King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The Gallipoli campaign

The Ottoman forces

three dimensional relief drawing of Dardanelles from overhead showing the Dardanelles land masses, the water including towns and ships showing the smoke of battleAerial view of Allied attack on the Dardanelles

From the very start of the campaign, the Turkish troops proved to be challenging opposition.

The initial naval attack by the Allied forces was repelled by Ottoman shells, and the failure of the Allies to clear the mines laid by the Ottoman forces nullified Britain’s naval advantage, pushing them instead to attempt a land invasion.

image of two ANZAC soldiers with rifles and bayonets between whom stand a man disguised by wearing a great profusion of branches and leaves with his face and a cloth hat barely visible at top and boots at the bottomCaptured Turkish sniper in foliage camouflage (1915)When the land attack commenced, the Ottoman troops, led by the German General Limon von Sanders and the Turkish Commander Mustafa Kemal (who went on to be the first President of the newly independent Turkey in 1923), had the considerable advantage of understanding the terrain.

They were able to draw reinforcements from the Palestine and Caucasus fronts as the campaign drew on. However, they also anticipated the land invasion and positioned themselves accordingly, and offered fierce resistance against an Allied force which had sorely underestimated the military skill and tenacious resilience of their opponents.

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