Gallipoli Australian Gibson Tale and the Truth

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Gundulph, Oct 24, 2006.

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  1. Having recently worked with a mixed team of Yanks/Aussies/Brits it became obvious that the Aussies in the team regard their 'Anzac Day' as not only their Remembrance Day for their fallen servicemen and women, but also as some kind of 'Anti everything that is British Day'!!!

    I was hounded with so called 'facts' about how the Brits f%&^*d up with Gallipoli and threw only Aussies and Kiwis into the affray leaving them to the mercy of the Turkish Army due to British 'Incompetency', myself and everyone else in the team were reeled in hook line and sinker! it became obvious that they held a real hatred of everything British, trying to tell me how much better their forces are bla bla bla!!!

    After trawling the internet I found the following article which reveals the truth about the absolute crap that the film Galliploi (starring a young Mel Gibson 1981) portrays about the British at the time!!! also, found in wikipedia, the casualties speak for themselves also - 21000+ brits killed to 8000+ Aussies, even the French lost more troops than the Aussies! to every Aussie friend, enemy, relative or plastic Aussie you have ever known that has spouted similar crap about the British solely based upon their viewing of the film 'Gallipoli' send them this to shut their trap holes once and for all!!!!!

    The Real Case Against Mel Gibson
    By Hal G.P. Colebatch
    Published 8/8/2006 12:07:12 AM

    Gibson has been involved in a series of pseudo-historical films which may be much more important in terms of actual political effect and whose content deserves scrutiny.

    Let us consider first the film Gallipoli, an Australian film made in 1981. The screenplay of Gallipoli was not written by Gibson but by a leftist Australian intellectual, David Williamson. Gibson was, however, the major star.

    The film deals with the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, when French and British Empire troops failed in a long and costly battle to advance from the Turkish coast to Constantinople. Winston Churchill was blamed, perhaps unfairly, and his political career almost destroyed. It was the first great campaign for Australian and New Zealand troops, the casualties were shocking. The anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, April 25, ANZAC Day, is kept in Australia as the equivalent of U.S. Veterans' Day and is the greatest national commemoration day of the year. Associated with it are many semi-religious ceremonies and rituals in which millions of Australians -- not only veterans -- participate, and the number involved is growing every year.

    The film Gallipoli does not show much fighting for most of its length. However, its climax is a re-creation of the disastrous Australian attack on a Turkish position called The Nek.

    The troops, mainly dismounted West Australian light horsemen, innocent boys from the bush whose life in Australia is indicated at the beginning of the film, attack in three waves in uphill charges against entrenched Turkish machine-guns. The first wave is wiped out and the attack is shown to be clearly hopeless and suicidal. However, an English officer, Colonel Robinson, safe in a dug-out far from the fighting, orders the attacks to proceed.

    The second wave attacks and is also annihilated. The senior West Australian officer, Major Barton, wants to halt the attacks. Robinson refuses. Major Barton orders a soldier, Frank Dunne, a champion runner, played by Gibson, to run to the Australian General's headquarters and have Robinson's suicidal orders overridden and countermanded.

    The wise Australian general gives orders to halt the attack, but as Frank sprints back with these orders, he is killed and the message is never delivered. The third wave, led by Major Barton after he has made a moving speech to the men, goes over the top and is also destroyed.

    So much for the film. Like other "historical" films Gibson has made, it could easily be taken as fact by people who are not well-informed historians. However, the reality is that there was no such person as the bumbling and murderous British Colonel Robinson. The fatal orders to persist with the attacks were actually given by another Australian, Colonel J. M. Antill.

    Further, the fatal attacks were not delivered to support British troops -- who in the film are said to be "drinking tea on the beach" as the Aussies die for them -- but to support a New Zealand attack that had also bogged down. In fact a British regiment incurred heavy casualties trying to support the Australians once it was realized they were in trouble.

    The film is a piece of anti-British propaganda and its plot is based on a falsehood. There was no discernible reason to create the fictional character of Robinson except to encourage anti-British sentiment in Australia -- which was certainly on the left political agenda in the 1980s under the code-name "The New Nationalism." The bizarre anti-British and anti-Semitic crank historian (and Lenin Jubilee Medalist) the late Manning Clark was highly honored in certain Labor Party and other leftist circles about that time for promoting anti-British mythology.

    The Gallipoli battlefields are visited by many Australian tourists and this poisonous film is apparently shown every night in a number of tourist hotels and hostels there.

  2. In the main that piece is accurate enough.apart from the fact that 'Frank' is not killed; he's just not fast enough to make it back in time. Defence cutbacks meant a lack of 'Shredded Wheat' :D
  3. Yep - an entertaining piece of fiction with a monumentally weepy emotion stiring ending complete with emotive soundtrack- typical Gibson bollox
  4. The average Australian ignores his country's major contribution in WW1 - namely the Western Front. 59,000 Australians were killed in WW1 - 50,000 of whom are buried in France. Last year I spent some time Manly, a northern suburb of Sydney. The WW1 memorial there not only lists all the townsmen who died in the Great War (over 300) but also where they fell. Only 2 were killed at Gallipoli. It was a wonderful educational tool to employ after a beer fueled discussion with the locals about Gallipoli.

