalion of the 19th Division in Divisional reserve was sent to face the attack around Baby 700.
On the morning of August 7th when the attack was made at Chunuk Bahr, the following troops were sent to face the New Zealanders, Indians and British who were advancing between Sajli Dere and Aghid Dere on Chunuk Bahr:1 Battalion 64th Regiment.
1 Battalion 25th Regiment.
1 Battalion 10th Regiment.
1 Battalion 11th Regiment.
These units formed part of the general reserve of the Peninsula. Afterwards two more battalions were sent from the 28th Regiment, and the 23rd and 24th Regiments were sent from Seddulbahr.
The 7th and 12th Divisions were sent to Suvla from Gallipoli and the 127th Regiment was also sent in the Suvla direction.
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Citation: Gallipoli Campaign - 1915, Questions to the Turkish General Staff, Part 4