Australia's role in World War II - The Gallipoli Campaign.

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The Gallipoli Campaign

The Gallipoli campaign was a major land and sea operation of World War 1& 2, in which British, French, Australian and New Zealand forces unsuccessfully attempted an invasion of turkey.  The invasion was confined to the Dardanelles strait and the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula near Istanbul.  The Campaign arose with problems faced by Russia; Russia was allied to Britain and France.  They wanted to send men and supplies to Europe although this supply route went from the black sea through the Sea of Marmara, then through the Dardanelle straits to the Mediterranean.  Though the Turkish whom were allied to Germany and Austria controlled all of this area.  The Turks insured that no allied supplies would get through to Russia, and as the Dardanelles was the key to Russia’s supply route.  Russia asked the British and the French to clear the Dardanelles of Turkish control.

The Dardanelles was a narrow stretch of water almost 100 km long The British decided that if they could successfully invade the Gallipoli peninsula it would allow them to open up the Dardanelles, land a large number of troops and invade the rest of Turkey.

What initially was to be exclusively a naval affair failed in February 1915 when several British and French ships were damaged by floating mines. A land invasion was then decided on.  They formed an allied force consisting of 75 000 men, 30 000 of which where ANZAC troops.  

The Australians were glad that they could begin fighting as they had become tired of waiting in Egypt, they had been training for 14 weeks under the command of Lieutenant-General William Birdwood.  Their frustration and boredom led to riots and pranks in Cairo, these actions earned the Australian troops a name for being reckless and uncontrollable.  There was a general sense of excitement among the troops when they knew they were finally going to take part in the war.

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The plan was for the ANZACS to land 21 kilometers north of Cape Helles on a low grassy area that rose gradually to a main hill 7 kilometers away.  The first Australian division of 12 000 troops was to be the first to infiltrate the landing on ANZAC cove, take control of the cliffs and to give cover to the 29th British division and a French division that was to land further south at Cape Helles and Kum Kale.  Their plan was to clear small enemy forces for their positions on the hills, then the soldiers would destroy the ...

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