"DARDANELLES CAMPAIGN, 1915. - The Dardanelles campaign of 1915 was brought about by a desire entertained during the early stages of the World War by the Allied Governments, and especially by the British Government, that communications should be opened up from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea. These communications had been severed on the Ottoman Empire throwing its lot in with the Central Powers three months after the commencement of the struggle. Russia had in consequence been virtually cut off from intercourse by water with the outer world, seeing that the Baltic likewise was closed owing to action of the German navy; no adequate outlet for the Russian Empire's produce remained available; the most promising avenue for the introduction of warlike stores into the Tsar's dominions from without had been effectually barred. The very fact of reestablishing this vital strategical and economic artery of the Near East by force of arms would, moreover, of necessity carry with it the occupation of Constantinople by Entente forces and would deal a resounding blow at the very heart of the Sultan's realms. There was furthermore, at the juncture when the project of attack upon the Dardanelles was first seriously mooted at the beginning of Jan. 1915, a special inducement offered to the Allies for acting in this quarter - any threat to Stambul and the Golden Horn must tend to take pressure off the Russian army in Armenia which was at the moment believed to be in some peril.
War between Turkey and the Allies broke out at the end of Oct. 1914, following on several weeks of strained relations due to the reception of the German warships " Goeben " and " Breslau " within the Straits. Some British vessels carried out a brief bombardment of the Ottoman batteries at the mouth of the Dardanelles on Nov. 3, but the operation partook merely of the nature of a reconnaissance, and for some time hostilities were confined to a blockade of the Ottoman coasts,' defensive steps in Egypt, and the seizure of the Shat el Arab and Basrah.
To secure command of the maritime defile that links the Aegean with the Sea of Marmora was, in the opinion of most ' On Dec. 13 1914 the British submarine B11, Lt. Norman Holbrook, successfull y passed the mine-fields of the Straits and torpedoed the old Turkish battleship " Messudieh " at anchor. Less fortunate, the French submarine " Saphir " was sunk in a similar attempt to penetrate the inner waters on Jan. 15 1915.
Anzac And Suvla 4 Form lines at 25 m. Vertical interval British front /ine before authorities, an almost indispensable preliminary to the undertaking of warlike operations against Constantinople and the Bosporus by fighting forces coming from the west. The question of the mastering of this all-important lower waterway in the event of a contest with the Turks had indeed engaged the close attention of British naval and military experts some years earlier. The conclusion arrived at on that occasion had, however, been that, whether the campaign were to take the form of a purely naval operation or whether the task were to be performed by an amphibious expeditionary force, the enterprise was bound to prove most difficult. In. 1914 the channel was known to be defended by a number of batteries, some of them armed with very heavy guns. Most of these works were planted about the slender reach situated about 10 m. above the outlet into the Aegean, and known as the " Narrows." If the batteries and their artillery were somewhat out of date, the fact remained that warships steaming up the defile would be compelled to pass these fortifications at very close quarters, when the lack of range of their guns would cease to tell. The Ottoman authorities were moreover known to have given much attention to the problem of mine-fields especially adapted to the peculiar conditions existing within the Dardanelles; and the development which had taken place in this particular form of defence was such as to render the task of a fleet which should try to force the passage a more difficult one than it would have been a few years earlier. The fact that along the whole of its course this remarkable waterway is only separated from the Aegean by the attenuated Gallipoli Peninsula, did, on the other hand, suggest that the most promising method of attack upon the maritime defile from without would be to occupy that significant tongue of land.
An appeal reached the British Government from Russia on Jan. 2 1915 for help to relieve the existing situation in Armenia, and an operation directed against the Dardanelles was judged to be the best means of complying with the request; but there were no large bodies of troops available that could be used for such a purpose. The consequence was that the feasibility of forcing a way from the Mediterranean up into the Sea of Marmora as a purely naval undertaking came to be examined afresh in London. When asked for his views, Vice-Adml. Sir Sackville Carden, the British commander-in-chief in those waters, proposed that a fleet should try to destroy the Ottoman forts in the Straits and to clear away the mine-fields sown in the channel, by adopting a process of methodical advance. This plan possessed the merit of novelty. It had always been assumed during previous discussions on the question that warships adventuring the passage would try a rush, that they would endeavour to steam by the, batteries and drive the `defending gunners from their guns by concentrated fire. Although the professional chiefs :. at the Admiralty were not enthusiastic supporters of Adml. Carden's project, the Government decided to adopt it.' French concurrence was obtained, French support was promised, and measures were at once set on foot to concentrate such naval forces in the Aegean as appeared to be required for the execution of the plan.
A considerable armada was got together, although its assembling took several weeks and although the Russians had as a matter of fact heavily defeated the Turks in Armenia (battle of Sarikamish) even before orders for the assembling were issued. As regards large craft, the fleet consisted in the main of semi-obsolete battleships looked upon as unfit to take part in a fleet action. Of such ships the British contributed fourteen' and the French four.' But the fleet also included two semidreadnoughts (" Lord Nelson," " Agamemnon "), the battlecruiser " Inflexible " and the newly completed " Queen Elizabeth," 1 On the naval operations, see also the article Naval History Of The War.
2 " Queen," " London," " Prince of Wales," " Implacable " and " Irresistible "; " Majestic " and " Prince George "; " Cornwallis " (Duncan class); " Swiftsure " and " Triumph "; " Vengeance," " Albion," " Goliath " and " Ocean " (Canopus class). For the characteristics of these ships and of the " Lord Nelson " and "Inflexible " see 24.897.
" Bouvet," " Suffren," " Charlemagne," " Gaulois." armed with i 5-in. guns. The battleships were to be aided by several cruisers and destroyers and a flotilla of mine-sweepers was also organized. The conveniently situated islands of Tenedos and Lemnos (the latter offering the immense landlocked haven of Mudros as an anchorage) were occupied to serve as naval bases, and on Feb. 19 the venture opened with an attack upon the weakly Ottoman batteries that guarded the outlet of the channel. The batteries were silenced for the time being; but bad weather interrupted the proceedings and the batteries had to be silenced afresh a week later (Feb. 25) - effectually on this occasion. That night the mine-fields at the mouth of the Dardanelles were cleared away, and battleships were in consequence enabled to penetrate into the lowest reaches of the defile on the morrow.
Stormy weather caused some delays in continuing the programme, but heavily armed vessels 'made their way a short distance up channel on several days early in March and engaged some of the enemy works that were sited about the Narrows.' The sweepers continued their labours night after night, gradually extending the fairway up which heavy craft could safely venture. Long-range fire on the forts directed from outside the Straits over the Gallipoli Peninsula was also tried, but the results proved disappointing. In reality, a very liberal expenditure of artillery ammunition on the part of the fleet was doing considerably less damage to the Ottoman defences than the Allied sailors imagined to be the case. Any Turkish battery that was chosen for target generally ceased firing before long; and the assailants were disposed to assume that the work was definitely put out of action, whereas all that had happened in reality was that the hostile gunners had been driven from their guns. Moreover, promising as the situation may have appeared to be from the attacking side in so far as neutralization of the Ottoman batteries was concerned, it was plain that the mine-sweepers were making disappointing progress. The enemy's light guns, aided by effective searchlights, were offering a strenuous opposition to the small craft engaged on the all-important duty of clearing the channel of submerged defences. At last Vice-Adml. Sir John Michael De Robeck, who had succeeded Adml. Carden, decided, under some pressure from home, to undertake an onset in full force upon the defences of the Narrows by day, although mine-fields still forbade a close attack on the forts on the part of battleships.
