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Gallipoli 1915

The Gallipoli campaign of 1915 had the ambitious objective of knocking Turkey out of the First World War. It was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, in response to Russian pleas to distract the Turks and provide an alternative supply route to Russia.

The campaign was an allied failure due to a combination of poor planning and resolute Turkish defence. Modern studies with access to Turkish army archives give greater credit to the Turkish defence than the traditional allied incompetence explanation. Either way some half a million men were casualties at Gallipoli with 87,000 Turks, 25,000 British, 10,000 French, 9,700 Anzacs and 1,700 Indians losing their lives.

The battlefield today is one of the best preserved in the Balkans as part of a Turkish national park. The landing beaches remain as do large sections of the Turkish trenches. There are forts at Kild Bahr, Chanak and Helles together with many memorials and a museum at Kabatepe. The battlefield is extensive and best visited by car from Istanbul. Organised tours appear in the brochures of several specialist military tour operators in the UK.

Below are a few photos taken by the editor during a private visit in 1995.

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W Beach, where the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers landed.

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Cape Helles

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Shrapnel Alley at Anzac Cove

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Turkish positions at Chunuk Bair

 

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