8 March 1915

On this day the East Mediterranean Fleet’s bombardment of the shore batteries at the Dardenelles that had begun on 25 February was suspended. It had not gone well.

The shelling of the outer forts, from a very safe distance, appeared to have been successful, but the Turks had simply evacuated them because they realised the old-pattern guns there could do nothing useful. When the ships moved further up the Straits to destroy the so-called Intermediate Defences, they found themselves under attack from mobile guns such as howitzers, which were impossible to pinpoint and take out.

Meanwhile, at first landing parties had been unopposed at Kum Kale and Sedd el Bahr, but when the weather allowed them on 4 March to return to finish destroying guns there, they were fiercely opposed and twenty-three marines killed. The Turks were no longer intimidated by naval fire and kept regrouping.

For the next three days the shelling continued, but in the words of the Official History the operations were ‘barren of important results’.

Tonight a certain Turkish mine expert, Lieutenant-Colonel Geehl, took his ship the Nusrat down into a bay on the Asian side of the Dardanelles and laid a line of twenty mines parallel to the coast, because he had seen British ships manoeuvring there the day before. Nobody noticed him.

Next entry: 9 March 1915

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About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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