Military Wiki
Gallipoli Campaign
Part of World War I
G.C. 18 March 1915 Gallipoli Campaign Article.jpg
A collection of photographs from the campaign. From top and left to right: Ottoman commanders including Mustafa Kemal (fourth from left); Allied warships; the view down to Anzac Cove; Ottoman soldiers in a trench; and Allied positions.
Date25 April 1915 – 9 January 1916
(8 months, 2 weeks and 1 day)
LocationGallipoli peninsula, Ottoman Empire
Result Ottoman victory

 British Empire

  •  Australia
  •  British Raj
  •  Newfoundland
  •  New Zealand
  •  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

 French Third Republic

  • France French West Africa

 Ottoman Empire Supported by:

 German Empire[1]
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Ian Hamilton
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Herbert Kitchener
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland John de Robeck
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland William Birdwood
Henri Gouraud
Maurice Bailloud
German Empire Otto Liman von Sanders
Ottoman Empire Cevat Çobanlı
Ottoman Empire Mehmet Esat Bülkat
Ottoman Empire Mehmet Vehib Kaçı
Ottoman Empire Sarkis Torossian
Ottoman Empire Mustafa Kemal
Units involved
United Kingdom MEF Ottoman Empire Fifth Army

5 divisions (initial)
15 divisions (final)
489,000 British
79,000 French[3]
Supported by:

~2,000 civilian labourers[4]

6 divisions (initial)
16 divisions (final)

Casualties and losses
252,000[5] 218,000–251,000[5]

The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale (Turkish language: Çanakkale Savaşı), took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey) in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during World War I. Aiming to secure a sea route to Russia, the British and French launched a naval campaign to force a passage through the Dardanelles. After the naval operation, an amphibious landing was undertaken on the Gallipoli peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul).[6] After eight months the land campaign also failed with many casualties on both sides, and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.

The campaign was one of the greatest Ottoman victories during the war and is considered a major failure of the Allies. In Turkey, it is perceived as a defining moment in the nation's history—a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence and the founding of the Republic of Turkey eight years later under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a commander at Gallipoli. The campaign is often considered to mark the birth of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand and the date of the landing, 25 April, is known as "Anzac Day". It remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans there, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day).[7][8][9]


Ottoman entry into the war

At the beginning of the 20th century the Ottoman Empire was the "sick man of Europe",[10] weakened by political instability, military defeat and civil strife following a century of decline. Power had been seized in 1908 by a group of young officers, known as the Young Turks, who installed Mehmed V as Sultan as a figurehead.[11][12] The new regime implemented a program of reform to modernise the outdated political and economic system and redefined the racial makeup of the empire. An enthusiastic supporter, Germany provided significant investment. German diplomats subsequently found increasing influence despite Britain previously being the predominant power in the region, while German officers assisted in training and re-equipping the army.[13] Despite this support the economic resources of the empire were depleted by the cost of the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and the French, British and Germans had offered financial aid. A pro-German faction influenced by Enver Pasha, the former Ottoman military attaché in Berlin, opposed the pro-British majority in the Ottoman cabinet, and subsequently moved to secure closer relations with Germany.[11][14][15] In December 1913, the Germans sent a military mission to Constantinople, headed by General Otto Liman von Sanders. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire's geographic position meant that her neutrality in the event of war in Europe was of significant interest to Russia and to her allies France and Britain.[11]

During the Sarajevo Crisis in 1914 German diplomats offered an anti-Russian alliance and territorial gains in Caucasia, northwest Iran and Trans-Caspia. The pro-British faction in the Cabinet was isolated due to the British ambassador taking leave until 18 August. As the crisis deepened in Europe Ottoman policy was to obtain a guarantee of territorial integrity and potential advantages, unaware that the British might enter a European war.[16] On 30 June 1914, two days after the outbreak of the war in Europe, the Ottoman leaders agreed to form a secret alliance with Germany against Russia,[17] although it did not require them to undertake military action.[18][11] On 2 August, the British requisitioned two modern battleships – Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel and Reşadiye which were being built for the Ottoman Navy in British shipyards – for their own use, alienating British supporters in Constantinople despite the offer of compensation if they remained neutral.[19] This action strained diplomatic relations between the two empires and the German government offered two cruisers, SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau to the Ottoman navy as replacements, in an attempt to gain influence. The Allies tried to intercept the ships, which escaped when the Ottoman government opened the Dardanelles to allow them to sail to Constantinople, despite being required under international law, as a neutral party, to block military shipping.[20] By allowing the German ships to enter the Dardanelles, the Ottomans confirmed their links to Germany.[11]

In September the British naval mission to the Ottomans, which had been established in 1912 under Admiral Arthur Limpus, was recalled due to increasing concern they would soon enter the war and command of the Ottoman navy was taken over by Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon of the Imperial German Navy.[21][22] Acting without orders from the Ottoman government, on 27 September the German commander of the Dardanelles fortifications ordered the passage closed, adding to the impression the Ottomans were "in the German camp".[22] The German naval presence and the success of German armies on all fronts gave the pro-German faction in the Ottoman government enough influence to declare war on Russia.[23] On 27 October, Goeben and Breslau, having been renamed Yavûz Sultân Selîm and Midilli, sortied into the Black Sea, bombarded the port of Odessa and sank several Russian ships.[24] The Ottomans refused an Allied demand to expel the German missions and on 31 October 1914, officially entered the war on the side of the Central Powers.[25][24] Russia declared war on Turkey on 2 November. The next day the British ambassador left Constantinople and a British naval squadron off the Dardanelles, bombarded the outer defensive forts at Kum Kale and Seddulbahir. A shell hit a magazine, knocked the guns off their mounts and killed 86 soldiers.[26] Britain and France declared war on 5 November and the Ottomans declared a jihad (holy war) later that month, launching an offensive in the Caucasus against the Russians to regain former Turkish provinces there.[27] Fighting also began in Mesopotamia following a British landing to occupy the oil facilities in the Persian Gulf.[28] The Ottomans prepared to attack Egypt in early 1915, to occupy the Suez Canal and cut the Mediterranean route to India and the Far East.[29] Strachan wrote that in hindsight Ottoman belligerence was inevitable, once Goeben and Breslau were allowed into the Dardanelles and that delays after that were caused by Ottoman unreadiness for war and Bulgarian neutrality, rather than uncertainty about policy.[30]

