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A train line between Anzac & Suvla

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Peter Trounson View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29 Oct 2012 at 16:55
Interesting to note that a light 2' 6" gauge rail between Suvla and Anzac Cove was being considered for the moving of supplies between the two areas. Needless to say this idea was soon scrapped as it would have been extremely vulnerable to the Turkish artillery with the trains only being able to be run at night and a two span bridge would have had to have been built over the Sazli creek bed. One could only imagine the lack of volunteers to man the train to start off with. As with all railways they are easily spotted from the air and the safe storage of the engines themselves during the day would have been a nightmare. 

Two lorries were landed on September the 15th and were run along the foreshore to supply the ammunition to two artillery batteries situated at Taylor's Hollow and the other in the sand hills halfway to Suvla. This was a relatively successful experiment though never expanded upon. One truck eventually broke down after getting sand into its gears.

Information taken from Australian Official History of WW1 Vol 2.
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Krithia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krithia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Oct 2012 at 18:12
Very interesting. From studying photos of the campaign there seems to have been a fair amount of motorised transport landed on Gallipoli (towards the end of the campaign). There were trucks, as described by Peter, and ambulance wagons, steam tractors and narrow-gauge rail lines. The Army Service Corps history and diaries may be of interest, an area I have never read much into, but I bet they had many stories of dicing with death on those Peninsula roads!


Edited by Krithia - 30 Oct 2012 at 11:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Trounson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2012 at 04:56
Apart from the wooden tram line that was constructed which would have used man and mule power I doubt that there would have been any motorized transport at Anzac apart from the two trucks that I have mentioned as the terrain would just have been impractical for its use. When I get time I will look up the pertinent Australian unit diaries and see if the lorries get a mention or not. 

The use of the armoured cars in one of the attacks at Krithia rarely gets noted and wouldn't it have been hell to be in one of those. No guess as to what was going to be the centre of attention with all artillery pieces and small arms fire being directed ones way. Though from diary extracts it seems that in their first attack they all returned safely even though two did reach the Turkish trenches!

Like the bicycle episode there is always something else to learn.

It would have been interesting if Mr. Livens had developed his industrial size flame thrower twelve months earlier than he did and the army was able to employ them at Helles or Suvla. Then of course the ludicrous situation of not having enough troops to complete the mission would have reared its ugly head.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krithia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2012 at 11:58
The good old armoured cars, a favourite of mine. Of the 4 Rolls Royce cars used on the attack one fell into a trench and another was hit by a shell, knocking its turret off. I think two, as you say, reached the Turkish frontlines and then spent some time driving up and down. The idea was to reverse into the Turkish barbed wire, drop a grapling hook onto this, and drive off, pulling the Turkish wire with them. I just love this madness! This failed, and after 4th June they were not used again. The cars were sent back to Egypt and the crews dismounted to use their MGs to good effect in support of the lines at Suvla, Anzac and Helles.

As to flame throwers, what a useless weapon. If you think sitting in an armoured car attracts attension, walking up to their front line with a tank of fuel on your back would be even worse. And the industrial size ones were even more useless.

This was an artillery war, pure and simple. For that you need men and shell, but in 1915 there was neither.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Trounson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2012 at 13:02
From what I understand the  Levin flame throwers that were able to be used on the Somme worked quite well which contributed significantly to only part of the line which made gains on the day. The holdback with them is that the line had to be static for so long for them to be placed successfully which certainly was not an issue at Gallipoli. I would think that as nothing was working for the allies anyway then it would have been well worth the try if they had been available. Still as usual opinions vary but as I say there was never enough troops to finish the job so it is rather a moot point.

Edited by Peter Trounson - 30 Oct 2012 at 13:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krithia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2012 at 13:11
I think the limitations are the problem with flame throwers, as shown by "contributed significantly to only part of the line". There were breakthroughs in part of the line at Gallipoli without them, but most, if not all failed, either due to your moot point or due to the strong nature of Turkish defence. When the portable ones were introduced on the Western Front, they were effective against bunkers and tunnels, and of course used again in WWII to the same effect. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob L. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2013 at 22:04
Hi all, i'm very interested in the motor vehicles at Gallipoli, and steam ones too - is anyone able to supply photographs of these? I started a topic on the subject on the Great War Forum, the only images that came up though were two showing the 30 cwt lorries, which appear to be Daimlers, and a couple of motor ambulances in the distance so unable to determine their manufacturer. I've seen images of the Rolls Royce armoured cars too.

Were all the railways used animal/man hauled or did they land any locomotives at all?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Trounson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2013 at 23:15
No locomotives at all at Gallipoli as far as I know. The train lines that I have seen in photographs would certainly have not carried any sort of locomotive. Possibly may have had one on Lemnos or Imbros.
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