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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Capture of Table Top

The Capture of Table Top.

Following on the heels of the Auckland Mounted Rifles up the Sazli Beit Dere, the Wellington Regiment silently cleaned up Destroyer Hill. As the Auckland Mounted men were stealing on Old No. 3, their comrades of the Wellington Mounteds were creeping up the Chailak Dere towards Table Top. Silently up the gully went the mounted men, the 6th Squadron leading. The 2nd Squadron was to take Table Top itself, and the 9th was to hold it afterwards. The first objective was Destroyer Hill.

It was quite dark, and difficult to see the way, but these gullies had been well reconnoitred by the scouts, and the column pressed on, dragging their telephone wire with them. After resting for a minute, the front line crept round a corner and came under heavy rifle fire. The leaders dashed straight at the flashes of rifle fire twenty yards away. Major Dick at the head of his men cried out “Come on, boys” when down he fell. But enough surged forward to overwhelm the party of Turks guarding the communication trench.

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This was really a very strenuous piece of work, for from Table Top on one side, and Baby 700 on the other, communications ran down to Destroyer Hill. As fast as the enemy here was overpowered, more Turks crowded down to be dealt with.

The troopers took up a position above a well-defined track and picked off the enemy as they came along it.
Black and white photograph of a mountain.

[Lent by Capt. Janson. W.M.R.
The Path to Victory.
The Wellington Mounteds crept up this dere and advanced up the spur from where the cross is shown.

Presently a line of men came in single file down the ridge. They were to pass just above the anxious little group of mounted riflemen who were painfully conscious of their bright white patches. Were they our men, or were they page 210 Turks? By their chattering it was discovered they were a party of a hundred Turks on surrender bent. To the relief of the 6th Squadron, they filed past to our rear talking and laughing.

Meanwhile the squadron told off to assault Table Top stole quietly up to the head of the gully. With rifles spluttering in the scrub and bullets moaning on their flight out to sea, the Wellingtons scaled the steep clay sides of Table Top and went straight for the Turks. The fight did not last long. Up came the 9th and made the position secure. By his boldness and impetuosity the New Zealand Mounted man had again outclassed the enemy.

The path taken was the secret of success. The 6th Squadron who had taken the first trench came at Table Top from the front, and it took them over half an hour's hard climbing—cutting steps in the clay with bayonets—to reach the top. Foresight and ingenuity, boldness and determination were alike combined in these first successful captures.

A platoon of Maoris led by a Wellington officer also crept quietly up the Chailak Dere in order to get round the back of Table Top to co-operate with the Wellingtons. In the gully between Bauchop's Hill and Old No. 3 a party of Turks fired on the Maoris, who saw red and slew the Turks to a man. Chasing the enemy up the gully, the Maoris never stopped until they were round the back of Table Top, and were only with great difficulty restrained from tackling Sari Bair by themselves.