August Offensive on Gallipoli 6 to 29 August 1915
The landings at Gallipoli on 25 April provided the Allies with only a thin grip on the peninsula. In August 1915, the Allies planned to break the stalemate. They launched a series of coordinated attacks against the Ottoman Empire. The gains were few, and the number of casualties was high. Australians were involved in five military actions as part of the August Offensive.
The Allies had a plan to take over the high ground of the Sari Bair ridge and create a link from the Anzac front to a new front in the north, at Suvla.
The main objectives of the August Offensive were to capture two peaks on the Sari Bair Range - Chunuk Bair and Hill 971.
If successful, this would have:
- protected the troops at Anzac from enemy observation and fire
- given them a clear view over the eastern approaches to the peninsula
The elaborate plan for the August Offensive included many military actions:
- British troops would break out at Helles, at the tip of the peninsula
- Australian troops would create a diversionary attack at Lone Pine on 400 Plateau, south-east of Anzac Cove
- Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand troops would assault Sari Bair
- New Zealand Infantry Brigade would assault Chunuk Bair
- Australian 4th Brigade would assault Hill 971
- British troops and 300 Australian engineers would land at Suvla Bay, 8km north of Anzac
Engineers from the Royal Australian Navy Bridging Train (RANBT) stayed at Suvla Bay after the landing. They worked hard to create a new beachhead, including an impressive dock for boats. They also assisted the attacks on the high ground to the north of Anzac.
At Lone Pine, the Australians achieved a measure of success, but the fighting went on for days.
The Turks defeated other attacks before any gains could be made. The Ottoman Empire had received warning of a possible attack in early August, and reinforcements were in place to respond.
At Pope's Hill, Quinn's Post and the Nek, Australian light horsemen (on foot) displayed supreme bravery. They charged into a storm of machinegun and rifle fire. The men were cut down, with devastating losses.
Find out about:
- Landing at Suvla Bay 6 to 15 August 1915
- Battle of Sari Bair 6 to 21 August 1915
- Battle of Lone Pine 6 to 10 August 1915
- Battle of the Nek 7 August 1915
- Battle of Hill 60 21 to 29 August 1915
Back at home, Australians and New Zealanders avidly read accounts of their countrymen's heroism and achievements. Generally, the newspapers didn't dwell on the danger, stress and filth the soldiers endured in each action.
When the August Offensive failed, the stalemate on the peninsula resumed.
Over the next few months, the Anzacs persevered with resignation. Wintry weather, disease, illness and lethal risks from enemy snipers and artillery added to their battle woes.