Thursday, April 18, 2013

Countdown To ANZAC 18 April 1915

Jack Reilly's diary for this day, "General Birdwood spoke a few words to us.  He is a fine stamp of a man and one couldn't help but like him. A seaplane flew around the harbour this afternoon.  It was a fine sight."

Battalion War Diary entry, "Church parade - sent men ashore to bathe. Provided Town Guard of 50 men under AC orders."

The planning continued behind the scenes.  Charles Bean again, "Birdwood knew that there were Turkish batteries at three points in the area about his landing place; two were in the scrub of the valley half a mile inland.  The other was said to be behind the neck of land connecting Gaba Tepe with the main ridge.  Birdwood's conviction was that, if his first troops could make a surprise landing and rush these three batteries with the bayonet before dawn,
he would be able to use the troops who landed immediately after them for extending up the main ridge to the north. (See map on 17 April 1915, ed.)  He had decided to make the landing with the 1st Australian Division, following it later with the NZ&A Division.  He therefore instructed General Bridges that the covering brigade should seize and occupy the ridge from Gaba tepe towards Chunuk Bair. The rest of the Australian Division, landing immediately after it, would secure the main ridge to the north of it and attend to the left flank.  The covering brigade was to advance inland on as wide a front as possible, so that, if part of it were held up, other parts could still penetrate.  The troops were to be specially instructed to push on as rapidly as they could to the covering position on the ridge from Chunk Bair to Gaba Tepe.  In accordance with these orders General Bridges detailed the 3rd Brigade to land as the covering force.  in instructions which were drawn by him and Colonel White the main part of the brigade was ordered to push inland, rushing the batteries in the scrub and forcing its way a little over a mile from the shore to the long spur which was its objective."

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