War on the Eastern Front: Russia

*Russian victory over the Ottomans

  • Ottoman leader Envir Pasha attacks Russian ports with his navy, beginning the war against the Russians.
  • After this initial attack, the Ottomans invade Russia but are completely unprepared to fight.
    • The troops lacked the basic necessities of winter uniforms (cold weather), tents, food, and supplies, making successful fighting nearly impossible.
At Sarah-Gamesh, a lack of communication and coordination led three separate attacks instead of one united assault as the Ottomans were routed by the Russians, losing an astounding 50,000 men.
  • The momentum from the victory drove the Russians to the offensive in 1916.
    • This invasion resulted in a significant amount of land taken from the Ottomans by the Russians. However, this land was regained along with Armenia and Azerbaijan after 1918 when the Russians withdrew from WWI after its revolution and the Ottomans' expansion Eastward.

War in the Western Front: Dardanelles and Gallipoli

*Ottoman victory over the British

  • Intending to capture Istanbul, a significant Ottoman city, the British and French navies bombarded Gallipoli as they sailed through the Dardanelles Straights
  • The British ran their into an undetected Russian minefield. Oops.
    • "I suppose we're done for." -British Vice Admiral
  • The resulting losses proved to be enough to convince the British commander to withdraw, his objective still unachieved.
  • Although the British did retreat, the Ottomans were already on the verge of collapse
    • Their costal batteries were low on ammunition
    • Up the coast, preparations were already being made for the evacuation and surrender of Istanbul
  • Winston Churchill was furious at the defeat and felt that the navy should have continued despite the losses.
    • Churchill ended up losing his commission due to the poor result for the British.
  • In Gallipoli, the British ground force commissioned to advance towards the city missed its intended landing point of a gently sloping plain ideally suited for a staging ground, and instead landed on a strip of land dominated by cliffs, mountains, and peaks where the Ottoman defenders held the bluffs and high ground. The Ottoman's beat back numerous Australian and New Zealand assaults on the high ground inflicting devastating losses. After sustaining 500,000 casualties, and enduring atrocious trench conditions on the narrow beach head, the British led troops retreated, humiliated by the terrible defeat at the hands of the Turks.

War on the Southern Front: Suez/Palestine

-Initially in 1915 the Turks cross the Sinai Peninsula in an attempt to cut off Britain from her territories by taking the Suez Canal
  • Due to smart thinking on the part of the Turks they were not able to cross the canal due to the fact that they did know how to operate the German pontoons
  • Attempt collapsed, 2,000 casualties
-In 1917 the British advance back across the Suez Canal, Sinai Peninsula, and into Palestine
  • A six month strategic and well-supplied journey mostly due to the building of railroads
  • Fortified Ottoman line from Beersheeba to Gaza
  • Suffering from bad leadership, the Ottomans nearly lose Gaza on the first assault from the British, but due to another botched call by British generals the British retreat
  • The 3rd attack on Gaza succeeds and marks the beginning of the end for the Ottomans
-December 1917 Allenby captures Jerusalem, entering on foot out of reverance for the holy city
  • Due to the newly mounted German offensive in the spring of 1918 Britain pulls back many of Allenby's troops delaying the final push to Damascus until the following autumn
  • In August of 1918 the British and Arab soldiers resume the offensive with an influx of troops from the Empire (India, New Zealand, Austrailia)
  • By September 21 the Ottoman line was broken at the Battle of Megiddo
  • Damascus was captured on October 1, contrary to the original plans of capture for the thrid holiest city in Islam (Arab troops were originally supposed to enter first, the British soldiers were the first to enter the city unopposed)
  • On October 30 the Ottoman's surrendered; the Ottoman Empire, after nearly 600 years of existence, was dissolved

War in the South-Eastern Front: Iraq/Mesopotamia

  • Britain, wanting to secure the oil fields for English use after the war, land troops under the command of General Townsend. After driving the Turks from the oil fields, Townsend becomes to ambitious and tries to take Baghdad, but his assaults were beaten off. The Turks counterattack and after the subsequent battle, Townsend and his force of British were forced to surrender and withdraw.
  • Then on March 11, 1917, a new British expedition landed in the same area, but suceeded in securing the oil fields and went on to capture Baghdad. Similar invasions and landing were common as Western empires, seeing oil, not coal, as the main source of fuel in the future, sought to control as much as possible.

Works Cited
  • Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I. 2006. DVD. Inecom.