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peter blackwell

Gallipoli

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phil andrade

.....so why did we fail ?

 

Are you suggesting that the thing ever  stood a damned good chance ?

 

I’ve argued that it did, but in so doing have met opposition merging into outright hostility.

 

Those casualty statistics that I cite don’t  just speak to me, they scream out.  This Ottoman array was fragile in some respects : in terms of material and firepower - and also, it must be said, in respect of medical services - the Turkish troops were at a significant disadvantage, and had to exploit advantage of the ground, along with what looks  like incredible sacrificial valour, to make up for those material deficiencies.

 

High ground and prodigal bravery counted for a lot.

 

Phil

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gilly100

That's why the the Ottoman mg shortfall was addressed by seeking German naval weapons off the ships. Not rocket science. The Brits did this in both world wars as required. Poor old Germans largely left out of the Ottoman Gallipoli narrative.

Ian

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phil andrade

Didn’t our own late lamented Bob Lembke tell us about his flamethrower pioneer dad, who encountered Turkish soldiers and considered them to be truly first class soldiers ?

 

Phil

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stevebecker

Gilly,

 

Yes naval weapons were called to the Army because the lack of many auto weapons like the MG.

 

But what types were coming from the Ottoman Navy?

 

These are shown on the 9th Div Orbat, Poms Poms and other older type weapons, shown at Helles and at Gaba Tepe at Anzac, not the many 08 maxims you would think as they just didn't exist?

 

Few modern weapons were with the Ottoman Navy.

 

But you said the German Navy

 

So that is also well known and the Germans formed there own MG Companies to help there Ottoman mates. These are well known and didn't arrive at Anzac till well after the landings?

 

The Germans are left out?

 

There were so few Germans at the Galipoli to be also little to the fighting. 

 

A few Naval Mg companies from the two warships

 

Officers and SNCO's at command level of the Ottoman Army & Navy, not to mention the newly forming Airforce

 

There were Germans Officers and SNCO's and sailors with some batteries along the coast .

 

Late in the fighting the Pioneers arrived and some guns from Austria

 

That's not a lot of help from the Germans, important as it was.

 

But when the rail link was opened then well that made all the diffence


S.B

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gilly100

Steve

Did you read Murray Ewen's second article on Ottoman/German naval mgs?

Bit of stuff Erickson and Wolfe never mentioned, found or wrote on.

What do you make of 743 Bugler Frederick Ashton 11Bn and his POW first day and landing account? Interesting bit on Germans and mgs in that. He could even discern between Germans and Turks when you read it. 

Ian

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peter blackwell

Thankyou very much pete

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phil andrade

The German war graves institution ( VdK) reports that it cares for the graves of 505 German military personnel who died in Turkey in the Great War.  That is an astonishingly small number, considering the immense strategic interest that Imperial Germany had in the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire as an allly.

 

Phil

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stevebecker

Gilly,

 

No I have read any of Murray Ewen's second article on Ottoman/German naval mgs, if you could post them then we could all read what he said?

 

As to Aston's account I'am still not sure you can say German MG's were at the Landings, clearly German MG companies were not formed till after the landing, so what could Aston add to what he believes he may have seen?

 

S.B

 

 

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phil andrade

Having been engaged with this thread, I decided to download Erickson ‘s Gallipoli on to my kindle device. It cost me the price of a cheap bottle of wine, so I didn’t hesitate .

 

Very informative and clearly authoritative, but hard work for the layman.  Not an easy thing to digest. To give him credit, Erickson himself appreciates this, and keeps a disciplined approach, avoiding human interest vignettes and focusing on stark narrative and minimal distraction.  It does what it says on the tin.

 

It was too hard for me to plough through, so I just browsed and jumped in at sections that reached out and grabbed me.

 

There are baffling anomalies in the record , especially regarding the record of disease mortality.

 

Plenty of reference to the impact of British naval fire on damaging Ottoman formations.  MG fire at the landings is presented as a given.

 

Erickson is clearly convinced - and convincing - regarding the surprising competence and effectiveness of the Turkish command at all levels.  He also tried to explain why Ottoman casualties were catastrophic, and sometimes admits that he cannot understand why, in some battles, the disparity between the Ottomans and the Allies in respect of their loss was so great.

 

Any comments as to the pros and cons of his book ?

