Gallipoli Campaign (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Naval and ground battles in World War I. Result: Successful Turkish defense of the Dardanelles and Gallipoli Peninsula.
The strategic importance of the Dardanelles Straits, which link the eastern Mediterranean with the Sea of Marmara and provide access to the Bosporus and Constantinople, the industrial base of the Ottoman Empire, was widely recognized. Allied penetration to the Sea of Marmara threatened to open a vital supply route between Europe and Russia, secure support of Greece and Bulgaria for the Allies, and knock Turkey out of the war. In January, 1915, the Russians appealed to Britain to move against the Turks to relieve pressure against the Russian army in the Caucasus and force an opening to the Black Sea.
British naval minister Winston Churchill demanded a purely naval operation against the thinly defended Dardanelles, which bottlenecked at the Narrows, south of the Turkish town of Gallipoli. The Allies possessed few accurate maps of the area, and their intelligence on Turkish forces was poor. Because of General Ian Hamilton’s indecisive planning, the Allies lost the element of surprise. The Turks used the extra time to heavily fortify the straits with minefields, an...
(The entire section is 678 words.)
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