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Chris Best

TURKISH MACHINE GUNS AT GALLIPOLI

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gilly100

I think a valued critique of the TOH Gallipoli might go some way to understanding what really went on on 25 April and onwards. I thought Bean's work to be certainly the most comprehensive and Aspinall Oglander's very good as well. I found some of the TOH relied on reading the British official work in places and some information conflicting and at times at odds with recent works on the Landings. I suppose understanding how, who and when it was written might help. It might not solve the mg argument but surely it might help one understand the campaign and spot the differences as well as find where they all agree.

One example is the TOH claims the Krupp guns on 400 plateau did get briefly into action before being captured. No mention of mgs at the site. At Helles and V Beach there are conflicting paragraphs refering to the number of 37mm pom pom guns. Just a few examples of why some choose to keep digging on various aspects of the Landings. 

Mesut Uyar in his book on the Ottoman defence at the ANZAC Landing provides a very interesting few pages on the chronology of TOH writing regarding Gallipoli, but other than that it appears no one has yet read the recently translated history and provided any commentary on it. I would be interested in what others think of it. I know Bean didn't get everything right, but his sheer reslove to ask and interview as many as he came across, and of all ranks, speaks volumes as to why it is such a fine and extremely detailed piece of work.

Ian

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AlanCurragh

I've hidden some recent posts - please can we stay strictly to the issue now, with no more attempts to provoke other forum members. 

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michaeldr

One possible outcome of this discussion which should be looked at, is that both sides are in fact correct. If that is the case, then who was behind the machine-guns and machine-gun fire which have been identified by such a great number of Allied eye witnesses on the 25th April 1915?

 

In 1996 Mr Ray Westlake produced his admirable volume 'British Regiments at Gallipoli' which has been of inestimable help to a generation of researchers who otherwise had no opportunity to access the War Diaries at Kew. However, if you take Westlake's work at face value, then the Royal Naval Division were not at Gallipoli;

in 'British Regiments at Gallipoli' only the Army units are covered.

 

In a similar fashion I feel that perhaps some people may have been led astray by an over emphasis on the Turkish Army's Order of Battle and their few army histories which are available. As we well know, in the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign the Turkish Army was not acting alone. They were assisted throughout by elements of the Canakkale Fortified Area Command, the Ottoman Navy and her fledgling air force. All of these various elements were further augmented by the Central Powers (principally, Germany) who supplied commanders, men and equipment, including weaponry.

 

Until the whole picture is examined in its entirety, and not just the Turkish Army, then this discussion will continue to flourish. I hope that it can do so effectively and with respect for differing opinions.

 

regards

Michael

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gilly100

Michael

Yes you are quite right about keeping the debate respectful. Apologies to Mr Hart in that regard. You are also right about Fortified Command information, or the glaring lack of it. And not just the Ottoman Navy, but the combined Turko German fleet locked up in the Dardanelles. I suspect there is plenty of information yet to come out, and the reason I bang on about Anzac mg witnesses that saw, captured, drove off or sighted enemy mgs or parts, ALL in the locations Sefik Aker admits to preparing mg positions, I for one find hard to refute. Bean interviewed some of these men in the days, weeks and months of the Landing and made his notes. His work on the OH is probably incomparable to others in regard to detail. I cannot say that for what I have read on the Turk OH for Gallipoli. The door remains well and truly open. More research is required.

Cheers

Ian

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AlanCurragh

I've made another small amendment to a post above - please, let's move on to the subject of discussion and nothing else

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gilly100

It probably doesn't matter to some of the following authors what I have to say, but I mean this when I say I have learned a great deal from the recent books on Gallipoli or the Landing at Anzac by Peter, Crunchy and Mesut Uyar,  the latter especially with regard to the Ottoman perspective. However, I feel none of them have in any way delved into DFC or the Turko German fleet and their potential and likely impact on the operations there. I don't have a degree, I haven't served in the military, aspects that can only enhance ones kudos with writing on this topic, but I know from all the years of hard digging and research and in company of some excellent friends and dogged researchers that questions should be rightly asked of these authors and their insistence of no mgs at the early morning landings. If you can get the type of mg used wrong and use its portability as a reason for making your 'no' case, then clearly other mistakes are possible. The absolute ignorance of evidence of decorated soldiers who claimed to have encountered, dismantled or carried off enemy mgs, while exposing a late in life successful author who may  have not landed due to his TOS date at Anzac, screams to me that the argument is not quite right.

I would invite a thorough critique of the TOH Gallipoli by Peter in particular and to scrutinise the evidence of Weatherill DCM, Talbot Smith MID, Derham MC, Hooper MID,  Mason DCM et al. You only have to go back the pages on this thread and it's all laid out before you. Did any of you see and read all this stuff before you wrote your books? Are they all lying? I think not.