 

Phil

 

 

 

Edited by phil andrade

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stevebecker

Mates,

 

Thanks to Rocky I now have read the Murray's artical. 

 

But it lacks any evidence of any MGs at the landings and only speculation of the possibly. All evidence points to the mass reinforcement of MG's to the front after the landing by the both the Ottoman and German navy. These are well known from both Ottoman and German sources, which is also shown by Murray.

 

The Ozgen or Ozgan (Ottoman officer) was not at the landings and was part of the 3Bn 12Co and followed his Regt to Anzac that morning (we have discussed this else where).

 

The offical documents all state that these MGs from the Navy came after the landings and no where does it mention there pre postioning?

 

Clearly some Aussie reports give details on there posible use, but untill more details come to light the Murray account is just suporsition not facts.

 

As to seeing Germans manning Ottoman postions at the landing, well can I say these types of reports went on all during the fighting in Palestine and no where were there Germans. All MGs appear only to be manned by Germans and not Ottomans show some preduace of our men that and Ottoman could never do what a German could?

 

Sorry

 

S.B

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emrezmen
On 11/05/2019 at 08:17, phil andrade said:

The columns are for dead, wounded and missing . Are the dead just those  killed in action and died of wounds, battle casualties only ?

 

Yes, only battle casualties. Others also given (please continue reading below).

 

On 11/05/2019 at 08:17, phil andrade said:

What are those OR figures that show totals of 7,084 , 20,297 and 14,000 ? There is also an attached figure of 5,860.....I wonder what that means.  Am I right in assuming that all these additional figures  might be for men who were removed through illness or accident ?

  

I hope you don’t mind me asking these questions, but I really would like to make some interpretations.

7,084 -> sick leave. 

20,297 -> died from disease.

14,000 -> sent to hospital (between 19 Dec-8 Jan 1916)

 

The third endnote says: "In this report the previous total must be 190,035. It was shown 195,895 in other table with addition of 5,860. This difference was added to the grand total (genel toplam) and shown as result (sonuç)".  So it's basically about the difference between two casualty tables in the OH.

 

And no, that's perfectly fine. I'm very happy to have a chance to talk on this. Questions or any comments are always welcomed.

 

On 11/05/2019 at 08:17, phil andrade said:

The views about the officer/OR relationship are interesting and controversial in the light of those figures.  One officer killed for every one hundred men, more or less, and much the same proportion for the wounded.  The missing are in the ratio of one officer for every 400 plus men.  What a huge disparity !  There must have been a tiny number of officers wielding command over a very large host of men.

 

Of course my interpretations cannot explain the whole issue. That leader could also be a corporal, a sergeant or any other NCO or any individual commanding a specific operational group. I was only talking about two of possible million reasons.

 

On 11/05/2019 at 08:17, phil andrade said:

I’m intrigued as to what happened in the period 25 November to 8 December : quite a spike.

 

Flash floods and the freezing cold. Especially the Ottoman units (9th & 12th Divs) in Suvla Plain with the heights on their back suffered badly. 255 of this disappeared in a single day, 27 November (table from Turkish OH vol.3):

25.jpg.1a602877ede7ad8bc46d84e30cf581b6.jpg

 

Boğulan=Drowned
Donan=Frozen
Kaybolan=Missing
Toplam=Total

 

On 11/05/2019 at 08:17, phil andrade said:

I’ve seen one reference that might be revealing : the terrific fighting in August 1915 cost 18,000 Ottoman  battle casualties in four days, but the Allies claimed only 400  Turkish prisoners in that period.  The implication here is that a very large number of the 11,178 Ottoman missing must have been killed.

 

Agree with you as I identified the total number from 6 Aug to 11 Aug as at least 19,825 (some 7,000 at Vineyard - around 1,000 directly KIA, and probably the majority of 2,804 "heavily wounded" died before long) and that only includes WIA and KIA.

 

Here are the casualties occurred in 6-12 August period day by day from "Administrative Services and Logistics" edition of Turkish OH (may not be totally accurate + as I said, only wounded and killed - entirely in Turkish, sorry): 

IMG_9035.JPG.333a837fc81de960c7c8793643548d0a.JPG

IMG_9037.JPG.45242be29331a560c1fb9e103681abc3.JPG

 

On 11/05/2019 at 10:25, phil andrade said:

The more I reflect on this campaign, the more I see the Turks pitting flesh and blood against superior firepower. They had the high ground and commensurate fields of fire - sometimes even likened to a shooting gallery - but they still got killed in greater numbers than their enemies, despite their defensive advantage and the skill and tenacity of their troops. I realise that profligate counter attacks account for much of this ; but the exchange rate still defies the norm as we see it on the Western Front.

