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Chris Best

TURKISH MACHINE GUNS AT GALLIPOLI

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Helen Bachaus

Hi Bob, Thanks for your honest comments. It always nice to try and sort fact from spin this being the latter.

I know from looking at the majority of information both here and on Axis Forum from very learned folk that I've learnt lot of inflormation not usually found in books that are at our disposal.

I'm aware of the German Naval MG units and infact will be throwing another story from a book that I notated up here soon. Again feedback is always very welcome. On another subject and different theatre Andrew and I with friends are gaming Tel El Saba today which should be a load of fun.

God Bless

Helen

Helen;

Without knowing any specifics, I think that the odds are very strong that this story is fanciful.

The lesser evidence is the likelyhood of three soldiers rushing ten Turks, one German officer, and a MG, and (I imagine) successfully overcoming them. As we have generally established, the Turks had, at the most, only a few MGs on this front on Day One. They would have been very carefully sited and protected, and not put in a position where three men could rush them and take the MG.

I also have to point out that the Turks fought with enormous valor, and fiercely, and three men with bolt action rifles and bayonets would mostly have come to a bad end rushing these opponents and a MG. Possible, but not likely.

The most conclusive evidence was that, in the Turkish infantry at that time and place, it was almost certain that there were no German officers posted at a level below regimental HQs, and quite likely generally below the level of the division. I do think that there were some elite mobile artillery batteries assigned to move about and shell the Allied warships that had a German battery commander. I am almost positive that there were no German officers with the front-line troops, unless possibly one was visiting for some sort of inspection and got caught in the onslaught. German officers did not man MGs in the German Army, and it is very unlikely that one would in the Turkish Army. Even the commander of a German machine gun, a low-ranking NCO, did not "man" the gun, but positioned himself to the side with binoculars and directed his team.

Weeks or months later a few German machine gun units, formed from the German crews of the Goeben and the Breslau, showed up, but not at this date.

Also, a Turkish MG company had four, or possibly only two guns per company. Even if the only defenders were the men of the MG company, they would have had more than ten defenders.

I think your guy was spinning a tale.

Bob Lembke

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stevebecker

Mate,

Can I add that the 9Bn AIF landed between Ari Burnu and Gaba Tepe that morning in the first wave and would have run into the main Turkish defences near there.

A MG was firing on the 9th Bn AIF during there push from the beach, into the hills of Gaba Tepe this MG is noted by Dr Butler as firing on this strecher bearers and Sgt Fowles and Courtney climded after then gun and it was captured by soldiers from that Bn, no numbers are mentioned in the taking of that gun so three men may not be the whole number.

There is a large discription of this engagment on pages 259 to 261 in the Australian Offical history as the fight involved units from the 11Bn and 10th Bn AIF and well as the 9th Bn AIF.

With so many wittness to this action we must conclude that there was an MG here.

So was a MG attached to the 2Bn/27th Turkish Regt in there defence of the Ari Bunru and Gaba Tepe areas?

My records do show that the 27th Regt did have a MG Coy so were one of their guns here?

Concidering that Gaba Tepe also had a number of field guns one would think they used a MG to cover them?

S.B

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bob lembke

Steve;

You seem to have a good handle on this.

However, you mention three battalions being involved in the taking of this MG; that is quite a different kettle of fish than three Other Ranks charging off and capturing it.

Bob Lembke

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Helen Bachaus

Thanks Steve. :)

God Bless

Helen

Mate,

Can I add that the 9Bn AIF landed between Ari Burnu and Gaba Tepe that morning in the first wave and would have run into the main Turkish defences near there.

A MG was firing on the 9th Bn AIF during there push from the beach, into the hills of Gaba Tepe this MG is noted by Dr Butler as firing on this strecher bearers and Sgt Fowles and Courtney climded after then gun and it was captured by soldiers from that Bn, no numbers are mentioned in the taking of that gun so three men may not be the whole number.

There is a large discription of this engagment on pages 259 to 261 in the Australian Offical history as the fight involved units from the 11Bn and 10th Bn AIF and well as the 9th Bn AIF.

With so many wittness to this action we must conclude that there was an MG here.

So was a MG attached to the 2Bn/27th Turkish Regt in there defence of the Ari Bunru and Gaba Tepe areas?

My records do show that the 27th Regt did have a MG Coy so were one of their guns here?

Concidering that Gaba Tepe also had a number of field guns one would think they used a MG to cover them?

S.B

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Helen Bachaus

Hi Kim, there was no mention of the time or the particular hill in the chapter. The sergeant recalls to the third person that on initial landing he was ordered by the lieutenant to take on some Turkish sharpshooters after this task was completed he then noticed a Turkish MG firing from a higher position situated on a hill. He scaled up with the two other soldiers to take on this MG.