Ian

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gilly100

"Sefik immediately identified the Ariburnu region as the key to the defence of the northern region in contrast to the opinion of his commanding officers and colleagues. With no engineering support, he pushed his soldiers to the limit digging trenches, gun positions and other earthen fortifications." And "Following a detailed reconnaissance he identified the Ariburnu (Anzac) region as critical terrain." And "Sefik was keen to retain the mg coy in reserve but ordered the preparation of mg positions with good potential for enfilading and crossfire. Documents reveal that several mg positions had been prepared on Ari Burnu Knoll, 400 Plateau, Agildere (Fishermen's Hut) and Kabatepe."

 

I find it incredible that where Sefik Aker prepared mg positions is exactly where many Allied witnesses recorded coming under mg fire, finding spare parts for mgs nearby, captured or drove off from enemy mgs. Every 3rd Brigade battalion had numerous witnesses as did some from 2nd Brigade. Add in 3rd Field Ambulance, 1st Field Coy Engineers and Royal Navy. Above info from Mesut Uyar's book. A very good read with some great info on Sefik Aker, who appears to have been quite an extraordinary soldier.

Also extraordinary is the coincidence of nominated mg locations being exactly where our lads recorded them, most of which detailed in this thread.

Ian

Edited by gilly100

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stevebecker

Gilly,

 

Your right Aker did all these things because he wanted to defend his area, but that still does not show where any other MGs came to him. Why would he not say that one or two or more extra MGs showed up to help him and his men defend this area?

 

His four MGs are all accounted for and there three officers in the MG company are known. They were lucky as there MG company was at full strength. most other companies had less then the four on TOH.

 

You also seam to believe that these MG came from the Navy (Ottoman and German) clearly the German records show no MG was given up to the Ottomans till after the landings and only with German crews. These are all known and recorded.

 

SO you think they came from the Ottoman Navy, who had to give up a number of guns to help the Channake Fortified Zone. These are mentioned but none show up as far away as Aribunu. The ones known all help defend the Batteries and Forts alone the coast in the Dardenelles.

 

That is not to say the 9th Div was not reinforced by a number of Automatic weapons, a number of which ended up at Aribunu (Pom poms), but so far no extra MGs are mentioned anywhere.

 

Did they send extra MGs to help the Aribunu area, so far none are mentioned but I am open to the possibility, but so far that is not the case.

 

This is just to balance the above postings.

 

Cheers

 

S.B

 

 

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gilly100

Hi Steve

Yes I totally get your points, the big one from my side of the camp being, why do the Turks not mention any other mgs present from elsewhere? Of course the other side will say because there weren't any. I feel there were based on all previous posts and points. I think all the records for DFC and Turko German Fleet are not fully available and or complete.

Bit like the argument being put about Hotchkiss mountain guns on Pine Ridge on 25 April. From my point of view the evidence for both is compelling, hence continual posts.

My last post, to me at least, raises a significant coincidence, which I chose to highlight. Remember the Turks initially wanted their coastal defence more beefed up at the beaches than Von Sanders doctrine of thin screen with reserves closeby and inland. If ships armouries had mgs available as we know they did, then why not for 25 April? I think only parts of the Turko German fleet story is out there. Same for DFC.

Anyway, thanks for jumping in. We shall see over time.

Ian

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gilly100
On 15/09/2017 at 15:44, gilly100 said:

This is a more full account related to Bean by the then Lt Connell of 12bn, who was 182 Sgt Connell at the Landing. Awarded a DCM for driving Turks from a trench carrying a machine gun as they bolted. AWM38 3DRL 606 31 1

 

"3 guns (meaning the Krupps guns) one Turk going away with breech block on saddle of mule was shot. Lot of ammo lying around and looks as if guns had been galloped off. No emplacements... 2 whole guns, 1 with breech block taken away. Major Brand and an officer and some 20 men had plenty of time gathering ammo, they went on further. To our left was mg in trench. We went on and routed that out. We took one trench. They put a burst into it but when they saw we were determined to take the trench they cleared out with the gun. We were in the trench perhaps an hour - by that time the Turks were coming down hill to our front. We came back by rushes to the line."

 

This clearly early in the day and probably the mg that was firing up Owen's Gully all day that others mentioned.  Not from Hill 165 that is for sure. What say the naysayers? 

 

Ian

I have attached the handwritten notes by Bean as given by Connell of 12 bn as it shows the Krupp guns, 3 of in what the sketch would indicate to be Owen's Gully between northern Lone Pine and Johnston's Jolly on the other side of the gully, where an mg has been marked and which is the one Connell went after. The text implies this all happened in the morning, and I believe this mg was either protecting the Krupp guns or had withdrawn back from the beach on the Landing taking place. Aker's 27Regt mgs stayed on Third Ridge nearly all day. I think this is the mg that pulled back on escaping Connell and is the one recorded as firing up Owen's Gully by numerous witnesses. What is also clear from the sketch is the same number of guns abandoned (3) the Turks admit to with regard to the Krupp mountain guns. And yet another sketch by another man shows 2 guns on what appears to be Pine Ridge, one being labelled a Hotchkiss. It all says to me, not only mgs in place but a couple of other artillery pieces.