This operation took place on March 18, and it proved unsuccessful. Sixteen battleships entered the Straits to participate in the encounter, the manoeuvring of so large a number of great vessels in this narrow space was a matter of some difficulty and also gave excellent targets for the Turkish artillery, which replied to their fire with unexpected spirit. The contest lasted for several, hours, but towards evening the fleet was obliged to retire, three of the battleships having been sunk and four others having been put out of action. The three vessels lost, the' " Irresistible," " Ocean " and " Bouvet," were out of date; but of those put out of action the " Inflexible " was a modern ship, and she and another very nearly foundered before they could be got to a place of safety. The defenders employed mines drifting down with the current with striking success on this occasion, and ` the damage caused by them contributed largely to bring about the defeat of the naval force. The events of the day indeed clearly indicated that the enemy's underwater devices were an even more serious obstacle to the forcing of the Dardanelles than were the Ottoman batteries. Nor had the Allies grounds for supposing that drift-mines would not be met with, were the attack renewed.
After this experience Vice Adml. De Robeck felt himself obliged to inform the Admiralty that the offensive against the Straits ought not to be continued as a purely naval operation of war. This necessitated a complete recasting of the Entente plans. The Turkish authorities, it may be mentioned, 4 Lemnos was a Greek possession having been ceded to Greece as the result of the Balkan War of 1912-3. Imbros, Samothrace and Tenedos had remained Turkish.
On March 10 Bulair was also bombarded from the Gulf of Saros.
on finding nearly all the ammunition for their heaviest ordnance in the Narrows to be used up, viewed the prospect of a possible fresh fleet attack with some apprehension, as they were under the impression that the assailants had been beaten off on the 18th by the guns and not by the mines. This led to a mistaken idea that De Robeck's ships might have succeeded had they renewed their attack at once in spite of losses; the damage which they had done to the batteries had been almost insignificant, and they had not got within 5 m. of their objective.
The Allies had foreseen from the outset that land forces would have to be brought into play sooner or later in their campaign in this region. Even assuming that the fleet forced the Dardanelles, its communications would have to be safeguarded, and there would still be Constantinople and the Bosporus to be dealt with. Entente troops had already before March 18 been set in motion for the Aegean, and some were in Lemnos. A heterogeneous army, drawn largely from India and Australasia, had also been gathering in Egypt for several weeks past, of which portions could be made available for work elsewhere in the Near East. Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, who had been chosen as commander-in-chief of the military contingents that were to cooperate in due course with the naval forces in this theatre of war, had moreover actually arrived on the day before the abortive fleet attack upon the Narrows and had witnessed the fight. In view of what had occurred the Allied Governments decided that in further operations full use must be made of the gathering army, and from this time onwards the military began to assume the principal role in the effort of the Entente to secure command of the Dardanelles.
But Sir Ian Hamilton judged it to be inexpedient to initiate land operations at once. Reconnaissance had brought to light the extent to which the Turks were making preparations to repel attempted landings, both on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and on the Asiatic coast adjacent to the mouth of the Straits; and everything pointed to the expeditionary force having to start work by fighting its way ashore. A tactical operation of that character demanded most careful prior organization, and it called for a distribution of the attacking force amongst the available shipping based on purely tactical considerations. As a preliminary to his undertaking a serious land campaign on the shores of the Aegean, the general felt himself obliged to concentrate his forces in Egypt, and to prepare them there for the hazardous undertaking to which they were to be committed.
A month was lost in consequence.' During that month the Turkish V. Army was formed (March 24) to guard the Straits, and Marshal Liman von Sanders, head of the German military mission in Turkey, was appointed its commander-in-chief. Between the last days of March and the day of the landing the defence system was overhauled and greatly developed.2 The Franco-British expeditionary force was to be composed of seven divisions - three, the 29th, the 42nd and the Royal Naval, furnished by the United Kingdom, two formed of Australian and New Zealand troops, and two composed of French colonial troops. At the time however when active operations began the 42nd Division and one of the French divisions could 1 The chief naval incidents of this month were: - a raid by the Turkish destroyer " Demir Hissar " which sank the British transport " Manitou " on March 16, but had to be blown up next day off Chios to avoid capture; an attempt of the British submarine E15 to enter the Straits, which led to her being forced ashore (April 16) and in the sequel to her destruction by a daring boat's crew from the " Majestic " (April 18); bombardments of the defences of Smyrna on March 28, April 6 and April 22; and operations at Gaza and El Arish on the Syrian coast by the French battleship " St. Louis " and other vessels (April 12-17).
From the Black Sea the Russian naval forces bombarded the Bosporus defences on March 28; some fruitless operations were then carried out against the "Goeben " and " Breslau " (in the course of which the Turkish cruiser " Medjidieh " was sunk off Odessa (April 3), and on April 25, the day of the landing in the Peninsula, and on May 2, the Bosporus defences were again shelled.
2 The coast defences themselves remained under the command of the German Adml. v. Usedom, who was also responsible for those of the Bosporus. The German naval forces were commanded by Adml. Souchon, who had brought the " Goeben " and " Breslau." not be counted on owing to shipping for them not being available. Against this force Liman von Sanders could at the outset pit six divisions. Hamilton had resolved on making the Gallipoli Peninsula his objective, intending to secure high ground which dominated the Narrows from that side. He could conceal his design up to the very last. His adversary had perforce to disperse the defending troops, so that on the morning when the land campaign started two of the Turkish divisions (3rd and lath) were watching the outer coast on the Asiatic side, two (5th and 7th) were near Bulair to provide against a landing at the neck of the Peninsula, while the remaining two (9th and 19th) under Essad Pasha guarded the places where, in the event, the Allied army made its appearance. Still, if the attacking side enjoyed an advantage in this respect, the possible landingplaces were few in number and were therefore well indicated, there had been ample time to protect them with earthworks and barbed wire, and in any disembarkation in face of resistance the tactical conditions favour the defence.
Hamilton contemplated two distinct major operations. One force was to be put ashore about the extremity of the peninsula - an area which it is convenient to designate as " Helles." The other force was to land N. of Gaba Tepe, where there are extensive beaches. Part of the one available French division was, furthermore, to effect a descent at Kum Kale opposite Helles as a subsidiary operation, partly to deceive the enemy and partly to neutralize Turkish guns, which otherwise might intervene in the Helles fighting. Feints were also to be carried out at other localities so as to bewilder the defenders. The effort at Helles was to be entrusted to the 29th Division, supported by the Royal Naval Division, and ultimately to be reinforced by the French division. That at Gaba Tepe was to be carried out by the two Australasian divisions under Gen. Sir William Birdwood. The Anglo-French army concentrated in Mudros Bay, the great natural harbour of Lemnos, in the third week of April and, after a short delay enforced by bad weather, the armada put to sea during the nights of the 23rd-24th and the 24th-25th, so that the transports and the covering warships should arrive at the various rendezvous at or before dawn on the 25th. The day broke calm and still, after a placid night.
A firm footing was gained on shore by the assailants at three out of the five points where disembarkation was attempted, while the effort was also, within restricted limits, successful at the two remaining points. The beaches which had been selected were, enumerating from right to left, " S " in Morto Bay, " V " and " W " on either side of Cape Helles at the south-western end, and " X " and " Y " on the outer shore; " V " and " W " were regarded as of primary importance, as those two beaches offered suitable landing places from the point of view of subsequent operations. The attacks at " S " and " Y " were intended to be subsidiary; but great importance was attached to that at " X " owing to the vicinity of this point to " W." The troops started for the shore in flotillas of boats soon after dawn at all points, their approach covered by the fire of battleships and cruisers, and in all cases the boats were not fired upon until almost the last moment.
