The Gallipoli campaign

Page 9 – 25 April 1915: Anzac landing timeline

This timeline provides a detailed breakdown of events during the Gallipoli landings at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915.

25 April 1915, Gallipoli

0200–0230: Ottoman troops above Ari Burnu (beside the bay soon known as Anzac Cove) spot the silhouettes of enemy ships out to sea

0235–0255: First wave of ANZAC ready in the landing boats

0255–0415: First towboats approach shore. The landing boats are pulled by steamboats, which in turn are pulled by warships. The tows pull three kinds of landing boats: lifeboat (28 men); cutter (30 men); launch or pinnace (60–98 men)

0300–0415: Warships towing steamboats and landing boats stop 2.5 km offshore. Twelve steamboats cast off and proceed to their planned landing positions. Things start to go wrong in the pitch-dark, with the landing boats pushed further north-east than intended

0415: The first 36 lifeboats cast off from the steamboats 90 m offshore and begin rowing toward the beach. The destroyers carrying the second wave of the landing force move up behind them

0420–0430: Ottoman defenders light beacons onshore as they spot the first wave of landing boats. Rifle and machine-gun fire breaks out from trenches above the shore. The boats land further north than planned, on either side of the Ari Burnu headland. Units of the first wave (9th, 10th, 11th Battalions, 3rd Australian Brigade) become mixed up after landing

0435: ANZAC troops start to climb up Ari Burnu and move toward First Ridge (Plugge’s Plateau).

0440: Second wave of men loaded into landing boats from warships 180 m offshore

0450–0500: First ANZAC units reach the top of First Ridge and capture first Ottoman prisoners. Ottoman artillery battery at Gabe Tepe inflicts heavy casualties on the second wave of troops (the rest of the Australian 3rd Brigade) landing at Ari Burnu. Those who make it ashore north of Ari Burnu head toward Russell’s Top; those who land further south at Hell Spit climb up to 400 Plateau and Lone Pine.

0500: The first units of the ANZAC Main Force (1st and 2nd Australian Brigades) approach the shore under heavy fire

0515: Advanced parties from the 9th and 10th Battalions reach Lone Pine, while men from the 11th and 12th Battalions climb Walker’s Ridge toward Russell’s Top. As the number of wounded soldiers on the beach increases, landing boats begin to transport them to the hospital ship Gascon  

0530: Australian battalions start to regroup and reorganise.

0600: Reinforcements arrive to help troops fighting at The Nek. ANZAC staff set up a headquarters on the beach. Isolated units advance onto Third Ridge – the main ANZAC objective for the first day

0720: 1st Australian Division commander Major-General William Bridges lands with his divisional staff

0720–0800: Ottoman commander at Gaba Tepe requests reinforcements. Two battalions from the 27th Infantry Regiment leave for Ari Burnu from the Maidos area. Mustafa Kemal, commander of the 19th Ottoman Division, orders the 57th Infantry Regiment and a battery of mountain guns to move up to Hill 971 from the village of Bigali. At this point, the 3500 ANZACs ashore vastly outnumber the 300–400 Ottoman troops in the area.
Unaware of this numerical advantage, Lieutenant-Colonel Ewen Sinclair-Maclagan, commander of the 3rd Australian Brigade, makes a crucial tactical decision at 400 Plateau: he persuades Colonel James McCay (2nd Australian Brigade), to reinforce his right flank rather than head up Hill 971 as originally ordered. Sinclair-Maclagan then orders his men to dig in at 400 Plateau rather than advance further. These decisions would be subsequently criticised as tactical errors

0800: Reinforcements from the Ottoman 27th Infantry Regiment arrive from Maidos and engage the ANZAC front line. Ferrying problems slow the landing of the 2nd Australian Brigade

0830: The Ottoman artillery battery at Gaba Tepe continues firing at 400 Plateau and Shrapnel Valley. ANZAC scouts sent forward toward Gaba Tepe retreat

0900: Troops from the Main Force start arriving at Second Ridge and strengthen existing positions on the 400 Plateau towards Lone Pine and Baby 700

