ANZAC the first landing.

A bit later than I intended, well about a month later.

The reason for the title is that this article looks at the landing of the covering force in the pre dawn darkness of 25 April 1915.

The covering force comprised approximately 1500 men of the 3rd Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Sinclair MacLagan (shown below in December 1915).

The 3rd Brigade was made up of the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions and each battalion was given specific objectives in their orders. The map and the copy of those orders are shown below. While each each battalion has their objectives there is no mention of which beach they are to land on on their way to achieving those objectives.

This map shows the primary and secondary objectives of 3 Brigade.

So in this post I am looking at a couple of issues related to the landing at Anzac From study of the battalion orders and diaries two things are evident.

1 that the covering force landed on a narrower frontage than desired,600m instead of 3000m

2 that the battalions were jumbled making it difficulty for officers to exercise command and control of their soldiers.

3 that there were very few casualties in the battle for the beach

There is no mention in battalion diaries of troops being landed in the wrong place.  The myth began with high command as an excuse when objectives were not captured and there was a need to defend the decisions of others, especially Sinclair-Maclagan.

The orders we're that the Anzacs be landed on abroad frontage stretching from Gaba Tepe in the South and a Fisherman's hut in the North (see map). However, most landed around, Ari Burnu which is almost in the center of that defined landing area.  There may also be a misinterpretation of the term possible landing place that is marked on the map to mean intended landing place. In the orders no specific beach is designated as the landing point.

3rd Brigade Orders for Anzac Landing. Note the support from engineer demolition parties.

The landing around Ari Burnu and what was later to become Anzac Cove provided advantages. The majority of troops were closer to their objectives, even if they were harder to get to, and the cove provided protection from direct Turkish fire. This issue was highly important as the campaign continued.

The main issue commented on in unit diaries is how the units, especially the battalions of the covering force were mixed up. This prevented officer gaining and maintaining command and control of their soldiers and maintaining initiative on the battlefield.

Some of the important things to remember are that by the end of the day on the 25 April 1915, over 16000 troops had been landed. The covering force had done its initial job in sweeping aside the Turkish defenders near the beach meaning that the following waves suffered few casualties.

In relation to stories of slaughter on the beaches, Charles Bean the official correspondent and later historian who landed at Anzac on the first day commented.  

"Neither then or at any time later was that beach the inferno of bursting shells barbed wire and falling men that has sometimes been described or painted" - 

This is confirmed by some of the images taken of the beach that morning, there are very few bodies on the beach. This to some extent addresses the slaughter on the beach myth. The battle on the beach was swift and most of the fighting and losses occurred in the hills as the Turkish troops responded to the Anzac assault. There were isolated incidents where there were casualties. One of those was on North Beach where elements of the 7th Battalion, landing in daylight, were hit by heavy fire from a knoll behind Fisherman's Hut. 
Taken in the morning  at Anzac Cove. Not many casualties not a lot of urgency.


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