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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Battle of Lone Pine

The Battle of Lone Pine.

Let us pass from the tragic vineyards of the south to the hungry hills of Anzac. During the afternoon of August 6, the slow bombardment of the enemy's left and centre was increased in intensity. The 1st Battery of New Zealand Field Artillery, firing from Russell's Top, was detailed to cut the wire in front of the Turkish Lone Pine trenches. The “Bacchante” searched the valleys which were believed to contain the enemy's reserves, while the monitors engaged the batteries at the back of Gaba Tepe and at the Olive Groves. This bombardment was intended to make the Turk believe that at last a determined effort was to be made from the Anzac right in the direction of Koja Dere and Maidos. The enemy felt that this was the heart thrust, and he waited in his well-placed cover for the inevitable assault. At 4.30 p.m., the New Zealand battery concentrated again on the Lone Pine trench, and the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade mustered in Brown's Dip ready for the assault.

Those awful hours of waiting! Platoon commanders fidgeting with their wristlet watches that seem to tick off the minutes so slowly. Men smoke cigarette after cigarette, and talk in undertones. At last the word comes, “Get ready.” Everywhere men crowd on to the firestep. “Over the top!” Men pull themselves up over the parapet and, regaining their feet, rush for the opposing parapet with its angry spurts of flame. Across that bullet-Swept No Man's Land race the impetuous men of Australia. Line after line page 200 sweeps on, but not to fall into an open fire trench on to the foe. These trenches are roofed with timber, which has to be torn up. A merciless machine-gun fire mows down the attackers. Some run round the back, get into the communication trenches and fight their way into the underground fort. So, with hand-grenade and bayonet, the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade overpower the stubborn Turks within the fortress.

With the cry of “Allah! Allah!” reinforcements arrive for the enemy. The weary victors again repel the foe. Night brings no peace. But the captors of Lone Pine fight on, for they know full well that by their vicarious sacrifice they have pinned down all the Turkish reserves on the Ari Burnu front, and have left a minimum of the enemy to resist the Anzac and Suvla thrust for the peaks of Sari Bair.