07 August 1915

SUVLA - Major Hans Kannengiesser, Commander 9th Ottoman Division - Daylight had come and instead of the 11th Division having secured Suvla Bay and the surrounding hills, all it had secured were the two horns of the bay. Out of twelve battalions only three had directly engaged the Turks (6th Yorks, 9th Lancashire Fusiliers and the 11th Manchesters); the others were sitting virtually idle, awaiting orders. Hammersley’s Divisional Headquarters and the Corps Commander knew nothing of what was happening at this stage, so no direction, when it was most needed, was forthcoming.

Painting: C and B Beaches during the Suvla landings by Norman Wilkinson (From the book The Dardanelles by Norman Wilkinson)

About the same time Colonel Hans Kannengiesser, commanding the Turkish 9th Division, had been informed that enemy troops had landed north of Ari Burnu. From the heights he could observe the situation, recalling:

"Suvla Bay lay full of ships. We counted ten transports, six warships, and seven hospital ships. On land we saw a confused mass of troops, like a disturbed ant-heap, and across the blinding white surface of the dried salt sea we saw a battery marching in a southerly direction. With glasses I was able to pick up bit by bit Willmer’s companies north of the Asmak Dere on the east border of the flat country, and I saw English troops on Lala Baba and, on the flat, in certain places, entrenching. Nowhere was there fighting in progress. During the reconnaissance we found a Turkish battery whose battery commander I had to awaken, as he had no idea of the altered battle front. He opened fire on the troops crossing the dried salt sea, but could only reach with high explosive."

IX Corps had suffered 1,700 casualties in the first twenty-four hours; this was almost as many men that Major Willmer had to defend the Suvla area. Willmer reported back to the commander of the Turkish Fifth Army, General Otto Liman Von Sanders, at 7.00 pm on 7 August, that no energetic attacks on the enemy’s part have taken place. On the contrary, the enemy is advancing timidly. Willmer begged for reinforcements to arrive as soon as possible, as he believed this lull would not continue and that the British would attack soon. Von Sanders had received the news of the landing at Suvla at 1.40 am on 7 August. As soon as it became clear that Bulair was not threatened and, sharing the same fear that the British would break through soon, he ordered both Turkish 7th and 12th Divisions, under the command of Colonel Feyzi Bey (XVI Corps) to the south. Ahead of these battle hardened units was a punishing thirty mile forced march, which they began soon after receiving the order to move at 6.30 am. This force would be needed urgently for von Sanders to launch a counterattack which he wanted to happen as early as possible on 8 August. He directed the 7th Division to go into the line north of the Sari Bair ridge where the Anzac offensive was threatening, whilst directing the 12th Division against Suvla. As this attack could not happen for almost another day, this gave the British almost a whole day to take advantage of the situation. The British were only three miles away from their goal; the Turks thirty miles! No one stood in between.


S.Chambers, Suvla: August Offensive (Pen & Sword, Barnsley, 2011), pp.62-64., Kannengiesser, H., The Campaign in Gallipoli (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1927), pp.205-6.