5 JUNE 1920, Page 18

GALLIPOLI DIARY.* Musa has been written about Gallipoli, but new

light is shed on that campaign by the private diary which Sir Ian Hamilton has given to the world. The character of the commander is a fundamental element in a campaign, and this diary is a very frank revelation of the author's personality. There is a memor- able remark towards the close, when there came the news of the appointment of Sir Charles Monro to the command. " He was born with another sort of mind from me. Had he been sent out here in the first instance, he would never have touched the Dardanelles." Sir Ian Hamilton saw all too clearly the immense possibilities of a victory at Gallipoli. He was conscious of the difficulties from the outset. It is apparent from the diary that his eagerness to deal a historic stroke and his loyalty to those who sent him strove with his cooler military judgment which taught him that success in the circumstances was extremely doubtful. He risked his own reputation on the gambler's throw which he was ordered to make. But he was conscious, after the event, that another man in his position might have acted differ_ ently. He felt sure that his successor—whose name he per- 'latently misspells—would not have taken the risk of so forlorn a hope.

The task was not impossible for British and Australian troops— so much is clear from what they accomplished. But its com- pletion depended not on the bravery of the troops nor on the skill of the commander, but on the extent to which they were reinforced and kept supplied with guns and munitions. Sir Ian Hamilton, confiding his thoughts to paper day by day, was obsessed from first to last by the inadequacy of his armament. It was clear to the dullest civilian after the first winter of the war that the most heroic courage, unsupported by a proper weight of artillery, avails nothing against a well-armed and resolute enemy in trenches with machine guns. Yet our men in Gallipoli never had a fair chance. Sir Ian Hamilton's-diary records an interminable controversy with the War Office about

• Gallipoli Diary. By Sir Ian Hamilton. 2 Vols. London : Edward Arnold. Me. not.]

shells. The War Office point of view was expressed in a telegram of July 15th, 1915, promising a small consignment of high explosive shells and continuing :-

" It will be quite impossible to continue to send you ammu- nition at this rate, as we have reduced the supply to France in order to send what we have to you, and the amounts asked for in the second pert of your telegram could not be spared without stopping all operations in France. This, of course, is out of the question."

On the other hand, the situation in Gallipoli is clearly explained in a memorandum by General Baikie, who went from the Western front and commanded the artillery at Helles from May to Sep- tember, 1915. General Baikie says that in Gallipoli the four divisions were allotted only as many field guns as were given to one division in France. During the most critical weeks there was no high explosive shell for these field guns to use in supporting attacks. At no time had General Baikie as many as 25,000 rounds of eighteen-pounder ammunition. Yet at Ypres in February, 1915, the artillery of a single division had fired 10,000 shells in a night. The French corps of two divisions at Hellos was always able to fire 40,000 rounds in an action, and gave such help as it could to the British troops. General Baikie declares that the heavy guns and howitzers were old and for the most part unserviceable, so that no effective reply could be made to the enemy's heavy guns firing from three sides on Helles. Several consignments of shells proved to be useless, either because the keys for the fuses were missing or because the calibre was wrong.

General Baikie contrasts his miserable equipment at Helles with the abundant supplies that he had when he commanded

the artillery of the 21st Corps at Gaza in November, 1917, and at the final battle of September, 1918, in Central Palestine. At Helles he had, in all, 95 guns and howitzers, with very little ammunition, for four divisions. At Gaza he had 230 guns with plenty of shells for an attack by one and a-half divisions ; in Central Palestine he had 360 guns for four divisions. It is well known that the Turks sent their very best troops to withstand us at Gallipoli, and that the troops opposed to General Allenby were by no means of the same quality. But we question whether the public realises that at Helles and Anzac the British and Australian troops had to face Turkish veterans supported by an overwhelmingly superior artillery, to say nothing of modern trench-mortars such as we did not possess, and innumerable ;machine-guns. Sir Ian Hamilton does well to call attention to the facts. The astonishing British infantry never had a harder task than it faced in Gallipoli. Whatever we may think of the- conduct of the campaign, we can be justly proud of the bravery and endurance of the troops. If they had been sup- ported by artillery on the Western scale, they would almost certainly have broken the Turkish resistance.

Whether it was possible for the War Office to supply Sir Ian Hamilton with the guns and shells which he demanded is another question. We fear that the War Office was unable to do so for the all-sufficient reason that in 1915 it had not enough munitions for the Western front alone. The Quartermaster-General tele- graphed on May 5th, 1915: " The ammunition supply for your force was never calculated on the basis of a prolonged occupation of the Gallipoli Peninsula." It was assumed that the expe- dition, once landed, would rapidly overrun the peninsula. We must not blame the War Office for making any such assumption. The fault lay with its masters, who plunged into an extremely hazardous enterprise without counting the cost. It is character- istic of the impetuosity with which the campaign was begun that, when Sir Ian Hamilton heard for the first time on March 12th, 1915, that he was to go to Gallipoli, " Winston had been in a fever to get us off and had ordered a special train for that very afternoon," but was prevailed upon to postpone the de- parture till next day. It is not surprising that the new com- mander should have gone away under the impression that the General Staff knew nothing about Gallipoli, and should have made sarcastic comparisons in his diary between the thoughtless War Office and the German General Staff which had a plan ready for any and every campaign. Yet, as we know from General Callwell, the General Staff had "carefully examined" the problem some years before and had concluded, in agreement with the Admiralty, that a purely naval attack would fail and that combined operations would be extremely difficult. The memorandum embodying this advice seems to have been left undisturbed in its pigeon-hole. Sir Ian Hamilton says that Lord Kitchener was " in the War Office sense an amateur " and that he would not use the existing Staff. " The one-man show carried on royally in South Africa and all the narrow squeaks

we had have been oompletely swallowed up in the final success ; but how will his no-system work now ? " So wrote the diarist on his journey to the Mediterranean, adding that he " did not imagine our machinery [of the General Staff] could have been so thoroughly smashed in so short a time." But Lord Kitchener himself had been worried into giving his consent to the adven- ture, on the supposition—which proved to be baseless—that the Navy would do the chief part of the work. Sir Ian Hamilton 83.w the naval bombardment of the Straits on March 18th, 1915, and told Lord Kitchener that the fleet would not force the passage. Four days later Admiral De Robeck declared to the author at a conference that " he was now quite clear he could not get through without the help of all my troops." Then the Voopships assembled at Mudros had to go to Alexandria to be unloaded and reloaded, so that the expedition might be able to land quickly. Everything seemed to conspire against its success because the details had not been thought out beforehand. We shall not discuss the well-known story. But it is only fair to notice the author's repeated contention that, though the expedition failed to achieve its purpose, it inflicted very heavy damage on the Turks. The flower of the Turkish army perished in Gallipoli, and the task before us and our Allies in Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Armenia was thus lightened. This is true, but it is an imperfect consolation.