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JUNE—DIGGING IN
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So great is the heat that the dust rises.

The Song of Roland

[115] DURING the next three weeks, the Allied troops made small advances in parts of the lines held by them at Anzac and Cape Helles. Fighting was continuous in both zones, there was always much (and sometimes intense) artillery fire. The Turks frequently attacked in force, sometimes in very great force, but were repulsed. Our efforts were usually concentrated on some redoubt, stronghold, or salient, in the nearer Turkish lines, the fire from which galled our trenches, or threatened any possible advance. These posts were either heavily bombarded and then rushed under the cover of a feu de barrage, or carried by surprise attack. Great skill and much dashing courage were shown in these assaults. The emplacements of machine guns were seized and the guns destroyed, dangerous trenches or parts of trenches were carried and filled in, and many roosts or hiding places of snipers were made untenable. [116] These operations were on a small scale, and were designed to improve the position then held by us, rather than to carry the whole line further up the Peninsula. Sometimes they failed, but by far the greater number succeeded, so that by these methods, eked out by ruses, mines, clever invention and the most dare-devil bravery, parts of our lines were advanced by more than a hundred yards.



On the 4th of June, a second great attack was made by the Allied troops near Cape Helles. Like the attack of the 6th–8th May, it was an advance of the whole line, from the Straits to the sea, against the enemy's front line trenches. As before, the French were on the right and the 29th Division on the left, but between them, in this advance, were the R. N. Division and the newly arrived 42nd Division. Our men advanced after a prolonged and terrible bombardment, which so broke down the Turk defence that the works were carried all along the line, except in one place, on the left of the French sector and in one other place, on our own left, near the sea. Our advance, [117] as before, varied in depth from a quarter of a mile to six hundred yards; all of it carried by a rush, in a short time, owing to the violence of the artillery preparation, though with heavy losses from shrapnel and machine-gun fire. In this attack, the 42nd or East Lancashire Division received its baptism of fire. Even those who had seen the men of the 29th Division in the battles for the landing admitted that "nothing could have been finer" than the extreme gallantry of these newly landed men. The Manchester Brigade and two companies of the 5th Lancashire Fusiliers advanced with the most glorious and dashing courage, routed the Turks, carried both their lines of trenches; and one battalion, the 6th, very nearly carried the village of Krithia; there was, in fact, no entrenched line between them and the top of Achi Baba.

But in this campaign we were to taste, and be upon the brink of victory in every battle, yet have the prize dashed from us, by some failure elsewhere, each time. So, in this first rush, when, for the first time, our men felt that they, [118] not the Turks, were the real attackers, the victory was not to remain with us. We had no high explosive shell and not enough shrapnel shell to deny to the Turks the use of their superior numbers and to hold them in a beaten state. They rallied and made strong counter-attacks especially upon a redoubt or earthwork-fortress called the "Haricot," on the left of the French sector, which the French had stormed an hour before and garrisoned with Senegalese troops. The Turks heavily shelled this work and then rushed it; the Senegalese could not hold it; the French could not support it; and the Turks won it. Unfortunately, the Haricot enfiladed the lines we had won. In a little while the Turks developed from it a deadly enfilade fire upon the R. N. Division which had won the Turk trenches to the west of it. The R. N. Division was forced to fall back and in doing so uncovered the right of the Brigade of Manchesters beyond it to the westward. The Manchesters were forced to give ground, the French were unable to make a new attack upon the Haricot, so that by nightfall our position [119] was less good than it had been at half-past twelve.

But for the fall of the Haricot the day would have been a notable victory for ourselves. Still, over three miles of the Allied front, our lines had been pushed forward from 200 to 400 yards. This, in modern war is a big advance, but it brings upon the conquerors a very severe labor of digging. The trenches won from the defence have to be converted to the uses of the attack and linked up, by saps and communication-trenches, with the works from which the attack advanced. All this labour had to be done by our men in the midst of bitter fighting, for the Turks fought hard to win back these trenches in many bloody counter attacks, and (as always happened, after each advance) outlying works and trenches, from which fire could be brought to bear upon the newly won ground, had to be carried, filled in, or blown up before the new line was secure.

