Marking 100 years since the Gallipoli Campaign

2015 marks 100 years since the Gallipoli Campaign, aka the Battle of Gallipoli, was carried out as part of World War One. Here at Salamander Voyages we’ll be marking the occasion by sailing along the Gallipoli peninsula for guests who want to retrace the historic steps of World War One soldiers.

What was the Gallipoli Campaign?

The Gallipoli Campaign was an Allied attempt to seize the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, thus gaining control of the Dardanelles strait. This would have opened up a supply route from the west to Russia, through the Black Sea.

Winston Churchill thought up the campaign as a way to end the war early, and his idea was simple in principle: create a new war front that the Ottomans could not cope with, forcing the Germans to support their Central allies. This would have split the German army and weakened their front in the east and west, making them easier to defeat.

Why did the Campaign fail?

Although Churchill’s idea looked feasible on paper, it catastrophically failed when it was put into practice. Poor planning in London, coupled with inept leadership in the field meant the Campaign was doomed from the start.

On March 18th 1915 a first attempt was made to take the strait via naval action alone. British and French naval vessels sailed into the strait and started to bombard the Turkish fortifications. Two battleships and a battle cruiser were sunk by mines and the attack was called off.

On April 25th the Allied forces, commanded by General Ian Hamilton, attacked the Gallipoli peninsula again. The Turkish forces, under the command of German General Liman von Sanders, put up a very strong defence. The Allied forces made no headway; and even when reinforcements arrived and a second attempt was made on August 6th, they failed again.

At the beginning of December 1915 Allied troops were evacuated. After three failed attempts from the British, Anzac, and Indian troops, which totalled 480,000 men, 252,000 were killed, wounded, ill, or taken prisoner, rendering the Gallipoli Campaign a failure.