Allied strategy and the importance of the Dardanelles

Sea access to Russia through the Dardanelles

By late 1914 the war on the Western Front had become a stalemate; the Franco-British counter-offensive of the First Battle of the Marne had ended and the British had suffered many casualties in the First Battle of Ypres in Flanders. Lines of trenches had been dug by both sides, running from the Swiss border to the English Channel as the war of manoeuvre ended and trench warfare began.[31] 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.[32] While the empire 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 and in November they began to mine the waterway.[11][33]

French Minister of Justice Aristide Briand's proposal in November to attack the Ottoman Empire was rejected and an attempt by the British to pay the Ottoman Empire to join the Allied side also failed.[34] 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 (both formerly ruled by the Ottomans) into the war on the Allied side.[35] On 2 January 1915 Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia appealed to Britain for assistance against the Ottomans, who were conducting an offensive in the Caucasus. Planning began for a naval demonstration in the Dardanelles, to divert troops from the Caucasian theatre of operations.[36]

Naval campaign

Attempt to force the Straits

On 17 February 1915, a British seaplane from HMS Ark Royal flew a reconnaissance sortie over the Straits.[37] Two days later, the first attack on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French task force, including the British battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, began a long-range bombardment of Ottoman artillery along the coast. The British had intended to utilise Ark Royal's eight aircraft to spot for the bombardment but harsh conditions rendered all but one of these, a Short Type 136, unserviceable.[38] 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.[39] After this, Royal Marines were landed to destroy guns at Kum Kale on the northern Asian coast and at Sedd el Bahr on the southern tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, while the naval bombardment shifted to batteries between Kum Kale and Kephez.[40]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[42] When the message was relayed to Carden, it was agreed a main attack would be launched on or around 17 March. It transpired that Carden, suffering from stress, was placed on the sick list by the medical officer and the fleet was placed under the command of Admiral John de Robeck.[43]

On 18 March 1915, the main attack was launched. The fleet, comprising 18 battleships with a supporting array of cruisers and destroyers, sought to target the narrowest point of the Dardanelles, where the straits are 1 mile (1.6 km) wide. Despite some damage sustained by ships engaging the Ottoman forts, minesweepers were ordered to proceed along the straits. According to an account by the Ottoman General Staff, 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".[44] The French battleship Bouvet was sunk by a mine, causing it to capsize with her crew of over 600 still aboard.[45] Minesweepers manned by civilians, under the constant fire of Ottoman shells, retreated, leaving the minefields largely intact. HMS Irresistible and HMS Inflexible were critically damaged by mines, although there was confusion during the battle about the cause of the damage—some blamed torpedoes. HMS Ocean, sent to rescue the Irresistible, was also damaged by an explosion, and both ships eventually sank.[46] The French battleships Suffren and Gaulois were also damaged; the ships had sailed through a new line of mines placed secretly by the Ottoman minelayer Nusret ten days before.[47]

Panoramic view of the Dardanelles fleet

The losses forced de Robeck to sound the "general recall" to save what remained of his force.[48] Losses had been anticipated during the planning of the campaign, so mainly obsolete battleships had been sent which were unfit to face the German fleet. Some of the senior naval officers, such as 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 de Robeck, Jackie Fisher and others prevailed and ended Allied attempts to force the straits by naval power, citing unacceptable losses and bad weather.[48][43][49] The defeat of the British fleet had given the Ottomans a morale boost;[50] the day would later come to be celebrated in Turkey as a great victory.[51] Planning to capture the Turkish defences by land began.[52] Two Allied submarines tried to traverse the Dardanelles but were lost to mines and strong currents.[53]

Allied preparations for a landing

French troops landing on Lemnos, 1915.

After the failure of the naval attacks, ground forces were assembled, tasked with eliminating the Ottoman mobile artillery so that minesweepers could clear the way for the larger vessels. The British Secretary of State for War, Lord Herbert Kitchener, appointed General Sir Ian Hamilton to command the 78,000-strong Mediterranean Expeditionary Force that was to carry out the mission.[43] At this time, Australian and New Zealand soldiers were encamped in Egypt, undergoing training prior to being sent to France.[54] These troops were formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), which comprised the all-volunteer Australian 1st Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division under the command of Lieutenant General William Birdwood. The ANZAC troops, along with the regular British 29th Division, the Royal Naval Division[37] and the French Oriental Expeditionary Corps, consisting of "metropolitan" and colonial troops,[55] were subsequently placed under Hamilton's command.[56][57] With only five divisions the operation would be complicated by the limited forces available, the rugged terrain of the peninsula and the small number of suitable landing beaches, as well as severe logistical difficulties.[58]

As a landing under fire had not been foreseen, the force was not prepared for such an undertaking. The British and French divisions subsequently joined the Australians in Egypt, while over the following month Hamilton prepared his plan, choosing to concentrate his force on the southern part of the Gallipoli peninsula at Cape Helles and Sedd el Bahr.[59] The Allies initially discounted the fighting ability of the Ottoman soldiers, but came to respect them during the campaign.[60] The early apathy 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."[61] Erickson has argued that this apathy stemmed from a "sense of superiority" amongst the Allies, which had resulted from the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and perceptions of its performance in earlier conflicts including the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. As a result, Allied intelligence failed to adequately prepare for the campaign,[62] in some cases relying on information gained from Egyptian travel guides.[63]

The troops earmarked for the assault were required to be loaded on the transports in the order they were to disembark and as a result the landings could not be undertaken until the end of April. Whilst the five-week delay offered the Ottomans the opportunity to strengthen their position on the peninsula, unfavourable weather during March and April might have delayed the landings at any rate and would have prevented any troops ashore from being supplied and reinforced. Australian and New Zealand forces departed Egypt in early April, assembling on the island of Lemnos in Greece, where a small garrison had been established in early March. After arriving on 12 April a number of basic practice landings were undertaken.[64] Meanwhile, on 17 April 1915 the British submarine HMS E15 under the command of Captain T.S. Brodie had also tried to run the straits, but hit a submarine net and ran aground. The submarine was subsequently shelled by a Turkish fort, killing Brodie and six of the crew and forcing the survivors to surrender.[65]

