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Canakkale Victory Day

Turkey celebrates one of its historic defensive victories during the WWI while commemorating those who lost their lives in line of public duty. Every year, on 18 March, the whole nation stops to remember its losses with pride.

On 18 March 1915, the allied navy with some of world's strongest battleships pushed through the Dardanelle straits to reach Ottoman capital Istanbul and knock the empire out of WWI in a quick victory. Had they have been successful, they were to immediately open Turkish straits to Russian navy which was locked in Black Sea.


The operation began on 19 February 1915 with allied navy using its cannons to weaken bunkers defending the entry points. For days these attacks and demining work continued.

At about 10:30 AM local time the big push began.

In the ensuing 10 hours, hell rained on what is in peacetime one of the most beautiful seaways that inspired poets for thousands of years.

According to the British records, allied battleships alone fired some 3400 rounds of heavy artillery shells, bombarding Turkish and German defensive positions. One round every two minutes from each one of the 16 ships.

Allied ships Irresistible, Ocean and Bouvet were sunk during the battle; Gaulois, Suffren and Inflexible were heavily damaged. HMS Queen Elizabeth and Agamennon were hit.

Admiral De Roebeck ordered the retreat. Istanbul - the capital - was safe and its people able to live another day.

At the end of this day, the allied high command started to plan the 25 April landings. The fate of the ANZAC was beginning to be sealed. The unfurling of events also gave rise to one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who, across thousands of kilometers, helped his foes heal their wounds.

Anniversary of the victory at sea is still one of the most important days in Turkish nation's calendar and celebrated across the nation and globe.


The abandoned HMS Irresistible.




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