Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Run-down on the Gentleman's War

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country, therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Jonnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side. Here in this country of ours...
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bossom, and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

Mustafa Kemal ATATURK ANZAC Memorial, 1934.

The battle of gallipoli was branded the gentelman's war on account of the unique sense of respect that existed between the anzacs and the Turkish troops during the campaign.

Here is a brief account of what happened in Gallipoli (it may or may not be correct), and some photos:
  • Churchill ordered the anzacs to launch an offensive on the gallipoli peninsula, as a first step in a plan to capture the city of constantinople (now called istanbul). Constantinople was the capital of the Ottoman empire, which was an allay of Germany (the baddies). The purpose was to allow the british empire to gain control of the Black Sea, was would have given them marine access to Russia and Central Asia, and would have been a strategic gain in the war against the dirty Germans.
  • The anzac attack followed an unsuccessful naval assault by the Brits and French on the Sea of marmaras (the ocean leading from the mediterrainean to the Black Sea). However, the fleet got bombed to high heaven so the brits decided that it was necessary to first take the peninsula, then to send the navy later.
  • The anzac offensive didnt go nearly as well as was anticipated. The poorly planned offensive resulted in thousands of kiwis and aussies being ordered to their death by english generals. They were hammered by the entrenched Turkish troops upon their landing at the small cove.
  • After several weeks of fierce battle the sides called a truce to allow for the recovery of bodies from the battle fields. This show of humanity caused something of a sea change in the battle. At this stage, both sides were in a futile position, and were unable to advance. This lead to a two month stalemate in the battle.
  • During this time a sense of comradery developed between the anzacs and the turks, whom were both bored shtless. THe troops chatted and traded cigaretts and confectionary (by throwing them between bunkers, which in places were only 7m apart). ONe famous strory involved a turk soldier running into the line of fire to save an injured australian man. He carried him to safety, before resuming his position in the trenches.
  • A couple of months later the anzacs launched another offensive, but poor decisions made by English generals led to the anzacs being left unsupported in a precarious position after taking a strategic peak on the peninsula. THe kiwis were forced to retreat and the offensive was called off.
  • After this second botched offensive. Churchill replaced his general in charge of the campaign with a proper general. The new general assessed the situation and immediately recommended a full withdrawal of troops, noting that the battle was unwinnable from the beginning.
What a waste of young lives.

1 comment:

Mum and Dad said...

Hi Jase
I have finally got around to sitting and responding to your blog that I acutally read in QT. This mad me feel sad and it reminded me of when you left and i felt how lucky we were that you weren't off to war.