5. The Nek | Service Eligibility Assistant, Additional Information, Historical Information, Part 1 Military History, Ch 1 World War I, S 2 Gallipoli

You are here

5. The Nek

Chunuk Bair was expected to be taken by dawn on 7 August so that the attacking troops could then mount an attack back towards Anzac Cove. The dismounted 8th (Victorian) and 10th (West Australian) Light Horse Regiments were to attack towards Chunuk Bair by assaulting the formidable position at the Nek. Such an attack was considered hopeless unless aided by the troops attacking from Chunuk Bair and by the seizure of three Turkish positions adjacent to the Nek. As the time for the assault approached, the adjacent positions were still held by the Turks and the New Zealanders were still approaching the summit of Chunuk Bair. It was decided that something had to be done to help the New Zealanders approaching Chunuk Bair and that the attack on the Nek was to go ahead primarily as a feint to keep the Turks off Chunuk Bair. The attack was made by four lines, each of 150 men. Tragically the preceding bombardment ceased seven minutes prior to the attack. 234 Light Horsemen were killed and 138 were wounded in an area no larger than a tennis court.

On 10 August, the allies faced the fact that the August offensive had failed. In four days of fighting at Anzac Cove, Australian and British troops had suffered 12000 casualties. The bridgeheads of Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay were connected only by a thin strip of foreshore and on 21 August and again on 27 August attacks were made to improve this junction. The 2nd Australian Division commenced landing at Anzac Cove in mid August and some of its troops were involved in the fighting on 27 August. With the failure of the August battles, the future of the campaign was questioned. London received a number of criticisms of the conduct of the campaign including Keith Murdoch's colourful and partially inaccurate but influential report. By the end of October military opinion favoured evacuation and after five weeks of hesitation, the British government decided on withdrawal on 7 December.