Thanks again.

Helen

Helen, is there a time mentioned, and a name of the hill, in this account?

Cheers

Kim

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stevebecker

Mate,

Thats a problem with checking personal stories they can be very hard to prove sometimes.

There was no Sgt Burnes in the 9th Bn AIF

But there was a Pte William Bruns 933 who was mentioned in the Army Orders for his actions over the landing period.

His name is not mentioned in the 9th Bn AIF history other then his mention in Army orders but not for what he was mentioned for.

He is not mentioned in Beans Offical History which generaly mentions all these soldiers so we can concide that he was one of a number of man that went after that MG with many other soldiers from other AIF Bn's.

As to when he and if the three man also captured this gun at the same time as all the others soldiers from other Bn's were clearing the turkish defenders in the area is unknown.

I can only conclude that all this was happening at the same time and with the turkish defenders cleared by others he and his mates got to the MG first?

But we may never know for sure?

cheers

S.B

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Helen Bachaus

Thankyou Steve for the clarification. It certainly does assist when one is trying to pull all the facts together.

God Bless

Helen

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Bryn

The battalions of the 3rd Brigade, AIF, that landed first in the area from Fisherman's Hut in the north to just beyond Hell Spit in the south, were widely scattered and inter-mixed, and the ground was broken and hilly. 'The country was everywhere thickly scrubbed with arbutus, dwarf holly-oak, and pine, from three to twelve feet high. Observation was possible only from the crests, and, except along occasional goat-tracks, passage had to be forced. The fighting was chiefly on the ridges' (Official Medical History). This made communication and maintaining formation very difficult, and needs to be considered when a statement that elements of the 9th, 10th and 11th battalions captured a machine gun. It does not mean that three battalions went after a single gun.

I'm still not too clear on exactly what's being claimed here though. Is it that the Turks had no machine-guns *anywhere* the allies landed on 25th April? Is it that they had them in some places, or covering some beaches, but not others? Is it that they had them, but not until later in the day, or that that they had them in some places during the initial landing but not in others till later in the day?

Regarding the French attack on Kum Kale, 25th April: 'The fort was not occupied, but the artillery and machine-guns of the Turkish infantry at the south side of the village spread death in our ranks. One machine-gun situated in a mill was destroyed by the cannon of the fleet.' (p62) The author goes on to describe the effectiveness of the Turkish rifle-fire (Extract from 'Uncensored Letters From the Dardanelles, Written to his English Wife by a French Medical Officer of the Corps Expeditionnaire D'Orient', by Captain-Doctor J. Vassal, 1916).

Unit history, 7th Battalion AIF, 25 April 1915:

'As they neared the land they saw immediately north of Ari Burnu knoll the Red Cross flag of the 3rd Field Ambulance. The original orders being to guard the left flank from Fisherman's Hut up to 971, they rowed towards the Hut, under a severe rifle and machine gun fire. Casualties were severe. The boats were filled with dead and wounded. The survivors landed and occupied a trench on the knoll behind Fisherman's Hut. Of 140 officers and men only 38 reached the shore.' (p16).

Unit history, 12th Battalion AIF, 25 April 1915:

'This portion of the beach was under direct machine-gun fire, apparently coming from the lower slopes of Walker's Ridge, or perhaps further north from the vicinity of Fisherman's Hut. ... As they neared the foot of the cliff the machine-gun still worried them considerably, and the Colonel ordered Rafferty to take his platoon and endeavour to silence it.' (p43). There's more on what happened, but the point is, there was a machine-gun, clearly recognised by Colonel Clarke, who held the Distinguished Service Order, the Queen's South Africa Medal & 4 Clasps, King's South Africa Medal & 2 Clasps, Volunteer's Decoration, and who was twice mentioned in despatches. To suggest that he wasn't 'experienced enough' to tell a machine-gun when he heard one would be a bit of a stretch.

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stevebecker

Bryn,

Mate I am also unsure where the letter is refering to also

I can only asume it relating to the capture of this MG near the Gaba Tepe or Ari Burnu area.

The 3rd Bde AIF landed between Gaba Tepe and Ari Bunru not at the Fishermans hut? (by Bean's map 11 next to page 256)

So this MG may have been any where in between.

As you know companies from all 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Bn's AIF (3rd Bde) landed between these points and fought a number of actions.

the landing at Gaba tepe gets a large bit in Bean's where he relates the capture of a MG by elements of all these Bn's somewhere.

But Companies from the 9th Bn landed near Ari Bunru (Aand B Coy's) and the rest landed between Shrapnel Gully (DCoy) and Victorian Gully (CCoy) near Gaba Tepe.

