|British in action during 3rd Battle of Krithia, 4th June|
It wasn't long before Hamilton hatched his plan for a new definitive attack on Suvla Bay further to the north, but the preparation time for this was considerable - it would not take place until August. In the meantime, Hamilton persisted with numerous fruitless attritional battles in the south of the peninsula, losing many casualties and exhausting and demoralising those that survived.
But for a couple of bad decisions by officers in the field, the ANZAC attacks on 25th and 26th April might have got further. But men were deployed too far south and the advanced troops were vulnerable to a fierce counter attack by Mustapha Kemal and had to pull right back. Thereafter they were destined to hold what they had through the gruelling months to come. By May 19th the Turks had assembled sufficient forces to make a major effort to destroy the ANZAC beach head. They were repulsed with very heavy losses, and thereafter the ANZAC Cove was not really contested.
Further south the attempts from the beach heads were focused on the village of Krithia, the heart of the Turkish defence line, but also the gateway to the heights of Achi Baba. The bludgeoning style of Hunter-Weston, leading the British Forces of VII Corps, was wasteful and futile in the first two battles on 28th April, and from 6-8th May. For the third Battle of Krithia on June 4th, the British and French tried again with rather more preparation. Over the preceding weeks they advanced their trenches by about half a mile and gained realistic positions within striking distance of the Turkish line. Again though, they were disadvantaged by inadequate artillery and bombardment resources, and again there were heavy losses (around 10,000 dead and wounded) on each side, and stalemate ensued. The French tried again, bravely, on the right flank on 21st June, but were rebuffed within 24 hours. On 28th June yet another attack by the British on Krithia almost broke through, but by then von Sandars had reinforcements to call on, whereas the British had none, otherwise they might have made it to Achi Baba. One further attempt, by a weakened, disease ridden army, undersupplied with artillery and munitions, was made on 12-13th July, but any gains were small. In Hart's book "Gallipoli" the following diary entry by a senior British officer captures the futility of the last of these actions (13th July), and their impact on morale:
|2nd Lt Granville Egerton in|
his prime, 1879
"It seems to me that the fighting of this battle was premature and at the actual moment worse than unnecessary - I submit that it was cruel and wasteful. The troops on the peninsula were tired and worn out; there were only two infantry Brigades 155th and 157th, that had not been seriously engaged. It was well known to the higher command that large reinforcements were arriving from England and a grand attack was to be made at Suvla. Was it not therefore obvious that the exhausted garrison at Helles should be given a fortnight's respite and that the fresh attacks from that position should synchronise with those at Suvla and Anzac? I contend that the battle of 12-13th July was due to a complete want of a true appreciation of the situation. If the conception of the battle was wrong, the tactics of the action were far worse. The division of attack of two brigades on a narrow front in two phases, no less than nine hours apart, was positively wicked"
Major General Granville Egerton, HQ 52nd Division
In the Straits however, some success was achieved by a small number of British U-Boats (thirteen in total) that dived under the defences and made it into the Sea of Marmara. Eight of them were sunk eventually, but not before doing significant damage to Turkish shipping, including the sinking of one transport vessel with the appalling loss of 6,000 men. This activity slowed down the reinforcement of the Turkish defences on the peninsula, but despite Kitchener’s undertaking to make 210,000 men available for Hamilton's plan, the Allies were woefully short. For his make or break assault on Suvla Bay, Hamilton’s forces, complete with disease, injury and munitions shortages, comprised around 120,000 men.