As it turned out, the actual disembarkations at " S," " X " and " Y " were carried out without any very great difficulty; but the troops detailed for " W " beach only gained a footing after incurring very heavy losses and by a display of indomitable resolution, while at " V " the operation went very near to failing altogether. In the general scheme of attack the landing at this last point was of primary importance; the largest force had been detailed for it, and the troops were for the most part conveyed to the beach in a steamer (the " River Clyde ") which was run ashore; but only some scattered detachments cowering close to the water's edge had established themselves on land by nightfall, and the Allies' position here seemed to be highly critical. The troops detailed for " Y " beach had also got into serious difficulties, and as it turned out they had to be withdrawn next morning. But the forces which had landed at " W " and " X " beaches had joined hands, the one battalion detailed for " S " beach had secured a good position, and during the night the troops still left aboard the " River Clyde " contrived to disembark. The resistance offered by the Turks had been most determined, and these could reckon upon receiving welcome reinforcements within a few hours; for as soon as the situation declared itself Liman von Sanders had hurried off one of the two divisions (the 7th) at Bulair by water with orders to repair to Helles.
In the meantime a French brigade had, after a tough struggle, effected a lodgment at Kum Kale. The Turks were in strong force in that quarter, and, as the hours passed and the defenders (3rd and r ith Divs.) massed, the situation became such as to render any French advance out of the question; indeed, but for the fire of the warships the troops who had landed could barely have maintained themselves. Still, their presence on the Asiatic side of the Straits was for the time being indirectly helpful to their British comrades who were struggling for a grip on the extremity of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The invaders of Helles had secured but a precarious foothold on Ottoman soil by the morning of the 26th, twenty-four hours after starting operations; but fair progress was made by them during the course of this second day. What was left of the force originally detailed for the landing at " V " beach contrived during the early hours by stern fighting to occupy some high ground hard by, and also to join hands with the troops landed at " W " beach. Additional infantry was got ashore at " W " and " X " beaches, the first elements of the French division began disembarking at " V " beach in the afternoon, and before evening touch had been gained with the battalion that had made good at " S " beach. That night the French evacuated Kum Kale by arrangement. On the 27th a general move forward took place, the Turks (9th Div.) offering little opposition, and by nightfall the Allies held a line stretching approximately from the north end of Morto Bay to " Gully " beach. But very heavy losses had been sustained by the 29th Division, large bodies of Turkish troops had arrived from Bulair and were being brought round from the Asiatic side of the Straits,' and after three days of strenuous combat the British and French had barely secured a depth of 2 m. of country, while their opponents had had time to concentrate their scattered forces. Realizing the urgent need of gaining ground before the enemy was gathered in full strength, and hoping to win the heights beyond Krithia and Achi Baba, Sir I. Hamilton ordered a further attack for the 28th. On this occasion the Turks made a determined resistance; but the Allies' line was advanced by a few hundred yards at most points, and a three days' lull then ensued in the Helles area.
While this embittered struggle had been in progress at the extremity of the peninsula, stirring events had been in progress on its outer coast-line. The arrangements for disembarking Birdwood's Australasians differed from those made at Helles, in that here the whole force was to land at one point, and that an attempt was to be made to effect a surprise just before dawn (April 25). The surprise was effected, but in the darkness the force arrived at a locality about a mile N. of the beach immediately N. of Gaba Tepe which had been the selected goal. The beach on which the landing took place proved to be satisfactory, but it lay at the foot of a steep and rugged declivity, which was therefore a most unsuitable place for putting ashore the stores and impedimenta of an army. At the moment of approach of the first boats the defenders actually on the spot were few, so that the high ground overhanging the landing place (which came to be known as Anzac Cove) was secured by the assailants at the first rush. But the enemy speedily brought effective flanking artillery fire to bear on the beach and on the boats; the troops, both officers and men, were inexperienced, the ground to be advanced over was hilly, scrub-clad and extremely broken, and considerable confusion arose. The advantage gained in the first instance by the surprise was lost, and the Turkish r9th Div. was able to gather in force during the critical hours of ' The German commander of the 5th Div. (Lt.-Col. v. Sodenstern) was put in charge of the Helles front, Essad taking command on the Ari Burnei front.
s The abbreviated designation of the " Australian and New Zealand Army Corps." the morning when the Australasians might, in virtue of their superior numbers, have secured a satisfactory sector of ground. At the end of the day, although the whole of Birdwood's infantry had been ashore for several hours, the position which these troops had taken up remained a haphazard one, no depth had been secured, losses had been heavy, and the situation seemed so threatening that the question of a withdrawal was even considered at one time.
Reinforced by parts of the two Bulair divisions the Turks delivered vigorous counter-attacks on the 26th; but these were beaten off, and on that day and on the morrow the Australasian troops dug themselves in so thoroughly that by the night of the 27th-28th the position which they had taken Up, such as it was, was reasonably secure. On the other hand, the Turks, who were commanded by Essad, had likewise dug themselves in, and they could bring an effective artillery fire to bear on the Anzac trenches from three sides, the prospect of the landing force making any effective progress under the awkward conditions of ground in which it found itself was remote, and Birdwood's contingents had in reality been even less successful than had those detailed for Helles as regards securing an adequate area on the enemy's shores before the defence gathered strength. Their situation was unsatisfactory not only in the tactical sense, but also from the point of view of keeping the troops supplied, owing to their being perched on ridges with steep gradients behind them. Water also was found to be scarce, and was sure to become scarcer during the summer months. Lastly, the landing place was much exposed in the event of bad weather.
Although his adversaries had fought their way ashore in two sections of the Gallipoli Peninsula - and he had had to give up his first idea of driving them back to their ships - Liman von Sanders had no grounds for despondency when May opened. The Allies' plan was now unmistakably indicated, and concentration of the defending forces had become possible in consequence. The marshal's Turks had fought gallantly in the strenuous encounters which had taken place, and large reinforcements (2nd, 4th, r3th, r5th, r6th Divisions) were on the move or preparing to move to his aid. His troops were entrenching themselves solidly in face of the invaders both at Helles and at Anzac, so that his antagonists would be obliged to storm lines of earthworks whenever they should attempt to make further progress. It is true that Hamilton was expecting the arrival of the 42nd Division and of the 2nd French Division within a few days; but his losses had been extremely heavy, there were no depots at hand from which these losses could promptly be made good, and he was inferior to ` the Turks in artillery both as regards calibre of guns and as regards ammunition. On three successive nights from the ist to the 3rd the Turks delivered resolute assaults upon the Allies' position at Helles, but they were repulsed on each occasion; they also on the night of the 2nd-3rd launched attacks upon the Australasians, the combat lasting into the next day, but here also they were beaten off.
Two brigades of Birdwood's force were thereupon temporarily transferred to Helles by night, and on the 6th and following two days a mighty effort was made by the invaders to push forward in this southern area and to win the high ground that stretches across the peninsula about 5 m. from its extremity; their front was, however, only advanced by a few hundred yards and a much more pronounced success was called for to render the Allies' position in this area at all a promising one. Much work was done in organizing the area and its communications and landing places, but the tactical situation at Helles remained stationary for the rest of the month. At Anzac similar work was done but the only tactical incident of much importance in that quarter was that Liman von Sanders personally directed a formidable attack upon Birdwood on the night of the 18thr9th, the assailants being defeated with severe loss.
The arrival of German submarines 3 during this month proved 3 Already a special German submarine command had been established in the Adriatic, with bases at Pola and Cattaro, and some small boats were sent thither by rail. Two of these (UBI, L B 15) were attached to the Austrian submarine force. Three to be an event of lasting importance. Two British battleships were sunk off the peninsula (" Triumph " May 25, " Majestic " May 27), and owing to the risks run by warships and transports while in the open the Allied troops on shore were thenceforward almost deprived of support from naval gunfire, while reinforcements and stores were mostly brought from Mudros to the various landing places in small craft. Hamilton made Imbros his headquarters, and troops also were sometimes collected there owing to its vicinity both to Helles and to Anzac. Within the Dardanelles the battleship " Goliath " had been torpedoed by the Turkish destroyer " Muavenet-i-Milliye " on May 13; on the other hand British submarines were performing invaluable service, diving under the mine-fields, causing havoc amongst enemy craft in the channel itself and higher up, and threatening Ottoman communications with the peninsula.
