Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) War Diary
The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), of their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
25 April 1915
1 am - Attending ships sopped. Boats swing out. Flat calm.
1.35 am - Moon five fingers above horizon. Dead astern and above Imbros Island. Troops began embarking. Destroyers began to close up. Embarkation absolutely silent on Queen.
2.35 am - Tows from battleships reported all ready. Destroyers all close up.
2.53 am - proceeded due east under steam.
3.30 am - Battleship stopped. Orders to tows to "Go ahead and land."
4.10 am - Signal made to destroyers to come on.
4.5 am - First streak of dawn.
4.30 am - Firing heard on the beach.
5.40 am - Sunrise.
5.50 am - Report brought by Commander Dix that men were all ashore, fighting forward, heavy casualties.
6.0 am - Battleship advanced.
6.30 am - Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General left Queen on picket boat.
9.45 am - Fleet shelled by 11 or 12 guns - (Barbarossa?). Battleships shifted position.
10.45 am - Australians seen crowning height 224 D (Baby 700).
It will have been seen from the various orders issued for the operations that the idea was to land the covering force of about 4,000 men in two lots. The first lot off the battleships - 1,500 men - in tows. The second lot by destroyers which would stand in quite close and land the troops in pulling boats. The battleship tows did not get off quite together, but closed up soon. They closed too much and intervals were much less than that given in orders. The direction was given from the right. The Naval Officers responsible for direction noticed when 1½ miles from shore, that the time being taken would take the force further another than was intended. He tried to induce the tows to change course - but could not succeed in this. To avoid landing alone into two tows at a selected beach, he decided to join up with the remainder. The tows then joined up and went to the beach to this point - striking the shore at Fisherman's Hut. The enemy (since estimated at 900 on the beach) opened fire on the boats, when still off the shore, but the boats drove on, pulling themselves in after the steamboats cast off. The troops lept gallantly ashore, and rushed the enemy in font of them. With great dash they pushed straight on up the very steep hills they found in front of them, and gained the crest. The accounts are too confused, as yet, to show exactly what happened on shore.
The points to notice are:1. The objective, given in orders, was missed entirely, but by the dark and resource of the covering force, a ridge was seized, which was a much later objective in the plan.
2. The advance from seaward was evidently seen and the enemy were fully prepared for it. Reports say that enemy detected the attack as early as 2 am and, from subsequent observation seaward from the ridge, this is more than probable.
3. Such an attack is possible if the men can take punishment, are fit, and determined to win the fight.
The casualties on the beach alone are estimated at 300 or 400 amounting to 10% of the covering force.
There followed there and interval. The destroyer service was somewhat disorganised for a while, and there was delay in getting the 2nd Brigade ashore. They followed, however, as fast as towage could be obtained. The action of the Galeka in standing right in under shell fire was noticeable. The mountain battery ships also stood in close and much facilitated disembarkation thereby. The 2nd Brigade moved off to the southward and gradually the landing place was shifted southward. The anchorage and landing places were shelled continuously from Kaba Tepe despite the fire of HMS Bacchante which stood right in to afford covering fire and protection as much as possible.
Demands for ammunition were constant. The supply was kept up but there was great difficulty in getting the ammunition ships to remain in the anchorage.
Major General Bridges went ashore about 9 am and conducted the fight. Major General Godley landed about 1 pm.
The force landed by the evening 6 pm consisted of -3rd Australian Brigade (Covering Force)2nd Australian Brigade1st Australian BrigadeNew Zealand Infantry Brigade½ Section Field Battery, Australian Field Artillery2 Mountain BatteriesCasualty Clearing Station3 Field Hospitals and bearer subdivisions42 mules.
The General Officer Commanding went ashore at 3 pm conferred with commanders and inspected the beach arrangements. He apportioned parts to commanders and received their reports. The troops ashore were not secure but the situation was not such as to cause great alarm at that time. General Officer Commanding gave out dispositions he required made. He then returned to Queen and made a report to General headquarters. Later both Divisions Divisional General represented that General Officer Commanding presence was necessary on shore. He landed again at 8 pm. A long conference was held at which the necessity and possibility of re-embarkation were discussed. The General Officer Commanding decided that we must hold on and he issued orders for the hastening of the disembarkation of more troops, including the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, a howitzer battery and more 18 pounder guns.
During the afternoon the troops were subjected to a heavy shrapnel fire, before they could dig in. It was this which caused the disorganisation and depression of which signs were apparent.
The casualties during the day were estimated at 2,000. 1,500 wounded were evacuated before 2 am, to ships.
26 April 1915
The night on the whole passed quietly. The enemy were evidently exhausted as a force but snipers and machine guns kept up a continuous fire on our advanced lines. The flat tops of hills were also reached with shrapnel, as was the beach at times. The 2ns and 3rd Brigades had to use the bayonet on occasion to repel counter attacks.
Early in the morning the general line held was straightened out. The men, taught by the experience of shrapnel fire in the previous afternoon had dug themselves well in and feeling secure in the morning were in better heart. Units were rallied and some order restored. This was most noticeable in the New Zealand Infantry Brigade which had been taken over by Brigadier General HB Walker DSO and reorganised. During the night ample water and ammunition was got up to the troops on mules and by hand. In the forenoon the troops on the northern and north eastern portions of the front pressed the enemy back to the summit of the ridge. 224 D. This was helped considerably by gunfire from the ships. Queen Elizabeth mad good practice and knocked out two guns. Ships guns ceased fire at 10.20 am. It is not quite certain by whose order the fire was stopped. The rumour is that the order originated with the enemy. Fire slackened later in the day. Our troops were sticking it well but were very exhausted. It appeared essential to effect some relief in the front line. This relief was made possible by the arrival on shore of the 4th Australian Brigade. Entrenching was continued throughout the day.
Observation of ships fire, which had been poor on 25th was much improved as the special cable connection were got through to flank observation officers. Judging from reports of prisoners the High Explosive shells did great execution and had great moral effect.
There were two instances of unnecessary retirements by units. These led, in both cases, to considerable losses.
Some more 18 pounders landed. These were got into position on right flank. The Howitzers landed during the night were got into position on left flank.
Casualties 500 to 600. No details available.
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Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) War Diary