The full story of Allied heroism and incompetence in the Dardanelles, from the brink of victory to resounding defeat.
In 1911 Winston Churchill had astutely stated that, ‘It is no longer possible to force the Dardanelles, and nobody would expose a modern fleet to such peril.’ Yet, four years later, as First Lord of the Admiralty, he would override the opposition of his First Sea Lord, Jackie Fisher, and support a daring assault on the Gallipoli peninsula.
With Imperial Russia appealing to her allies for assistance against the might of the Central Powers, Churchill and those who agreed with him, thought that they could knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war by forcing their way through the Dardanelles to Constantinople.
What started out promisingly ended in utter, dismal disaster for the Entente powers.
Michael Hickey traces the complex roots of catastrophe to the remoteness of war leaders in London, the chaotic operations of under-equipped and incompetent admirals and generals on the spot, and the extraordinary diversity of the Allied troops. Drawing both on his experience as a soldier and on a wide range of historical archives, including official papers, diaries and letters, many never used before, Hickey makes real for us the luckless fighting men who did their best but were, in the words of one of them, ‘beaten in the end by our own leaders’.