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Gallipoli campaign

Gallipoli campaign, 1915, Allied expedition in World War I for the purpose of gaining control of the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, capturing Constantinople, and opening a Black Sea supply route to Russia. The idea of forcing the straits was originally promoted by Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty. After the failure (Mar., 1915) of a British naval force to open the straits, British, Australian, and New Zealand troops landed (Apr. 25) at various points on the east coast of the Gallipoli Peninsula, while a French force landed on the Asian side of the straits. The Turks, under General Liman von Sanders, had been reinforced, and they put up stubborn resistance, preventing the Allies from making any important gains. Allied cooperation was poor, and there was lack of coordination between land and naval forces that resulted in a premature naval attack without sufficient support from the army. The two-month lag between the navy's arrival at Gallipoli (Feb., 1915) and the arrival of land forces (Apr., 1915) gave the Turkish army ample time to reinforce its troops. By April, the Turks had deployed six times as many troops as they had ready two months earlier. The landing (Aug., 1915) at Suvla on the west coast of the peninsula resulted in severe casualties. After months of costly fighting the Allied commander, Sir Ian Hamilton, was replaced by Sir Charles Munro, and the Allies withdrew from the area on Jan. 9, 1916. The evacuation was brilliantly executed.

See Sir Ian Hamilton, Gallipoli Diary (1920); R. R. James, Gallipoli (1965).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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