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TURKISH MACHINE GUNS AT GALLIPOLI - Part 2

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ss002d6252

This thread is to carry on from the locked one

 

Please continue discussion on the new points raised however please be polite and keep it so it doesn't get locked or censured. Let's leave any personal disputes behind.

 

Craig

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stevebecker

Craig,

 

Thank you for reopening this.

 

Michael posts an interesting document and adds to our study here.

 

Of cause, That could be why the writer often quoted by Gilly and Michael to Naval MG's at Gallipoli?

 

But wait they already do, like those added (auto weapons) mentioned in the Ottoman 9th Div order of battle, only they just don't call them MGs in 1914/15?

 

But your right, they don't say they are still MGs by 1914, unlike the document dated 1907, when there was little to no MG's (maxim types) in the Ottoman Army?

 

Most Armies during that time (1900), still add trouble as to where there automadtic weapons fitted in, some were placed with Artillery units, while others were put into the Infantry.

 

Interesting they (Ottomans) had a name like MG Bn in 1907, with no MG's in it, and only a few Automandtic weapons there.

 

Clearly this had changed by 1914 as the Ottomans had no MG Bn's?

 

Cheers

 

S.B

Edited by stevebecker

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gilly100

Goodness gracious, open for business at last! Thanks.

 

Well if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck???????????

 

I am not overly concerned on the Nordenfelts and what one chooses to call them, although if I was on the receiving end of multiple rounds aimed into my landing boat I might have some colourful language for them, and it would not be rapid rifle fire! Pom Poms, automatic guns, machine guns - whatever. The descriptions I have read of witnesses who landed of the ensuing carnage at V Beach is incredibly compelling, and they had both!!!

 

Ian

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michaeldr

Thanks to ss002d6252 for re-opening this subject

 

My posting of the portion of the chart, was indeed as stated, related to the earlier (2008-2013) discussion of Nordenfeldts and whether or not they were machine-guns. My interest in them is in trying to establish where at Gallipoli (not the Bosphorus) they all were.

 

I have, myself, no doubt that those on the receiving end correctly identified what exactly it was that was firing at then on the morning of the 25th April 1915. The emphatic assertion of Captain Geddes in his report not only well illustrates how old this controversy is, but it also carries weight, having been made by a seasoned professional soldier. If I remember correctly one of Geddes' sergeants also found a relevant ammunition box.

 

Likewise, the correct identification of the pom-poms by Lt-Col (later Maj-Gen) W de L Williams, lends weight to his report of maxim fire, especially when one realises how much closer the “hole in the fort” was. The timing of both reports, the pom-pom fire and that of the 'maxim' firing from the fort, is given as 06:35 a.m. Williams' report of MG fire was also confirmed by the RNAS machine-gunners in the bows of the River Clyde.

 

It is very much to be regretted that during the recent work at the fort of Sedd el Bahr, a proper international archaeological examination of the remains was not carried out. It could have been Turkish led with participants or observers from Britain and France; alas, that moment has however now passed.

 

 

 

 

 

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stevebecker

Michael,

 

Sorry my mistake, I hope I see where your going.

 

If so then yes, I also can agree, that the auto weapons attached to the Ottoman 9th Div during the landings, both at Ari Bunu and on the Helles beaches, could they believe these to be a type of MG and not auto weapons. Either by us and the Ottomans.

 

Interesting question

 

I'll have to check that.

 

But from what I can read clearly by 1914 they did not think that MG's were Auto weapons, as they were not shown as such in the Ottoman 9th Div order of battle.

 

But that may not tell the full story, as possibly they or the older officers, may still have believed that, which may mean the weapons drawn from the Navy may have been these Auto weapons and not MG's?

 

Could that be the addition of these weapons to the 9th Div pre the landing?

 

S.B

Edited by stevebecker

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michaeldr

This may seem like an unnecessary recap, however I feel that it is worth making these points again under the circumstances of a 'part II thread'

 

 

Anything written today about events which took place over one hundred years ago is, one way or another, in the form of a translation.

 

Few of us here, myself included, understand Turkish and very few of our Turkish historians can read directly from any surviving original documents written before the introduction of the Latin alphabet in the 1920s.

 

It is not just a Turkish problem however. We, the British and Anzacs, also have a difficulty interpreting the form of English used by historians educated in Victorian times:

e.g. Brig-Gen Aspinall-Oglander was born in 1878 and already in the army before the old queen died. We therefore struggle with what he meant when he referred to “old-pattern maxim guns

 

Let us remind ourselves of his footnote on page 221 of the British OH which reads:-

“An article by a Turkish officer in the 'Turkish Military Review' October 1926, admits that the Turks had four old-pattern maxim guns at V, but states that two of them were knocked out by the naval bombardment before the troops landed. They also had two pom-poms at V. The article does not admit that there were any machine guns at W; but Br-General Hare is certain that two were firing on the beach from the right flank when he landed.”

 

The only things clear from this are:-

he was not mistaking machine-guns for pom-pom

that whatever they were, there were four of them

he referred to 'maxim' and not to either Maxim-Nordenfeldt or Nordenfeldt.