A little after dawn on the 21st June the French stormed and won the Haricot redoubt, and advanced the right of the Allied position [120] by 600 yards; the Turkish counter attacks were bloodily defeated.

In the forenoon of the 28th June, the English divisions advanced the left of the Allied position by a full 1,000 yards. This attack, which was one of the most successful of the campaign, was the first of which it could be said that it was a victory. Of course our presence upon the Peninsula was in itself a victory, but in this battle we were not trying to land nor to secure ourselves, but (for the first time) to force a decision. Three of our divisions challenged the greater part of the Turk army and beat it. And here, for the first time in the operations, we felt, what all our soldiers had expected, that want of fresh men in reserve to make a success decisive, which afterwards lost us the campaign.

Our enemies have often said, that the English cannot plan nor execute an attack. In this battle of June 28th, the attack was a perfect piece of planning and execution. Everything was exactly timed, everything worked smoothly. Ten thousand soldiers, not one of whom had [121] had more than six months' training, advanced uphill after an artillery preparation and won two lines of elaborately fortified trenches, by the bayonet alone. Then, while these men consolidated and made good the ground which they had won, the artillery lengthened their fuses and bombarded the ground beyond them. When the artillery ceased, ten thousand fresh soldiers climbed out of the English lines, ran forward, leaped across the two lines of Turk trench already taken and took three more lines of trench, each line a fortress in itself. Besides advancing our position a thousand yards, this attack forced back the right of the Turks from the sea, and won a strong position between the sea and Krithia, almost turning Achi Baba. But much more than this was achieved. The great triumph of the day was the certainty then acquired that the Turks were beaten, that they were no longer the fierce and ardent fighters who had rushed V beach in the dark, but a shaken company who had caught the habit of defeat and might break at any moment. They were beaten; we had beaten them at every point [122] and they knew that they were beaten. Every man in the French and British lines knew that the Turks were at the breaking point. We had only to strike while the iron was hot to end them.

As happened afterwards, after the battle of August, we could not strike while the iron was hot; we had not the men nor the munitions. Had the fifty thousand men who came there in July and August but been there in June, our men could have kept on striking. But they were not there in June, and our victory of the 28th could not be followed up. More than a month passed before it could be followed up. During that month the Turks dug themselves new fortresses, brought up new guns, made new stores of ammunition, and remade their army. Their beaten troops were withdrawn and replaced by the very pick and flower of the Turkish Empire. When we attacked again, we found a very different enemy; the iron was cold, we had to begin again from the beginning.

Thirty-six hours after our June success, at midnight in the night of June 29-30th, the [123] Turks made a counter attack, not at Cape Helles, where their men were shaken, but at Anzac, where perhaps they felt our menace more acutely. A large army of Turks, about 30,000 strong, ordered by Enver Pasha "to drive the foreigners into the sea or never to look upon his face again," attacked the Anzac position under cover of the fire of a great artillery. They were utterly defeated with the loss of about a quarter of their strength, some 7-8,000 killed and wounded. All this fighting proved clearly that the Turks, with all their power of fresh men, their closeness to their reserves, and their superior positions, could not beat us from what we had secured, nor keep us from securing more. Our advance into the Peninsula, though slow and paid for with much life, was sure and becoming less slow. What we had won we had fought hard for and never ceased to fight hard for, but we had won it and could hold it, and with increasing speed add to it, and the Turks knew this as well as we did. But early in May something happened which had a profound [124] result upon the course of the operations. It is necessary to write of it at length, if only to show the reader that this Dardanelles Campaign was not a war in itself, but a part of a war involving most of Europe and half of Asia, and that, that being so, it was affected by events in other parts of the war, as deeply as it affected those parts in turn by its own events.

