The New Zealanders at Gallipoli
The First Landing at Suvla
The First Landing at Suvla.
The front line having been made fairly secure, attention had to be turned to the flanks. A glance at the map will show Nibrunesi Point, near Suvla Bay, about four miles to the north of Ari Burnu, and Gaba Tepe about two miles south. On both these promontories the Turks had look-outs, from which their observers spotted the effect of artillery fire. As with glasses they could see all that occurred in Anzac Cove, it was considered necessary to destroy both look-outs.page 92 page 93
For the Gaba Tepe cutting-out expedition Australians were detailed. Nibrunesi Point was assigned to the New Zealanders. Three officers and fifty men of the Canterbury Battalion (13th Westland Company) and an officer and two N.C.O.'s of the N.Z.E. were employed.
The party left Anzac Cove in the dark early one morning and steamed up the coast in a torpedo-boat destroyer. The plan was to land on the northern side of the Peninsula and work upwards to the highest point—Lala Baba. Two destroyers came close in and commanded each side of the Peninsula, whilst the old “Canopus” stood further out to sea and supported the whole. If the Turks at Anafarta behaved badly they would receive chastisement by the guns of His Majesty's Navy.
The observation post itself had some attention from the big ship the day before; but it was not known whether opposition would now be met with. The instructions were to destroy the station, get any prisoners for the Intelligence Officers, and to seek for and destroy a gun that the naval airmen had reason to suspect was being placed there.
The party got ashore without mishap. Day had now broken, and in three groups the attackers crept up the gullies towards the crest. It was a dewy morning, and the fresh, clean smell of the Turkish meadow flowers mingled with the scent of the wild thyme crushed with the soldiers' hobnailed boots.
The place seemed deserted. There was a traversed trench just below the crest. Most of the troops had jumped it, when—crack! crack! crack! broke on the morning silence. Down dropped the Westlanders; then rushed back to the trench, and there, in the sunlight, was the picture—the trench full of squirming Turks, and standing over them with threatening bayonets the gallant boys from Greymouth. Johnny Turk had been caught napping, and the initiative of the New Zealand private soldier had sealed his fate. It was then realized that the few Turkish phrases laboriously learned did not convey much to the terrified prisoners. They quickly decided that the proper thing to do was to throw all their arms out of the trench—and out they came, rifles, knives, and even page 94 safety razors. The poor Turkish wounded lay groaning in the bottom of the trench, while the unwounded, on their knees, murmured “Allah! Allah!” and passed their hands mechanically from their foreheads to their breasts and back again. A few men were left to get the wounded and prisoners down to the boat; the remainder scoured the Suvla flats in full view of the Turks on the Anafarta hills.
[Lent by Lieut. Moritzson, M.C., M.M., N.Z.E.
The Evening Hate.
Shells falling among bathers off Hell Spit.
Thus was the first landing at Suvla carried out successfully by New Zealanders without a single casualty.
The Australian attempt on Gaba Tepe was most unfortunate. The Turks at this place were not caught napping. As at Helles, barbed wire ran down into the water and machine page 95 guns enfiladed the landing place. After sustaining many casualties, the party withdrew, and the Turkish post on Gaba Tepe remained a thorn in the side of Anzac until the evacuation.