The Life of Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston MP
Chapter Nine: Achieving the Impossible – The Beaches and Beyond
Achieving the Impossible – The Beaches and Beyond
There was to be no triumphant charge up Achi Baba. Instead, the unassuming ridge remained a recurring image in Hunter-Weston’s scrapbook, seeming to edge a little further away in each photograph. During the first desperate weeks of the campaign, he launched a series of brutal, slogging attacks that barely had any effect on the enemy’s defensive superiority. Having lost any hope of surprise, both the magnitude of the challenge facing the expedition and the risks of failure continued to grow rapidly. Many of the decisions that Hunter-Weston made during the initial phase of the fighting at Gallipoli may have been wrong or poorly judged, but none of them was easy.
The View from the Bridge
The landings made at Helles on 25 April were fought as separate battles, but together they removed any hope of a swift and decisive resolution to the campaign. Reports of enemy activity were already reaching the Turkish III Corps HQ as the Euryalus sailed within sight of Cape Tekke at 3 a.m.1 Two hours later, the KOSBs and Royal Marines were able to struggle up the cliffs at Y Beach unopposed. Lieut.-Colonel Matthews, who persisted in viewing the landing as a ‘demonstration’, sent out scouts, but otherwise he spent the morning awaiting further orders.2 The SWBs also easily achieved ← 145 | 146 → the other flank assault at S Beach on the eastern edge of Morto Bay; the shortage of...
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