No one, of the many who spoke to me about the campaign, knew or understood that the campaign, as planned, was not to be, solely, a French and English venture, but (in its later stages) a double attack upon the Turkish power, by ourselves, on the Peninsula and the Hellespont, and by the Russians, on the shores of the Black Sea. The double attack, threatening Turkey at the heart, was designed to force the Turks to divide their strength, and, by causing uneasiness among the citizens, to keep in and about Constantinople a large army which might otherwise wreck our Mesopotamian expedition, threaten India and Egypt and prevent the Grand Duke Nicholas from advancing [125] from the Caucasus on Erzerum. But as the Polish campaign developed adversely to Russia, it became clear that it would be impossible for her to give the assistance she had hoped.

Early in May, Sir Ian Hamilton learned, that his advance, instead of being a part of a concerted scheme, was to be the only attack upon the Turks in that quarter, and that he would have to withstand the greater part of the Turkish army. This did not mean that the Turks could mass an overwhelming strength against any part of his positions, since in the narrow Peninsula there is not room for great numbers to manoeuvre; but it meant that the Turks would have always within easy distance great reserves of fresh men to take the place of those exhausted, and that without a correspondingly great reserve we had little chance of decisive success.

This change in the strategical scheme was made after we were committed to the venture: it made a profound difference to our position. Unfortunately we were so deeply engaged in other theatres that it was impossible to change [126] our plans as swiftly and as profoundly as our chances. The great reserve could not be sent when it became necessary, early in May, nor for more than two months. Until it came, it happened, time after time, that even when we fought and beat back the Turks they could be reinforced before we could. All through the campaign we fought them and beat them back, but always, on the day after the battle, they had a division of fresh men to put in to the defence, while we, who had suffered more, being the attackers, had but a handful with which to follow up the success.

People have said, "But you could have kept fresh divisions in reserve as easily as the Turks. Why did you not send more men, so as to have them ready to follow up a success?" I could never answer this question. It is the vital question. The cry for "fifty thousand more men and plenty of high explosive" went up daily from every trench in Gallipoli, and we lost the campaign through not sending them in time. On the spot of course our generals knew that war (like life) consists of a struggle with [127] disadvantages, and their struggle with these was a memorable one. Only, when all was done, their situation remained that of the Frank rearguard in the Song of Roland. In that poem the Franks could and did beat the Saracens, but the Saracens brought up another army before the Franks were reinforced. The Franks could and did beat that army, too, but the Saracens brought up another army before the Franks were reinforced. The Franks could and did beat that army, too, but then they were spent and Roland had to sound his horn and Charlemagne would not come to the summons of the horn, and the heroes were abandoned in the dolorous pass.

Summer came upon Gallipoli with a blinding heat only comparable to New York in July. The flowers which had been so gay with beauty in the Helles fields in April soon wilted to stalks. The great slope of Cape Helles took on a savage and African look of desolation. The air quivered over the cracking land. In the blueness of the heat haze the graceful ter- [128] rible hills looked even more gentle and beautiful than before; and one who was there said that "there were little birds that droned, rather like the English yellow-hammers." With the heat, which was a new experience to all the young English soldiers there, came a plague of flies beyond all record and belief. Men ate and drank flies, the filthy insects were everywhere. The ground in places was so dark with them, that one could not be sure whether the patches were ground or flies. Our camps and trenches were kept clean; they were well scavenged daily; but only a few yards away were the Turk trenches, which were invariably filthy: there the flies bred undisturbed, perhaps encouraged. There is a fine modern poem which speaks of the Indian sun in summer as "the blazing death-star." Men in Gallipoli in the summer of 1915 learned to curse the sun as an enemy more cruel than the Turk. With the sun and the plague of flies came the torment of thirst, one of the greatest torments which life has the power to inflict.

[129] At Cape Helles, in the summer, there was a shortage but no great scarcity of water, for the Turk wells supplied more than half the army and less than half the water needed had to be brought from abroad. At Anzac how-ever there was always a scarcity, for even in the spring not more than a third of the water needed could be drawn from wells. At first, water could be found by digging shallow pans in the beach, but this method failed when the heats began. Two-thirds (or more) of the water needed at Anzac had always to be brought from abroad, and to bring this two-thirds regularly and to land it and store it under shell fire was a difficult task. "When operations were on," as in the August battle, the difficulty of distribution was added to the other difficulties, and then indeed want of water brought our troops to death's door. At Anzac "when operations were on" even in the intensest heat the average ration of water for all purposes was, perhaps, at most, a pint and a half, sometimes only a pint. And though this [130] extremity was as a rule only reached "when operations were on," when there was heavy fighting, it was then that the need was greatest.

