Turkish Defence





              The Evacuation








Gallipoli 1915

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One of the greatest war stories of Turkish history, The Gallipoli Campaign (Battle of Gallipoli) took place in Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey from 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916. Despite the enormous damage, caused to the Turkish Army, the Gallipoli campaign was undoubtedly a disaster for Allies in World War One.

Naval Battle

On 18th March 1915, at the beginning of the Dardanelles campaign, the commander of the Allied fleet, Admiral de Robeck divided the fleet into three sections. The first section entered the straits at 10.30 am. and penetrated as far as the row of mines. The Intepe batteries started a heavy fire.The Intepe, Erenkoy and Tengertepe batteries intensified their fire and a fierce bombardment continued for three hours. In the afternoon Admiral de Robeck withdrew his ships in the third section and threw forward six warships waiting in the rear. During the withdrawal, one of the ships hit a mine and sunk after a terrible explosion.The naval battle continued in all its intensity for seven hours. In the face of the dogged resistance of the Turkish Straits Defense, Admiral de Robeck decided that nothing further could be done that day. During this operation three ships from the Allied Fleet had been sunk and three badly damaged. It was under these circumstances that Admiral de Robeck, at 17.30 brought the days' operation to a close with the order, "All ships, general withdrawal."

Land Battles

In spite of all the efforts in the Dardenelles from 19th February to 18th March nothing had been gained by the Allied Forces. Now, alongside the Naval bombardments and amphibious operation was under consideration in order to capture the peninsula.The Anzac Corps, the 29th British Territorial Infantry Division, the 1st Royal Naval Infantry Division, the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade and the French 1st Infantry Division were to take part in this action. These forces were to be split into two groups, the first group was to seize the Seddulbahir area and open the Straits whilst the second was to land in the Kabatepe region, seize the Conkbayir area and obstruct the Turkish Forces moving down from the north.The Commander of the Ottoman 5th Army had evaluated the defense of the Gallipoli peninsula as of secondary importance. Thus out of six divisions he allocated two divisions and one cavalry brigade to the defense of the Gulf of Saros, two divisions to the defense of the area between Anafartalar and Seddulbahir and the remaining two divisions to the defense of the Asian coast.Of the two divisions deployed on the Gallipoli peninsula one was the 19th division which served as the Chief of Command Reserve Force in Bigali. The commander of this brigade was Mustafa Kemal.At the beginning of the 1st WW, Staff Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal was Military Attaché in Sofia. Preferring to participate personally in the struggle of his county against invading super powers of the time, rather than watching from the sidelines, he requested active military duty from the Chief of Staff. Upon his insistence, he was appointed to the 19th Divisional Command founded in Tekirdag on 1st February 1915.In less than one month, Mustafa Kemal had the division prepared for war. On 25th February, his division was at Eceabat and ready for combat.

The Seddulbahir Battles

At dawn on the 25th April, the Seddulbahir coast was seen to be surrounded by several ships and landing crafts. At 5.30 am. a hellish fire was opened from the allied warships. Bombardment from the sea held the tip of the peninsula under fire from three sides. The 29th British Infantry Division attempted to move into the land. The defending forces broke the first wave of the invading forces with success. Then, with the reinforcements which were later brought in, the operation was extended on the land without much success.The 1st., 2nd., and 3rd Battles of Kirte and Kerevizdere continued from 25th April until the end of May when it turned into chronic local clashes.In June 1915 the battle again intensified and after the bloody Zigindere Battles which began on the 28th June continued for eight days.

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