Breakout from Suvla Bay 1915

Background  

The British landings at ANZAC Cove, and Helles, in April 1915 had resulted in stalemate. General Hamilton sought a means of breaking the stalemate, and conceived a further landing on the west coast of the Gallipoli Peninsular, at Suvla Bay. The landing was designed to outflank the Turkish forces under the command of Mustapha Kemel which had so effectively stopped the ANZAC forces. It was to take place in conjunction with an attempted breakout from ANZAC, with forces of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps set the task of capturing the heights of Chunuk Bair, joining up with IX Corps under the command of General Stopford, and outflanking the Turkish forces on the peninsular.

After the initial landings on 6 August, Stopford delayed on the beaches for one and a half days, finally starting his move inland from the Suvla beaches on 8 August. He had by this time given up an enormous strategic advantage, as there had been only light Turkish forces (the Anafarta Detachment) opposing the two British divisions that had effected the landings on the 6th and 7th of August. In the meantime the green British New Army divisions that had landed suffered  the effects of water shortages as poor staff work resulted in too little water being available to meet their needs. This had also resulted in only a very small portion of the artillery of either division having been landed in time to support the infantry.

Turkish reinforcements were on their way: the question was, could Stopford's forces overcome the remaining light Turkish forces in front of them and reach and capture the commanding heights of Tekke Tepe, Scimitar Hill and the W Hills, before these reinforcements reached those same heights?

Designer’s notes

Designing a scenario to re-fight any aspects of the allied landings at Suvla Bay presents the classic dilemma for a scenario designer: the landings were characterized by ineptitude on the part of the British commanders, particularly General Stopford. After all, most readings about this part of the Dardanelles campaign in particular will reveal the incredible opportunities for victory that were present in front of the British forces, but which were squandered by Stopford's reluctance to advance. How do you ensure that the game is playable and potentially enjoyable for both commanders without making it a 'cake walk' for one player or the other?

Our answer here lay in setting victory conditions that are achievable for both sides, but which still allow for the reasonable modeling of key aspects of the battle. Both commanders will find their victory conditions difficult to achieve. However after several play tests of this scenario, I am confident that the battle presents a reasonable but achievable set of objectives for both players.

The creation of this scenario has been a collective effort, and the following people need to be acknowledged:

Andy Gorman for his useful insights into the set-up of the scenario, and for play testing the scenario twice;

Robert Dunlop for the map, and his insights into and information on the battle;

Shawn Taylor for the necessary insight into modeling the use of naval gunfire support in his own set of rules;

Jeff Lesler for providing some vital data that seemed to elude just about everyone else I know.

Keith McNelly, Stan Walker and Jon Harding for helping to give the scenario a fair and well thought out play test and critique, and for the suggestions that lead to the final formulation of the victory points structure.

Finally however, any errors in the scenario are mine alone: please feel free to contact me on the GWSH Yahoo list of you have any comments or feedback on the scenario.

Objectives

Victory in this scenario is determined by victory points. These are won by controlling key features of the battlefield as follows:

 

Tekke Tepe 5 VP
Kirich Tepe 3 VP
Scimitar Hill 3 VP
Chocolate Hill 1 VP
Green Hill  1 VP
For each enemy regiment/brigade driven to morale failure 1 VP

To claim control of any feature there must be no unsuppressed enemy infantry stands physically on the feature at the end of play.

Entry points

British forces must enter from the southwestern board edge at the bottom of the map (anywhere within three and a half feet or grid squares of the southwest corner of the map).

Turkish forces are set in accordance with the instructions given on the Turkish OOB.

Orders of Battle

Follow the links below to the OOBs for each side. It will make for much more interesting play if the British commander in particular does NOT see the Turkish OOB. The British commander should have as little information as possible on the Turkish forces apart from the briefing that appears at the beginning of the British OOB sheet.

The Turkish Order of Battle can be found here.

The British Order of Battle can be found here.

Terrain

The battle map is set up to fight the actions that ensued as the British forces attempted to advance inland from their landing beaches to capture the key heights that overlooked the landing beaches.

The map takes up the advance after the features of Lala Baba and Hill 10 have been captured, so both of these features would be beyond the western edge of the map. 

Tekke Tepe is the high feature on the right or eastern edge of the battle map. Kirich Tepe is the feature on the northern or top edge of the battle map. The playing area is 8' x 5', marked as the grid on the map. This has been overlaid on top of the larger area of the bay to help players to understand their roles in the battle a little more clearly. 

 

Northern edge of battle map

(Map courtesy of Robert Dunlop)

References
Haythornthwaite, P J "Gallipoli 1915; Frontal assault on Turkey" Osprey Campaign series, 1991
Travers, T "Gallipoli 1915" Tempus, 2001