Today is ANZAC Day


anzac hat

Today is the 25th of April.  It is ANZAC Day, commemorating the 99th anniversary of the landings of 31,000 men of The Australian Division, and the Australian-New Zealand Division (reinforced with two batteries of mountain guns) on the crescent-shaped portion of beach known as Ari Burnu, forever after known as Anzac Cove.

 gallipolilanding

The ANZAC landing began before dawn on 25 April 1915, and was initially unopposed,  By mid-morning, however, Turkish troops under LtCol Mustapha Kemal had reacted strongly and taken the landing beaches and the precariously shallow Dominion positions under rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire.  Unable to move forward, and hanging onto hillside rocks and scrapes, ANZAC Commander MajGen Sir William Birdwood asked to have the beach-head evacuated.

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The Royal Navy argued that such an evacuation, particularly under fire, was impractical.   So Birdwood was ordered to stay, with the advice given by General Sir Ian Hamilton to “dig, dig, dig!”.  It is from this message, many conclude, that the ANZACs became known as the “diggers”.    Despite herculean efforts and near-suicidal courage, including the tragically costly landings at Sulva Bay in August of 1915, the stalemate was never broken.  Unable to advance, with no evacuation possible, the ANZACs remained locked in their initial positions, enduring conditions even more horrendous than those on the Western Front, until finally pulled out as a part of the general evacuation of the Gallipoli Operation in December of 1915.

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ANZAC Day has become a day of remembrance for all Australian and New Zealand war dead, but remains especially poignant for the nearly 13,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who gave their lives in the foothills of the Bari Sair Mountains, in the eight months of hell on Earth that was Anzac Cove.

At the going down of the sun,

and in the morning,

we will remember them.

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7 Comments

Filed under Artillery, guns, history, infantry, navy, SIR!, Uncategorized, veterans, war

7 responses to “Today is ANZAC Day

  1. I feel the need to watch “Gallipoli” today :(

  2. To Captain Charles Upham, VC and Bar.

    His biography is Mark of the Lion, by Kenneth Sandford

  3. Paul L. Quandt

    The English has always been willing to spend other people’s lives.

    Paul

  4. Paul, not wishing to make a point over the graves of others or diminish anything at all, but

    photo/1

    http://www.1914-1918.net/Gallipoli.htm

    • Paul L. Quandt

      TD:

      Ok, I stand (sit) corrected on this campaign; however, they have not been shy in asking (demanding) troops from their colonies to come and die for Merry Ol’ England.

      Paul

  5. timactual

    The whole Gallipoli campaign was such a clusterfumble of a great opportunity it just makes you want to cry. It should be required study at all military schools. It was probably one of history’s decisive battles because of what didn’t happen rather than what did happen.