Lions Led by Donkeys

Lions Led by Donkeys

  • Submitted By: cnelson
  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2008 2:29 PM
  • Category: Book Reports
  • Words: 3596
  • Page: 15
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"Lions led by donkeys." Can this criticism be applied fairly to the Allied leaders responsible for the Gallipoli Campaign? Discuss.

The Gallipoli Campaign is recorded in British history and through popular memory as a heroic disaster: a possibly war-winning scheme that ended in complete disarray. The horror of the First World War was encapsulated in this microcosm of the wider conflict. It shared much with the Western Front in terms of the discomfort of the trenches and the stalemate that came with them. But it also had the difficulties of the amphibious nature of the operation as well as the extremes of climate that the troops experienced. The Leadership that sent the Allied troops to the Dardenelles has often been criticised for the foolhardiness of the operation, but as the British Official Historian stated: "There is little doubt today that the idea of forcing the straits ...... was one of the few great strategical concepts of the world war." So why now does the whole campaign receive criticism as strong as the following? With the possible exception of the Crimean War, the Gallipoli expedition was the most poorly mounted and ineptly controlled operation in modern British military history.

The answer lies within the quotation itself, specifically that it was "poorly mounted and ineptly controlled". In order to demonstrate this it will be necessary to consider several levels of the "leadership" involved with the operation. Initially the political-strategical decision making must be studied as the root to the operations problems. The Naval and Army's planning must also be scrutinised as this fundamentally doomed the troops to failure. Finally the tactical leadership must be considered in light of the situation developing on the ground and how the Turks reacted to the amphibious landings. Before scrutinising the expedition in any detail the background of the situation must be explained so that one can have...

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