Cheers

S.B

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Bryn

That's pretty much it, Steve - you're right that no 3rd Brigade units landed as far north as Fisherman's Hut, but 'A' and 'D' Companies of the 12th Battalion, including the colonel, landed north of Ari Burnu, on North Beach. Lieut. Rafferty (12 Bn) was sent to silence what was probably the same machine gun (although it's also reported that there were two) that was afterwards firing on the boats of the 7th Battalion near Fisherman's Hut. I've never found any account of a fight to take Fisherman's Hut knoll, so the gun/s probably was or were further back and higher up. In any case, Rafferty's men were not able to reach them.

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Crunchy

I would like to clarify some of the points made in this thread concerning the actions of the Australian units involved in the landing and then make some comments regarding the Turksih resistance and the possibility of MG's at Anzac Cove itself. For some of my Australian colleagues these will be controversial but they are based on a good deal of research for an article that was published in the Journal of The Australian War Memorial in 1993. Only last week I found an article published in Reveille in 1937 by a veteran who essentially supports my thesis.

The situation at Anzac on the 25th April as I understand it was:

The Turkish Defences.

That stretch of the coastline was defended by the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Regiment. Three companies covered five and a half miles of coastline from Semerley Tepe in the south to Aghyl Dere in the north. The fourth company was in reserve about 1 mile inland from Gaba Tepe. Much of the defence consisted of scattered posts along the coastline with strongpoints covering selected beaches. In the general Anzac area the strongest defences were at Gaba Tepe at the southern end of Brighton Beach and the immediate beach just north of the point. This was wired and MG's covered Brighton Beach in enfilade from the Gaba Tepe fort. North of Anzac Cove a strong post with MG's was situated in the area of the Fisherman's Hut and what became the N0 1 Outpost. These covered North Beach, which stretched north from the Cove to Suvla. In the Anzac Cove area was a platoon. The other two battalions of the 27th Regiment were at Maidos on the Dardanelles side of the Peninsula. The 19th Division, the 5th Army's reserve for whole Peninsula, was located in the Boghali/ Mal Tepe area some five -six miles inland from Anzac Cove.

The Australian Landing:

The 3rd Brigade made the initial landing and its task was to push rapidly inland and establish a covering force screen for the rest of the Corps along Third Ridge from Battleship Hill on the main Sari Bair range to Gaba Tepe on the coast and capture the Gaba Tepe strongpoint. The Brigade landed in three waves. The first wave consisted of two companies each of the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions which were supposed to land on a 1600 yard frontage with its right flank about one mile north of Gaba Tepe and its left flank just south of Hell Spit, the southern headland of Anzac Cove. In the event they landed on a 400 yard frontage astride Ari Burnu, the northern headland of Anzac Cove under scattered fire. The 9th and 10th Battalions landed on the point and within the Cove, whilst the 11th landed just north of the Cove. These troops quickly seized Plugge's Plateau by about 5am and the officers set about sorting out the intermingled troops. Some troops had set off pursuing the retreating Turks who had dropped down into Sharpnel Gully. From Plugge's the 9th companies set out to rejoin their second wave companies which they could see to their south moving up towards the 400 Plateau, the 10th Battalion consolidated with its second wave companies and set out for the Third Ridge under the control of their CO, LTCOL Weir. The 11th Battalion companies, less a half company under CAPT Tulloch, consolidated on Plugge's and the bulk of them set out for Baby 700 at the junction the main Sari Bair range and Second Ridge.

The second wave, comprising two companies from the same battalions, and the third wave, consisting of the 12th Battalion, landed on a 1600 yard frontage astride Anzac Cove. The 9th companies landed just south of Hell Spit and some 2700 yards north of Gaba Tepe. These troops experienced long range enfilade MG fire from Gaba Tepe but had few casualties. They experienced little or no opposition and moved up and onto the 400 Plateau. The 10th Battalion companies landed inside the Cove and moved up onto Plugge's Plateau and rejoined their leading companies. The 11th Battalion companies landed north of the Cove. Most of them swung south and climbed the very steep northern flank of Plugge's and joined the the first wave companies. Tulloch's half company landed further north, climbed Walker's Ridge and moved via Russell's Top to Baby 700 and thence to Battleship Hill on the main range, which was his objective. The 12th Battalion, the Brigade reserve, landed astride the Cove on about a 1600 yard frontage, some landed south of the Cove, some in the Cove itslef and some landed on north Beach and thus was split up. A portion of the Battalion under the CO, LTCOL Clarke, scaled the cliffs near the Sphinx and moved along Russell's Top to Baby 700 and Clarke detailed a platoon under Raferty to deal with the MG's in the area of No 1 Outpost/Fisherman's Hut. Another company under Hilmer climbed up onto Plugge's. None of the 3rd Brigade landed near Gaba Tepe or the Fisherman's Hut although they did experience enfilade fire from these posts, but it appears not to have held them up. According to Bean "the darkness, the surprsie and the fact that the tows landed half a mile distant from the Turkish posts, diminished the effect of this fire" (OH Vol 1, p323)

