Australia's Role in World War II
The Gallipoli campaign was a major land and sea operation of World War
1& 2, in which British, French, Australian and New Zealand forces
unsuccessfully attempted an invasion of turkey. The invasion was
confined to the Dardanelles strait and the tip of the Gallipoli
Peninsula near Istanbul. The Campaign arose with problems faced by
Russia; Russia was allied to Britain and France. They wanted to send
men and supplies to Europe although this supply route went from the
black sea through the Sea of Marmara, then through the Dardanelle
straits to the Mediterranean. Though the Turkish whom were allied to
Germany and Austria controlled all of this area. The Turks insured
that no allied supplies would get through to Russia, and as the
Dardanelles was the key to Russia's supply route. Russia asked the
British and the French to clear the Dardanelles of Turkish control.
The Dardanelles was a narrow stretch of water almost 100 km long The
British decided that if they could successfully invade the Gallipoli
peninsula it would allow them to open up the Dardanelles, land a large
number of troops and invade the rest of Turkey.
What initially was to be exclusively a naval affair failed in February
1915 when several British and French ships were damaged by floating
mines. A land invasion was then decided on. They formed an allied
force consisting of 75 000 men, 30 000 of which where ANZAC troops.
The Australians were glad that they could begin fighting as they had
become tired of waiting in Egypt, they had been training for 14 weeks
under the command of Lieutenant-General William Birdwood. Their
frustration and boredom led to riots and pranks in Cairo, these
actions earned the Australian troops a name for being reckless and
uncontrollable. There was a general sense of excitement among the
troops when they knew they were finally going to take part in the war.
The plan was for the ANZACS to land 21 kilometers north of Cape Helles
on a low grassy area that rose gradually to a main hill 7 kilometers
away. The first Australian division of 12 000 troops was to be the
first to infiltrate the landing on ANZAC cove, take control of the
cliffs and to give cover to the 29th British division and a French
division that was to land further south at Cape Helles and Kum Kale.
Their plan was to clear small enemy forces for their positions on the
hills, then the soldiers would destroy the artillery which was
stopping the ships from entering the strait.
So in the early hours of the morning of the 25th April 1915,the first
wave of ANZACS a party of about 4000 troops rowed for the shores of
Gallipoli, each soldiers carrying his rifle, 200 rounds of ammunition,
2 extra days of rations and full packs. But as they approached the
beach they were rained down apon by heavy machine...