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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Capture of Old No. 3

The Capture of Old No. 3.

Old No. 3 Post was that high piece of ground taken and abandoned at the end of May. Falling down towards the sea, it resolved itself into two lower spurs, on which were our No. 2 and new No. 3 Posts.

Every night, as soon as it was dark, the destroyer “Colne” stood in and went through the performance of throwing her searchlight on the heavily fortified slopes of Old No. 3, and commenced a half-hour's bombardment. The light guns of the destroyer did not cause much material damage to the carefully constructed overhead cover; but it became the custom for part of the garrison to leave their trenches and retire to their dugouts in the rear of the post on the southern banks of the Chailak Dere. Now, a searchlight beam, while it illumines everything in its path, makes the surrounding darkness appear blacker and even more intensified. As the bombardment continued, the Auckland Mounted Rifles crept up the Sazli Beit Dere. In fifteen minutes the party was lying quietly at the foot of the fortress. Squadron commanders got their final instructions, and a small party of page 207 strong men, picked for their skilled work with the bayonet, crept up through the scrub towards the crest. Led by a scout, this party dodged from bush to bush until they came to a sentry post of the enemy. Silently closing in from every side, the four New Zealanders sprang upon the sentries and overpowered them. “Crack!” went a rifle. One sentry had discharged his rifle harmlessly in the air as a New Zealand bayonet did its deadly work. So far we had no casualites.
Black and white photograph of rough country.

[Lent by Lieut. Moritzson, M.C., M.M., N.Z.E.
Rough Country.
Calculated to throw any troops out of direction.

Up on the crest the destroyer's shells were crashing into the barbed wire and the heavy wooden beams of the overhead cover. In a few minutes the attacking party was lying all round the crest on the southern side. Presently the guns stopped, and the searchlight faded away. This was the signal! The Aucklanders rose and, spreading fanwise, went straight for the post. Into the covered trenches dived the Mounted Riflemen. The garrison fought gamely enough, but there could only be one end to it. The main body of the garrison came pouring back from their reserve trenches page 208 towards the post; but, caught in the open, they were no match for the men from Auckland. In a short time the whole work was completely in our hands. There was now time to closely examine the post. The trenches were roofed, just like those of Lone Pine, with heavy baulks of 8 × 3 sawn timber covered with sand bags. The guns on the destroyer had made no material impression on this cover, as shells striking it had glanced off and buried themselves uphill. In the front trenches was discovered a dugout with a complete equipment for electrically firing the 28 small square iron mines placed in front of the posts. Without the destroyer ruse and the quick, clean work of the attackers, the casualties would have been very heavy; as it was, we had only twenty casualties, while close on one hundred Turks lay dead within the Post and in its neighbourhood. The Auckland Mounted Rifles had signally avenged the Mounted Brigade losses at the end of May.