From Plugge's and the area either side of the Cove, the 3rd Brigade moved inland and had secured the Second Ridge by about 6am. The only serious fighting appears to be when LT Loutit's party attacked a battery of guns in the area of The Cup and some Turkish resistance on the northern flank of Baby 700, although Tulloch encountered no opposition when he moved over the feature. At this stage the Commander of the 3rd Brigade altered the plan and ordered the troops to halt and dig in on Second Ridge; rather than pushing onto his objective on Third Ridge. Small parties (Tulloch, Loutit, Jackson, Plant and Blackburn and Robin) did, however, go forward and get onto Third Ridge where they found it unoccupied. At some time after 8am Bridges (GOC 1st Aust Division) reached the 400 Plateau and is recorded by Bean as stating that there was nothing to prevent the advance from continuing. White, his CoS, expressed the view that the precious hour in which an advance might still be made was being allowed to slip away. Bean Two Men I Knew p57 -61.

The 2nd Brigade was to land echeloned behind but slightly north of the 3rd Brigade, with the left hand Battalion, the 7th, landing in Anzac Cove itself. They were then to move via the First and Second Ridges up and through the 3rd Brigade screen on Battleship Hill and secure Chunuk Bair, Hill Q and Hill 971, that is, the heights of the Sari Bair range. In the event, the leading boats of the 7th landed under the MG's at the Fisherman's Hut/ No 1 Outpost and the troops in them were shot to pieces as they grounded. The remainder of the 7th Battalion and 2nd Brigade were then diverted to Anzac Cove. The Cove provided a relative safe place to land as it was in dead ground to the MG's at the Fisherman's Hut and at Gaba Tepe. Each battalion formed up on the beach before moving off. However, rather than moving east to secure the heights of the Sari Bair range they made their way to Bolton's Ridge to the south of the 400 Plateau. Again the comnmander of the 3rd Brigade altered the plan and convinced the 2nd Brigade commander to go to the south based on a perception of threat that actually wasn't there.

The 1st Brigade came ashore after the 2nd as the divisional reserve. They were followed by the New Zealand Brigade and then the 4th Brigade of the New Zealand and Australian Division.

The Turkish Resistance

Other than at the Fisherman's Hut, the troops did not encounter the main Turkish defences and did not get close to Gaba Tepe. After an initial short resistance, the Turks in the Anzac Cove area withdrew inland rather quickly. Salisbury of the 9th saw some "running away on his right" and Brockman observed some "bolting back over MacLagan's Ridge", the ridge running down from Plugge's Plateau to Hell Spit (Bean OH Vol 1 p263). Bean also says the Turks were "fleeing before the second portion of the landing force" [the second wave of the 3rd Brigade] (Ibid p264). LT Loutit of the 10th Battalion, who actually made it onto Scrubby Knoll on Third Ridge, stated to me personally on two occasions that he had trouble keeping up with the Turks fleeing inland and felt that they stopped running on Third Ridge when he halted his platoon. Robin describes in his diary moving forward from Second Ridge to Third Ridge as " a chase". (Ibid pxii)

IMO whether the platoon at Anzac Cove had MG's is open to question. MG's were not integral to a rifle platoon at that stage of the war. Anzac Cove was not considered a likely landing site because of the terrain. The most likely site in the area was the southern portion of Brighton Beach because of the long stretch of beach and the relatively easy egress from it to the other side of the Peninsula, hence the strong Turkish defences at Gaba Tepe. The site at Anzac Cove did not lend itself to the best use of MG's, given much of the fire from them would have been plunging fire at some distance out to sea or at some distance up along North Beach with a good deal of dead ground in front. A reasonable, but not entirely satisfactory position would have been on the Ari Burnu knoll to cover the approaches to North Beach but I have seen no evidence that the post there actually contained an MG, rather it is to the contrary. A post on Queensland Point could have covered the approaches to the northern end of Brighton Beach but again there is no evidence that an MG was located or captured in that area.

