13/5/1915 Gallipoli: another reverse for the Allies

For the Allies, the Gallipoli campaign has not been going entirely to plan. The Allied fleet has been unable to smash through the Hellespont and on towards Constantinople, and the land forces on the Gallipoli peninsula have not been able to break out and destroy Turkish shore batteries covering their minefields in the Straits.

The Allies are not giving up yet, hoping that eventually their land forces will be able to break out of their enclaves. The Allies have one big advantage which they hope will turn the tide in their favour. This is their massive advantage in artillery. The Allies have a number of capital ships attached to the campaign whose heavy guns outclass anything the Turks have on land. These battleships can sit out of range of Turkish artillery and blast away at enemy targets. If the Allies are ever to win on Gallipoli it will be thanks to the battering these ships can mete out to the Turks.

But the Turks are not meekly accepting Allied naval bombardment. They make the bold decision to attack the Allied fleet. The Turkish torpedo boat Muavenet-i Milliye sails out from the Straits at night using the misty darkness to elude British patrol boats. It approaches the Goliath, an old British battleship now sitting in harbour at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula. The Turks fire off three torpedoes, sinking the battleship, and then they slip away in the confusion. The action shocks the Allies, particularly the British, who have long assumed that their navy is invincible. Now their battleships at Gallipoli look worryingly vulnerable.

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