Why Was Gallipoli a Failure?

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Turkey was on the same side as Germany in the First World War, which made them the Anzac’s rival. It was decided that soldiers needed to land and fight in Turkey. This is where the famous battle of Gallipoli happened now known as ANZAC cove because of the horrific losses of the Australian forces in a so seemed futile and pointless battle. This essay highlights why the Gallipoli campaign was a failure. Winston Churchill was the head of navy and Lord Kitchener, was the general commander of the war effort, who persuaded the attempt on the attack on the Dardanelles strait, a narrow stretched of water that linked the Aegean and Marmara Sea.

In 1915, casualties’ rate was rising through the roof on the Western Front, and stalemate was the only way to go. Germany considered Turkey, to be one of its most valuable allies and was enticed to the idea of a triumph blow against it. The original plan was having British warships sweep through the Dardanelles strait, attack Constantinople and force Turkey out of war. During that time Britain was known to having the most powerful navy and the idea seemed effective.

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However things got on the wrong turn, when in March 1915, as the British and French ships entered the strait, where they were instantly attacked by a combination of mines and shell fire from the forts on the shore, this outbreak was unexpected and thus it immediately sank three battle cruisers and damaged many others. It was decided that this plan was not a success and consequently they agreed to forfeit the attack and launch a land invasion instead. “The expedition was plagued by inadequate resources.

The question arose, if Britain lacked the resources to conduct such a campaign, was it wise to attempt it in first place? ” This cause tells that during the beginning the British felt confident with their attack but was unexpected ambushed and was forced to retreat. The source indicates that supply was limited, and it was imprudent for the British to go on with the attack without acknowledging the Turks defence plan. On 25th of April, at four o’clock in the morning, troops went ashore as they were ordered to charge up the steep hillsides under sleet of firing machine guns that went on for most of the day.

The beach was scattered with dead and dying bodies by mid-afternoon. “It seems that we have finished with general attack and are now reduced to be silly old game of trench warfare. Clearing the Dardanelles at this rate will mean some years’ work” . This source reveals that the attack is now over but the remaining time will be spent in the trench warfare and it would take a life time to clear all the bodies from Dardanelles. One part of the Allies’ campaign in the Dardanelles was successful. Submarines did get through the minefields of the strait to attack Constantinople harbour.

Turkish warships, troopships and merchant vessels were sunk in such numbers that the Turkish was effort was seriously/ greatly affected. But the main fleet never again attempted to get through. “Shells were moaning and whining all around us and the noise of gunfire was something terrible. The Fort was firing like Hell. It was one continual deafening roar caused by the firing of our ships and the moaning, hissing noise of the enemy’s shells, and then we saw the Bouvet suddenly keel over and turn upside down. She sank in two and a half minutes taking the best part of her crew with her. This attack was successfully performed by the British, they were able to sunk the Turks ships and get through the minefields of the strait to attack the Constantinople harbour. Turkish warships, troopships and merchant vessels were sunk in such numbers that the Turkish effort was greatly affected. “The landing place was a difficult one. A narrow sandy beach backed by a very high intricate mass of hills, those behind the beach being exceedingly steep. The moment the boat landed the men jumped out and rushed straight for the hills rising almost cliff- like only fifty yards or so beyond the beach.

It seemed almost incredible that any troops could have done it. It is a stiff climb even up the zig –zag path which the Engineers have now built! How they got up fully armed and equipped over the rough scrub- clad hillside one can hardly imagine! ” “A panoramic photograph of the Anzac area behind the beach, 1919” This was a major disadvantage to the Anzacs as they weren’t aware about the beach, they were significantly down in numbers, no one knew how to do an amphibious assault they just rowed to shore prepared for modern warfare: just ran against a machine gun, men shooting with bolt action rifles and pistols .

The second source shows an image of the steep hill on the beach. “A successful military operation against the Gallipoli peninsula must binge upon the ability to fleet…. To dominate the Turkish defences with gunfire and to crush their field troops during that period of helplessness while an army is disembarking, but also to cover the advance of the troops once ashore” This source describes that plan of the attack, and how the operation was successful during the Gallipoli. “General Hamilton informs me that the army is checked.

The help which the navy has been able to give the army in its advance has not been as great as anticipated, though effective in keeping down the fire of the enemy’s batteries, when it is a question of trenches and machine guns the navy is of small assistance. ” This is evidence proves the lack of navy support the ANZAC received from the navy. And the army played an effective role on defending. Another reason leading to the failure of Gallipoli was that orders and attacks had not been planned and set out. “When I was there, in every case, attacks were ordered rather light-heartedly and carried out without method.

The men on the spot were not listed to when they pointed out steps to be taken before entering on a special task. The Turks had sited their trenches very clearly and it was often useless to attack one set before another had been taken. The Turks dig like moles and prepare line after line for defence: seven or eight close behind others. The trenches became congested: the telephone wires get cut by shrapnel: and the whole show gets out of control. Almost always in Gallipoli the attacks were made by men in the trenches and not by fresh troops. The men are kept too long and too thick in the trenches: they become stupefied after five days.