In peace, in comfortable homes, in cool weather, civilised people need or consume a little less than three pints of liquid in each day. In hot weather and when doing severe bodily labour they need more; perhaps half a gallon in the day. Thirst, which most of us know solely as a pleasant zest to drinking, soon becomes a hardship, then, in an hour, an obsession, and by high noon a madness, to those who toil in the sun with nothing to drink. Possibly to most of the many thousands who were in the Peninsula last summer, the real enemies were not the Turks, but the sun in Heaven, shaking "the pestilence of his light," and thirst that withered the heart and cracked the tongue.

Some have said to me, "Yes, but the Turks must have suffered, too, just as much, in that waterless ground." It is not so. The Turks at Cape Helles held the wells at Krithia; inland from Anzac they held the wells near Lone- [131] some Pine and Koja Dere. They had other wells at Maidos, and Gallipoli. They had always more water than we, and (what is more) the certainty of it. Most of them came from lands with little water and great heat, ten (or more) degrees further to the south than any part of England. Heat and thirst were old enemies to them, they were tempered to them. Our men had to serve an apprenticeship to them, and pay for what they learned in bodily hardship. Not that our men minded hardship; they did not; they were volunteers who had chosen their fate and were there of their own choice, and no army in the world has ever faced suffering more cheerily. But this hardship of thirst was a weight upon them, throughout the summer; like malaria it did not kill, but it lowered all vitality. It halved the possible effort of men always too few for the work in hand. Let it now double the honour paid to them.

In the sandy soil of the Peninsula were many minute amoebae, which played their part in the [132] summer suffering. In the winds of the great droughts of July and August the dust blew about our positions like smoke from burning hills. It fell into food and water and was eaten and drunk (like the flies) at each meal. Within the human body the amoebae of the sand set up symptoms like those of dysentery, as a rule slightly less severe than the true dysentery of camps. After July, nearly every man in our army in Gallipoli, suffered from this evil. Like the thirst, it lowered more vitality than it destroyed; many died, it is true, but then nearly all were ill: it was the universal sickness not the occasional death that mattered.

Pass now to the position of affairs at the end of June. We were left to our own strength in this struggle, the Turks were shaken: it was vital to our chances to attack again before they recovered. We had not the men to attack again, but they were coming and were due in a few weeks' time. While they were on their way, the question, how to use them, was considered.

[133] As the army's task was to help the fleet through the Narrows it had to operate in the southwestern portion of the Peninsula. Further progress against Achi Baba in the Helles sector was hardly possible; for the Turks had added too greatly to their trenches there since the attacks of April and May. Operations on the Asian coast were hardly possible without a second army; operations against Bulair were not likely to help the fleet. Operations in the Anzac sector offered better chances of success. It was hoped that a thrust south-eastward from Anzac might bring our men across to the Narrows or to the top of the ridges which command the road to Constantinople. It was reasonable to think that such a thrust, backed up by a new landing in force to the north, in Suvla Bay, might turn the Turkish right and destroy it. If the men at Helles attacked, to contain the Turks in the south, and the men on the right of Anzac attacked, to hold the Turks at Anzac, it was possible that men on the left of Anzac, backed [134] up by a new force marching from Suvla, might give a decisive blow. The Turk position on the Peninsula roughly formed a letter L. The plan (as it shaped) was to attack the horizontal line at Cape Helles, press the centre of the vertical line at Anzac, and bend back, crumple and break the top of the vertical line between the Anzac position and Suvla. At the same time, Suvla Bay was to be seized and prepared as a harbour at which supplies might be landed, even in the stormy season.