Ottoman defensive preparations

Disposition of the Ottoman Fifth Army

The Ottomans prepared to repel a landing on either side of the Straits,[66] with the Ottoman Fifth Army assigned for this purpose. The force, which initially consisted of five divisions with another en route, was a conscript force, and was commanded by Otto Liman von Sanders,[67] a German officer who had been head of the Military Mission sent to Turkey as advisors.[37][68] Many of the senior officers in the Fifth Army were also German.[1] Ottoman commanders and senior German officers debated the best means of defending the peninsula. All agreed that the most effective form of defence was to hold the high ground on the ridges of the peninsula but there was disagreement as to where the enemy would land and hence where to concentrate their forces. Mustafa Kemal, a 34-year-old lieutenant colonel familiar with the Gallipoli peninsula from his operations against Bulgaria in the Balkan War,[69] believed Cape Helles (the southern tip of the peninsula) and Gaba Tepe would be the two most likely areas for landing.[70] In the case of the former, Kemal believed that the British would use their navy to command the land from every side, which the tip of the peninsula would allow; at Gaba Tepe, the short distance to the eastern coast meant forces could easily reach the Narrows.[71]

Liman von Sanders considered Besika Bay on the Asiatic coast to be the most vulnerable to invasion, since Allied forces would benefit from more accessible terrain and could attack the most important Ottoman batteries guarding the straits. Liman von Sanders placed two divisions, one third of the Fifth Army, in this area.[72] Two divisions were concentrated at Bulair at the north end of the Gallipoli peninsula to protect supply and communication lines to the defences further along the peninsula.[73] The 19th Division, under the command of Mustafa Kemal, and the 9th Division were placed along the Aegean coast and at Cape Helles on the tip of the peninsula. The bulk of the forces, under Liman von Sanders, were to be held inland, leaving minimal troops guarding the coast.[74] After the 3rd Division and a cavalry brigade arrived from Constantinople in early April, the frontline strength of the Ottoman forces on the Bosporus was 60,000 – 62,077, which Liman von Sanders concentrated in three groups. He ordered the greatest possible effort to improve land and sea communications so that reinforcements could be moved swiftly to danger points; troops were moved at night to avoid detection by Allied aircraft. Liman von Sanders' strategy was opposed by Ottoman commanders, including Mustafa Kemal, who believed Ottoman forces were too widely dispersed to drive the attackers back into the sea as soon as their invasion began.[75] Liman von 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 Kemal's 19th Division which was concentrated near Boghali as a general reserve, ready to move to Bulair, Gaba Tepe or the Asiatic shore.[76]

Heavy artillery from the German armoured cruiser Roon, 1915

The delay of the landings by the British allowed Liman von Sanders and other German officers such as Colonel Hans Kannengiesser, supported by III Corps commander Esat Pasha, time to prepare their defences.[37] Liman von 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." [77] Roads were constructed, small boats assembled 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, while troops went on route marches to avoid lethargy.[77] Mustafa 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.[78] The Ottomans created a small air force with German assistance and had four aircraft operating around Çanakkale in February, conducting reconnaissance and army co-operation sorties[79] and by early April they had established an airfield near Gallipoli.[37]

Land campaign


Map of the landing of the covering force from battleships (red) and destroyers (orange) at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915

The Allies planned to land and secure the northern shore, capturing the Ottoman forts and artillery batteries there so that a naval force could advance through the Narrows and the Sea of Marmara towards Constantinople.[80] Scheduled for 23 April but postponed until 25 April due to bad weather,[81] landings were to be made at six beaches on the peninsula. 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 Infantry Brigade spearheading the assault,[82] were to land north of Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast, from where they could advance across the peninsula, cutting off the Ottoman troops in Kilitbahir. The small cove in and around which they landed became known as "Anzac Cove".[83] 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 simply "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. There was a diversion by the Royal Naval Division, including a solo effort by Bernard Freyberg at Bulair,[84] for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[85]

The Helles landing was made by the 29th Division, a British formation that included a battalion from the Newfoundland Regiment, which was under the command of Major General Aylmer Hunter-Weston. The division landed on five beaches in an arc about the tip of the peninsula, named from east to west as 'S', 'V', 'W', 'X' and 'Y' Beaches.[86] On 1 May, the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade (including the 1/6th Gurkha Rifles) landed, took and secured Sari Bair above the landing beaches, and were later joined by two other Gurkha battalions, the 1st/5th and the 2nd/10th;[87] the Zion Mule Corps landed at Helles on 27 April. At 'Y' Beach, during the first engagement around the village of Krithia, the Allies were able to land unopposed and advance inland.[88] 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 they came to capturing the village throughout the rest of the campaign as the Ottomans brought up a battalion of the 25th Regiment, checking any further movement.[89]

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 from the Royal Munster Fusiliers and Royal Hampshires landed in a converted collier, SS River Clyde, which was run aground beneath the fortress so that the troops could disembark via ramps to the shore. The Royal Dublin Fusiliers landed at 'V' Beach from open boats. At 'W' Beach, the Lancashire Fusiliers also landed 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 the River Clyde were shot by machine gunners at the Seddülbahir fort. Of the first 200 soldiers to disembark, only 21 men reached the beach.[90]

Cape Helles landing beaches

As at Anzac, 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 1915, out of ammunition and left 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, commanding the 19th Division: "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".[91] Every man of the regiment was either killed in action or wounded. As a sign of respect, the 57th Regiment no longer exists in the Turkish Army.[91]

At 'W' Beach, thereafter known as Lancashire Landing, the Lancashires were able to overwhelm the defences despite the loss of 600 casualties from 1,000 men. The battalions which landed at 'V' Beach suffered about 70 percent casualties. 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 off the beach. 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.[92] After the landings, so few remained from the Dublin and Munster Fusiliers that they were amalgamated into "The Dubsters".[93] Only one Dubliner officer survived the landing,[94] while of the 1,012 Dubliners who landed, just 11 survived the Gallipoli campaign unscathed.[95]

