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INTHE THICK OF IT, Evening Post, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 118, 20 May 1915
INTHE THICK OF IT
BATTLE WITH THE TURKS
MOST REMARKABLE EVER j FOUGHT AUSTRALASIANS' GREAT i CHARGE. A GRAPHIC STOEY. (By Telegraph.— Press Association.— Copyright.) LONDON, 19th May. Mr. Ashmead Bartlett, the war correspondent, states that English and French reinforcements arrived on 6th May, and have now commenced one of the most remarkable battles ever fought. Almost every detail could be fotkwed with the .naked eye. The battle is of the old-fashioned type, being chiefly conducted by the commanders from what they could see with their own eyes, apart from field telegraphs and telephones. The eventual objective is the possession of Achi Baba, and the first step was to get possession of the two great arms of Achi Baba stretching towards Saros and the Dardanelles. A perfect view of the battle was obtained from a hill six miles distant. The Allied armies are practically fighting for .side of a rhomboid, -culminating in a peak at Achi Baba. The other two sides are already in our possession, and. are covered by the warships' fire. The enemy's snipers occupied rugged, scrub-covered ground and had to be hunted out man by man. Ravines, low hills, and dead ground offered every kind of concealment to the enemy, who constructed endless trenches, which were only located with extreme difficulty, while their machine guns were concpaled with masterful skill. The British left, including the Australians and New Zealanders, rested on Saros, and the French right on the Dardanelles, with our warships on either flank sweeping every yard of the enemy's positions, not a sign of whom was visible. Nothing is more remarkable than the way the Turks are dug in. 1 A deadly stillness prevailed, broken by the occasional bursting of shrapnel. THE ALDUS' OBJECTIVE. The Australians and New Zealanders were in reserve behind the Indian Brigade. The immediate British objective was to push the left wing forward, and at the samo time endeavour to occupy Krithia and the ridge whereon it stands. The French objective was to advance up the spurs and get astride the JMaidos-road, and at the same time advance into the valley of the Kereves River. The first day's fighting was almost entirely confined to the right wing. It was necessary to get a good footing on the right; otherwise, the British advance could be enfiladed. At 11 o'clock the French 75-milHmetre guns round Sedd-ul-Bahr began a fierce and sustained bombardment which lasted half-an-hour. At the same time our battleships turned their big guns on the upper slopes of Achi Baba and the trenches in the Kereves Valley. At 11.30 the Senegalese left the trenches and swept forward in open order up the mountain, making steady progress, the artillery covering the advance and beautifully bursting the shrapnel fifty yards ahead of the firing line. THE ADVANCE CHECKED. When the infantry topped the slope they met with' a strenuous resistance and the advance was checked. The ships' guns and the 75-millimetre guns pounded the enemy with shell and shrapnel vainly. The Turks' fire was unchecked. The Senegalese repeatedly swept forward, only to break before the storm. The fighting ebbed and flowed all day. Our guns could not inflict much damage on the enemy's trenches, which were eight feet deep and extremely narrow. Although the French did not succeed in getting a-sfride the Maidosroad, they made good progress, and obtained a footing in the Kereves Valley. On the 7th our ships furiously bombarded the enemy, sweeping the broken country slopes leading to Krithia, and the shrubs and ravines, with yellow, bursting 1 lyddite. It seemed impossible for anything to live in the zone of fire. After fifteen minutes our left made a general advance. TURKS' TREMENDOUS FIRE. The 87th and 88th Brigades pressed towards the Krithia-road. No sooner had they left the trenches than the Turks opened a tremendous fire from a concealed position. The advance continued, and several trenches were captured. The enemy's field guns concentrated ou our reserves. One of our regiments got too far forward and was compelled to retire under a machine guns' hail. The fire died down, and early in the afternoon the French opened a furious bombardment. They then advanced and gained considerable ground. The Turks brought many guns against the French, and fired shrapnel over the ground behind to prevent the reserves from coming up FRENCH LINES BREAK. The French lines wavered and broke. They swept down the slope under an unbearable fire. Their reserves gallantly counter-attacked, and occupied the abandoned trenches, and held them tenaciously through the night under a heavy fire. Mean-while the British concentrated their artillery on Krithia, and the infantry pressed forward 'under a furious machine gun fire. Thoy occupied a number of ravines on our extreme left and made a sweeping movement towards Hill 400, behind Krithia. They were met by a tremendous shrapnel fire. Shells burst right over onr men. and whole companies disappeared in clouds of earth and sand, but they never wavered. They advanced, losing heavily. As the enemy aims high, most of the wounds -were slight. Darkness stopped the fight within eight hundred yards of Krithia. MAGNIFICENT, BUT FRIGHTFUL. The Turks fought with extreme bravery and determination, whilst the handling of their artillery wae masterly. The battle was resumed on the Bth with greater violence. The Fleet shelled the ground behind Krithia, and the British infantry on the left and centre advanced under a withering outburst. Both brigades doggedly faced it. Sometimes they were driven back,' but eventually they got the position. To make a final assault possible the New Zealanders moved forward with 'the- Australians on the left full over" the whole battlefield, and while the lines were straightened the positions of the unite, were ascertained to enable the ships to gauge the range. At 5.15 every ship and every shore battery opened a stupendous fire. The hills were covered with immense clouds of yellow smoke. It was a magnificent spectacle, but the noise was frightful. There were thousands of bursting projectiles. Volcanoes were bursting everywhere. NEW ZEALANDERS IN SOLID j PHALANX. ! ' It looked as if tho whole country were afire. The bombardment lasted fifteen minute*. Then the inlantry leaped from the trenches and dashed towards Krithia,
and the French similarly towards Maidosroad. They were met by a murderous Turkish fire. The New Zealandera Bur. ried forward in a solid phalanx, joined by many of the 88th in a mad charge. They bayoneted all in the first Turkish trench, and then passed over the broken ground shooting and stabbing, many falling before the terrible fusillade, but not a soul turned back. On the right the Australians, with the New Zealanders, advanced over coverless ground, facing a tornado of bullets, and being enfiladed by machine guns' fire from the right, which our artillery was unable to repress. AS STEADY AS IF ON PARADE. The manner in which the Australasians went forward will never be forgotten by those witnessing it. The advance was made as steadily as if the men were on parade. Sometimes doubling, and sometimes walking, they melted away under the dreadful fusillade, but the reserves filled the gaps. " A point was reached beyond which it was impossible to advance. They lay down and attempted to reply to the enemy's concealed fire. They entrenched themselves where they. lay. It was obvious that Krithia could not be taken by direct assault. The French carried out desperate bayonet charges. Darkness ended the conflict. The end was not achieved, though some ground was gained.
INTHE THICK OF IT, Evening Post, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 118, 20 May 1915
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