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Allied troops preparing to swim, Gallipoli

Allied troops preparing to swim, Gallipoli

Allied troops preparing to swim, Gallipoli

Here we see a group of Allied troops heading to the sea to bath during a break in the fighting at Gallipoli. Note the towels being carried.


Gallipoli: A Bloody Allied Defeat in World War I (200,000 Allied Casualties)

As Allied forces hunkered down on the shell-wracked beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkish forces rallied to defend their homeland.

Here's What You Need to Know: In the English-speaking world, most students of military history would be hard-pressed to identify the time, place, or antagonists of the Canakkale Campaign. However, they would readily recognize it by its English name—Gallipoli. The Allied troops who went ashore at Gallipoli believed they were fighting for democracy. Few Westerners realized (or at any rate admitted) that their Turkish opponents were fighting for an even higher ideal—they were defending their country. A significant portion of the Turkish soldiers who fought in the Canakkale Campaign were recruited from the towns and villages of the Gallipoli Peninsula. With their families close behind the battle lines, these soldiers were literally fighting for their homes. To them, the Allied soldiers were invaders who had come to defile their country and their Muslim faith.

Deutschland uber Allah: the Ottomans Enter the War

In 1915, World War I was in its second year. On the Western Front, the inexorable meat grinder of trench warfare had replaced the early war of maneuver. Stalemated British, French, and German armies stared at each other across the scarred Belgian and French countryside. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, where operations of Austro-German and Russian armies still maintained some measure of fluidity, things were beginning to bog down there as well. The eyes of both sides turned south, toward the Ottoman Empire. With the Turks firmly in command of both the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits, a vital supply route between Russia and Western Europe had been cut. Russia needed weapons and munitions from England and France. In turn, those two countries needed Russian food shipments. To England and France, Turkey seemed like the soft underbelly through which a serious blow could be delivered at Germany. The Germans, for their part, were looking for a place to divert British and French efforts and relieve some of the pressure on the Fatherland.

For more than a decade, the German and Ottoman empires had maintained close ties, especially in the military sphere. Shortly before the start of the war, a German military mission of almost 100 officers arrived in Turkey, invited there to overhaul the creaking Ottoman war machine. One of the most senior members of this mission was General Otto Liman von Sanders, who was destined to play a key role in the Gallipoli campaign. When the war started, Turkey initially maintained its neutrality. Then, in an act of either calculated effrontery or callous arrogance, England withheld two battleships it had been building for Turkey. The Turks’ indignation was understandable, since they had already paid for the battleships. Not only was England keeping the vessels, it also refused to return its client’s money.

German warships soon entered the picture. On August 10, 1914, hotly pursued by combined British and French squadrons, two German vessels, Goeben and Breslau, took refuge in Turkish territorial waters. In a sham sale, Turkey acquired the ships from Germany. Re-flagged under Ottoman colors and bearing the new names Midilli and Yavuz, the two ships were still manned by their German crews, who went through the ridiculous charade of wearing fezzes and pretending to be Turks. A rueful pun made the rounds: “Deutschland uber Allah.

Turkey decided to enter the conflict on the German side. On October 27, the two newly acquired warships sailed into the Black Sea, bombarded several Russian cities on the north shore of the sea, and sank two merchant vessels. Although damage was minimal, Russia immediately declared war on Turkey. Great Britain and France quickly followed suit, and on November 3 combined British and French squadrons bombarded Turkish military installations near the entrance to the Dardanelles Straits, heavily damaging two small forts. Turkey, in turn, formally declared war on England and France. Another country had been drawn into the European bloodbath.

Dardanelles Strait: Istambul’s Gate

The Ottoman Empire was separated into the European portion and the Asian portion by the narrow Sea of Marmara. The Dardanelles Straits formed the gates to that British lake, the Mediterranean Sea, while the Bosporus Straits guarded the entrance to the Black Sea, dominated by Russia. The Gallipoli Peninsula (anglicized name of the small town of Gelibolu on the European side of the Dardanelles) gave its name to the upcoming campaign in the English-speaking world. The Turks named the campaign after the town of Canakkale, on the Asian side of the straits.

Hoping for a quick knockout blow, the British government planned to force the Dardanelles Straits, enter the Sea of Marmara and bombard the Turkish capital of Istanbul into submission. Original Allied plans drawn up by Winston Churchill, the British First Lord of the Admiralty, called for naval actions alone. However, six months of naval bombardments and raids by marine landing parties did not have much success. The British and French squadrons operated on predictable sailing patterns, and the Turks laid a series of mine fields across their routes. On March 18, Allied naval squadrons received a terrible mauling at the hands of the Turks, resulting in three Allied battleships sunk and three more crippled. The British abruptly changed tactics and placed the Army in charge of forcing the Dardanelles Straits. British General Sir Ian Hamilton was appointed to command the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces, which included Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) contingents as well as English.

Liman von Sanders Takes Command

On March 24, the Turkish premier, Enver Pasha, offered Liman von Sanders command of the Fifth Army, which was being organized to defend the Dardanelles. A typical product of Prussian military upbringing—professional, aloof, and nonpolitical—Liman von Sanders readily accepted the offer and wasted no time departing for his new command. On March 26, he set up headquarters in the small port town of Gallipoli. Efforts to improve defenses at the strategic straits began at once. At the time, the Fifth Army was composed of five divisions deployed along both the European and the Asiatic coasts of the straits. Each division was made up of nine to 12 battalions, each numbering between 800 and 1,000 men. By the time of the Allied landings, another division, the 3rd, had arrived.

The Asian side of the straits, characterized by low hills and large tracts of flatlands, was more susceptible to Allied landings. The coast of the Gallipoli Peninsula on the European side consisted of very mountainous terrain with steep slopes and deep ravines. Immediately behind the beaches, the landscape was dotted with small woods and thickets. Farther inland, the peninsula became flatter and more open for maneuver. Liman von Sanders considered the Asian shore the place most likely to see an Allied landing. It was, however, the most heavily defended sector of the Turkish defenses. The Gallipoli Peninsula, on the other hand, offered only a handful of likely places to land enemy troops. One of them was the southern tip of the peninsula at Sedd-el-Bahr, completely covered by the guns of British warships. After landing there, the next immediate Allied objective inland would be the Achi Baba ridge. From this ridge, the British would be able to put a large part of the Turkish defensive works under fire.

Another likely landing place was on the north side of the Gulf of Saros, at Bulair. From this place to Maidos, the Gallipoli Peninsula is only approximately four miles wide. If the enemy could cut the peninsula along the line from the Gulf of Saros to Maidos, a considerable part of the Ottoman Fifth Army would be cut off and surrounded. In his memoirs, British Seaman Joseph Murray wrote, “No doubt the Turks were wondering exactly where and when we would strike as invaders it was for us to choose the time and place. The Turks had to remain where they were, ready to defend their homeland.”

Reorganizing the Turkish Fifth Army

Before Liman von Sanders took command of the Fifth Army, the Turkish troops were distributed evenly along the entire perimeter of the Gallipoli Peninsula, without any reserves allocated to halt the enemy in case they breached the shore defenses. Liman von Sanders completely reorganized Turkish deployment. He pulled back the bulk of his troops, leaving company- and platoon-sized detachments to watch the possible landing sites. Since he considered the Gulf of Saros the most likely landing location on the peninsula, Liman von Sanders repositioned the 5th and 7th Divisions close to it. The 9th Division was centered on the southern tip of the peninsula and the 19th Division was placed in strategic reserve in the center. The 3rd and 11th Divisions were allocated to defend the Asiatic side of the straights. By using internal lines of communication, Liman von Sanders would be able to rush reserves to the threatened sectors.

To conceal Turkish redeployments, most movements were done during the night. Work on improving the roads began at once to prepare them for the higher traffic of supplies and reinforcements. To toughen up his troops, grown complacent in their previous static defensive positions, Liman von Sanders ordered them to conduct training marches and maneuvers. This training also had to be conducted at night to shield them from British warships, which would immediately rain shells on any group of Turks, however small.


A New View of the Battle of Gallipoli, One of the Bloodiest Conflicts of World War I

Thirty-two cutters filled with British troops   advanced steadily   across the sea under a brightening sky. The men clutched their rifles and peered at a crescent of sand a few hundred yards away, fortified by barbed wire strung across wooden posts. Just beyond the beach rose rugged limestone cliffs covered in heavy brush. It was a few minutes after dawn on April 25, 1915, and the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers was preparing to land on W Beach on the southern end of the Gallipoli Peninsula. “It might have been a deserted land we were nearing in our little boats,” remembered Capt. Richard Willis, commander of C Company. “Then, crack! 

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The stroke oar of my boat fell forward to the angry astonishment of his mates.” Chaos broke out as soldiers tried desperately to escape a hail of bullets raking across the beach and the boats. “Men leapt out of the boats into deep water, encumbered with their rifles and their 70 pounds of kit,” recalled Willis, “and some of them died right there, while others reached the land only to be cut down on the barbed wire.”

A few yards away, the commander of B Company waded through three feet of water onto the beach. “The sea behind was absolutely crimson, and you could hear the groans through the rattle of musketry . I shouted to the soldier behind me to signal, but he shouted back, ‘I am shot through the chest.’ I then perceived they were all hit.” The survivors of the Lancashire battalion pushed on, eventually forcing the three platoons of Turkish defenders, about 200 men, to flee. By 7:15 that morning they had secured the landing place, but at a terrible cost. Out of 1,029 men who landed on W Beach, only 410 survived. 

An infantryman later described the deadly terrain’s “endless windings and abrupt variations.” (Claudius Schulze ) Remains of a trench today. (Claudius Schulze ) Expedition leader Tony Sagona holds a provision container from the 1915-16 battle. Teams have found piles of tin cans containing bully (corned) beef, testifying to the monotonous diet of the Australians and New Zealanders. (Claudius Schulze ) The trench system on the Gallipoli Peninsula stayed largely intact after the war, unlike on the Western Front. “It’s so barren and bleak, nobody ever wanted to occupy it,” said an Australian historian studying the battlefield. (Claudius Schulze ) Since 2010 archaeologists and historians from Turkey, New Zealand and Australia have scoured the field each fall, recording data on a detailed map made by the Ottomans in 1916. (Claudius Schulze ) Archaeologists are finding bullets, barbed wire, tin cans, bayonets and human bones. As the centenary approaches, they fear continued erosion and an influx of tourists will destroy remaining traces of the campaign. (Claudius Schulze ) A cemetery at Anzac Cove, today a place of pilgrimage, holds the remains of soldiers killed in one of history’s bloodiest battles. More than 400,000 Allied and Ottoman troops were killed or wounded in the campaign. (Claudius Schulze ) A national park memorial on the hillock known as the Pinnacle, where Allied forces had only fleeting success over its Ottoman defenders. Today the Turkish government runs free trips to Gallipoli for citizens. (Claudius Schulze )

The attack that morning on W Beach and five other beaches was the first amphibious assault in modern history, involving British and French troops as well as divisions of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac). It had been preceded in February 1915 by a naval attack on the Dardanelles, the strait dividing Gallipoli from mainland Turkey—the opening of a campaign that would be regarded as one of the great Allied failures of World War I. The name quickly became a metaphor for hubris—as well as bravery and sacrifice.

Today, along the beaches where thousands of soldiers died, broken jetties still jut out of the water, and the rusted-out remains of an amphibious landing craft lie in the sand, lapped by the waves. One summer morning Kenan Celik, a Turkish historian, and I climb to the summit of a hill called Achi Baba. We breathe in crisp air redolent of thyme, gazing across sunflower fields and olive groves toward Cape Helles, five miles distant, where the British landings took place. “My grandmother told me ‘we could hear the guns from the battlefield, 85 miles away, ’”  says Celik, whose great-grandfather disappeared at Gallipoli. The historian leads me down a dirt road through the fields, past cemeteries containing the bodies of 28,000 British troops, and stops at W Beach. “The Turks had no machine guns here, just single-shot rifles. But they were very accurate,” Celik tells me, observing the scrub-covered limestone cliff once filled with snipers’ nests.  

The invasion of Gallipoli, a peninsula squeezed between the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles in what is now western Turkey, was conceived by Allied commanders as a lightning strike against the Ottoman Empire to bring about a quick end to the Great War, which had bogged down into a bloody stalemate on the Western Front. The Ottomans had signed a pact with the German Empire on August 2, 1914, shortly following the war’s outbreak. As the Germans and their European allies, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, faced the Allies in trenches extending 500 miles from the North Sea to Switzerland, the Turks engaged the Russians on the eastern front, bombarding Russian ports and sealing off the Dardanelles. Allied generals and politicians expected their operation in Gallipoli to be over in a matter of days. “A good army of 50,000 men and sea power—that is the end of the Turkish menace,” declared First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. 

“I bore the Turk no enmity,” wrote a soldier. “He was a fellow sufferer.” (Robert Hunt Library / Mary Evans / Everett Collection) Remnants of the terrible days: Archaeologists’ finds include (clockwise from top left) a canteen, bullets and cartridges, a provisions container, barbed wire. (Claudius Schulze ) Trench warfare, said one soldier, consisted of “monotony, discomfort, casual death.” (Imperial War Museum / The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY) Allied troops felt kinship for their foes. (HIP / Art Resource, NY) At W Beach (above, in 1916) an Army chaplain recalled “corpses that lay in rows in the sand.” (Imperial War Museum / The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY)

Instead, by the time Allied forces withdrew in defeat in January 1916, close to half a million soldiers—nearly 180,000 Allied troops, 253,000 Turks—had been killed or wounded. Australia suffered 28,150 casualties at Gallipoli, including 8,700 dead, nearly one-sixth of the casualties it endured during the Great War. “Australia was born as a nation on April 25,” says Bill Sellars, a Gallipoli-based Australian journalist, describing the day that the recently independent country mourned the loss of young soldiers on a distant battlefield. As the fighting dragged on, says Sellars, it became “a close-up, in-your-face war, as opposed to the Western Front, where you never even saw your enemy.” 

