Today in European history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916)

January 9 is the anniversary of the end of World War I’s very extended Gallipoli campaign, which lasted eight and a half months starting from late April 1915. In full disclosure, the date is a bit misleading–while “January 9” is the date upon which the last British (Canadian, if you want to be particular about it) unit retreated, it was so early in the morning as to really be the night of January 8. But we’re covering it today anyway.

Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges!

2 thoughts on “Today in European history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916)

  1. Thanks for that overview. Gallipoli has long been a special place of interest for me, to the extent that I have made visits to walk the sacred ground. My understanding is that the original plan, in the aftermath of the navy’s failure to neutralize the Turkish shore batteries on the south coast, was to occupy the commanding terrain (and those mountains are pretty damned commanding) and allow the artillery to destroy the Turkish forts at their leisure. Many things went awry, especially the unanticipated currents that swept the landing parties away from their intended beaches. In the viciousness of the ensuing territorial struggles, it somehow appears that the original purpose was lost: the infantry never managed to secure an adequate base for the artillery to do its work, thus the entire campaign turned pointless.

    I say this because there is a persistent idea in some quarters that the commanding officers where stupid. They had their faults, but not so much as to land at the southern tip of the peninsula intending to fight their way up to Constantinople.

    1. As far as I know, the landing at Cape Helles on the tip of the peninsula was intentional, but there were failures to recognize weak spots and instead they threw men at the best-defended landing sites. Hamilton made some mistakes, and Stopford was clearly over his head, but I think the real errors were made back in London, including by St. Winston.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.