After the landings, little was done by the Allies to exploit the situation, and apart from a few limited advances inland by small groups of men, most troops stayed on or close to the beaches. The Allied attack lost momentum and the Ottomans had time to bring up reinforcements and rally the small number of defending troops.[96] Lord 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 No. 3 Squadron, RNAS which arrived at Tenedos at the end of March.[97] Under Commander Charles Samson, the aircraft were initially unopposed by the small Ottoman air force and during the planning stages the force had been used to provide aerial reconnaissance,[98] although this ultimately proved inadequate to meet the Allies' intelligence needs and make up for the lack of adequate maps.[63] Following the landings, Allied aircraft conducted photographic reconnaissance, observed naval gunfire, reported on Ottoman troop movements, and conducted a small number of offensive bombing raids.[98]

A French colonial 75 mm gun in action near Sedd el Bahr during the Third Battle of Krithia, 4 June 1915

The Australian submarine HMAS AE2 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Henry Stoker succeeded in getting through the Straits on the night of 24/25 April. As the army began landing soldiers at Cape Helles and Anzac Cove at dawn on the 25th, by 06:00, AE2 reached Chanak and torpedoed the Turkish gunboat Peyk-i Şevket while evading an enemy destroyer.[99] The submarine ran aground beneath a Turkish fort but the fort's guns could not bear and AE2 was manoeuvred free.[99] Shortly after refloating, the submarine's periscope was sighted by a Turkish battleship, which was firing over the peninsula at Allied landing sites; the ship ceased fire and withdrew.[99] AE2 advanced toward the Sea of Marmara; at 08:30 Stoker decided to rest the boat on the seabed and wait until nightfall before continuing.[99] At around 21:00, AE2 surfaced to recharge her batteries and sent a wireless report to the fleet.[99][100] Although the landing at Cape Helles was going well, the landing at Anzac Cove was not as successful and the commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood contemplated the re-embarkation of his troops.[99] The news of the Australian submarine's success was one of the factors that led to Birdwood's reconsideration and was relayed to the soldiers ashore to improve morale.[99] Stoker was ordered to "generally run amok" and with no enemies in sight, he sailed into the Sea of Marmara. AE2 cruised the Sea of Marmara for five days to give the impression of greater numbers and made several attacks against Turkish ships, which failed because of mechanical problems with the torpedoes.[101]

Early battles

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 1922 shows the landing at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915

On the afternoon of 27 April 1915, the 12 battalions of Mustafa Kemal's 19th Division, reinforced by six battalions from the 5th Division, launched an attack to drive the six Allied brigades at Anzac back to the beach.[102] With the support of naval gunfire, the Allies held back the Ottomans throughout the night. The following day the British, with the support of French troops, who had been transported north across the Dardanelles from Kum Kum on the Asiatic shore to the right of the line near 'S' Beach, attempted to capture Krithia, in what became known as the First Battle of Krithia.[103] The plan for the attack which was formulated by Hunter-Weston, 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 village, at around 6:00 p.m. having inflicted 3,000 casualties.[104] 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, under Major General Archibald Paris landed.[105]

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". The following afternoon, as eight battalions of reserves were dispatched from Constantinople, Ottoman troops launched strong counterattacks at Helles and Anzac. Although these briefly broke through in the French sector, the attacks were repulsed by massed Allied machine-gun fire, which inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers.[106] The following night, the ANZAC commander, Lieutenant General William Birdwood, ordered the New Zealand and Australian Division under Major General Alexander Godley, to attack from "Russell's Top" and "Quinn's Post" towards "Baby 700". Colonel John Monash's Australian 4th Infantry Brigade, the New Zealand Infantry Brigade and marines from the Chatham Battalion took part in the attack. The troops advanced a short distance during the night, under a combined naval and artillery barrage but in the dark became separated and after coming under heavy fire from their exposed left flank, were eventually forced to withdraw, having suffered about 1,000 casualties.[107]


At sea, on 30 April, AE2 began to rise uncontrollably and surfaced near the Ottoman torpedo boat Sultanhisar, then dropped precipitously, below her safe diving depth, then broke the surface again at the stern.[101] Sultanhisar immediately fired on the submarine, puncturing the pressure hull. Stoker ordered the boat's company to abandon ship and scuttled the submarine before the crew was captured. 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.[101] On 27 April, HMS E14, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Edward Boyle, entered the Sea of Marmara on a three-week patrol in one of the most successful Allied naval actions of the campaign, sinking four ships 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. On his return, Boyle was immediately awarded the Victoria Cross.[108][109] 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.[110] (Several weeks earlier another French boat, Saphir, had run aground near Nagara Point and had also been lost.)[111]

Operations: May 1915

On 5 May, the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division was dispatched from Egypt.[112] Believing Anzac to be secure, Hamilton moved the Australian 2nd Infantry Brigade and the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, along with 20 Australian field artillery pieces, to the Helles front as reserves for the Second Battle of Krithia.[113] Involving a force of 20,000 men, it was the first general attack at Helles and was planned as a daylight attack. 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.[114] The British and French advanced along four spurs dubbed "Gully", "Fir Tree", "Krithia" and "Kereves" which were separated by deep gullies and fortified by the Ottoman forces. As the attackers reached the Ottoman defences, the Allied units became separated as they attempted to outflank Ottoman strongpoints and found themselves in unfamiliar terrain. Under heavy artillery and then machine-gun fire from Ottoman outposts that had remained hidden from British aerial reconnaissance, the advance stopped; the next day, it was resumed by reinforcements.[115]

The attack continued on 7 May but the success of the Ottoman defences continued. Four battalions of New Zealanders attacked up Krithia Spur the following day and with the 29th Division they 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 heavy small arms and shell 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.[115]