Now, as the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign approaches, both sides are engaging in commemorations that testify to the battle’s resonance. Turkish citizens and visitors from around the world will crowd the battlefield and cemeteries for memorials in March and April.

Thirty-four years ago, Peter Weir’s 1981 film  Gallipoli , starring Mel Gibson, captured the innocence of young men who rushed eagerly to the front—only to be sent to pointless deaths by callous and incompetent field commanders. In April, the New Zealand-born star Russell Crowe is releasing in the U.S. the new film he directed,  The Water Diviner , about an Australian who travels to Turkey in 1919 to learn the fate of his three sons, reported missing in action. And a flurry of movies by Turkish directors has presented the Ottoman experience of the carnage. The nationalistic  Gallipoli: End of the Road  dramatizes the battlefield feats of Abdul the Terrible, a real-life Turkish sniper who gunned down a dozen Allied officers before he was shot dead by a Chinese-Australian sharpshooter named Billy Sing.  Children   of Canakkale  (using the Turkish name for the Gallipoli campaign), by Turkish filmmaker Sinan Cetin, takes a starkly different approach, telling of two brothers who fight on opposite sides, British and Turkish, and meet face to face in a climactic bayonet charge. “Turkish people love the fairy tale about nationalism, but I couldn’t with my heart do that kind of movie,” he told me. “This was a disaster, not a victory.”

The centennial will also mark the completion of an extraordinary effort by scholars to study the battlefield itself, especially the elaborate trench system. Since its initial forays in 2010, a team of Turkish, Australian and New Zealand archaeologists and historians has spent between three and four weeks in the field each fall, hacking through dense brush, identifying depressions in the earth, marking their GPS coordinates and overlaying the new data on a highly detailed 1916 map compiled by Ottoman cartographers immediately after the Allied withdrawal. 

(Guilbert Gates)

Unlike the trenches of the Western Front, plowed under by farmers soon after the war, Gallipoli’s trench system remained largely intact after the battle. “It’s so barren and bleak, nobody ever wanted to occupy it,” says Richard Reid, an Australian Department of Veterans Affairs historian working on the project. But erosion caused by wind and rain, as well as the increasing popularity of the battlefield among both Turkish and foreign tourists, now threaten to destroy these last remaining traces. “In a few more years, you won’t be able to see any of the trenches, but at least you’ll have a record of exactly where they were,” says Ian McGibbon, a New Zealand military historian who estimates that he’s spent a total of 100 days here since 2010. 

The researchers have marked nine miles of frontline trenches, communications trenches and tunnels burrowed by the antagonists several dozen feet beneath each other’s positions in an effort to blow them up from below. They have also discovered more than 1,000 artifacts—bullets, barbed wire, rusting tin cans of Australian bully beef (corned beef), bayonets, human bones—that provide a compelling picture of life and death in one of history’s bloodiest battlegrounds. And some finds would also seem to call into question the Turkish government’s recent push to recast the battle as a triumph for the Ottoman Empire and Islam.

On a warm September morning, I join McGibbon and Simon Harrington, a retired Australian rear admiral and member of the field team, on a tour of Holly Ridge, the hillside where Australian troops faced Ottoman Army regiments for four months in 1915. Thickets of pine, holly and wattle gouge my legs as I follow a precipitous trail above the Aegean Sea. “The Australians climbed up from Anzac Cove on April 25,” says McGibbon, gesturing toward the coastline a couple of hundred feet below us. “But the Turks headed them off, and both sides dug in.” 

The two historians spent much of September 2013 delineating this former front line, which ran roughly along both sides of a modern-day fire road. McGibbon, clad like his colleague in a bush hat and safari gear, points to depressions half hidden in the brush on the roadside, which he and Harrington tagged last year with orange ribbons. The trenches have eroded away, but the historians look for telltale clues—such as the heavy vegetation that tends to grow here because of rainfall accumulation in the depressions.

McGibbon points out a crater just off the road, which he identifies as a “slump,” a depression above an underground corridor. Ottomans and Allies burrowed tunnels beneath their foes’ trenches and packed them with explosives, often causing enormous casualties each side also constructed defensive tunnels to intercept enemy diggers. “Battles sometimes erupted underground” where the two digging teams confronted each other, McGibbon says. 

He picks up a fist-size chunk of shrapnel, one of countless fragments of materiel that still litter the battlefield. Most important relics were carted off long ago by second-hand dealers, relatives of veterans and private museum curators such as Ozay Gundogan, the great-grandson of a soldier who fought at Gallipoli and founder of a war museum in the village of Buyuk Anafarta. His museum displays British badges, canvas satchels, wheelbarrows, French sun helmets, belt buckles, map cases, bugles, Turkish officers’ pistols, rusted bayonets and round bombs with fuses, which were hurled by Ottoman troops into enemy trenches. 

But Harrington says his team’s modest relics shed light on what happened here. “What we have found has remained in its context,” he says. For example, in the Australian trenches, the historians uncovered piles of tin cans containing bully beef—testifying to the monotony of the Anzac diet. The Ottomans, by contrast, received deliveries of meat and vegetables from nearby villages and cooked in brick ovens inside the trenches. The team has recovered several bricks from these ovens.

As trench warfare bogged down, the architecture of the trenches became more elaborate. The Anzac forces brought in engineers who had learned their trade in the gold mines of western Australia: They constructed zigzagging frontline corridors with steps leading up to firing recesses—some of which can still be seen today. A maze of communications and supply trenches ran up to the front line, becoming so complex, says Harrington, that “men couldn’t find their way back to the front lines, and had to be rescued.”

In lower sections of the battlefield, the enemies faced each other from 200 or 300 yards away, but on the narrow ridges near Chunuk Bair, one of the highest points on the peninsula and a principal objective of the Allies, Anzac and Ottoman soldiers were separated by just a few yards—close enough for each side to lob grenades and bombs into each other’s trenches. “You dug deep, and you erected barbed-wire netting on top to protect yourself,” says Harrington. “If you had time, you threw the grenades back.”

Most of the fighting took place from deep inside these bunkers, but soldiers sometimes emerged in waves—only to be cut down by fixed machine guns. The Allies had insufficient medical personnel in the field and few hospital ships, and thousands of injured were left for days in the sun, pleading for water until they perished. 

The Turkish soldiers fought with a tenacity that the British—ingrained with colonial attitudes of racial superiority—had never anticipated. “The soldiers from the Anatolian villages were fatalists raised on hardship,” the historian L.A. Carlyon wrote in his acclaimed 2001 study Gallipoli . “They knew how to hang on, to endure, to swallow bad food and go barefoot, to baffle and frustrate the enemy with their serenity in the face of pain and death.” 

The corpses piled up in the trenches and ravines, often remaining uncollected for weeks. “Everywhere one looked lay dead, swollen, black, hideous, and over all a nauseating stench that nearly made one vomit,” observed Lt. Col. Percival Fenwick, a medical officer from New Zealand, who participated in a joint burial with Turkish forces during a rare ceasefire that spring. “We exchanged cigarettes with the [Turkish] officers frequentl y. there was a swathe of men who had fallen face down as if on parade.” 


Contents

On 29 October 1914, two former German warships, the Ottoman Yavûz Sultân Selîm and Midilli, still under the command of German officers, conducted the Black Sea Raid, in which they bombarded the Russian port of Odessa and sank several ships. [16] On 31 October, the Ottomans entered the war and began the Caucasus campaign against Russia. The British briefly bombarded forts in Gallipoli, invaded Mesopotamia and studied the possibility of forcing the Dardanelles. [17] [18]

Allied strategy and the Dardanelles Edit

Before the Dardanelles operation was conceived, the British had planned to conduct an amphibious invasion near Alexandretta on the Mediterranean, an idea originally presented by Boghos Nubar in 1914. [19] This plan was developed by the Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Earl Kitchener to sever the capital from Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Alexandretta was an area with a Christian population and was the strategic centre of the Empire's railway network—its capture would have cut the empire in two. Vice Admiral Sir Richard Peirse, Commander-in-Chief, East Indies, ordered Captain Frank Larkin of HMS Doris to Alexandretta on 13 December 1914. The Russian cruiser Askold and the French cruiser Requin were also there. Kitchener was working on the plan as late as March 1915 and was the beginning of the British attempt to incite an Arab Revolt. The Alexandretta landing was abandoned because militarily it would have required more resources than France could allocate and politically France did not want the British operating in their sphere of influence, a position to which Britain had agreed in 1912. [20]

By late 1914, on the Western Front, the Franco-British counter-offensive of the First Battle of the Marne had ended and the Belgians, British and French had suffered many casualties in the First Battle of Ypres in Flanders. The war of manoeuvre had ended and been replaced by trench warfare. [21] The German Empire and Austria-Hungary closed the overland trade routes between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east. The White Sea in the arctic north and the Sea of Okhotsk in the Far East were icebound in winter and distant from the Eastern Front the Baltic Sea was blockaded by the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) and the entrance to the Black Sea through the Dardanelles was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. [22] While the Ottomans remained neutral, supplies could still be sent to Russia through the Dardanelles but prior to the Ottoman entry into the war, the straits had been closed in November the Ottomans began to mine the waterway. [23] [24]

The French Minister of Justice, Aristide Briand, proposed in November to attack the Ottoman Empire but this was rejected and an attempt by the British to bribe the Ottomans to join the Allied side also failed. [25] Later that month, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a naval attack on the Dardanelles, based in part on erroneous reports of Ottoman troop strength. Churchill wanted to use a large number of obsolete battleships, which could not operate against the German High Seas Fleet, in a Dardanelles operation, with a small occupation force provided by the army. It was hoped that an attack on the Ottomans would also draw Bulgaria and Greece (formerly Ottoman possessions) into the war on the Allied side. [26] On 2 January 1915, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia appealed to Britain for assistance against the Ottomans, who were conducting the Caucasus campaign. [27] Planning began for a naval demonstration in the Dardanelles, to divert Ottoman troops from Caucasia. [28]

Attempt to force the Straits Edit

On 17 February 1915, a British seaplane from HMS Ark Royal flew a reconnaissance sortie over the Straits. [29] Two days later, the first attack on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French task force, including the British dreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth, began a long-range bombardment of Ottoman coastal artillery batteries. The British had intended to use eight aircraft from Ark Royal to spot for the bombardment but harsh conditions rendered all but one of these, a Short Type 136, unserviceable. [30] A period of bad weather slowed the initial phase but by 25 February the outer forts had been reduced and the entrance cleared of mines. [31] After this, Royal Marines were landed to destroy guns at Kum Kale and Seddülbahir, while the naval bombardment shifted to batteries between Kum Kale and Kephez. [32]

Frustrated by the mobility of the Ottoman batteries, which evaded the Allied bombardments and threatened the minesweepers sent to clear the Straits, Churchill began pressuring the naval commander, Admiral Sackville Carden, to increase the fleet's efforts. [33] Carden drew up fresh plans and on 4 March sent a cable to Churchill, stating that the fleet could expect to arrive in Istanbul within 14 days. [34] A sense of impending victory was heightened by the interception of a German wireless message that revealed the Ottoman Dardanelles forts were running out of ammunition. [34] When the message was relayed to Carden, it was agreed the main attack would be launched on or around 17 March. Carden, suffering from stress, was placed on the sick list by the medical officer and command was taken over by Admiral John de Robeck. [35]

18 March 1915 Edit

On the morning of 18 March 1915, the Allied fleet, comprising 18 battleships with an array of cruisers and destroyers began the main attack against the narrowest point of the Dardanelles, where the straits are 1 mile (1.6 km) wide. Despite some damage to the Allied ships engaging the forts by Ottoman return fire, minesweepers were ordered along the straits. In the Ottoman official account, by 2:00 p.m. "all telephone wires were cut, all communications with the forts were interrupted, some of the guns had been knocked out . in consequence the artillery fire of the defence had slackened considerably". [36] The French battleship Bouvet struck a mine, causing her to capsize in two minutes, with just 75 survivors out of a total crew of 718. [37] Minesweepers, manned by civilians, retreated under Ottoman artillery fire, leaving the minefields largely intact. HMS Irresistible and HMS Inflexible struck mines and Irresistible was sunk, with most of her surviving crew rescued Inflexible was badly damaged and withdrawn. There was confusion during the battle about the cause of the damage some participants blamed torpedoes. HMS Ocean was sent to rescue Irresistible but was disabled from an artillery shell, struck a mine, and was evacuated, eventually sinking. [38]

The French battleships Suffren and Gaulois sailed through a new line of mines placed secretly by the Ottoman minelayer Nusret ten days before and were also damaged. [39] The losses forced de Robeck to sound the "general recall" to protect what remained of his force. [40] During the planning of the campaign, naval losses had been anticipated and mainly obsolete battleships, unfit to face the German fleet, had been sent. Some of the senior naval officers like the commander of Queen Elizabeth, Commodore Roger Keyes, felt that they had come close to victory, believing that the Ottoman guns had almost run out of ammunition but the views of de Robeck, the First Sea Lord Jackie Fisher and others prevailed. Allied attempts to force the straits using naval power were terminated, due to the losses and bad weather. [40] [35] [41] Planning to capture the Turkish defences by land, to open the way for the ships began. Two Allied submarines tried to traverse the Dardanelles but were lost to mines and the strong currents. [42]

Allied landing preparations Edit

After the failure of the naval attacks, troops were assembled to eliminate the Ottoman mobile artillery, which was preventing the Allied minesweepers from clearing the way for the larger vessels. Kitchener appointed General Sir Ian Hamilton to command the 78,000 men of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF). [35] [43] Soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) were encamped in Egypt, undergoing training prior to being sent to France. [44] The Australian and New Zealand troops were formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), commanded by Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood, comprising the volunteer 1st Australian Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division. The ANZAC troops were joined by the regular 29th Division and the Royal Naval Division. [29] The French Corps expéditionnaire d'Orient (Orient Expeditionary Corps), initially consisting of two brigades within one division, was subsequently placed under Hamilton's command. [45] [46] [47] [b]

