Victory at Gallipoli, 1915 (ePub)
The German-Ottoman Alliance in the First World War
The German contribution in a famous Turkish victory at Gallipoli has been overshadowed by the Mustafa Kemal legend. The commanding presence of German General Liman von Sanders in the operations is well known. But relatively little is known about the background of German military intervention in Ottoman affairs.
Klaus Wolf fills this gap as a result of extensive research in the German records and the published literature. He examines the military assistance offered by the German Empire in the years preceding 1914 and the German involvement in ensuring that the Ottomans fought on the side of the Central Powers and that they made best use of the German military and naval missions.
He highlights the fundamental reforms that were required after the battering the Turks received in various Balkan wars, particularly in the Turkish Army, and the challenges that faced the members of the German missions.
When the allied invasion of Gallipoli was launched, German officers became a vital part of a robust Turkish defence – be it at sea or on land, at senior command level or commanding units of infantry and artillery. In due course German aviators were to be, in effect, founding fathers of the Turkish air arm; whilst junior ranks played an important part as, for example, machine gunners. This book is not only their missing memorial but a missing link in understanding the tragedy that was Gallipoli.
Seeing historic events from ‘the other side of the wire’ is essential, so this excellent book delivers the background and details of the German involvement at Gallipoli. From the earliest efforts by Von Moltke to improve the Ottoman Army structure, the diplomatic adventures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, through to the commitment of men and materials, this is a vital aid to fully understanding the German commitment to Turkey. The author delivers in fine detail, supported by excellent appendices and notes, the role of officers and men in the defence of the Dardanelles. It becomes clear that whilst small numbers of Germans were engaged at Gallipoli their contribution to the Turkish defence was essential and critical to it’s success. This is particularly true in the restructuring of armament and munition capacity, artillery control and the effective deployment of German machine guns. All of these were augmented by German experience of positional warfare already learnt on the Western Front. Overall, it is a key lesson on the importance of maximising force where it is most productive to achieve the desired outcome. That the Gallipoli landings failed to progress beyond the beachheads is proof of the German contribution. At a tactical level, and at critical times, the Germans made a difference. Today it is overshadowed by the post war Turkish propaganda that still prevails but this book gives proper value to the German effort. Good images and maps add value to this important volume.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide