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[Page 153]

'of attack proposed. In principle he had doubts and objections; but on the special technical points involved, I received from him at no time any expression of adverse criticism.'

When came the parting of the ways between Mr. Churchill and Lord
Fisher? It is obvious that it was some time in the first half of
March, when 'across the prospects of the operations a shadow began to
pass'. It would seem as if Lord Fisher became sceptical of the whole
enterprise directly he realised the inability of the Fleet to clear
the enemy's mine field, or to locate any other underwater defences,
the difficulties of silencing the forts of the Narrows by long range
direct fire, and the inability of the Fleet to knock out the mobile
batteries on both sides of the Straits. He evidently realised that
none of the conditions precedent for a successful attempt to force
the Narrows had been fulfilled, and under the circumstances the Fleet
might be faced with a grave disaster.

But these obstacles, none of which had been overcome, seem to
have had the reverse effect on Mr. Churchill, and to have nerved him
on to a greater determination to rush the affair through, in spite of
the existence of the unswept mine field, the unsilenced forts, the
mobile batteries, and other even more deadly defences which may, or
may not, have existed at this period. How far the experts and the
French, whose opinions, as quoted by Mr. Churchill, were diametrically
opposed to a rush, were with him at this stage we are not told, and
once again we are faced with the extreme difficulty of arriving at

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