Worthy of consideration.

Ian

Screenshot_2017-10-29-11-56-11.png

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green_acorn

Gilly,

 

I have refrained from commenting on this thread for a long time. When were these notes by Bean written? When did he have the conversation with Lt Connell? As I said many years ago due to the fog of war, memory post battle is frangible, particularly if other battles and the inevitable retelling of events amongst troops conflate the story before the recording of the event in question. As a modern example from exceptionally trained Australian soldiers shows, the retelling to a historian later may not be correct. 

 

It is why I relied on knowledge of the principles of machine gun fire, the known Ottoman principle of battery machine gun fire, the reported number and distribution of machine guns in the Ottoman Army (as known to the British in March 1915) and the consistent lack of evidence of significant Australian losses in the boats and on the beaches at dawn that day, that well placed machine guns would cause. As I noted a long time ago in a previous and detailed post, the losses at the Fisherman's Hut landing did not occur just in the boats, the battalion stated that the losses were the total from the time of the first rounds striking the boats, through the unit being tied down behind the tidal line on the beach until the capture of the feature, so the Australian casualties were quite within the ability of an Ottoman 80 man platoon. Indeed even with one MG 09 or MG 08 machine gun, I doubt that battalion would have gotten many boats ashore, let alone up to the Fisherman's Hut knoll.

 

Yes, there is a problem with the Turkish not having produced official histories of the war, but clearly there is the modern issue of the number of historians and researchers who are literate in the Ottoman script of 1915. The Turkish General Staff study of the landing should not be relied upon in detail as it is a modern document clearly produced as a study guide for officers at their staff college/s. Having said that, I would suggest that the general deployment, events, timings and dispositions are accurate as they would be drawn from official reports/studies used at the staff colleges since 1915.

 

As for Allied officials histories, even Bean noted the inconsistencies overall in the stories he recorded for the official histories and other books, but he also had an agenda in propagating a particular view of Australians. Indeed, I would suggest that a detailed look at the post-war correspondence with 1st AIF officers and soldiers, right up until the time of publication of Volume 1 The Story of ANZAC  in 1921 and through the subsequent "discussion and clarifications" that occurred, particularly prior to the second edition in 1933, would reveal a lot of too and fro in protecting and enhancing reputations. Then there is the truth that only the dead knew.

 

 

Cheers,

Hendo

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

This always reminds me of the Movie the "Lighthorseman". where the movie as well as writters keep putting German officers with Ottoman units, or as the movie shows as a commander of the Battery of guns and the Infantry in the Trenches, not to mention the Engineer officer and lastly the staff to the 3rd Corps commander.

 

I have gone throught all Ottoman records and there were "NO" Germans anywhere on staff or else where in this Corps?

 

Does that mean because our accounts show Germans under every rock, that the Ottomans lied and Germans were on staff but they just didn't record them?

 

Well no, as the Ottomans were just as good as records keeping as we and the Germans were. There were no Germans lost at Beersheba either killed or captured.

 

We keep looking for the missing gun man on the Grassy knoll, but we should allow that there is no gun man, only the belief that there must have been because some accounts say there was?

 

But I enjoy these accounts you dig up, as if you go back to the start of this, I was in your camp looking for accounts to back that view. but what ever we find in our records that does not equate to what the Ottomans show, something is wrong either us or them or both.

 

S.B

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QGE
58 minutes ago, stevebecker said:

 

I have gone throught all Ottoman records and there were "NO" Germans anywhere on staff or else where in this Corps?

 

the Ottomans were just as good as records keeping as we and the Germans were. There were no Germans lost at Beersheba either killed or captured.

 

 

I am going to stick my neck out here.

 

When you say you have " gone through all Ottoman records", I doubt that. A lot. It would take several lifetimes. Do you have unparalleled access to tens of thousands of archives that have not been  released to the public? Which records are you referring to? And do they suggest not a single German ever  served with the Turks?

 

the idea that the Turks were "just as good at record keeping as we (sic) and the Germans were" is an extremely bold claim. If they were (and I severely doubt it) they were certainly black belts at hiding it. It it is very easy to make claims like this, but much more difficult to substantiate.

