The New Zealanders at Gallipoli
The Suvla Landing
The Suvla Landing.
We know that the thrust towards Koja Chemen Tepe from Suvla Bay failed. Let us examine the causes of the failure. For of what use is history if we do not seek to understand its lessons?
The story of the failure at Suvla Bay is not only the story of the misfortune of war. It ranks with the tragedy of Kut-el-Amara as an illustration of what must happen to a nation which accepts world-wide responsibilities and does not keep itself in a state of preparedness for possibilities.
The people of the British Empire did not realize that an efficient army was the complement to a powerful navy. For battleships cannot cross deserts or climb mountains. Indeed, battleships, as every soldier who was on Gallipoli Peninsula knows, are of incalculable value for moral effect, but for supporting troops ashore in mountainous country they are almost useless. Their guns cannot get at the enemy behind the crest. Only on rare occasions can ships' guns search reverse slopes. Ships are built to fight ships—not to act as army corps artillery.
No regular soldiers were available for these subsidiary operations in the East, but the next best—an army corps of the New Army—was available for this advance over broken, unreconnoitred country.
The 9th Army Corps, under Lieut.-General Sir F. Stopford, was organized as follows:—
The 10th (Irish) Division (Lieut.-General Sir B. Mahon) was composed of the 29th Brigade (detached for service at Anzac), the 30th Brigade, and the 31st Brigade.
The 11th (Northern) Division (Major-General F. Hammersley), consisted of the 32nd, the 33rd, and the 34th Brigades.page 230
The 13th (Western) Division (Major-General F. C. Shaw), was also taken from the Suvla Army to act at Anzac. The three brigades were the 38th, 39th, and the 40th.
In that four of his brigades were landed at Anzac, General Stopford did not have anything like an army corps. His divisional artillery was lamentably weak, and his corps artillery almost non-existent. True, he had the support of some warships, but as we know, this support is not so much material as moral.
It was estimated that a force of 20,000 rifles would overpower a thin screen of Turks, which was reckoned at about 4000.
The 53rd and 54th Territorial Division (of infantry only) were to arrive later and be used as a general reserve.