0930: Small groups of ANZACs on the Third Ridge are forced to retreat but manage to hold off attacks on the Second Ridge from recently arrived Ottoman reinforcements. Ottoman artillery from Kaba Tepe and one gun on Third Ridge continue shelling ANZAC troops on Second Ridge

1000–1030: First units (Divisional HQ) of the New Zealand and Australian Division come ashore. Mustafa Kemal’s 57th Infantry Regiment arrives at Hill 971. He continues to Chunuk Bair, where he rallies troops retreating from Battleship Hill. He then orders the 57th Regiment to advance and hold Baby 700 until reinforcements can arrive: ‘I don’t order you to attack, I order you to die. By the time we are dead, other units and commanders will have come to take our place.’ 

1030–1100: Six heavy guns from 7th Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade are landed, but only one is hauled up from the beach

1100: First men of New Zealand Infantry Brigade (Auckland Battalion and half Canterbury Battalion) start landing. They reinforce Australian troops fighting around Baby 700.
The Ottomans launch an assault on Australian positions on the 400 Plateau and the southern end of Second Ridge. ANZAC troops capture Baby 700 but then lose it – it will change hands five times during the day as fighting intensifies

1200: Ottoman artillery batteries on Third Ridge (later Gun Ridge) increase fire on Second Ridge and 400 Plateau, causing horrific shrapnel wounds amongst ANZAC troops
The Indian 26th Jacob’s Mountain Battery pulls a single gun to 400 Plateau and begins firing on the Ottoman batteries on Gun Ridge
Mustafa Kemal sets up his headquarters at Scrubby Knoll on Third Ridge. The Ottoman 72nd Infantry Regiment is deployed to the front

1300: Kemal sends two infantry regiments (72nd and 77th) south after receiving an incorrect signal about an enemy landing at Kum Tepe, south of Gaba Tepe. This mistake gives units from the New Zealand Infantry Brigade time to deploy to the front line

1400: Elements of the Auckland Battalion reach Baby 700 and reinforce the depleted front line of Australian troops. ANZAC forces on Second Ridge signal that their situation is critical. The beach is now crowded with wounded and dead troops. The Otago Battalion begins landing

1425: Heavy Ottoman fire forces the ANZACs to withdraw their mountain gun from 400 Plateau to the beach

1600–1630: Last of the Otago Battalion comes ashore. The rest of the Canterbury Battalion and the Wellington Battalion begin landing. Ottoman troops recapture Baby 700

1730: An Australian 18-pound field gun on Hell Spit silences the Ottoman battery at Gabe Tepe. Lieutenant-General Bridges delays the landing of further artillery pieces, fearing they will be lost in the event of a forced evacuation. The entire ANZAC line is pushed back to Second Ridge

1800: Colonel John Monash’s 4th Australian Brigade lands and fills the gap in the ANZAC line between the Nek and units further south. The Ottomans send in fresh reserves and prepare to attack ANZAC positions at the Nek and Lone Pine

1900–2100: Senior ANZAC commanders discuss evacuation. They are concerned that a determined Ottoman attack in the next 24 hours will drive them back into the sea. The Ottomans launch their final attack of the day at the Nek, pushing the Anzacs back toward Russell’s Top until halted by heavy machine-gun fire

2115: Generals Bridges and Godley ask Lieutenant-General William Birdwood, the ANZAC commander, to come ashore to discuss evacuation proposals

2200: Birdwood reluctantly agrees to the evacuation request, and sends a note to Mediterranean Expeditionary Force commander Lieutenant-General Sir Ian Hamilton, on board HMS Queen Elizabeth

2245–2330: Bridges’ note is delivered to Hamilton. After discussing the situation with senior commanders, he decides to refuse the request for evacuation. His resolve strengthens after hearing that an Australian submarine (AE2) has slipped through the Narrows into the Sea of Marmara and sunk an Ottoman ship

2400: Hamilton orders ANZAC forces to dig in and hold on to what little gains they have made: ‘You have got through the difficult business. All you have to do now is dig, dig, dig until you are safe’

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