 

It must surely be significant that the number four mentioned by the Turkish officer in 1926 also coincides with the other information which we have. Captain Geddes' sketch indicates the 3 separate positions of three machine-guns. The position of a fourth was identified by the RNAS machine-gunners in the bows of the River Clyde, as being in the ruins of a tower of Sedd el Bahr fort. It was also spotted there by HMS Albion which pounded the position.

 

The statement by the Turkish officer appears to contradict what we have been told was standard Ottoman army practice regarding the holding of such a weapon in reserve behind the front line.

 

It has also been mentioned that immediately before the landings on the 25th April 1915 there was a rotation of Turkish forces at V Beach, which implies that any machine-guns would have gone back with the first, and not been available to their successors. But this does not agree with the Turkish officer in his 1926 article.

 

The preparations made by the Ottoman Turks for the landings, which after mid-March were now fully expected, included all sorts of things which deviated from whatever might have then been their recognised procedures and rules. The admirable flexibility which came up with an idea such as burying the heads of torpedoes to act as land mines, would see no problem in also deciding not to stick by their rule book and to keep a number of machine-guns in position covering the landing site(s).

 

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Rockturner

Well said Michael, a great piece of analytical research. As 'historians in arms', be it amateur or professional, what we must keep reminding ourselves is that history is not linear. Its twists and turns will try a derail us at every bend and test our capacity to think outside the square.  The often quoted statement that the Ottoman Army had a shortage of machine guns has never been disputed.

 

But what is disputed, is the fact that numerous reports that British and Anzac troops landed under machine gun fire are now claimed to be false. If such claims are to be taken seriously then the question we should all be working together to solve is, where did these imaginary machine guns come from? In this scenario let's all put our orders of battle to one side for a moment, because the simplest answer is, anywhere they could find them. If that includes bringing obsolescent machine guns back into service, or removing them from ships as a matter of urgency, as was common practice in both worlds wars then what is so shocking about this suggestion.

 

Let's hope version II of this thread concentrates on solving the questions we already have, not throwing more into the mix to confuse the issue.

 

Perhaps by working together, instead of against each other, we can grow our knowledge of this event in history and get to the bottom of this issue.

 

It is ridiculous to think that by simply claiming there was a shortage of these weapons it is enough to annul a multitude of MEF and Royal Navy accounts of enemy machine gun fire at the combined landings.

 

Rockturner

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gilly100
3 hours ago, michaeldr said:

This may seem like an unnecessary recap, however I feel that it is worth making these points again under the circumstances of a 'part II thread'

 

 

Anything written today about events which took place over one hundred years ago is, one way or another, in the form of a translation.

 

Few of us here, myself included, understand Turkish and very few of our Turkish historians can read directly from any surviving original documents written before the introduction of the Latin alphabet in the 1920s.

 

It is not just a Turkish problem however. We, the British and Anzacs, also have a difficulty interpreting the form of English used by historians educated in Victorian times:

e.g. Brig-Gen Aspinall-Oglander was born in 1878 and already in the army before the old queen died. We therefore struggle with what he meant when he referred to “old-pattern maxim guns

 

Let us remind ourselves of his footnote on page 221 of the British OH which reads:-

“An article by a Turkish officer in the 'Turkish Military Review' October 1926, admits that the Turks had four old-pattern maxim guns at V, but states that two of them were knocked out by the naval bombardment before the troops landed. They also had two pom-poms at V. The article does not admit that there were any machine guns at W; but Br-General Hare is certain that two were firing on the beach from the right flank when he landed.”

 

The only things clear from this are:-

he was not mistaking machine-guns for pom-pom

that whatever they were, there were four of them

he referred to 'maxim' and not to either Maxim-Nordenfeldt or Nordenfeldt.

 

It must surely be significant that the number four mentioned by the Turkish officer in 1926 also coincides with the other information which we have. Captain Geddes' sketch indicates the 3 separate positions of three machine-guns. The position of a fourth was identified by the RNAS machine-gunners in the bows of the River Clyde, as being in the ruins of a tower of Sedd el Bahr fort. It was also spotted there by HMS Albion which pounded the position.

 

The statement by the Turkish officer appears to contradict what we have been told was standard Ottoman army practice regarding the holding of such a weapon in reserve behind the front line.

 

It has also been mentioned that immediately before the landings on the 25th April 1915 there was a rotation of Turkish forces at V Beach, which implies that any machine-guns would have gone back with the first, and not been available to their successors. But this does not agree with the Turkish officer in his 1926 article.

 

The preparations made by the Ottoman Turks for the landings, which after mid-March were now fully expected, included all sorts of things which deviated from whatever might have then been their recognised procedures and rules. The admirable flexibility which came up with an idea such as burying the heads of torpedoes to act as land mines, would see no problem in also deciding not to stick by their rule book and to keep a number of machine-guns in position covering the landing site(s).

 

Amen to that. Succinctly put. The case for mg's at V Beach is rather well documented from all sides.

 

Ian

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