The Campaign of Gallipoli 1915-1916, by Marshall Otto Liman von Sanders

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Andy Pay, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    This is abridged from Im Fielde Unbesiegt.

    The Gallipoli campaign resulted from the efforts of Great Britain and France to force the passage of the Dardenelles and the Bosporus, in order to gain a direct route for the despatch of Russian troops, supplies and raw material to the West, and of material of war from the West to Russia: and also in order to cut the communications between the Central Powers and Asiastic Turkey. No less than 100,000 British, apart from the French contingent, were employed in this operation, which was preceeded by an unsuccessful attack by the Entente fleet on March 18th, 1915 - an attack resulting only in the loss of several capital ships and a large number of smaller craft.
    In order to follow up their attack and effect a disembarkation at the mouth of the Straits, a force of 80,000 to 90,000 Allied troops, under General Sir Ian Hamilton, was assembled on the islands of Lemnos and Imbros.
    In view of these facts, Enver Pasha had, on 25th March, 1915, formed the Fifth Turkish Army (consisting at first of the five divisions stationed on either shore of the Dardenelles, and reinforced early in April by thr 3rd Division sent up by sea from Constantinople) under the command of the head of the German Military Commission in Turkey, Marshall Liman von Sanders. Two divisions of this Army were held ready in each of the three sectors considered to be especially menaced; the Gulf of Saros, the southern end of the Gallipoli peninsula and the Asiastic coast. Outposts watched all the line of the shore.
    The British landing took place on 25th April under cover of the guns of the Allied fleet, which heavily shelled all the coast from Kum Kale to Ari Burnu. Over 200 men of war and transports, with a far larger number of pinnaces and smaller vessels, were counted by the Turkish artillery observers. The main attack was accompanied by feints delivered simultaneously against the Gulf of Sarosand Besika Bay.
    As soon as the landing parties were seen to be approaching the shore, the forward Turkish posts opened fire, and the main bodies in rear were brought forward. On the south flank the French got on shore at Kum Kale, but were finally driven back to their ships by the 3rd Turkish Division on 29th April, after four day's fighting. Picked English troops established themselves on the southern end of the peninsula at Sedd-ul-Bahr, despite heavy losses. Trench lines were finally constructed by both sides across the narrow strip of land; the two Turkish divisions from the Gulf of Saros, and the majority of the 3rd Division from the Asiastic shore was brought up, and this sector continued for months to be the scene of heavy fighting. An attempted landing at Gaba Tepe, on the 25th April, was beaten off, but the Anzac Corps conquered and held a small strip of the coast to the west of Ari Burnu. Here, again, repeated attacks made no important headway against Turkish defences.
  2. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    The British, therefore, had recourse to a new landing on a large scale in the Anfarta area, north of Ari Burnu. Five fresh divisions were set ashore on the evening and night of 6th August; only weak detachments, under the command of the Bavarian Major Willmer, were watching the coast here, but their bold front gave the reinforcements, hurried up from the Gulf of Saros, from the Asiatic coast, and from all other sectors where any were available, time to garrison the commanding heights to the east of Suvla, and after 11 days of battle the British attack was checked. It had cost them 15,000 dead and 45,000 wounded. (1)
    The German contingent with the Turkish Army, increased from some 70 men in April to over 500 in August, acquitted themselves magnificently in these difficult and hard-fought operations.
    Fighting continued throughout the late summer and autumn. The Allies, realizing the lack of success and the costliness of the campaign, and fearing for their troops now that the road was opened for the despatch to Turkey of war material and reinforcements by the Central Powers, resolved to withdraw their forces. On the night of 19th-20th December, under cover of a thick mist, they evacuated their Anafarta and Ari Burnu positions. The Turks occupied the British front as soon as it was realized that they had been abandoned, and gradually the whole front was pushed forward to the coast. Fog, gunfire from the hostile fleet, wire entanglements, and land mines prevented the Turks from advancing quickly enough to molest the British embarkation, which was carried out systematically, and was facilitated by the short distance to be transversed between the forward trenches and the shore
    On the night of 8th-9th January, 1916, Sedd-ul-Bahr was evacuated in a like skilful manner, after heavy losses had been caused the Allies by an attack on 7th January against their left flank.
    At all these points much war material was left behind by the British and fell into Turkish hands.
    The eight and a half months fighting on the Gallipoli peninsula had cost the Fifth Turkish Army 218,000 casualties, including 66,000 dead.

    (1) These figures are at least 50% too large.

  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    German Marshall von Sanders was born in Stolp (Polland), on 17 Febrary 1855.
    In 1874 he began his military career in Essen and in 1911 was promoted to general rank.

    In the beginning of the 20th Century, the Ottoman military leaders were looking for the survival of the empire. Liman had first been sent to Istanbul in 1913 as head of the German military mission for the restoration of the army. He was soon appointed inspector general of the Turkish army and was heavily involved in its reorganisation. As the Great War began he became commander of the Turkish First Army. Due to an agreement that had been made with Germany - Liman was given marshal rank.

    It was in March 1915 that he became commander of Turkish Fifth Army, which was responsible for the Gallipoli Peninsula. With this designation, he handled all the regions responsibility but he failed to estimate Anglo-French landing points. He continued to command Turkish forces for nine months.

    Liman returned to prominence early in 1918 as the head of an army group, which was responsible for preventing British General Allenby's advance through Palestine and Syria. However, Liman was unable to prevent the collapse of the front. He was able to do no more than withdraw his forces to Alleppo. From then on Mustafa Kemal replaced him.

    Following Mondros Armistice (30 October 1918) Liman left Turkey. After the war ended he was arrested in Malta in February 1919 on charges of having committed war crimes, but he was released six months later. He retired from the German army that year.
    In 1927 he published a book he had written in captivity in Malta about his experiences before and during the war
    Two years later Otto Liman von Sanders died in Munich at the age of seventy-four.

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