A brief period of consolidation followed. Allied stocks of ammunition were almost expended, particularly for artillery, and both sides paused to bring in replenishments and expand their trench systems.[116] The Ottomans relieved troops opposite the Australian line, which was reinforced by the Australian Light Horse operating as infantry.[117] Sporadic fighting continued, with sniping, grenade attacks and raids,[118] with opposing trenches separated in places by only a few metres.[117] 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 the 1st Light Horse Regiment's position near "Steele's Post" and died of his injuries on the hospital ship Gascon on 18 May.[119]

Ottoman counter-offensive: 19 May

On 19 May, 42,000 Ottomans launched an attack at Anzac in an effort to push 17,000 Australians and New Zealanders "back into the sea".[98][120] Lacking sufficient artillery and ammunition, the Ottomans relied on surprise and weight of numbers for success but their preparations were seen on 18 May by a flight of British aircraft and the defenders forewarned.[98][120] The Ottomans had c. 13,000 casualties, of which 3,000 men were killed; Australian and New Zealand casualties were 160 killed and 468 wounded.[120][121][122] The dead included a stretcher bearer, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, whose efforts to evacuate wounded men on a donkey while under fire, became legendary amongst the Australians at Anzac and later resulted in his story becoming part of the Australian narrative of the campaign.[123] 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, but was not repeated formally.[124]

The Sphinx, one of the battlefield's most distinctive physical landmarks

The British advantage in ship-to-shore bombardment had diminished by the torpedoing of the battleship HMS Goliath on 13 May by the Ottoman destroyer Muâvenet-i Millîye.[125] A German submarine, U-21, sank HMS Triumph on 25 May and HMS Majestic on 27 May.[126] Samson's aircraft flew more patrols around Gallipoli and U-21 was forced to leave the area. Unaware of this, the Allies withdrew most of their warships to Imbros, where they were "protectively tethered" between brief sorties; this greatly reduced the amount of Allied naval fire support, particularly in the Helles sector.[127] Meanwhile, HMS E11, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Martin Nasmith (who was awarded a Victoria Cross) passed through the Dardanelles on 18 May and sank or disabled 11 ships, including three on 23 May, before entering Constantinople harbour, firing on a transport alongside the arsenal, sinking a gunboat and damaging the wharf.[128][129][130]

The Ottoman forces lacked artillery ammunition and Ottoman field batteries were only able to fire c. 18,000 shells between early May and the first week of June.[131] After the defeat of the counterattack at Anzac in mid-May, the Ottoman forces ceased frontal assaults. Late in the month the Ottomans began tunnelling around "Quinn's Post" in the Anzac sector and early in the morning of 29 May, despite Australian counter-mining, the Ottomans detonated a mine and attacked with a battalion from the 14th Regiment. The Australian 15th Battalion was forced back but counterattacked 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.[132]

Operations: June – July 1915

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.[133] After its failure, the possibility of a decisive breakthrough was gone and trench warfare resumed, with objectives being measured in hundreds of yards. Casualties were approximately 25% 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.[134]

In June, a seaplane carrier HMS Ben-my-Chree arrived, and the Allied air force was expanded from one squadron to a full wing designated "No. 3 Wing RNAS".[135] The 52nd (Lowland) Division also landed at Helles in preparation for the Battle of "Gully Ravine", which was launched on 28 June. This battle advanced the British line along the left (Aegean) flank of the battlefield, a limited victory for the Allies. Liman von Sanders credited the defence to two Ottoman officers, Faik Pasa and Albay Refet.[131] 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.[136] Between 1 and 5 July the Ottomans counterattacked the new British line several times but failed to regain the lost ground. Ottoman casualties for the period were estimated at 14,000 men.[137] A British action took place at Helles on 12 July, before the Allied main effort was shifted north to Anzac. 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 lost 600 casualties and French losses were 800 men. Turkish losses were about 9,000 casualties and 600 prisoners.[138]

Meanwhile, the submarine campaign continued. Boyle and E14 made two subsequent tours of the Marmara.[128] His third tour began on 21 July, when he passed through the straits despite the newly installed anti-submarine net near the Narrows.[139] The next attempt was made by Mariotte on 27 July. However, Mariotte failed to negotiate the net that E14 had eluded and was forced to the surface. After being shelled from the shore batteries, Mariotte was scuttled.[140] On 8 August, during a subsequent tour of the Marmara, E11 torpedoed the Ottoman battleship Barbaros Hayreddin resulting in the loss of 253 men.[141][142] During the tour E11 also sank a gunboat, seven transports and 23 sailing vessels.[143]

August offensive

The failure of the Allies to capture Krithia, or make any progress on the Helles front, led Hamilton to pursue a new plan to secure the Sari Bair Range and capture high ground on Hill 971 and Chunuk Bair.[144] Both sides had been reinforced, with Hamilton's original five divisions increased to 15, while the six original Ottoman divisions had grown to 16.[145][146] Commanded by Godley, the Allies planned to land two fresh infantry divisions from IX Corps,[147] at Suvla, 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Anzac, followed by an advance on Sari Bair from the northwest.[148] 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 a combined force drawn from the Gurkhas of the 29th Indian Brigade and the Australians of the 4th Infantry Brigade.[148] The Allies had 40 aircraft, mainly of No. 3 Wing, RNAS at Imbros, which had replaced its original Voisin aircraft, with Farmans and Nieuport Xs. A French squadron, Escadrille MF98T, had also been established at Tenedos. Against this the Ottomans had 20 aircraft, of which eight were stationed at Çanakkale. Throughout the offensive, the Allied aircraft made reconnaissance flights, spotted for naval gunfire support and conducted low-level bombing of Ottoman reserves as they were brought up to the battlefield;[135] they also undertook anti-shipping operations in the Gulf of Saros where a seaplane from HMS Ben-my-Chree successfully sank an Ottoman tug with an air-launched torpedo.[149]

Captain Leslie Morshead in a trench at Lone Pine after the battle, looking at Australian and Ottoman dead on the parapet

The landing at Suvla Bay took place on the night of 6 August against light opposition but 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 ground than the beach was seized. The Ottomans were able to occupy the Anafarta Hills, preventing the British from penetrating inland, which reduced the Suvla front to static trench warfare.[150] The offensive was preceded on the evening of 6 August by diversions at Helles and Anzac. At Helles, the diversion at Krithia Vineyard became another costly stalemate. At Anzac an attack on the Ottoman trenches at "Lone Pine", led by the 1st Infantry Brigade,[82] captured the main Ottoman trench line in a diversion to draw Ottoman forces away from the main assaults at the peaks of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971, both of which failed nonetheless.[151][152]

