Plaque Text. This was the most important
and dangerous position on Anzac. Opposing forces were separated by at
most 15 metres and in some places only by the width of a road. The
Allied trenches ran from beneath the cemetery down into Monash gully
while the Turkish trenches commenced just beyond the metal road and ran
down into Mule gully. A network of trenches and tunnels riddled the area
and exposure above these invited certain death. Hundreds died in futile
attempts to take the other side's trenches.
Text from Gallipoli Plaques Book*
Loss of this position would have exposed both armies' rear positions. At
this point the Allied and Turkish lines were separated by no more than
15 metres. So close were the trenches that the voices of the enemy were
clearly audible. Because of this proximity, hand-made bombs (known as
'jam-fin bombs' and made from food tins and other scrap metal) were
extremely deadly. often the best cricketers in an ANZAC unit were
assigned the task of hurling these unpredictable missiles accurately
into the enemy trenches. The Turks had hand grenades which were far more
sophisticated and, it seemed to the ANZACs, in inexhaustible supply.
During the early months of the campaign the Turks had considerable
control over the Allied position at Quinns Post. Turkish fire from Baby
700 and from opposite Courtney's Post, and even from Chunuk Bair, could
be directed accurately onto this position. It was impossible for Allied
soldiers to look over the parapets because Turkish fire would come from
three sides, but the 'periscope rifle' eventually aided the Allies here.
The periscope rifle was a local invention consisting of a rifle mounted
in a wooden frame, with mirrors along which the firer could sight and
aim; no longer, therefore, did Allied soldiers have to expose their
heads above the trenches. This area remained under firm Allied control
until the evacuation in December.
There was frequent rotation of units through Quinn's Post, to minimise
the effects of the tension involved in defending this position. It was
initially held by Australians, then briefly by units of the British
Royal Naval Division. New Zealanders then took over and achieved wonders
in making the area more comfortable and secure. The front line trench
was spread in a semi-circle from the crest of the hill (just in front of
the far wall of the cemetery), with listening posts fanning out towards
the area now covered by the road. As at Steele's and Courtney's Posts,
tunnelling was undertaken by both sides and, in these tunnels,
explosives were detonated below both Allied and Turkish trenches.
So fierce was the fighting here that, at one stage, the Turkish command
considered retiring from Quinn's and moving to the third ridge (Gun
Ridge, which is visible behind you) about 1 kilometre to the east. Had
this withdrawal been implemented, the whole Turkish front line along
Second Ridge and up to Baby 700 would probably have been lost.
The steepness of the incline down into Monash Valley can be gauged if
you stand at the cemetery wall and look down to the valley floor. Only
with the aid of ropes could soldiers move up to just below this ridge
line where the main support trench lay. Reserve troops camped on narrow
ledges below the main trench, and were always at the ready to spring
into action if the Turks attempted to cross the narrow gap now covered
by the road. Although this distance looks small, it should be remembered
that the Allied lines had machine guns sited at Courtney's Post,
Russell's Top (which is the ridge on the other side of Monash Valley),
and at The Nek (to your right and now marked by the cemetery), covering
this position. Such crossfire would have made it suicidal to attack with
large numbers across the ridge.
The next plaque, No. 8 ... The Nek can be reached by returning to the
road and proceeding north for 500 metres, and then taking the left-hand
sealed road signposted "Mehmet Cavus Sehiitligi" for a further
* - © - This text is taken from "Gallipoli
Plaques, A Guide to the Anzac Battlefield", by R.J.Bastiaan. 2nd
Edition Published by ANRAB Pty. Ltd. 1991.