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When Australian troops stormed ashore in the pre-dawn darkness of April 25th 1915, it was the culmination of one of the most complex and daunting operations in the history of warfare – the seaborne assault of a heavily fortified shore, defended by a well-prepared and forewarned enemy.

The risks were enormous, and the death toll on the beach at Anzac Cove could have been murderous – as it was with the British landings further south. Yet the Anzacs had been allowed to organise their own assault, and their ingenuity, intelligence gathering and willingness to do the unorthodox allowed them to seize a foothold and fulfil the task they had been set by their commanders. All too often the scale of that task and the successful way the Anzacs approached it have been overshadowed by events later in the campaign.

Hugh Dolan, a senior intelligence officer in the Australian military, has minutely re-examined the assault itself, giving us a day-by-day account of the build up to the landing that shows a very different side to the Gallipoli story. Using a host of previously unpublished material and research, he has produced a riveting work of narrative history that sheds a fresh light on the original Anzacs.

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