Military History

This Week in History | Week 19

By The Cove May 3, 2020

04 - 10 May


04 May 1915 | Australian attack on Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli

A party of 100 men from 11 Battalion, led by Captain Raymond Leane and a detail of engineers, launched an unsuccessful attack on a Turkish fort at Gaba Tepe, which was being used to observe artillery fire onto Australian positions around Anzac Cove. The Turks opened heavy fire on the party which was forced to withdraw. The Australians lost four killed, including an officer, and 19 others were wounded. The raid was the AIF's first of the war.


07 May 1943 | 'M' Special Force Raised

The 'M' Special  Unit was formed in 1943, as a successor to The Coastwatchers. 'M' Special Unit's role was focused upon gathering intelligence on Japanese shipping and troop movements. The unit was a joint Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and British military intelligence unit which saw action in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands between 1943–1945. Small teams from the unit were landed behind enemy lines by sea, air or land, in contrast to its counterpart, Z Special Unit, which became well known for its direct-action commando-style raids. The Unit was disbanded at the end of the war on 10 November 1945.


07 May 1945 | Victory in Europe Day

Germany's surrender, signed at the French city of Reims, ended the Second World War in Europe.

08 May 1915 | Second Battle of Krithia

Krithia was a Greek village on the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, approximately eight kilometres north of Cape Helles, the site of the costly British landings of 25 April 1915. The village was at the foot of the dominating heights of Achi Baba peak which had been the first objective of the British troops on 25 April. The British 29th Division, in the First Battle of Krithia, advanced the line to within three kilometres of the village. The Australian 2nd Brigade and the New Zealand Brigade were transferred from Anzac Cove to Helles to assist the British and French in the second Battle of Krithia from 6 to 8 May.

British attacks on 6 May gained some ground but two further attacks the next day failed to make progress. A further British attempt failed on 8 May and just before 5 pm that afternoon, the 2nd Brigade, commanded by Colonel James M’Cay, was given orders to attack at 5.30 pm when it was still light. The Australians advanced from a trench manned by Indian soldiers and 500 metres further on unexpectedly found another trench manned by British soldiers. This trench was named by the Australians as ‘The Tommies Trench’ and the Australians either jumped into it or laid down behind it. Three minutes later, M’Cay with more Australians approached and M'Cay called on the men taking shelter to continue the advance. The Australians pressed forward under heavy enemy fire before casualties compelled them to stop 400 metres from the Turkish trenches and two kilometres from Krithia. The Australians in an hour had suffered 1,000 killed and wounded. On the left, the New Zealanders gained a little ground but at a heavy cost. With the Turks digging in and receiving reinforcements, the two brigades returned to Anzac Cove. (AWM, London)


10 May 1900 | Zand River

New South Wales Mounted Rifles fought an action at Zand River, South Africa.




The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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