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"Climax at Gallipoli " by Rhys Crawley pub March 2014


David_Blanchard

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Has anyone read this new book on the August offensive of 1915?

I am trying to find out if there is much about the 1/6 Lancashire Fusiliers attack on 7 August 1915?

David

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  • 1 month later...

David,

I have been given a copy to review. The format of the book is quite unique, initially looking at issues such as planning, mobility, fire support, combined operations, lines of communication, supply and transport before addressing the August offensive in a chapter, followed by one on subsequent phases to the end of August . No mention of the 1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers in the index. Essentially the book is an analysis of the factors that contributed to the failure of the campaign, and how they affected the battle. Very good so far. I will post a review when I have finished it.

Cheers

Chris

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  • 3 weeks later...

A brilliant book for which I have written a review for the Gallipolian, the journal of the Gallipoli Association, see below:

Climax at Gallipoli: The Failure of the August Offensive by Rhys Crawley

Hardcover: 364 pages, Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (19 Mar 2014),

ISBN-10: 0806144262, ISBN-13: 978-0806144269

There is little written in a single volume on the August Offensive, the allies’ last great effort to try and break the deadlock at Gallipoli. In his book, Dr Rhys Crawley takes a fresh, but analytical approach to the battle, setting out not only to re-tell the events of that battle, albeit in one chapter, but also to re-evaluate it, and it is here that this book has its strength. Crawley uses over sixty pages of source material to challenge the ‘what if’s’ of this offensive with evidence that exposes many of its flaws, and ultimately the failure of the whole campaign. We hear “if only the Allies had held out a little longer, pushed a little harder, had better luck”. Crawley argues that the outcome was not a close run thing, but flawed from the very start, a foretold disaster even before the operation had begun. Even though a foothold was gained on the Sari Bair Ridge, the lack of foresight in the planning made these amazing feats of arms a forlorn hope and its eventual undoing. In another chapter, an examination of the subsequent phases of the operation, which are often overlooked in other books, really puts the last nail into the coffin of success.

Crawley does not seek to blame the generals (or at least most of them), but states “contrary to what many believe to be the case, the British officers in charge of the campaign were not bumbling fools who joyfully sent men to their death in ill-conceived plans, rather, they were experienced men who had an intimate knowledge of their profession”. Putting the Gallipoli operation into context of what was happening on the Western Front at the same time, is valuable, and highlights the common but steep and costly learning curve of the early war, as commanders slowly adapted to this new kind of warfare.

As well as Planning and Mobility, Crawley examines Fire Support, Combined Operations, Supply and Transport and the often-overlooked Lines of Communication, which Hamilton described as “the longest since the days of Xerxes”. The huge seaborne logistical lines and complex supply and transport were a feat in their own right, but nevertheless caused an ongoing issue for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

Crawley’s meticulous research and attention to detail has allowed him to pull together desperate sources for the first time into this wonderful work which stands alone in the literature of the campaign. His chosen publisher is the University of Oklahoma Press, which will give you a hint to its rich academic content. Climax at Gallipoli may not be for the casual reader, however I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone seeking more on Gallipoli’s last great offensive.

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