BATTLE REPORT

BATTLE REPORT

known 12th August 1915

On the morning of 12th August three infantry battalions of the 163rd Brigade (1/5 Norfolks, 1/5 Suffolks and 1/8 Hants) were occupying trenches, running south from the right of the 10th Division, (‘at 117 D y to Point 28’). They had occupied these positions since the early morning of 11th August, and had experienced artillery fire and a certain amount of sniping; they were also suffering from a shortage want of water and great difficulty was had been experienced in getting water to them. At 1.15pm, orders were received at Brigade HQ, which was still situated at the Beach, ‘to advance and clear the area up to 118 Squares I N S of snipers’. Brigade were informed that the advance was to commence at 4pm and instructions were telephoned to Col Sir Horace Beauchamp Bart C.B. (CO 1/5 Norfolks - who was also in local command of the Brigade in the trenches) to order the Brigade to be ready at 4pm. By 3.25pm Brigade HQ had moved from the Beach and established itself on the forward line of trenches near the HQ of the 1/5 Suffolks. Here Staff Officers were dismayed to hear that the order to be ready to advance at 4 had not been received by the Suffolks or the 1/8 Hants. Not withstanding this breakdown in communication, the planned naval bombardment commenced precisely at 4pm. The Brigade attack, as stated in the War diary commenced at 4.40pm, units advanced in a line running approximately North and South. From the meagre entries in the War Diaries of the participating units it is possible to build up a picture of the action: a ‘snapshot’ a typical local attack 1915-style. (extracted from the War Diary of the 163rd Infantry Brigade (PRO reference WO95/4325) The attack is delayed but the bombardment, predominantly naval, is right on time – though largely ineffectual as HE rather than shrapnel is employed, and the targets have not been clearly specified, though the noise would certainly have been comforting for the waiting British troops. The advance starts circa 4.45/4.50 and almost immediately the 1/5 Norfolks’ make a half-turn to the right resulting in a separation of forces and confusion (and ultimately damaging intermingling of units). After a about 1000 yards advance across the plain (difficult, thorny scrub, ditches and dry watercourse) the Brigade is subjected to devastating enfilade fire (machine guns and small arms from the left, from the direction of Kidney Hill, and shelling, shrapnel from the right, from the direction of the W Hills; but the firing is les ferocious from the front allowing the advance to progress, although many men fall to sniper fire from well concealed Turkish marksmen (and women?) hidden in the scrub and low well-leafed trees (stunted oaks). Some elements of The 1/5 Norfolks on the right outpace the 1/8 Hants in the centre and the 1/5 Suffolks on the left. The confusion is increased by the scrub being set alight by shell fire and the chaotic advance continues unsupported through thick smoke; component forces getting split up, disorientated and attacked by defending Turks; resulting in many casualties killed and wounded. The men, weak through lack of sleep and water become exhausted and the attack slows; some (notably a number of the Norfolks) press on and, getting beyond the Turkish line are dealt with by the defending forces. The attack halts and a rallying position is established in the sunken track near the Anafarta wells

Created by: Ian65265

  • Born 1886

    Died 1915

    British Army 8/2215 Rifleman Hampshire Regiment 1/8th Battalion