Monday, April 15, 2013

Countdown To ANZAC 15 April 1915

Jack Reilly's diary has no entry for this day and the Battalion War Diary's comment is a terse "Same routine for the men."

Meanwhile, we return to the Official History where Charles Bean continues the narrative.

"From the moment the 'Queen' returned to Lemnos the staffs of Admiral Thursby, General Birdwood and General Bridges were perpetually closeted in the 'Minnewaska', working out the plans for the Gaba Tepe landing.  Transport after transport arrived.  The troops in harbour were practiced in climbing down the ships' sides in full kit on swinging rope ladders, in rowing, and in landing themselves, their guns and their horses.  Meanwhile in the 'Minnewaska the staff worked day and night over its papers..........

General Hamilton's scheme was that the Australians should land at daybreak, after a heavy bombardment of the hills and shore by the Navy. General Birdwood had also originally been offered a plan by which an old merchant steamer, carrying supporting infantry, should immediately after the first landing be run ashore against the shoals of the beach, and a stage consisting of lighters (barges,ed.) run out from her to the shore.......It was, however, refused by Birdwood, who was afraid of his men being hung up in the shallows off the beach.  His great desire was to make the Australian attack, as far as it was possible at this stage, a simple surprise.  He strongly urged upon Hamilton to allow him to land his men before daylight and without any preliminary bombardment.

Sir Ian agreed.

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