Bean talks about an MG firing from a position some 500 yards north of the 11th Battalion, this was probably at the Fisherman's Hut or No 1 Outpost] (Ibid p256), Although he mentions another firing from "either on the knoll itself [Ari Burnu] or on the edge of the plateau or behind it" (Ibid p254) and "From the left hand side of the plateau itself above could be seen the flash of a machine gun" (Ibid p257) there is no mention of the gun being captured, just "The flash of the machine-gun on the top had ceased for some minutes" (Ibid p259). This is strange as the capture of an MG post at that time would have merited some comment, certainly in Bean's history. An MG position on the top of Plugge's is unlikely for the reasons given above.

Bean's first volume is not his best and this is not surprising when one goes through the primary sources he worked from. I have found it to be confusing and disjointed when trying to piece together the chronology of events and, in places, contradictory when matching it with primary sources. For example, he mentions that Tulloch's party arrived on Battleship Hill after 9am (Ibid p289) and fought there for half an hour before withdrawing under heavy pressure (Ibid p290). Yet in an interview Bean had with Tulloch in 1918, Tulloch indicates they were there for quite some time and did not withdraw until after noon. This is consistent with Zeki Bey's account, given to Bean, which stated that he was only able to get a portion of his battalion into action at about 10:30am, as they were scattered and strung out after a forced cross country march, and that they fought at Battleship Hill for several hours. A time and space study of the movement for the 57th Regiment from Boghali to Chunk Bair indicates that the leading elements could not have arrived before 10 - 10:30am.

Bean also says that Loutit stopped because he came up against Turkish opposition forward of Adana Bair, a spur running down from the spine of Third Ridge (Ibid p 346). Loutit emphatically denied this in my interviews with him and nowhere in his correspondence with Bean did Loutit state this. Loutit said to me that he halted his platoon because he felt he was out running the main body; he then took a party of two other men and moved up along the spur onto Scubby Knoll on the main ridge where he saw the Narrows. When one his two men was wounded he returned to the rest of his platoon and they were engaging a party of Turks on another spur. Bean has Loutit and Ryder being driven in from Third Ridge around 9:30am under heavy pressure from the Turks (Ibid pp347 - 348). In his correspondence with Bean, Loutit never mentioned when his withdrawal commenced or why. He said to me it was much later, nearer 11 or 11:30am, and he denied it was because of enemy pressure, but because CAPT Ryder and his party withdrew prematurely. (Ryder had come forward to support Loutit in response to request sent back for troops to come forward earlier in the morning.) Loutit was quite emphatic that Ryder initiated the withdrawal, that it was premature and was quite disdainful of the decision. He also stated that Bean's account did not reflect what actually occurred in that area and was wrong.

There are myths about the Landing. The popular view that the troops landed under heavy fire against strong opposition and had to fight their way inland is one of them. All the evidence, including Bean, points to an initial resistance from the small Turkish force at the Cove which rapidly withdrew inland as they were overwhelmed by a vastly superior force. The Australians then made a relatively unopposed advance inland to the Second Ridge; with small parties moving forward to the Third Ridge. We hear of troops being killed on the beach as they landed yet, of the few photographs taken that morning of the Cove only one shows a single body on the beach. There is no sign of any other dead soldiers on the beach or of any personnal equipment left behind associated with wounded having been collected. In fact the beach is remarkably clean in the photographs taken that morning.

Our much vaunted "first battle" is actually a story of missed opportunities resulting from questionable decisions and indifferent leadership at Divisional and Brigade level, stemming from inexperience at all levels. Nonetheless, the task given to the A&NZ Corps was enormous and proved to be beyond the experience and capabilities of the force at that time.

Cheers

Chris

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Bryn

Thanks very much for that, Chris. In your article you make the statement, "As it was, the right flank of the 3rd Brigade's second wave just south of Hell Spit received accurate fire from machine-guns at Gaba Tepe.", but make no mention of the gun on the northern flank encountered by the 12th and 7th Battalions, nor of Fisherman's Hut itself. I'm interested in whether you've since concluded this gun existed, or whether it was outside the scope of your original article.

As you'd know, the 11th Battalion history also notes that (in relation to its landing north of Ari Burnu), "... a machine gun was enfilading them and causing many casualties." This gun must have been on the left flank, and is probably again the same one encountered by the 12th and 7th Battalions.

The myth of landing under heavy fire in Anzac Cove itself I'd go along with, as it was largely a complete surprise, and at least until the crests of the first ridges were reached and the rising sun was directly behind the defenders, resistance was minimal. But on the northern flank resistance was a lot stiffer.

I've always been intrigued that you actually met and spoke with Lieut. Loutit. Did he have any theories as to why Bean had claimed he stopped because of Turkish opposition beyond Adana Bair?

PS - Is the 1937 Reveille article you mention ‘Memories Of The Landing.’ by G. Thirkell? If not, could you give me details?

