The Battle of Sari Bair – August 1915
Maj S S Burton
Officer Commanding B (Sair Bair) Company
2011 - 2013
The Battle of Sari Bair, also known as the August Offensive, was the final attempt made by the British in August 1915 to seize control of the Gallipoli peninsula from the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
The Battle of Gallipoli had raged on two fronts, Anzac and Helles, for three months since the invasion of 25 April 1915. With the Anzac landing a tense stalemate, the Allies had attempted to carry the offensive on the Helles battlefield at enormous cost for little gain. In August, the British command proposed a new operation to reinvigorate the campaign by capturing the Sari Bair ridge, the high ground that dominated the middle of the peninsula above the Anzac landing.
The main operation started on 6 August with a fresh landing 5 miles north of Anzac at Suvla Bay in conjunction with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps mounting an attack north into the rugged country alongside the Sari Bair range with the aim of capturing the high ground and linking with the Suvla landing.
1/6th Gurkha Rifles assaulting Hill Q on Sari Bair Ridge
Maj C Allanson
Subadar-Major Gambirsing Pun
Soldiers from 1/6th Gurkha Rifles in the trenches under the Sari Bair Ridge
Soldiers from 1/6th Gurkha Rifles preparing to assault Hill Q, note the white arm
bands all Gurkha soldiers were ordered to wear to identify them as British Forces
The Bn left Reserve Gully at 10 p.m. on the night of 6th/7th, its objective being the capture of the Chunak Bair and Koja Chemen Tepe Ridges at dawn on 7th August, in conjunction with the other troops in the left assaulting column.
The left covering column took the enemy by surprise near the Damajelik Bair, where the Battalion took 10 prisoners. By 1.30 a.m. the Turks had been driven from the Damajelik Bair, whilst the two assaulting columns faced east and moved to the attack on the Sari Bair Ridge.
The 4th Australian Infantry Brigade was directed to move on Koja Chemen Tepe via the Chumchik Punar Spur, whilst the 29th Indian Brigade moved on Hill Q via thesouthern fork of the Aghyl Dere. The advance was stubbornly opposed by the enemy.
When dawn broke on the 7th the crest of Sari Bair Ridge had not been reached. The left assaulting column was on a line roughly from the Farm to a point just south of Azmac Dere.
At 6.30 a.m. orders were received by the Commanding Officer to reinforce the 4th Australian Brigade. Attempts to reach them were frustrated by the enemy, and the Battalion, swinging to its right, pressed on up the spurs north and south of the Aghyl Dere, and eventually reached a point about 500 yards below the crest of Hill Q, with the 1/5th Gurkhas some distance to the right in the neighbourhood of the Farm. The 14th Sikhs were on the left of the Battalion.
The enemy’s resistance grew stronger, and no further advance was made. The right assaulting column reached and entrenched a position at the top of Rhodoendron Spur. The IX Corps had effected a surprise landing at Suvla Bay where only slight opposition had been encountered.
Throughout the night of 7th/8th the assaulting columns clung to the ground so gallantly gained on the western slopes of Sari Bair. At 1.30 a.m. on 8th August orders were received for a further attack to be delivered at dawn.
Captain Dallas had, during the afternoon and evening of 7th August carried out a reconnaissance of an approach towards Hill Q. At 4.15 a.m., the hour appointed for the attack, the 1/6th Gurkhas, two Companies leading and two Companies in support, moved forward on Hill Q.
At 9.30 a.m. a point 200 yards below the crest of the ridge was reached, where the attack was brought to a standstill by the enemy. Fighting continued all day, and by nightfall the Battalion had succeeded in advancing another fifty...