In the movie Gallipoli, the ANZACs were depicted charging into machine gun fire, knowingly, without any sort of protection. In other words, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

If they knew that there would be such heavy fire, as previous unsuccessful waves have demonstrated, why did they continue to send what were essentially suicide waves? I am no expert in warfare, but it seems reasonably logical to at least have the soldiers charge in with some kind of protection in the form of say armoured plates on wheels.

I envisaged a simple U-shaped unit with walls made of thick metal, where men push from inside the U-shape in order to slowly advance safely towards enemy lines.

  • 7
    They didn't have any. This was WW1, tanks were invented because of these slaughters.
    – Semaphore
    Mar 2, 2016 at 5:43
  • 1
    What protection would you have suggested?
    – MCW
    Mar 2, 2016 at 9:35
  • 3
    @AndrewGrimm I wouldn't have thought medieval-style shields would hold up against gunfire. A shield strong enough to stop high powered rifle shots almost certainly would be too heavy for an individual to carry across the field. I was thinking something along the lines of a U-shaped metal barrier on wheels, where soldiers push from the interior of the U shape to slowly advance towards the target trench.
    – Trogdor
    Mar 2, 2016 at 11:32
  • 5
    various forms of metal shields were tried at various stages in ww1. They were pretty heavy. impractical for assaults. But these sort of stuff was experimented with.
    – pugsville
    Mar 2, 2016 at 11:58
  • 4
    Please consider the challenge of pushing a wheeled shield heavy enough to withstand hundreds of machine gun shots across a field that has been under artillery barrage for days or months. Remember the extensive mud, and then think about the challenge of trying to push that shield through a coil of barbed wire. Or grab a friend, load him into a wheelbarrow and try to push him across a public football field into a tennis gun cannon.
    – MCW
    Mar 2, 2016 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


It seems that there were a number of attempts during WW1 to design either personal armour for infantrymen or heavier contraptions known as "creeper tanks". I guess they were discarded because of either insufficient protective capacity or unwieldiness (or both).





The main protection used was artillery preparation. Goes right to the root cause of the disease (baddies shooting at you) rather than trying to address the symptoms (bullets landing in you). Conceptually this was nothing new, but the conditions for implementation had changed. Through hard experience things like creeping barrages, shifting fire to impede reinforcement, delivery of gas, etc etc were developed into a highly effective mechanism.

And the same logic is used today. Generally the preferred approach is to call in a fire mission or fast air to solve your problem from a distance rather than test the ballistic qualities of your kevlar vest/helmet.

Unfortunately for those fighting in the Dardenelles, circumstances mitigated against either side having enough boom to really move things along.

  • In the attack on 'The Nek' at Gallipoli, the massacre of the Australian Light Horse resulted (in part) due to the failure to correctly synchronize the artillery barrage. It was a very narrow front, and artillery (including naval gunfire) was available, but the barrage stopped seven minutes before the attack was due to begin and the Australian troops in the trenches sat and waited while the Turks returned to man their positions before the order to begin the assault was given. Everyone there at the time knew it was going to be a slaughter, but that wasn't the original plan... Apr 19, 2020 at 4:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.