Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

18 March 1915 must have been an unforgettable day for a ship spotter.

A mighty Allied fleet consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy were ready to fight the forts protecting Dardanelles.

The Royal Navy and French warships tried to force their way through the Dardanelles to affect the capture of Istanbul then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

Most of the ships of the Allied Fleet were old or made nearly obsolete with the fast advance of the new ships of the Dreadnought area. The first class capital ships were kept at home to protect it.

Nevertheless it was a fine and powerful Fleet and an epoch changing fight.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honors then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

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Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

CDY_6757

This is the replica of the Ottoman mine layer Nusrat. Her mines made a history. This small ship with her few mines had an impart on the history beyond her size.

One hundred and one years ago the idyllic town of Çanakkale was the center of a very fierce and bloody fighting, which shaped the directly the future of Turkey, which became a modern, secular state after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

A mighty armada of Royal Navy and French warships tried to force its was through the Dardanelles to effect the capture of Istanbul but then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

After the initiation of hostilities in mid-February 1915, the Allied armada effectively silenced the Ottoman outer defences on the both sides of the Çanakkale Strait. Next they would try to silence the inner forts and clear as many mines as possible.

The battleships were arranged in three lines, two British and one French, with supporting vessels on the flanks and two ships in reserve.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and FNS Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and FNS Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. FNS Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honours then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

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.

Lest We Forget: The Gallipoli Campaign

Yesterday and today at dawn, many Turks, Australians and New Zealanders commemorated the 99th anniversary of the  Gallipoli wars and the death. This is post I have written 4 years ago. But I don’t think anything has changed.

It was clear to the Allied commanders, after their attempt to force the Dardanelles by the naval alone, failed dramatically in 18 March; ground troops were needed to silence the Turkish defenses along the Strait.

On the dawn of 25th April after more a month of preparation and planning British, French and ANZAC troops landed on the beach on Gallipoli and Anatolia. This was the beginning of the one of the gruesome campaigns of the First World War.

For the next 8 and half months over 200.000 soldiers of all participants were either killed, wounded, hospitalized by illness or went missing.

The Gallipoli wars were particularly important for Turks, Australians and New Zealanders. Although the ANZAC came to our home as invaders there is a special bond between these nations. Long forgotten are the atrocities of the war. Every year thousands of Aussies and Kiwis come to Çanakkale and visit the battleground and attend the dawn service in Anzac Cove (now this is the official name of the cove). I do not know any other commemoration where two former enemies join to remember their fallen soldiers.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who personally fought against the ANZAC’s in Gallipoli, later wrote in 1934 for his former advisories the following words:

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 Johnnies and the Mehmet’s to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.

Lest We Forget: The Minelayer Nusret.

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TCG Nusret. A swimming replica of the original.

There are a few ships, that directly influenced the history. The small minelayer Nusret is one of them. Perhaps the smallest of them.

Today is the 98th anniversary of the victory of Turkish forces over the Allied Fleet in the Dardanelles. It is the proper time to remember this small minelayer constructed in Germany  in service of Ottoman Navy as the mines she has planted changes the course of the history.

Known as the Çanakkale Naval Victory, in Turkey, this battle effectively sunk (no pun indented) the hopes of the British Admiralty and Churchill to force the Turkish Straits and a quickly dash to Istanbul to occupy it. This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force in order to bring Dardanelles under their control and led to the merciless Gallipoli Campaign.

Churchill realized that if Allies could eliminate Ottoman Empire from the war, they could help Russia via Black Sea and could pressure Central Powers from the east as well.

While the main of the British Army deeply entrench in Belgium and France and the most potent s capital ships loitering in the North Sea Allied Forces had few forces to spare for such a secondary and diversionary front.

The plan of the British Admiralty was to bombard the forts that were protecting the shores of Dardanelles to annihilation and later clean the mines to open the way for Allied warships to sail to Istanbul.

The order of the battle for the Allied fleet consisted of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump,  HMS Ocean HMS Majestic HMS Swiftsure HMS Vengeance HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy.

The fighting began at around 10:00 in the morning. Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied forces until at around 14:00 a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the Bouvet. She had struck a mine. The ship was in Erenköy Bay a part of the Strait previously cleared by Allied minesweepers and used by larger ships for maneuvering during previous engagements.

In the night of 8th March Nusret created a single line of 20 mines in the Erenköy Bay. This line was unique as she was parallel to the shore. This new single mine line consisting of 20 mines, changed the whole history.

During the heat of the action the Allied forces are not able to determine whether Bouvet hit a mine or was hit by a shell from a cannon ashore.

At 16:00 first HMS Inflexible, 5 minutes later HMS Irresistible struck to mines laid in Erenköy Bay. HMS Ocean was ordered to tow the now abandoned HMS Irresistible. But she too hit a mine at around 18:00, followed moments later by a shell that penetrated to a magazine below the water line.

Of the 16 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.

This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force to occupy the hills commanding Dardanelles in order to destroy the forts protecting the straits and mine fields. This campaign was too destined to be a defeat for the Allies.

>The Legendary Mine Layer Nusret, In Active Duty Again!

>

N-16 TCG Nusret

There are a few ships, that directly influenced the history. The small minelayer Nusret is one of them. Perhaps the smallest of them.

