As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings the common image of Anzac that is presented by the media and populist authors is that the Australians landed on the wrong beach in the dawn of the 25 April 1915 and were mown down by Turkish machine gun fire on the beaches. The whole saga is blamed on incompetent British commanders who treated "colonial" troops as sacrificial lambs. The myth ignores the following 8 month campaign except for maybe the tragedy of the Nek and the victorious charge at Lone Pine. The evacuation is a masterstroke of military deception and planning under the noses of the enemy.
The real story is much more in depth and interesting than the myth we have been fed.
The story of the Gallipoli campaign can be divided into 5 stages.
1. The naval attack from 19 February to 18 March 1915
2. The amphibious assault on 25 April 1915
3. The siege from May to the end of July
4. The August offensive to the North
5. The wind down and withdrawl which lasted from mid September 1915 to the end of January 1916
For this series of posts I am only going to focus on the last four. Unless otherwise noted, historical images can be found on the Australian War Memorial website.
|4th Battalion AIF landing at Anzac at 8am 25 April 1915.|
According to Ashley Ekins, Senior Historian at the AWM The landings on the Gallipoli were a multinational operation and over the next 8 months involved troops from:-
France and her colonies including Senegal, West Africa and Algeria
Australia including Aboriginal soldiers
New Zealand including Maoris
India both Sikhs and Moslems
Newfoundland now part of Canada
There were also soldiers from Malta, Egypt, Greece and men of the Zion Mule Corp.
The Turkish army included men from all over their empire including what we now call Syria, Anatolia Iraq and Arabia.
It is truly a multicultural and multinational campaign rather than just an Australian affair which the media promotes.
|Lone Pine Cemetery (http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/)|
Over the next few months I will be looking at the realities behind the myths.