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The Allied invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey

Scottish troops debarking at Gallipoli, 1915.
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Débarquement aux Dardanelles (1915)
Debarking in the Dardanelles (1915)

Scottish troops debarking at Gallipoli, 1915.

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Débarquement aux Dardanelles (1915)

Debarking in the Dardanelles (1915)

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With the failure of the Allied naval attempt to force a fleet through the Dardanelles to seize the Turkish capital of Constantinople and overthrow the government, the Allies turned to an invasion of the Galipoli Peninsula, the northern shore of the Dardanelles. The largest invasion to that time was launched on April 25, 1915 at the southern end of the peninsula, five weeks after the failed naval assault. The limited planning showed.

The British and colonial troops who struggled off of ships at Cape Helles on the end of the peninsula faced machine gun fire and barbed wire. Outdated, poorly-detailed maps gave little indication of the terrain, particularly at Anzac Cove where the Australian and New Zealand troops (ANZACs) landed. At Cape Helles, the invaders made a beachhead. At Anzac Cove, they entrenched on steep hillsides. In both locations, the Turks held the high ground.

Over the next several months the Allies attempted to advance, while the Turks attempted to drive them from the Peninsula. Neither was successful. In August, the Allies invaded again, further north at Suvla Bay. Expecting fierce resistance and meeting none, the tyro soldiers bathed in the sea. Expecting conditions like France, the Allied commander looked for more artillery and entrenchments. By the time, two days later, the troops were ordered to advance, the Turks had begun to arrive in strength, tying the invaders to the shore.

Mounting casualities, lack of progress, and needs for troops elsewhere led to calls for evacuation by politicians and the military. When the government replaced the British commander at Gallipoli, the new commander quickly decided on evacuation, first from Suvla Bay, then from the entire peninsula.

Implausibly, the evacuations of the beachheads on Gallipoli were completed with the loss of two lives. On December 18, 1915, Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove were evacuated. On January 7 and 8, 1916, Cape Helles was.



The Allied invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey is part of The Allied Campaigns in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli.