Today, 25 March 1915, Field Marshal Otto Liman von Sanders left Constantinople for Gallipoli to take command of the Turkish forces at the Dardanelles. He was not a brilliant Prussian general, but many consider him first-rate. Upon arriving, he said to one of his colonels: ‘If the English will only leave me alone for eight days…’ In fact the naval attack of 18 March was never repeated and the Allied landings did not happen for another month.
At the end of February 1915 it seems the Turks had only 15,000 troops on the Peninsula. By mid-March there were about 70,000 at the Dardanelles in toto. This was almost equal to the maximum force Kitchener could allow Hamilton for the Gallipoli campaign. More kept arriving and ‘the scheme of defence improved out of all recognition’ (Official History). Liman von Sanders now put his men into intensive training.
Frankly, the Gallipoli campaign was already lost. But the Edwardians were never people to shirk a task, especially a hopeless one.
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