Attacks seemed always to be ordered against very long strips of line at once without any weight anywhere. It all seemed very amateur. But I suppose it couldn’t be helped, the idea was always to get through with a rush and to disregard losses. ” “At that time there was no centralized organization in Whitehall, very little time had been given to combine planning. The navy would follow time honoured drills for putting small expeditions ashore. Opposed landings on hostile beaches, under heavy close- range fire, do not seem to have entered the syllables at any of the service colleges.

It is clear that Kitchener had only a hazy idea of what was entailed, and that he was hoping Hamilton would pick up a multitude of loose ends and come up with a workable plan. Considering the crucial importance of the operation, this was a hopeless briefing for a newly appointed commander-in-chief. Hamilton was at the outset the victim of gross dereliction of duty on the part of the General Staff. Hamilton’s only intelligence consisted of a 1912 manual on the Turkish army, (an accurate) maps a tourist guide-book, and what little could be gleaned from the Turkish desk at the Foreign Office. Another evidence support the lack of leadership, the General Kitchener was being dependant on Hamilton and was hoping that he could set up a better arrangement even though this was a crucially important matter. Their knowledge was very limited, consisting of things like a 1912 manual of Turk tactics, a tourist guidebook and an out-dated map. This evidence indicates that the General Hamilton carelessness and lack of experience lead to many deaths; his orders had no methods and were not planned. However the Turks were well organised and prepared; their orders were well planned and measured.

Another evidence of lack of leadership is when attacks were made by men in the trenches, meaning attacks were usually made by soldiers in the trenches and not the General. “I was in the second tow and we got it, shrapnel and rifle fire bad. We lost three on the destroyer and four in the boat getting to land. The Turks were close on the beach when we git there. We had to fix bayonets and charge. We jumped into the water up to our waists and some of them their armpits… we had to trust to the [bayonet] at the end of our rifles… I tell you, one does not forget these things… all we thought of were to get at them. “It was a very steep terrain, and steep gullies, and it was very hard going. We didn’t see many Turks at all. It was just a matter of going for your life. But we got all mixed up. There was the 5th Battalion mixed up with the 6th and the 8th – all over the place! The higher up we went the worse it got! We had to pull ourselves up in virgin scrub, and here they were in trees and God knows what. They had a sitting shot at us. Then we started to get heavy fire and the casualties were high, very high. ” Soldiers just fired their rifle and went straight ahead with the killing; they had no strategy and just went for their lives.

Both sources divulges the meaningless battle of Gallipoli, there was no planning or specific orders given resulting the mixed up of battles and location resulting a high rate of casualties. “Now we have commend up those steep cliffs, parts of which one has to almost pull himself branch by branch… in many places to fall back again… we are near them now, only 50 yards away.. Then a roar and a yell as we are charging at them.. They are out of their trenches….. On and on, those awful cliffs and through the dense scrub, where every few yards a Turk jumps out with his bayonet ready…

Then the second line of trenches and again the third, just as the dawn of a new but bloody day is breaking.. . As soon as it grows dark the orders is passed down to the officers to select so many men to go back to the landing place at the beach for ammunition. .. After nearly two hours we get there.. But oh God the sight of the dead and wounded absolutely covering the little sandy beach… there is an enormous staff id medical men etc there but it is absolutely impossible to attend to all, so that many a life.. Expires on the beach for want of looking after [A]t midnight we regain the firing line, worn-out, weary and hungry..

No chance of sleep as the enemy are ever at us, so that night advances to the dawn of a new say and thus was the work of our first day’s bloody battle” A source exposing the meaningless bloody war, that had taken place in Gallipoli. The death rate covered the entire beach, and it was impossible to attend all of those who were injured. From a soldier’s point of view, he tells about the sufferings and the after war aspects. “At Gallipoli, the casualties were appalling. Again and again, battalions were all but wiped out; the trauma inflicted on the survivors must have been terrible.

Those who were unnerved had to work it out for themselves, helped when necessary by their officers, chaplains and more robust comrades. Those who failed- and there were some- could be court – martialled and shot; the sentence was frequently carried out down on Suvla beach, and in a sinister copse behind the lines at Helles. Gallipoli was not a friendly place. They had made provision for about 10,000 casualties. Most of the ships had been loaded so hurriedly that the equipment needed immediately by any force deposited on a hostile shore was buried under tons of less urgent stores. Ships were loaded with injured soldiers and the lucky surviving fighters return home from a bloody war. “I am slightly wounded.. But am leaving tomorrow for the front again and very pleased I will be I want to get my own back I got it in the head and right arm. Last Sunday it happened it has not healed up yet but I am quite fit to go back again. ” The humour of a wounded soldier, although he is wounded he jokes about being well enough to return to war.

“It was a remarkable day right enough and a day in which it was easy to pick out the wasters and also the brave men. ” Significantly pointing out that everyone fought bravely and served well. I know it is right and proper that a man should go back and fight again but Sunday;s battle and the horror of the trenches Sunday night.. have unnerved me completely.. [We sailed].. off to death the ‘Glory’. What fools we are, men mad. The Turks he comes at one, with the blood lust his yes, shouts Allah! Australian like, we swear Killed or be killed. Where are the rest of my 13 mates? ” Tells that war is a horrified sight and brings out the worst. The Turks gives gratitude to the Anzac’s as both sides fought courageously and boldly, even though it sacrifice the lives of many.

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Why Was Gallipoli a Failure?. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from


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