    Australia mobilised 330,000 men in WW1. 59,000 killed and 152,000 wounded a casualty rate of 64% which is second only to New Zealand (66%). Great Britain mobilised 5,397,000 with 703,000 killed and 1,663,000 wounded (44%).

    Fact - Australia had a significantly higher casualty rate than Great Britain in WW1 - BUT NOT at Gallipoli, where their casualty rate was SIGNIFICANTLY lower.
  5. It's funny I worked with an aussie lad who kept talking about gallipoli and visiting the battlefields, and pointed out to me how many casualties the aussies took due to british incomptance, he was quite surprised when I pointed out that the Aussies lost 8,000 KIA whereas the British forces had in the region of 115,000 and the french 27,000.
    It seems that we as a country have also forgotten that this wasn't just an ANZAC show, we seem to concentrate on france & flanders, and forget the middle east and the other 'side show's'. It's sad when you consider actions such as the Lancs at W beach, and the Dublin Fusiliers and Munsters on the River Clyde at V beach.
    A fairly decent portrayal of the aussie's during WW1 was the 1985 tv drama ANZAC's which starred Paul Hogan, of course theirs the usual digs at the brits but on the whole a pretty good programme certainly on a par with Band of Brothers.
  6. ANZACs very good. The production values aren'tgreat, but it really does show the evolution of the fighting well.
  7. Gallipoli? Another Great War f*kc up. No-one disputes the magnificence of the ANZACS, and they were greatly admired by the British on all fronts during 1914-18. However, to assert/ suggest that somehow the British (and for that matter the French) sat back and let the Australians & New Zealanders do the hard work/ dying is absurd and disgraceful. No serious historian, Australian or other, has suggested that this was the case.

    The experiences of just one of the British infantry regts engaged suffices to illustrate the general point:

    "W Beach" Landing, Gallipoli, 25th April 1915: 1st Lancs Fusiliers - 950 men disembarked from "Euryalus" & "Implacable"; not much more than one hour later, they'd sustained 533 casualties, incl 189 dead.
    In total the battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers engaged at Gallipoli lost 1,816 KIA.
    Good study of the Lancs Fusiliers' Gallipoli experience, and aftermath, is "Hell's Foundations" by Geoffrey Moorhouse, 1992 Hodder & Stoughton (paperback ed, 1993, Sceptre); ISBN - 0-340-57982-X.

    The Gallipoli experience has great emotional resonance for many Australians because it's perceived to have been a national "rite of passage" where so many defining features of Australian identity were forged on a "world stage". Inevitably, as with most such moments of national self-definition, it has seemed necessary to identify some "other" with whom to draw (unfavourable) comparisons: hence the ritualistic "pom bashing".

    Nationalism is never an attractive attribute, and there remains a certain type of Australian who engages in atavistic denigration of all things British (and more particularly, English) regardless of realities, current situations, or the behaviour/ views of any of the victims of their (usually drunken) obnoxiousness. The irony of this is, of course, that they're exhibiting all the worst characteristics of the most odious specimens of the people they hate, but they just can't see it. One might add that many of them also appear to be repressed homosexuals - all a bit sad.

    Mel Gibson? A prime example of the type, even though - strictly speaking - he is an American. What a w*n*er.
  8. Did Mr. Gibson fight for his own Cuntry in Nam or was he like one or two others who found 'ways' out ?
  9. He went to america... lol (serious)
  10. Yes, it's a fact that most Australians are seriously underinformed and basically have a series of narrow 'snapshots' well larded with myth. Another one blamed on the Brits is Fromelles. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that any Aust success was entirely Australian whereas any failures are always the Brit's fault! And we haven't even got around to 'Striker Morant'!

    The WW1 cas stats also have to be treated with caution and are generally not understood by the people keen on quoting them. The reality is that the Aust (and other imperial forces) had little or nothing above corps level, which distorts the national 'tooth to tail' ratios. For example Aust was woefully weak in arty on the W Front (only 2 btys of 'medium' or heavier arty' whereas their force should have had about 40 such btys by Brit norms) and in Palestine had none at all, relying entirely on Brit RFA and TA RHA, you'll be hard pressed to find any Aust who knows this. The only fair cas stat comparison is by divisions, a while ago I looked at a few and came to the conclusion that Aust got of reasonably lightly compared to some Brit divs in WW1. This is not surprising, as a volunteer force replacements were a bit more difficult to come by!
  11. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    I think I am correct in saying the reason Mel's dad moved the family to Oz was so his sons couldn't be drafted into the US Army

    I take it as a U.S sitizen he couldn't be drafted by the Oz Army either?
  12. Absolutely correct, and has since built a lucrative career based in no small part on mythologisation of various wars.
  13. 1985 8O Christ I remember watching that - IIRC the lead character goes all the way unscathed only to be killed in the last offensive of the war.

    Re Gibson - has he ever made a film that portrayed the English in a good light? Patriot, Braveheart & Gallipoli all seem to have this negative theme - what is his problem with the English?

  14. Lancslad,
    Back in my home town(old industrial Lancashire) we had a Tarlton Avenue, named for the Col of The Patriot movie, Banestre Tarlton, who memory says was from a well respected Liverpool Family.
    We also had an Alma, Inkerman and Balaclava streets.
  15. Mel Gibson. Tw@ of the highest order.

    This apologist shite really gets my goat.