The Gallipoli Campaign of World War One
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The Gallipoli Campaign of World War One

The Gallipoli Campaign was a campaign orchestrated by the Allies during World War One, in an attempt to attack Germany through it's weak southern line. The attempt was thwarted by the Turkish, and it turned out to be an almost complete military failure.

The Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli Campaign (19th April 1914 – 20th December 1915) was an attempt by the allies in World War One to force through the southern flank of the Central powers, and at the same time free Russia from a German naval blockade. It started on the 19th of April, and the plan was to capture the Dardanelles in the Ottoman Empire (Modern day Turkey) using a purely naval assault from the British. However it didn’t work and ground troops had to be brought in. And with this decision came New Zealand’s first internationally significant act in many years. They landed fresh young forces to fight in one of the most miserable places on earth: Gallipoli.

The Four Phases of the Campaign

Naval Bombardment of Peninsula: (Feb 1915) The British believed that the whole campaign could be won with a purely naval force, and decided to bombard the peninsula.

Attempt at Naval Breakthrough: (March 1915) The navy try to force their way through. However the Turkish put mines out, and the British ran straight into them. Was a complete failure.

Land Troops are deployed: (April – August 1915) The British land Anzac forces at Anzac cove and British forces at Cape Helles. However, the Anzac's are landed in the wrong spot and are ripped to shreds because of the inadequate landscape. 3000 ANZAC troops died in the very first night.

Evacuation: (December 1915) Ironically, this was the only success in the whole campaign. Only 2 men died in these operations, which included clever tactics and subterfuge under the command of the newly appointed Sir Charles Monro. The troops were drawn out at a slow but sure pace, and the same routines were run every day. By the time the Turkish got wind of the plan, it was too late for them and the evacuation succeeded.

 

A Timeline of Events

• 1914, July 28th – Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, and WW1 erupts.

• 1915, Feb 19th – Naval attacks by a British force, official start of the Gallipoli Campaign.

• March 18th – Navy tries to force their way through the straits, it fails and they decide to send in land troops.

• April 25th – First ground troop landings by the Anzac's and the British, we now commemorate this day as our national war memorial day.

• April 27th – Ottomans start to counter attack, however all of them fail and the beach is held.

• May 2nd – Anzac's start to launch offensive attacks, capturing land.

• May 19th – Biggest failure for the Turkish in this campaign, failed attacked and lost 10,000 men.

• August 6th – Battle for Lone pine. August Offensive starts.

• August 7th – Battle of Chunuk Bair, Wellington Regiment captured and held it for 2 days before they lost it again.

• 1915, December 8th – The evacuation begins after Hamilton is sacked, operation is very successful.

• 20th December – Finished Evacuation, the Gallipoli Campaign draws to a close.

 

The Battle of Chunuk Bair

Battle of Chunuk Bair is a battle which was fought in Gallipoli over the second highest point in the Gallipoli Peninsula, Chunuk Bair. It was a mission set for the New Zealanders, as capturing this strategic point meant control over the hills on both sides. On August the 7th, 11 am, the Auckland Regiment attacked. They advanced only 100 meters, with about 300 casualties. The Wellington battalion was then told to attack, but Colonel William Malone refused, stating that it would be a pointless attack that would cost his men’s lives. Then at 3 am, following a British Naval Bombardment, the Wellington battalion attacked the few remaining Turkish defenders and took both of the trenches which occupied the ridge. It was hard to defend, as the trenches were shallow and exposed to fire. The Wellington's desperately defended against a relentless assault of Turkish attacks, starting from 5 am, 8th August. The soldiers engaged in brutal close combat, as once the Turkish overran a section of the trench, the distance was too close for guns to be effective. Malone died at 5 pm by friendly fire from the naval bombardments, and by the 8th of August, 10:30 pm, the remaining Wellington's were relieved. The Turks recaptured the ridge, and Out of the 760 soldiers that assaulted the point, only 59 came back without major injuries.

I believe that the Gallipoli campaign was a failure, because of the simple fact that the Allies’ objective was not achieved. The casualty statistics for both sides were 220,000 to 253,000 (Allied : Central), but although the ratio is in favor of the Allies, the success or failure of a war is not measured by this factor. If an overall goal is not achieved, the campaign therefore failed. For example, imagine (purely imaginative) if Germany invaded France again, losing 300,000 while the French only lost 100,000. But the Germans captured Paris nether the less, and conquered France. Now it is clearly a victory for the Germans, albeit at a price. Still, it is a victory. This is simply because we are looking at the objective, which we ought to do. Lets look at some reasons the Allies failed:

• Failure of command under Sir Ian Hamilton.

• Lack of a well-prepared planning.

• The Ottomans had an extremely good commander, Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk”

• The British had already made the Ottomans aware and ready for the Anzac's.

• Lack of supplies for the Anzac's.

• Anzac landings were at the wrong place.

• Poor communication.

So lets face facts, the Axis won the battle AND the campaign. The only real success was the retreat, everything else failed. However, one campaign lost proved not to be a burden too great, and the Allies continued to win the First World War in the end.

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Comments (1)
Ranked #1 in History

Excellent historical account.

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