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Dardanelles

Konstantinopel, 8. März. (W. B.)
Der Spezialberichterstatter des Wolffschen Bureaus in den Dardanellen telegraphiert:
Am Freitag war die Beschießung hauptsächlich auf die Forts in der Nähe des Schlosses Kilid-ül-Bahr gerichtet.
An dem Bombardement beteiligten sich zwei englische Linienschiffe von der „Majestic“- und „Agamemnon“-Klasse. Es wurden ungefähr 30 Schüsse abgegeben. Viele davon fielen zu kurz, explodierten im Meer und warfen dort mächtige Wasserwellen auf. Es wurde lediglich an den Gebäuden Schaden angerichtet, während die Batterien unbeschädigt blieben. Die türkischen Batterien gaben nur drei Schüsse ab. Einer davon war ein Treffer und verursachte allem Anschein nach einen Brand auf Deck. Die englischen Schiffe entfernten sich darauf sofort und nahmen möglichst große Distanz. Ein englisches Wasserflugzeug versuchte, die türkischen Stellungen zu erkunden, wurde jedoch durch das Feuer der Abwehrkanonen gezwungen, in der Richtung auf die Sarosbucht weiterzufliegen. Der Flieger warf eine Bombe ab, die in offenem Gelände explodierte. Die Beschießung der anderen Forts ist völlig belanglos verlaufen.

Berlin, 8. März. (W. B.)
Von bestunterrichteter Seite geht uns über die Lage bei den Dardanellen folgende Mitteilung zu:
Die Meldungen der englischen Admiralität, die von bedeutenden Erfolgen der Verbündeten bei dem Angriff auf die Dardanellen zu berichten wissen, sind augenscheinlich nur darauf berechnet, einen moralischen Druck auf die Balkanstaaten auszuüben und bei den Neutralen Stimmung zu machen. Tatsächlich hat aber noch kein Fahrzeug der Verbündeten bisher das Minenfeld erreicht und keine einzige Mine ist weggeräumt worden. Die Landungsversuche am 6. d. M. bei Kum-Kaleh und Sedd-ül-Bahr sind völlig gescheitert. An beiden Stellen wurden die Angreifer unter großem Verlusten durch Bajonettangriffe der türkischen Truppen zurückgeworfen und ins Meer getrieben. Die inneren Dardanellenforts haben noch gar nicht in den Kampf eingegriffen.
Die Stimmung ist ruhig und zuversichtlich. Das politische und wirtschaftliche Leben geht seinen gewohnten Gang.

Daily Telegraph March 8 1915
All of a sudden it really seems that the attack on Turkey seems to be the focus of the Telegraph’s reporting. Not only is the single leader on page 8 devoted to this subject, but we get two fights for the price of one on page 9. The latest progress in the Dardanelles leads the news, but over the other side of the country a reconnaissance party meets a Turco-Persian force in Western Persia and escapes having inflicted higher losses, although 115 men are lost, a number which is described as “unfortunately very heavy,” although in the light of what is to come as the war progresses seems relatively minor.
Also in today’s paper
– A “slight and fashionably-dressed young woman” is imprisoned for a month for assaulting an army officer with her umbrella, her defence being she was angry at being insulted by men in uniform – page 3
– Most of page 4 is given over to the latest Roll of Honour whilst the latest gazetting of officers takes up a fair proportion of page 5, possibly not entirely coincidentally
– The latest industrial dispute sees Thames watermen seeking a 20% increase in wagespage 6
– A shooting incident in America sees a former mayor shot and kill five friends and wound 35 before a “life-long chum” shots him dead – page 8
– A political crisis erupts in Greece as the Prime Minister resigns over differences over foreign policy with the King – page 9
– A French liner catches fire in the Atlantic – page 9
– The Earl of Lonsdale explains why he believes horse racing should continue (see the previous day) on page 10
– A heroic story in the air on page 10 as a pilot is blinded by a shell-burst but is guided safely home by his mortally-wounded lieutenant before the latter dies
– “An extremely interesting and highly practical demonstration of the success which is attending the effort to bring into existence an “all-British” waiter” takes place – page 12. Don’t know about you but wartime seems a pretty odd time to be doing this

Turkish minelayer Nusrat lays a line of mines in Erenköy Bay, a wide bay along the Asian shore inside the entrance to the Dardanelles.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, supported by four battleships, entered Dardanelles and bombarded Fort Rumeli Medjidieh Tabia, S of Kilid Bahr.
Asie Mineure : la flotte russe de la mer Noire bombarde Ergli en Asie mineure (aujourd’hui Eregli en Turquie)