 

By way of reference the British Army war diaries run to over 4,000 unit records which on average are at least 100,000 words each; at a very conservative estimate, the maths suggests about 400 million words of diaries in the public domain, most of which are available online. This dwarfs anything else I have seen in nearly 30 years of research. To date I am not aware of a single Ottoman war diary that can be downloaded in the original from a Turkish Govt archive. If they are please let us know as we have been waiting for 100 years. It is a nonsense to suggest their records are anything close to those that have been available in the UK or Australia or NZ.

 

MG

Edited by QGE

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gilly100

Hendo

I understand, after reading countless records from Bean's diaries and notebooks, that they were clearly written as soon as he came across particular officers and other ranks during the war and after. Some, however, were written just days and weeks after a particular action and therefore likely more accurate. Weatherill was interviewed in October 1915 and his clear mention of him and Talbot Smith driving Turks from an mg on MacLagan's Ridge is, I find, near on impossible to refute given it was dismantled and thrown down a sheer face. Talbot Smith's recommendation makes mention of it as well. Men like Derham and Hooper of 5bn were also interviewed early and notes and sketches taken, followed up post war after his Gallipoli Mission. Again, hard to refute.

I know Sgt Sanderson who was in the 4th line of the charge at The Nek was an officer in France with the 43rd Battery when he gave details of that charge, which I thought largely incorrect in terms of placement of some of the officers, so I take your fog of war point. I also think one can see some of Bean's so called 'agenda', but the sheer scale of his efforts are to be commended and ever grateful for. Read some of his reports on actions in France and Belgium by officers and men. The detail is a unit history writers gold mine.

Another example of solid account are the British m gunners on the River Clyde at V Beach. Most compelling at such close range in daylight.

The recently translated TOH Galliopli, however and for whom it was written pales in comparison to Bean. Overtly patriotic, overstating Brit mgs and so on. But still useful of course.

I used to visit an old Battle of Britain veteran in Perth quite regularly. We became friendly and despite being in his eighties then, his memory was very sharp indeed, as were his opinions on being sent to France in May 1940 with old Hurricanes with fixed pitch wooden props, old radio sets that did not work and no armour plating in cockpit. His recollections correlated perfectly with other accounts. Some men clearly were more accurate than others with giving their accounts as is to be expected.

Bean can not be written off because of any agenda or protection of some then living officers. The records are just too detailed and many to be all wrong. This is why I have focused so much on certain men's accounts in that they are hard to refute. As for Germans under every rock. Well not every rock, but their full story is still largely silent in the Turk story.

Cheers

Ian

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

Your right, but in this case we have a number of source much like the known ones for Gallipoli.

 

in this case we have

 

Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir Erkilet "Yıldırım"

 

Who details much of the Ottoman units and actions in Palestine on staf at Yildirim HQ.

 

and the Offical history  

 

Which shows the units and coments.

 

I have received the known officers on staff of the 3rd Ottoman Corps and none are German.

 

S.B

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Creafield

Could I be so bold to make comment here.  Reading this topic I have occasionally seen reference to Harvey Broadbent. 

 

A few weeks ago the local 'University of the 3rd age' ( A community interest group for 'older folk') asked Harvey to give a talk on Gallipoli at a meeting in Batemans Bay on the far south Coast of New South Wales.  I was surprised that he came all the way down here, however at the talk I discovered that he is a fairly prolific speaker on Cruise Ships on WW1 matters.  His talk on Gallipoli was very general, as you would expect, and question time was very short as there were about 100 attendees.  However I did get a chance to ask him about 'Machine Guns at Anzac'

 

His reply, with little chance for discussion, was that that in his opinion there was no way a machine gun got near to Anzac prior to 08:20hours on 25/04/1915.  It was my feeling that he believed the only Machine guns were with the 27th., and that they did not meet any Australians with a machine gun until that time.

 

I have been reading Chris Roberts 'The Landing at Anzac', which appears to be an excellent account of the ANZAC landing.  Broadbent's books are sitting on the bookshelf ready to read.

 

Cheers 

Philip C

Edited by Creafield
spelling - *sigh*

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gilly100

Hi Philip

We contacted Harvey about all this, but a few of us remain convinced this is not correct. His work  with his team translating the Turkish General Staff Official History for Gallipoli has been a great achievement which opens doors to yet even more questions to be asked, rather than less. History is fluid Harvey reminded us. A rigorous investigation into Dardanelles Fortified Area Command and the full records of the Turko-German Fleet would be most welcome. To book end Chris Roberts' work on the Anzac Landing, perhaps get Mesut Uyar's book on the Anzac Landing from the Turkish record perspective. It gives up some good stuff too, although I disagree with both these authors on their 'no machine gun' contention for early morning 25 April. The thread you are on has most of the explanations from both sides of the argument, with the odd deletion due to the ardour of the debate! Both the above authors have written good books worth having. They just happen to be wrong on the one big ticket issue in my opinion. Much more yet to be uncovered.

Cheers

Ian

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