Over the following month, Hamilton prepared his plan and the British and French divisions joined the Australians in Egypt. Hamilton chose to concentrate on the southern part of the Gallipoli peninsula at Cape Helles and Seddülbahir, where an unopposed landing was expected. [49] The Allies initially discounted the fighting ability of the Ottoman soldiers. [50] The naïveté of the Allied planners was illustrated by a leaflet that was issued to the British and Australians while they were still in Egypt,

Turkish soldiers as a rule manifest their desire to surrender by holding their rifle butt upward and by waving clothes or rags of any colour. An actual white flag should be regarded with the utmost suspicion as a Turkish soldier is unlikely to possess anything of that colour. [51]

The underestimation of Ottoman military potential stemmed from a "sense of superiority" among the Allies, because of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and its poor performance in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912 and the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. Allied intelligence failed to adequately prepare for the campaign, in some cases relying on information gained from Egyptian travel guides. [52] [53] The troops for the assault were loaded on transports in the order they were to disembark, causing a long delay which meant that many troops, including the French at Mudros, were forced to detour to Alexandria to embark on the ships that would take them into battle. [54] A five-week delay until the end of April ensued, during which the Ottomans strengthened their defences on the peninsula although bad weather during March and April might have delayed the landings anyway, preventing supply and reinforcement. [55] Following preparations in Egypt, Hamilton and his headquarters staff arrived at Mudros on 10 April. [56] The ANZAC Corps departed Egypt in early April and assembled on the island of Lemnos in Greece on 12 April, where a small garrison had been established in early March and practice landings were undertaken. [55] The British 29th Division departed for Mudros on 7 April and the Royal Naval Division rehearsed on the island of Skyros, after arriving there on 17 April. [57] That day, the British submarine HMS E15 tried to run the straits but hit a submarine net, ran aground and was shelled by a Turkish fort, killing its commander, Lieutenant Commander Theodore S. Brodie and six of his crew the survivors were forced to surrender. [58] The Allied fleet and British and French troops assembled at Mudros, ready for the landings but poor weather from 19 March grounded Allied aircraft for nine days and on 24 days only a partial programme of reconnaissance flights were possible. [59] [60]

Ottoman defensive preparations Edit

The Ottoman force prepared to repel a landing on either side of the Straits was the 5th Army. [61] This force, which initially consisted of five divisions with another en route, was a conscript force, commanded by Otto Liman von Sanders. [29] [62] [63] Many of the senior officers in the 5th Army were also German. [1] Ottoman commanders and senior German officers debated the best means of defending the peninsula. All agreed that the best defence was to hold the high ground on the ridges of the peninsula. There was disagreement as to where the enemy would land and hence where to concentrate forces. Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal was familiar with the Gallipoli peninsula from his operations against Bulgaria in the Balkan Wars and forecast that Cape Helles (the southern tip of the peninsula) and Gaba Tepe were the likely areas for landing. [64] [65]

Mustafa Kemal believed that the British would use their naval power to command the land from every side at the tip of the peninsula at Gaba Tepe, the short distance to the eastern coast meant that the Allies could easily reach the Narrows (the right-angled bend in the middle of the Dardanelles). [66] [67] Sanders considered Besika Bay on the Asiatic coast to be the most vulnerable to invasion, since the terrain was easier to cross and was convenient to attack the most important Ottoman batteries guarding the straits and a third of the 5th Army was assembled there. [68] Two divisions were concentrated at Bulair at the north end of the Gallipoli peninsula, to protect supply and communication lines to the defences further down the peninsula. [69] The 19th Division (Kemal) and the 9th Division were placed along the Aegean coast and at Cape Helles on the tip of the peninsula. Sanders kept the bulk of the Ottoman forces inland in reserve, leaving a minimum of troops guarding the coast. [70] The 3rd Division and a cavalry brigade arrived from Istanbul in early April, bringing the front line strength of the Ottomans to 60,000–62,077 men, which Sanders concentrated in three groups. A maximum effort to improve land and sea communications was ordered, to move reinforcements swiftly to danger points troops moved at night to avoid Allied air reconnaissance. Sanders' strategy was opposed by Ottoman commanders, including Kemal, who believed that the defenders were too widely dispersed to defeat the invasion on the beaches. [71] Kemal thought Sander's classic strategy was suitable when there was strategic depth to the front, but Gallipoli did not offer that. His commander Esat Passa was not forceful enough in making the objection. [72] [73] Sanders was certain that a rigid system of defence would fail and that the only hope of success lay in the mobility of the three groups, particularly the 19th Division near Boghali, in general reserve, ready to move to Bulair, Gaba Tepe or the Asiatic shore. [74]

The time needed by the British to organise the landings meant that Sanders, Colonel Hans Kannengiesser and other German officers, supported by Esat Pasha (III Corps) had more time to prepare their defences. [29] Sanders later noted, "the British allowed us four good weeks of respite for all this work before their great disembarkation . This respite just sufficed for the most indispensable measures to be taken". [75] Roads were constructed, small boats built to carry troops and equipment across the Narrows, beaches were wired and improvised mines were constructed from torpedo warheads. Trenches and gun emplacements were dug along the beaches and troops went on route marches to avoid lethargy. [75] Kemal, whose 19th Division was vital to the defensive scheme, observed the beaches and awaited signs of an invasion from his post at Boghali, near Maidos. [76] The Ottomans created Ottoman Aviation Squadrons with German assistance and had four aircraft operating around Çanakkale in February, conducting reconnaissance and army co-operation sorties. From 11 April, an Ottoman aircraft made frequent flights over Mudros, keeping watch on the assembly of the British naval force and an airfield was established near Gallipoli. [59] [77] [29]

The Allies planned to land and secure the northern shore, capture the Ottoman forts and artillery batteries for a naval force to advance through the Narrows and the Sea of Marmara towards Istanbul. [78] Scheduled for 23 April but postponed until 25 April due to bad weather, landings were to be made at five beaches on the peninsula. [79] The 29th Division was to land at Helles on the tip of the peninsula and then advance upon the forts at Kilitbahir. The ANZACs, with the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade spearheading the assault, were to land north of Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast, from where they could advance across the peninsula, cut off the Ottoman troops in Kilitbahir and stop reinforcements from reaching Cape Helles. [80] [81] This sector of the Gallipoli Peninsula became known as ANZAC the area held by the British and French became known as the Helles sector or Helles. The French made a diversionary landing at Kum Kale on the Asian shore before re-embarking to hold the eastern area of the Helles sector. The Royal Naval Division simulated landing preparations at Bulair and a New Zealand officer, Bernard Freyberg, swam ashore under fire to light flares to distract the defenders from the real landings Freyberg was later awarded the Distinguished Service Order. [82] [83] [84]

Arrangements for naval gunfire support to the landings had originally included bombarding the beaches and approaches but was changed to engagement of the ridges during the landings, with the beaches only to be shelled prior to the landings. No decision was ultimately made on the issue of close-support and it was left to the initiative of ships' captains. A reluctance to approach the shore later affected the landings at 'V' and 'W' beach where some of the worst losses among the infantry occurred, while naval gunfire was of some assistance at 'S', 'X' and ANZAC. [85] Even then its effectiveness was limited by the initial confusion ashore, the broken terrain, thick vegetation and the lack of observation. [86] Kitchener had ruled that air requirements must be met by the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and the Allies employed a small force of seaplanes and other aircraft from 3 Squadron, RNAS (Commander Charles Samson) which arrived at Tenedos at the end of March. [59] The aircraft were unopposed by the small Ottoman air force at first and during the planning, the force had been used to provide aerial reconnaissance, although this ultimately proved inadequate to meet the Allies' intelligence needs and make up for the lack of adequate maps. [87] [53] After the landings, Allied aircraft conducted photographic reconnaissance, observed naval gunfire, reported on Ottoman troop movements and conducted a small number of bombing raids. [87]

ANZAC Cove Edit

Allocated the northern landing, Birdwood's force included the 1st Australian Division (Major General William Bridges) and the New Zealand and Australian Division (Major General Sir Alexander Godley), about 25,000 men. The force was to land and advance inland to cut the lines of communication to the Ottoman forces in the south. [88] [55] The 1st Australian Division would land first, with the 3rd Infantry Brigade leading as a covering force moving inland to establish positions on Gun Ridge. The 2nd Infantry Brigade was to follow and to capture the higher ground on Sari Bair. The 1st Infantry Brigade would land last as the divisional reserve. The New Zealand and Australian Division was to come ashore and form up to advance across the peninsula. The force was to assemble at night and land at dawn to surprise the defenders and on the evening of 24 April, the covering force embarked on battleships and destroyers, with the follow on forces in on transports. The troops would disembark from the transports into ships' boats and be towed close to the shore by steamboats and then row ashore. [55]

At around 2:00 a.m., an Ottoman observer on a hill at Ariburnu saw a multitude of ships far on the horizon. Captain Faik, in charge of a company from the 27th Infantry Regiment verified it with his binoculars and immediately informed his commanding officer, Ismet Bey, at Kabatepe. By 3:00 a.m., the moon was covered and the ships were no longer visible to the Ottomans. [89] The Ottomans were not sure if this was a real landing or a diversion. Once the intense artillery was heard, at around 6:00 a.m. the two remaining battalions of the 27th Infantry Regiment were ordered to make their way to Ariburnu urgently. [90] Sanders had left his HQ and was at Bulair, distracted by the few Allied ships that had appeared he had been confident that this was where the landings would take place. For two days, he remained at Bulair with the 5th Division waiting for the real landing. His absence created problems in chain of command and delays in decision making which negated his defence scheme that relied on rapid movement of troops. [91]

At 4:00 a.m. on the morning of 25 April the first wave of troops from the 3rd Brigade began moving towards the shore on lighters and ships' boats. The covering force landed approximately 1.2 mi (2 km) too far north, in a bay just south of Ari Burnu, due to undetected currents or a navigational error. [88] [55] The landing was more difficult, over ground which rose steeply from the beaches, unlike the objective to the south, which was more open. The landing site was garrisoned by only two Ottoman companies but from positions on commanding ground the Ottomans inflicted numerous casualties on the Australians before being overcome. [92] The broken terrain prevented a coordinated drive inland, with the Australians on unfamiliar ground and with inaccurate maps. In the maze of steep ravines, spurs and dense scrub, Australian parties that got forward quickly lost contact and were broken up into small groups. Some Australian troops reached the second ridge but fewer still reached their objectives and having become dispersed, the covering force could provide little support to the follow-up force. [93]

The 1st and 2nd Brigades, then the New Zealand and Australian Division, landed on the beaches around Ari Burnu but became entangled, which took time to sort out. [94] About four hours after the landings began, the bulk of the 1st Australian Division was ashore safely and its leading elements were pushing inland. By mid-morning Kemal had reorganised the defenders for a counter-attack on the commanding heights of Chunuk Bair and Sari Bair. [88] The right flank of the small lodgement taken by the Australians was driven in at 10:30 a.m., with most of 400 Plateau being lost. During the afternoon and evening the left flank was pushed back from Baby 700 and the Nek. By evening, Bridges and Godley recommended re-embarkation Birdwood agreed but after advice from the navy that re-embarkation was impossible, Hamilton ordered the troops dig-in instead. The Ottoman counter-attack was eventually repulsed and the Australians established a perimeter roughly from Walker's Ridge in the north to Shell Green in the south. [94] [88] ANZAC casualties on the first day numbered around 2,000 men killed or wounded. [94] The failure to secure the high ground led to a tactical stalemate, with the landings contained by the defenders in a perimeter less than 1.2 mi (2 km) long. [88]

The Australian submarine HMAS AE2 (Lieutenant Commander Henry Stoker) penetrated the Straits on the night of 24/25 April. As landings began at Cape Helles and ANZAC Cove at dawn on 25 April, AE2 reached Chanak by 6:00 a.m. and torpedoed a Turkish gunboat believed to be a Peyk-i Şevket-class cruiser then evaded a destroyer. [95] [96] The submarine ran aground beneath a Turkish fort but the Ottoman gunners could not bring their guns to bear and AE2 was manoeuvred free. [95] Shortly after refloating, the periscope was sighted by a Turkish battleship firing over the peninsula at Allied landing sites and the ship ceased fire and withdrew. [95] AE2 advanced toward the Sea of Marmara and at 08:30 Stoker decided to rest the boat on the seabed until nightfall. [95] At around 9:00 p.m. , AE2 surfaced to recharge batteries and sent a wireless report to the fleet. [95] [97] The landing at Cape Helles was going well but the landing at Anzac Cove was not as successful and the Anzac commander, Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood, contemplated the re-embarkation of his troops. [95] The success of AE2 was a consideration in Birdwood deciding to persist and reports about AE2 were relayed to the soldiers ashore to improve morale. [95] Stoker was ordered to "generally run amok" and with no enemies in sight, he sailed into the Sea of Marmara, where AE2 cruised for five days to give the impression of greater numbers and made several attacks against Ottoman ships, which failed because of mechanical problems with the torpedoes. [98]

Cape Helles Edit

The Helles landing was made by the 29th Division (Major General Aylmer Hunter-Weston). The division landed on five beaches in an arc about the tip of the peninsula, named 'S', 'V', 'W', 'X' and 'Y' Beaches from east to west. [99] On 1 May, the 29th Indian Brigade (including 1/6th Gurkha Rifles) landed, took and secured Sari Bair above the landing beaches and was joined by 1/5th Gurkha Rifles and 2/10th Gurkha Rifles the Zion Mule Corps landed at Helles on 27 April. [100] At 'Y' Beach, during the first engagement, the First Battle of Krithia, the Allies landed unopposed and advanced inland. [101] There were only a small number of defenders in the village but lacking orders to exploit the position, the 'Y' Beach commander withdrew his force to the beach. It was as close as the Allies ever came to capturing the village as the Ottomans brought up a battalion of the 25th Regiment, checking any further movement. [102]