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.[153] This delay had fatal consequences for another supporting attack on the morning of 7 August, by the Australian 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek, which was to coincide with the New Zealander attack from Chunuk Bair against the rear of the Ottoman defences. The attack went ahead regardless, ending in a costly failure, after the opening artillery barrage lifted seven minutes early, leaving the assaulting troops to attack alerted Ottoman defenders on a narrow front.[154] 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.[155]

Australian troops charging an Ottoman trench, just before the evacuation at Anzac

The New Zealanders held out on Chunuk Bair for two days before relief was provided by two New Army battalions from the Wiltshire and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments. A massive Ottoman counterattack on 10 August, led by Mustafa Kemal, swept these two battalions from the heights.[153] Of 760 men in the New Zealand Wellington Battalion who reached the summit, 711 became casualties.[156] With the Turkish forces having recaptured the vital ground the Allies' best chance of victory was lost.[155]

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, Kitchener's New Army on 18 August, and the dismounted yeomanry of the British 2nd Mounted Division the same day.[157] On 12 August, the 54th Division attacked Kavak Tepe and Tekke Tepe, crossing the Anafarta Plain. The attack failed and briefly, the evacuation of Suvla and Anzac was considered by Hamilton's staff. The events of the day later gained significance due to the loss of a company of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. Having been recruited from men who worked on King George V's Sandringham estate, they were dubbed the "Sandringham Company". After being isolated and destroyed during the 12 August attack, it was rumoured that they had advanced into a mist and "simply disappeared". This gave rise to legends that they had been executed or that they had been taken by some supernatural force, but some members were later found to have been taken prisoner.[158]

At Anzac, elements of the newly formed Australian 2nd Division began arriving from Egypt with the 5th Infantry Brigade landing on 19–20 August;[159] the 6th and 7th arrived in early September.[160] The 29th Division was also shifted from Helles to Suvla. The final British attempt to resuscitate the offensive came on 21 August with attacks at Scimitar Hill and Hill 60. Control of the hills would have united the Anzac and Suvla fronts but neither attack succeeded. During the fighting at Hill 60, which ended on 29 August, Hamilton had requested another 95,000 troops on 17 August and on 16 August 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 with all the forces at Britain's disposal, which left only about 25,000 reinforcements for the Dardanelles. On 23 August after news of the failure at Scimitar Hill, Hamilton felt compelled to assume a defensive strategy as Bulgaria's 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 25 September Kitchener demanded three divisions—two British and one French—for service in Salonika in Greece, and this marked the beginning of the end of the Allied campaign at Gallipoli.[161]

Alan Moorehead records that during the stalemate, one old Ottoman batman was regularly permitted to hang his platoon's washing on the barbed wire without attracting fire 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 cigarettes from the Allied side.[162] Conditions at Gallipoli grew worse for the soldiers on both sides, and 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 bases 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.[163]


W Beach, Helles, on 7 January 1916 just prior to the final evacuation

Following the failure of the August Offensive, the Gallipoli campaign drifted. Ottoman success began to affect public opinion in the United Kingdom, with news discrediting Hamilton's performance being smuggled out by journalists like Keith Murdoch and Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett.[164] Disaffected senior officers such as General Stopford also contributed to the overall air of gloom. The prospect of evacuation was raised on 11 October 1915 but Hamilton resisted the suggestion, fearing the damage to British prestige. He was dismissed as commander shortly afterwards and replaced by Lieutenant General Sir Charles Monro.[165] 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.[166]

Meanwhile, on 4 September, the same anti-submarine net that caught Mariotte also trapped E7 as it attempted to commence another tour.[167] Despite such reverses, by mid-September the Allies had succeeded in sealing off the eastern entrance to the Dardanelles to German U-boats using a series of nets and mines, with U-21 finding the way blocked when it attempted traverse the strait on its way to Constantinople on 13 September.[168] The first French submarine to enter the Sea of Marmara was Turquoise. However, it was forced to turn back and, on 30 October, when attempting to pass back through the straits, ran aground beneath a fort and was captured intact. The crew of 25 were taken prisoner and documents detailing planned Allied operations were discovered.[169] This included a scheduled rendezvous with HMS E20 on 6 November. However, the rendezvous was kept by the German U-boat U-14 instead, which torpedoed and sank E20, killing all but nine of the crew.[168]

The situation at Gallipoli was complicated by the entry of Bulgaria into the war on the side of the Central Powers. In early October 1915 the British and French opened a second Mediterranean front at Salonika, by moving three divisions from Gallipoli,[170] and reducing the flow of reinforcements.[164] A land route between Germany and the Ottoman Empire through Bulgaria was opened,[171] enabling Germany to supply heavy artillery to devastate the Allied trench network, especially on the confined front at Anzac, as well as modern aircraft and experienced crews.[172] In late November an Ottoman crew in a German Albatros C.I shot down a French aircraft over Gaba Tepe[172] and two Austro-Hungarian artillery units, the 36. Haubitzbatterie and 9. Motormörserbatterie arrived, providing a substantial reinforcement of the Ottoman artillery.[2][173] Monro recommended evacuation to Kitchener who in early November visited the eastern Mediterranean.[164] After consulting with the commanders of VIII Corps at Helles,[174] IX Corps at Suvla,[148] and Anzac, Kitchener agreed with Monro and passed his recommendation to the British Cabinet, who confirmed the decision to evacuate in early December.[175]

Due to the proximity of Ottoman forces and the harsh winter weather, many casualties were anticipated during the embarkation. The untenable nature of the Allied position was made apparent when a heavy rainstorm struck on 26 November 1915. It lasted three days and was followed by a blizzard at Suvla in early December. Rain flooded trenches, drowned soldiers and washed unburied corpses into the lines; the following snow killed more men from exposure.[176]

