The Battle of Lone Pine

Video highlights from Peter Fitzsimons Gallipoli

The Battle of Lone Pine was one of the bloodiest battles of the Gallipoli campaign in which seven Victoria Crosses were awarded.

6 - 9 August 1915

The major is standing next to me and he says ‘Well we have won’. Great God – won … then may I never witness a defeat. (Cyril Lawrence, 2nd Field Company, Engineers, AIF)

Planned as a diversion for the attempts to capture Hill 971 and Chunuk Bair, the assault on Lone Pine produced some of the harshest fighting of the Gallipoli campaign. Here, men of the 1st Brigade won seven Victoria Crosses.

Lone Pine was a difficult objective: the Ottomans had built a series of trenches, and no man’s land was up to 140 metres wide and swept by gunfire. When the Australians charged at 5.30 pm on 6 August, they found the Ottoman trenches covered with pine logs. Forcing their way into this underground labyrinth, they engaged in ferocious hand-to-hand fighting.

By nightfall, most of the Lone Pine trenches were in Australian hands. However, the Ottomans staged a sustained counter-attack. Over the next three days a vicious subterranean battle raged.

In the end, the Australians consolidated their gains, but suffered over 2,000 casualties – 60 per cent of the 1st Brigade.

The attack on Lone Pine, 6 August 1915.

Australian troops in the newly captured Ottoman trenches, 6 August 1915. In the close-range and vicious trench warfare at Lone Pine, knives, spades and especially grenades proved more effective than rifles. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS1514)

Australian bodies, rifles with bayonets attached and discarded equipment litter this trench following the attack. On top of the huge casualties suffered, Lone Pine failed as a diversion after the Ottomans realised the main thrust was being directed towards Chunuk Bair. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial A04029)

Australian troops relax inside a captured Ottoman trench. Sunlight can be seen streaming through a shell-hole in the heavy log covering. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G01126)

1st Battalion troops waiting near Jacob’s Trench to be relieved by the 7th Battalion, 9 August 1915. They had been fighting at Lone Pine for three days, with little respite. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial A01005)

 

Article courtesy of the National Anzac Centre and the Western Australian Museum © 2015 

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