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Date & time Sep 21 '17
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the Dardanelles Disaster in Soldiers Words and Photographs by Richard van Emden and Stephen Chambers

No campaign of the First World War better justifies the poets view of the conflict as futile and pitiless than Gallipoli. From the initial landings in April 1915 to the final evacuation in January imitation mother of pearl van cleef necklace 1916, only a few miles of ground were gained at a cost of 250,000 Allied casualties, including 42,000 dead. Turkish casualties were similar, though more were killed.

The initial plan the brainchild of Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty was for the Navy to the Dardanelles, bombard Constantinople and knock Turkey out of the war, thus removing one of the Central Powers main props. When the naval attempt failed in mid March 1915, the War Cabinet decided to send troops to capture the Gallipoli peninsula and open up the route to the Turkish capital.

The initial landings on April 25 1915 at the tip and north coast of the peninsula were by a combination of British, French and Anzac troops; and when they failed to advance more than a short distance, a third front was opened up at Suvla Bay on August 7. It was also contained within a narrow beachhead, thus condemning the Allied troops to months of bombardment in a harsh, barren and waterless terrain. ever a campaign was doomed from the start, they write, the year long slog in the Dardanelles was the case in point. Most modern historians agree, including Max Hastings in his foreword to the latest edition of Alan Moorehead classic account of Gallipoli (first published in the Fifties). The plan, writes Hastings, was flawed, as well as ineptly executed

READ: Churchill and Empire by Lawrence James, which argues that the Dardanelles disaster should be blamed on local bungling rather than Churchill's design

The wartime investigation into the campaign failings was nearly as categorical. the outset, it concluded, risks of failure attending the enterprise outweighed its chances of success. This is probably fair. There were a couple of moments when things could have gone differently: at Anzac beach on April 25, and Sari Bair Ridge and Suvla Bay on August 7 11, when the attackers almost took and held the high ground, thus forcing the Turks to withdraw. But a combination of poor generalship, bad luck and stout defence enabled the Turks to hold on.

With jeopardy in short supply, the true fascination of the campaign lies in its unutterable horror. the deepest point of penetration into enemy lines was just three miles, write van Emden and Chambers, the entire position replica small van cleef necklace was, in effect, one front line The Turks were able to land shells almost anywhere they wished. It was a position that, according to the general who ordered the withdrawal, possessed possible defect it was depth, the communications were insecure and dependent on the weather. No means existed for the concealment and deployment of fresh troops destined for the offensive.

Some of the imitation van cleef inspired necklace most savage fighting was during the diversionary attack by the Australians at Lone Pine on August 6. the semi darkness under the pine logs [covering the trenches], writes Moorehead, was very little space to shoot; on both sides they fought with bayonets and sometimes without any weapons at all, kicking and struggling on the ground, trying to throttle one another with their hands.

Seven Victoria Crosses were won by Australians at Lone Pine (two posthumously) as the Turkish front line trench was captured at a cost of 2,000 casualties. But their effort was in vain because the main attacks farther north were repulsed. By the evening of August 8, notes Moorehead, Allies had reached none of their objectives He adds: Suvla plan, which was a good plan, had failed because the wrong commanders and soldiers had been employed, and at Anzac the best officers and men were employed upon a plan that would not work.

READ: Catastrophe, Max Hasting's account of the First World War

Both books have merit. Moorehead is a vivid narrative that includes primary material from both sides of the conflict, including the war diary of Mustapha Kemal, a Turkish army officer and, later, first president of Turkey. It is refreshingly balanced in its assessment of the campaign, describing it as most imaginative conception of the war, and its potentialities were almost beyond reckoning It would provide a of information for the planners of amphibious operations, including D Day, in the Second World War.

One British officer spoke for many when he wrote during the evacuation: of the men we were to leave behind us there? The good comrades, who had come so gaily with us to the wars, who had fought so gallantly by our side, and who would now lie for ever among the barren rocks where they had died No man was sorry to leave Gallipoli; but few were really glad.

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