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Gas, Turks and Gallipoli - 1915


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My Great Grandfather was 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers.  Family oral history is that he was gassed in WW1 and this precipitated his early death.  He was injured out in 1917 with 'Chronic Bronchitis' after fighting Arras and Ypres after Gallipoli (dying age 43 in 1921). I believe he would have been blood-tested for TB so unlikely to be that.  This from the Gallipoli Diaries for 1st Batallion.  Given they were also gassed in France I think he's more likely to have suffered lasting injury in France than from the attack below that sounds like tear-gas.

"TRENCHES 9th Oct 1915.  At 18:00 several gas bombs fell into our lines. Probably fired by a trench  mortar. The gas from the bombs caused the eyes to water freely - effect  like strong pepper. Spread in distance up to 80 yards and left a smell of  sulphated hydrogen.  TRENCHES 10th Oct 1915.  2 Lt ASHTON took over command of Battalion machine-guns.  Bombs were fired at intervals during the night, creating rather an  unpleasant smell and stinging the eyes"

Lancashire Fusiliers, Adjutant. Gallipoli Diaries: 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (p. 92). Great War Diaries. Kindle Edition. 

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On 15/10/2020 at 09:44, green_acorn said:

Yep, please see my post just now from 10 Jan 2022.  1st Lancashire Fusiliers war diaries.

"TRENCHES 9th Oct 1915.  At 18:00 several gas bombs fell into our lines. Probably fired by a trench  mortar. The gas from the bombs caused the eyes to water freely - effect  like strong pepper. Spread in distance up to 80 yards and left a smell of  sulphated hydrogen.  TRENCHES 10th Oct 1915.  2 Lt ASHTON took over command of Battalion machine-guns.  Bombs were fired at intervals during the night, creating rather an  unpleasant smell and stinging the eyes."

Lancashire Fusiliers, Adjutant. Gallipoli Diaries: 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (p. 92). Great War Diaries. Kindle Edition. 

 

Edited by Mike Doyle
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Mate,

Certainly in the AIF, Bronchitis was often used when the cause would be gas, there were many others I ve seen and I think others have mentioned them.

S.B

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According to a staff officer called Major Cemil, HQ 12th Division, there was a plan to make an attack using "gas bombs" at Suvla in early November. 

In his report dated 1918, which I was completely unaware of until a couple of days ago, Maj. Cemil notes that at that time no one knew how to use these "gas bombs" and an officer had to be sent from Germany specifically for this job. The German officer surveyed the front of the division and ascertained that the country was suitable for this operation. The division was initially given 40 bombs. Cemil does not specify their types but mentions that these were successfully tested in the flat country near today's Beşyol village, behind Tekke Tepe. While drills were being held for the attack, the word arrived from the army that the attack has been postponed indefinitely. Eventually, it never materialised.

Source: https://kutuphane.ttk.gov.tr/details?id=599685&materialType=KT&query=Sayılır%2C+Burhan. p.119.

 

Edited by emrezmen
Source added - correction
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1 hour ago, emrezmen said:

The division was initially given 40 bombs. Cemil does not specify their types but mentions that these were successfully tested in the flat country near today's Beşyol village, behind Tekke Tepe.

Thank you for that reference Emre, which is very interesting indeed.

Like yourself, Sheffy seems to have been unaware of this report. His paper [https://doi.org/10.1191%2F0968344505wh317oa] which I rely upon when discussing the subject of gas, makes no mention of gas or chemical weapons actually having been delivered from Germany.

Quote:

… several German sources, including the memoirs of a divisional commander in the campaign, mentioned that the Ottoman high command had been tempted by the idea and even taken preliminary steps towards implementing it. According to these sources, the Ottomans, encouraged by the failure of the British August offensive and the opening of the uninterrupted route between Berlin and Istanbul after the alliance with Bulgaria and the occupation of Serbia, began preparations for a grand offensive to remove the MEF from Gallipoli. Among the weapon systems they asked Germany to provide for this purpose were chemical weapons, but whether they were actually supplied remains unknown. ¹²² The Turkish official history of the campaign devoted two pages to the planning of and the preparations for this decisive offensive, which was to take place early in December, but contented itself with the generalization that the ‘German high command was willing to release additional war equipment … [and an] additional engineering corps’. It also complained that the promised troops or equipment never arrived. ¹²³ In any event, the planned offensive never materialized, being preceded by the British evacuation.