*
Attack on Smyrna. HMT Okino (RN): The naval trawler was lost on this date. Okino, hired trawler, minesweeper, mined and sunk
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2 Royal Navy Air Service seaplanes lost, only 2 serviceable.
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On the Dardanelles side the result of the day’s experience was to leave no doubt that if the work of the fleet was to be done within reasonable time more drastic measures must be adopted. It was obvious that the periodical silence of the forts meant, not that they had been put out of action, but that the gunners took shelter ready to return to the guns as occasion offered. Heavier shell was required to wreck the forts, and Admiral Carden, putting aside all hesitation about using the Queen Elizabeth inside, ordered her to conduct a direct bombardment next day (March 8). Every care was taken to protect her from annoyance. Her manoeuvre area was to be in mid-channel, and beginning opposite Eren Keui, she was to engage Rumili. As soon as that fort was done for, she would finish Hamidieh I on the Asiatic side, and then deal with the other two European batteries, Hamidieh II and Namazieh, and end with the Chemenlik fort (Sultanieh).
Four battleships (Vengeance, Canopus, Cornwallis and Irresistible) were to cover her from the barrage guns, one on either beam and one on either quarter. Their special objective was the scattered howitzers, and the two advanced ships were specially ordered not to become engaged with the forts. They were, however, to be ready to close them if it became necessary to force them to man their guns, but as soon as the forts began to fire they were to withdraw. The most serious obstacle to the success of the plan was the shortage of ammunition. It was becoming a source of real anxiety, and particular orders had to be given to confine the day’s work to deliberate fire. Still hope ran high. The instructions to be ready for closing, no less than the fact that all five of the principal forts in the Narrows were indicated as objectives, show that much was expected from the risk that was to be taken, and Admiral Carden himself took charge, with his flag in the Queen Elizabeth.
But again there was a tale of disappointment; once more the weather played false. The visibility was so bad that the targets could hardly be made out, spotting from the ships was impossible, and the clouds were so low that the seaplanes could not mark the fall of a single shot. In three runs the Queen Elizabeth got off no more than eleven rounds — all at Rumili — and only one seemed to be a hit. The forts made no reply, but the howitzer and field batteries were as active as ever, and in the bad light more difficult than ever to locate. Till 3.30 the Admiral persevered, and then, as the light was growing worse, the ships were withdrawn with nothing done.
(According to reliable Turkish reports the effect of the bombardments carried out from February 26 to March 8, was as follows:
February 26 to March 4: the batteries engaged sustained no damage beyond a few casualties to the personnel.
March 6: Rumili fort was struck eleven times but no gun was put out of action. Namazieh was hit six times. This indirect bombardment had a great moral effect on the guns’ crews.
March 6: the Kilid Bahr forts were hit five times.
March 7 and 8: no damage of military importance and no casualties. The batteries only ceased fire to keep their ammunition for lower ranges, or when compelled to clear the guns from grit and debris thrown up by exploded shells. They could have continued in action had they so desired.)
So for a time, with deep disappointment, the attack on the Narrows came to an end. Three weeks had now gone by — three out of the four which Admiral Carden had originally estimated the whole operation would take — and the second phase seemed no nearer completion. To proceed under existing conditions was useless, for, as the Admiral pointed out in a summary of the operations which he now sent home, efficient air reconnaissance was essential to further progress. Until the concealed guns and howitzers on either side could be better located, all ships inside in the daytime were in serious danger from plunging fire, and though hitherto it had not been very accurate, it was getting better every day. Till something was done to supply the cardinal defect he did not propose to continue the attack. But this was not the only consideration. Quite apart from the difficulty of spotting, experience had shown that long-range fire alone could never render the forts innocuous. Ships must close to decisive range to finish them, and closing was impossible while the enemy's mines were intact. Accordingly, while waiting till he had the means of making a bombardment on a large scale effective, he intended to devote himself to clearing the mine-fields which barred the approach — working the trawlers by night with two battleships in support, and at the same time having two others on guard at either side of the entrance to prevent the enemy collecting there or bringing up guns. He also proposed to bombard the Bulair lines with a similar object.
*
Smyrna
There were still, however, too many concealed guns untouched for sweeping to be attempted except under cover of night, and even so there was little chance of success till the searchlights were destroyed. After dark the Triumph tried her hand, but though she prevented them from burning more than a few seconds at a tune, she failed to touch them, and the Admiral decided that before making a serious attempt with the trawlers he must have another day at the defences. To this work the 8th was devoted. The three ships began on Yeni Kale at 7,000 yards, but as there was no reply the Admiral went off in his flagship to investigate Vourlah, a small roadstead in the outer part of the gulf. The Askold, which had joined on the 6th, had reported having been fired on from this place, and he wished to see what he could make of it. In his absence the two battleships engaged Paleo Tabia. It also was silent and good practice was made. Before long the Triumph got a direct hit on one of the guns. The result was startling. Immediately after the gun toppled over all three of the heavy batteries opened as if never a shot had been fired at them. As the ships were only 8,000 yards away the surprise should have had serious results. Fortunately the nerves of men who have been pent for many hours in bomb-proof shelters are seldom at their best, and the gunnery was bad; the ships stood their ground and returned the fire, and although the Triumph was hit there were no casualties, and in half an hour all the forts had ceased fire.
It was not pleasant news for the Admiral on his return especially as he had been unable to find anything at Vourlah. In his report to the Admiralty that evening he summed up the situation by informing them that after four days’ operations the only certain results were the destruction of one heavy gun and four field guns. The experience, in fact, was exactly the same as at the Dardanelles. It was clear that till the fire of the ships became really effective the Turks simply kept their men under cover and there was no way of stopping the game till the ships could close in to decisive range and completely smash the guns and works. Till the minefields were cleared this could not be done, and during the night a determined attempt was made on them. It was pushed in with much boldness, and as the battleships were again able to keep the searchlights to occasional fitful flashes the trawlers succeeded in clearing a channel up to within 3,000 yards of Yeni Kale, but it was only done at the cost of one of them. No. 285 (Okino), which struck a mine and sank. The skipper and four men were saved, but the rest of the crew were reported missing.
*
[с. 264] Восьмого марта «Куин Элизабет» вместе с «Канопусом», «Корнуоллом» и «Иррезистеблом» повторили атаку. Ливень и низкая облачность не дали работать гидропланам. Корабли попали под огонь гаубиц но не получили серьёзных повреждений. Форты умолкли; близкие разрывы, судя по послевоенным заявлениям турок, закидали пушки обломками и грязью.
Неприятель решил сохранить боеприпасы для ближнего боя и занялся очисткой орудий.
*
 7 и 8 марта бомбардировка наружных Дарданелл возобновилась и, по-видимому, с большим успехом, т.к. турки отвечали на огонь довольно слабо. Оказывается, однако, что они просто хотели сохранить имевшееся в их распоряжении небольшое количество снарядов для ведения действительного огня с более близких расстояний. В этом кроется действительная причина их слабого противодействия.
  /
  8 марта решено было использовать Queen Elisabeth с её мощной артиллерией внутри пролива. В целях защиты его от огня береговых батарей она была окружена другими менее ценными кораблями. Выпустив 11 залпов по батареям Чанака, ЛК пришлось прекратить огонь, т.к. низкая облачность затруднила корректирование огня гидросамолетом.
  /
  Опыт бомбардировки 7 марта показал, что если Карден хочет чего то добиться, он должен действовать более решительно. Адмирал перенёс флаг на «Куин Элизабет». Он решил сам войти в пролив на линкоре и разгромить форты Узостей. Броненосцы «Виндженс», «Канопус», «Корнуоллис» и «Иррезистебл» должны были прикрывать линкор от огня полевых батарей. Серьёзную тревогу вызывала нехватка боезапаса. Но на эту операцию возлагались большие надежды, и Карден решил рискнуть. Однако англичанам снова не повезло с погодой. Видимость резко ухудшилась. Линкор сумел сделать всего 11 залпов только по форту Румели. После этого обстрел был прекращён. А погода вынудила Кардена сделать очередной перерыв.

