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Saturday, 25 April 2015


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David war is fluid and unpredictable. The intelligence was crap at Gallipoli as they were waiting with their crossfire on the beaches. My heart goes out to all those men on both sides. How the Lancashire Fusileers got onto the beach in the first assault is amazing. It must have been similar to Omaha Beach.
Then before Market Garden when intelligence was ignored and the comms were useless we just sent the men in to their death.

Sorry, Jimmy, but war is neither "fluid" or "unpredictable". Or at least, it shouldn't be to those who take considerable salaries and many 'honours' to do nothing else but *think* about war. The American civil war had already provided a wealth of information concerning the power of automatic weaponry. In 1899, German staff officers were already working out the disparity in odds between defenders and advancing opponents. What were our lot doing? Fox huntin' and goin' to posh balls, I suspect!

David I will stand by my first sentence however you are right about the rest. I have just started reading an old book the 'Arms Bazzar' by Anthony Sampson. I got it sent from the USA as it seems to be out of print. A nice smelly old book! Cost more for the postage. I read it when it was first published 1977 and recenty mentioned it to my young wife! So I got it just for her.
On another note I attended a LP rally last night and what resembled a female mouthed off about seven Scottish weapons companies supplying Israel. She did not object to the Clyde making WMD. I reffered her! to the above book.

Anthony Sampson! My God, that's a blast from the past. I remember his book 'The Anatomy of Britain' but for the life of me I can't remember whether I read it or not - probably read a serialisation of it in the Sunday Times.

This just appeared - haven't read it yet so ...

Trying to remember where I saw something else on the subject .. very apparently not on D&N elst I'd just hit the archives.

This should keep you busy ...

Jk. Just read the link. Excellent.

For my information -where would the Anzacs ,29th division etc have stopped if they had acheived the desired result. They couldn't have gone on advancing forever.
And would they have stayed wherever they had intended to go.

Duffers I had a grandfather at Gallipoli who later went on to France and Belgium. Obviously he survived.

For an assessment of Churchill's role there is one on www.powerlineblog

If you have 54 minutes to spare let me suggest
It knocks a big hole in the idea that the ANZAC troops landed on the wrong beach.

As to leadership probably the most efficient general of WW1 was blooded at Gallipoli. John Monash [the last General to be knighted in the field] revolutionised the way land warfare was conducted with the combined use of air power, armour, a rolling barrage and infantry attacking simultaneously.

John the ANZAC troops were tasked with taking the third and highest ridge above ANZAC Cove which overlooked the Dardanelles with the eventual aim of cutting off the whole peninsula. They got as far as the second ridge.

The principle difference in the landings was that the ANZAC troops landed in darkness, not at dawn, and without a preliminary bombardment and surprised the defenders. The poor buggers at Cape Helles went ashore after the Turks had been woken up by a preliminary barrage.

John (AussieD) I've not any study/research-experience with Gallipoli.

Just got on this presented as it has been by David, I'm pulling what materials I can from our US Army's Combined Arms Research Library [Leavenworth Kansas] with which David's reader Hank might be better informed. I was Navy.

"For my information -where would the Anzacs ,29th division etc have stopped if they had acheived the desired result."

'Operations of the covering forces of the British 29th Division, to include the night of April 25-26.'

Link to the Powerline post AussieD mentions;

(Thanks AussieD, that Powerline article cleared something up had confused me no end. Some materials I've looked at mention "six months preparations" some, "hardly any planning."

Paragraph 4 "The War Council met 15 times on this issue between November 1914 and mid-March of 1915, when the initial plan for a purely naval attack was abandoned in favor of an amphibious landing."

Paragraph 5 "Finally, at the 13th meeting of the War Council on March 10, Kitchener agreed to release the 29th Division for the Dardanelles. But this was barely a week before the navy’s attack was to be launched, and no plans had been made for landing the troops."

AussieD and JK, thanks for the link but I am underwhelmed by the very first paragraph. He makes reference to a Mel Gibson film which, I suspect, is about as much use historically as a raincoat made of tissue! He also claims that “the bulk of the troops” were made up from ANZAC forces. I cannot find an official, or even unofficial, order of battle but the casualty figures paint a different picture. Using death rates rounded up, UK: 34k; France: 10k (the French were there? Who knew?); ANZAC: 11.5k.

The historian, Saul David, had an article in The Telegraph on Saturday which I cannot find on their useless search engine so I will laboriously type out his final paragraph:

A century on it is time to put the record straight: not to demean the Antipodeans who did indeed fight magnificently in a doomed cause; but rather to acknowledge the far greater contribution made by their less heralded allies and to scotch, once and for all, the myth that brave young Australians and New Zealanders were needlessly sacrificed by callous British generals.”

Please note that they are his opinions not mine because my ignorance is immense – and I am still waiting for someone to point me at a rigorously academic book on the subject!

“A century on it etc.

The reference to Mel Gibson is, I think, a bit tongue in cheek. It has always been a common theme here that all Empire/Commonwealth troops, including the ANZACS, were sacrificed by incompetent generals.

The landing at Cape Helles from the ship River Clyde has to have been the most ill conceived attack of the campaign. The slaughter of the UK troops was unpardonable. Hunter-Weston, the General commanding, should have been shot even if just to encourage the others.

The British Empire, Dominion and French forces suffered severely on Gallipoli. More than 21,000 British, 10,000 French, 8,000 Australians, 2,400 New Zealanders, 1,350 Indians and 49 Newfoundlanders died on the peninsula.

For Australia and New Zealand this campaign was a defining moment in our emergence as distinct identities separate from just being regarded as colonies of Mother England. We lost far more men on the Western Front than at Gallipoli and in retrospect we should be looking to the achievements there rather than Gallipoli.

The arguments around this campaign started on 26 April, 1915.

I forgot to mention the absolute shambles of the landing, unopposed, at Suvla under command of General Stopford. His dithering cost thousands of British lives when he eventually got around to moving and his failure to move as soon as he landed cost many Australian lives as well.

Duffers you will find the Australian War Memorial archives on line a fountain of information.

Thanks, AussieD, and I do take your point that this 'campaign', if it deserves such an appellation, was a defining moment for Australia and NZ, truly, a sort of 'coming of age'.

According to Wiki, the *death* rates were as follows:

UK: 34,072
French: 9,798
ANZAC combined: 11,430
India: 1,358
Newfoundland: 49

What a mess - and all for nothing!

This might work ... then again, it might not.

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