Some soldier has said, that "the simple thing is the difficult thing." The idea seems simple to us, because the difficulty has been cleared away for us by another person's hard thought. Such a scheme of battle, difficult to think out in the strain of holding on and under the temptation to go slowly, improving what was held, was also difficult to execute. Very few of the great battles of history, not even those in Russia, in Manchuria, and in the Virginian Wilderness have been fought on such difficult ground, under such difficult conditions.

The chosen battlefield (the southwestern [135] end of the Peninsula) has already been described; the greater part of it consists of the Cape Helles and Anzac positions, but the vital or decisive point, where, if all went well, the Turk right was to be bent back, broken and routed, lies to the north of Anzac on the spurs and outlying bastions of Sari Bair.

Suvla Bay, where the new landing was to take place, lies three miles to the north of Anzac. It is a broad, rather shallow semi-circular bay (open to the west and southwest) with a partly practicable beach, some of it (the southern part) fairly flat and sandy, the rest steepish and rocky though broken by creeks. Above it, one on the north, one on the south horn of the bay, rise two small low knolls or hillocks known as Ghazi Baba and Lala Baba, the latter a clearly marked tactical feature. To the north, beyond the horn of the bay, the coast is high, steep-to sandy cliff, broken with gullies and washed by deep water, but to the south, all the way to Anzac the coast is a flat, narrow, almost straight sweep of sandy shore shutting a salt marsh and a couple [136] of miles of lowland from the sea; it is a lagoon beach of the common type, with the usual feature of shallow water in the sea that washes it. The northern half of this beach is known as Beach C, the southern as Beach B.

Viewed from the sea, the coast chosen for the new landing seems comparatively flat and gentle, seemingly, though not really, easy to land upon, but with no good military position near it. It looks as though once, long ago, the sea had thrust far inland there, in a big bay or harbour stretching from the high ground to the north of Suvla to the left of the Anzac position. This bay, if it ever existed, must have been four miles long and four miles across, a very noble space of water, ringed by big, broken, precipitous hills, into which it thrust in innumerable creeks and combes. Then (possibly) in the course of ages, silt brought down by the torrents choked the bay, and pushed the sea further and further back, till nothing remained of the harbour but the existing Suvla Bay and the salt marsh (dry in summer). The hills ringing Suvla Bay and this flat or slightly [137] rising expanse which may once have been a part of it, stand (to the fancy) like a rank that has beaten back an attack. They are high and proud to the north, they stand in groups in the centre, but to the south, where they link on to the broken cliffs of the Anzac position, they are heaped in tumbling precipitous disordered bulges of hill, cut by every kind of cleft and crumpled into every kind of fold, as though the dry land had there been put to it to keep out the sea. These hills are the scene of the bitterest fighting of the battle.

Although these hills in the Suvla district stand in a rank, yet in the centre of the rank there are two gaps where the ancient harbour of our fancy thrust creeks far inland. These gaps or creeks open a little to the south of the north and south limits of Suvla Bay. They are watered, cultivated valleys with roads or tracks in them. In the northern valley is a village of some sixty houses called Anafarta Sagir, or Little Anafarta. In the southern valley is a rather larger village of some ninety houses called Biyuk Anafarta, or Great An- [138] afarta. The valleys are called after these villages.

Between these valleys is a big blunt-headed jut or promontory of higher ground, which thrusts out towards the bay. At the Suvla end of this jut, about 1,000 yards from the bight of the Salt Marsh, it shoots up in three peaks or top knots two of them united in the lump called Chocolate Hill, the other known as Scimitar Hill or Hill 70; all, roughly, 150 feet high. About a mile directly inland from Chocolate Hill is a peak of about twice the height, called Ismail Oglu Tepe, an abrupt and savage heap of cliff, dented with chasms, harshly scarped at the top, and covered with dense thorn scrub. This hill is the southernmost feature in the northern half of the battle-field. The valley of Great Anafarta, which runs east and west below it, cuts the battle-field in two.