  8 марта, когда погода вновь ухудшилась, стало очевидно, что первый порыв атакующих иссяк. Адмиралы оказались в раздражающей ситуации: их сдерживала не мощь противника, а его неуловимость. Тральщики не могли двигаться вперёд, пока не будут подавлены береговые батареи, а линкоры не могли подойти достаточно близко, чтобы подавить орудия, пока не будут убраны мины. Проблему для морских артиллеристов могли бы решить гидросамолеты с их новым радиооборудованием, проводя воздушную разведку, но каждый день море было то слишком бурным, то слишком гладким для взлёта машин. В этой дилемме Карден начал колебаться и затягивать свои действия.
  Роджер Кейс, постоянно находившийся на острие атаки, был убеждён, что все дело в плохой работе гражданских экипажей тральщиков, которых набрали в Англии в рыболовецких портах Северного моря. Офицеры тральщиков говорили ему, что эти матросы «осознавали риск траления мин и не боялись взлететь на воздух, но терпеть не могли орудийного огня и отмечали, что траление под огнём не предусматривалось и что они нанимались не для этого».

8 марта произошло событие, которое оказало колоссальное влияние на весь ход операции. Можно даже с большой долей вероятности предположить, что именно в этот день был решён исход Дарданелльской операции. Турецкий минный заградитель «Нушрет» поставил 26 мин в юго-западной части бухты Эрен-Кёй, которую использовали броненосцы для маневрирования во время обстрелов. Постановка была произведена молниеносно. В 5.00 заградитель снялся с якоря в Наре, а в 8.00 уже вернулся в Чанак-Кале, не встретив кораблей противника. Эта линия мин длиной 15 кабельтов была поставлена не поперёк, а вдоль пролива. Мины были поставлены на такой глубине, что только броненосцы могли подорваться на них. Союзники так и не узнали об этом заграждении. Вообще в операции наступил непонятный перерыв.
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