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[Page 59]

March 18th. we would now in all reasonable probability be in possession of Constantinople. But as an army which was about to undertake an independent operation in which it could only receive a very limited assistance from the Navy, the campaign was doomed to failure from the start. There is no object in concealing the fact that the original landing very nearly ended in a disastrous failure and the situation was only saved both at Gaba Tepe and Seddul Bahr by the superb heroism of our troops led by the most devoted and self- sacrifing officers. Yet is is now generally recognised that the Turks actually holding the beaches were extremely few in numbers. Fortunately, the enemy's reserves were slow in coming up; otherwise we would probably have been driven into the sea. This seems to have been due to the optimism of Leman von Sanders, who did not believe we could possibly carry the beaches in the face of such obstacles.
One cannot blame him for this belief, because the more they are examined the more incredible does the feat become. But the fact remains that nearly fifty per cent of our best troops were put out of action in the first day's fighting and, with the limited numbers at Sir Ian Hamilton's disposal, there were no reserves with which to follow up the initial success in an endeavour to take the Achi Baba position before the enemy, surprised by our landing, had the chance of bringing up fresh troops and consolidation his positions on the slopes of that mountain. All we could do was to hold grimly on to the positions we had won and dig ourselves in across the Peninsula and await the arrival of [reinforcements.]

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