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Gallipoli... why there?

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  • Gallipoli... why there?

    If the stated goal was Constantinople, why did the allies land at the end of a Fortified Peninsula?

    That was like putting yourself under a rock and a hard place.

    Why not land at the base of the peninsula? Then you could roll up the cut-off troops and/or make a line-drive up to the capitol. In this kind of surprise landing, it was one of the few times in that war where the Cavalry MIGHT have been able to make serious gains- fanning out from the beachhead and raising Cain all over the place.

    Was the landing at that particular place meant to open up the channel?
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

  • #2
    I seem to remember it was a logistical issue. Specifically, those were the only places where they could land a sufficiently large force and keep it supplied in the field.

    Anybody else got anything on this?

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    • #3
      I believe the Entente wanted only to sail through the Straits, not to take Constantinople.

      Looking at the map I think the allies should have focused on the base of the Peninsula as a way of cutting the defenders off from the mainland, not to advance towards C.

      But I'm not familiar with this campaign, just now looked at a couple of maps.

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      • #4
        Back when attending the Basic School in 1982 we had a multi hour class on the Gallipoli campaign. Call it a period of instruction in how not to conduct a amphibious campaign. The lecture and notes mostly focused on the technical aspects, but we got a dose of background material.

        The landings on the penensula were just the first step, a intermediate objective. To get anywhere the Allis had to be able to get a fleet into the Sea of Marmara. That meant clearing the minefields in the straits, which were covered by the heavy artillery on each side of the strait. The landing force was to clear the artillery. Once the fleet could operate in the Sea of Marmara & through the Bosporus other landings were planned.

        There were problems with the beaches, inland terrain, and Ottoman army if landing further north. In retrospect it may very well have been better for the British to have thought through those problems. But I'll leave that one for others.

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        • #5
          Carl's answer is a perfect summary.

          To get anywhere near Constantinople we had to clear a safe passage through the dardanelles which as they were mined, under heavy artillery coverage and just a mile wide at the narrowest point were a death trap. Initially we tried blasting our way through with about 18 obsolete battleships but took very heavy losses. After that it was obvious we needed infantry to clear the guns and it all went even more to hell after that.

          The wiki article is a good summary:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli_Campaign

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          • #6

            Yes partly it because the British thought that they could force the Dardanelles by sea. When that failed they landed and found that the land was much different from the maps available, steep hills & cliffs where the old ,pre 1900 maps showed easy slopes .
            They would have been much better served if they landed closer to Constaninople .

            "To all who serve , have or will serve , Thank You"

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            • #7
              The cassualty figures are immense, I wonder how they fit so many men into such a tiny place!

              Now... if the idea was to clear shore-batteries, why didn't they land on BOTH sides of the straits?

              Mines and subs were the bigger problem. On the first day, they lost 2 or 3 Battleships to one over-looked minefield, wow....

              I have see pictures of Anzac cove and all that, those places don't look like very good ports. I would have gone for Alexandropolis-Erez, punched and deep salient inland... and once the going got tough, take a lesson learned in France and let the enemy burn themselves out with fruitless counter-attacks.
              Once the best of the Turks had been eviscerated by Lewis guns, the fate of Gallipoli might (possibly, perhaps) have been settled by a minor operation.

              Yes, getting Battleships into the sea of Marmara could have been a crushing blow, but it was a long-shot, and perhaps not decisive in itself. Remember, the Goeben was there too, and it was anything but obsolete.
              "Why is the Rum gone?"

              -Captain Jack

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                The cassualty figures are immense, I wonder how they fit so many men into such a tiny place!

                Now... if the idea was to clear shore-batteries, why didn't they land on BOTH sides of the straits?
                The beaches close enough to the eastern batteries were inside the strait & protected by the minefields. The beaches they used were acessable in the initiall phase. After the penensula was secured subsequent operations would clear the batteries on the eastern shore.

                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                Mines and subs were the bigger problem. On the first day, they lost 2 or 3 Battleships to one over-looked minefield, wow....
                Those were lost during the earlier naval operations. The Amphibious campaign came later.

                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post

                I have see pictures of Anzac cove and all that, those places don't look like very good ports. I would have gone for Alexandropolis-Erez, punched and deep salient inland...
                No they were not ports at all. The Allied commanders expected to use them for just a week or two, as their army advanced towards Istambul and captured better suited port facilities along the way.

                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                and once the going got tough, take a lesson learned in France and let the enemy burn themselves out with fruitless counter-attacks.
                Once the best of the Turks had been eviscerated by Lewis guns, the fate of Gallipoli might (possibly, perhaps) have been settled by a minor operation.
                Most Ottoman commanders were smarter than that. While they made some costly counter attacks so did the Allied commanders. The Ottoman commanders realized early on they had the advantage of terrain and most used it skillfully. Dont buy off on the canard that the Ottomans brigades were half trained mobs. While they lacked some staff skills admired by the British The tactical skill of their veteran brigades were little less than their enemies.

                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post

                Yes, getting Battleships into the sea of Marmara could have been a crushing blow, but it was a long-shot, and perhaps not decisive in itself. Remember, the Goeben was there too, and it was anything but obsolete.
                The Goben & its companion fled the Allied Mediterrainian fleet in 1914. Had they stood & fought they would have been sunk, whatever damage they inflicted.

                The ferrys were critical for transhipping ammunition to the Ottoman armies in Mesopotamia & Palestine, and to sustaining the ottoman economy. Conversely the ability to send ammunition & other supplies to the Russian ally was seen as critical in 1915.

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                • #9
                  Ah, okay, it makes more sense now.

                  Oh, and I wasn't talking about the Goeben breaking out into the Med. The sea of Marmara had enough room for it to manuver and to lob shells at the pre-Drednoughts coming up through the Dardanelles. Just imagine it cruising back and forth, capping the T by default, and those poor old ships coming up with just one large turret able to return fire.
                  "Why is the Rum gone?"

                  -Captain Jack

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