ARIBURNU CAMPAIGN (KANLISIRT AND CONKBAYIRI BATTLES)


Anzac units had been in the most violent battlefields which Duztepe, Conkbayırı, Besimetepe, Abdalyarı, from Kurtgecidi to Kocacimentepe and passages, valleies reaching to the sea. British forces named that area Sarıbayır. This attack started 04.30 hours, right after a bombardiment took placed around a hour long at Kanlısırt trenches. Around 05.30 hours three or four waves of anzac forces started to attack. First two waves of the attack happend from the trenches previosly prepared and casualties were low. Other two waves came from right after the first one. When meeting with Turkish trenches bloody battle was started. On the other hand heavy bombardment caused big destruction over many trenches and almost all of the 16th divisions 47th Regiment was about to perish which was responsible of the defens of that area. German history writer Rudolph Stratz was telling his observation what he saw right after the war in Canakkale trenches;

“After the evacuation of all Gelibolu peninsula, two skelotons were found in a trench one of them uniformed Turkish, the other was British, Those man were laying down lifelessly next to the trechs Wall with their daggers in each others hearts.”

Campaign started after the sun went down on 6th august wıth the movement of 2000 personnel unit. This unit continued its movement after capturing the 3rd outpost with suprise attack. They reached Damacılarbayırı at 23.00 hours, at the midnight place was captured with 200 Turkish prisoners.

While allied forces attack to Kanlısırt purposed to cut to Turkish reinforcement to the Conkbayırı was continuing with all its fearce, main point of the campaign which was the Suvla port, landing started at 22.30 hours.

When hours reached 06.00 in the morning, a New Zealand Brigade captured Sahinsırtı and continued to their target, Conkbayırı. Besides that 29th Indian Brigade reached West of Conkbayırı, 4th australian Brigade reached to southwest hills of Asmalıdere. Wıth this conditions 19th Division Commande Mustafa Kemal sent 14th Regiments 1st battalion to Kocacımentepe, 72th Regiments two squadrons to Conkbayırı. wıth this maneuvers first defense line over between Kocacımentepe and Conkbayırı was establised. Mustafa Kemal ordered to 14th Regiments 1st Battalion to hold to Conkbayırı with all coasts. As a result of that movement of British forces was blocked.

In the morning of august 7th, Allanson and his gurkhas located at Besimtepes firing range, Australians were started to wait at mile from Kocacimentepe which was defended by only a few sharpshooters. Right wing attack commander Johnstons New Zealenders were at the Sahinsırtı well trenched and waiting for the Canterbury Battalion over 1000 yard from the pick of the defensless Conkbayırı. Surrounding the Turkish forces from all directions The British forces were really close to the victory.

Esat Pasha decided to sent 9th Division to Conkbayırı as the reinforcment. With this order Division commander German Colonel Kannengiesser, begin to relocate his forces 64th and 25th Regiments to the Conkbayırı. Colonel Kannengieser created two small battlefields with the reinforcments from 14th Regiments 1st Battalion and 72nd Regiments two squadrons. He ordered those forces to be at Conkbayırı immediately. After the cannons fires attack started, 14th Regiments 1st Battalion resist to it and wıth the support from 25th regiment attack was stopped. There wasnt any other attack through out the day. They started to dig trnches and attack was postponed to next day.

After the injury of Kannengiesser, Liueutenant Colonel Cemil Bey was sent to be a new commander. New commander reported that the Conkbayırı attacked was stopped and wiıt the nightfall there will be a attack to the Sahınsırtı for recapturing the area. Anafartalar Group Commander Wilmer requested reinforcement units;

Apparently enemies movement was for a short while. Siege of Conkbayırı was out of question. Realistcly saying that, New Zealenders occupation of the pick of the Conkbayırı wasnt possible. With the explanation above, withdraw of the 64th Regiment was all about the tactics.

Group Commander Esat Pasha had to sent his 10th regiment to reinforce 19th division, meanwhile he also called his own brother Mirliva Vehip Pasha and ask support forces from him. With this request Vehip pasha sent his 8th Division with its two regiment. With all of those inforcement and maneuvers attack occured 8/9 august night at 22.30 hours couldnt wıthdraw British forces.

Every day was different in Conkbayırı. Many units had been placed around the area but the command problem had not been sorted. They hadn’t manage to direct and lead the units according to the plan. Army corpse Stuff Major Fahrettin Altay was the man who put forward Mustafa Kemal as the Anafartalar Battlesite commander. His superior official, Esat Pasha, approved Mustafa Kemal’s assignment and Gazi Pasha (Mustafa Kemal) became the commander of the battlesite.

Mustafa Kemal was sent to Anafartalar at 9:45 and moved forward to Çamlıtekke at no time. Thus, Mustafa Kemal’s command zone broadened and included Conkbayırı. Mustafa Kemal was successful in some small battles commanding 7th and 12th division. Being annoyed with the disorder around Conkbayırı, Mustafa Kemal made his way to 8th division headquarter under a heavy bombardment to take over the control of Conkbayırı. He received some information about the latest developments.

In the light of the information he had got from the headquarter, Mustafa Kemal decided to raid and attack on 10th of August at 4:30 am. However, the other commanders were in favor of waiting for he reinforcements to arrive. Mustafa Kemal didn’t care about the hesitations and kept his determination about his attack plan.

Mustafa Kemal believed they could defeat the enemy by a swift and a fierce raid. To achive his goal, an eleborate supply and commanding skills were required. In order to prove his determination, he stayed the night in 8th division, where he had planned as the control centre during the attack. Mustafa Kemal was not going to give up even if the reinforcements didn’t arrive in time, which was a sign of his strong belief in victory. He had prepared all the attacking forces and his units were ready to attack with their beyatons. According to the plan, the attack was going to start from a hill that overlooked the north of Conkbayırı at 4:30 am.

The attack started fast as planned; The Turkish infantries lunged at the British trenches and a fierce boyaten fight broke out. The battle didn’t last long and British survivers had to retreat disorderly. The 23rd regiment started to chase British soldiers. Meanwhile, the hot battle between the Turks and General Boldvin’s brigade hadn’t been over yet. The peninsula’s bloodiest battle ended up with the victory of Turkish force and Ağıl zone near Conkbayırı was acquired. Also, General Boldvin and the executive officer were killed during this battle.

During the close combat, Mustafa Kemal, who was commanding his forces in the hot spot at the time, was hit by a shrapnel on the ride side of his chest and it destroyed the watch in his pocket, leaving a deep stain of blood on his body.

The enemy was repulsed by Mustafa Kemal’s persistence. The Turkish took over the control in the east of Şahinsırtı. The attack was halted at 12:15 in order to make the victory effective and permanent. Turkish forces didn’t give a passage to the enemy with an uncommon heroic act and at the cost of burrying their many brothers for the sake of their country.