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World War I Tuesday, 3 November, 1998, 11:13 GMT
Gallipoli: Heat and thirst
Map  of Gallipoli
The Gallipoli campaign was a disaster from beginning to end. The mission was ineptly commanded and poorly equipped. After nine months of deadlock and the loss of more than 100,000 lives the allies eventually withdrew their attack on the peninsula.

The campaign took place between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. The offensive's ultimate aim was to push through the Dardanelles straits and capture Constantinople, the Turkish capital. If a breakthrough had been achieved, the Turks, who were allied with the central powers (Austria and Germany), would have been unable to prevent Britain and France from joining the Russians in the war against Austria-Hungary and Turkey.

After the previous failure of the British and French naval fleets to take the Gallipoli peninsula, the allies felt there was little alternative but to attempt an amphibious landing.

Gallipoli
The Anzacs were pinned down on the beaches
On 25 April two landings were made; the main force of 35,000 men under Lieutenant General Hunter Weston landed at Cape Helles.

This was supported by a smaller force of 17,000 men from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) under General Sir William Birdwood. This force landed at what became known as Anzac cove, a mile north of their intended destination and surrounded by deep cliffs.

The Anzacs were to move inland and seize the Sari Bari heights but soon met with a Turkish counter attack, commanded by Mustapha Kemal, the future president of the Turkish Republic.

By nightfall the Anzacs had suffered 2,000 casualties and were fighting to stay on the beach.

The force at Cape Helles had also made little progress and come under attack from the Turks. For two weeks allies remained on the beaches losing one third of their force.

Much of the failure has been attributed to poor coordination and leadership from the British General Sir Ian Hamilton, who chose to command the whole operation from aboard a ship.

Another 25,000 men were landed near Anzac Cove and more at Cape Helles in August. The allies made another thrust, but to no avail. Deadlock on the beaches persisted.

The whole offensive was finally called off in December and troops evacuated.

Although the campaign had taken some of the pressure off the Russian front, its overall failure encouraged Bulgaria to ally with the central powers.

During the 10 months the allied forces had been pinned down by the Turks, more than 90,000 had become sick with dysentery and frostbite.

The Gallipoli campaign also cost the lives of more than 100,000 allied and Turkish soldiers with another quarter of a million wounded.

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Gallipoli veterans remember the time they spent on the peninsula
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