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From the Monitor Archives: Invasion of Gallipoli begins in WWI

The Allied invasion of Ottoman-controlled Gallipoli was meant to lay the groundwork for the capture of Constantinople, but ended in failure. Still, the campaign had a profound effect beyond its military significance.

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    Page 1 of the Apr. 27, 1915, edition of the Monitor.
    The Christian Science Monitor, ProQuest
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These articles originally ran in The Christian Science Monitor on April 27 and 28, 1915, a few days after Allied forces began their invasion of the Dardanelles, the beginning of what has become known as the Battle of Gallipoli. Modern place names are inserted in brackets where applicable.

The Gallipoli peninsula sits on the north side of the Dardanelles strait, a waterway leading from the Aegean Sea in the Mediterranean up to the Sea of Marmara, where Constantinople (now Istanbul) lies. The Allies saw it as a prime military target: seize the peninsula and then sail up the strait to take the Ottoman capital, effectively cutting the Ottoman Empire in two and forcing them out of the war. The Allies sketched out an invasion plan that included naval bombardment of Turkish fortifications in support of a land invasion by British, Australian, New Zealand, and French troops.

After several false starts, the invasion began on April 25, 1915. All did not go according to plan. Though the Allied forces were able to quickly seize several beachheads along the peninsula, the Turks, dug in high above the beaches, soon forced a standstill. The struggle lasted for eight months, and like the trench warfare on the Western Front, the Gallipoli campaign turned into a battle of inches and attrition, with high casualties exchanged for little result. By the time Allied forces withdrew from Gallipoli in January 1916, some 100,000 soldiers had died, roughly evenly split between both the Allies and the Turks, and more than 200,000 had been injured.

The campaign had a lasting effect far beyond the war, however. The bravery and sacrifices made by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) during the campaign proved key in the British territories of Australia and New Zealand developing a national pride. Similarly, Gallipoli cemented the reputation of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who commanded the Turkish reinforcements that held the Allies at bay, as a hero. He went on to found modern Turkey. 

ALLIES RESUME GENERAL ATTACK ON DARDANELLES

London Declares Troops Landed on Gallipoli Peninsula — Turks Report Russian Fleet Opens

Special Cable to The Christian Science Monitor from its European Bureau

LONDON, April 26 — The war office and the admiralty announce the resumption of a general attack on the Dardanelles by the fleet and the army yesterday.

The disembarkation of the army, covered by the fleet, commenced before sunrise at various points on the Gallipoli peninsula, and in spite of a serious opposition from the Turks, in a strong entrenchment protected by barbed wire, was completely successful, large forces being established on the shore before nightfall.

The landing of the army and the ad­vance continues.

Map shows Gallipoli peninsula, the Bosphorus, and other points of importance in connection with the operations at the Dardanelles and the Black sea. The Christian Science Monitor, ProQuest

FRENCH OCCUPY KUM KALESI SAY OFFICIAL NOTES

Statement Issued in Paris Re­garding Operations at Darda­nelles Declares French Troops Entered Village — Fleet Aided

ADVANCE CONTINUES

London Report Tells of the Land­ing on Gallipoli, While Cairo Announces Allies Have Troops on Both Sides of Peninsula

Special Cable to The Christian Science Monitor from Its European Bureau

PARIS, April 27 – The following official statement regarding the Dardanelles operations was issued tonight: “During the disembarkation Sunday of the allied forces at the Dardanelles, French troops comprising infantry and artillery had been designated particu­larly for operations at Kum Kalesi [Kumkale]. on the Asiatic side. This mission was completely mid successfully fulfilled.

“Aided by the cannon of the French fleet and under the lire of the enemy, our troops succeeded in occupying the village and have continued its occupation, de­spite seven counter-attacks at night, supported by heavy artillery.

“We took 500 prisoners and the losses to the enemy appear to have been considerable.

“The general disembarkation of the allied forces continues under good conditions."

LONDON, April 27 – A joint war office and admiralty statement says:

“After days of hard fighting in a difficult country the troops landed on Gallipoli peninsula are thoroughly mak­ing good their footing with Hie effective, help of the navy. The French have taken

The statement appends the following, which, it says, is officially published at

“The allied forces under General-Sir Ian Hamilton have effected a landing on both sides of the Dardanelles under ex­cellent conditions. Many prisoners have been taken and our forces are continuing their advance."

A despatch from Constantinople, by way of Amsterdam, says:

"The Turkish war department today gave out the following official state­ment:

"'Under the protection of warships the enemy attempted to land troops Sunday at four points on the west coast of Gallipoli, namely, at the mouth of Sighinders, on the coast in the district of Aviburn to the west of Kabatepeh, on the coast of Tekeburu and in the neighborhood of Kum Kalesi.

“The troops of the nemy [sic] which landed at Tekeburu were forced to retreat at the point of the bayonet and were pinked back to the coast. Part of these forces on Monday night were obliged hastily to return to their ships. The Turkish at­tacks at all points me progressing successfully.

"Simultaneously a fleet approached the Dardanelles in order to force the straits from the sea, but it was obliged to retreat before our fire.

"The forces of the enemy, which landed at Kum Kalesi, advanced under the protection of warships, but despite a heavy bombardment from all sides, our troops drove them back to the coast.

“‘The enemy lost 400 men and 200 taken prisoners. Our losses were insignificant.

"'A party of Moslem soldiers who landed with the French troops on this point of tile coast deserted the French and joined our forces.

"‘Before Kabatepeh we captured a number of English and Australian sol­diers, among them a captain and a lieutenant.

“‘When the enemy’s fleet approached the straits our fire sank one of their torpedo boats and damaged another so severely that it had to be towed to Tenedos. The enemy did not undertake any operations from the sea against the Dardanelles the following day.’”

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