 

This is what I exactly thought about the casualties of Ottoman army. Perfunctory, massed counter attacks executed in narrow areas at every small lose of ground were the main reason imo. Could be an interesting field of research per se.

 

On 11/05/2019 at 12:25, phil andrade said:

Now look at the Ottoman record ....it seems grotesque in comparison.

 

The figures I have are 21,498 deaths from disease, and 64,440 sick who recovered.

 

I wonder if Emre or Steve might have more reliable sources for the Turks....the figures I’ve cited are hard to accept.

The table that I shared shows the number of dead as 20,297. It's based upon documents held in Turkish Gen. Staff Archive (ATASE) and it appears to be the most reliable source at hand. Regarding the total number of sick, Lt-Gen.Prof. Niyazi İsmet Gözcü, a Turkish medic officer, shows it as 70,939 in his article published in "Askeri Sıhhiye Mecmuası" (Journal of Military Medicine) [Gözcü, N. İ. (1938, Temmuz). Umumi Harpte Çanakkale Müdafaası Esnasında Türk Ordusu Sıhhi Hizmetleri. s.90. Askeri Sıhhiye Mecmuası, İstanbul.]
 

On 11/05/2019 at 02:03, stevebecker said:

There were shortages of weapons, and the Ottoman Army had Mauser 1903 and older 1887 both with different ammo.

 

Indeed, there was some shortage at the beginning of the war due to losses in 1912-13 period, but it's not that big of a deal. Various models of Mauser had always been dominant. 5th Army had 143 MGs, 109,071 Mausers and 52,000 other rifles, 95 QF field guns, 99 QF and SF mountain guns and 66 horse-drawn Mantelkanone (mantelli) in 14 November 1915 according to Administrative Services and Logistics edition of Turkish OH:

IMG_9019.JPG.82b5395ec519c5bed13c94851a03de7f.JPG

IMG_9021.JPG.52d597401f6e27d37a3789d065f6ad14.JPG

 

The total number of infantry rifles in active fronts as of April 1915 was 473,000, according to an official letter which was sent to German Gen.Staff by Enver. Enver says 311,000 of these were 7.65mm Mausers:
1770967660_IMG_90592.jpg.f08a70d64406bebf74db7a3dc8b98393.jpg

IMG_9056.JPG.4cddd073332d42f1eceea45bef5c02cc.JPG

 

There was definitely an immense shortage of MGs. The entire Ottoman land forces had only 230 MGs in April 1915. From the same letter:

IMG_9059.JPG.2621aaed71f94a698b07f21f686ddbd1.JPG
 

This is what active Ottoman formations had in April 1915. 5th Army had only 34 MGs. That number would be increased to 143 in eight months (see above). (Fortified Zone Commands weren't included in the table):

IMG_9062.JPG.a52a1a29dcddc1ca32ee2e40ccecd4e7.JPG

 

The very first German MG detachment (equivalent of two MG companies in Ottoman army) under 1st Lt. Boltz, which the Germans sent in order to help eliminating this shortage, couldn't reach the Peninsula until 3 May. This appears to be very well documented in Klaus Wolf's book through German archives, and matches very well with Ottoman war diaries which I shared before. (I'll not get into that cursed "MGs on beaches" debate again, until I'm able to share more only about the 26th Regiment)

 

Anyway, here are some extra numbers from same OH book that might be of interest. Ammunition status of 5th Army as of 8 December 1915:

IMG_9025.JPG.82b4ae91a4b39184053d79d5619d8ecc.JPG

 

At Suvla (Anafartalar Group):

12,168 boxes of SAA
14,889 QF field gun shells

2,974 QF mountain gun shells

3,153 SF mountain gun shells

18,084 hand grenades

 

At Seddülbahir (Güney Grubu/South Group):

10,730 boxes of SAA
12,467 QF field gun shells

1,210 QF mountain gun shells

3,366 SF mountain gun shells

10,135 hand grenades

 