The main landings were made at 'V' Beach, beneath the old Seddülbahir fortress and at 'W' Beach, a short distance to the west on the other side of the Helles headland. The covering force of Royal Munster Fusiliers and Hampshires landed from a converted collier, SS River Clyde, which was run aground beneath the fortress so that the troops could disembark along ramps. The Royal Dublin Fusiliers landed at 'V' Beach and the Lancashire Fusiliers at 'W' Beach in open boats, on a shore overlooked by dunes and obstructed with barbed wire. On both beaches the Ottoman defenders occupied good defensive positions and inflicted many casualties on the British infantry as they landed. Troops emerging one by one from sally ports on River Clyde were shot by machine-gunners at the Seddülbahir fort and of the first 200 soldiers to disembark, 21 men reached the beach. [103]

The Ottoman defenders were too few to defeat the landing but inflicted many casualties and contained the attack close to the shore. By the morning of 25 April, out of ammunition and with nothing but bayonets to meet the attackers on the slopes leading up from the beach to the heights of Chunuk Bair, the 57th Infantry Regiment received orders from Kemal "I do not order you to fight, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can come forward and take our places". Every man of the regiment was either killed or wounded. [104] [c]

At 'W' Beach, thereafter known as Lancashire Landing, the Lancashires were able to overwhelm the defenders despite the loss of 600 casualties from 1,000 men . Six awards of the Victoria Cross were made among the Lancashires at 'W' Beach. A further six Victoria Crosses were awarded among the infantry and sailors at the 'V' Beach landing and three more were awarded the following day as they fought their way inland. Five squads of Ottoman infantry led by Sergeant Yahya distinguished themselves by repulsing several attacks on their hilltop position, the defenders eventually disengaging under cover of darkness. [105] After the landings, so few men remained from the Dublin and Munster Fusiliers that they were amalgamated into The Dubsters. [106] Only one Dubliner officer survived the landing, while of the 1,012 Dubliners who landed, just 11 survived the Gallipoli campaign unscathed. [107] [108] After the landings, little was done by the Allies to exploit the situation, apart from a few limited advances inland by small groups of men. The Allied attack lost momentum and the Ottomans had time to bring up reinforcements and rally the small number of defending troops. [109]

Early battles Edit

On the afternoon of 27 April, the 19th Division, reinforced by six battalions from the 5th Division, counter-attacked the six Allied brigades at Anzac. [110] With the support of naval gunfire, the Allies held back the Ottomans throughout the night. The following day the British were joined by French troops transferred from Kum Kale on the Asiatic shore to the right of the line near 'S' Beach at Morto Bay. On 28 April, the Allies fought the First Battle of Krithia to capture the village. [111] Hunter-Weston made a plan which proved overly complex and was poorly communicated to the commanders in the field. The troops of the 29th Division were still exhausted and unnerved by the battles for the beaches and for Seddülbahir village, which was captured after much fighting on 26 April. The Ottoman defenders stopped the Allied advance halfway between the Helles headland and Krithia around 6:00 p.m., having inflicted 3,000 casualties. [112]

As Ottoman reinforcements arrived, the possibility of a swift Allied victory on the peninsula disappeared and the fighting at Helles and Anzac became a battle of attrition. On 30 April, the Royal Naval Division (Major General Archibald Paris) landed. The same day, Kemal, believing that the Allies were on the verge of defeat, began moving troops forward through Wire Gulley, near the 400 Plateau and Lone Pine. Eight battalions of reinforcements were dispatched from Istanbul a day later and that afternoon, Ottoman troops counter-attacked at Helles and Anzac. The Ottomans briefly broke through in the French sector but the attacks were repulsed by massed Allied machine-gun fire, which inflicted many casualties on the attackers. [113] The following night, Birdwood ordered the New Zealand and Australian Division to attack from Russell's Top and Quinn's Post towards Baby 700. The Australian 4th Infantry Brigade (Colonel John Monash), the New Zealand Infantry Brigade and Royal Marines from the Chatham Battalion took part in the attack. Covered by a naval and artillery barrage, the troops advanced a short distance during the night but got separated in the dark. The attackers came under massed small-arms fire from their exposed left flank and were repulsed, having suffered about 1,000 casualties. [114]

On 30 April, the submarine AE2 began to rise uncontrollably and surfaced near the Ottoman torpedo boat Sultanhisar, then dropped precipitously below the safe diving depth, then broke the surface again at the stern. [98] Sultanhisar immediately fired on the submarine, puncturing the pressure hull. Stoker ordered the company to abandon ship, scuttled the submarine and the crew was taken prisoner. AE2 ' s achievements showed that it was possible to force the Straits and soon Ottoman communications were badly disrupted by British and French submarine operations. [98] On 27 April, HMS E14 (Lieutenant Commander Edward Boyle), entered the Sea of Marmara on a three-week patrol, which became one of the most successful Allied naval actions of the campaign, in which four ships were sunk, including the transport Gul Djemal which was carrying 6,000 troops and a field battery to Gallipoli. While the quantity and value of the shipping sunk was minor, the effect on Ottoman communications and morale was significant Boyle was awarded the Victoria Cross. [115] [116] Following the success of AE2 and E14, the French submarine Joule attempted the passage on 1 May but struck a mine and was lost with all hands. [117] (Several weeks earlier another French boat, Saphir, had been lost after running aground near Nagara Point.) [118]

Operations: May 1915 Edit

On 5 May, the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division was dispatched from Egypt. [119] Believing Anzac to be secure, Hamilton moved the Australian 2nd Infantry Brigade and the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, along with 20 Australian field guns, to the Helles front as reserves for the Second Battle of Krithia. [120] Involving a force of 20,000 men , it was the first general attack at Helles and was planned for daylight. French troops were to capture Kereves Dere and the British, Australians and New Zealanders were assigned Krithia and Achi Baba. After 30 minutes of artillery preparation, the assault began at mid-morning on 6 May. [121] The British and French advanced along the Gully, Fir Tree, Krithia and Kereves spurs which were separated by deep gullies, fortified by the Ottomans. As the attackers advanced, they became separated when trying to outflank Ottoman strong points and found themselves in unfamiliar terrain. Under artillery and then machine-gun fire from Ottoman outposts that had not been spotted by British aerial reconnaissance, the attack was stopped next day, reinforcements resumed the advance. [122]

The attack continued on 7 May and four battalions of New Zealanders attacked up Krithia Spur on 8 May with the 29th Division the attackers managed to reach a position just south of the village. Late in the afternoon, the Australian 2nd Brigade advanced quickly over open ground to the British front line. Amidst small arms and artillery-fire, the brigade charged towards Krithia and gained 600 metres (660 yd), about 400 metres (440 yd) short of the objective, with 1,000 casualties. Near Fir Tree Spur, the New Zealanders managed to get forward and link up with the Australians, although the British were held up and the French were exhausted, despite having occupied a point overlooking their objective. The attack was suspended and the Allies dug in, having failed to take Krithia or Achi Baba. [122]

A brief period of consolidation followed the Allies had almost run out of ammunition, particularly for the artillery and both sides consolidated their defences. [123] The Ottomans relieved troops opposite the Australian line, which was reinforced by the Australian Light Horse operating as infantry. [124] Sporadic fighting continued, with sniping, grenade attacks and raids, the opposing trenches separated in places by only a few metres. [125] [124] The Australians lost a number of officers to sniping, including the commander of the 1st Division, Major General William Bridges, who was wounded while inspecting a 1st Light Horse Regiment position near "Steele's Post" and died of his injuries on the hospital ship HMHS Gascon on 18 May. [126]

At the end of April Birdwood told GHQ MEF (General Headquarters Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) that he could not land 6,000 horses at Anzac Cove as there was no water for them. GHQ MEF was unhappy that the ANZAC force would be immobilised on the beachhead, but they would have been no use. Some of the thousands of men and horses remained on board ship for up to a month. Birdwood signalled on 17 May that 17 transports would be returning to Alexandria to offload 5,251 horses accompanied by 3,217 men. GHQ MEF insisted that some of the men remain in Alexandria to look after the horses and guard ANZACs "many vehicles and mountains of baggage". [127]

Ottoman counter-offensive: 19 May Edit

On 19 May, 42,000 Ottoman troops launched an attack at Anzac to push the 17,000 Australians and New Zealanders back into the sea. [87] [128] Short of artillery and ammunition, the Ottomans intended to rely on surprise and weight of numbers but on 18 May, the crews of a flight of British aircraft spotted the Ottoman preparations. [87] [128] The Ottomans suffered c. 13,000 casualties in the attack, of which 3,000 men were killed Australian and New Zealand casualties were 160 killed and 468 wounded . [128] [129] [130] The dead included a stretcher bearer, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, whose efforts to evacuate wounded men on a donkey while under fire became famous amongst the Australians at Anzac afterwards, his story becoming part of the Australian narrative of the campaign. [131] Ottoman losses were so severe that a truce was organised by Aubrey Herbert and others on 24 May, to bury the dead lying in no man's land, which led to a camaraderie between the armies, much like the Christmas truce of 1914 on the Western Front. [132]

An eyewitness account from Private Victor Laidlaw of the Australian 2nd Field Ambulance described the day:

The armistice was declared from 8:30 a.m. this morning till 4:30 p.m. it is wonderful, things are unnaturally quiet and I felt like getting up and making a row myself, the rifle fire is quiet, no shell fire. The stench round the trenches where the dead had been lying for weeks was awful, some of the bodies were mere skeletons, it seems so very different to see each side near each other's trenches burying their dead, each man taking part in this ceremony is called a pioneer and wears 2 white bands on his arms, everybody is taking advantage of the armistice to do anything they want to do out of cover and a large number are down bathing and you would think today was Cup Day down at one of our seaside beaches. [133]

The truce was not repeated formally. [132]

The British advantage in naval artillery diminished after the battleship HMS Goliath was torpedoed on 13 May by the Ottoman destroyer Muâvenet-i Millîye. [134] A German submarine, U-21, sank HMS Triumph on 25 May and HMS Majestic on 27 May. [135] More British reconnaissance patrols were flown around Gallipoli and U-21 was forced to leave the area but ignorant of this, the Allies withdrew most of their warships to Imbros, where they were "protectively tethered" between sorties, which greatly reduced Allied naval firepower, particularly in the Helles sector. [136] The submarine HMS E11 (Lieutenant Commander Martin Nasmith, later awarded a Victoria Cross) passed through the Dardanelles on 18 May and sank or disabled eleven ships, including three on 23 May, before entering Constantinople Harbour, firing on a transport alongside the arsenal, sinking a gunboat and damaging the wharf. [137] [138] [139]

The Ottoman forces lacked artillery ammunition and field batteries were only able to fire c. 18,000 shells between early May and the first week of June. [140] After the defeat of the counter-attack at Anzac in mid-May, the Ottoman forces ceased frontal assaults. Late in the month, the Ottomans began tunneling around Quinn's Post in the Anzac sector and early in the morning of 29 May, despite Australian counter-mining, detonated a mine and attacked with a battalion from the 14th Regiment. The Australian 15th Battalion was forced back but counter-attacked and recaptured the ground later in the day, before being relieved by New Zealand troops. Operations at Anzac in early June returned to consolidation, minor engagements and skirmishing with grenades and sniper-fire. [141]

Operations: June–July 1915 Edit

In the Helles sector, which had been extensively entrenched by both sides, the Allies attacked Krithia and Achi Baba again, in the Third Battle of Krithia on 4 June, with the 29th Division, Royal Naval Division, 42nd Division and two French divisions. [142] The attack was repulsed and with it, the possibility of a decisive breakthrough ended trench warfare resumed, with objectives being measured in hundreds of yards. Casualties were approximately 25 percent on both sides the British lost 4,500 from 20,000 men and the French 2,000 casualties from 10,000 troops . Ottoman losses were 9,000 casualties according to the Turkish Official History and 10,000 according to another account. [143]

In June, the seaplane carrier HMS Ben-my-Chree arrived and the Allied air effort increased from a squadron to No. 3 Wing RNAS. [144] The 52nd (Lowland) Division also landed at Helles in preparation for the Battle of Gully Ravine, which began on 28 June and achieved a local success, which advanced the British line along the left (Aegean) flank of the battlefield. Sanders credited the defence to two Ottoman officers, Faik Pasa and Albay Refet. [140] On 30 June, the French commander, Henri Gouraud who had earlier replaced Albert d'Amade, was wounded and replaced by his divisional commander, Maurice Bailloud. [145] Between 1 and 5 July, the Ottomans counter-attacked the new British line several times but failed to regain the lost ground. Ottoman casualties for the period were estimated at 14,000 men. [146] On 12 July, two fresh brigades from the 52nd Division attacked at the centre of the line along Achi Baba Nullah (Bloody Valley), gained very little ground and lost 2,500 casualties out of 7,500 men the Royal Naval Division had 600 casualties and French losses were 800 men. Ottoman losses were about 9,000 casualties and 600 prisoners . [147]

At sea, the submarine E14 made two voyages into the Marmara. [137] The third tour began on 21 July, when E14 passed through the straits despite a new anti-submarine net placed near the Narrows. [148] The next attempt was made by Mariotte on 27 July, which was caught in the net, forced to the surface and bombarded by shore batteries Mariotte was scuttled. [149] On 8 August, E11 torpedoed the battleship Barbaros Hayreddin with the loss of 253 men and sank a gunboat, seven transports and 23 sailing vessels. [150] [151] [152]

