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The Battle of the Nek


The reason that the English and the Australians attacked Turkey was quiet simple, Russia was being attacked by Germany and was struggling to maintain defences, at this same time Turkey was also supporting Germany and invading Russia. As a result Russia requested assistance from its British alliances. The British also felt that Turkey would be a great trading port, as it allows great access to the Black Sea. So as a result the British bombarded the Turkish shore batteries to test their range of weaponry and defences, this only eliminating the power of a surprise attack.

British and French fleet

Three months later a British and French fleet of eighteen battleships attempted to force its way into Constantinople the capital of Turkey via the Dardanelles straits, three capital ships were lost and three badly damaged. This large scale attack had drained all of the Turkish weaponry and at the time the alliance (France and Britain) could have continued to advance down the straits and invaded Constantinople, but as they did not know this, the British and French decided to set up a post at Gallipoli.

Thousands of Australians ventured to Gallipoli to fight alongside the British in World War I, these groups of soldiers were classified as light horse brigades, the 8th light horse brigade predominantly being from Victoria and the 10th light horse brigade predominantly from the Northern Territory. These soldiers had come along on the war to hang out with mates and to see the world at no cost, but by the time they arrived on Turkish ground they had greatly woken up to the reality of the dangers and high possibility of them dying to the Turkish threat.

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The Australian and British soldiers stationed at Anzac Cove

The fact that the Australian and British soldiers stationed at Anzac Cove were experiencing a long stale mate with the Turkish enemy, meant that many of the men had had to long to think about the dangers of war and had grown quiet anxious and as months past several soldiers were being killed by stray mortars fired by the Turkish infidel, none of which had a great effect on the battle at hand.

Attacking the Turks at the Nek

After a few months past, the commanders in charge had grown frustrated with the little movement occurring on the battlefield; As a result they decided to make the first move and declared that they will be attacking the Turks at the Nek, the Nek was a small gulley near Anzac Cove were the British were camped. The attack was scheduled to commence at 4:30am on the 7th of August. The 8th and 10th Light Horse regiments were to advance on a front 80 metres wide in a total of four waves of 150 men each, two waves per regiment. Each wave would advance two minutes apart.

The distance they would have to travel to reach the Ottoman line was only 27 metres. The first wave of the 8th light horse brigade was supposed to venture across the gap immediately after the barrage that was to be fired just after sunrise, but this bombardment ended seven minutes early and left the Turkish enough time to prepare for the ground attack. At 4. 30 am the 8th Light Horse leapt from their trenches to be cut down and was eliminated in half a minute by rapid fire machine guns. Two minutes later the next wave charged this only adding to the pile of bodies near the edge of the Anzac trenches.

At 4. 45 am the 10th Light Horse began charging to their deaths. The fourth wave, under the command of Major Scott, was lined up and ready to go forward. By this time many men had become so frightened of dying that they jumped out of the trenches and sped up their deaths by facing the rapid fire guns alone. Many of the officers knew that Lieutenant Colonel Noel Brazier was trying to have the fourth charge called off; the men did not. No one seemed to know quite what happened. Major Scott managed to stop some men leaving the trench, but the fourth slaughter had begun.


The officers in charge were Australian not English as it is sometimes portrayed; Brigade commander Brigadier General Frederick Hughes and Lieutenant Colonel John Antill were the two officers in charge of the operation. After investigation it was found that Lieutenant Colonel John Antill was the man who was in highest authority during the operation, and when he was given the opportunity to forfeit the battle after the first wave his direct orders were “Push on”. The battle of The Nek is recorded to be the most useless and wasteful use of human life in Australian history.

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The Battle of the Nek. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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