Customer Reviews

8
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
4
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
1
1 star
0
Gallipoli: The End of the Myth
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£11.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2009
As an introduction to the subject, Prior's book has much to recommend it, though it suffers, as do most accounts in English, from a lack of original Turkish sources. Prior's main thesis is that, even if it had been successful, the Gallipoli Campaign would not have shortened the war by so much as one day. While detailing the well-known defects of the higher command (and with a reappraisal of the subsequent performance of Hunter-Weston), there is a somewhat inevitable feeling that the material is skewed, if only slightly, to support the conclusion. The so-called 'Drift to the Dardanelles' is examined, as is Churchill's role, but this was covered in far greater detail in Geoffrey Miller's 'Straits: British Policy Towards the Ottoman Empire and the Origins of the Dardanelles Campaign' (which, strangely, does not appear in the bibliography) and there is little new here. Nevertheless, Prior's book is recommended as a solid overview of the Campaign but is hardly 'The Final Story'
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 21 May 2015
At a recent (May 2015) Western Front Association lecture at Wolverhampton University, the noted WW1 historian Dr. John Bourne said that he thinks that the definitive account of the Gallipoli Campaign has still to be written (because so many Turkish records remained to be studied), but that until then, Robin Prior's "Gallipoli, the End of the Myth" is the best one we have.

Prior gives us a clear and meticulously researched chronology of the campaign; he is especially good at describing its muddled origins as a purely naval attack on the Dardanelles forts using mostly outdated ships, with the vital task of mine-sweeping given to untrained civilian-crewed trawlers, which took on a ghastly life of its own as various government committees allowed land forces to be added to it in ever increasing numbers. Unlike so many other Australian historians, Prior does not lay undue emphasis on the role of the Anzac troops at the expense of the French or British ones. He blames Asquith as much as Churchill, Kitchener as much as Hamilton, and amongst his fascinating judgements on the roles of the various other generals, thinks that historians have been too kind to Birdwood.

His conclusions are very much in line with current academic thinking - that the campaign was not "a good plan, badly carried out", but was a poor and muddled plan that was never going to succeed. Naval forces were never going to be able to destroy the Turkish forts, and the Turkish troops were so much better (and much better led) than Churchill and others thought, that much stronger armed forces would have been needed to defeat them. Constantinople was not going to fall simply at the appearance of a large British fleet - in fact we now know that it was being entrenched and fortified for a determined defense. And even if somehow Turkey was defeated, since it wasn't propping up Germany (very much the other way round in fact), it would have done nothing whatever to shorten the war by a single day.

Highly recommended (at least until that definitive account comes out in a decade's time).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 13 May 2015
Good book to read and full of relevant statistics. I am looking for one from the Turkish side but they play their cards close to their chests.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2015
This book is filled with some VERY poor scholarship. Unfortunately the author is so dedicated to trying to fulfill his original thesis that he lays out so grandly that he actually forgets to write a true history of events. Instead he attempts to twist events to suit his thesis. There are numerous examples however I will now highlight just a few you can find within the very first few chapters dealing with the naval campaign:

a) He complains of the poor use of spotter aircraft continually during the naval operations and the inability of commanders to foresee any problems arising from it. He forgets spectacularly that aircraft were a very new invention, and this was in fact one of the very first times they were being used in this way by the Royal navy in naval warfare of this type and on this scale.

b) He says that the availability of 15inch shells (which only one ship could use) must show the availability of 12inch shells, which all the other ships used. This does not follow. If both ammunition types were fully stocked at the start of engagement then because there were so many ships using 12inch shells it is perfectly possible that 12inch shells could have run into shortages even if 15inch did not due to rate of fire and if the amount of 15inch shells provided had not been in proportion to 12inch shells when you factor in the different number of users of the shells.

c) Admiral Carden is quoted as saying that his fire had not damaged the forts. He is criticized by the author who says he should have been trying to damage the guns not the forts, but that he should have realized if he could not damage the forts his chances of damaging the guns was slight. How does the author even know that wasn't precisely what he meant. Forts barely damaged, ie guns barely damaged. Poor scholarship in attempting to create something to criticize

d) Author complains that the ships had only fired 40 shells each over 8 days and goes on to say that they carried 250-400 shells. This actually means that they fired a minimum of 10% of their entire ammunition in 8 days. If you considered that no ship would want to run out of ammunition, furthermore they knew a top class german ship (goeben) lay beyond the straits if they could get through that they would have to fight. Is using 10% (and some used more than this) in eight days (and remember the plan held that it would take at least a month for the fleet to fight their way through the straits ) really such a small amount???? Over 32 days at a minimum at this rate of fire the ships with the largest space for ammunition would have expended 40% of it, and other ships would have expended far greyer percentages. It is then a fact that only if the ships could be very easily restocked without leaving the straits would a greater rate of fire not have been a problem. The production of shells was however a concern of the government not just for the navy but also for the army, and merchant ships were also not in an infinite supply so they could not easily be used to provide shells for the fleet in the straits without there loss being felt elsewhere.

he later admits that the navy limited shell support for the landings because they knew they needed to conserve shells. The author shows his complete inability to understand military command but not realising that unlike in fantasy or a computer games, running out of ammunition is a matter of life and death and very real hazard. It was something all naval commanders would need to consider very carefully. Instead the author tries to twist this into something to criticise. I am sorry Mr Prior but this is not a computer games with a cheat code allowing unlimited ammunition this is real life, those shells have to be shipped all the way from Great Britain to Turkey.

e) During the landings, the OC Hunter-Weston constantly produces ambitions plans which involve a complex turn during the advance to hook around and take a certain final position. This fails repeatedly and the author criticises him for it. Yet not once does the author try and understand WHY the OC might want/need to try and make this manoeuvre. He never asks "What is it that was so important about trying to attain this position?" and "was the efforts to take this position therefore worth it?" Without understanding the importance of the final position you cannot understand the level of the failure. Was it simply a tactical failing, the hook was needed but the troops available simply were up to it for a variety of reasons or was it a strategic failing as this plan was never the correct one even with the most optimal forces for it.

The greatest failing any historian can make, is seeing things from todays perspective without appreciating the contemporary perspective. This is exactly what the author has done here. He sees every error as so obvious, which of course it is with 100 years of hindsight and years to research in. This book then is greatly flawed. The author's desperation to prove his thesis means that he clouds the analysis of actual errors (and there were an awful lot in the planning and undertaking of the Gallipoli Campaign) with errors he himself invents to try and strengthen his argument
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 6 June 2015
Really enjoyed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2015
Probably the best book of of the many written about the Gallipoli campaign.He is one of the few historians to consider the alternative of Alexandretta and rightly dismiss it. Perhaps too kind to Stopford the author is Australian based and happily lacks the 'chippiness' of other writers from 'down under' like Carlyon. A first class account of a noble failure. Prior does not support the concept (there I must disagree) but his review of the poor planning, execution and performance of leaders has not yet been matched.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
This book is a superbly clear and succint account of the Gallipoli campaign which clarified a number of points for me and summarised all my reading on this subject. I recommend it to specalist and general readers alike
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2014
Bought as a present
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Gallipoli
Gallipoli by Peter Hart (Paperback - 14 Mar. 2013)
£10.68

Gallipoli, 1915: Frontal Assault on Turkey (Osprey Military Campaign)
Gallipoli, 1915: Frontal Assault on Turkey (Osprey Military Campaign) by Philip J. Haythornthwaite (Paperback - 24 Jan. 1990)
£13.48

Gallipoli
Gallipoli by Alan Moorehead (Hardcover - 2 April 2015)
£18.80
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.