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It is true that the Gallipoli campaign was characterized by its own kind of dull trench life. From the very beginning of the expedition however, a kind of competition developed between the two parties to try and outwit each other whenever possible.

It all started the first night when Freiberg swam to the shore at Bulair to light a number of flares, as part of a feint to make the Turks believe the landing was to be expected there. And the fact that, during the final stages of the evacuation of the peninsula, a number of rifles kept firing long after the last troops had left the trenches, is also a well-known story.

The following uncommon pictures are examples of the inventiveness displayed in 'fooling the enemy'.

Click the pics to see a larger version



Strange ships

This picture shows the dummy HMS Tiger, who was one of two merchantmen that had been disguised as battle cruisers. The idea behind this scheme was to fool the Germans into thinking that a far greater part of the Navy was being sent to the Dardanelles. The plan worked so admirably well, that the Tiger was spotted by the U21, who had already sunk the Majestic and Triumph. After the inevitable torpedo had struck home, and the ship was sinking fast, the German commander could not believe his eyes when he saw the complete superstructure, the turrets and the guns of the Tiger calmly float away on the water.



Her sister ship Orion, was hardly more fortunate in so far that she was not sunk by the Germans, but by the Allies themselves, to become a much-needed breakwater at Kephalo Bay on the Island of Imbros..



Snipers often went to great lenghts to hide the trench position they were firing from. When sniping from an open position, which was the case for a number of Turks during the first days after the landing, even stronger measures were sometimes necessary. This unfortunate Turkish sniper was captured in spite of his great efforts to disguise himself as a bush. This picture was probably taken during the early stages of the campaign, which can be deduced from the fact that the two Australians are still wearing their regulation uniform. In the stiffling heat of summer, this soon degenerated to an outfit that gave rise to the expression 'naked Australians'.


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And more sniping

This is in fact a funny picture : Australians have put up an image of the Kaiser as a target for the Turks to shoot at. At first sight, this seems to reflect the altered, friendlier attitude of many Anzacs  towards Johnny Turk, after the 'armistice' of May to bury the dead. The idea behind it, may have been less friendly however : judging from the sniper with the telescope rifle beside it, it was probably just another trick to encourage the enemy to expose himself.


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And what to think of the following : Australians using the ears of their donkeys to send semaphore signals. A simpler solution to a concrete problem is hardly imaginable, but at the same time it's abother proof of the recourcefulness of these troops.


Automatic rifles

With the evacuation in mind, a delayed-action rifle was developed at Anzac, to give the Turks the impression that the trenches were still manned, even long after the last occupants had left for the beach. This strange contraption worked on the principle of water dripping along a piece of rope from the upper container into the lower one, until the weight increased to a level that was sufficient to pull the trigger. Hours after the evacuation of Anzac had been completed, shots were still echoing through the gullies.


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They also served

The simultaneous evacuation of the Anzac and Suvla sectors was certainly a big -and perhaps the only- Allied success, and was generally considered as a masterpiece of military planning. At Helles however, the situation was even more precarious : they had to evacuate three weeks later, under the eyes of an alerted enemy. Therefore, additional measures were needed to give the Turks the impression that the trenches were still fully manned. These dummy troops are waiting for their orders to go up the line.

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But what's the value of dummy infantry, without adequate dummy artillery support? In order to replace withdrawn fieldguns, that might be under enemy -airial and other - observation, wooden replicas were manufactured on board the battleships. In the picture, a wooden dummy gun made in Agamemnon, waiting to be shipped ashore.


And so did the horses

Not exactly a Gallipoli topic as such, but it can hardly be called a coincidence that when Anzacs units -such as the Light Horse- were used in other campaigns in the Near East, they kept using the same tricks they had learned on the Peninsula. To enable the Desert Mounted Corps to assemble on the coast of Palestine, lines of dummy horses were erected in the Jordan valley to trick the Turks into believing they were still pitted against a strong concentration of enemy forces.


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