At Anzac (Kuzey Grubu/North Group)

6,035 boxes of SAA
9,755 QF field gun shells

7,777 QF mountain gun shells
2,168 SF mountain gun shells

2,124 mantelkanone (mantelli) shells

6,013 hand grenades

 

Depot:

11,840 boxes of SAA
19,134 QF field gun shells

3,784 QF mountain gun shells

8,367 SF mountain gun shells

521 mantelkanone (mantelli) shells

31,951 hand grenades

 

It's been an entry full of low quality images, and I couldn't get into much detail due to lack of time. Also my English is a little bit sloppy, sorry about that,

Emre.

Edited by emrezmen

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phil andrade

Emre,

 

Thank you so much !

 

You have helped me a lot here.

 

I feel very fortunate to have your support.

 

Phil

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stevebecker

Mates,

 

We should also remember that by Dec 1915 (late 1915), weapons and other needs were already arriving from Germany and Austria.

 

So the lists show the arrival of these new stores which helped the defences.

 

The increase of weapons ment Artillery and other types which started to flood the Ottoman Forces, these would increase over the next year.

 

But early in the campaign things were not always that good, as the fighting sucking into the storm great quanities of supplies.

 

S.B

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emrezmen
18 hours ago, phil andrade said:

Emre,

 

Thank you so much !

 

You have helped me a lot here.

 

I feel very fortunate to have your support.

 

Phil

Happy to hear that, Phil. You're more than welcome, and thank you for your input here.

 

1 hour ago, stevebecker said:

Mates,

 

We should also remember that by Dec 1915 (late 1915), weapons and other needs were already arriving from Germany and Austria.

 

So the lists show the arrival of these new stores which helped the defences.

 

The increase of weapons ment Artillery and other types which started to flood the Ottoman Forces, these would increase over the next year.

 

But early in the campaign things were not always that good, as the fighting sucking into the storm great quanities of supplies.

 

S.B

Steve, thank you for your comments which I always love to see. This is why I shared that list as an addition. Otherwise, I already accepted and said that there was a shortage in the beginning.

 

 

 

 

Edited by emrezmen

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phil andrade

Emre,

 

Erikson confesses that he’s unable to understand the disparity in casualties at Lone Pine.  More than three to one in the Australians’ favour, despite the Turks defending. If anything, I understate the Turkish preponderance of loss here.

 

You would think that in close quarters combat the Turks were as good as any.

 

Did their log constructed trench defences become death traps, making the Turkish soldiers like fish in a barrel ; or did this exchange rate in casualties indicate a huge firepower disadvantage for them ?

 

Phil

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Slingo

Dear Sirs,

a good book on military matters is the work of Israelian professor Jehuda L. Wallach, University of Tel Aviv

"Anatomie einer Militärhilfe" die preußisch-deutschen Militärmissionen in der Türkei 1835-1919

ISBN 3 - 7700 - 0441 - 8

and the volumes of  Hans-Werner Neulen "Feldgrau in Jerusalem" (ISBN 3-8004-1437-6 9 and of the late Peter Jung " Der k.u.k. Wüstenkrieg" (ISBN  3-222-12149-4)

They're out of print now. neulen and Jung I assume were only published in German; Wallach perhaps translated into English

 

One aspect is important: within the Ottoman Army you had Arab units, too.; at Gallipoli there were quite a few Ottoman Arab units, for ex.

 

kind regards

Gunther

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Slingo

ad Phil / War Graves in Turkey

Dear Sir,

Tarabya:

Indeed there are only those 500+ graves in Turkey; her lies my great uncle (#121) who died of dysenteria in a German military hospital on 19th of January 1919 ( fought with the 2/6

battery of von Marno's howitzer division from 1916 until the armistice). On this cemetery fallen soldiers were gathered and reburied. This cemetery does not show all the losses.

Many stragglers were murdered during the retreat since the locals unfortunately behaved this way towards anybody walking alone or in very small groups. The bleaching sun was their grave.The Austrian field hospitals were glad to become British POWS instead of being robbed and masscred.British POWs were endagered as well.

Dr. Schwake who cares for the Nazareth cemetery may be a good source for real numbers.

To quote Jung: from the great numbers of fallen and deceased soldiers of the k.u.k troops only about 100 are still to be found in the records ( during the retreat many records got lost ).

