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Why did the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 fail?

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Introduction

Why did the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 fail? The Gallipoli campaign of 1915 initially appeared to be an extremely attractive scheme. Due to the current stalemate on the Western Front, there was fast becoming a need for an alternate strategy to break the immovable deadlock. As Turkey was an ally of Germany, an easy victory against them would knock them out of the war, damage German morale and safeguard the Suez Canal from attack. Other nations (Greece and Romania etc) who were considering joining the war would also be influenced to join on the side of the allies and a Turkish defeat would open up trade routes through the Dardanelles. Although the campaign failed, Lord Birdwood seemed to see successes from it. In Khaki and Gown, he wrote: "even though we failed, we had destroyed the flower of the Turkish army and prepared the way for Allenby's glorious victory." He adds: "The campaign had far reaching effects in strengthening and emphasizing the essential unity and homogenesis of the British Commonwealth," which show how the campaign wasn't a complete failure and that it was a stepping stone to future victory. ...read more.

Middle

In the summer, it would be hot and ground conditions would be sometimes impossible which would lead to slow attacks and the inability to gain control of vital landmarks in time. Further to the lack of planning, there were no maps available to the troops and no proper briefing for them. If they had been told where exactly they were going and what to do in certain situations then perhaps there could have been a victory. Adding to this point, the allies did not know what weapons or how many troops the Turks had and this led to a stereotypical view of the Turks as them being bad fighters and an easy victory would ensue. These would prove to be important factors in the downfall of the scheme. There are also many short term reasons to why the campaign failed. Firstly, there were missed opportunities such as on March 18th when the original campaign to take the Turkish troops by surprise failed and then the Turkish had time to defend the area in preparation for another attack. If only De Roebeck had pressed on, instead of stopping and turning back then there could have possibly been a different outcome. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lack of fit, able officers caused unsuitable generals such as Stopford to be appointed, who made rash decisions. The outcome of the campaign sometimes depended on these judgments and the campaign may have been successful if generals such as Byng and Rawlinson were sacrificed from the Western Front and employed in the Gallipoli campaign. Even basic resources were missing such as water. This had a knock-on effect in that soldiers were drinking infected water which led to disease and death. This caused many troops to be lost from battle and therefore an easier victory for the Turkish troops. If the officers such as De Roebeck had been briefed properly and earlier then they could have pressed on to a foreseeable easy victory, which is even highlighted by German commander Liman Von Sanders who said:" Had it been effected with resolution and energy, it would probably have effected very far-reaching results." (Khaki and Gown (1941)) Overall, I feel that it was a good idea to pursue the Gallipoli campaign but due to long and short term factors such as inexperienced generals, the lack of supplies and poor preparation it failed. Although it was not a complete failure, it was good ideas which lead to future victory and was always remarkably close to success. ...read more.

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