by Rhys Crawley & Michael LoCicero, editors
Solihull, Eng.: Helion / Philadelphia: Casemate Publishers, 2018. Pp. xxvi, 730+.
Illus., maps, diagr., tables, notes, index. $89.95. ISBN: 1911512188
New Insights on the Gallipoli Campaign
Edited by an Australian and a British scholar with considerable experience in the history of the Great War, this volume comprises 25 essays on various aspects of the Gallipoli operation, in part to “reclaim the British role” in the events, since so much attention has focused on the Australian New Zealand contingents, and also to throw fresh light on the campaign, by peering into long neglected subjects related to it.
The papers fall into three categories.
The eight essays in “The MEF in Battle” deal with the poor conception and planning of the operation, several battle pieces, and the decision to abandon the campaign and evacuate the troops.
“Command and Control” includes ten papers, which cover the operations of the senior command, and then look at the very neglected French role, the Royal Naval Division, and the conduct of various other contingents, ANZACs of course, but also Irish, Territorial, and “New Army” troops.
The seven essays grouped under “Support, Enablers, and Constraints” are in some ways the most innovative, covering air power, Britain’s Naval Nurses, chaplains, mining operations, and more, even the experience of those who became unwilling “Guests of the Sultan.”
All of the essays are well written, and offer new insights on the armies and events, such as the failure of the British Army to subject officers to regular medical examinations, so that men unfit for service were commanding troops in combat, and the obvious, but largely overlooked fact that most of the troops were recent volunteers, virtually without training, led by officers and NCOs with little more experience.
One would have liked to have seen more coverage of the naval side of the campaign, and some of the essays required more careful editing (e.g., the use of “battleship” as a generic term for “warship” is just one of several serious technical errors), but Gallipoli, a volume in the series “Wolverhampton Military Studies” is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the operation or amphibious operations during the Great War.