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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Taking and Losing of “Old No. 3 Post.”

The Taking and Losing of “Old No. 3 Post.”

Between the ridge of Chunuk Bair, held by the Turk, and our No. 2 Post, there were three other conspicuous pieces of high ground bounded on the north by Chailak Dere, and on the south by the Sazli Beit Dere. The highest of these was Rhododendron Ridge; the next was a little plateau appropriately named Table Top, and nearest to No. 2, really a higher peak of the same spur, was a Turkish post from which most of the deadliest sniping was carried on. It was thought advisable to occupy this ridge and deny it to the enemy. It was a hopeless position for us—away out in a salient—and should never have been attempted. On the night of May 28, a squadron of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles crept up the dere and took this sniping post by surprise at the point of the bayonet. They, in their turn, handed over to a squadron of the Wellington Mounted Regiment, who proceeded to put the post into a state of defence by entrenching it. The garrison was again relieved by a squadron of the Wellingtons (9th Wellington East Coast) on the night of May 30. Getting in about 8 o'clock at night, the men were hardly distributed along the meagre trenches when sounds of movement were heard. Presently, showers of hand-grenades descended on the post. Calling on “Allah,” the enemy, numbering many hundreds, surrounded the post. The Wellingtons had no hand-grenades (the shortage of these weapons at Anzac was deplorable), so had to depend upon their rifles. Rushing up to the parapet and yelling their eerie cries, but never daring to press the attack home, throwing hand-grenades and then retreating, the Turks let the precious hours of darkness slip by.

The garrison decided to make the Turks pay a big price for the post. The strain of hanging on through that awful night was tremendous. But with the welcome dawn came fresh hope. All that day the garrison lay in their trenches waiting for the final assault.

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The guns from the “W” Hills broke in parts of the parapet; the telephone wire to No. 2 Post was cut, and the Turk actually penetrated a section of the trench, but was driven out. Things becoming desperate—water and ammunition both running short—a message was semaphored back to Walker's Ridge, and it was decided to attempt the relief of the post at dusk.

Two Wellington squadrons went out, but were held up. Later—this was the night of May 31—two troops of the 8th (South Canterbury) Squadron and the 10th (Nelson) Squadron proceeded to fight their way from No. 2 Outpost up to this new ill-starred outpost, now known as No. 3. They joined forces with two Wellington squadrons, and with. Turkish hand-grenades lighting the gully, the relief party pushed aside all opposition, got into the post, and relieved
Black and white photograph of the view from the left flank.

A View from the Left Flank.
On the left is the Sphinx; the next high ground is Plugge's Plateau, which running down to the sea resolves itself into the pint of Ari Burnu.

the Wellingtons. There was to be no rest for the unlucky garrison of No. 3. On came the Turks again, and the performance of the night before was repeated almost without variation, the throwing of hand-grenades, calling on “Allah!” and rushing up to the parapet, but never daring the final assault. For some hours the inferno continued. About midnight word came through from Headquarters that the post might be abandoned. The task of removing the wounded presented no small difficulties, but they having been removed down the dere, the perilous retirement commenced. In the page 151 faint moonlight, the Turks could be seen flitting hither and thither. Now that our retirement was commencing, their exultant yelling and squealing burst out afresh. Down the dere slowly came the rearguard, calmly and methodically picking off any too adventurous enemy. When the troopers reached the “Big Sap” running out past No. 1 and 2, they lined the two sides of the gully and the trench and waited for the Turk. A squadron of the Auckland Mounteds now arrived, and based on No. 2 Post and the Fishermen's Hut, the whole party made a determined stand, and enabled the 9th Squadron, who had been fighting for forty-eight hours, to be with-drawn.
To the highly-strung men, many of whom had not slept for three days, the yelling of the Turks, the ghostlike sea
Black and white photograph of the Big Sap running past no. 2 Post.

[Photo by the Author
The Big Sap running past No. 2 Post.

lapping on the beach in the background, and the enemy jumping from bush to bush in the moonlight, the whole business resembled a frightful nightmare. Gradually the Turks grew tired of yelling, and retired to occupy “Old No. 3,” while the weary troopers trudged along the dusty sap to their much-needed bivouac, leaving the squadron of the Auckland Mounted Rifles out watching the position until daylight.

A new No. 3 Post was established by the Otago Mounted Rifles on rising ground about 200 yards north of No. 2 Post. This became the extreme right flank of the Anzac position until the great advance in August.