The Gallipoli Landings – Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day

The legend of the ANZAC was born from the courage and bloodshed of brave young men from Australia and New Zealand on the shores, steep cliffs, ravines and hills of Gallipoli in 1915. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) along with British and French forces faced stiff opposition from the Turkish troops of the Ottoman Empire during the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula which began at dawn on April 25th, 1915.

The rugged terrain of the Gallipoli Peninsula at Anzac Cove 1915
The rugged terrain of the Gallipoli Peninsula at ANZAC Cove 1915 (Photo Source: Australian War Memorial)

Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the rugged and mountainous western side of the peninsula at Ari Burnu (later to be known as ANZAC Cove), British forces landed at Cape Helles and French colonial forces made a diversionary landing across the straits at Kum Kale. The intent was to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war but the Turkish were well prepared and were able to hold off the attacks leaving the Allied forces clinging to just small gains.

gallipoli invasion map 1915
On April 25th, 1915, the British 29th Division landed at five beaches on the southern tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula (the five red arrows around Cape Helles) and tried to capture the heights of Achi Baba (shown by a broken red arrow). A French colonial division launched a diversionary attack at Kum Kale across the straits (the blue arrow). 
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed 20 km to the north at Ari Burnu with the objective of securing the Sari Bair Range and capturing Mal Tepe hill (shown by a broken red arrow).
Defending Gallipoli and the Asiatic side of the straits were units from the Ottoman Fifth Army (shown as the green boxes on the map). Map and Information Source: nzhistory.govt.nz
Australians landing at Anzac Cove at 8am, 25 April 1915 IWM
AUSTRALIAN FORCES IN GALLIPOLI, 1915 (Q 112876) Bombardment and Landings: Australians landing at Anzac Cove at 8am, April 25th, 1915 – part of the 4th Battalion and the mules for the 26th (Jacob’s) Indian Mountain Battery. In the foreground is the staff of Colonel H N MacLaurin of the 1st Infantry Brigade. The officer with the rolled greatcoat over his shoulder is Major F D Irvine (killed on 27 April). Nearer the water’s edge (centre) is Captain D… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193295
Lifeboat No. 5 from SS Devanha a P&O steamship which was requisitioned to transport Australian troops to Gallipoli in 1915. The ship was operated by the merchant navy and renamed HMT Devanha. The lifeboat was used in troop landings at Anzac Cove on April 25th, 1915 - Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
Lifeboat No. 5 from SS Devanha a P&O steamship which was requisitioned to transport Australian troops to Gallipoli in 1915. The ship was operated by the merchant navy and renamed HMT Devanha. The lifeboat was used in troop landings  ANZAC Cove on April 25th, 1915 – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne 2017
The Devanha Lifeboat No. 5 - men from the Australian 12th Battalion, 3rd Field Ambulance and 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters were transported to the beaches at Gallipoli - Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
The Devanha Lifeboat No. 5 – men from the Australian 12th Battalion, 3rd Field Ambulance and 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters were transported to the beaches at Gallipoli – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017
The Devanha Lifeboat No. 5 is displayed within a multimedia presentation explaining the 1915 Gallipoli landings at Anzac Cove - Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
The Devanha Lifeboat No. 5 is displayed within a multimedia presentation explaining the 1915 Gallipoli landings at ANZAC Cove – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017

Trench lines were quickly established after the landings and despite fierce fighting and major attacks at Lone Pine and surrounds, the Allies failed to break through Turkish lines and they in turn failed to push the Allies back into the sea during their attacks. By early May 1915 at best, the ANZAC forces held a territory that was  just 0.5 kilometre wide and 1.5 kilometres from north to south and apart from some further territory gains in August offensives, this was held until the end of the campaign!

Anzac Cove - Gallipoli 1915
ANZAC Cove – Gallipoli 1915 (Photo Source: Australian War Memorial)
Boys come over here Australian World War One 1915 enlistment poster
Australian World War One 1915 enlistment poster (Image Source: Imperial War Museum
Art.IWM PST 0398)

A tough and rugged stalemate was in place throughout the rest of 1915 and on top of the fighting they experienced harsh weather in the form extreme summer heat, heavy autumn rain and a freezing winter to boot, along with dysentery and even frostbite! The most successful stage of the Gallipoli campaign was ultimately the stealthy Allied withdrawal of 105,000 troops on December 19th and 20th, 1915 with only limited casualties from the Gallipoli Peninsula (the last British troops left Cape Helles on January 8th, 1916).

The Allies had bluffed the Turks into thinking men were still stationed there and slipped away in boats under the cover of darkness (they used drip rifles – self firing guns with a dripping water mechanism to pull the trigger – and other diversions). Sadly though casualties on both sides during the campaign were high.

Drip Rifle Gallipoli 1915
A delayed action device, commonly called a drip rifle, invented by Lance Corporal William Charles Scurry of the 7th Battalion, AIF, for firing a rifle by means of weights operated through water escaping from one tin into another. A rifle could be left to operate 20 minutes after the device was set. Six rifles were left by 3rd Brigade to fire following the departure of the last party – Photo taken December 17th, 1915 (Photo Source: Australian War Memorial)

Some 480,000 Allied forces participated in the campaign with 141,000 becoming casualties, including around 44,150 dead – Australia suffered 8,709 deaths and New Zealand lost 2,779 men (this amounted to approximately 15% of total casualties for the entire war from 1914-1918 for both nations,  which was sadly a huge loss of life at the time for both countries with such small populations – Australia <4.9M and NZ 1M people in 1915, plus these were the nations first heavy losses of life in the war). What may surprise some is that 21,255 troops from Great Britain (including Irish troops) and 10,000 French troops died in the campaign (for the British this was approximately 2.8% and for the French approximately 0.7% of total casualties 1914-1918). Heavy Allied losses to say the least!

Over 500,000 of the tough Turks fought at Gallipoli and they suffered around 251,000 casualties defending their homeland, including anywhere from 65,000 to 86,000 dead! It was a brutal campaign for both sides.

A Turkish Flag from 1915 - Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
A Turkish Flag from 1915 – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017

The Gallipoli campaign and the ultimate sacrifice made by so many, so far from home, along with the ANZAC fighting spirit and heroism against the odds had a profound impact on these then young nations, and we have commemorated them on that date as a national day of remembrance ever since. Lest We Forget.

The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was officially opened in front of 300,000 people in November 1934. The Shrine was originally built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War One, today it serves as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war and on peacekeeping duties - April 2017
The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was officially opened in front of 300,000 people in November 1934. The Shrine was originally built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War One, today it serves as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war and on peacekeeping duties – April 2017
The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was officially opened in front of 300,000 people in November 1934. The Shrine was originally built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War One, today it serves as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war and on peacekeeping duties - April 2017
We Will Remember Them – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017
The Shrine of Remembrance Crypt
The Shrine of Remembrance Crypt – “These figures of father and son honour the courage and sacrifice which link two generations of Victorian service men and women who served and died in the world wars 1914–1918 and 1939-1945” – April 2017
The World War One exhibits of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
The World War One exhibits of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017

References:

Australian War Memorial – Gallipoli

Australian War Memorial – Australian Fatalities at Gallipoli

Gallipoli.gov.au – Gallipoli and the ANZACS

History.com – Battle of Gallipoli

Imperial War Museum – The Gallipoli Campaign

NZ History – Gallipoli Casualties by Country

The Age – Brits Made Major Gallipoli Sacrifice Too

1914-1918 Online – War Losses

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