Gallipoli: The Dardanelles Disaster in Solders’ Words and Photographs

This is a book that I asked my wife to get from a library she has accesses too and it was very different and well worth the read.  It as opposed to other books on the subject is less about the politics, the mistakes and battles but the everyday life form the soldiers point of view.

The book uses largely unpublished diaries and letters from many individual from the common soldier to high command.  Navy, army and even Turkish soldiers.  The book will mention the conditions of a battle then have the exact battle described by the participants in their own words.

This was a new experience for me as I had never read so many descriptive entries from so many individuals on the subject before.  It was interesting getting the Turkish viewpoint on the same event with the diaries of Turkish Soldiers.

If you are looking for an analysis of all the politics and military decisions you can look at this previous post for a good book to read. If you want to read the everyday events in the words of the men this a great description of life at Gallipoli.

For the wargamer the book may not hold a whole lot but it is full of very good photographs many unpublished before.  This gives an idea of the battlefield as does the soldiers individual descriptions.  Warfare for the period is also described in detail.  The uniforms are seen in all kinds of weather in the photographs as well so a wargamer might get some help from it their.

The author who does not go deep into blame like other books does offer an interesting new take on it to me.  The sending of old, unqualified both in health for the conditions and age in years removed from active service is seen as a culprit by the author.  The best and most able officers were wounded and or killed early and so the expedition was doomed with older officers not ready for the rigors of the environment or new realities of warfare.  Lord Kitchener’s new army sent to the western front in Europe got the best officers so he was in a large part to blame for the disaster. An interesting point of view I had not heard expressed before.

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