Sari Bair - The Turkish Counterattack


It would not be an exaggeration to claim that the Ottoman army's Chunuk Bair offensive on 10 August was the most successful one throughout the eight-month long land campaign in Gallipoli. On the evening of 9 August, Colonel Mustafa Kemal went from his headquarters at Camlie Tekke to Chunuk Bair. He faced much opposition from the commanders of the divisions and the regiments to his idea of an immediate attack: the soldiers were tired, there appeared little chance of reinforcements; the machine-guns of the New Zealanders at Rhododendron Ridge were giving no respite; and the Royal Navy was pouring unremitting fire on Chunuk Bair. Yet Mustafa Kemal insisted and so one of the most critical decisions throughout the Gallipoli battles was made: to launch an offensive against the positions at Q Hills, Chunuk Bair and Rhododendron Ridge.

Before daybreak, at a round 4.00 a.m., Mustafa Kemal was in the front line together with the commander 8th Division Ali Rlza Bey, and with the troops who would launch a bayonet attack from the eastern slopes. They descended like a torrent, disper sing the British troops. The loss of the Turkish troops was no less than those they inflicted on their adversaries.

The Tur ks were not ready for the operation at Suvla and Chunuk Bair. However, it resulted in a Turkish victory because of the lack of resolution shown by the landing forces in pushing forward from the beaches, as well as thanks to the bravery, decisiveness and devotion displayed by Mustafa Kemal and the Turkish troops.


The Gallipoli Campaign



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by Stephen Luscombe