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stevebecker

Chris,

Yes I would agree with your out line, I am of the opion that the Turks didn't have all these MGs we sometimes mention.

But to go threw the part I am talking about relates to the 9th Bn AIF and is from the 9th Bn history page 69-70 from a "School paper writen by No 94 ACoy 9Bn.

Para 7;

Dr Butler had lost some of his stretcher bearers in the deadly fire, and this made him very angry. "Come on men we must take this gun" --- We stormed up the cliff behind him Sgt Fowles and Courtney were on either side of me climbed the cliff and both were shot dead. We rushed the gun and bayoneted the Turks who formed the crew."

Mate I can draw from that account to be in the area of Ari Burnu concidering that ACoy landed near there?

The Offical history page 257 has this;

"10th Bn scouts he led them straight up the height while the turks were firing over there heads from the left hand edge of the plateau (Plugges) above could be seen the flash of a MG."

we go on page 259;

"The flash of the MG on the top had ceased for some minutes though a necklace of rifle flashes still fringed the lower crest".

What is interesting page 263 relates to Butler and makes no mention of any MG on Plugge's after we took it.

Page 266 mentions MG fire from Gaba Tepe.

In others words the account of MG in unit history does't show up in the offical history after we capture the place what happened to the MG that one account said we captured while another account dosn't mention its capture, could we still count that gun as being in the Ari Bunu area?

Cheers

S.B

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bob lembke

Very interesting and informative. You wrote:

The Turkish Resistance

IMO whether the platoon at Anzac Cove had MG's is open to question. MG's were not integral to a rifle platoon at that stage of the war.

At this point in time the question would be if MGs were integral to Turkish battalions or were held at the regimental level. My guess, and it is only that, was that a Turkish regiment might have had a small MG company of four or even only two MGs. I can't imagine that Turkish platoons ever had MGs. Possibly some Turkish units trained and equipped by the Germans in Galicia for the fighting on the Eastern Front might have had MGs at the company level, and this was two years later. When my father sneaked thru Romania on his way to Gallipoli he and his comrades had to wear civiees and had no military equipment at all with them. The Germans at this time were trying to smuggle some ammunition to Turkey hidden in beer barrels.

Does anyone have a TOE of Turkish units of the period?

Bob Lembke

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Crunchy

Hi Bryn,

The discussion of the MG fire from Gaba Tepe in my article related to the impact of the misplaced landing. As such I mentioned this fire to highlight that had the landing gone in at the original site, far heavier casualties would have been experienced. I didn't mention the MG fire from Fisherman's Hut as it was not germain to the issues I was addressing.

The more I read on the landing the less satisfied I am with Bean's Vol 1 and the ready reference he makes to MG fire on several different parts of the battlefield. There were not as many MG's in units in 1914/1915 as there were later in the war. Both British and German battalions had two MG per battalion and if we accept LTCOL Sefik Bey CO 27th Regt comments (See PeterH's post above) the Turkish battalions had no MGs and grouped them in an MG company of 4 guns at regimental level; that is 4 guns supporting three battalions and if they were all deployed forward, 4 guns on the whole of the 2nd/27th's front when the 3rd Brigade landed.

My concern about Bean's account of the 25th April is that he is too ready to make an argument that MacLagan's decision to halt on Second Ridge was correct and I think he brings the timings of the Turkish counter attacks foward to justify this. His timings just don't match other primary sources and the time and space movements of the 57th Regiment and the reserve battalions of the 27th Regiment based on when he says they departed for Anzac. Bean has the forward elements of the 3rd Brigade on Battleship Hill and Third Ridge encountering strong Turksish opposition as they arrive and of them being driven back around 9:30am. I can't see how the MG's Bean refers to in these early to mid morning encounters were there in the numbers he infers. The reserve battalions of the 27th departed Maidos at 7:30am and arrived on the southern portion of Third Ridge around 9am, that is some 1700 - 1800 yards south of the forward elements under Loutit. The leading elements of the 57th departed Boghali around 8am or later and arrived near Chunuk Bair around 10 - 10:30am. These timings indicate that the forward elements were driven back at a later time than Bean claims. They also accord with Tulloch's and Loutit's estimated timings.

I don't think we will ever know where the Turkish MG's were employed at Anzac, I think it is fair to accept the accounts that there were MG's at Gaba Tepe and possibly at the Fisherman's Hut but I am fairly certain that there were not as many engaging the Australians as Bean's account infers, particularly on the main range early to mid morning on the 25th. Interestingly, speaking with an 8th Battalion man who was in their MG section at the Landing; they never fired a shot on the 25th April, being kept in reserve on Bolton's Ridge.

