THE IMPORTANCE OF SEIZING AND HOLDING THE "HIGH GROUND" IN 1915 AND NOW
On the high ground near Conk Bayırı, Gallipolli peninsula, 25 April 1915
“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 up to take our place.”
Mustafa Kemal, commander of 19th Division, leading his 57th regiment to hold the high hills east of Ariburnu point. 25 April 1915.
Turkey 20 October 2011
An army that has no concept of the tactical importance of seizing and holding the high ground is not an army but a rabble. An army whose generals profess to have access to the most sophisticated surveillance equipment, including drone aircraft, and still sends its young men into harm's way unprotected is negligent and incompetent. A government that negotiates with terrorists, incarcerates its experienced military commanders and then makes deals with America to obtain enhanced intelligence information is either treacherous or abysmally inept.
Until this Turkish government expels the American ambassador to get an explanation from his bosses and handlers about why this massive intelligence failure and entirely preventable massacre of Turkish youth occurred, then all the media and political talk and so-called analysis is just so much gas. The Turkish people should and must demand (AND RECEIVE) an explanation from the head of the Turkish government (and commander-in-chief of the army) about every detail concerning its latest tragic example of tactical incompetence. If none is given, as would be the usual case, then the people will again painfully learn the true value placed on the lives of 24 soldiers and 5 policemen, all of them their sons. Time is of the essence. Innocent young people are being destroyed in a strategic game directed by political hacks. A twenty-two battalion invasion of northern Iraq is not a solution. Expelling the American ambassador is.
James (Cem) Ryan 10/21/2011 Istanbul
An excerpt from the biography Atatürk by Andrew Mango:
It was the 9th Turkish Division under Colonel Halil Sami which took the brunt of the first wave of Allied landings from Seddülbahir to Arıburnu. Liman von Sanders was far to the north, on the Bolıyar isthmus, keeping an eye on Allied ships carrying out diversionary manoeuvres in the gulf of Saros. Halil Sami asked Mustafa Kemal to send a battalion immediately to help hold the hills east of Arıburnu point. Mustafa Kemal responded by leading his 57th regiment, a cavalry company and a mountain battery across the peninsula. In his [Mustafa Kemal’s] account of the engagement, he said that, after riding ahead, he had stopped at the crest of a hill and was waiting for his troops to catch up when he met a group of retreating Turkish soldiers from the 9th division. His account goes on:
—Why are you running away? I asked. —The enemy, sir…they said. —Where? —Over there, they said pointing to hill altitude 261 metres. [This hill led to a higher peak known as Conk Bayırı, Chunuk Bair in British sources.] Sure enough, an enemy line was advancing towards the hill…and was already nearer me than my own troops. I don’t know whether reason or intuition impelled me to turn to the retreating soldiers and say, —You mustn’t run away from the enemy. —We’ve no more ammunition left, they replied. —If you’ve got no ammunition, you have your bayonets. I ordered them to fix their bayonets and lie down. As they did so, the enemy too lay down. We had won time.
Mustafa Kemal goes on to say that when his 57th regiment reached him he ordered it to turn the enemy’s northern flank, saying, “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 up to take our place.” (Atatürk by Andrew Mango. Overlook Press, New York, 2000. Page 146.)
MUSTAFA KEMAL, Kemalyeri, Conk Bayırı, 1915
SHOUTS, a new book by James Ryan about New York City during the terror years of World War I.