Anzac Cove, Gallipoli 1915
Roger Hudson describes the bloody stalemate that followed the landing of Allied troops on the Turkish coast.
The Turkish record in recent years and in the first months of the war had not been good. They had lost Libya to Italy in 1911-12 and most of their European territory in the first Balkan War of 1912-13. An attack on the Suez Canal had been repulsed by the British and the Russians had defeated them in the Caucasus, triggering the Turkish genocide of the Armenians. All this helped Churchill to persuade Asquith's Cabinet that it should answer the Grand Duke Nicholas's call for the Allies to remove the distraction of Turkey so Russia could concentrate on attacking the Central Powers. But what seemed a simple matter of a squadron of the Royal Navy's obsolete pre-Dreadnought battleships steaming through the Dardanelles and pounding the Turks into a swift surrender by a bombardment of Constantinople was soon shown to be far from that. Battleships were sunk and shore batteries were not subdued, while the Turks and their German advisers were prompted to strengthen the defences of the Gallipoli peninsula ready for the landings which they rightly anticipated.