The landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 represents a defining moment, not only for Australia and New Zealand, but also for Turkey. However a detailed account of the landing from the Turkish perspective has yet to be published in English despite the 100 years that has elapsed since the first ANZACs scrambled ashore. Descriptions of the Ottoman forces such as the composition of units, the men who commanded them, their weapons, capabilities and reactions to the ANZAC invasion have generally remained undocumented or described in piecemeal fashion based on secondary sources. The lack of a Turkish perspective has made it almost impossible to construct a balanced account of the events of that fateful April day.
The Ottoman Defence against the Anzac Landing: 25 April 1915 seeks to redress this imbalance, portraying the Ottoman experience based on previously unpublished Ottoman and Turkish sources. This meticulously researched volume describes the Ottoman Army in fascinating detail from its order of battle, unit structure and composition, training and doctrine to the weapons used against the ANZACs. Using Ottoman military documents, regimental war diaries, personal accounts and memoirs, author Mesut Uyar describes the unfolding campaign, unravelling its complexity and resolving many of the questions that have dogged accounts for a century. This valuable chronicle will enhance readers' understanding of the Ottoman war machine, its strengths and weaknesses and why it proved so successful in containing the Allied invasion. Detailed maps and photographs published for the first time add clarity and portray many of the men the ANZACs referred to with grudging respect as 'Johnny Turk'.
About the Author
Mesut Uyar, a graduate of Turkish Military Academy, is an associate professor of Ottoman military history at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. A specialist in war studies and military history, he has published articles on Ottoman military and operations other than war.
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This book is number 16 in the Australian Army Campaigns Series, and has filled in a lot of gaps for me regarding the events of day of 25 April 1915. Especially concerning the movements of Kemal and the Ottoman 72nd and 77th Regiments. For that information alone it is worth buying. It is well written and has lots of information on the Ottoman Army at the time.This book covers the events leading up to the Landing, and the day of the 25th of April 1915 only. There are lots of photos I'd never seen before of the Ottoman troops.
My only gripe is the computer generated maps are not as informative as a proper topographical map. This is true for all the maps in this series of books that I have seen. There are however some very interesting original Ottoman maps depicting troop movements and positions.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the topic from the Ottoman side.
The Ottoman Defence against the Anzac Landing: 25 April 1915 places us one step closer towards better understanding the events of this fateful day. The landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 represents a significant moment, not only for Australia and New Zealand, but also for Turkey. Yet, despite a plethora of accounts of the landing from the allied perspective, a detailed account from the Turkish perspective had not been published in English until now.
The Ottoman Defence begins to address this imbalance in recording and understanding historical events. The challenge to clarify the fog and confusion of war has led the author to focus exclusively on that key first day of what would become an 8-month-long battle.
To provide context for that one day, in the first half of the book he describes and analyses the Ottoman forces to gain a better appreciation for them as an actor in these events, as well as their preparations for their defence of the Dardanelles. And, unsurprisingly, they were not as weak as the Allies assessed ahead of the campaign.
Mesut Uyar is a former Turkish military officer and now an associate professor of Ottoman military history at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. A specialist in war studies and military history, he has the advantage of being able to read original Ottoman documents and has published articles on the Ottoman military.
Using Ottoman military documents, regimental war diaries, personal accounts and memoirs, Uyar describes the unfolding campaign, unravelling its complexity and resolving many of the questions that have dogged allied accounts for a century.
Significantly, Uyar resolves the enduring controversy about the presence of Ottoman machine guns. He confirms that while machine gun positions had been prepared on Ariburnu, on 400 Plateau, and near the Fisherman's Hut, the initial pre-dawn landing was not opposed by machine guns, which had been kept in reserve. The first four machine guns arrived at Scrubby Knoll on Third Ridge around 0740 hours, and four more arrived at Chunuk Bair around 1000 hours. Four more arrived around 1530 hours.
The author periodically notes which Anzac forces he believes were opposite the Ottomans as the day's events unfold. He has done this in conjunction with Chris Roberts who wrote the authoritative The Landing at Anzac 1915. Indeed, there is merit in reading these two accounts in parallel. There remains a task, however, to comprehensively merge and rationalise the different accounts to achieve a more complete and balanced understanding of events. Such a task is further complicated by different names being used by each side for the same geographic features. As ever, however, a fully complete retrospective understanding of significant historical events is impossible.
The Ottoman Defence includes a large number of colour and black-and-white photos and images – many from private collections and published for the first time. Throughout, the author has usefully included 'side boxes' to provide additional background on key personalities, organisations and equipment. There are many colour maps that enable the reader to easily relate the described events to the ground, as well as several colour plates of Ottoman field maps marked on the day. As an academic work, the book includes notes on the Turkish sources, a selected bibliography and a comprehensive index.
The Ottoman Defence enhances our understanding of the Ottoman military forces of the time and why they proved so successful in containing and ultimately defeating the Allied invasion. It helps to provide a more balanced and complete understanding of the chaotic events of that day and as such is both interesting and valuable to students of military history. The relatively low price means that there are few excuses for not including such an excellent production in your library.
Number 16 in the Australian Army Campaign Series, produced by the Australian Army History Unit.
Written by a Turk, Mesut Uyar.
Looks at the Anzac campaign from a different perspective.
It's not often we get to read about war from "The other side", & this book written from the Turkish perspective gives more of an understanding of what they felt with others trying to take over their land. They also lost vast numbers of men - even more than NZ & Australia which rather surprised me. Without hearing of both sides of a story, our views were not balanced - an interesting read.
Series: Australian Army Campaigns Series
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 188
Published: 5th March 2015
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.8 x 17.4 x 1.2
Weight (kg): 0.49