Eastern Front

On This Day… March 1915

Once the fighting on the Western Front in France and Flanders settled into siege warfare that defied attempts by both sides to break through, some British politicians became entranced by the idea of attacking Germany ‘by the back door’. Despite pre-war Naval planning that suggested a passage of the Dardanelles Straits was impossible, the lure of an easier route to the defeat of Germany became irresistible. The pro-‘Westerners’ in the high Army command were overruled and eventually acquiesced.

The planning of the Gallipoli operations was makeshift to say the least, but it was based on land operations only being required in support of a naval breakthrough of the Dardanelles Straits.

The naval attempt to bombard the Turkish guns and forts failed, as did a half-hearted attempt to push through the Straits minefields. The Royal Navy now called on the army to capture the guns from the land side, and the door was thus opened to disaster. A Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) composed of British Empire and French troops was hastily assembled in Egypt. Among the British Empire forces were the men of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and the NZEF (New Zealand Expeditionary Force) who had been training in Egypt when the decision to invade Turkey had been taken.

The Naval bombardment of the Straits Forts (9 February – 16 March)
The Naval attempt to force the Straits (18 March)

From <http://www.1914-1918.net/Gallipoli.htm>

On This Day… Jan 1915

January 17, 1915 – The initial Turkish offensive into Russia is thwarted as the Turkish 3rd Army suffers a defeat by the Russian Army of the Caucasus near Kars. The Russians then begin a multi-pronged invasion of the Ottoman Empire from the Caucasus.

January 19, 1915 – Germany begins an aerial bombing campaign against Britain using Zeppelins.

January 31, 1915 – Poison gas is used for the first time in the war as Germans on the Eastern Front attack Russian positions west of Warsaw. Although the Germans fire 18,000 gas shells, they have little effect on the Russians as frigid temperatures prevent the gas from vaporizing.