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Situated within modern day Turkey the Dardanelles is part of a stretch of water that separates Europe from Asia. Known to the ancients as the Hellespont its southern entrance is between Cape Helles and Kum Kale is two miles wide. It widens to about five miles in Erenkui Bay before narrowing to a mile and a half at Kephez point before reaching The Narrows where the two land masses are only three-quarters of a mile apart. The Dardanelles lead into the Sea of Marmora and up to Istanbul which is itself protected from the Black Sea by another narrow channel, The Bosphorus.

The Dardanelles has been of strategic importance since at least since the Persian King Xerxes crossed The Narrows on his invasion of Greece. In 1915 Winston Churchill gained Cabinet approval for a campaign to force the Dardanelles, threaten Istanbul and knock Turkey out of the war. This led to the infamous Gallipoli campaign.

Starting in December 2005 Wargames Illustrated published a six part series on the Dardanelles campaign 'Uncombined Operations'. The photographs below are intended to complement this excellent series of articles.

The tour starts with the entrance to the Dardanelles.

Gun positions at Cape Helles

The fort on the other side of the straits at Canakkale

Landward view

The Turkish WW1 minelayer Nusrat at Canakkale

Further up on the Gallipoli side is the Turkish fort at Kilitbahir.

and the nearby WW1 gun positions

and at the other end guarding the Bosphorus we have Rumeli Hisar

and finally the Genoese castle on the other shore


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Copyright 2005 Balkan Military History
Last modified: 01/23/12