10/8/1915 Chunuk Bair: the Turks counter-attack

The Allies are attempting to break out of the Anzac Cove enclave on the Gallipoli peninsula. British forces landed at Suvla Bay, to the north of the Cove, but their advances were blocked by Turkish troops and their own ineffectual commanders. From Anzac Cove itself soldiers from across the British Empire are trying to take the Sari Bair ridge that dominates their position. Fighting has not gone as well as hoped, but New Zealand troops have managed to take the Chunuk Bair peak, supported by Gurkhas and British units. If they can hold on here then maybe the Allies will be able to break out and march across the peninsula, eliminating the Turkish shore batteries and opening a route though the Hellespont to Constantinople for the British fleet. Then this whole bloody Gallipoli campaign will not have been for nothing.
But the Turks are not giving up Chunuk Bair without a fight. Today Mustafa Kemal leads a counterattack, attempting to overwhelm the enemy with massed infantry assaults. The guns of British ships offshore blast the Turks, but their assaults are unstoppable. At great cost the Turks overwhelm the defenders of Chunuk Bair, wiping out the units on the summit. Kemal leads the attacks in person; he is reputedly struck in the chest by an enemy bullet, but it glances off his pocket watch.

The Allies still hold positions further down the slope, but with the Turks back on Chunuk Bair in strength the battle is as good as over. The Suvla Bay landing has extended the Anzac Cove enclave but there is no prospect of a break out. The attempt to take Sari Bair has turned into another bloody stalemate. For the Allies, any chance of a victory in Gallipoli has passed. The August Offensive has failed.

The Allies have suffered 25,000 casualties since the 6th of August, the Turks 20,000.

image sources:

Diorama photos (Mustering the Troops: the Great War Exhibition Miniature Painting Project)

map (Mental Floss)

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