Battle of Sari Bair 6 to 21 August 1915

Seizing the Sari Bair Range from Ottoman troops was the key objective of the Allies' August Offensive. In the middle of the Gallipoli peninsula, the ridge loomed high over the Anzac area.

The diversionary attack at Lone Pine had successfully drawn Ottoman reinforcements. But the Turks soon realised it was a feint. When it became clear that Sari Bair was under threat, they ordered their reserves to the north, to reinforce the defences on the range.

The Allies' plan to capture Sari Bair was complex, and some attacks were hindered by miscommunication.

Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand troops, commanded by Major General Alexander Godley, were ordered to assault Sari Bair.

The men approached at night, through difficult terrain. In hindsight, they were operating under an unrealistic timetable.

The attack on Sari Bair began with the New Zealand Infantry Brigade advancing on Chunuk Bair. The Turks offered fierce resistance. The New Zealanders reached the summit, but heavy Turkish counter-attacks forced them to retreat.

When the 6th Gurkhas reached the summit, Allied warships hit them with misdirected fire. This drove them from the heights.

Monash's 4th Brigade became lost in the tangle of steep ravines and razorback ridgelines. Unable to find their way in the dark under Turkish fire, they also failed to reach their objective.

The dismounted 3rd Light Horse Brigade planned to attack Turkish positions at the Nek with support from New Zealand troops. The Light Horsemen expected the New Zealanders to approach from the newly occupied heights of Chunuk Bair. But the New Zealanders didn't attain their objective. They were nowhere near the Nek when the Australians charged. The Light Horsemen were slaughtered trying to cross the open ground in front of the Turkish trenches.

British troops attempted relief on the shoulders of the range but were swept away in a ferocious Ottoman counter-attack.

Roll call of B Company, 14th Battalion, after the unsuccessful offensive on 8 August 1915 when 3 officers and 33 other ranks were killed and 3 officers and 126 other ranks were reported as missing. AWM A01225

 


Last updated: 11 March 2020

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Battle of Sari Bair 6 to 21 August 1915, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 28 November 2021, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/ww1/where-australians-served/gallipoli/august-offensive/sari-bair
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