Mediterranean Expeditionary Force Is Making Preparations:

On 1 March, Greece had offered three divisions for an expedition to Istanbul after a successful ally landing on Gallipoli Peninsula. Britain and France were eager to accept this offer but Russian Tsar impeded this project. He stated that, he would never accept any Greek participation in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, in London the War Council was drafting another naval attack. Muddle and disagreements were going on. The main question was that "whether an army should support the navy, or not". Lord Fisher was the most adamant supporter of a combined attack. However, Lord Kitchener was the last decision-maker of the resumption. He was insisting on that, he did not have any sufficient force to send to Turkey.

Nevertheless, the superb 29th Division was still in Britain without an assignment. At last, in March he was convinced to release 29th Division and declared that he will send it to the Aegean Sea to assist the navy. However, the British Generals in France had impetuously protested this decision and Kitchener assigned the Anzac Division in Egypt to the Dardanelles. He declared that, the Anzac Division would be dispatched on 18 February.

On 5 March, General William Birdwood making a military exploration in the Aegean had sent a report to Kitchener notifying his doubts about a sole naval attack. In the same report, he stated that, the support of a powerful army was necessary for success. This report had swept all Kitchener's doubts away. He proclaimed that on 10 March, 29th Division would be set for the Aegean and a French division's arrival would be arranged. Thus, he assigned 70.000 soldiers including the Anzac forces for the second expedition.

Despite Birdwood's report, there were still advocates of a sole naval attack. In this confusion, nobody thought to retire the navy until the army had completed the preparations for a combined attack.

In this muddle and confusion the commander of the Expeditionary Forces had been designated. This commander was Sir Ian Hamilton a good friend of Lord Kitchener from the wars of the Southern Africa.

The army's task was wait until the navy finished its mission. If the navy would fail, the army would land on the Peninsula. Hamilton by leaving a weak army to the Peninsula would leave for Istanbul and would unify with the Russian Division landed on the Bosphorus.

On 17 March, Hamilton was looking to the Dardanelles from the deck of Phaeton. They were just on time. The next day on 18 March, he was watching his armada's attack to the Dardanelles. Thus, all the actors of this bloody play were in the arena now. After the attack, the Turks recovered their confidences because of the victories of their fortifications. Although, the British and French were highly disappointed their armada was still strong and they had a new commander watching the events. However, he did not have a proper plan or an army.

After 18 March, the bad weather was continuing in Canakkale. Hamilton and his staff had gone to Egypt. From now on, silent was reigning; there were no ship passing the strait, no cannon bursting.


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