30 June 1915

HELLES - The lessons of the 21 and 28 June seemed simple: the Allies needed to focus their attacks but above all they needed more artillery, more howitzers, more high explosive shells and more bombs to help counter the Turkish counter-attacks. The success of their tactics seemed to be further confirmed when the French finally managed to capture the infamous Quadrilateral Redoubt in a concentrated attack on 30 June. Second Lieutenant Raymond Weil of 39th Régiment d’Artillerie could see the destructive effect of their barrage.

Photograph: Scene at the Quadrilateral Redoubt

"As on the 21 June we preceded the attack with a slow and deliberate destructive bombardment. We had at our disposal shells with the new instantaneous fuses which exploded on impact, which were much more efficient in destroying the trenches and fortifications. The result was that in our sector the trenches were utterly destroyed and when the assault went in at 5.30, it allowed our troops to over-run the Turkish first lines almost without casualties. Carried away in their enthusiasm they didn't stop there but throwing putting improvised bridges over the captured trenches, they continued to push forwards. I soon learnt over the telephone, that our men had gone on so far that we could not follow their progress as they were masked by the crest of a ridge. We even had to stop our fire in order not hinder their movements. At 8pm the gunfire, which had died down a bit, suddenly swelled up violently. It seemed that our troops were falling back in disorder across the crest. They had clashed with several fresh Turkish battalions arriving to the rescue, who had almost surrounded our advanced elements. Without any communications, waiting for reinforcements that never arrived and now lacking artillery support, they had to hastily withdraw."

 As on the Western Front it was becoming increasingly apparent that artillery was the dominant force on the battlefields of Gallipoli. If the guns succeeded in their primary task of smashing the Turkish trenches then a successful assault could be made, but even then artillery was needed to cover the gains achieved, or they would soon be lost. By concentrating their artillery resources the French had once again inched forward and The Quadrilateral, so long their bête noir, had been captured - and this time it was held.

R. Weil quoted in Dardanelles Orient Levant, 1915-1921 (Paris: L'Harmattan, 2005), p.37