The Great Landing at Gaba Tepe, Gallopoli

ON April 25. 1915, the mighty Battle of the Landing was fought at the Dardanelles. Undercover of darkness, and under the protection of the Fleet, a great army converged towards the rocky and desolate shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula. In the dim light of dawn, landings were made at half a dozen points (says "The Times History and Encyclopaedia of the War"), and by nightfall, the exploit which the Turks and their German mentors had deemed impossible was actually accomplished. The army was ashore, and, by desperate valour, had made good its position. Its foothold was scanty, its peril still seemed

great, its losses had been heavy; but it had landed, and the heroism of its assault had

added fresh glories to the military annals of the British Empire.

APRIL 25th (ANZAC DAY) Is worthy to be engraved on the memory of every Austrralian. It was on that date, in 1915 that Australian and New Zealand troops effected in magnificent manner a landing at Gallipoli.

The amazing gallantry of the troops rang throughout the world, and, for a time, eclipsed all thought of the possible ultimate dangers and difficulties of the enterprise. It seemed to those watching from afar that further and complete success could not be denied to the men who had dared and done so much already. Throughout all the subsequent tragic episodes of the Dardanelles campaign, the glowing triumph of the Battle of the Landing still shone with a light which was never dimmed. The memory of its glory remained a powerful influence when, months afterwards, men began to ask whether the attack upon the Dardanelles could ever be carried to a successful conclusion.

No one cared even to suggest that the dogged bravery of the immortal 29th Division

and the undaunted devotion of the indomitable Australian and New Zealand Corps might have been in vain. But their sacrifices were never made in vain. The good Australian and New

Zealand bloodshed at Gallipoli sealed and glorified forever the patriotism of the Commonwealth and the Dominion, just as surely as if the impetuous heroes had died on Sydney Heads or on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf.

The Landing of the ANZACS April, 1915
The Landing of the ANZACS April, 1915

At the gateway to Constantinople, the men of the younger nations were fighting for the safety of their own fair lands, and from their graves sprang imperishable ideals, which inspired their sorrowing kinsmen with renewed determination. Upon Englishmen, the stubborn resistance encountered at the Dardanelles had a like effect, for it deepened the national resolve to pursue the war unflinchingly until Germany and her subordinate allies were overthrown.

The Battle of the Landing was in certain respects unlike any other battle of modern times, by reason of the peculiar disabilities imposed upon the soldier who directed it, General Sir Ian Hamilton. He was in an extraordinary position. He had not planned the campaign. He had no intimate local knowledge of the scene of the operations. He was told to undertake a task for which the number of troops supposed to be required had been prescribed by others with even less knowledge than himself. He had no chance of effecting a real surprise attack.

Sir Ian Hamilton's final plan for the Battle of the Landing can be very simply stated. He

resolved to effect his principal landings at the very tip of the peninsula, upon either side of

Cape Helles. The troops were, to advance against the village of Krithia, and afterwards

to carry the height of Achi Baba. A second main landing was to be made by the Australians and New Zealanders a little to the north of Gaba Tepe. They were to advance over the

divide between Sari Bair and the Kilid Bahr plateau (Pasha Dagh) in the direction of the

town of Maidos. It was hoped that the force advancing by way of Krithia and Achi Baba

would get into touch with the Australians and that positions would be won from which

the Narrows could be dominated. So greatly was the strength of the enemy's defences underestimated that it was seriously expected by many officers that Achi Baba would be crowned by nightfall on the first day. Six months later the expedition was still contemplating the slopes of Achi Baba from afar, while no union had been affected by land between the southern force and the Australians.