Who Was Responsible for The Tragedy at Gallipoli in 1915?

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Rochelle Enticknap                Anglo European School

Who Was Responsible for

The Tragedy at Gallipoli in 1915?

A) Plan of the Investigation (2 marks)

On the 25th April 1915, the British landed troops at Helles and Anzac on the Gallipoli peninsular. This began a ten-month campaign in which more then 100,000 allied and Turkish troops were killed, and a quarter of a million wounded. In hindsight, people are searching for a scapegoat on which this tragic loss of life can be placed. (This is important, as this blame is a huge burden to place upon one specific person.) Several people are seen as responsible, (e.g. Churchill, General Sir Ian Hamilton). In this investigation, I hope to discover who really was the force behind this dramatic battle in which a generation of men were totally obliterated. To do this, I shall be looking at the particular events during this campaign that went wrong, such as the landings, and all in all, bad leadership. My sources will include the film “Gallipoli” and various books.

B) Summary of Evidence (5 marks)

By the spring of 1915, the Western Front was completely gridlocked. Neither side could find any means of surprise attack, which ultimately resulted in costly and unproductive direct attacks on well-armed defences. Allied leaders, such as Winston Churchill and Lord Kitchener, searched their maps, in an attempt to find a way around “the impasse”. Collectively, they decided an attack in the Dardanelles Strait, would open a sea lane for the Russians through the black sea, and would provide a base for attacking the Central Powers, through what Churchill called “the soft underbelly of Europe”. It was hoped that this attack, would distract the enemy from the Western Front.

The navy dealt the first strike. The Turkish forts were continually bombarded, opening a way for the minesweepers. However, the allies had not accounted for the strength of the Turkish resistance.

The first Australian soldiers landed at four o’clock, on April 25th 1915. In theory, the landing should have been straightforward. The ships would land on open countryside, with a flat walk to the destination. However, because it was so early in the morning, the lighting was insufficient, and as a result, the naval ratings guiding the tows got lost, and so veered to the left. This was the first mistake made, which was ultimately cause of bad planning. When the boats were landed, the units of soldiers were mixed up, and they were confronted with steeply rising ground. Because of this miscalculation, by the British Admirals and Generals, the 3rd Brigade could not achieve their original objective, which was to capture “Gun Ridge”. There were two companies of Turkish soldiers, which inflicted many injuries on the Australians, before they were driven back. The maps, which the soldiers had been given, were incredibly inaccurate, so the Anzacs did not know what to expect from the country. Already therefore, a large loss of life was down to the poor maps, (drawn up by the British), and a result of miscalculations by the British Navy.

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As a result of the troops’ random placement around the shoreline, the Turks were able to cut down large numbers within minutes. By mid-morning, the whole force was confronted with increased numbers of Turkish soldiers. This was due to a huge amount of misfortune for the allies, as it was on that morning that the Turkish commander had intended to take his troops for an exercise near Hill 971. After the landings, he redistributed his troops for counterattack. In the afternoon and evening, the left position was attacked and the line was driven back to form two positions, “Baby ...

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