This would not be the last time in that war that the British pride in their navy operated to make them duck putting a critical battle to the issue. We looked at those guns on our way to Troy. Then, after a night at Cannakale, we returned to the European side. We then spent about five hours going around the major sites, such as Anzac Cove and Lone Pine. When we got to the summit of the ridge called Chunuk Bair, we could see the narrows of the Dardanelles. My guide told me that the New Zealanders had taken this peak, and that if the Allied forces had been able to hold it, they could well have broken through and gone on to Constantinople.

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Start your review of Gallipoli Write a review Shelves: non-fiction , australia , history , england , world-war-1 , turkey , new-zealand This is a terrific synthesis and masterful narrative of a debacle of a high order in the early part of World War 1. Over about a years time, starting with naval actions in February and massive amphibious landings at the end of April, the Gallipoli campaign incurred about , battle casualties among both the Allied and Ottoman Turkish troops.

The Allied forces, which included a large contingent of Australian and New Zealand soldiers ANZAC , never succeeded in advancing more than a This is a terrific synthesis and masterful narrative of a debacle of a high order in the early part of World War 1. The Allied forces, which included a large contingent of Australian and New Zealand soldiers ANZAC , never succeeded in advancing more than a couple of thousand yards up the cliffs and hills of the rough, arid lands at the southern portions of the peninsula overlooking the Dardanelles.

The Turks retained the high ground throughout, and a stalemate of trench warfare developed. The typical futile charges of ranks of men with rifles and bayonets against machine guns resembles the same depressing situation as the Western Front, with the same tragic outcome of mass slaughter wrought by 19th century tactics against modern weapons. In this centennial period after the Great War, I feel the need to dig deeper on the themes and human stories behind this useless war.

To honor heroes and vilify villains, and to seek lessons and flaws in human nature that led us astray. The author Carylon fulfills these goals with great expertise of research and writing talent. The British and French navies were tasked to force the Dardanelles passage from the Mediterranean to Constantinople and thereby secure a route from the Black Sea for their ally Russia to effectively join their desperate standoff with the German and Austro-Hungarian empires in Europe.

From my perspective, a surprise naval strike combined with minesweeping operations this was a great idea of Churchill in his Admiralty cabinet post. But it was executed too slowly, giving the Turks enough time to beef up their artillery at the many small forts along the passage and bring in mobile howitzers. Carylon puts the failure in plain terms: …the battle for the Dardanelles …is about a riddle worthy of Catch So much pressure fell on the admiral in charge that in March he gambled a massive attack by his armada to give the minesweepers a chance to do their work, with an outcome of three battleships sunk and three other warships seriously damaged.

If they had only persisted, they might have broken through, as the Turks were almost out of artillery shells and had no more mines in reserve. But instead fate was sealed with a crash plan put in motion by the War Council and Field Marshall Kitchener in London for landing army forces on the peninsula to take the peninsula and silence the artillery cover of the waterway.

General Ian Hamilton was dispatched to assume supreme command of the joint forces, without any staff, a clear plan, or even decent maps. Pulling off the landing of nearly 80, troops at night by the end of April was quite an accomplishment. But chaos, confusion, and critical mistakes abounded every step of the way. The first mistake was that Turks and the German supervisors of the Ottoman forces knew of the plans from leaks associated with the assembly of Allied forces in Alexandria and Lemnos.

The site of the British landings at the tip of the peninsula Cape Helles was well defended, whereas that for the ANZAC forces further up the western side of Gallipoli was mistakenly made at an unpropitious beach surrounded by steep hills but easily defended by the small force at hand.

Kemal Mustafa the future Attaturk and his German commander Liman von Sanders brilliantly marshalled their limited and poorly equipped troops and artillery to restrain the advance of the Allies and keep them off the commanding ridges. As time went on, each step the Allies made in garnering more troop deployments out of Kitchner was met with more Turkish troops and infusions of German armaments. Rough country facing the Anzacs after their mistargeted landing via towed barges on the night of Apr.

