After WW1 settled into a trench warfare stalemate on the Western Front, plans were put in place to try and knock the Turks out of the war by attacking Constantinople (Istanbul) and forcing them to surrender. To do this, a passage through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmara had to be forced. Winston Churchill was a strong exponent of this plan. It was not his finest hour .....
On 19th February, 1915, the British Navy attacked the Turkish forts at the Dardanelles.
The assault started with a long range bombardment followed by heavy fire at closer range. As a result of the bombardment the outer forts were abandoned by the Turks. British units and the ANZAC Corps managed to land at Gallipoli, were unable to advance and held on under terrible conditions.
On 14th October, General Munro took over command. After touring all three fronts Munro recommended withdrawal. Lord Kitchener, who arrived two weeks later, agreed that the 105,000 men should be evacuated. The operation began at Suvla Bay on 7th December. The last of the men left on 9th January, 1916.
About 480,000 Allied troops took part in the Gallipoli campaign. The British had 205,000 casualties (43,000 killed). There were more than 33,600 ANZAC losses (over one-third killed) and 47,000 French casualties (5,000 killed). Turkish casualties are estimated at 250,000 (65,000 killed).
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