Breakout from Suvla Bay: August 1915

The Gallipoli landings in April have resulted in stalemate. General Hamilton has sought to break this stalemate by mounting further landings on the west coast of the Gallipoli Peninsular at Suvla Bay.These landings are designed to outflank the Turkish forces which have so far effectively stopped the initial landing of British, French and ANZAC troops from advancing inland.

The British 10th and 11th Divisions have landed at Suvla Bay over the past day and ahalf. While the men have gone ashore most of the divisional artillery and MG companies still languish aboard ship due to poor staff work and communications. There is also a water shortage and little in the way of maps.

Despite these problems, orders have now been drawn up to sieze the main objectives of the landings: the high ground that surrounds the beaches, and the route across the peninsular.

This battle was fought on 1 September 2005 between members of the Exiles Wargames Club in London, with John Mills and Gavin Peters commanding the British, and Phil Venables, Dave Carpenter and Bob Harris commanding the Turkish forces. The game was set up by Eric Spicer, and the forces were modelled using 15mm figures (a mixture of Peter Pig and Mini Figs) from their collections. You can find out more about the Exiles wargames group on their web site 

The scenario "Breakout from Suvla Bay", on which this action was based, was written by Andy Gorman and Robin Sutton, and can be found here.

The British decided on a two pronged attack. The 10th division, seen here, was ordered to advance along the western edge of the table to capture Kirich Tepe, while the 11th Division was to advance from the southern edge of the table to capture Chocolate Hill and Green Hill. Once Scimitar Hill and Kirich Tepe were secured, the plan was to assault Tekke Tepe from both ends. However the Turks weren't planning on letting the British waltz in and capture any high ground.
The Anafarta Detachment held Green Hill and Kirich Tepe (the stands were placed on the table after the British had drawn their command arrows). Unfortunately the Turkish reinforcements coming to assist the Anafarta Detachment had drawn up similar plans to secure the heights. Once they arrived on the table the Turkish 7th Division command arrow took them from Tekke Tepe to Scimitar Hill while the 12th Division would set off in the opposite direction to take Kirich Tepe. The British 11th Division troops can be seen here assaulting Green Hill.
The Turkish troops on Green Hill held their nerve as 11th Division swarmed forward towards them, and successfully called in some supporting artillery fire on the massed British ranks. Luck was not with the Turkish gunners at this stage. and the British ranks advanced through a maelstrom of Turkish fire towards Green Hill. The assault on Green Hill eventually saw the Turkish positions over-run, seen here in the photo to the left, although tenacious Turkish defence meant that the British attackers suffered losses in the process. Meanwhile the British 10th Division began a cautious advance towards Kirich Tepe, wary of any Turkish troops that might be laying in ambush. Their caution was however to prove their undoing.
Here 11th Division troops can be seen consolidating their positions on Green Hill before continuing their assault.Turn 4 saw the Turkish 7th and 12th Divisions arrive along Tekke Tepe to the alarm and consternation of the British commanders.While the British assault on Scimitar Hill was about to begin, 10th Division was still making its way cautiously towards Kiritch Tepe and, moving in the open, was to prove easy pickings for the off-board supporting Turkish artillery. Frequent suppressions caused by the Turkish artillery slowed up the British advance (the British troops were green, and so it was difficult to lift suppressions) as fewer and fewer stands were able to make their way towards Kirich Tepe. If only the British could get a toe hold on those heights. Meanwhile Turkish 7th Divisin had to move quickly to get the Scimitar Hill where elements of British 34th Brigade had advanced onto the hill.
Here 34th Briogade can be seen working their way up the heights of Scimitar Hill. British commanders attempted to call down naval gunfire support to break up the advancing Tiukish forces, and silence the Turksih artillery, but with only very limited success. A fierce battle broke out on Scimitar Hill and repeated Turkish assaults slowly forced the British forces back to the edge of the hill where they held out stubbornly until the end of the game, part of their objectives taken, but not enough.
The British 10th Division was in a worse state. Having finally rteached the base of Kirich Tepe they now faced Turkish troops almost unharmed by the naval gunfire. 30th and 31st Brigades launched their assault, well below their starting strength as many companies were sitting tight (suppressed) under the rain of Turkish artillery gunfire. Their attack was easily seen off by the Turkish defenders seen here on Kirich Tepe, with the remainig elements of British 31st Brigade fleeing back towards their start line in disarray. The British asault had ground to a halt, with Chocolate and Green hills, and a thin sliver of Scimitar Hill, in British hands, but the elusive heights of Kirich Tepe and Tekke Tepe still firmly held by Turkish forces. There would be no decisibve thrust across the Dardanelles Peninsular this time.

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