26 May 1915

ANZAC - The Australian war correspondent Charles Bean provides a succinct review of the difficulties facing the Gallipoli operations. He clearly has a more realistic grasp than General Sir Ian Hamilton of the dreadful situation they were in. "We are a 'containing force’ - we are holding up one force of Turks whilst another force of ours somewhere else does something: but what is there any prospect of its doing? We might with a shove have got our main ridge, but no force under 250,000 will get Achi Baba."

"May 26 Exceedingly quiet night and day on the beach - as it has been ever since May I9th. What are we doing all this while? I wish I knew. The Turks are now building us in all round, getting their lines stronger and stronger every day; I doubt if we could move out through the front, even if reinforced, today; they have guns in their firing line at Johnston's jolly, and our howitzers say they can't get at them, and our 18-pounders have no common shell, They are making grid-iron trenches in places where their trenches were weak - and our job is sitting and looking on. Our artillery ammunition is pretty strictly cut down (due to supply shortages); we get about one half hour of aeroplane in three days. The Navy is now out of it - we can scarcely expect them to come out and be torpedoed day by day, although there are warships visible down south - possibly some of them are sham warships. Sixteen of our guns are off helping in the push down south. We are a 'containing force' - we are holding up one force of Turks whilst another force of ours somewhere else does something: but what is there any prospect of its doing? We might with a shove have got our main ridge, but no force under 250,000 will get Achi Baba. As far as I can see the force down there is doing exactly what we are - namely, allowing an army of Turks to make itself each day tremendously stronger in a position already naturally strong."

The Gallipoli campaign was doomed.

Photograph: Charles Bean at Gallipoli (Courtesy AWM)

SOURCE:
C. E. W. Bean, edited b K. Fewster, Bean's Gallipoli: The diaries of Australia's War correspondent, (Cows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007), p. 137