Apr-25: Gallipoli Revisited
Today is the centennial of the beginning of what is known as the Gallipoli Campaign which was, in some respects, the D-Day of World War I. The assault on the Gallipoli peninsula to open the Dardanelles (and ultimately Constantinople) to the allied navies was the largest amphibious assault since the Persian’s landed at Marathon in 490
It was also a costly failure for the Allies, as what was hoped to be a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly, dragged on for eight months and the invading forces never made it very far from their beach landing. All told an estimated 27,000 French, and 115,000 British and dominion troops (Great Britain and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Newfoundland) killed or wounded, with an estimated 250,000 Turkish and Arab troops killed or wounded defending Gallipoli.
Since the first landing was made by troops of the newly formed British Commonwealth states of Australia (1901) and New Zealand (1907) (Australia and New Zealand Army Corp- ANZAC) it is viewed as marking the birth of national consciousness in both countries and what became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations. April 25th is commemorated as Anzac Day in both Australia and New Zealand. Although, as shown below, there is some rethinking about the glorification of this battle.
The lessons of the Gallipolli campaign had a significant impact upon the development of amphibious operational planning and have since been studied by military planners prior to operations such as the D-Day in 1944 and during the Falklands War in 1982
The tragedy of Gallipoli is compounded by the Turkish government’s embrace of the centennial as a diversion from the April 24th centennial of the Armenian Genocide which Turkey has yet to acknowledge.