The task of the ANZAC Corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula was to draw upon itself the Ottoman reserve so the principal landing of the British at Cape Helles could proceed unmolested by this reserve. Thus the Corps senior officers decided upon a cautious approach - far from the full-blooded thrust it is generally thought to be. The Corps was deployed on the first reasonable defensive position ashore and spent the day repelling the anticipated counterattacks. This successful defensive battle, rather than the landing, should be regarded as the critical event of the day. It is not possible to make an amphibious landing designed to attract the enemy reserve unless one knows where that reserve is. This the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force HQ did know, in considerable detail. As it happened the ANZAC Corps landed in the wrong place and this has been seen as the cause of its failure. But the error was not so great as to prevent the Corps fulfilling its task. It was rather that the Ottoman Reserve was a strong force, well supplied with artillery, which was primarily responsible for the disorder into which the Corps fell. An assessment of the combat effectiveness of the respective forces shows the ANZAC Corps to have suffered higher casualties than has thus far been thought and that the Ottoman Reserve was overall the superior of the two. Late in the day with the Ottoman Reserve becoming the attacker and the ANZAC Corps the defender this superiority proved to be not quite sufficient to overcome the natural advantages which in modem war accrue to the defender.
|Date of Award||Apr 2000|
|Supervisor||Alan Powell (Supervisor)|