Anzac - The Chunuk Bair Atatürk memorial

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CHUNUK BAIR ATATÜRK MEMORIAL
CONKBAYIRI ATATÜRK ANITI

back to if stones could speak

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's statue at Chunuk Bair

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IF STONES COULD SPEAK - ANZAC

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 open fire with his machine-guns and should the land and naval guns open fire on our troops in our close packed formation I wouldn’t doubt the impossibility of the situation facing us. I ran forward at once.  I encountered the Divisional Commander. Together and with those accompanyingaccompanying us we passed in front of the assault line. I made a short rapid inspection.  Passing in front I greeted the men and addressed them : “Soldiers! There is no doubt we shall defeat the enemy opposing us. But don’t you hurry, let me get in front first. When you see me wave my whip all of you rush forward together!”. I told my commanders and officers to get troops to watch for my signal. Then I went to a point forward of the assault line, and, raising my whip, gave the signal for the assault.

Translated from “Memoirs of the Anafartalar Battles”, Çanakkale recollections / Volume I, (Istanbul 2005), Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, p. 88-89

25th April 1915 : Together with my batsman, my lieutenant, the regimental doctor and the Divisional Mountain Battery commander we continued on horseback towards Chunuk Bair.  As the terrain was getting difficult we dismounted and arrived at Chunuk Bair on foot.  What we saw there was most interesting and –in my opinion- a crucial moment in the ongoing events of that day. A group of soldiers came running towards us from Hill 261 (North of battleship hill-Southern slope of Chunuk Bair). I stopped them and asked why they were running away, they said, “Sir, the enemy!” and showed a small group of Infantry soldiers following them at a distance.  Can you imagine, the enemy was closer to me than my troops which I had left behind.  I told them, “You can not run away from the enemy!”.  They said they had no bullets left and I replied, “If you have no ammunition you have your bayonets” and ordered them to fix bayonets and face the enemy. Upon this action, the enemy soldiers also laid down. 

 

noticed a single stunted tree, 900 m away, on the slope of Chunuk Bair. Under the tree was standing a Turkish officer, who was apparently handing out orders to messengers who came running to him. We’ll never know for sure who the officer

In the meantime I ordered my lieutenant to urgently bring the regiment’s soldiers and mountain battery to this spot.

Translated from “Memoirs of the Anafartalar Battles”, Çanakkale recollections / Volume I, (Istanbul 2005), Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, p. 22-23

An interesting anecdote, reproduced word for word from the "Gallipoli" website of the late Jul Snelders, a true "Gallipolian" goes as follows:
 
I
n an interview after the war, Tulloch (*) told Bean how from his forward position, he had 

Yet he (*) acted very promptly when he heard that his country had gone to war; he wired from Sofia for permission to return to active service.  He had no answer for a time –an anti-German man was not wanted in the new Turkish army- and was on the point of deserting his post and of making his way back to Turkey when orders came through for him from Constantinople.  He was posted to Rodosto (Tekirdağ), at the head of the Gallipoli Peninsula.  It was an event which passing quite unnoticed at the time, was to change the whole course of the campaign that lay ahead.

"Gallipoli", (Ware 1997), Alan Morehead, p. 28

(*)
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder & First President of the Turkish Republic

The two most important dates that connect Atatürk to Chunuk Bair and which are famous in Turkish history are 25th April and 10th August.  Both are considered decisive for the outcome of the campaign.

10th August 1915 : The blanket of night had lifted. Now was the hour for the attack. I looked at my watch.  It was nearly 4.30 am.  After a few minutes it would become quite bright and the enemy would be able to see our troops.  Should the enemy infantry

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Liman von Sanders with Mustafa Kemal", period picture reproduced from Gallipoli, the Turkish story", (Crows Nest 2003), Kevin Fewster, Vecihi Başarın, Hatice Hürmüz Başarın, p. 116

was, but one thing is certain: Mustapha Kemal, who had left his troops behind the summit for a short rest, had gone forward on foot himself to evaluate the situation from that slope. Around the same moment in time. And in his memoirs, he tells about people coming running to him for orders. Before he retreated, Tulloch took his rifle and fired one shot at the Turkish officer.  …  He missed.

(*)
Tulloch was among the Australians who moved the furthest inland on the 25th to a position on battleship hill. The picture below shows the  approximate position from where Tulloch “took a shot”.


Last updated : 04/02/08

"Atatürk in the trenches at Ariburnu during the campaign", picture repro-duced from "Çanakkale Recollections / Volume II", (Istanbul 2005), cover.

(Liman) Von Sanders : “What is your opinion of the present situation.”
Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) : “very critical. We still have a little time left to us to save it, but if we do not use our moment we shall loose everything.  Conditions on the whole front are chaotic.  The enemy is still landing men in the Suvla area.”
Von Sanders : “What can be done to save the situation ?”
Atatürk : “We must unite all the commands under one commander.”
Von Sanders : “Is there no alternative ?”
Atatürk : “No. No alternative. You must place all the forces under my command.”
Von Sanders : “But surely they are too many.”

Atatürk : “Too few.”

Supposedly a telephone conversation between Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Liman von Sanders than took place on the 8th August quoted in “Atatürk” (London 1962), Irfan & Margarete Orga, p. 85
 

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