Ottomans crush Allied fleet, Dardanelles Campaign, World War I

HMS Irresistible abandoned 18 March 1915 | Wikimedia

On this day, 18 March 1915 CE, the Ottomans pushed back a naval attack launched by the Allies on the Dardanelles Straits and secured a massive victory in World War I. With three battleships sunk and the three others damaged, the naval attack was abandoned by the Allied Powers. Plans then began for a land attack in April 1915.

British HMS Majestic sinking at the Dardanelles | Wikimedia

The first impetus for the campaign came from Russia, which to facilitate its campaign into eastern Anatolia asked the British to mount some kind of operation to divert the Ottomans. After considerable debate, the British decided in favour of an operation proposed by Churchill, a naval expedition “to bombard and take the Gallipoli Peninsula (the western shore of the Dardanelles), with Constantinople as its main objective.”

French battleship Bouvet in the Dardanelles | Wikimedia

After the naval defeat, the Allied troops began their landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula at two places early on April 25, 1915, but the Ottomans remained in their fortifications and beat the British assaults back again and again.

Panoramic view of the Allied fleet in the Dardanelles | Wikimedia

At the end of the campaign, the only real success the British had was, in fact, the evacuation, which took place on December 18-19 on the western banks and January 8-9, 1916, at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Ottoman Gunner Seyit Ali Çabuk, World War I. Seyit Çabuk, by himself, is said to have carried three artillery shells each weighing 275 kg to the 240/35 mm gun and enabled it to continue firing on the Allied Fleet. This photo was taken with a wooden replica of the shell after the war.

There were 213,980 casualties on the British side, and the Ottomans had 120,000 dead and wounded. It was a very costly defeat for the Allied Powers and for the sponsors, especially Winston Churchill.

After this victory of the Ottomans, the morale of the Central Powers was immensely improved.

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