The evacuation was the best-executed segment of the entire Allied campaign.[177][178] Suvla and Anzac were to be evacuated in late December, the last troops leaving before dawn on 20 December 1915. Troop numbers had been slowly reduced since 7 December 1915 and ruses, such as William Scurry's self-firing rifle,[179] which had been rigged to fire by water dripped into a pan attached to the trigger, were used to disguise the Allied departure. 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. A mine was detonated at the Nek which killed 70 Ottoman soldiers.[180] The Allied force was embarked, with the Australians suffering no casualties on the final night,[177][181] but large quantities of supplies and stores fell into Ottoman hands.[182]

Helles was retained for a period but a decision to evacuate the garrison was made on 28 December.[183] Unlike the evacuation from Anzac Cove, Ottoman forces were looking for signs of withdrawal.[181] Having used the intervening time to bring up reinforcements and supplies, Liman von Sanders mounted an attack on the British at "Gully Spur" on 7 January 1916 with infantry and artillery; the attack failed and heavy casualties were inflicted.[184] 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.[181][185] The last British troops departed from Lancashire Landing around 04:00 on 8 January 1916.[184] Despite predictions of up to 30,000 casualties,[185] 35,268 troops, 3,689 horses and mules, 127 guns, 328 vehicles and 1,600 long tons (1,600 t) of equipment were removed. 508 mules which could not be embarked were killed so as not to fall into Turkish hands, and 1,590 vehicles were left behind with destroyed wheels.[186] As at Anzac, large amounts of supplies (including 15 damaged British and six French artillery pieces which were destroyed), gun carriages and ammunition were left behind; hundreds of horses were also slaughtered, again to prevent them from from being utilised by the Ottomans. One sailor was killed by débris from a magazine that exploded prematurely, and a lighter and a picket boat were lost.[187] Shortly after dawn, the Ottoman forces retook Helles.[184] In the final days of the campaign, the 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.[172]


Military repercussions

The memorial at Anzac Cove, commemorating the loss of thousands of Ottoman and Anzac soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Atatürk 1934

Historians are divided about how they summarise the campaign's result. Broadbent describes the campaign as "a close-fought affair" that was ultimately a defeat for the Allies,[189] while Carlyon views the overall result as a stalemate.[190] Hart disagrees, arguing that the Ottoman forces "held the Allies back from their real objectives with relative ease",[181] while Haythornthwaite calls it a "disaster for the Allies".[191] The campaign did cause "enormous damage to ... [Ottoman] national resources",[191] and at that stage of the war the Allies were in a better position to replace their losses than the Ottomans,[177] 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,[192] and also resulted in heavy losses on the Allied side.[191]

The Allied campaign was plagued by ill-defined goals, poor planning, insufficient artillery, inexperienced troops, inaccurate maps and intelligence, overconfidence, inadequate equipment and logistics, and tactical deficiencies at all levels.[193][194] 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 Allied forces' ability to penetrate inland, confining them to narrow beaches.[63] The campaign's necessity remains the subject of debate,[82] 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 that favoured trying to end the war by attacking Germany's "soft underbelly", its allies in the east.[195]

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, a total of nine British and four French submarines had 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 which were sunk in the strait or in the Sea of Marmara.[196] 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.[111] E2 left the Sea of Marmara on 2 January 1916, the last British submarine in the region. Meanwhile, four E-class and five B-class submarines remained in the Mediterranean Sea following the evacuation of Helles.[197] 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.[198]

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.[199][200] The competence of Australian brigade commanders, John Monash and Henry Chauvel, was recognised by promotion to divisional and corps command.[201][202] 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 overruled on support for the French at Salonika in early December 1915, when his influence on the Cabinet was at its lowest.[203] The campaign gave confidence to the Ottomans in their ability to defeat the Allies.[194] In Mesopotamia, the Turks surrounded a British expedition at Kut Al Amara, forcing their surrender in April 1916.[204] Ottoman reserves from southern Ottoman Syria were poised to invade Sinai, to capturing the Suez Canal and drive the British from Egypt. Defeat at the Battle of Romani and lack of materials to complete the military railway, necessary for such an operation marked the end of that ambition.[205] The optimism which came 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.[206][207]

After the war the campaign "became a focal point for the study of amphibious warfare" in the United Kingdom and United States, because it involved "all four types of amphibious operations: the raid, demonstration, assault and withdrawal".[208][209] Analysis of the campaign led to "a belief among most of the armed forces of the world", that amphibious assaults could not succeed against modern defences. Arguably this perception continued until after the Normandy Landings in June 1944.[210] The memory of Gallipoli weighed heavily upon the Australians, during the planning stages of the Huon Peninsula campaign in late 1943. In September 1943, Australian forces carried out their first opposed amphibious landing since Gallipoli, when they landed at Finschhafen in New Guinea.[211] The landing was hampered by navigational errors and troops came ashore on the wrong beaches but they had been trained with the lessons of Gallipoli in mind and quickly reorganised and pushed inland.[212] The campaign also influenced US Marine Corps amphibious operations during the Pacific War, and author Theodore Gatchel argues it continues to influence US amphibious doctrine.[209][208] The lessons of the campaign were studied by British planners, prior to the Normandy landings and again during the Falklands War in 1982.[58]

Political effects

The failure of the landings had significant political repercussions in Britain, which began during the battle. Fisher resigned in May after bitter conflict with Churchill over the campaign. The crisis that followed after the Conservatives learned that Churchill would be staying, forced the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, to end his Liberal Government and form a Coalition Government with the Conservative Party.[213] 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".[214] 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.[215] Churchill was demoted from First Lord of the Admiralty as a prerequisite for Conservative entry to the coalition but remained in the Cabinet in the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,[216] before resigning in November 1915 and departing for the Western Front, where he commanded an infantry battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers early in 1916.[216][217]

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, which led the Conservatives in the coalition to threaten to resign. Lloyd George and then Asquith resigned followed by Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister.[218] Lloyd George formed a new government, in which Churchill, active again in the House of Commons from June 1916, was given the non-cabinet post of Minister of Munitions despite Conservative opposition. In this role he was later responsible for implementing a number of innovations, including the development of the tank.[216] The Commission's final report 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 but he 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 Commission's deliberations; Hamilton was never given another army appointment.[219]


