The Gallipoli campaign of 1915–16 was an ill-fated Allied attempt to shorten the war by eliminating Turkey, creating a Balkan alliance against the Central Powers, and securing a sea route to Russia. A failure in all respects, the operation ended in disaster, and the Allied forces suffered some 390,000 casualties. This conclusive book assesses the many myths that have emerged about Gallipoli and provides definitive answers to questions that have lingered about the operation.
Robin Prior, a renowned military historian, proceeds step by step through the campaign, dealing with naval, military, and political matters and surveying the operations of all the armies involved: British, Anzac, French, Indian, and Turkish. Relying substantially on original documents, including neglected war diaries and technical military sources, Prior evaluates the strategy, the commanders, and the performance of soldiers on the ground. His conclusions are powerful and unsettling: the naval campaign was not “almost” won, and the land action was not bedeviled by “minor misfortunes.” Instead, the badly conceived Gallipoli campaign was doomed from the start. And even had it been successful, the operation would not have shortened the war by a single day. Despite their bravery, the Allied troops who fell at Gallipoli died in vain.