She was a German built mine layer in service of Ottoman Navy when she laid 20 new mines to a bay which was used previously cleared by Allied mine sweepers. This bay was used to maneuver Allied battleships when they were bombarding the forts along Dardanelles at the beginning of March 1915.

These latest mines of Nusret were laid parallel to the shore as an exception.

On 18 March 1915 when the Allied Armada forced her way up the Dardanelles, everything seem to be on their  side. until at around 14:00 a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the Bouvet. This old French battleship had struck a mine. One of the mines laid ten day ago by Nusret. Bouvet sank in a very short time.

A few hours later first HMS Inflexible and shortly  later HMS Irresistible struck to same mines from Nusret.

Of the 16 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 original Nusret was sold to a private company after her decommissioning from Turkish Navy in 1962. An unprecedented example of bureaucratic myopia and stupidity. She was used till late 80’ies when she sunk in Mersin Harbor. She was salvaged and bought by the Municipality of  Tarsus and restored. But as she was not  seaworthy anymore, she was placed on land.

Turkish Navy constructed a copy of the Nusret in Gölcük Naval Shipyard and launched her in September 2010. She was commissioned into the Turkish Navy on 11 February 2011 with the pennant number N-16.

N-16 TCG Nusret. A sailing legend.

Earlier this month she cruised under her own power from Gölcük to Çanakkale where she will serve as a floating museum. She took part in the remembrance and celebration of the victory against the Allied Fleet in 18 March 1915.

I wish her calm seas and friendly winds.

>Lest We Forget: The Gallipoli Campaign.

>Yesterday and today many Turks, Australians and New Zealanders commemorate the Gallipoli wars and the death.

It was clear to the Allied commanders, after their attempt to force the Dardanelles by the naval alone, failed dramatically in 18 March; ground troops were needed to silence the Turkish defenses along the strait.

On the dawn of 25th April after more a month of preparation and planning British, French and ANZAC troops landed on the beach on Gallipoli and Anatolia. This was the beginning of the one of the gruesome campaigns of the First World War.

For the next 8 and half months over 200.000 soldiers of all participants were either killed, wounded, hospitalized by illness or went missing.

The Gallipoli wars were particularly important for Turks, Australians and New Zealanders. Although the ANZAC came to our home as invaders there is a special bond between these nations. Long forgotten are the atrocities of the war. Every year thousands of Aussies and Kiwis come to Çanakkale and visit the battleground and attend the dawn service in Anzac Cove (now this is the official name of the cove). I do not know any other commemoration where two former enemies join to remember their fallen soldiers.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who personally fought against the ANZAC’s in Gallipoli, later wrote in 1934 for his former advisories the following words:

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 Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.

>Lest We Forget: Nusret. The Little Ship That Changed The History

>

Today is the 95th anniversary of the Turkish forces over the Allied Fleet in the Dardanelles.

Known as the Çanakkale Naval Victory, in Turkey, this battle effectively sunk (no pun indented) the hopes of the British Admiralty and Churchill to force the Turkish Straits and a quickly dash to Istanbul to occupy it. This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force in order to bring Dardanelles under their control and led to the merciless Gallipoli Campaign.

Churchill realized that if Allies could eliminate Ottoman Empire from the war, they could help Russia via Black Sea and could pressure Central Powers from the east as well.

While the main of the British Army deeply entrench in Belgium and France and the most potent s capital ships loitering in the North Sea Allied Forces had few forces to spare for such a secondary and diversionary front.

The plan of the British Admiralty was to bombard the forts that were protecting the shores of Dardanelles to annihilation and later clean the mines to open the way for Allied warships to sail to Istanbul.

The plan had two important mistakes:
1) It grossly underestimated capability, strength and sprit of the Turkish forces, assisted by Germany.
2) It did not take Lord Nelson with his oft-quoted dictum: “A ship’s a fool to fight a fort” into consideration.

The order of the battle for the Allied fleet consisted of HMS Queen Elizabet, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy.

The fighting began at around 10:00 in the morning. Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied forces until at around 14:00 a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the Bouvet. She had struck a mine. This mine was laid ten day ago by Turkish minelayer Nusret, in an area that was previously cleared by Allied minesweepers and used by capital Allied ships for maneuvering. This new single mine line consisting of 20 mines, changed the whole history.

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.

At 16:00 first HMS Inflexible 5 minutes later HMS Irresistible struck to mines. HMS Ocean was ordered to tow the now abandoned HMS Irresisteble. But she too hit a mine at around 18:00, followed moments later by a shell that penetrated to a magazine below the water line.

Of the 16 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.

This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force to occupy the hills commanding Dardanelles in order to destroy the forts protecting the straits and mine fields. This campaign was too destined to be a defeat for the Allies.

Today where the littoral warfare is the buzz word there are many lessons to be learned or re-learn from the naval battles of Gallipoli campaign.

During Gallipoli campaign all kind of naval action took place that can be expected today as well. The shore bombardment, the shooting of ships from land sites, submarine operations, ASW operations, attacks from fast and swift ships to larger and ungainly capital ships, mine warfare just to name a few.

For further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_operations_in_the_Dardanelles_Campaign

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