That the position of affairs had become one virtually of stalemate was fairly evident to all authorities on the side of the Entente before the end of May. A Russian army destined for the Bosporus, which had been gathered near Odessa, obliging the Porte to keep strong bodies of troops about Constantinople, had been called to Galicia, thus liberating several Turkish divisions for service at the Dardanelles. Only by dispatching very substantial reinforcements in men, munitions and war material to the scene could the Entente achieve its object. But the military situation elsewhere forbade the alloc tion of strong British or French contingents to this secondary theatre of war, and there was much delay in London in forming a decision. The 52nd Division was, however, under orders to proceed from England to th 2 Aegean; it arrived at Helles early in June, where there was some severe fighting during that month by which the Allies somewhat improved their position.
But trench warfare was the order of the day, and the British and French were trying to carry this on without that ample artillery support which is almost indispensable when earthworks have to be stormed under modern tactical conditions.
others (UB3, UB7, UB8) sailed for the Straits in the latter part of April. UB3 was lost en route but nos. 7 and 8 reached the Straits about the middle of May. They proceeded to Constantinople, and were chiefly employed against the Russian Black Sea fleet. Four small boats of the mine-laying class were also dispatched, of which three (UC 14, UC 13, UC15) made their way to Constantinople, carrying important technical stores, in the summer months after an intermediate base had been established at Orak near Budrun. Another small boat (UB14) on its way from Orak to the Straits, torpedoed the British transports " Royal Edward " off Cos (Aug. 14), and " Southland " in the Aegean (Sept. 2). Other British transports sunk in the Aegean were the " Ramazan " (Sept. 19) and the " Marquette" (Oct. 26). Of the ships named only the " Southland " was brought into harbour.
More important work was done by the seagoing boat U21, Lt.- Comm. Otto Hersing. This left the Ems after special preparation for the long voyage, on April 25, and reached Cattaro with only half a ton of fuel left on May 13. After replenishing at that base, Hersing sailed on the 10th for the Dardanelles, where, on the 25th and 27th he sank the battleships " Triumph " and " Majestic." U21 then proceeded to Constantinople. On July 4 he came out and sank the French transport " Carthage " off Helles; later after a cruise in the Aegean he tried to reenter the Straits, but finding the British mine defences too formidable, he sailed to Cattaro to take part in the general commerce-destroying warfare in the Mediterranean. This was by now active, four other seagoing boats having followed U21 from the North Sea, and it is claimed that 50,000 tons of shipping were sunk in the Mediterranean and Aegean during Sept. 1915. At the end of that month the Germans had nearly one-third of their total available submarine force in this theatre-14 boats out of 44 - of which 5 seagoing, 2 small and I mine-laying boats, were working in the open, and 3 small (UB7, 8, 14) and 2 mine-laying (UC13, 15) at Constantinople. In addition, the Austrian boats numbered about 11, large and small, and one of these torpedoed the French cruiser " Leon Gambetta " in Ionian waters on April 27.
Submarine activity in the open Mediterranean and Aegean had no small influence in determining the final abandonment of the Gallipoli enterprise and in preventing its resumption in the later stages of the war. But locally and tactically, no real success was obtained by the new arm after the departure of U21. Liman von Sanders expresses the opinion that the German submarines on the spot were of no assistance to him, and that the British boats, in spite of their frequent raiding of the Sea of Marmora, did not seriously interfere with his water movements.
A general attack was delivered on the Ottoman positions on the 5th, by which some little ground was gained along most of the front. Then on the 21st the French, who were on the right next to the Straits, pushed their line forward as the result of a wellplanned local offensive, and this achievement was followed up on the 28th by a successful operation on the part of the British on the extreme left, by which the line at that end was advanced to nearly abreast of Krithia. Satisfactory as were the results of these two affairs at the end of the month from the point of view of the Allies, they did not render their situation at the extremity of the peninsula much less discouraging than it had been before. The front occupied by the invaders at the end of June was indeed for all practical purposes to represent the line that was to be held up to the night of Jan. 8 in the following year. The Turks still occupied all the high ground. They continued to enjoy all the topographical advantage in respect to position. Ottoman guns dominated the entire territory which the invaders had succeeded in the course of two months in conquering, as well as " V " and " W " beaches which were the landing-places chiefly used by them. This Turkish artillery was bearing upon Helles not merely from the uplands facing the Allies' front line, but also from the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles on the Allies' flank. At Anzac the situation remained stationary during June, although there was some sharp fighting at the end of the month.
Both sides, it should be mentioned, were suffering much from sickness, and continued to suffer all through the summer. The heat was great. Flies swarmed. The dust caused much annoyance whenever there was any wind. The British hospital arrangements were not beyond criticism. The water question caused no great difficulty at Helles, but the very limited local supply found within the contracted area occupied by Birdwood's force gave out almost entirely when the dry season set definitely in, and much of that which was brought by sea or condensed had to be conveyed up steep inclines to the trenches. As a result of disease, and of casualties in action and from bombardment, the British divisions recruited in the United Kingdom were constantly far short of establishment, no proper provision having been made for keeping them up to strength. The two Australasian and the two French divisions were better off in this respect; but the number of divisions under Sir I. Hamilton's orders - eight now that the 52nd had arrived - in reality gave a very misleading impression of the strength of the force; his Majesty's Government had, however, during the course of the month decided to dispatch large reinforcements to this theatre of war, and the Allied commander-in-chief had been cheered by the tidings that five further divisions, the loth, 11th, 13th, J3rd and 54t h, had been placed under orders for the Aegean, and would join him between July 10 and Aug. 10. The number of Turkish divisions within the peninsula and in reserve on the Asiatic side of the Straits had, however, grown, and by the end of June Liman von Sanders appears to have had nine under his orders.
July, in so far as the Allies were concerned, was in the main a month of preparation. In view of the anticipated arrival of substantial reinforcements from England there was no great temptation to embark on offensives; and owing to the shortage of artillery ammunition, what there was of it had to be jealously husbanded, although the French divisions were not suffering from this disability so much as the British. A general attack was, however, delivered by the Helles force on the 12th and 13th along the right half of its front, and some little ground was conquered; but the situation was not appreciably modified. Towards the end of the month the 13th Division, the first of the new divisions to arrive, disembarked in this southern area as a temporary measure, bringing welcome relief for the troops in the trenches. At Anzac July passed off quietly. There the rival forces were in close contact, the Turks everywhere enjoying the advantage of command; some sections of the Australasian line were, indeed, completely overlooked by ground in Ottoman occupation. Liman von Sanders was joined by reinforcements from other parts of the Empire early in the month, and the number of Turkish divisions in the peninsula swelled; but, aware that additional British troops were arriving, he felt obliged to leave forces on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles in case of a hostile landing on the coast to the S., and of the divisions on the peninsula he kept two about Gallipoli and Bulair.
How best to utilize the fresh troops joining him from England was anxiously considered by Sir I. Hamilton, and he framed his plans well in advance. The French had from the outset favoured operations on the further side of the Straits, and the expediency suggested itself of either throwing the whole Allied army in that direction, or else of diverting the reinforcements thither as a detached contingent. But there were valid objections to either course. A descent S. of the Straits connoted disembarkation in face of opposition, and, even supposing the landing to be successful, the force would start work much further from the Narrows than were either Helles or Anzac. Then again, to plant down a portion of the Allied troops on one side of the Straits, while continuing operations on the other side, would mean voluntary dispersion of resources in place of concentration. The commander-in-chief weighed the pros and cons and he decided against a combination of war on such lines. There were also not wanting inducements for the Allies to attempt a landing near Bulair, seeing that a victory at that point would carry with it the severance of the Turkish land communications with the peninsula. But, here again a disembarkation in face of opposition would have to be risked and a dispersion of resources would arise, while there were strong objections from the point of view of ship transport to conveying troops to a point so distant from the island of Imbros as Bulair; for Imbros was to be utilized as the principal concentration point for the reinforcements from England. That the Ottoman commander-in-chief had to be prepared for his opponent adopting one of these two plans offered a strong argument against adopting either of them.