The southern side of the Great Anafarta valley is just that disarrangement of precipitous bulged hill which rises and falls in crags, peaks and gulleys all the way from the valley to Anzac. Few parts of the earth can be more [139] broken and disjointed than this mass of precipice, combes and ravines. A savage climate has dealt with it since the beginning of time, with great heats, frosts and torrents. It is not so much a ridge or chain of hills as the manifold outlying bastions and buttresses of Sari Bair, from which they are built out in craggy bulges parted by ravines. It may be said that Sari Bair begins at Gaba Tepe (to the south of the Anzac position) and stretches thence northeasterly towards Great Anafarta in a rolling and confused five miles of hill that has all the features of a mountain. It is not high. Its peaks range from about 250 to 600 feet; its chief peak (Koja Chemen Tepe) is a little more than 900 feet. Nearly all of it is trackless, waterless and confused, densely covered with scrub (sometimes with forest) littered with rocks, an untamed savage country. The southwestern half of it made the Anzac position, the northeastern and higher half was the prize to be fought for.

It is the watershed of that part of the Peninsula. The gulleys on its south side drain down [140] to the Hellespont; those upon its north side drain to the flat land which may once have been submerged as a part of Suvla Bay. These northern gulleys are great savage irregular gashes or glens running westerly or north-westerly from the hill bastions. Three of them, the three nearest to the northern end of the Anzac position, may be mentioned by name: Sazli Beit Dere, Chailak Dere, and Aghyl Dere. The word Dere means watercourse; but all three were bone dry in August when the battle was fought. It must be remembered that in the trackless Peninsula a watercourse of this kind is the nearest approach to a road, and (to a military force) the nearest approach to a covered way. All these three Deres lead up the heart of the hills to those highlands of Sari Bair where we wished to plant ourselves. From the top of Sari Bair one can look down on the whole Turkish position facing Anzac, and see that position not only dominated but turned and taken in reverse. One can see (only three miles away) the only road to Constantinople, and (five miles away) the little [141] port of Maidos near the Narrows. To us the taking of Sari Bair meant the closing of that road to the passing of Turk reinforcements, and the opening of the Narrows to the fleet. It meant victory, and the beginning of the end of this great war, with home and leisure for life again, and all that peace means. Knowing this, our soldiers made a great struggle for Sari Bair, but Fate turned the lot against them. Sari was not to be an English hill, though the flowers on her sides will grow out of English dust forever. Those who lie there thought, as they fell, that over their bodies our race would pass to victory. It may be that their spirits linger there at this moment, waiting for the English bugles and the English singing, and the sound of the English ships passing up the Hellespont.

Among her tumble of hills, from the Anzac position to Great Anafarta, Sari Bair thrusts out several knolls, peaks and commanding heights. Within the Anzac position, is the little plateau of Lone or Lonesome Pine to be described later. Further to the northeast are [142] the heights known as Baby 700 and Battleship Hill, and beyond these, still further to the northeast, the steep peak of Chunuk Bair. All of these before this battle were held by the Turks, whose trenches defended them. Lone Pine is about 400 feet high, the others rather more, slowly rising, as they go northeast, but keeping to about the height of the English Chilterns. Chunuk Bair, the highest of these, is about 750 feet. Beyond Chunuk, half-a-mile further to the northeast, is Hill Q, and beyond Hill Q a very steep deep gulley, above which rises the beautiful peak, the summit of Sari, known as Koja Chemen Tepe. One or two Irish hills in the wilder parts of Antrim are like this peak, though less fleeced with brush. In height, as I have said, it is a little more than 900 feet, or about the height of our Bredon Hill. One point about it may be noted. It thrusts out a great spur or claw for rather more than a mile due north; this spur, which is much gullied, is called Abd-el-Rahman Bair.

For the moment, Chunuk Bair is the most important point to remember, because—

[143] (a) It was the extreme right of the prepared Turk position.

(b) The three Deres mentioned a couple of pages back have their sources at its foot and start there, like three roads starting from the walls of a city on their way to the sea. They lead past the hills known as Table Top and Rhododendron Spur. Close to their beginnings at the foot of Chunuk is a building known as The Farm, round which the fighting was very fierce.