August offensive Edit

The failure of the Allies to capture Krithia or make any progress on the Helles front led Hamilton to form a new plan to secure the Sari Bair Range of hills at the Battle of Sari Bair and capture high ground on Hill 971 in the Battle of Chunuk Bair. [153] Both sides had been reinforced, the original five Allied divisions having been increased to fifteen and first six Ottoman divisions to sixteen. [154] [155] The Allies planned to land two fresh infantry divisions from IX Corps at Suvla, 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Anzac, followed by an advance on Sari Bair from the north-west. [156] [157] At Anzac, an offensive would be made against the Sari Bair range by advancing through rough and thinly defended terrain, north of the Anzac perimeter. This would be achieved by an attack on Baby 700 from the Nek by dismounted Australian light horsemen from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, in concert with an attack on Chunuk Bair summit by New Zealanders from the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, who would traverse Rhododendron Ridge, the Apex and the Farm. Hill 971 would be attacked by Gurkhas of the 29th Indian Brigade and the Australians of the 4th Infantry Brigade. [157] The Allies had 40 aircraft , mainly from 3 Wing RNAS at Imbros, which had replaced its Voisins with Farmans and Nieuport Xs Escadrille MF98T had also been established at Tenedos. [158] The Ottomans had 20 aircraft , of which eight were stationed at Çanakkale. Allied aircraft made reconnaissance flights, spotted for naval guns and conducted low-level bombing of Ottoman reserves as they were brought up to the battlefield. [144] Allied aircraft also undertook anti-shipping operations in the Gulf of Saros, where a seaplane from HMS Ben-my-Chree sank an Ottoman tug with an air-launched torpedo. [159]

The landing at Suvla Bay took place on the night of 6 August against light opposition the British commander, Lieutenant General Frederick Stopford, had limited his early objectives and then failed to forcefully push his demands for an advance inland and little more than the beach was seized. The Ottomans were able to occupy the Anafarta Hills, preventing the British from penetrating inland, which contained the landings and reduced the Suvla front to static trench warfare. [160] The offensive was preceded on the evening of 6 August by diversions, at Helles, where the Battle of Krithia Vineyard became another costly stalemate. At Anzac, the diversionary Battle of Lone Pine, led by the Australian 1st Infantry Brigade, captured the main Ottoman trench line and diverted Ottoman forces but the attacks at Chunuk Bair and Hill 971 failed. [80] [161] [162]

The New Zealand Infantry Brigade came within 500 metres (550 yd) of the near peak of Chunuk Bair by dawn on 7 August but was not able to seize the summit until the following morning. [163] On the morning of 7 August, the Australian 3rd Light Horse Brigade attacked on a narrow front at the Nek, to coincide with the New Zealand attack from Chunuk Bair against the rear of the Ottoman defences. The opening artillery barrage lifted seven minutes too soon, which alerted the Ottomans and the attack was a costly failure. [164] An attack on Hill 971 never took place after the Australian 4th Infantry Brigade and an Indian brigade lost direction during the night. Attempts to resume the attack were easily repulsed by the Ottoman defenders, at great cost to the Allies. [165] The New Zealanders held out on Chunuk Bair for two days before being relieved by two New Army battalions from the Wiltshire and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments but an Ottoman counterattack on 10 August, led by Mustafa Kemal, swept them from the heights. [163] Of 760 men in the New Zealand Wellington Battalion who reached the summit, 711 became casualties. [166] With the Ottoman recapture of the ground, the Allies' best chance of victory was lost. [165]

The Suvla landing was reinforced by the arrival of the 10th (Irish) Division on 7 August, the 53rd (Welsh) Division, which began landing on 8 August, the 54th (East Anglian) Division arriving late on 10 August and the dismounted yeomanry of the 2nd Mounted Division on 18 August. [167] On 12 August, the 54th Division attacked Kavak Tepe and Tekke Tepe, crossing the Anafarta Plain. The attack failed and Hamilton briefly considered the evacuation of Suvla and Anzac. [168] [d]

Elements of the new Australian 2nd Division began arriving at Anzac from Egypt with the 5th Infantry Brigade landing from 19–20 August and the 6th Brigade and 7th Brigade arriving in early September. [169] [170] The 29th Division was also shifted from Helles to Suvla. The final British attempt to resuscitate the offensive came on 21 August, in the Battle of Scimitar Hill and the Battle of Hill 60. Control of the hills would have united the Anzac and Suvla fronts but the attacks failed. On 17 August, Hamilton had requested another 95,000 troops but a day earlier, the French had announced plans to Kitchener for an autumn offensive in France. A meeting of the Dardanelles Committee on 20 August determined that the French offensive would be supported by a maximum effort, which left only about 25,000 reinforcements for the Dardanelles. On 23 August, after news of the failure at Scimitar Hill, Hamilton went onto the defensive as Bulgarian entry into the war, which would allow the Germans to rearm the Turkish army, was imminent and left little opportunity for the resumption of offensive operations. On 20 September 1915, the Newfoundland Regiment was deployed at Suvla Bay with the 29th Division. [171] On 25 September, Kitchener proposed detaching two British and one French division for service in Salonika in Greece, which was the beginning of the end of the Allied campaign at Gallipoli. Instead, a counter proposal from Sir Ian Hamilton was agreed to only the 10th (Irish) Division and the 156th Infantry Division (France) were withdrawn from the peninsula. By the end of September these troops were concentrating at Mudros for conveyance to the new front. [172]

Alan Moorehead wrote that during the stalemate, an old Ottoman batman was regularly permitted to hang his platoon's washing on the barbed wire undisturbed and that there was a "constant traffic" of gifts being thrown across no-man's land, dates and sweets from the Ottoman side and cans of beef and packs of cigarettes from the Allied side. [173] Conditions at Gallipoli grew worse for everyone as summer heat and poor sanitation resulted in an explosion in the fly population. Eating became extremely difficult as unburied corpses became bloated and putrid. The precarious Allied lodgements were poorly situated, which caused supply and shelter problems. A dysentery epidemic spread through the Allied trenches at Anzac and Helles, while the Ottomans also suffered heavily from disease which resulted in many deaths. [174]

Evacuation Edit

After the failure of the August Offensive, the Gallipoli campaign drifted. Ottoman success began to affect public opinion in Britain, with criticism of Hamilton's performance being smuggled out by Keith Murdoch, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett and other reporters. [175] Stopford and other dissident officers also contributed to the air of gloom and the possibility of evacuation was raised on 11 October 1915. Hamilton resisted the suggestion, fearing the damage to British prestige but was sacked shortly afterwards and replaced by Lieutenant General Sir Charles Monro. [176] Autumn and winter brought relief from the heat but also led to gales, blizzards and flooding, resulting in men drowning and freezing to death, while thousands suffered frostbite. [177] The Serbian defeat in the Serbian campaign in autumn 1915 prompted France and Britain to transfer troops from the Gallipoli campaign to Greek Macedonia the Macedonian front was established to support the remnants of the Serbian army to conquer Vardar Macedonia. [178]

On 4 September, the submarine HMS E7 was caught in the Ottoman anti-submarine net as it began another tour. [179] Despite such reverses, by mid-September, Allied nets and mines had closed the eastern entrance to the Dardanelles to German U-boats and U-21 was thwarted when it tried to pass the straits to Istanbul on 13 September. [180] The first French submarine to enter the Sea of Marmara was Turquoise but it was forced to turn back on 30 October, when returning through the straits, it ran aground beneath a fort and was captured intact. The crew of 25 were taken prisoner and documents detailing planned Allied operations were discovered, including a scheduled rendezvous with HMS E20 on 6 November. The rendezvous was kept by the German U-boat U-14 instead, which torpedoed and sank E20, killing all but nine of the crew. [181]

The situation at Gallipoli was complicated by Bulgaria joining the Central Powers. In early October 1915, the British and French opened a second Mediterranean front at Salonika, by moving two divisions from Gallipoli and reducing the flow of reinforcements. [182] A land route between Germany and the Ottoman Empire through Bulgaria was opened and the Germans rearmed the Ottomans with heavy artillery capable of devastating Allied trenches, especially on the confined front at Anzac, modern aircraft and experienced crews. [183] [184] In late November, an Ottoman crew in a German Albatros C.I shot down a French aircraft over Gaba Tepe and the Austro-Hungarian 36. Haubitzbatterie and 9. Motormörserbatterie artillery units arrived, providing a substantial reinforcement of the Ottoman artillery. [184] [3] [185] Monro recommended evacuation to Kitchener, who in early November visited the eastern Mediterranean. [175] After consulting with the commanders of VIII Corps at Helles, IX Corps at Suvla and Anzac, Kitchener agreed with Monro and passed his recommendation to the British Cabinet, who confirmed the decision to evacuate in early December. [186]

Due to the narrowness of no man's land and the winter weather, many casualties were anticipated during the embarkation. The untenable nature of the Allied position was made apparent by a rainstorm on 26 November 1915. The downpour at Suvla lasted for three days and there was a blizzard in early December. Rain flooded trenches, drowned soldiers and washed unburied corpses into the lines the following snow killed still more men from exposure. [187] Suvla and Anzac were to be evacuated in late December, the last troops leaving before dawn on 20 December. Troop numbers had been slowly reduced since 7 December and ruses, such as William Scurry's self-firing rifle, which had been rigged to fire by water dripped into a pan attached to the trigger, were used to disguise the Allied departure. [188] At Anzac Cove, troops maintained silence for an hour or more, until curious Ottoman troops ventured to inspect the trenches, whereupon the Anzacs opened fire. This incident successfully discouraged the Ottomans from inspecting when the actual evacuation occurred. A mine was detonated at the Nek, which killed 70 Ottoman soldiers. [189] The Allied force was embarked, with the Australians suffering no casualties on the final night but large quantities of supplies and stores fell into Ottoman hands. [190] [191] [192]

Helles was retained for a period but a decision to evacuate the garrison was made on 28 December. [193] Unlike the evacuation from Anzac Cove, Ottoman forces were looking for signs of withdrawal. [191] Having used the interval to bring up reinforcements and supplies, Sanders mounted an attack on the British at Gully Spur on 7 January 1916 with infantry and artillery but the attack was a costly failure. [194] Mines were laid with time fuzes and that night and on the night of 7/8 January, under the cover of a naval bombardment, the British troops began to fall back 5 miles (8.0 km) from their lines to the beaches, where makeshift piers were used to board boats. [191] [195] The last British troops departed from Lancashire Landing around 04:00 on 8 January 1916. [194] The Newfoundland Regiment was part of the rearguard and withdrew on 9 January 1916. [196] Among the first to land, remnants of The Plymouth Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry were the last to leave the Peninsula. [197]

Despite predictions of up to 30,000 casualties, 35,268 troops, 3,689 horses and mules, 127 guns, 328 vehicles and 1,600 long tons (1,600 t) of equipment were removed [195] 508 mules that could not be embarked were killed so as not to fall into Ottoman hands and 1,590 vehicles were left behind with smashed wheels. [198] As at Anzac, large amounts of supplies (including 15 British and six French unserviceable artillery pieces which were destroyed), gun carriages and ammunition were left behind hundreds of horses were slaughtered to deny them to the Ottomans. A sailor was killed by debris from a magazine that exploded prematurely and a lighter and a picket boat were lost. [199] Shortly after dawn, the Ottomans retook Helles. [194] In the final days of the campaign, Ottoman air defences had been increased by a German–Ottoman fighter squadron, which began operations over the peninsula and inflicted the first British flying losses a couple of days after the evacuation of Helles, when three Fokker Eindeckers shot down two RNAS aircraft. [184]

Military repercussions Edit

Historians are divided about how they summarise the campaign's result. Broadbent describes the campaign as "a close-fought affair" that was a defeat for the Allies, [200] while Carlyon views the overall result as a stalemate. [201] Peter Hart disagrees, arguing that the Ottoman forces "held the Allies back from their real objectives with relative ease", [191] while Haythornthwaite calls it a "disaster for the Allies". [202] The campaign did cause "enormous damage to . [Ottoman] national resources", [202] and at that stage of the war the Allies were in a better position to replace their losses than the Ottomans, [190] but ultimately the Allied attempt at securing a passage through the Dardanelles proved unsuccessful. While it diverted Ottoman forces away from other areas of conflict in the Middle East, the campaign also consumed resources the Allies could have employed on the Western Front, [203] and also resulted in heavy losses on the Allied side. [202]

The Allied campaign was plagued by ill-defined goals, poor planning, insufficient artillery, inexperienced troops, inaccurate maps, poor intelligence, overconfidence, inadequate equipment, and logistical and tactical deficiencies at all levels. [204] [205] Geography also proved a significant factor. While the Allied forces possessed inaccurate maps and intelligence and proved unable to exploit the terrain to their advantage, the Ottoman commanders were able to utilise the high ground around the Allied landing beaches to position well-sited defences that limited the ability of Allied forces to penetrate inland, confining them to narrow beaches. [53] The campaign's necessity remains the subject of debate, [80] and the recriminations that followed were significant, highlighting the schism that had developed between military strategists who felt the Allies should focus on fighting on the Western Front and those who favoured trying to end the war by attacking Germany's "soft underbelly", its allies in the east. [206]

British and French submarine operations in the Sea of Marmara were the one significant area of success of the Gallipoli campaign, forcing the Ottomans to abandon the sea as a transport route. Between April and December 1915, nine British and four French submarines carried out 15 patrols, sinking one battleship, one destroyer, five gunboats, 11 troop transports, 44 supply ships and 148 sailing vessels at a cost of eight Allied submarines sunk in the strait or in the Sea of Marmara. [207] During the campaign there was always one British submarine in the Sea of Marmara, sometimes two in October 1915, there were four Allied submarines in the region. [118] E2 left the Sea of Marmara on 2 January 1916, the last British submarine in the region. Four E-class and five B-class submarines remained in the Mediterranean Sea following the evacuation of Helles. [208] By this time the Ottoman navy had been all but forced to cease operations in the area, while merchant shipping had also been significantly curtailed. The official German naval historian, Admiral Eberhard von Mantey, later concluded that had the sea-lanes of communication been completely severed the Ottoman 5th Army would likely have faced catastrophe. As it was these operations were a source of significant anxiety, posing a constant threat to shipping and causing heavy losses, effectively dislocating Ottoman attempts to reinforce their forces at Gallipoli and shelling troop concentrations and railways. [209]