I wouldn't too readily dismiss the comments made above about inexperienced troops. From personal experience young, inexperienced trrops under fire for the first time tend to exhibit two traits - an exaggeration of numbers and fire confronting them and that rumour soon becomes fact; that is Pte A thinks he saw an MG firing becomes Pte A was fired on by an MG or even Pte A captured an MG.

Not sure what northern flank you are talking about Bryn. If you mean the area of the Fisherman's Hut I would tend to agree although I don't think the strength of the Turks there was all that large.

Loutit did not offer an opinion as to why Bean claimed he stopped because of enemy opposition, only that he thought Bean's account was wrong.

The article is "Why the Anzac Landing Failed" By LTCOL H.G. Viney CMG, CBE, DSO in Reveille Vol 10 No 8 April 1, 1937. Bean, of course, disputes Viney's article on the next page.

Cheers

Chris

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Crunchy
In others words the account of MG in unit history does't show up in the offical history after we capture the place what happened to the MG that one account said we captured while another account dosn't mention its capture, could we still count that gun as being in the Ari Bunu area?

Hi Steve,

I'm not sure. My reply to Bryn above addresses some of the issues we ought to consider. The 9th Battalion history is the only one of the 3rd Brigade's histories I didn't read at the time. I find it improbable that the Turks would post such a scarce and highly valued resource as an MG at a position they didn't consider a likely landing site. I can only assume that it was in the area of Queensland Point covering the northern portion of Brighton Beach. There are just too many inconsistencies with accounts of the Landing.

Cheers

Chris

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Crunchy
At this point in time the question would be if MGs were integral to Turkish battalions or were held at the regimental level. My guess, and it is only that, was that a Turkish regiment might have had a small MG company of four or even only two MGs. I can't imagine that Turkish platoons ever had MGs.

Hello Bob,

Thanks for comment. I agree. It would be very worthwhile getting a Turskish TOE of the time. It would appaer from PeterH's post above that the MG's were grouped at regimental level in a four gun MG company.

Cheers

Chris

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Bryn

Thanks again for that, Chris. I'll chase that Reveille article up.

I wasn't saying inexperienced troops would not necessarily have problems. I was pointing out that Colonel Clarke and a lot of other officers and NCOs, as well as some ORs, were not inexperienced soldiers. If they reported encountering machine-guns, we can't just write their opinions on the matter off as 'inexperience'. And certainly misjudging how *many* guns may be firing against you may be difficult - you may not be able to tell the exact number, but it's not hard to tell that it's at least one.

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Crunchy
I wasn't saying inexperienced troops would not necessarily have problems. I was pointing out that Colonel Clarke and a lot of other officers and NCOs, as well as some ORs, were not inexperienced soldiers. If they reported encountering machine-guns, we can't just write their opinions on the matter off as 'inexperience'. And certainly misjudging how *many* guns may be firing against you may be difficult - you may not be able to tell the exact number, but it's not hard to tell that it's at least one.

Hi Bryn,

Fair point. I wasn't actually having a shot at you and I agree we can't write off any opinions as to what Clarke and others are reputed to have said. I do feel, however, that some accounts were embellished. I would very much like to see any Turkish accounts although they probably have their fair share of myths. When at Gallipoli I was told by a Turkish officer, who was a guide, that according to their history the reason the Anzacs landed too far north was because a Turkish soldier swam out and moved the marker bouy that the RN had placed off Brighton Beach. Problem is the RN never set any marker bouys for the landing.

Cheers

Chris

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Crunchy

Just to add to this debate, I have cut and pasted this from the The Anzac Legend thread on recently reading some Turkish accounts - one a 9th Divisional Order dated 9th April and the other from Gallipoli 1915 Day One Plus dated 2007 and based on an account of the Commander 27th Regiment who was responsible for the defence of the Gab Tepe zone.

With regard to the machine company, I also thought MG's were allocated to the defences at Gaba Tepe and the Fisherman's Hut. Bean and other Battalion histories talk about MG fire from these two places during the landing. Both sites provide good long fields of fire in enfilade to troops attempting a landing on these long beaches. Recently, however, I have read some Turkish sources that cast doubt on the MG company being deployed in this area at the time of the landing.

One is the Turkish Orders dated 9th April which says the southern sector "will be defended by two battalions of the 25th Regiment, the MG company and by the Fortress company..." and the Kaba Tepe zone by "one battalion of the 27th Regiment". On the next page it says "The 27th Regiment (less one battalion), the Machine Gun company and mountain battery under my direct command will remain in reserve tomorrow in the camp (under canvas) in the olive grove West of Maidos." Of course that was 9th of April and doesn't mean they were not deployed into the beach defences later - however....

