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A Picture From History: Gallipoli Campaign

Australian infantryman gives a drink to a wounded Turkish soldier during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915
Australian infantryman gives a drink to a wounded Turkish soldier during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915

If you have even a passing knowledge of WWI or the history of ANZAC forces, then you have undoubtedly heard of the Gallipoli Campaign. It’s kind of like an American not knowing about D-Day.

But sadly, many in the United States don’t know about this piece of commonwealth history.

ANZAC was the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps — basically, a combined army coming from Australia and New Zealand. They fought under British command in World War I. They would later form, briefly, again in the Second World War and lastly during the Vietnam War.

However, while named for Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC in WWI also served as a sort of multi-national unit that other units too small for anything else were attached to.

Notably, Indian troops, ex-pat Europeans from Sri Lanka, and the Zion Mule Corps (an all Jewish volunteer force in the British Army) were also members of ANZAC.

December 1917. Jewish Legion soldiers at the Western Wall after the British take-over of Jerusalem.
December 1917. Jewish Legion soldiers at the Western Wall after the British take-over of Jerusalem.

Gallipoli Campaign

The Gallipoli Campaign was a bold move by the allied forces to take the Gallipoli peninsula in modern-day Turkey.

If successful, the allies would take the Turkish straits — a powerful and key strategic location.

This would allow almost unfettered bombardment of Constantinople by allied battleships that would likely lead to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. In turn, the allies could secure the Suez canal and provide year-round resupply.

It was not successful. A total disaster, the operation failed miserably and resulted in one of the greatest defeats the allies suffered during the war.

While numerically the allied forces consisted primarily of British forces, commonwealth units from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and India made up a large part of the force and represented much larger portions of their population.

The final result of the campaign was the allied forces evacuating nearly a year after the first landing. Total losses were at least 45,000 killed for the allies and probably 60,000 dead for the Ottoman Empire.

Australian infantryman gives a drink to a wounded Turkish soldier during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915
Australian infantryman gives a drink to a wounded Turkish soldier during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915

In a war so vast, so deadly, and so pointless — this picture shows a brief and rare moment of humanity. These moments would come around only in the early parts of the war.

As time went on and the death toll rose, both sides would lose nearly all of their compassion, empathy, and hope.

This is a new style of article for Pew Pew Tactical, if you liked it — let us know in the comments! If you didn’t enjoy it…well phooey. For another slice of world history, check out A Picture From History: Vietnam ARVN Ranger.

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Xaris Papageorgiou

    I agree with the others comments , history helps a lot and preserves the memory

    April 29, 2021 2:50 am
  • Thomas

    Thank you for the historical article on Gallipoli. I feel the article was significant as so few people are aware of that bloody campaign. You honor all of those who were there by respectfully remembering their sacrifice.

    April 28, 2021 9:01 am
  • Mauricio Magarolas

    I am a history buff... need I say more? I think its great that you decided to publish the piece on the Gallipoli campaign. I hope you will publish more like it... Thanks

    April 25, 2021 6:27 pm
  • Joe

    I enjoyed the two historical items I saw here (ANZACs and ARVN). Please keep them coming. There are many historical/tactcal events and groups that we do not hear about (e.g. SAS, LRDG, Z, Rats of Tobruk, and others).

    April 25, 2021 6:10 pm
  • Adam

    Great content. Keep it up

    April 25, 2021 5:31 pm
  • Paul G

    Absolutely! Would love to see more of these so they can be enjoyed and shared with some young people who have not been taught these things.

    April 25, 2021 5:10 pm
  • Victor Derderian

    Enjoyed the history. That same time period the Turks were responsible for the massacre of one and a half million Armenians.

    April 25, 2021 4:48 pm
  • L. B.

    I ran across a great 7 part mini series about Gallipoli. It was well worth the watch.

    April 25, 2021 9:31 am
  • Betfair

    Ataturk said :
    "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

    April 24, 2021 8:08 pm
  • TXDeadlifter

    Hell yes. MOAR.

    April 24, 2021 1:07 pm
  • dsutton

    Yes, I like it, do more!

    April 23, 2021 3:40 pm
  • Steve Fry

    With ANZAC day on April 25th, great article.

    April 23, 2021 3:37 pm
  • Barry

    I like the historical articles a lot!! Gallipoli was especially interesting!

    April 23, 2021 1:57 pm
  • Reachre

    I've enjoyed both of these historical articles. Keep up the good work!

    April 23, 2021 11:28 am
  • CP93

    "As time went on and the death toll rose, both sides would lose nearly all of their compassion, empathy, and hope."

    That pretty much summarizes WWI as a whole.

    April 23, 2021 10:07 am
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