The retreat and diseases I assume cost more lives than the battles themselves.

There also are graves at British Ramleh cemetery, at Damaskus, Jerusalem ans Diabekir.

At 1st Gaza 57 German and Austro-Hungarian soldiers died but the amount of men in the front line was small, too: von Marno. 8 Skoda 100mm M10 mountain howitzers + 2 reserve guns

+ fire control and command post + ammo supplies for the two batteries. All in all 25.000 German soldiers were stationed in the Ottoman Empire during WW I.

After the armistice around 2000 k.u.k. officers and soldiers were transported back home in late 1918 / early 1919. A great deal of Austro-Hungarian soldiers were engaged with maintaining 

an infrastructure for the troops ( transport, supplies, hospitals, communication ); the same is true for the German troops. They were dispersed over great areas. Palestine was a gritty affair

for all combattants and the dystopian Western Front masks the dangers of other theatres were nature often was more demanding and dangerous than your adversary.

True numbers are often hard to find, that is true.

 

kind regards

Gunther

 

 

 

Tarabya07[1].jpg

Vincenz sterbekarten.pdf

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phil andrade

Gunther,

 

You make very valuable and interesting contributions here.

 

As you say, a theatre of war that has been overlooked, with hardship and squalour making a frightening impact .

 

A gritty affair indeed !

 

Thank you .

 

Phil

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emrezmen
On 16/05/2019 at 12:27, phil andrade said:

Emre,

 

Erikson confesses that he’s unable to understand the disparity in casualties at Lone Pine.  More than three to one in the Australians’ favour, despite the Turks defending. If anything, I understate the Turkish preponderance of loss here.

  

You would think that in close quarters combat the Turks were as good as any.

 

 Did their log constructed trench defences become death traps, making the Turkish soldiers like fish in a barrel ; or did this exchange rate in casualties indicate a huge firepower disadvantage for them ?

  

Phil

 

Sorry for late reply.

 

It all comes down to continuous counter attacks again, and initiative. They were defending side but they lost what seems to be "advantage" very quickly, and once they lost their main trenches they lost the initiative as well. Until the Ottomans organize the counter attacks, Australians were ready for them. 

 

I would definitely say that the overhead cover, in any case, turned the trenches into a death trap for the defending side. The logs and firing recesses had collapsed in some parts of the Ottoman frontline due to bombardment, and when the infantry attack began, some of the defenders were already casualties. Where (i.e. most of the Ottoman line) the overhead cover remained intact, Australians were able to fire their rifles and throw grenades freely from above on the top of the Ottomans soldiers. Australians made it to Ottoman trenches very quickly and they didn't came under a murderous fire like, for example, that of at the Nek. Ottoman defenders were unable to man the trenches in time due to effective coordination between artillery and the infantry of attacking side, and Australians were already on top of them when they returned to their frontline after the bombardment. When some of the Australians jumped into the communucation trenches behind, the frontline garrison suddenly caught between these and soldiers who were on top of them. You can't get out of your trench, you can't run back either. Think about it, your enemy fires at you from above, and he can see your full body while you can't see his. You can't get out of your trench quickly when, say, you're intended to conduct a counter bayonet attack.

 

The disadvantage of the covered trenches was admitted by both 16th Division (which was defending the Pine) OC Col. Rüştü (see Turkish Gallipoli OH vol.3) and 27th Regt OC Lt-Col. Mehmet Sefik. But Şefik, unlike Rüştü or Ahmet Tevfik (CO/47th Regt - KIA), had already objected to this type of constructions with a great foresight. He explains this in his fabulous work "Çanakkale Arıburnu Savaşları ve 27'nci Alay" (Gallipoli Ariburnu Battles and the 27th Regiment). (Later he had to use overhead cover in his area though)

 

I don't have any numbers at the moment, but the vast majority of casualties for both sides must have occurred as a result of continuous and somewhat disorganized Ottoman bombing counter attacks starting from the night of 6 Aug. 

 

I think Ottoman soldiers were as good as any in close quarters but, again, no better.

 

(I don't like to talk without posting any documents etc, but I don't have time for that, sorry)

 

 

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phil andrade

Another very well informed and extremely helpful reply from you, Emre.

 

My deepest respect and many thanks,

 

 Phil 

 

 

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