Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 246

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[Page 246]

being alone responsible for the ultimate failure of the operation. The failure of the 9th Corps was due not so much to the employment of new and untried troops as to bad staff work. The generals had but a vague idea of the nature of the ground in their front and no adequate steps were taken to keep the troops supplied with water. In consecquence many of these unfortunate volunteers went three days in very hot weather on one bottle of water and were yet expected to advance carrying heavy loads and to storm strong positions. The Turks having been given ample time to bring up strong reinforcements to Anafarta, where they entrenched themselves in up to their necks, were again assaulted in a direct frontal attack on August 21st. The movement never had the slightest chance of succeeding and led to another bloody fiasco in which the unfortunate 29th Division who were brought up especially from Helles, and the 2nd Mounted Division (Yeomanry) were the chief suffers. As the result of all this fighting our casualties since August 6th now total nearly fifty thousand killed wounded and missing.

The army is in fact in a deplorable condition. Its morale as a fighting force has suffered greatly and the officers and men are thoroughly dispirited. The muddles and mismanagement beat anything that has ever occured in our Military History. The fundamental evil at the present moment is the absolute lack of confidence in all ranks in the Headquarters Staff. The confidence of the army will never be restored until a really strong man is placed at to its head. It would amaze you to hear the talk that goes on amongst the Junior commanders of Divisions and Brigades. Except for the fact that the traditions of discipline still hold the force togther you would imagine that the units were in an open state of mutiny against Headquarters. The Commander in Chief and his Staff are openly spoken of, and in fact only

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