Gallipoli marked the end for Hamilton and Stopford, but Hunter-Weston went on to lead VIII Corps on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. [210] [211] The competence of Australian brigade commanders, John Monash (4th Infantry Brigade) and Harry Chauvel (1st Light Horse Brigade, New Zealand and Australian Division), was recognised by promotion to divisional and corps command. [212] [213] The influence of Kitchener waned after the coalition government was formed in May 1915, partly because of the growing sense of failure in the Dardanelles and culminated in Kitchener being over-ruled on support for the French at Salonika in early December 1915, when his influence on the Cabinet was at its lowest. [214] The campaign gave confidence to the Ottomans in their ability to defeat the Allies. [205] In Mesopotamia, the Turks surrounded a British expedition at Kut Al Amara, forcing their surrender in April 1916. [215] Ottoman forces in southern Palestine were poised to launch an attack against the Suez Canal and Egypt. [216] Defeat at the Battle of Romani and lack of the materials to complete the military railway necessary for such an operation, marked the end of that ambition. [217] The optimism gained from the victory at Gallipoli was replaced by a gathering sense of despair and the British remained on the offensive in the Middle East for the rest of the war. [218] [219]

The lessons of the campaign were studied by military planners prior to amphibious operations such as the Normandy Landings in 1944 and during the Falklands War in 1982. [220] [48] The lessons of the campaign influenced US Marine Corps amphibious operations during the Pacific War and continue to influence US amphibious doctrine. [220] [221] In 1996, Theodore Gatchel wrote that between the wars, the campaign "became a focal point for the study of amphibious warfare" in Britain and United States. [221] In 2008, Glenn Wahlert wrote that Gallipoli involved "all four types of amphibious operations: the raid, demonstration, assault and withdrawal". [220]

Russell Weigley wrote that analysis of the campaign before the Second World War led to "a belief among most of the armed forces of the world" that amphibious assaults could not succeed against modern defences and that despite landings in Italy, Tarawa and the Gilberts, arguably this perception continued until Normandy in June 1944. [222] Hart wrote that despite the pessimistic analyses after 1918, the situation after 1940 meant that landings from the sea were unavoidable and it was only after Normandy that the belief that opposed landings were futile was overcome. [223] The memory of Gallipoli weighed upon the Australians during the planning of the Huon Peninsula campaign in late 1943. In September, the Australians made their first opposed amphibious landing since Gallipoli at the Battle of Finschhafen in New Guinea. [224] The landing was hampered by navigational errors and troops came ashore on the wrong beaches but they had been trained according to the lessons of Gallipoli and quickly reorganised to push inland. [225]

Political effects Edit

Political repercussions in Britain had begun during the battle, Fisher resigned in May after bitter conflict with Churchill. The crisis that followed after the Conservatives learned that Churchill would be staying, forced the Prime Minister H. H. Asquith to end his Liberal Government and form a Coalition Government with the Conservative Party. [226] The Asquith government responded to the disappointment and outrage over Gallipoli and Kut by establishing commissions of inquiry into both episodes, which had done much to "destroy its faltering reputation for competence". [227] The Dardanelles Commission was set up to investigate the failure of the expedition, the first report being issued in 1917, with the final report published in 1919. [1] Following the failure of the Dardanelles expedition, Sir Ian Hamilton, commander of the MEF, was recalled to London in October 1915, ending his military career. [228] Churchill was demoted from First Lord of the Admiralty as a condition of Conservative entry to the coalition but remained in the Cabinet in the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. [229] Churchill resigned in November 1915 and left London for the Western Front, where he commanded an infantry battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers early in 1916. [229] [230]

Asquith was partly blamed for Gallipoli and other disasters and was overthrown in December 1916, when David Lloyd George proposed a war council under his authority, with the Conservatives in the coalition threatening to resign unless the plan was implemented. After failure to reach agreement, Lloyd George and then Asquith resigned, followed by Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister. [231] Lloyd George formed a new government, from which Churchill, active again in the House of Commons from June 1916, was excluded because of Conservative opposition. In the summer of 1917, Churchill was eventually appointed to the cabinet-level post of Minister of Munitions but not to the War Cabinet. [229] The final report of the Commission was issued in 1919, concluding that with the forces available, success was dependent on the government giving priority to the expedition and leaving the British Expeditionary Force in France to make do. The Commissioners found that Hamilton had been over-optimistic from the beginning and had added to Stopford's difficulties on 8 August 1915. Hamilton emerged from the investigation more favourably than perhaps was justified, partly because he made devious attempts to gain collusion from witnesses and obtain leaks from the deliberations of the Commission Hamilton was never given another army appointment. [232] [e]

Casualties Edit

Gallipoli casualties (not including illness) [7] [234] [235] [236] [237]
Countries Dead Wounded Missing
or
POW
Total
Ottoman
Empire
56,643 97,007 11,178 164,828
United Kingdom 34,072 78,520 7,654 120,246
France 9,798 17,371 27,169
Australia 8,709 19,441 28,150
New Zealand 2,721 4,752 7,473
British India 1,358 3,421 4,779
Newfoundland 49 93 142
Total (Allies) 56,707 123,598 7,654 187,959

Casualty figures for the campaign vary between sources but in 2001, Edward J. Erickson wrote that in the Gallipoli Campaign over 100,000 men were killed, including 56,000–68,000 Ottoman and around 53,000 British and French soldiers. [7] Using the Ottoman Archives, Erickson estimated that Ottoman casualties in the Gallipoli Campaign were 56,643 men died from all causes, 97,007 troops were wounded or injured and 11,178 men went missing or were captured. [12] In 2001, Carlyon gave figures of 43,000 British killed or missing, including 8,709 Australians. [238]

In September 1915 Godley complained that too few of the recovered sick or wounded casualties from Gallipoli were being returned from Egypt, and General Maxwell replied that "the appetite of the Dardanelles for men has been phenomenal and wicked". [239]

There were nearly 500,000 casualties during the campaign, with the British Official History listing losses including sick as 205,000 British, 47,000 French and 251,000 Ottoman troops (with some Turkish (sic) sources referring to 350,000 casualties.) [235] Ottoman casualties have been disputed and in 2001, Travers gave casualty figures of 2,160 officers and 287,000 other ranks (battle and non-battle) included among this may be 87,000 killed. [240] [15] Sanders estimated that the Ottomans had 218,000 casualties, including 66,000 dead and that 42,000 wounded returned to duty. [7]

The New Zealand semi-official history (1919, by Fred Waite) estimated that 8556 New Zealanders served at Gallipoli, and contained an estimate of 251,000 Ottoman battle casualties including 86,692 dead. [234] In 2000, McGibbon wrote that 2,721 New Zealanders had been killed, about a quarter of those who had initially landed on the peninsula. [15] other estimates were 2701 (Pugsley) or 2779 (Stowers). [241] A 2019 study by New Zealand historians John Crawford and Matthew Buck arrived at a higher estimate for the numbers of New Zealand soldiers who served at Gallipoli: over 16,000, perhaps 17,000 (rather than earlier revised figures of 13,000 to 14,000 and the 1919 figure of 8,556). [242]

Sickness Edit

Many soldiers became sick due to insanitary conditions, especially from typhoid, dysentery and diarrhoea. The British official historian reported that 90,000 British Empire soldiers [235] were evacuated for illness during the campaign. [7] A total of 145,154 British troops fell sick during the campaign, not counting troops from the Dominions or India of these, 3,778 died, exclusive of those evacuated. The sick were transported from Gallipoli to hospitals in Egypt and Malta as quickly as possible as bases in the area of operations were insufficient. Approximately 2.84 percent of men removed as non-battle casualties died, against 0.91 percent in France and Flanders. The proportion of disease casualties to battle casualties was considerably higher in the Gallipoli campaign than it was on the campaigns of the Western Front. [243] Cecil Aspinall-Oglander, the British official historian, gave the number of Ottoman troops evacuated sick as 64,440. [7] The largest cause of non-battle admissions to hospital for British troops was dysentery, with 29,728 men infected and another 10,383 men having diarrhoea. Other notable conditions were frostbite with 6,602 hospitalisations, gonorrhea 1,774 cases, and rheumatic fever 6,556 cases. [244] French casualties during the campaign amounted to around 47,000 killed, wounded or sick. [245] [246] [235] Of these, 27,169 were specifically killed, wounded or missing [237] with an implied 20,000 who fell sick. [f]

Allegations were made that Allied forces had attacked or bombarded Ottoman hospitals and hospital ships on several occasions between the start of the campaign and September 1915. By July 1915, 25 Ottoman hospitals had been built with 10,700 beds, and three hospital ships were in the area. The French Government disputed these complaints through the Red Cross and the British responded that if it happened then it was accidental. Russia, in turn, claimed that the Ottomans had attacked two of their hospital ships, Portugal and Vperiod but the Ottoman Government replied that the vessels had been the victims of mines. [247] No chemical weapons were used at Gallipoli, although the Allies debated their use throughout the campaign and transported to the theatre quantities of gas, which was used against Ottoman troops in the Middle Eastern theatre two years later, during the Second and Third battles of Gaza in 1917. [248] [249] [g]

Graves and memorials Edit

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is responsible for permanent cemeteries for all Commonwealth of Nations forces. There are 31 CWGC cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula: six at Helles (plus the only solitary grave, that of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie VC, Royal Welch Fusiliers), four at Suvla and 21 at Anzac. [253] For many of those killed or died on hospital ships and were buried at sea, there is no known grave their names are recorded on one of five "memorials to the missing". The Lone Pine Memorial commemorates Australians killed in the Anzac sector, as well as New Zealanders with no known grave or who were buried at sea, while the Lone Pine, Hill 60 and Chunuk Bair memorials commemorate New Zealanders killed at Anzac. The Twelve Tree Copse Memorial commemorates the New Zealanders killed in the Helles sector, while British, Indian and Australian troops who died there are commemorated on the Helles Memorial at Cape Helles. British naval casualties who were lost or buried at sea are listed on memorials in the United Kingdom. [254] [255]

There are three more CWGC cemeteries on the Greek island of Lemnos, the first one for the 352 Allied soldiers in Portianou, the second one for the 148 Australian and 76 New Zealander soldiers in the town of Moudros and the third one for the Ottoman soldiers (170 Egyptian and 56 Turkish soldiers). [256] Lemnos was the hospital base for the Allied forces and most of the buried were among the men who died of their wounds. [257] [258]

Makeshift graves were created during the campaign, often with simple wooden crosses or markers. However, some graves were decorated more extensively, such as that of John Hancox (pictured). [259] [260] [261]

There is a French cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, located at Seddülbahir. [262]

There are no large Ottoman/Turkish military cemeteries on the peninsula but there are numerous memorials, the main ones being the Çanakkale Martyrs' Memorial at Morto Bay, Cape Helles (near 'S' Beach), the Turkish Soldier's Memorial on Chunuk Bair and the memorial and open-air mosque for the 57th Regiment near Quinn's Post (Bomba Sirt). There are a number of memorials and cemeteries on the Asian shore of the Dardanelles, demonstrating the greater emphasis that Turkish historians place on the victory of 18 March over the subsequent fighting on the peninsula. [263]

Subsequent operations Edit

Allied troops were withdrawn to Lemnos and then to Egypt. [264] French forces (renamed the Corps Expeditionnaire des Dardanelles in late October) were subsumed into the Army of the Orient and later employed at Salonika. [265] [266] In Egypt, the British Imperial and Dominion troops from the Dardanelles along with fresh divisions from the United Kingdom and those at Salonika, became the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Murray. They joined the Force in Egypt to become the strategic reserve for the British Empire, consisting of 13 infantry and mounted divisions with 400,000 men . In March 1916, Murray took command of both these forces, forming them into the new Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) and reorganising the units for service in Europe, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. [267] [268] [269] While the ANZAC was disbanded, the AIF was expanded with three new Australian divisions being raised and a New Zealand Division was also formed. These units moved to the Western Front in mid-1916. [190]

The British yeomanry units that had fought dismounted at Gallipoli were reinforced and reorganised, [270] [271] forming the 74th (Yeomanry) Division and a portion of the 75th Division. [272] [273] Along with the Australian Light Horsemen and New Zealand Mounted Rifles remounted and reorganised into the Anzac Mounted Division, infantry from the 52nd (Lowland) Division, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division, [274] 53rd (Welsh) Division and 54th (East Anglian) Division, [275] [276] later joined by additional remounted Australian Light Horsemen and British yeomanry from the Australian Mounted Division, [277] participated in the Sinai and Palestine campaign. The Egyptian Sinai was reoccupied in 1916, while Palestine and the northern Levant were captured from the Ottoman Empire during 1917 and 1918, before the Armistice of Mudros ended hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre on 31 October. The Allies subsequently occupied Gallipoli and Istanbul and partitioned the Ottoman Empire. [278] The occupation ended in 1923. [279]

The significance of the Gallipoli campaign is felt strongly in both Australia and New Zealand, despite their being only a portion of the Allied forces the campaign is regarded in both nations as a "baptism of fire" and had been linked to their emergence as independent states. [280] Approximately 50,000 Australians served at Gallipoli and from 16,000 to 17,000 New Zealanders. [281] [282] [283] [284] It has been argued that the campaign proved significant in the emergence of a unique Australian identity following the war, which has been closely linked to popular conceptualisations of the qualities of the soldiers that fought during the campaign, which became embodied in the notion of an "Anzac spirit". [285]

The landing on 25 April is commemorated every year in both countries as "Anzac Day". The first iteration was celebrated unofficially in 1916, at churches in Melbourne, Brisbane and London, before being officially recognised as a public holiday in all Australian states in 1923. [253] The day also became a national holiday in New Zealand in the 1920s. [286] Organised marches by veterans began in 1925, in the same year a service was held on the beach at Gallipoli two years later the first official dawn service took place at the Sydney Cenotaph. During the 1980s, it became popular for Australian and New Zealand tourists to visit Gallipoli to attend the dawn service there and since then thousands have attended. [253] Over 10,000 people attended the 75th anniversary along with political leaders from Turkey, New Zealand, Britain and Australia. [287] Dawn services are also held in Australia in New Zealand, dawn services are the most popular form of observance of this day. [288] Anzac Day remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in Australia and New Zealand, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day). [289]

The Çanakkale Martyrs' Memorial at Anzac Cove, commemorating the loss of Ottoman and Anzac soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula


7 John B. Magruder

In 1862, Confederate General John B. Magruder needed to hold off Union Major General George B. McClellan&rsquos advance on Richmond until reinforcements could arrive. The biggest problem with this plan, however, was that Magruder only had about 14,000 soldiers while McClellan had about 55,000. There seemed to be little hope for the Confederates until Magruder decided that he could stem the Yankee advance with a bit of theater.

