Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Official History of the Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F. in the Great War 1914-1918

Suvla Bay

Suvla Bay.

But there were other circumstances which had determined or influenced the course of the action, and over which those who had conducted the offensive against Sari Bair from the area of Anzac had no control. As already explained, simultaneously with the attack from Anzac and as part of the Commander-in-Chief's strategical design for the capture of Sari Bair Ridge, a surprise landing was to be effected at Suvla Bay, north of Anzac. The operation was to be entrusted to the 9th Corps, and according to the prepared plans the first task was to seize the Chocolate and "W" Hills, together with the high ground on the north and east of Suvla Bay. Possession of all the important heights within artillery range of the Bay having been gained, it was intended to direct the remainder of the force through the Anafartas to the east of Sari Bair, and by engaging the enemy from this quarter materially influence the success of operations from the Anzac front.

page 64

The landing was accomplished, though not entirely as designed. Initial confusion was succeeded by hesitation, and finally by fatal inaction, chiefly the result of failure to meet the problem of water supply and distribution and the consequent sufferings from thirst of the new and untried army. With the apparent total inability of those in authority to stir their commands into action the situation became so serious that the Commander-in-Chief himself was impelled to hurry to the spot. The days of the 7th and 8th had passed with practically nothing accomplished; and a belated attempt to advance on the 9th ended in failure. With the arrival of a fresh division of Territorial troops it was decided to make a further attempt to seize the Anafarta Ridge on the 10th; but the attack failed to get on; and orders were issued to the Corps Commander to entrench on a line across the whole front from near the Asmak Dere through the Knoll east of the Chocolate Hills to the ground held about Kiretch Tepe Sirt, to the north. Additional troops arrived on August 11th, and a further attack was planned against the heights Kavak Tepe-Teke Tepe. The operation was commenced but not persisted in owing to the Corps Commander's representations that even if the heights were gained it would be impracticable to keep the troops supplied with food and water. Under these conditions the only alternative left was to settle down and strengthen the line held. On the evening of August 15th General Stopford handed over his command of the 9th Corps.

The containing attack delivered at Helles coincident with the launching of the offensive at Anzac was followed by desperate fighting over several days. The success achieved, set down in ground gained, was in no sense pronounced, but the Helles attack had apparently served the purpose for which it was launched, namely, holding down the Turkish forces already in the southern zone and preventing enemy reinforcements being despatched north to Anzac where the main battle was in full blast.