13/12/1915 Gallipoli: the Allied evacuation begins

The Allied campaign in Gallipoli has been a costly failure. Allied forces there have been confined to small enclaves, unable to knock out the gun batteries that would allow British warships to sail up to attack Constantinople. An attempt to break the deadlock in August with a renewed offensive proved to be another pointless bloodbath.

The Allied force at Gallipoli comprises British, Australian, New Zealand and French forces, but it is under British command. With no prospect of the campaign being pursued to a successful outcome, the British have decided to bring it to an end. The forces deployed there are to be evacuated, starting with the mainly Australian and New Zealand forces at Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay. Their evacuation begins today.

Evacuation involves considerable dangers. If the Turks realise that their enemies are withdrawing they could attack and butcher the Allies as they try to board ships. To fool the Turks, the evacuation is conducted in conditions of the utmost secrecy. Soldiers are to be withdrawn from the line at night, with a skeleton force left to deter Turkish attacks.

The first men leave Gallipoli today, but the full evacuation of Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove will take over a week. If the Turks realise what is happening in that time then the result will be a terrible disaster.

image source:

West Beach, Suvla Bay (Century Ireland)

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