Hamilton decided that his great effort should be made at, and immediately to the N. of, Anzac. The rugged bluffs on which Gen. Birdwood's force had taken root since April were spurs of a tangled mountain mass known as Sari Bair, from the topmost ridges of which the Straits about the Narrows were partially visible at a distance of 4 or 5 miles. The occupation of these topmost ridges must greatly assist in a further advance across the peninsula here at its narrowest point. The plan decided upon was secretly to augment the force already at Anzac by about a division and a half, and, with the force thus augmented, to secure possession of Sari Bair by a night-attack. But this was only part of the plan. It was also decided that a force of nearly two divisions should, on the same night as the attack on Sari Bair was launched, effect a landing at an entirely new point - Suvla Bay, a few miles N. of Anzac, where the Turkish troops were known to be few. The object of this second operation was twofold - it would indirectly assist the offensive against Sari Bair, it would also furnish the Allies who were planted down on the outer coast of the peninsula with a much more sheltered landing place and base than Anzac Cove. The 13th Division, with some other detachments from Helles and with one brigade of the 10th Division, were the troops chosen to augment Birdwood's force already at Anzac. The new venture further north was entrusted to the i r th Division, which was to assemble in the island of Imbros supported by the rest of the 10th Division; the portions of this latter division not detailed for Anzac were to concentrate partly at Mudros, and partly in a port of Mitylene more than ioo m. from Suvla. The last divisions to arrive, the 53rd and 54th, were to be employed wherever should seem best after the offensive had begun. To land the whole of the reinforcements simultaneously would not have been practicable with the amount of water transport available.
The utmost secrecy was observed by the Allied staff. Appropriate steps were taken to mislead the Ottoman authorities by means of feints and of reconnaissances executed at localities other than those selected for operations. False reports were assiduously circulated by the intelligence department. This part of Hamilton's programme was, indeed, carried out most successfully, for, although Liman von Sanders was aware of the arrival of large bodies of British troops in the islands, he remained entirely ignorant of his rival's real design until this was actu ally in execution. The Ottoman commander had organized his forces as a southern group watching Helles and a northern group watching Anzac, with the already mentioned two divisions at the Bulair end of the peninsula. There were large Turkish forces in reserve about Chanak, in addition to substantial contingents disposed to the S. of the outlet of the Straits ready for any move of the Allies in that quarter; but, thanks to a system of jetties erected on either shore at the upper end of the Narrows, and to improved communications, troops could be shifted from side to side of the waterway very rapidly. Numerically, the contending armies would at this very critical juncture of the campaign be almost equal, the invaders rather the stronger; but the Turks were much dispersed, so that the result almost hinged upon the speed with which the attacking side should gain ground before the defenders had time to concentrate.
The offensive started on Aug. 6 with two preliminary enterprises. An onset was made upon some of the Turkish trenches in the Helles area, which led to sharp fighting; the object was to prevent the Turks transferring troops northwards, and it probably served its purpose; apart from that, little was accomplished although the affray went on intermittently for a week. Portions of the Australasian force also broke out of the southern sections of the Anzac position, and were rewarded by the acquisition of some very valuable ground after 'a violent contest; the real purpose, however, was to occupy the attention of the enemy and to conceal a design of much greater moment.
So dexterously had the assembling of the reinforcements within Birdwood's position been effected, that the Turks had entirely failed to detect how the numbers of their, opponents in this area had during the last few nights been nearly doubled. The scheme of operations for the capture of the Sari Bair mountain mass was that the force detailed for this enterprise should move out in several columns from the northern end of the Anzac position along the low ground near the shore, after dark on the evening of the 6th. On reaching their appointed stations the columns were to wheel to the right and were to work their way up certain steep but well-defined gullies that led towards the Ned front hire July ^ ?
Lles Area topmost ridges, which, it was hoped, would be reached by daylight - a somewhat sanguine anticipation, as it turned out. All went well at the outset. The Turkish posts about the lower spurs were in some cases surprised. The outlets of the gullies were in the assailants' hands soon after midnight. The hostile detachments on guard gave way at all points. But the routes to be followed were difficult to find in the dark, the ascent was rapid, the ground was much broken, and the enemy opposed a stubborn resistance to the advance, with the result that this was greatly retarded, and that at daybreak the most forward of the columns was not much more than halfway up. The Ottoman staff had, moreover, on the first alarm begun to hurry reinforcements on the Sari Bair from the rear, while the Allied troops were so much exhausted by their nocturnal experiences that all attempts to win the upper ridge failed on the 7th.
A rearrangement of the attacking forces was carried otit during the following night, and the attempt to gain the highest ground was resumed at dawn on the 8th from the positions that had been acquired 24 hours earlier. The Ottoman detachments on the mountain had by this time been reinforced by at least one division, and they were fully prepared to meet the onset when it came. One of the Allies' columns nevertheless succeeded in establishing itself on a patch of the topmost ridge and in holding on to what had been secured, although the efforts of the assailants miscarried elsewhere. After a fresh reorganization during the night an attempt was yet again made on the gth to win the mountain, and that day some British and Indian troops actually fought their way on to a commanding summit from which the Narrows could be seen, only, however, speedily to be driven off again. The Turks holding the ridge were, moreover, constantly receiving reinforcements now that Sir I. Hamilton's plan was completely exposed, and so victory definitely decided itself in favour of the defenders early on the Toth. For these, by a sudden onset that morning, recovered possession of the patch of high ground which their antagonists had succeeded in wresting from them on the 8th and in holding ever since. Then, by a resolute if somewhat costly counter-attack delivered from the dominating position which they occupied, the Osmanlis thrust those opposed to them back down the slopes all along the line and could fairly claim to have gained the upper hand. Strenuous fighting thereupon ceased. Both sides had suffered very severely in the furious encounters that had been in progress since the evening of the 6th, and the troops were completely worn out by their efforts.
The attempt to secure Sari Bair thus failed, and the carefully devised scheme by which the invaders had hoped to establish themselves in a dominating position in the Anzac region at. almost the narrowest portion of the Gallipoli Peninsula fell to the ground. It is true that as a result of the operations the area in occupation of the Allies in this quarter had been greatly extended in a northerly direction, so much so indeed that little difficulty was experienced by Gen. Birdwood in securing close contact with the contingents that had landed at Suvla on the night of the 6th-7th, and from which substantial support had been expected. As a matter of fact, the Suvla troops had afforded the Anzac columns no assistance at all beyond occupying the attention of one of the two Turkish divisions which Liman von Sanders set in motion south-westwards from about Gallipoli as soon as he had satisfied himself as to where danger lay, and the doings of this newly landed force had now to be recorded.
The plans for bringing the rrth Division and bulk of the Toth Division from the islands to Suvla and disembarking them had been elaborated with meticulous care by the naval and military staffs. As Turkish detachments watching this strip of coastline were known to number only about 2,000 men - the Ottoman authorities never contemplating a hostile landing in force in the locality - the design was to put most of the attacking troops ashore during the night of the 6th-7th as a surprise, and that they should then push on at once and master a range of hills 4 or 5 m. to the east. At Suvla Point the coast (which from there down to about Helles runs roughly N. and S.) turns abruptly to the N.E. to form one side of the Gulf of Saros; along this stretch of the shore a well-defined ridge, starting close to the headland, rises almost like a wall from the sea and overlooks what may be called the Suvla area from the N., just as the above-mentioned range of hills overlook the area from the east. The area is mostly flat up to the foothills. Close to the bay there is a lake - a marsh in dry weather - which necessarily cramped the movements of troops landed at or near the bay. Army headquarters assumed that the plain, with the high ground to the E. and N., would be in British hands early on the 7th.
