Ashley Ekins is Head of the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He has published widely on the role of Australian soldiers in the First World War and contributed chapters to several books, including the volume he compiled and edited, 1918 Year of Victory (Exisle 2010), and War Wounds: Medicine and the trauma of conflict (Exisle 2011), which he co-edited with Elizabeth Stewart.
Gallipoli: A Ridge Too Far
When troops from Great Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand and India landed on a strategic peninsula in the Aegean Sea in April 1915, they believed they would quickly defeat Turkey and shorten the war with Germany. Few foresaw the tragedy that lay ahead and no one predicted the impact Gallipoli would have on the later development of the participating nations.
Now, for the first time, Gallipoli: A Ridge Too Far tells the full story of the climactic battles from multiple perspectives, describing the pivotal events of that momentous year as they affected all the countries involved.
SPECIFICATIONS: Paperback | 242 x 184 mm / 9 ½ x 7 ⅕ Inches | 8 Pages of Photographs & Maps | 336 Pages |
This new book about the Gallipoli battles is unique in presenting a range of views by distinguished historians from every country involved in the conflict. Writers from Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France and India join historians from Germany and Turkey to present their most recent research findings.
The differing perspectives offer the reader a more complete picture of the historic events at Gallipoli than has been available hitherto, with new insights that will challenge longheld beliefs. The text has been augmented with soldiers’ memoirs and diary accounts, as well as a large number of photographs and maps. The result is a vivid, informative and highly readable book which will appeal to anyone interested in one of the world’s most controversial conflicts.
One year | Seven Countries | Fifteen Authors When troops from Great Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand and India landed on a strategic peninsula in the Aegean Sea in April 1915, they believed they would quickly defeat Turkey and shorten the war with Germany. Few foresaw the tragedy that lay ahead and no one predicted the impact Gallipoli would have on the later development of the participating nations. Now, for the first time, Gallipoli: A Ridge Too Far tells the full story of the climactic battles from multiple perspectives, describing the pivotal events of that momentous year as they affected all the countries involved.
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Radio NZ’s Speaking Volumes Program
“It’s a really convincing portrayal of the wider implications and aspects of the strategy of the war … really good maps.” – Click here to read in full.
Royal United Services Institute of Australia
“The excellent notes and bibliography are invaluable for the serious student of the campaign.”
The story of the landings on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 is a familiar one to Australians, commemorated each year on the anniversary and revered as a nation-building event. Yet much of the Gallipoli campaign – and in particular the major battles that took place in August – is not understood. In a new book, a group of distinguished international historians set to challenge some of the long-held misconceptions of the campaign by presenting fresh insights into that pivotal offensive.
“In Australia we focus on ANZAC Day and the battles of ANZAC Day, but the major battles of the campaign were really in August, when the allies made a last ditch effort to break the deadlock that had lasted since the landing,” says Ashley Ekins, editor of Gallipoli: A ridge too far.
“They brought in five fresh divisions from Britain and new troops from Australia. But every single attack resulted in heartbreak and failure. That’s the story that’s told here.”
The allied troops that landed on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli on 25 April expected to fight a swift campaign, and to win. The aim was to capture the Turkish capital, Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), and knock Turkey out of the war in a master stroke. But the steep terrain of the peninsula and strong Turkish defences made it impossible for the allies to penetrate far inland, so they dug in and resisted enemy attempts to force them back to the beaches.
After months of stalemate, the allies planned a series of assaults to break the military deadlock and achieve a decisive victory. The fighting was fierce and bloody, and the casualties mounted on both sides. The August offensive resulted in the largest battles of the eight-month-long campaign, but it did not lead to victory. The allies finally evacuated the peninsula in December. More than one million men on both sides had been involved in the campaign, and half of them became casualties – killed, wounded, or wasted by disease. Almost 9,000 Australians died.
Gallipoli: A ridge too far features chapters on the August battles by historians from every country involved in the conflict – including the indomitable Turks, the enemy that could not be beaten.
Ekins says the international nature of the Gallipoli campaign would come as a surprise to many Australians.
“The men who fought were from all over the world: on the Turkish side they came from right across the Ottoman Empire, from the Arabian areas through to Anatolia and the Balkans. Then of course there were Germans – not as many as popular imagination has it, but their story is told in the book, too.
“On the allied side there are the French, who always get left out of the story. Their casualties were almost twice those of the Australians. Of course troops came from New Zealand, from India, from Australia, from all parts of the Empire –- even Canada: right near the end troops from Newfoundland arrived. And from the United Kingdom itself there were troops from England and Ireland, from Scotland and Wales. This is mostly unknown to Australians and I think it’s a really important part of the story and it puts the Australian role into perspective.”
The book tackles a wide range of subjects in four sections: the first establishes the strategic context of the campaign; the second examines the Anzac breakout battles, made famous through place names such as Lone Pine, the Nek, Chunuk Bair and Hill 60; the third section looks at the August offensive from the perspective of the enemies and the allies; and the final part explores the enduring legacies of Gallipoli.
In the opening chapter, Australian historian Robin Prior debunks the popular perception that if the Gallipoli campaign had succeeded, the First World War would have been won in half the time.“If the entire operation had succeeded, and Turkey had been knocked out of the war, there would still have been the considerable inconvenience of the German army intact on the Eastern and Western Fronts,” he writes. “In that sense, Gallipoli was not tackling the main problem of the war – namely, how to defeat the Germans.”
Ekins concurs and says the perception that taking Gallipoli would shorten the war was “the biggest myth of the whole campaign”.
“There were too many things stacked against us: the numbers of men, the difficulty of the terrain, the inadequacy of the supplies and equipment, the inadequacy of the artillery. And of course there were ineptitudes in command … but the Gallipoli campaign, and particularly the August offensive was never the moment when the fortunes of the whole war could have turned, as some people think.”
The origins of Gallipoli: A ridge too far were in an international history conference held at the Australian War Memorial in 2010 to mark the 95th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. As the centenary of ANZAC fast approaches, Ekins says he hopes “that people will read it and get a greater appreciation of the fact that the campaign wasn’t a single, short, sharp event on 25 April”.
“I hope this will give people a greater understanding of the scale of the Gallipoli offensive, its huge mixture of nationalities that comprised the forces fighting there, and a greater sense of the tragedy that was this campaign because of its international reach into so many homes, in so many countries.”
bennett.com.au, Chris Epple
Gallipoli – A Ridge Too Far is a work with contributions by fifteen historians from Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, India, and Turkey all focusing on particular campaigns, offensives and strategies of the war in Gallipoli.
This book is not just a revision of what is already known about the Gallipoli campaign but rather a comprehensive look at key success and mistakes on both sides. The authors provide immense details into the background of the Gallipoli campaign from the reactions back home, political influence and decisions that affected those made on the battlefield to those key turning points where battles were won or lost and why.
The book consists of 14 chapters in 4 parts. Each chapter is written by one of the 14 historians and is worked into a cohesive work to cover every aspect of the war in Gallipoli from strategies and plans, key battles, the Allied and Turkish armies, and finally the legacy of Gallipoli.
The Turkish historian Kenan Celik and Harvey Broadbent contributes to this book by adding a Turkish perspective to the Gallipoli campaign. Celik and Broadbent provide a unique understanding of how the Turkish command reacted to the invasion of the Galliploli Peninsular and the Allied offensive of August 1915, as well as the influence of Mustafa Kemal.
Gallipoli: A Ridge Too Far is a valuable resource for anyone studying the Gallipoli campaign or for anyone interested in Australian military history. The book is easy to read and is well presented with many photographs, tables and maps throughout.