The "idea" or purpose of the battle was "to endeavour to seize a position across the Gallipoli Peninsular from Gaba Tep to Maidos, with a protected line of supply from Suvla Bay."

The plan of the attack was, that a strong force in Anzac should endeavour to throw back the right wing of the Turks, drive them south towards Kilid Bahr and thus secure a position commanding the narrow part of the Peninsula.

Meanwhile a large body of troops should secure Suvla, and another large body, landing at Suvla, should clear away any Turkish forces [144] on the hills between the Anafarta valleys, and then help the attacking force from Anzac by storming Sari Bair from the north and west.

The 6th of August was fixed for the first day of the attack from Anzac; the landing at Suvla was to take place during the dark hours of the night of the 6th-7th. "The 6th was both the earliest and the latest date possible for the battle, the earliest, because it was the first by which the main part of the reinforcements would be ready, the latest, because of the moon." Both in the preparation and the surprise of this attack dark nights were essential.

Sir Ian Hamilton's Despatch (reprinted from the London Gazette of Tuesday, the 4th January, 1916) shows that this battle of the 6th—10th August was perhaps the strangest and most difficult battle ever planned by mortal general. It was to be a triple battle, fought by three separated armies, not in direct communication with each other. There was no place from which the battle, as a whole, could be controlled, nearer than the island of Imbros, (fourteen miles from any part of the Peninsula) [145] to which telegraphic cables led from Anzac and Cape Helles. The left wing of our army, designed for the landing at Suvla, was not only not landed, when the battle began, but not concentrated. There was no adjacent subsidiary base big enough (or nearly big enough) to hold it. "On the day before the battle, part were at Imbros, part at Mudros, and part at Mitylene . . . separated respectively by 14, 60, and 120 miles of sea from the arena into which they were simultaneously to appear." The vital part of the fight was to be fought by troops from Anzac. The Anzac position was an open book to every Turk aeroplane and every observer on Sari Bair. The reinforcements for this part of the battle had to be landed in the dark, some days before the battle, and kept hidden underground, during daylight, so that the Turks should not see them and suspect what was being planned.

In all wars, but especially in modern wars, great tactical combinations have been betrayed by very little things. In war, as in life, the unusual thing, however little, betrays the un- [146] usual thing, however great. An odd bit of paper round some cigars betrayed the hopes of the American Secession, some litter in the sea told Nelson where the French fleet was, one man rising up in the grass by a roadside saved the wealth of Peru from the hands of Drake. The Turks were always expecting an attack from Anzac. It is not too much to say that they searched the Anzac position hourly for the certain signs of an attack, reinforcements and supplies. They had not even to search the whole position for these signs, since there was only one place (towards Fisherman's Hut) where they could be put. If they had suspected that men and stores were being landed, they would have guessed at once, that a thrust was to be made, and our attacks upon their flanks would have met with a prepared defence.



It was vital to our chance of success that nothing unusual, however little, should be visible in Anzac from the Turk positions during the days before the battle. One man staring up at an aeroplane would have been evidence enough to a quick observer that there was a [147] new-comer on the scene. One new water tank, one new gun, one mule not yet quiet from the shock of landing, might have betrayed all the adventure. Very nearly thirty thousand men, one whole Division and one Brigade of English soldiers, and a Brigade of Gurkhas, with their guns and stores, had to be landed unobserved and hidden.

There was only one place in which they could be hidden, and that was under the ground. The Australians had to dig hiding places for them before they came.

In this war of digging, the daily life in the trenches gives digging enough to every soldier. Men dig daily even if they do not fight. At Anzac in July the Australians had a double share of digging, their daily share in the front lines, and, when that was finished, their nightly share, preparing cover for the new troops. During the nights of the latter half of July the Australians at Anzac dug, roofed and covered not less than twenty miles of dugouts. All of this work was done in their sleep time, after the normal day's work of fighting, digging and [148] carrying up stores. Besides digging these hiding places they carried up, fixed, hid, and filled the water tanks which were to supply the new-comers.

