maanantai 22. heinäkuuta 2013

Gallipoli trip part 2: Helles

Took a bit longer to upload these images thanks to the Turkish infrastructure doing it's thing again and the internet at the apartment failing for nearly a week. Anyhow here are some of the pics from my second day at the Gallipoli battlefields.

The Helles area was a lot harder to visit as it was far more spread out than the Anzac area and obviously it wasn't as touristy either. Signs and the infoboards were not as common and it wasn't always exactly easy to find places with just the small map from my Gallipoli book.

The difference between the landscape of the two main battlefields is also quite epic with Anzac being steep hills with loads of thick impenetrable bushes and then Helles being mainly low rolling hills with quite open ground. The X and W Beaches were the nicest to visit but might be pretty much impossible to reach without a car and even then the W Beach might need a 4x4 or some walking in the end as the "road" was basically a cart track.

The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial near S Beach or Morto Bay is also pretty much a must. It's the main Turkish memorial and features a lot of statues etc. in addition to probably the most beautiful gravestones I've seen. Then the village of Kilitbahir has also some nice sights including an old naval fortress and then the modern one which was one of the main defences against the Allied Naval attack.

Turkish naval gunner Corporal Seyit, who allegedly carried 275kg shells by himself to his gun when the crane failed due to allied bombing.

View onto X Beach

W Beach with still some remnants of the defences
Helles Memorial

View onto V beach from the nearby coastal battery
Remnants of the coastal battery

The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial
Morto Koyu

Fortifications near Kilitbahir

sunnuntai 14. heinäkuuta 2013

Gallipoli trip part 1: Anzac and Suvla

Well I spent the weekend roaming around the battlefields of Gallipoli. It really does give you a far better idea of the whole battle when you visit the actual site. Trying to understand the movements of the troops and the fighting locations from maps and reading books doesn't really give you a true idea of what the troops faced.

I do recommend visiting the site if you ever have a chance to do it, and be sure to have at least two days for it. It took me around 6 hours to just go around the Anzac area alone and that was with my own car. With a bus it would probably be impossible to see even half the stuff. Of the two sites, Anzac and Helles, Anzac is far easier to visit as it has already ready made routes and far more info boards scattered around. A lot of readymade tours also as it's the main tourist attraction as most of the turkish people want to see the area where Kemal Atatürk commanded and the huge amount of Australians and New Zealanders there.

The scenery around the Anzac area is just breathtakingly beautiful with all the hills and the sea being close by. Though from the history regarding the area the comment that the terrain was fairly difficult going seems to be quite an understatement. Steep hills, nearly impenetrable bushes with sharp thorns and minimal visibility sure didn't make the job of the Anzacs any easier. Makes you wonder if anyone in the HQ ever even bothered to check what the terrain was like before planning the attack as most objectives seemed very optimistic when you saw what terrain features the troops would have had to pass in quite a short time. There were still some remnants of old trenches and bunkers in the area, but most of the "official" sights were just graveyards and memorials. But with a map it was quite easy to go see the different points of attack just to see how the battlefield looked like from the eyes of the normal soldiers.

 Waist high scrubs and rough ground everywhere, and this was the easiest terrain

 Lone Pine

 Remnants of trenches at Johnston's Jolly

"The sphinx" and the Anzac Cove landing site

View into Suvla Bay

Remnants of old bunkers at the Anzac Cove landing site

Attack route to Lone Pine

 Northern part of the Anzac landing areas

torstai 11. heinäkuuta 2013

Shopping in Istanbul

I had a few days of from work and managed to have a nice longish weekend in Istanbul. Of course I couldn't resist to do some miniature related shopping also when I found one store through the internet. Wargaming seems to be quite non-existent and even this place was only focusing on scale models. But you don't get to be picky when there aren't lot of places around.

Nevertheless Özonur Hobby Market was a really nice place. Loads of boxes stacked from the floor to the roof with a surprisingly large selection of different figures from 1/72 to 1/16 scales. From checking their website I was interested in buying some 54mm and 70mm, but couldn't find them. Did get myself a Miniart French Cuirassier model though. Their 1/16 figures have nice detail even if they are sometimes a bit of a pain to put together.

 I also visited some bookstores to buy something to read. The selection of english language books in Bursa, where I live, is pretty much non-existent so I wanted to go shopping in Istanbul. Previously I had already bought a book about Kemal Atatürk's early years and about the Turkish War of Independence. This time I got my hands on another suitable book for my stay here. Tim Travers's book 'Gallipoli 1915' should get me familiar with the battle before visiting Canakkele and the battlefields next weekend!

Also the Empress Kickstarter is reaching it's final hours. I was originally going to commit to just a few minis, but this has escalated a bit to include both USMC and PLA and now vehicles etc. Luckily they arrive around December so I still have time to clear my painting table before that :)