Gallipoli casualties (not including illness)
  Dead Wounded Missing
Ottoman Empire[5] 56,643 107,007 11,178 174,828
United Kingdom[220] 34,072 78,520 7,654 119,696
France[221] 9,798 17,371 27,169
Australia[222] 8,709 19,441 28,150
New Zealand[222] 2,721 4,752 7,473
British India[222] 1,358 3,421 4,779
Newfoundland[222] 49 93 142
Total Allies[220][222][221] 56,707 123,598 187,409

Casualty figures for the campaign vary between sources, but it is believed that by the time the Gallipoli Campaign ended over 100,000 men were dead, including 56,000 – 68,000 Turkish and around 53,000 British and French soldiers.[5] Carlyon gives 43,000 British killed or missing, including 8,709 Australians.[223] Among the dead were 2,721 New Zealanders, about a quarter of those who had landed on the peninsula.[9] In total there were nearly half a million casualties during the campaign, with the British Official History listing total losses, including sick, as 205,000 British, 47,000 French and 251,000 Turkish. Yet Turkish casualties have been disputed and were likely higher, with another source listing 2,160 officers and 287,000 other ranks.[224] Included among this may be as many as 87,000 killed.[9] Many soldiers became sick due to the unsanitary conditions, especially from enteric fever, dysentery and . It is estimated that at least 145,000 British soldiers became ill during the campaign. Turkish sick are given as 64,000.[5]

In November 1918, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles and the 7th Light Horse Regiments, from the Anzac Mounted Division, were sent from Rafa to Gallipoli to "monitor Turkish compliance with the terms of the Armistice".[225] The 900 troopers, sailed from Kantara in the transport ship Huntscastle to Chanak, camping at Camburnu near Kilid Bahr during three winter months when they reconnoitred the Peninsula, identifying graves and inspecting the Ottoman positions.[226] The troopers returned to Egypt on 19 January 1919 less 11 who had died and 110 who were sick in hospital.[227] Author Lindsay Baly later wrote that it was "a sad mistake to take worn-out men there in such a season".[228]

There were allegations 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, there were 25 Ottoman hospitals with a total of 10,700 beds and three hospital ships in the area. The French Government disputed these complaints through the Red Cross and the British response was that if it happened then it was accidental. Russia in turn claimed that the Ottomans had attacked two of their hospital ships, the Portugal and the Vperiod but the Ottoman Government responded that the vessels had been the victims of mines.[229] No chemical weapons were used at Gallipoli, although the Allies debated their use throughout the campaign and transported quantities of gas to the theatre, which were used against Ottoman troops in the Middle Eastern theatre two years later, during the second and third battles of Gaza in 1917.[230][231]

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is responsible for developing and maintaining permanent cemeteries for all Commonwealth forces—United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, India, Newfoundland and others. 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.[232] For many of those killed, and those who died on hospital ships and were buried at sea, there is no known grave. These men's 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 not recorded on these memorials but are listed on memorials in the United Kingdom.[233][234] There are two more CWGC cemeteries on the Greek island of Limnos, the first in the town of Moudros and the second in the village of Portianou. Limnos was the hospital base for the Allied forces and most of the buried were among the men who died of their wounds.[235][236] There is only one French cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, located at Seddulbahir.[237]

There are no large 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 Turkish 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.[238]

Subsequent operations

Allied troops were withdrawn to Lemnos and then to Egypt.[239] French forces (renamed the "Corps Expeditionnaire des Dardanelles" in late October) were subsumed into the Army of the Orient, and later employed at Salonika.[240][241] 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 totalling 400,000 men. In March 1916, Murray took command of both these forces, forming them into the new Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF),[242][243] and reorganising the units for service in Europe, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.[244] The ANZAC was disbanded; three new Australian divisions were raised and a New Zealand Division formed, before being moved to the Western Front in mid-1916.[177] The British Yeomanry units that had fought dismounted at Gallipoli were reinforced and reorganised,[245][246] forming the 74th (Yeomanry) Division and a portion of the 75th Division.[247][248] Along with veteran Australian Light Horsemen and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles remounted and reorganised into the Anzac Mounted Division,[249] veteran infantry in the 52nd (Lowland) Division, the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division,[250] the 53rd (Welsh) Division and the 54th (East Anglian) Division,[207][251] later joined by more remounted Australian Light Horsemen and British Yeomanry veterans in the Australian Mounted Division,[252] all 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 30 October. The Allies subsequently occupied Gallipoli and Constantinople and partitioned the Ottoman empire.[253] The occupation ended in 1923.[254]


Gallipoli campaign epitaph at Lone Pine Cemetery

The significance of the Gallipoli Campaign is felt strongly in both New Zealand and Australia. Within popular historiography, the campaign is referred to as both nations' "baptism of fire" and linked to their emergence as independent nations.[255] 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".[256]

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.[232] The day also became a national holiday in New Zealand in the 1920s.[257] 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 services every year.[232] Over 10,000 people attended the 75th anniversary along with political leaders from Turkey, New Zealand, Britain and Australia.[258] Dawn services are also held in Australia; in New Zealand, dawn services are the most popular form of observance of this day.[259] Anzac Day remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in Australia and New Zealand, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day).[260]

In Turkey the battle is also thought of as a significant event in the nation's emergence, although it is primarily remembered for the fighting that took place around the port of Çanakkale where the Royal Navy was repulsed in March 1915.[261] For the Turks, 18 March has a similar significance as 25 April to Australians and New Zealanders, and although it is not a public holiday, it is commemorated with special ceremonies.[262] The campaign's main significance to the Turkish people lies in the role it played in the emergence of Mustafa Kemal, who became the first president of the Republic of Turkey after the war.[263] "Çanakkale geçilmez" (Çanakkale is impassable) became a common phrase to express the nation's pride at stopping the massive assault. The song "Çanakkale içinde" (A Ballad for Chanakkale) commemorates the Turkish youth who fell during the battle.[264]

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Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 40°22′2″N 26°27′18″E / 40.36722°N 26.455°E / 40.36722; 26.455

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