Magruder used the Warwick River to fool the Union Army into thinking that his forces were far superior to what they actually were. When the river stopped the Union forces, they found the confederates well garrisoned along its 23-kilometer (14 mi) length. Erasmus Keyes, the officer in charge of McClellan&rsquos left flank, witnessed columns of gray uniforms flowing beyond the trees. He heard thundering drumrolls and the commotion of soldiers cheering as they fell into position.

This, of course, was all an illusion cooked up by Magruder. He did line his men along the length of the river but their position was not strong at all. He barely had enough men to make them stretch end-to-end. To maintain the look of disciplined troop movement, he used the same column of men over and over. They simply doubled back after they put on enough of a show to convince the Union soldiers that they were fortified and ready for a fight.

After Keyes reported to McClellan about the formidable Confederate force they were about to face, McClellan chose to lay siege to the nearby city of Yorktown rather than press on to Richmond. In the meantime, Magruder and his men were able to escape with minimal casualties, and reinforcements arrived in the city.


4. The Forging of Two Nations and Remembering Gallipoli

The Gallipoli Campaign ensured that the Western Front was given precedence over all other theatres of military operation for the rest of the war. Its failure prompted Churchill's resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty on November 15th, 1916 and the creation in July 1916 of a Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry into the expedition, which shed light on the flawed assumptions that had presided over the planning of the campaign.

After the Gallipoli Campaign, Australian and New Zealand forces regrouped in Egypt where they rested and resumed training before leaving in April 1916 to fight on the Western Front. Some units stayed in Egypt where they helped preserve British interests in the Middle East.

4.1 Total casulaties

The ANZAC and the Allies

Figures vary according to sources. However the following figures seem to be generally accepted and give a fairly accurate idea of the extent of the cost in human lives. Roughly half a million Allied soldiers took part in the Gallipoli Campaign (( See " Gallipoli: Why do Australians celebrate a military disaster? " on the BBC website. )) . The number of soldiers wounded or killed among British (and Dominions) and French forces amounted to around 141,500 (114,500 and 27,000 respectively). About 34,150 British and Dominions soldiers and an estimated 10,000 French soldiers died during the campaign ((See "Gallipoli casualties by country" on the New Zealand History website.)) . There were also 4,599 among Indian troops, including 1,358 deaths and 142 casualties among soldiers from Newfoundland, 49 of whom were killed.

For Australia, as for many nations, the First World War remains the most costly conflict in terms of casualties. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted: over 61,522 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. It is estimated that 664 Australian officers and 17,260 men were wounded and 8,709 were killed during the Gallipoli Campaign. The whole Gallipoli operation therefore claimed around 26,000 Australian lives ((See "Australian fatalities at Gallipoli" on the Australian War Memorial website. )) .

During the First World War, 18,500 New Zealanders were killed, 12,483 of whom died on the Western Front, and around 50,000 were wounded. 2,779 were killed during the Gallipoli Campaign, which amounted roughly to one-fifth of the New Zealanders who were involved in the campaign. About 3,100 of the 14,000 New Zealanders who served on Gallipoli landed in April and more than 4,852 were wounded during the whole campaign. New Zealand casualties therefore totalled around 7,500 men.

The Ottoman Empire

Even though the number of Turkish casualties has been disputed, it is clear that victory came at a high price for the Ottoman Empire, which may have lost up to 87,000 men during the campaign. Another 165,000 were wounded, out of a total of 400,000 soldiers involved. Many Turkish army divisions had to be rebuilt from scratch in 1916. Total casualties may have amounted to more than 250,000.

All in all, by the time the Gallipoli Campaign ended, more than 130,000 men had been killed and 262,000 wounded. In total, there were just under 400,000 casualties during the campaign.

4.2 The Significance of the Campaign

The Gallipoli Campaign was a relatively minor event during the First World War. Despite the huge number of fatalities, Gallipoli had very little impact on the outcome of the war. Nevertheless, it has gained great significance for Turkey, New Zealand and Australia.

In Turkey, the campaign marked the beginning of a national revival and the emergence of Colonel Mustafa Kemal as a leading and inspirational figure. The Ottoman hero of Gallipoli would eventually become Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding President of the Turkish Republic. Gallipoli can therefore be considered as a defining moment in the history of the country for it led to the foundation of modern Turkey.

In New Zealand and Australia, the Gallipoli Campaign played an important part in fostering a sense of national identity, even though both countries fought on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire. Those at home were proud of how their men had performed on the world stage, establishing a reputation for fighting hard in difficult conditions. The daily lists of fatalities printed in the newspapers back home became a source of pride, as well as sorrow.

After Gallipoli, New Zealand and Australia took greater pride in their distinct identity, and had a greater confidence in the international contribution they could make. The campaign showcased the endurance, determination, bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity, loyalty to the King, initiative and sense of 'mateship' of their soldiers. These qualities would later be known as the “Anzac spirit”. Moreover, the mutual respect earned during the fighting formed the basis of the close ties between Australia and New Zealand.

Anzac Day in Australia and in New Zealand grew out of this pride. Although the campaign was a military failure, Anzac Day reminds Australians and New Zealanders of a very important episode in the history of their country and of their country’s first significant engagement of troops in the First World War. First observed on April 25th, 1916, the commemoration of the landing has become a fundamental part of the fabric of national life – a time for remembering not only those who died at Gallipoli, but all New Zealanders and Australians who have served their country in times of war and peace.

Shortly after the Armistice with the Ottoman Empire in October 1918, British and Dominion Graves Registration Units landed at Gallipoli and began building permanent cemeteries for the dead of 1915-1916. During the 1920s, the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) completed a network of Anzac and British cemeteries and memorials to the missing. In 1925, the New Zealand government unveiled a New Zealand battlefield memorial on the summit of Chunuk Bair. The battlefields are now part of the 33,000-ha Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, or Peace Park. An Australian Cemetery and memorial was erected at Lone Pine, the site where Australian soldiers took part in the Battle of Lone Pine, one of the bloodiest and hardest fought actions of the campaign.

Today there are 33 Commonwealth war cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula and two memorials which record the names of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who died there with no known graves. There are nearly 500 civic First World War memorials in New Zealand, most of which were erected in the 1920s. Until that time, the Anzac Day ceremonies took place in public buildings or churches, and sometimes had a strong religious focus. The decision to move the ceremonies to war memorials toned down the religious message and promoted values such as remembrance, service and sacrifice.

There is also no doubt that the participation of the Dominions in the war in general and the Gallipoli Campaign in particular was instrumental in pushing for a radical change in the relationships between Britain and its Dominions of white settlements. It eventually led to the Balfour Report and the Statute of Westminster (see selective chronology). It strengthened the feeling of belonging to an imperial family while accentuating the specific character of countries which had sealed their nationhood with a blood sacrifice. The Dominions’ unfaltering involvement in the war earned them independent representation at the Peace Conference and prompted them to build a national monument on the battlefields, in Gallipoli as well as in the north of France.

Listen to an extract from 'Today in History', a 1950 radio documentary outlining the beginning and significance of the Anzac tradition (1m36).


WWI Centennial: Gallipoli

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that shaped our modern world. Erik Sass is covering the events of the war exactly 100 years after they happened. This is the 179th installment in the series.

April 25, 1915: Gallipoli, Armenian Genocide Begins

One of the bloodiest fights of the Great War, the Battle of Gallipoli began with amphibious landings conducted by British, Australian, and New Zealand troops in the face of ferocious Turkish resistance on April 25, 1915. Over the next eight months, as they tried and failed to conquer the peninsula in hopes of capturing the Ottoman capital at Constantinople, the British and colonial troops (later reinforced by French units) would suffer an incredible 252,000 casualties, while the Turks lost a roughly equivalent number. Within these figures, 45,000 Allied troops and 86,000 Turkish troops were killed.

This tragedy, in which the colonial troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) suffered disproportionate losses under British command, would become one of the defining moments in the formation of distinct national identities for those Dominions, setting the stage for their eventual independence from the mother country. On the other side Gallipoli played an equally important role in the formation of a new Turkish identity, as ordinary soldiers sacrificed their lives in droves to protect the Turkish homeland one of the heroes of Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal, would go on to found the modern Republic of Turkey on the ruins of the old Ottoman Empire, winning the honorific “Atatürk” (“Father of the Turks”) from a reverent Turkish parliament (below, Kemal at Gallipoli).

“We Shall Get a Very Bad Knock”

The disaster at Gallipoli resulted from a series of bad decisions (and indecision) on the part of the British government, including Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, Secretary of War Lord Kitchener, and First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, as well as First Sea Lord Jackie Fisher, the overall commander of the Royal Navy. Beginning in the winter of 1915, the British leaders committed themselves to an ill-conceived plan to force the Turkish straits and capture Constantinople with naval power alone. However when repeated attempts failed at significant cost, instead of throwing in the towel they doubled down, sending a force 70,000 ground troops to mount a multipart amphibious invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula, in order to clear the Turkish coastal defenses on the straits from landward.

The problem was that over two months elapsed between the first naval bombardment on February 19, 1915, and the amphibious invasion on April 25, 1915 – giving the Turks plenty of time to prepare formidable defenses at Gallipoli. They were aided by their German allies, as Otto Liman von Sanders, the head of the pre-war German military mission to Turkey, took command of the Turkish Fifth Army, and German engineers directed the construction of defensive works.

Many Allied officers predicted that the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force under General Sir Ian Hamilton would run into trouble. On April 16 a British officer, Aubrey Herbert, went to lunch with his colleagues at the Allied base on the Greek island of Mudros and later wrote in his diary: “The talk was, of course, about the landing. A friend of mine said: ‘This is a terrible business entire Staffs will be wiped out.’” Five days later Herbet confided: “The general impression is that we shall get a very bad knock, and that it may well set the war back a year…” In the same vein another British officer, Oswin Creighton, wrote on April 22:

It seems a perfectly desperate undertaking. I can hardly expect to see many of my men alive again. My present feeling is that the whole thing has been bungled. The Navy should never have started the bombardment without the Army. Now there has been no bombardment for some weeks. Meanwhile the Turks, under German direction, have perfected their defences. The aerial reconnaissance reports acres of barbed wire, labyrinths of trenches, concealed guns, maxims and howitzers everywhere. The ground is mined. In fact, every conceivable thing has been done. Our men have to be towed in little open boats to land in the face of all this… Slaughter seems to be inevitable.

This prophecy proved all too accurate.

Blood on the Beach

In the early morning of April 25, 1915, the first wave of around 35,000 British and colonial troops in the 29th Division and ANZAC force marshaled on the decks of their troop transports and then climbed down rope ladders into smaller landing craft that were tied together in long lines, bow to stern.

Beginning at 5am small steamboats towed the lines of landing craft towards a number of landing spots (designated S Beach, V Beach, W Beach, X Beach, and Y Beach) on Cape Hellas at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, as well as on the west side of the peninsula at Kabatepe, the intended site of the ANZAC landing. The landing at V Beach also included an armored steamer, the River Clyde, carrying around 2,000 troops who were supposed to exit via pontoon gangways laid on small boats.

Although the Allies succeeded in landing unopposed at Y Beach (where the landing party found itself facing sheer cliffs, and was later withdrawn) the other landings ran into a hail of fire from the Turkish artillery, machine guns, and rifles on shore, and naval bombardment by the Allied fleet proved unable to silence the Turkish defenses as hoped.

In many places the Turks waited until the last minute before opening fire, then laid down a devastating fusillade against the helpless troops, still trapped on the boats and encumbered with heavy packs. Some naval officers in charge of landing the boats reached the beach and turned around to help the troops disembark, only to find everyone already dead. William Ewing, a British medical officer who witnessed the landing at V Beach, recalled:

Not a shot was fired by the enemy until the River Clyde grounded and the tows touched the shore. The shells from the ships had left the defences practically unimpaired, save for the big guns in the forts. A tempest of lead burst from the slopes and trenches, lashing the water round the boats to the whiteness of foam. The sea quickly changed to a more awful hue.

By 9 am, Ewing estimated, “Of the 1000 men who up till now had left the ship about 500 were either killed or wounded.” Meanwhile the boats carrying the ANZAC troops drifted about a mile north of their intended landing spot at Kabatepe, and achieved a landing against sporadic but fierce resistance. An anonymous soldier who took part in the ANZAC landing later wrote in his diary:

Over the sides of the boats dived and rolled those splendid infantrymen, their bayonets already fixed… In sixes and sevens, in tens and twenties, in platoons, in half-companies – just as they tumbled out of the boats – those great-hearted fellows dashed up the beach and into that sickening inferno. They didn’t fire a shot they didn’t waste a single second. They just flung their heavy packs form their shoulders, bent their heads to the storm, and with every inch of pace at their command they charged the Turkish trenches, some fifty yards distant.

