18 March 1915: Çanakkale Is Impassable

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The battlefield of the naval battle on 18 March 1915

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Fort Hamidiye under enemy fire during the battle on 18 March 1915

 

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A 381mm dud shell from dreadnought HMS Queen Elisabeth

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Fort Çimenlik in Çanakkale after the enemy bombardment

100 years ago the idyllic town Çanakkale was the center of a very fierce and bloody fighting. This fighting shaped the directly the future of Turkey, accelerate the end of the Romanov dynasty and created an unique Australian identity  following the war.

On 18 March 1915 when the Allied Armada made up of 18 battleships and numerous of cruisers and destroyers tried to forced her way up the Dardanelles. Their destination was Istanbul, the capital of Ottoman Empire.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.0, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. This old battleship had struck a mine. One of the mines laid ten days ago by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a very short time.

In a matter of a couple of minutes first HMS Inflexible and shortly  later HMS Irresistible struck to same mines from Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulios had to be beached at the near by small island in order to be rescued. Suffren heavily damaged by Turkish guns had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs..

Winston Churchill defined those mines as the reason for the prolonging of the war and the enormous casualties, in the interview he made with “Revue de Paris,” in 1930.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allied forces to land troops ob Gallipoli peninsula which led to long and bloody trench warfare.

The legacy and the heroism of the defenders of Çanakkale will never forgotten. Çanakkale geçilmez.

4 Responses to 18 March 1915: Çanakkale Is Impassable

  1. harry dardanel says:

    During the Gallipoli campaign well deserved credit is also due to the Imperial German navy and land forces. Very little is mentioned in the annals of the Gallipoli campaign regarding German contribution. They were at sea, in the trenches, in the air, fighting and dying alongside their gallant Ottoman allies. German submarines in the Gallipoli campaign became a major threat against the invasion armada. Shore batteries were inspected jointly with Ottoman and German officers, joint crews manned some of the vessels. Sorties were planned and performed by joint commands.

  2. Dave Shirlaw says:

    The faulty British shells were what saved the German Navy from being wiped out at Jutland. The fact the Germans knew, was kept in secrecy.

  3. harry dardanel says:

    I might also add that the German Navy gave priority to thicker armor. The Royal Navy mantained its superiority in terms of speed and agility. The issue of duds may well be another major factor in Jutland.

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