Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source8
Extracts from a report by Sir Ian Hamilton, British commander at Gallipoli, to Lord Kitchener, May 1915
(Catalogue ref: PRO 30/57/61)

Source 8a

General Headquarters,
Medtn. Exped. Force,
5th May 1915.


My dear Lord Kitchener,

The first brigade of the East Lancashire Territorials has just sailed in and anchored opposite Cape Helles. All my arrangements for tomorrow morning are completed and, barring accidents or bad weather, there will be a battle tomorrow.

Had we been able to restrict the Turkish Army of Occupation to its original components, I should regard the issue without more anxiety than is inherent to any such trial. In these desperate night tussles the Turkish corps have become greatly mixed and disorganized, and their losses have been undoubtedly very serious.

But this constant arrival of fresh troops introduces a factor of great uncertainty into the situation. …

Source 8b

From my point of view, meanwhile, the only way such a situation can be faced is by pushing ahead as fast as the flesh and blood of my troops will stand pushing, in the hopes that, if only we can clear this side of the Straits, the Fleet will get through and be able to strike direct at the enemy's Headquarters.

All our Turkish experts, both French and British, are surprised at the Germanisation of Turkish tactics and leading. Not only does the enemy come on in precisely German attack formations, but they seem to have behind them some of the German energy enabling them to reassume the offensive even after a pretty severe handling. But this high strung discipline cannot be natural to the Turkish character, and I hope myself we may soon be able to strain it to breaking point.

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