The II th Division from Imbros was to disembark first, and was to be on the right in the subsequent advance. The Toth Division from Mudros and Mitylene was to follow it ashore, and, moving forward on the left, would secure the northerly ridge. Most of the rrth Division was to land just S. of the bay, but one brigade was to gain its footing inside the bay. The work was to begin as early as possible, allowing for the flotilla only quitting Imbros after dark. Especially constructed lighters, with motor power, were to play an important part in the disembarkations, a number of them having recently arrived from England. Elaborate arrangements had been made for water supply to the troops ashore, as the whereabouts and the capacity of wells were doubtful. The secret had been well kept, and a difficult operation of war was in its opening stages most successfully carried out.
The two divisions detailed for this Suvla enterprise both belonged to the British " New Army "; they were unconversant with active service conditions, having come straight out from England, and they were being highly tried in being called upon to execute a landing in. force at night in face of opposition. There was, indeed, no precedent for an undertaking of this kind under modern tactical conditions. Nevertheless the whole of the infantry of the ith Division was on shore before dawn, and its leading battalions had driven off the Turkish detachments met with in the immediate vicinity of the points of disembarkation. The only hitch that had occurred during the night-time had been at the landing-place within the bay, where the water had proved to be inconveniently shallow for the lighters; this had created some confusion and delay. But the urgent need of pressing forward at once was not realized by the attacking side, and the opposition offered by the parties of Osmanlis close to the bay was taken too seriously after daylight. Moreover, when the first portion of the 10th Division arrived from Mitylene soon after dawn, it was decided to put these troops ashore to the S. of the bay, instead of inside the bay as had been intended; so that they found themselves, to start with, on the right of the r rth Division and not on its left, the general line of contemplated advance being to the N. of the lake. They were unfortunately moved from right to left, and this took many hours.
During the forenoon a good landing-place was found inside the bay on its northern side, and the contingent of the Toth Division from Mudros disembarked at this point. But no vertebrate advance in force took place until comparatively late in the afternoon, and by evening the attacking side, although enjoying a great numerical superiority, had only reached the foot of the hills that lay to the E. of the landing-places and captured one advanced spur. The troops had during the latter part of the day suffered greatly from thirst, the arrangements with regard to water having practically broken down mainly owing to the inexperience of the troops themselves.
When Liman von Sanders (who had fixed his headquarters near Gallipoli) learned during the night of the 6th-7th that the Allies were landing in strong force about Suvla, and were also attacking Sari Bair from Anzac, and after he had satisfied himself that certain threats on the part of his opponents at other points might be regarded as mere feints, he ordered the two Turkish divisions under his immediate orders to proceed towards Suvla with all speed. This, however, meant a two days' march along indifferent roads. The only Ottoman detachments which during the 7th and 8th confronted the two British divisions that had made a descent on this locality were those which had been on guard on the spot when the landing was taking place. Consequently there was still on the 8th a great opening left for the attacking side to complete the first part of its programme, i.e. to gain possession of the heights to the E. of Suvla, which dominated the landing-places and the whole of the area in their immediate vicinity that had been occupied on the 7th. The very few Ottoman guns which had been causing the freshly disembarked troops a good deal of annoyance during the 7th had been withdrawn for fear of capture, the defenders fully expecting a forward move by the Allies. But no move forward took place. The opportunity was allowed to slip by. The Turks remained in possession of the high ground, and that night reinforcements began to join them from the N.E., the troops as they came up being rushed into position in view of impending attack.
That attack was at last delivered early next morning. It failed completely. Enjoying the benefits of occupying a commanding line, the defenders were also being reinforced during the progress of the combat. Although sustained by a fair number of guns and with the moral support of the 53rd Division, which had disembarked during the night, the 10th and 11th Divisions could make no headway. The deliberation of the Allies on the 7th and 8th, when the forces opposed to them were insignificant, had been fatal. The great numerical superiority which they had at first possessed was gone by the 9th, and their task had come to be the ejection of an almost equal enemy from a naturally formidable position. That day was also the last on which any hope remained of the Sari Bair offensive accomplishing its purpose, and on which help from Suvla might conceivably even at the eleventh hour have turned the scale. The defeat suffered by the Suvla troops on the 9th was in reality decisive in so far as the new area was concerned; but, even so, the invaders who had set foot there tried yet again on the 10th to wrest the heights in front of them out of Osmanli keeping. The effort, however, failed, and further offensives in this quarter were abandoned for the moment.
The situation on the iith offered little encouragement to the invaders. The carefully devised scheme of operations from which they had expected so much had come to naught in its most important features. A footing had no doubt been gained at Suvla, giving the Allies control of a fairly well-sheltered inlet on the outer coast of the peninsula; but as the high ground within easy artillery range of the landing-places, and which overlooked the whole occupied area, remained in the hands of the Turks, much of the benefit hoped for from the acquisition was in reality neutralized. As had been the case at Helles and at Anzac ever since the first opening of land operations in April, only a restricted patch of Ottoman territory had been obtained by the new undertaking, and although the position at Anzac had been extended and improved it remained an extremely bad one. The Allies now occupied many miles of front in the peninsula, but there was hardly a spot where the enemy had not the upper hand in respect to ground - what they required was not breadth but depth, and depth they had failed to secure. They had moreover incurred very heavy losses in the combats of, and since, Aug. 6. There were yawning gaps in their ranks. Except a division from Egypt, coming to fight on foot, no reinforcements were on the way, and the last of the five divisions from England, the 54th, had been swallowed up at Suvla. The defending side had also, no doubt, suffered heavily in casualties, especially on Sari Bair; but the Turkish commander-in-chief could fairly claim that, if some ground had been lost, he had held his own in a contest in which his adversary had enjoyed some notable advantages at the start.
An effort was made on the 15th by the troops on the extreme left of the Allies' position at Suvla to gain ground along the ridge N. of the plain; but nothing came of it. Sir I. Hamilton, however, still entertained hopes of effecting some improvement in his position in this area. The mounted division, and also a division from Helles, were quietly concentrated there, and on the 21st a determined attempt was made to capture some of the high ground which had baffled the essays of the invaders on the 9th and loth. Large forces were engaged on either side in this battle, and the attack was prepared for by a comparatively speaking heavy bombardment of the Ottoman trenches; in this battleships and cruisers moored in Suvla Bay, in security from submarines, participated. But after a sanguinary contest the assailants met with repulse, and from that date onwards no serious offensive operation was attempted by the Allies in the Dardanelles campaign. Those conditions of virtual stalemate which had prevailed before the arrival of the five new divisions from England set in afresh, and they continued to the end.
Even before this final reverse, Sir I. Hamilton had cabled home asking for reinforcements and for very large drafts that were needed to bring the depleted units under his command up to their war establishment. The total figure he asked for amounted to 95,000 men, his calculation being based upon the strength of the opposing army, as this was fairly accurately known. He had, however, been informed that no large bodies of fresh troops could be spared for the Dardanelles theatre of war. A temporary change of plan did occur a few days later, owing to the French Government proposing to despatch four divisions to the Aegean with the idea of their operating on the Asiatic side of the Straits; under the circumstances the British Government was also prepared to send fresh divisions to Sir I. Hamilton. But early in Sept. these projects were finally dropped both in Paris and in London, owing very largely to the threatening aspect of affairs that was arising in the Balkans.
The campaign by which the Central Powers and Bulgaria crushed Serbia for the time being, and by their triumph opened communications through Bulgaria with the Ottoman Empire, profoundly influenced the situation in the Gallipoli Peninsula. Not only was all idea of reinforcing the Allied army that was planted down in this region abandoned by the western Governments, but even some of the troops under Sir I. Hamilton's orders were transferred to Salonika. Moreover, the linking up of Turkey with the Central Powers by railway ensured that Liman von Sanders would in due course be furnished with ample munitions of all kinds, and this must make the prospect of Entente forces gaining possession of the Straits remoter than ever.