On the night of the 3rd of August when the landing of the new men began, the work was doubled. Everybody who could be spared from the front trenches went to the piers to help to land, carry inland and hide the guns, stores, carts and animals coming ashore. The nights, though lengthening, were still summer nights. There were seven hours of semi-darkness in which to cover up all traces of what came ashore. The new-comers landed at the rate of about 1,500 an hour, during the nights of the 3rd, 4th and 5th of August. During those nights, the Australians landed, carried inland and hid not less than one thousand tons of shells, cartridges and food, some hundreds of horses and mules, many guns, and two or three hundred water-carts and ammunition carts. All night-long, for those three nights, the Australians worked like schoolboys. Often, towards dawn, it was a race against [149] time, but always at dawn, the night's tally of new troops were in their billets, the new stores were under ground and the new horses hidden. When the morning aeroplanes came over, their observers saw nothing unusual in any part of Anzac. The half-naked men were going up and down the gullies, the wholly naked men were bathing in the sea, everything else was as it had always been, nor were any transports on the coast. For those three nights nearly all the Australians at Anzac gave up most of their sleep. They had begun the work by digging the cover, they took a personal pride and pleasure in playing the game of cache-cache to the end



It is difficult to praise a feat of the kind and still more difficult to make people understand what the work meant. Those smiling and glorious young giants thought little of it. They loved their chiefs and they liked the fun, and when praised for it looked away with a grin. The labour of the task can only be felt by those who have done hard manual work in hot climates. Digging is one of the hardest [150] kinds of work, even when done in a garden with a fork. When done in a trench with a pick and shovel it is as hard work as threshing with a flail. Carrying heavy weights over uneven ground is harder work still; and to do either of these things on a salt-meat diet with a scanty allowance of water, is very, very hard; but to do them at night after a hard day's work, instead of sleeping, is hardest of all; even farm-labourers would collapse and sailors mutiny when asked to do this last. It may be said that no one could have done this labour, but splendid young men splendidly encouraged to do their best. Many of these same young men who had toiled thus almost without sleep for three days and nights, fell in with the others and fought all through the battle.

But all this preparation was a setting of precedents and the doing of something new to war. Never before have 25,000 men been kept buried under an enemy's eye until the hour for the attack. Never before have two Divisions of all arms been brought up punctually, by ship, over many miles of sea, from different ports, [151] to land under fire, at an appointed time, to fulfill a great tactical scheme.

But all these difficulties were as nothing to the difficulty of making sure that the men fighting in the blinding heat of a Gallipoli August should have enough water to drink. Eighty tons of water a day does not seem very much. It had only to be brought five hundred miles, which does not seem very far, to those who in happy peace can telephone for 80 tons of anything to be sent five hundred miles to anywhere. But in war, weight, distance and time become terrible and tragic things, involving the lives of armies. The water supply of that far battlefield, indifferent as it was, at the best, was a triumph of resolve and skill unequalled yet in war. It is said that Wellington boasted that, while Napoleon could handle men, he, Wellington, could feed them. Our naval officers can truly say that, while Sir Ian Hamilton can handle men, they can give them drink.

As to the enemy before the battle, it was estimated that (apart from the great strategical reserves within 30 or 40 miles) there were [152] 30,000 Turks in the vital part of the battle-field, to the north of Kilid Bahr. Twelve thousand of these were in the trenches opposite Anzac; most of the rest in the villages two or three miles to the south and southeast of Sari Bair. Three battalions were in the Anafarta villages, one battalion was entrenched on Ismail Oglu Tepe; small outposts held the two Baba hillocks on the bay, and the land north of the bay was patrolled by mounted gendarmerie. These scattered troops on the Turk right had guns with them; it was not known how many. The beach of Suvla was known to be mined.

August began with calm weather. The scattered regiments of the Divisions for Suvla, after some weeks of hard exercise ashore, were sent on board their transports. At a little before four o'clock on the afternoon of the 6th August, the 29th Division began the battle by an assault on the Turk positions below Krithia.

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