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The Campaign in Gallipoli

 

 

by

 

Hans Kannengiesser Pasha

 

With an Introduction by Marshal Liman von Sanders Pasha

Translated from the German by Major C. J. P. Ball DSO MC

 

circa 1928

 

The Marshal, His Excellency Liman Von Sanders Pasha

 

The Campaign in Gallipoli

 

Preface

 

 

On 20th December, 1925, we Gallipoli veterans celebrated for the first time the day on which, ten years previously, the English had evacuated the Gallipoli Peninsula and thus retired from the fighting for the Dardanelles. It was a joy to all of us to meet again the greater part of the men who formerly, under most curious and difficult circumstances, fought a heavy fight under conditions which certainly up to date could only have been known in their extreme peculiarity to those who had fought with us.

 

Shall the deeds of those men be forgotten who there, under the Crescent, fought for Germany's name and honour?

 

Every regiment prizes its war record, with justice. I have to date vainly awaited a history of the Gallipoli campaign, something more than a casual story in the newspapers, which so depicted the terrible difficulties of the heavy fighting in Oriental surroundings as to make them for the first time completely understandable, and which first did real justice to the political importance of those battles. This is the reason why I have now seized a pen and believe myself to be fulfilling a comradely duty, not only to my German comrades but also towards the brave Turkish army. What I have to say about the Turkish army really only affects Turkey as she was in 1914 and 1915, measured by the impressions which I received before and on Gallipoli, and which I shall endeavour to relate and substantiate. I limit myself, therefore, to depicting the conditions and circumstances of that period. These I have embodied in a story of my personal experiences.

 

The Marshal In Conversation With Enver Pasha

 

 

Introduction

 

 

Only a few Germans know much of the eight months' heavy fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula, which, in 1915, decided the possession of the entrance to the Dardanelles and the occupation of Constantinople.

 

There were only five hundred Germans who, there distributed among a large Turkish army, far from home, under burning heat, short of ammunition and under continuous ships' fire, held high the honour of the German name against a powerful Anglo-French landing army.

 

Now that twelve years have passed, one of the bravest among the five hundred German comrades has taken his pen to write, and has depicted in the most vivid manner the story of this bloody campaign, which stands incomparable in the world's history. Only personal experience and knowledge of incidents hidden from history enable the writer to tell his story in such a clear and simple manner as to find its way immediately to the heart of the German people.

 

The brilliant work of the English Minister, Winston Churchill, "The World Crisis, 1915," is here supplemented from the German side in a manner which deals equally justly with the German activity as with that of our late Turkish allies and with the brave enemy. It is my hope that this clear, truthful and extremely interesting book of General Kannengiesser will meet with the reception which it deserves.

 

 

LIMAN VON SANDERS

Late Imperial Prussian General of Cavalry, Dr. Phil. h.c., formerly Field-Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of the 5th Turkish Army.

MUNICH,

27th January, 1927.

 

Mustapha Kemal Bey

 

 

Chapter IX

THE LANDING

 

 

At dawn on 25th April, 1915, an enormous arm of 200 ships approached the Dardanelles from Lemnos. Ahead, the battleships of the Allied fleet covered by torpedo boats and mine sweepers and followed by transports with lighters, boats and rafts in tow. Seventy-seven thousand fighting men under the command of the English General Sir Ian Hamilton, including 17,000 French to land on the right flank as the Corps Expeditionnaire d'Orient under General d'Amade, the 29th English Division and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) under General Birdwood, with the Royal Naval Division in support.

 

A magnificent result of the many months' discussions of the War Councils in London, of the many opinions, commissions, reports and telegrams and, not least, the enormous amount of practical work. Like a giant steel wave the armada clove the light morning mist of this Sunday with evil in its womb. It must have been a sight for the gods. But Zeus sat no longer on Mt. Ida and Neptune no longer held aloft his trident on neighbouring island of Samothrace.

 

The check of the 18th March is to be wiped out to-day. But the fleet did not enter the Dardanelles as on that 18th March, and it was apparently not to be a break through in the centre this time. The ships encircled on a broad front the enemy coast, enclosing it in a warm embrace. The French on the right wing, who were always for an attack on the Asiatic side, continued towards Asia, and they were covered by a squadron under Admiral Guepratte consisting of the ships of the line or cruisers, the Jauregutherry, Henri IV (replacement for Bouvet), Jeanne d'Arc, Charlemagne, Ernst Renan, Ascold (Russian), Prince George (English), and a number of torpedo and other covering boats, as well as five transports which headed for the Bay of Besika, and five transports which continued towards Kumkale.

 

The 29th Division was convoyed towards the southern extremity of Gallipoli. My observer counted there, in the early morning mist, fourteen fighting ships, among them Queen Elizabeth, Agamemnon, Majestic, Triumph, Cornwallis, Vengeance, Cressy, [my note: Cressy had been sunk in 1914] Liverpool, nine destroyers and countless boats with thirty-nine transports. The left flank of the armada continued its progress further north in the direction of the Gulf of Saros. In neighbourhood of the height of Kabatepe the Anzacs turned in towards the coast and seven transports with the Royal Naval Division on board, protected by a sufficient covering force, continued its approach towards the innermost portion of the Gulf of Saros.

 

A wonderful deployment centre by water. And then, about 4 o'clock in the morning, began an awful cannonade against the coast. The guns were fired just as fast as they could be loaded. Those on the ships could work is absolute peace because they remained so far from the coast that no Turkish shell could reach their armour. The transports lay still further behind and continued slowly to approach the coast. On the Turkish side everything seemed dead. Not a shot was heard and nothing was to be seen. The land was so shot about that no stone could remain on another. Everything was covered in thick, cloudy masses of smoke and dust--the whole a devil's boiling cauldron in which it seemed impossible that anything could still live. The English rightly anticipated an easy landing. The battleships, firing continually, drew nearer the coast. Then they lowered launches, motor boats, pinnaces, lighters, in short, every form of boat transport, which were filled with troops and necessary equipment and supplies and formed into tows. They approached the coast under cover of the battleships' fire, and still a deathly stillness reigned on shore.

 

The tow cast off, officers and men were obliged, in some cases, to spring into the water and wade ashore. In other cases the depth of the water permitted the boats to be brought directly alongside. Then the ships had to raise their fire inland in order not to endanger their own troops as the leading sections were already nearing the coast.

 

At that moment from the apparently dead ground a totally unexpected and intensely heavy fire from guns, rifles and flanking machine guns fell on the landing parties. The torpedo heads which had been buried as ground mines exploded. The men stumbled on barbed wire in the water. Shortly, let General Hamilton himself speak : " A merciless hail, a whirlwind of steel and fire covered the beach and fell on the approaching boats."

 

A terrible fight then began, man against man. The Englishman is a tough fellow, the Turk also. This the Turk had already shown by lying still under the hellish fire from the ships. Thus began everywhere the battles for the beaches. Naturally the fighting for the individual landings differed according to local conditions, tactical aims and the conduct of the opposing forces .

 

 

Clay Hut. The Author's Quarters

 

Kapali Tscharschi

 

The Trenches of Infantry Regiment 125 (16th Division)

 

A Dug-Out At Kanli Sirt

 

APPROACH TO THE 16th DIVISION

 

(this was the main communication trench, the result of months of work with pickaxe and spade)

 

Commander of Infantry Regiment 125, With Staff

 

German Hospital At Bigali

 

Guns Left Behind by The English At Ariburnu