Gallipoli 1915, Day One Plus based on the account of the Commander 27th Regiment says p 10 " By then the Turks estimated 4000 ANZAC's are already ashore. The task of containing them was shouldered by the 2nd and 3rd platoons of the 4th Company with a maximum of 160 rifles and not a single machine gun." The account goes on to say "The battalions were not equipped with machine guns. ... A company of machine gunners was under the direct operational orders of the Regimental commander." On p 13 Sefik Bey (CO 27th Regiment) issued instructions to his reserve battalions on 25th April in reacting to the Anzac landings. " The 1st Battalion was to follow the existing main road to Kapa Tepe ... The 3rd Battalion together with the machine gun Company would follow the 1st at the double on the road leading to the North." Another riddle of Anzac!!!

Cheers

Chris

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montbrehain

A postcard from my collection "MO"

TurkmgatANZACC.jpg

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bob lembke

Anyone recognize the weapons? The MG is of the general Maxim - Vickers sort (I don't know the mechanical details well enough to tell exactly what it is), but the tripod is very unlikely to be issue German, in fact I have never seen a tripod on a MG 08, rather the heavy sled mount that pushed the MG/mount combo to 140 lbs. It is possible that it was made for export. Or is a Vickers?

The mortar looks home-made. To meet the threat at Gallipoli the Turks combed their museums for mortars, possibly including some that fired stone balls.

Anyone recognize the weapons?

Bob Lembke

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michaeldr

Bob,

The two photographs below may help to illustrate the differences that I think you were trying to point out above

The first shows Turkish machine guns similar to that in MO's post #71 above

Turkishmachineguns.jpg

and the second shows a German machine gun as used by them at Tsing-Tau

German3rdSeaBattalionMGatTsing-Tau.jpg

The German photograph is from THE ILLUSTRATED WAR NEWS, PART 15, November 18, 1914

to seen here http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18333/18333-h/18333-h.htm

My apologies for not presently being able to remember from where I 'borrowed' the Turkish photograph

regards

Michael

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michaeldr

This illustration appears in 'Britain's Sea Soldiers' by Gen Sir H. E. Blumberg [re-published by the N & M Press in 2006]

together with a ref in the text to

"In the evening (25th April 1915) the Albion closed in and destroyed a machine gun post on the left, and the following morning another one in the old Fort of Sedd-ul-Bahr which helped the troops to advance

PanoramaVBeach25-26April1915RMLIfro.jpg

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Crunchy

Michael,

A Pal who lives in Turkey and who has access to the Turkish sources has advised that there were no Turkish machine guns at V Beach on 25th April. He has given me permission to provide the following information in reply to a query:

"In the order of battle of the 9th Division, it clearly shows that the 27th and 25th regiments had their machine gun companies, though the 26th did not. There were no other machine gun units attached at either regimental, divisional or corps levels.

As to V Beach, yes the order you have is correct, for the time in question. However, a day or so before the landing on 25 April, the 25th regiment went into reserve, taking its machine gun company with it, being replaced by the 26th, which did not have an organic machine gun company attached.

The machine guns of the 25th were moved into reserve, being split into two sections and camped in an area behind Krithia, now Alcitepe. They did not come into action until late in the day.

There were four old quick firing 37mm Nordenfelt pieces at V Beach, intended for use as anti-aircraft guns, two located in the castle and two above the beach to the west, in the site of what was know to the Allies as Battery No. One. I am still trying to find out the exact rate of fire of these guns though have seen one reference to some models of 37mm pompoms being about to fire at least 90 rounds a minute while the four barreled 25mm version of theNordenfelt could fire 1000 rounds a minute, giving a per barrel fire rate of 250 rounds a minute.

The Fortress company mentioned was not a fighting unit but a field company, tasked with digging trenches and improving defensive positions. As such, it would not have any machine guns attached."

The location of these Nordenfelt guns appear to be the same locations as the machine guns in the sketch you have attached.

The more I read of participants accounts and their references to machine guns and their different locations at Anzac, the Ottoman Army must have been the best equipped with them than any other Army at that time. Clearly this is not so as this quote on p 8 of Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War by Edward J Erickson describes a shortage of machine guns on the outbreak of war. He writes The machine gun situation was much worse. Each Turkish Infantry Regiment was authorized four machine guns. Some regiments were short and the army needed two hundred to equip the regiment force to standard. At battalion and company level, there were simply no machine guns and the army estimated that it needed several thousand more to fill all requirements. The author has based his history on research of extensive Turkish sources. 200 to equip the regiment force to standard equates to 50 regiments without a machine gun company at that time and I doubt the shortfall would have been made in the intervening five months.

Regards

Chris

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