SUVLA AUGUST OFFENSIVE

The landing at Suvla Bay, part of the August Offensive, commenced on the night of 6 August 1915. It was intended to support a breakout from Anzac Beach. Despite early hopes from a largely unopposed landing, Suvla was a mismanaged affair that quickly became a stalemate. The newly formed IX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Stopford, failed, not for lack of sacrifice of its New Army and Territorial's, but for failure of generalship. Opportunities were thoughtlessly wasted due to lethargy.

Suvla not only signalled the end of Stopford and many of his Brigadiers, but also saw the end of the Commander in Chief, Sir Ian Hamilton. It was the beginning of the end of the Gallipoli gamble and in its own right created a catalyst of disaster that would come to represent the failed campaign. This book adds to the Gallipoli story by recounting the Suvla Bay landing through a mix of official accounts intertwined with a rich collection of the participants' letters, diaries, personal accounts, photographs and maps.

Book Reviews

"I was rushed into hospital with a detached retina and bed bound with my head on one side for four days before surgery was possible. To relieve the boredom I read Stephen Chambers’ book Gallipoli: Suvla August Offensive over two days and a night, managing to hold it close to the pillow reading with one eye. What wonderful reading it was – had it been serialized I would have had to contain my excitement until the next episode. A wonderful book, extremely interesting, well researched and written – well worth reading again in the future. The surgeons saved my sight but Stephen Chambers saved my sanity."
Anne Caughey
"Will take this book with me next year on my next visit to Gallipoli a very interesting area and the only guide book i know for this area."
Andrew Mackay
"A well written, very detailed account and well researched account of the battle scene. Good detailed maps are with well presented."
Roger Wood
"Gave me a genuine insight into my grandfather’s war in the Dardanelles."
Malcolm
"This is the third contribution by Steve Chambers to the Pen & Sword Battleground Gallipoli series, following on from his books on Gully Ravine and the Anzac Landings - and I think it is his best yet. As usual there is a description of the campaign followed by a series of well-designed battlefield tours that guide the visitor around the main sites and points of interest. For me the greatest enjoyment lies in his historical account of the Suvla landings. Chambers is a 'cool' historian: not because of adherence to any discernable 'fashionable' trend, but because he does not get over-excited in explaining controversial subject matter. Suvla was, and to some extent remains, a contentious battle but - without diffusing the tension - Chambers succeeds in calmly and sensibly determining what was meant to occur, what really happened, what went wrong and why. He charts the hopeless confusion in the planning process, the farcical errors in force generation and the obstinate foolishness that led to Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Stopford - an old man with no active service experience - being placed in command of the IX Corps charged with making the Suvla landings of 6 August 1915. They were meant to seize the heights surrounding Suvla Bay to secure a new viable supply base, after which they were intended to help the simultaneous Anzac offensive on the heights of the Sari Bair Range. Once the operations begin we track the total collapse of command and control that left the battalions, brigades and divisions of IX Corps strewn like confetti around the Suvla Plain, capable only of seizing foothills like Chocolate Hill and Green Hill. The outnumbered Turks fought back hard, punishing the poorly trained British troops and succeeding in holding not only the heights, but also the key foothills. Once the Turkish reinforcements arrived from the Bulair Isthmus it left them holding all the aces. If had been a race then the British were handicapped by a combination of poor military skills, dreadful leadership and inadequate staff work. For the most part they were brave enough; but bravery is not enough against determined enemies. The last great Suvla battle of 21 August was the largest fought at Gallipoli, but also the most pointless as the Turks were by then present in strength. The Suvla adventure was surely doomed long before then. Throughout the book is chock-a-block with excellent personal experience quotes, some old favourites to be sure, but many of them will be new to most readers. They are skilfully woven into the account, bringing the fighting alive and illustrating the manifold confusions of this truly awful battle. The text is also wonderfully illustrated with photos and splendidly clear maps. All told a splendid book that I found invaluable during my recent visit to Gallipoli."
Peter Hart, Historian and Battlefield Guide, Imperial War Museum
"There is an old military adage that states "You don't own the ground till you walk it"; well Stephen Chambers has walked the ground of the Gallipoli Battlefields and in some cases has even crawled it. Through his experiences of visiting the Peninsula and his knowledge of the campaign he manages to paint a literary picture of the landscape and the actions that took place there. He is not into hyperbole he tells the story of the campaign warts and all. He has an easily read style of writing that is not pretensious in any way and does not try and baffle the reader with his knowledge. This is an excellent reference book and indeed an excellent guide book. Apart from all the other little items you will need to bring with you if your visiting the Peninsula (Water, sunglasses etc) this book should be securely placed in your leg pocket for easy access. Well done Steve."
Mal Murray, Gallipoli Association
"As always with this author the product of intimate knowledge of the battlefield. This book is actually heartrending in parts as lives were thrown away with so little hope of success..................and yet.......... 'what if' leadership had been different?"
SUPERMAC
"As a novice in WWI history I originally picked this book up to help understand a little more of what the ordinary soldier would have encountered on and around the battlefield. Suvla, by Stephen Chambers, appealed to me as it concentrates on an area away from the more common Western Front and was liberally sprinkled with photographs and pen portraits of individuals involved in the battles; these always help bring a human edge to the narrative. As this book is not in my usual sphere of interest, I was a little concerned that I may find it heavy going or full of intricate facts that only an expert would be interested in or understand, however I needn't have worried as from the start I found myself being pulled into a vivid description of poorly led and badly trained soldiers watching their superior officers dragging defeat from the jaws of victory. It was also a pleasant surprise to find details of the tours of Suvla. As someone who also enjoys travel, these modern day descriptions of the battlefields proved most interesting and would be a useful addition to anyone who, either out of a "professional" interest or general curiosity, is considering a journey to this area of Turkey. I have no hesitation in recommending this book and will certainly be looking at other books by this author."
Wolfy Smith
"This is a very full and detailed account, well illustrated and read in cionjunction with others by Stephen Chambers will give a full history of this sad and poorly managed campaign and the British role which has largely been overlooked."
Stephen