As early as the middle of Sept. the French Government had come to the conclusion that there was now no hope of victory in the Dardanelles theatre of war. The British Government, on the other hand, influenced to a great extent by anxiety as regards prestige in the East, could not. arrive at a decision as to giving up the project. After two or three weeks Sir I. Hamilton was, however, invited to give his views concerning the question of evacuating the peninsula and abandoning the enterprise against the Straits. On the commander-in-chief pronouncing himself as emphatically opposed to such a step, Sir C. Monro was sent out from England to take his place. Impressed by the unsatisfactory positions in which the Allied troops found themselves on the peninsula, by the impossibility of their making any progress at their existing strength, and by the risks that the army ran in remaining on such shores without any safe harbour to depend upon for base in stormy weather, Monro, after examining the situation on the spot in the closing days of Oct., declared unhesitatingly for a complete withdrawal. The British Cabinet thereupon despatched Lord Kitchener to the Aegean to investigate and to report. He had viewed proposals to abandon the campaign with alarm; but after visiting the peninsula he realized that evacuation was the only justifiable course, and he reported to that effect. All this time winter was drawing nearer and nearer and the need for a prompt decision was becoming more urgent, but the authorities in London lost another fortnight before, on Dec. 8, they at last sent instructions to Monro to evacuate Suvla and Anzac while retaining a grip on Helles.
Sept., Oct. and Nov. had been months of stagnation for the armies that confronted each other on the peninsula, as was, indeed, almost inevitable under the strategical conditions which had come about. The Ottoman higher command was well content that the troops under its charge should maintain an attitude of passive defence; they were keeping Allied divisions in idleness which, were they to be transferred to some other one of the theatres of war, might prove invaluable assets to the cause of the Entente. Well concealed in skilfully constructed entrenchments that were excavated on terrain overlooking the invader's lines, the Turkish contingents holding the different fronts could fairly calculate upon beating off any hostile attack unless their adversaries should be heavily reinforced. The defenders could in fact afford to remain quiescent. The Allies, on the other hand, were practically compelled to remain quiescent. The general situation offered them no inducements to embark on fresh offensives. The great Aug. effort, which had been made when they were enjoying the advantages derived from concentration as opposed to dispersion, and when they were in the position to take the Turks unawares, had miscarried. It would have been folly after that experience to risk defeat and perhaps disaster in assailing formidable positions, effectively held and assiduously fortified. The Allies had in Aug. been rather superior in numbers to their opponents. But during the autumn Liman von Sanders was reinforced by several divisions, and at the juncture when Gen. Monro arrived and recommended evacuation of the peninsula, the Ottoman host gathered about the Dardanelles was already decidedly stronger in point of numbers than was the army which was clinging to patches of littoral without a sheltered base.
If there had been no fighting daring these autumn months worthy of mention, much creditable work had been carried out by the invaders in respect to developing communications and to improving jetties and landing-places, especially at Suvla. One British and one French division were moved from the peninsula to Salonika early in Oct., but an additional Australian division had arrived a few weeks earlier. In spite of the discouraging conditions in which they found themselves, and of the constant annoyance suffered from hostile artillery fire, the troops were in fair heart, while the tactical efficiency of the recently created divisions, which had not been of a high standard when they arrived in the theatre of war, had appreciably progressed. The proportion of sick had been high during the summer-time, but it decreased somewhat after Sept. On the other hand a very severe blizzard, lasting two days, swept the whole region towards the end of Nov. and caused havoc amongst the divisions in the Suvla area, which was particularly exposed to the elements; this visitation augmented the numbers in hospital by several thousands. The tempestuous weather, moreover, created serious damage at most of the landing-places, where solidly constructed jetties were in some instances completely demolished by the seas. The Allied forces had been organized as three distinct groups. That at Helles (which included the French contingent, still as at the outset on the right) was under the charge of Gen. Davies. That at Anzac, composed mainly of troops from the Antipodes, remained under Gen. Birdwood. That at Suvla was commanded by Gen. Byng. But as Gen. Monro found himself responsible for the British troops at Salonika as well as for the Allied army of the Dardanelles, he placed the latter under charge of Gen. Birdwood, while Gen. Godley relieved Birdwood at Anzac.
Like their adversaries, the Turks had suffered much from disease during the summer. But as their numbers grew in the autumn, and as their headquarters staff noted how the invaders were dwindling away owing to transfers to Salonika and to no drafts arriving to replenish wastage, it became possible to keep a number of the Ottoman divisions in reserve, well in rear of the fighting fronts or else on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles. This also permitted of the troops in the trenches being relieved and rested at frequent intervals. The defending side, in fact, came to be in a much more favourable position than was the attacking side in respect to diminishing the strain that is always experienced by fighting personnel when in close contact with an enemy even during periods of virtual inactivity. The Sultan's forces guarding the Straits were not yet at the end of Nov. deriving much benefit from the strategical transformation which had taken place in the Balkans consequent upon communications being opened between Thrace and the Central Powers; but there was every prospect of heavy artillery and munitions shortly beginning to find their way through from Germany and AustriaHungary to the Dardanelles.
Foreseeing that the British Government must ultimately resign itself to a withdrawal of the Dardanelles army from its dangerous situation on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Monro had already, some days before the permission to evacuate reached him from home, given instructions that certain preparations were to be made towards facilitating that operation. That a retirement of this kind was a hazardous undertaking was realized from the outset. There was no precedent for large military forces, in close contact with a formidable enemy, embarking within easy artillery range of positions in the hands of the opposing side, and the most sanguine amongst high military authorities in the councils of the Entente feared that a withdrawal could not be carried out without incurring heavy losses. The responsible authorities on the spot perceived that the process of gradually removing the huge accumulations of impedimenta that were massed about the landing-places and of reembarking the troops must take place during the dark hours and step by step, every effort being made to keep the Turks unaware of what was in progress. Sickly men and some stores and animals had been got away before Dec. 8, which lightened the task in prospect. The tactical principle on which withdrawal would be carried out when the time came had been fully considered. The naval authorities had been busy assembling and organizing the available small craft in anticipation of the operation that appeared to be imminent, and jetties damaged in the Nov. gales were being repaired. It should be noted that the matter in hand was, from the point of view of water transport, somewhat facilitated by the British Government's determination to hold on to Helles for the present, as nearly all the lighters, boats, etc., in naval charge could consequently be gathered at Anzac and Suvla.
Birdwood decided, in consultation with Godley and Byng, that the front trenches should be held up to the very last moment on the night of final evacuation, the troops manning them then hastening to the beaches, everything removable, whether animate or inanimate, having already left. There was to be no taking up of successive positions in accordance with the normal practice of rearguard actions. At a given moment the trenches, which at many points were but a few yards from those occupied by the Turks, would be vacated by detachments, which by that hour would have shrunk to mere handfuls of men. Scarcely a shot had since the beginning of Dec. been fired after dark by the British; Australasian and Indian troops, who were holding the long line stretching from the Gulf of Saros to near Gaba Tepe, so as to accustom the foe to quietude during the night watches. The last parties of the Anzac force were to ship at Anzac Cove but for a detachment on the extreme left, which would embark with the Suvla troops. The Suvla area was divided into two sections, the troops in the right (or southern) section retiring S. of the lake and taking to the boats on the southern side of the bay, the other section retiring N. of the lake and embarking on its northern side. The final night was provisionally fixed as that of the 18th - 19th, and thanks to favourable weather and to the efficiency of the arrangements, the very critical operation was carried out with triumphant success, just as had been laid down by programme ten days before.
