THE GALLIPOLI PENINSULA.
Access to Constantinople from the Mediterranean is by
the straights of the Dardanelles, which are bounded on the
S.E. by the coast of Asia Minor and on the N.W. by the
The latter has an extreme length of 52 miles and greatest
breadth of 14 miles.
The narrowest portion – only 6,000 yards wide – is at
a point 1½ miles S.W. of the village of Bulair, where the
peninsula joins the mainland.
The backbone of the peninsula consists of hills which
rise in the centre to nearly 1,000 feet.
On both banks of the Dardanelles there are many
batteries commanding the passage, those on the Gallipoli
side, as a rule, command those on the Asiatic side.
Access to the peninsula from the mainland is closed
by the Bulair Lines, which successfully kept out the
In 1906 a scheme was prepared for the capture of this
peninsula. It involved the use of 4 divisions, each of 3
brigades. The general plan was to land them on the S.W. end
of the peninsula and take in rear the forts commanding the
Since the date of this scheme the fortifications have
been much strengthened, and their armament has been modernized
and increased: and it is believed that an attempt to
capture the peninsula would be a much more serious operation
now, than it was before the Turko-Bulgarian war.
It ought to be clearly understood that an attack
upon the Gallipoli Peninsula from the sea side (outside the
Straits) is likely to prove an extremely difficult operation
of war. The subject has often been considered before by the
General Staff and it was examined into by the Committee of
Imperial Defence in 1906; it was then decided that such an
operation could not be regarded as feasible with the British
Troops that might at short notice have been collected for the
purpose at that time. Since then the garrison has been greatly
augmented, and as a consequence of threats on the part of Greeks
and Bulgarians during the first Balkan War, and of the attack
made upon the Lines of Bulair, the protection of the rear
of the various batteries and the works dominating the Straits was
taken in hand. It is understood that what was then done renders
them secure against anything in the nature of a surprise attack.
The garrison of the peninsula now normally consists
of an Army Corps which may be taken at 27,000 men with 136 guns.
But under existing conditions this garrison will almost certainly
have been strengthened considerably, and it would be unsafe to
assume that the attacking side would only have the above number
to deal with. In any case it would not seem justifiable to
undertake an operation of this kind with an army of less than
60,000 men against the Ottoman Forces likely to be encountered.
These 60,000 might, however, cross the sea in two echelons,
admitting of the transports returning to Greece after
disembarking the first echelon. The Expeditionary Force could
dispense almost entirely, if not entirely, with cavalry, and
its mobile artillery might well be composed mainly of mountain