The Great World War A History, Part VII

2 The Great World War occupation of Constantinople the severance of Turkey in Europe from Asia the removal of the main reason which paralysed the activity of Ru­ mania Bulgaria and Greece and perhaps the complete elimination of Turkey as a factor in the World War. A glance at a map will show that the naval enterprise to which the Allies stood committed by both interest and honour was varied and presented con­siderable difficulty. We may take Constantinople as the centre in the administrative and political though not in the geographical sense. It lies on the European bank at the southern end of the Bosphorus. To the south of it is the Sea of Marmora the classic Propontis a landlocked sheet of water studded with islands which stretches from east to west. At the western end of the Sea of Marmora lie the Dar­danelles. The Bosphorus and Sea of Marmora need not be dealt with at present they will be more properly left for the later stages of the cam­paign. But an accurate general idea of the Dardanelles must be obtained as an indispensable preliminary to any attempt to understand the story we have to tell. The Dardanelles known to the ancient world as the Hellespontus, form a strait 35 miles long stretching with a general direction from north­east to south-west. The north-western or European side is formed by the Gallipoli Peninsula which maybe compared in shape to abroad sharp- pointed carving-knife. The handle forms the north-eastern end and is known as the Isthmus of Bulair (or Palayar). The edge— much dented and outworn of shape by the sea— is the northern or north-western coast of the peninsula. The back itself much dented and twisted is the shore of the Dardanelles on the European side. The Asiatic southern or south­eastern bank is formed by the main­land of Asia Minor. The Gallipoli Peninsula is full of hills rising to six or eight hundred and at a few points to over a thousand feet. The Asiatic bank is a plain from which the ground rises to Mount Ida. The different character of the two banks had a strong influence on the course of the operations. A s the Gallipoli Penin­sula is nowhere more than some ten miles wide the range of modern guns made it possible for war-ships to lie on the outer coast in the sub-divi­sions of the Mediterranean called the yEgean at the southern and the Gulf of Saros at the northern end. The solid mass of Asia Minor made this kind of attack impossible on the Asiatic side. Then again the Galli­ poli Peninsula might be cutoff from the continental possessions of Turkey by landing troops undercover of the fleet on the Bulair Isthmus. The Asiatic bank must be approached by landing troops in Asia Minor. There are good anchorages at several places. Before giving a more detailed account of the Plellespont we must not forget to note that there is an overflow from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The first receives several great rivers, the Danube and Volga being the most important the second very few in proportion to its size. Evapora­tion lowers the level of the Medi­terranean. The overplus of the water
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