In hindsight, we want to ask why the War Council recognize the stalemate for what is was and pull out after the first month. He suffered from perpetual optimism, and thus failed to convey in his reports to London the dire situation the expeditionary forces were in and the extent of casualties being sustained in reality. Carylon finds him blameworthy for not pressing hard enough for Kitchener to supply the hundreds of thousands of troops that were really needed and consequently ended up getting inadequate allotments in phases.

The author digs deep to arrive at a trove of paradoxes in the character of Hamilton and reaches some compelling conclusions on how they likely contributed to his costly failures in leadership. He is too ambiguous: too many layers, too many characters. He looks frail yet hums with nervous energy. He is brave. He does however, detest capitalists and money grubbers, even though he is wealthy himself. He has been a soldier for 42 years…. Yet another part of him yearns to be Keats or, better still, Rupert Brook.

He is in the killing business and admits he loves a fight, yet he is courtly and kindly. People call him sanguine. He sees a rose where others see a cabbage. Like Don Quixote, he is seldom aware of defeats.

He believed in the magnificent intangibles: courage, will, character, sacrifice. Nothing wrong with this. Except that Hamilton seemed to think that in these things alone could win battles, as they once did in the Highlands. He gave in to Kitchner too much. He had let Hunter-Weston butcher the Helles divisions in July.

He spent too much time writing press reports. He probably would have got away with commanding an army in France. He needed a father figure close by, a Kitchener or Roberts just across the Channel. In his tent on Imbros in Hamilton was more desolate than an astronaut on the moon in Neil Armstrong could at least talk to Houston whenever he wished.

At age 62, he has had 42 years military experience for the British Empire, on top of being a gentleman, a poet, and a friend of Churchill. His failures were rewarded by sacking in October, before the withdrawal of all forces in January He seems to have been too kind in his leadership and too lenient in letting blundering by his subordinate commanders continue into disasters.

Mustafa Kemal, the inspiring and diligent military captain of the Turks at Anzac in Gallipoli and later commander of the critical 19th division. He was a member of the revolutionary cabal which took over control of the Ottoman Empire in Committee of Union and Progress He later leveraged his success in war to become the first president of the Republic of Turkey in , serving until his assassination in Otto Liman von Sanders, the crafty and cantankerous Prussian commander of the Ottoman 5th Army in the war.

He bonded well with Kemal and made a smart move in promoting him to divisional command. The stories of the leaders are well balanced with vignettes revealed from the diaries and journals of the soldiers in the field. After a period of demonizing their opponents and take-no-prisoners attitudes, they soon came to respect their enemies. Both suffered terribly from shortages of water for drinking and cleaning and rampant disease like typhoid and dysentery.

On both sides the casualties from disease approached , The evacuation of the Allied wounded from the hillside battle lines was a nightmare, and long waits on the beaches for boats was extended by a long transport to British colonial hospitals.

Donkeys played a big role in this campaign. Accounts of the impact of these factors include many acts of heroism in dealing with the travail, often under constant sniping fire. From the start, the censored journalism that came out of the war leaned to propaganda. Many of the stories came from the well connected and aristocratic reporter Ellis Ashmead-Burnett.

His account of the first days of fighting for the Australian papers puts a mythic, romantic gloss on the fighting: I have never seen anything like these wounded Australians in war before. Though many were shot to bits, without hope of recovery, their cheers resounded throughout the night …They were happy because they knew they had been tried for the first time and not found wanting…These raw colonial troops, in these desperate hours, proved worthy to fight side by side with the heroes of Mons, the Aisne, Ypres and Neuve Chapelle.

Another important journalist on site for the duration of the campaign, Charles Bean, aimed for accuracy as the official Australian historian. His history completed after the war is a resource Carylon frequently touches base with, yet finds it overall too simplistic and biased in some ways: Bean wrote that the war was like a crusade to Australians.

This was certainly the way the story played in newspapers. They, more than any nation, were responsible for the world war starting. Yet it was not so simple as Bean and others saw it in Belgium indeed knew all about atrocities: it had been committing them in the Congo for decades. Even British democracy was a selective thing. Carylon is particularly pissed at how the journalists, historians, and memoirs of the generals whitewashed some of the terrible faults of certain divisional and regimental commanders in the August escalation of the battle.

