11 марта 1915, 1:35 пополудни.
101. Исходные инструкции предписывали постепенные и осторожные методы атаки; мы всячески одобряем Вашу работу: Вы продвинулись вперёд настойчивыми и искусными действиями и до сего дня не понесли потерь .
Вместе с тем важность результата оправдает урон в людях и кораблях, если без них невозможен успех. Прорыв через узость Чанака может решить дело и окажет самое решительное влияние на ход всей войны. Предлагаем вам обдумать следующее: пришло время выбрать погожий день и подавить форты в Узостях с дистанции эффективного огня максимальным числом орудий — больших и малых; пустить в ход всю возможную артиллерию. …
Мы не торопим Вас и не навязываем собственного мнения, но полагаем, что именно сейчас нам должно нажать на врага со всей силой и тем привести операцию к решительному результату. Нам желательно услышать от Вас – действительно ли наступил такой момент?
Хорошо продуманный план решительного прорыва, пусть и чреватый огорчительными потерями, найдёт в нас поддержку. [с. 267-8]
There is a panic in Constantinople and many foreigners are leaving.
French warships bombarded Bulair Lines (Gallipoli).
Next night the same plan was tried again with the 1st group of trawlers, but the results were more discouraging than ever. As before, the trawlers stole up in line ahead, but now the searchlights were on the alert, and as soon as the leading boat came into the beams and the shells began to fall she turned 16 points and began to run back. Her example infected all the rest, and nothing the Amethyst could do would induce them to face the fire again, The behaviour of the skippers was as surprising as it was depressing. Hitherto the conduct of the crews had been so cool and intrepid that everything was expected of them. But it was now clear that although they had no fear whatever of mines, they had not the discipline required for the unaccustomed experience of working steadily under shell-fire; or, as Admiral de Robeck reported, “In some cases the crews appear to have no objection to being blown up by mines, though they do not seem to like working under gun-fire, which is a new element in their calling.”
Other measures, then, had to be adopted if the indispensable work was to be carried through, and the Admiral decided to call for volunteers from the fleet to command and man the trawlers. The response was naturally overwhelming, but the new system could not be tested that night. It was the turn of the French. They tried, as before, against the current, but found they could scarcely make headway, and after several of them had been hit they, too, retired empty-handed.
A summary of these operations was the first news which reached the Admiralty from Admiral Carden after the telegram urging more drastic action had been sent to him. The impression it conveyed was that he had been brought to a standstill, and a second message was sent him urging vigorous action still more plainly. His plan of calling for volunteers for the sweeping was approved, and he was told he was not expected to do the work without loss, and that the operations must be pressed on by day and night. The information of the Admiralty was that the German officers were sending in desponding reports of shortage of anmumition, and that a submarine was coming out.
General Sir Ian Hamilton, aged 62, was appointed to command a proposed Constantinople Expeditionary Force (later changed to Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) comprising the British 29th Division, the ANZAC Corps, the Royal Marine Division and a French Corps.
So promising, indeed, was the opening that there was good prospect of success. The only doubt was whether the Vali would be able to overcome the opposition of the military authorities. The feeling of the soldiers was clear enough from their heavy guns having fired on our flag of truce, and if they prevailed the Admiral now knew there was little likelihood of the negotiations being carried much further. He had, moreover, been warned by the Admiralty that he might have to convert his operations into a demonstration, and that he must be prepared to send back the battleships to the Dardanelles at any moment. The hour was, in fact, at hand when the power of the fleet to force the Narrows must be put to the final test, and Admiral Carden had been authorised to recall the Swiftsure and Triumph the moment he was ready to begin.