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By Stephen Chambers

The August Offensive was once born out of the disasters of the Gallipoli landings and the following battles of overdue spring and early summer time 1915. normal Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary strength, selected to play all his ultimate playing cards during this bold and inventive gamble that he was hoping could ultimately flip the tide within the allies desire and convey his military up onto the heights overlooking the elusive Dardanelles.

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It was described as: ... mad country. Watercourses change direction, seemingly gentle slopes conceal a precipitous and treacherous surface under the scrub, there is no method in anything ... One ravine is very much like another, the levels are all wrong, and without a compass or the summits to guide one, it is surprisingly easy to scale a tortuous ravine only to find oneself farther away from the summit than one began. North Anzac. Knowing the ground is important to understand the challenges that faced the men.

It is to be remembered that Anzac is completely invested by the enemy; that no one has been able to reconnoitre the ground outside and that no one can absolutely guarantee the map. There are no villages and no inhabitants to help one, and the whole country seemed to be stiff with very sharp rocky cliffs, covered with thick scrub. I have a few ideas about night marches, their great difficulty and the need of careful reconnaissance, but when I was told that we were to break through the opposing outpost line at 10 pm on the 6th, march along the sea coast for three miles then turn at right angles and attempt to get under this big ridge about two miles inland, by dawn, and covered from the sea by innumerable small hills and nullahs, I felt what one would have done to a subaltern at a promotion examination who made any such proposition.

The beginning of the shells scandal, amongst other problems, had toppled the Liberal government; although Asquith continued as Prime Minister in a newly formed coalition government, Winston Churchill was forced to leave his position as First Lord of the Admiralty. The War Council, in charge of the strategic direction of the war, was reformed under Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, and was meaningfully named the Dardanelles Committee. Hamilton had a request pending for three more divisions in total, in addition to the 52nd (Lowland) Division that Kitchener had already promised him.

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Anzac Sari Bair by Stephen Chambers

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