Ian Hamilton had to take responsibility for the failure of the overall operation and plan, as outlined here: Whenever one reflects on the Gallipoli campaign, there is the temptation to judge the men and events of by the values and knowledge of today. To do so is not only unfair; it is an obstacle to understanding. That acknowledged, one has to say that the plans for the August offensive …were too complex. It was like an exotic bet on a series of horse races.

There were to be three new fronts, two on the left of Anzac and one at Sulva, plus diversions at Anzac and Helles. One hundred thousand Allied troops would be in action on five fronts.

The capture of the Sari Bair heights from Anzac, directed by General Godley, was the main event; the landing at Suvla under Stopford was the sideshow, if a big one.

He could drive southeast from here, into the Sari Bair range and the Turkish flank. This was the crucial point.

Owning the Suvla beachfront was no prize. The troops at Suvla only mattered when they moved to threatened something. Doddering old General Stopford of the administrative only experience had seniority for a battlefield position that put him in charge of the new landing at Suvla Bay.

The landings went off well, but he failed to pursue the easy mission to secure the high ground beyond the beaches, allowing strong Turkish forces to take up a commanding position during the night. He was later sacked for the ensuing costly defeats on that objective. Carylon feels that Stopford is used as a scapegoat for the even more egregious actions above Anzac beach during the August initiative.

That is the powerful scene we see at the end of the Weir movie. Rather than knowingly directing a certain suicidal attack like the movie suggests, Carylon sees it as more like a robotic neglect assuming the proportions of murder: Antill behaved like he always did, like a bull strung up in barbed wire.

Antill gave orders without finding out what was happening. He could easily have justified calling the attack off; the failure of the first line proved the objective was unattainable. This disaster was subject to widespread neglect in coverage: The incident at the Nek was like incest: no one in the family much wanted to talk about it. Everyone in authority felt guilt that such a thing could happen. They became a mutual protection society and offered the occasional alibi.

Hamilton gives the slaughter there no mention in his page memoir. After the failure of the August attacks, Ashmead-Burdett broke the chain of communications and voiced his despairing opinions about the futility of the whole campaign in a letter he wanted to convey to PM Asquith. He was particularly concerned about the prospects of winter killing so many from cold and flooding of the trenches.

And soon that came to pass.


Les Carlyon, former editor of The Age, dies aged 76

Living is the trick. Right up to the final weeks of the illness that ended his life today when Les worked at the craft that made his name, his soaring intellect anchored by homespun wisdom. Picture: David Caird. He was welcome at any club in the land, on first names with the rich and powerful, especially the horse racing variety, but would rather be home with his wife Denise and children and grandchildren. Les had his weaknesses — cigarettes and black coffee and the form guide — but never succumbed to the temptation to take himself seriously.


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Journalist, author and historian Les Carlyon has died, aged Key points: Les Carlyon has been described as a "giant of a man who gave [Australia] many gifts" The journalist was a former editor for The Age and editor-in-chief of The Herald and Weekly Times group In addition to his work in journalism, Carlyon wrote six books and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia Carlyon, who was a former editor of The Age, editor-in-chief of The Herald and Weekly Times group, a frequent contributor to The Bulletin and a visiting lecturer in journalism at RMIT University, died on Monday. The cause of his death was not immediately made public. In addition to his career in journalism, Carlyon also wrote six books on sport and Australian history in his lifetime, including the critically acclaimed Gallipoli and The Great War. Sorry, this video has expired Video: Author and journalist Les Carlyon recognised.


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In his view the Allied attempt to capture the peninsula guarding the Dardanelles, the artery that leads from the eastern Mediterranean to the heart of Turkey, came into the second category. Immediately after the debacle, which cost the lives of 21, Britons, 10, Frenchmen, 8, Australians and 2, New Zealanders, most people agreed with him. But historical fashions change and today the consensus is that Gallipoli was a bloody disaster. A veteran journalist from down under, he is not in quite the same league as Alan Moorehead or Robert Hughes. Carlyon is not always reliable; for example, he accuses Winston Churchill of believing that "detail is for clerks" when a major count against the impetuous first lord of the Admiralty was that he constantly fussed about minutiae.

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