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... HILL 971         

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Plaque Text. As the highest point (305 metres) on the Sari Bair Range, Hill 971 was used as an observation and gun battery position by the Turkish command. Suvla Bay with its salt like lie to the north-west. On 6 August, 1915 the British landed at Suvla to attempt the capture of all surrounding hills and to support an attack from the Anzac perimeter (three kilometres south-west from here), against this summit. Both initiatives failed badly. The Allies only captured some of the foothills and flat plain below. The British and French battlefields at Cape Helles lay twenty seven kilometres to the south, at the tip of the peninsula.

Text from Gallipoli Plaques Book*
This is the highest point of the Sari Bair Range and a key position dominating Suvla Bay which is 4 kilometres to the north-west, with the ANZAC perimeter about 3 kilometres to the south-west. Also visible, on a clear day, to the distant south is the tip of the Peninsula where, in the Cape Helles sector, the British and French fought from 25th April 1915 to 9th January 1916.

The Suvla Bay landing on 6th August 1915 was an attempt by the Commander-in-Chief, General Hamilton, to consolidate the left flank of ANZAC and provide a springboard for the attack on this hill. The British units used for this attack were poorly-trained and poorly-led. Many were reservists with little military experience and commanded by an ageing British general brought out of retirement. The landing was timed to coincide with attacks at Cape Helles, Lone Pine, and Chunuk Bair. The Suvla Bay force failed dismally and was effectively contained within the flat lands of the plain below you. Added to this, the Australian attack on this hill stalled, as the units became lost in the gullies below, losing the element of surprise which was essential for the capture of Hill 971.

With the failure of these attacks in August, the last chances for success in this campaign were lost. Through September, October and November both sides were in a stalemate. No further large attacks occurred and both armies dug in for the winter and for what was felt would be a protracted campaign. The Allied command realized the difficulties of continuing the campaign into another year and so, on 20th December 1915, the ANZAC and Suvla Bay areas were abandoned to the Turks. Evacuation of British and other forces from Cape Helles did not occur until January 1916. Not one Allied soldier was lost during the evacuations there were. perhaps the only unequivocal Allied successes of the Gallipoli Campaign.

* - - This text is taken from "Gallipoli Plaques, A Guide to the Anzac Battlefield", by R.J.Bastiaan. 2nd Edition Published by ANRAB Pty. Ltd. 1991.


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