Night after night during the intervening ten days the landing places at Anzac and Suvla were scenes of unceasing activity. Masses of war material and food supplies were in the first instance removed, then most of the animals were got away, lastly portions of the troops began to embark and to proceed to Imbros or Mudros. During the daytime reliefs took place as usual, pretences were made of disembarking animals and stores at the jetties, and the result was that the Turks remained in complete ignorance as to what was going on close to their lines. Large bodies of infantry with a fair proportion of guns still remained on shore on the 17th, but of these roughly half - about io,000 men and a number of guns in each area - were removed that night, so that on the 18th only a meagre force, composed almost wholly of infantry and disposed almost entirely in the trenches, was holding a long front face to face with a numerically far stronger enemy. But, fortunately for the Allies, their .dispositions had been so skilful that the Ottoman staff had not ascertained that the Anzac and Suvla areas had been almost vacated. The critical day passed without incident.
The hour fixed for finally quitting the front trenches in the Suvla area, and the adjacent northern portions of the Anzac area, was I:15 A.M. on the 19th. Owing to their vicinity to the cove the rest of the Anzac trenches were, however, to be held till a later hour. At nightfall the very few guns still to go were hurried off to the jetties. Then the troops along the front were quietly withdrawn in successive groups, the fine weather continuing to the end and work at the beaches proceeding without a hitch. Finally the parties still in the trenches slipped away, and when dawn broke the Turks, who had first ascertained that something unusual was afoot from the explosion of a vast mine in the Anzac area, and from conflagrations on the beaches where the few stores to be abandoned were being destroyed, discovered that the invaders were gone. Twenty-four hours later the long spell of calm, a godsend to Godley and Byng, came to an end.
Practically nothing worth mentioning had been left behind at Suvla. At Anzac, where conditions favoured the retreating troops less, it had been necessary to destroy some valuable war material at the last moment, and a few worn-out guns had purposely been abandoned. The casualties in the two areas on the final night had amounted to two. The relaxing by the Allies of their frail hold upon the outer coastline of the Gallipoli Peninsula had been effected more successfully than the most sanguine amongst them had permitted themselves to hope for. Yet, for a week subsequent to their receiving the glad tidings from the Aegean, the British Government remained irresolute with regard to the policy to be pursued at Helles. Then, on Dec. 28, Monro received the expected sanction for evacuating that area also, and Birdwood promptly grappled with this fresh problem.
Taken unawares and signally out-manoeuvred at Anzac and Suvla, Liman von Sanders perceived that his antagonists would probably retire from Helles also, and he took measures accordingly. He had at this time 21 divisions at his disposal, while there were only four British divisions to oppose them at Helles (the last French division left for Salonika during Dec.). The Turks, therefore, now possessed a huge numerical preponderance in the theatre of war. They moreover enjoyed an even more marked superiority in respect to artillery, and this the Ottoman commander-in-chief hastened to turn to account; the heavier guns which had been sweeping the Anzac and Suvla areas for months past were promptly transferred to the high ground overlooking the extremity of the peninsula or to positions on the Asiatic side of the Straits from which the extremity of the peninsula could be effectively taken in flank.
The same principles as those which had been so successfully applied during the evacuation of the northern areas, were put in force at Helles. The work of removing stores, war material, animals and personnel was to be carried out on successive nights, the fighting force ashore was to be gradually reduced, the front line of trenches was to be held up till the very last - the final night being fixed provisionally for the 8th-9th - and the detachments vacating it were to hurry straight off to the beaches. So as to deceive the enemy, bombing and rifle fire were to be practised nightly up till 11:30 P.M., after which all activity was to cease. Two possible eventualities had especially to be feared - the sea might get up, or a heavy bombardment of the beaches might be instituted by the Turks while the final evacuation was in progress. As the staff fully foresaw, the enemy would exert greater vigilance than had been the case while the withdrawals had been in progress from the northern areas, these having given the Ottoman authorities warning of what was likely to happen. It ought also to be mentioned that there was a greater accumulation of impedimenta at Helles than there had been at either Anzac or Suvla, so that even if the weather were to remain favourable, it was certain that material of great value would have to be destroyed to prevent its falling into the enemy's hands.
Embarkation operations were carried on almost entirely at " V " and " W " beaches, at both of which there were provisional breakwaters in existence furnishing some shelter when there was an onshore breeze. The weather, as it turned out, was none too favourable on several of the preliminary nights, but, owing to its direction, the wind did not greatly retard the work of removal. The enemy's guns gave a good deal of trouble at the beaches, and caused many casualties. Although steps were taken to conceal what was in progress, the Turkish staff were aware that preparations for evacuation were in full vigour; but they could not foresee the date on which the final flitting would take place, nor could they make sure how far the number of combatants within the British lines had been reduced. With the object apparently of ascertaining the strength of their opponents, the Ottoman forces on the afternoon of Jan. 7 delivered a half-hearted attack upon the left of the British position, following on a violent bombardment; but the assailants were driven off with little difficulty. Nor would they seem to have discovered how weakly held the trenches were; for a considerable proportion of both infantry and artillery had been withdrawn by that date, as only two more nights remained according to the programme. That night the troops still left at Helles were reduced by one-third, and, on the next day breaking fine, it was decided to complete the operation on the following night as intended at the start.
The right half of the British were to withdraw by " V " beach and the left half by " W " beach, except that the final detachments on the extreme left, representing the 13th Division, were to be got off at Gully beach. A large number of guns had been retained ashore in view of the danger of a determined attack by the Turks on the 8th, when the lines were thinly held; it had been decided to abandon several of these, worn-out ordnance being earmarked for the purpose. The artillery still remaining to be embarked was for the most part got afloat during the early hours of darkness, and the infantry followed; but the wind soon began to rise ominously, blowing home from W. and S.W., and as the hours passed the situation at the beaches became disquieting. The last detachments to quit the trenches moved off simultaneously all along the front at 1 r :45 P.M., without the enemy noticing their departure, and they were embarked successfully at " V " and " W " beaches according to schedule in spite of the heavy seas. But the detachments designated for Gully beach could not all be got off at the exposed point, and those left over had to march on to " W " beach at the last moment and were not afloat till nearly 4 A.M., their embarkation being effected with great difficulty owing to the surf. Just before the last boats sheered off the masses of stores which it had been necessary to abandon were set on fire, and only from the glare set up by this conflagration were the Turks made aware that their opponents had evaded them yet again.
Although the evacuation of Helles without appreciable loss in personnel reflected great credit on the British staff and the troops concerned in it, as also on the Royal Navy, whose work at the beaches was carried out under great difficulties, the escape of the final remnants of the Dardanelles army from the Gallipoli Peninsula was facilitated by the negligence of the troops opposed to them. Had the Turks kept befitting guard on the night of the 8th-9th, aware as they were that their antagonists contemplated departure, they must have detected that the British trenches had been vacated. Effectual pursuit might not have been practicable; but the. guns could have been turned on to the beaches, of which the range was exactly known, and embarkation, impeded as it was by the rough water, could hardly have been carried out without many casualties.
After a few days taken up in collecting the troops from Helles in their different divisions at Lemnos, what was left of the Dardanelles army was shipped to Egypt, whither most of the forces from Anzac and Suvla had already proceeded. The total loss of the Allies' military forces in the eight months' contest mounted up to 130,000 killed, wounded and missing.
Most authorities on the art of war agree that the collapse of the Entente in this memorable campaign was primarily due to the abortive naval effort to force the Dardanelles. By embarking on that venture the fleet gave the Turks sufficient warning of what was in store to ensure that, on the date on which Sir I. Hamilton's army was ready to land, the defenders should be in a position to bring it to a standstill. The only chance of the invaders achieving their object after the first week of land fighting depended on their being joined by very substantial additional forces in a region where a belligerent fighting on the defensive in home territory, as the Osmanlis were, enjoyed marked strategical and tactical advantages. But neither the British nor the French could afford to divert great military resources from the main theatre of war in western Europe to the Aegean, and so the struggle for the Straits ended in mortifying discomfiture for the Allies.
(C. E. C.)
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