The ANZAC troops managed to push the first Turkish lines back and then pursued them inland, advancing toward their main objective for the day. In fact, if they had succeeded in capturing two key ridges, called Chunuk Bahr and Sari Bahr, they would be in a position to dominate the peninsula and clinch an Allied victory. But now Mustafa Kemal, commanding the 19th Division in reserve on the other side of the peninsula, mounted an immediate counterattack without waiting for orders. Kemal’s orders to his troops were simple, grim, and dramatic: “I am not ordering you to fight, I am ordering you to die. In the time it takes us to die, other troops and commanders can come and take our places.” In desperate fighting, the Turks forced the ANZAC troops back to the shore, where they dug in and held on desperately. The same anonymous ANZAC soldier wrote in his diary:

No man who took part in that retirement will ever forget it. Overhead burst the shells, underfoot the dust rose and the twigs snapped as the unending rain of rifle, machine-gun, and shrapnel bullets zipped! and spattered around. Men fell fast, killed and wounded every temporary stand we made was marked by little groups of grotesquely postured khaki-clad forms still with the stillness of death… Time after time we tried to dig ourselves in. In vain! The line had to be shortened, else we should be outflanked by the enormously superior forces opposed to us.

The situation wasn’t much better at the Cape Hellas landing sites (with the exception of Y Beach, where the troops in the landing party were kicking their heels with no idea what was going on elsewhere). Herbert recalled:

We were being shot at from three sides. All that morning we kept moving. There were lines of men clinging like cockroaches under the cliffs or moving silent as the guns on the right and left enfiladed us. The only thing to be done was to dig in as soon as possible, but a good many men were shot while doing this. I believe that, had it been possible, we should have re-embarked that night, but the sacrifices involved would have been too great.

Allies Attack, Turks Counterattack

On the following day, April 26, the ANZAC troops continued digging in, while the British troops fought their way forward from the beaches on Cape Hellas and finally joined forces on the tip of the peninsula. Meanwhile the next wave of roughly 35,000 troops was landing, along with a French force which had briefly occupied the town of Kumkale on the other side of the Dardanelles.

On April 28 Hamilton ordered a renewed attack on the Turkish positions at Krithia, a small village on the slopes above Cape Hellas. Once again the casualties were appalling on both sides, with the wounded often left to suffer stoically for hours or even days before they could be evacuated. Arthur Ruhl, an American correspondent who was observing the battle from the Turkish side, recalled the mute suffering of ordinary Turkish soldiers (below):

During the early fighting on the peninsula the wounded came up to Constantinople, after days on the way, in wagons, perhaps, over horrible roads, in commandeered ferry-boats and freighters, yet one scarcely heard a sound, a murmur of complaint. Gray and gaunt, with the mud of the trenches still on them, they would be helped into ambulances and driven off to the hospitals, silent themselves and through crowds as silent as those which had watched them march away a few weeks before.

On May 1 Turkish War Minister Enver Pasha order a major counterattack, with both sides suffering huge casualties as the Turks tried to push the invading force into the sea. The anonymous ANZAC soldier wrote in his diary:

Men fought that day stripped to the waist fought till their rifles jammed, picked up another – and went on fighting. Men with broken legs refused to leave the trench, cursing those who would have assisted them – went on firing until a second bullet crippled their rifle arm. Yet still they clung on, handing up clips of cartridges to their mates… Thus it went on from before dawn till towards evening. Charge and counter-charge, till men reeled from sheer exhaustion, and their blood-clotted weapons slipped from hands sticky with the same red paint.

The same soldier recorded a shocking scene in the ANZAC trenches:

We were also so clogged up with dead in our trenches that to make room for the living we had to throw the bodies out over the back. In many cases where our line was cut on the edge of the ridge these bodies rolled right down to the foot of the cliff… In one place quite a little stack of bodies had been huddled together on one side of the track there might have been eighteen or twenty in the lot. Owing to the water running down this stack began to move, and kept on moving till it blocked the track up altogether… eventually a fatigue party had to be told off to build up the bodies as you would build sheaves on a wagon.

The French division which had landed on the eastern end of Cape Hellas found itself plunged into the hellish fighting as well. One French officer, Joseph Vassal, later recorded his impressions in a letter to his English wife: “Artillery cases, dead men, dead horses, police, doctors, above all guns which thundered and deafened us… During the night from 2nd to 3rd May one regiment alone spent 40,000 cartridges… I went to the beach, where shells were still falling continually. Fountains of earth, fountains of water. Nine horses killed, two men.”

But the attacks and counterattacks failed to make much of an impact either way, and by mid-May the situation at Gallipoli was already settling into a deadly stalemate. Hamilton and Sanders both called for reinforcements, which they duly received, promising even more grinding attrition in the months to come. The nightmare at Gallipoli was only beginning.

Armenian Genocide Begins

As the Allies prepared their invasion of Gallipoli, the government of the Young Turks was already setting in motion their plan to wipe out the Armenians, whom they suspected of aiding the Russian advance in the Caucasus region. Mounting persecution in early April foreshadowed much worse violence to come. Four years later, the former American ambassador to Constantinople, Henry Morgenthau, would recall the beginning of the purge in eastern Anatolia during the spring of 1915:

On April 15th, about 500 young Armenian men of Akantz were mustered to hear an order of the Sultan at sunset they were marched outside the town and every man shot in cold blood. The procedure was repeated in about eighty Armenian villages in the district north of Lake Van, and in three days 24,000 Armenians were murdered in this atrocious fashion.

Although mass murders were already taking place, many historians date the genocide to April 24, 1915, when the Turkish secret police rounded up around 250 leading Armenian public figures in Constantinople, including intellectuals, writers and journalists – the leaders of the Armenian community – placing them under arrest and detaining them without cause or on trumped up charges. Over the next few weeks they were joined by around another 2,000 Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople and elsewhere. All the detained individuals were then deported to detention centers near Ankara in central Anatolia. Almost all of them were later killed.

This was just the first blow in a wider campaign against the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Although the process varied from place to place across the empire, typically local Turkish officials would first disarm Armenian men and arrest their local leaders, who were often tortured and killed. Then the officials and ordinary citizens would confiscate Armenian property and homes, and the Armenians would be “deported,” supposedly to other destinations in central Anatolia and later the Syrian desert.

However the deportations were in effect death marches. Sometimes groups of Armenians would simply be marched into the countryside and shot by the Turkish secret service, the Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa or “Special Organization.” On other occasions columns of deportees would be set upon in the countryside by Turkish or Kurdish bandits. Older, sick, or disabled people who couldn’t keep up were often the first to be killed, as “stragglers.” An American missionary, Henry H. Riggs, was returning to his mission from a visit to Diyarbekir in May 1915 when he encountered a column of refugees:

They were under guard… As I passed, one man, looking at me quickly, lifted four fingers. That was all, and for a time I could not imagine what his signal was intended to convey. I sound found out, however. In a few minutes I came to a spot where the dust had hardly absorbed a pool of fresh blood. A trail through the dust from the scene of the tragedy to the edge of the bluff beside the road showed plainly enough where the body had been dragged from the road and dropped into the river which flowed just under the bluff. A little further on… [t]here lay the bodies of two elderly Armenians… A little further on yet, we passed the fourth ghastly trophy of that march of exiles.

Other methods of mass killing included herding groups of victims off cliffs, forcing them to dig their own graves and then burying them alive, and drowning in rivers or lakes. The British diplomat and historian Arnold Toynbee quoted a report written by a German missionary about a mass drowning in May 1915:

Between the 10th and 30th May, 1,200 of the most prominent Armenians and other Christians, without distinction of confession, were arrested in the Vilayets of Diyarbekir and Mamouret-ul-Aziz… On the 30th May, 674 of them were embarked on thirteen Tigris barges, under the pretext that they were to be taken to Mosul… A short time after the start the prisoners were stripped of all their money… and then of their clothes after that they were thrown in the river. The gendarmes on the bank were ordered to let none of them escape.

For a whole month corpses were observed floating down the River Euphrates nearly every day, often in batches of from two to six corpses bound together. The male corpses are in many cases hideously mutilated (sexual organs cut off, and so on), the female corpses are ripped open… The corpses stranded on the bank are devoured by dogs and vultures. To this fact there are many German eyewitnesses.


By June 1915 it was clear that the Gallipoli Campaign was failing to meet any of its objectives. Anzac and British troops had gained no more than a few hundred yards of land on the Peninsula and were suffering heavy casualties. Militarily the campaign was disastrous. It led to the creation of a Dardanelles Committee.

This committee decided to send 45,000 more troops to Gallipoli. They would launch a further amphibious attack on the peninsula. This assault also saw separate British and Anzac landings. The British landed at Sulva Bay, the Anzacs at Helles with a fresh assault also coming from Anzac Cove.

Advances were made as a result of these landings. The result was that the Ottomans made tactical retreats to even higher ground that was equally as hard to assault. Here, they dug in. At Gallipoli there was now Trench Warfare similar to that on the Western Front. The Ottomans had a distinct advantage in terms of the geography and were being resupplied and reinforced.


WW1: The Belfast soldiers who fought at Gallipoli

The landings began at dawn on 25 April 1915 when allied troops stormed ashore on Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula.

The mission, directed by Winston Churchill, was poorly equipped and is considered to have been a disaster from beginning to end.

The Turks were prepared and fought back against poorly trained, raw recruits.

Now the world is preparing to mark the centenary through a range of commemorative events.

In east Belfast, war researcher Jason Burke has uncovered some of the human stories and photographs of the men who fought at Gallipoli, as part of a wider project on east Belfast soldiers who fought in World War One.

"Gallipoli is a forgotten campaign," he said.

"It's been overshadowed by the narrative of the 36th Ulster Division and the Battle of the Somme.

"This pretty much corresponds with the same argument in the Republic [of Ireland], that events surrounding the 1916 Rising have resulted in Gallipoli being overlooked."

Jason's collection ranges from newspaper obituaries, detailing the sorrow of a grieving widow, to the story of the man considered to be the first Belfast casualty in Gallipoli.

The ultimate aim of the failed campaign was to force the Ottoman empire, the heart of which is now modern-day Turkey, out of the war and stretch the German army beyond its limit.

But there was no clear plan, conditions were terrible and the invasion failed.

The heaviest allied casualties were sustained by soldiers from Australia and New Zealand, the Anzacs, who made the first landings.

Around 21,000 British and Irish troops died in the disastrous eight-month battle.

At the time the sea was reported to be red with Irish blood.

Jason has a family picture of 40-year-old Pte John Baker from Kenbaan Street in east Belfast.

According to relatives, Pte Baker enlisted with the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and was dispatched to Turkey in July 1915. He died in the Dardanelles as part of the Suvla Bay landings.

A former shipyard worker on Queen's Island in east Belfast, Pte Baker was married with two children.

"Sadly, he was killed a fortnight after landing in Gallipoli," Jason said.

Great-grandchildren of the Baker family have contacted Jason in the hope of finding out more about the Belfast soldier.

"The only information they can find relates to the Somme, and they've found that frustrating," Jason said.

"Pte Baker's relatives have emailed me to say his name is engraved on the Helles memorial in Turkey, courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

"But theyɽ like to see something similar here in Belfast," Jason added.

During the Gallipoli campaign, one of the five landing sites was V beach, which sits on the peninsula of Gallipoli, leading up to Istanbul, an area the Allies had hoped to capture.

The soldiers who sailed to a landing point at Cape Helles on the SS River Clyde came from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Hampshire Regiment.

Many soldiers from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Fusiliers also fought and died at Gallipoli.

"They came from different traditions and different classes," said historian Eamon Phoenix.

"You had the poor of Dublin to public school boys.

"North and south, orange and green, they followed the cause and fought together at the Dardanelles."

Jason Burke also uncovered the story of James Scott, a royal marine from the Plymouth Division.

He was killed in action aged 19.

A local newspaper report at the time said Marine Scott was probably the first Belfast man to lose his life in the operation on the Dardanelles.

He lived in Cheviot Avenue, Strandtown, and enlisted with the Royal Marines just 18 months before he died.

Marine Scott was sent east after being involved in the evacuation of Antwerp.

Historians have debated for years over whether the United Kingdom and other allies should have been involved in the operation at all.

"It does strike me as an avoidable disaster," Jason said.

Eamon Phoenix agreed: "An attempt to shell the peninsula alerted the Turkish troops that an attack would happen. It really was a disaster for the British at the Dardanelles."

"Thousands of men were killed, they are buried in unmarked graves. The men died as a result of enemy fire and poor conditions, like the heat."

Thousands of men were also injured.

One of them was Rifleman John Foulis, a teenager who was wounded at Gallipoli.

He served with the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and was injured in September 1915 at the age of 18.

His home was in Bryson Street in east Belfast. His father was an engine driver on the County Down railway and his two brothers also served in the army.

Dr Francis Wisely, a 31-year-old Belfast surgeon who tended the wounded at Gallipoli, was also among the casualties.

Eamon Phoenix said: "He was the son of a publican who joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was killed while tending the wounded."

"A Celtic cross monument with an Irish inscription stands in his memory in Friar's Bush Graveyard, Stranmillis.

"Dr Wisely is buried in Egypt."

On Saturday 25 April 2015 people in Northern Ireland and across the globe will remember the soldiers who died in the doomed Gallipoli campaign.


Allied troops preparing to swim, Gallipoli - History

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    On 25 April New Zealanders and Australians mark Anzac Day, the anniversary of the 1915 landing of Allied troops at Gallipoli / Gelibolu Yarımadası in Turkey, and the beginning of the nine-month long Gallipoli Campaign.

    In 2009 Australian and New Zealand members of The Commons have worked together to share photographs of the campaign in Gallipoli and later Anzac Day events on Flickr.

    Throughout the day on 24 April photographs will be appearing on:

    You can find out more about the Gallipoli Campaign & Anzac Day on the NZ History website