Note: 122 - H. Geyer, ‘Der Gaskrieg’, in M. Schwarte, Der grosse Krieg 1914–1918 (Leipzig, 1922), IV, p. 502; H. von Kannengiesser, The Campaign in Gallipoli (London, 1928), p. 238.

Note: 123 - TC Genelkurmay Başkanliği [Turkish General Staff], Turk Silahe Kuvvetleri Tarihi, Osmanli Devri, Birinci Dünya Harbinde Türk Harbi, Vncu Cilt, 3ncu Kitap, Çanakale Cephesi Harekati (Haziran 1915–Ocak 1916) (Ankara, 1980), pp. 332–33. This is the third volume of the Turkish official history of the Gallipoli campaign, covering the period June 1915– January 1916. See also T. Travers, Gallipoli, 1915 (Stroud, 2001), based on the Turkish General Staff Archives in Ankara.

end of quote

Edited by michaeldr
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Mates,

I wonder if that was one of three ranking officers sent to Turkey late in 1915 to train them in the new tactic's being used in France.

Also what is meant by gas bombs?

At that stage of the war, gas was used in large cyclinders, not in bombs?

Of cause it maybe non lethal types of gas or smoke.

S.B

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Thank you, Michael. Checks with officer's account to some extent.

17 hours ago, stevebecker said:

Also what is meant by gas bombs?

At that stage of the war, gas was used in large cyclinders, not in bombs?

Of cause it maybe non lethal types of gas or smoke.

Hello, Steve. I went through my source once again. One thing I missed out is that he also mentions "bomba topu" (lit. minenwerfer). May well be something like this:

9113b4d3809ba17e27c0bf24d7758b1e.jpg.66ba32f2b3bcd0cf419746899c80a5c1.jpg

Further research is needed. I am sure the war diary of the division has much more on this.
 

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All fascinating stuff and a great find Emre; thanks for sharing. If you can get to the divisional diary then we look forward to hearing more; good luck

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 13/01/2022 at 00:01, emrezmen said:

Thank you, Michael. Checks with officer's account to some extent.

Hello, Steve. I went through my source once again. One thing I missed out is that he also mentions "bomba topu" (lit. minenwerfer). May well be something like this:

9113b4d3809ba17e27c0bf24d7758b1e.jpg.66ba32f2b3bcd0cf419746899c80a5c1.jpg

Further research is needed. I am sure the war diary of the division has much more on this.
 

Noting the M16 Stahlhelm helmets being worn, this photo must have been taken post January 1916.  They are not early versions of the helmet as they don’t seem to have the large air vent/sniper shield lug.  https://alexanderandsonsrestorations.com/short-history-german-steel-helmet-great-war/  The projectors look very similar to the British Liven’s projectors which the BEF started using in 1916 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livens_Projector.  The gas shells are a standard artillery gas shell, I don’t have my German shell handbook produced by GHQ BEF handy, but that would help date the image.   Did the Germans copy the idea for the Livens projector?

 

 

Cheers,

Chris

 

PS: Noting the apparent age of the second soldier, calling up younger cohorts for service, could this image be from March 1918, preparing a gas attack for the Kaiserschlacht offensive?

Edited by green_acorn
Adding the Post Script
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Mate,

(Mortar or Humbara in Turkish) sent from Germany were never used by the Turks. Instead they formed there own used from rebarrelled old guns as Mortars.

They were quickly disbanded.

The same for there flame throwers sent by Germany for the Ottoman Storm units, these were placed in storeage and not used.

why so many modern weapons sent by Germany were never used is unknown, there was a question of technical trained soldiers in the Ottoman Armies, thats why so many Germans were sent there for these jobs?

Even all the Air units had trouble finding these types to fix the aircraft in the new Air Companies and again many Germans had to fill the gaps.

I don't know if it was the lack of education in the Ottoman Empire pre war of the lower classes, they didn't have the educational reforms as the UK and most western countries did in the 1800's

S.B

 

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