Led by then First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, the British command decided to run a solely naval driven operation at first. Not wanting to use their best ships as they were needed in the North Sea to hold the barricade there, the British decided to use warships that were too old to be in commission. The use of old ships would protect their endeavors in the North Sea, and if the campaign failed, there would be minimal loss of money and useful ships. However, that plan was short-lived as it soon became very evident that there would also have to be ground attacks. The shores of the Dardanelles would have to be taken and held so that the fleet could do its job. So, with this decision firmly in play, a British military presence began building in Egypt along with a small contingent from their French allies to aid their seafaring brothers in arms.
On February 19, the initial battle was set to begin, but the weather would not permit it, and so the operation was halted. After six days of inclement weather, the skies cleared, and the mission could move forward. Marines landed, accompanied by combat engineers set for demolition duties on the beaches without any opposition. Still, the weather turned quickly, and this portion of the mission would stall just like the initial launch. It wasn’t until March 18 that the actual barrage of bombs began in preparation for the fleet to make their move. After several hours of bombardment, the British had lost three ships, and several more were damaged. The loss of these ships was a clear sign; this mission was going to need more than the might of the fleet.
After regrouping and restructuring their plan, the mission continued in late April. This time, troop transports amassed on the island of Lemnos with the intention of landing in two pivotal places along the Gallipoli peninsula. On April 25, the British forces would land at Cape Helles, and the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand forces) would take the other beachhead. As the battle progressed, the Allied armies moved forward, securing small beachheads along the way. However, these victories were small and difficult to obtain as the insurgents were met with Turkish resistance, led by the man who would later be known as Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal.
The British forces struggled to gain land and needed to find a strategic tipping point for their next landings. Three months later, on August 6, another wave of soldiers landed at Suvla Bay. The Turkish had moved troops from this location as they felt the British would never attack it (though one commander, Mustafa Kemal, warned that this would be the location but was dismissed) because it was a naturally fortified region. So, the Turkish leadership had left a bare-bones presence. Even with the limited troop resources, the Turkish forces were able to stop the invading forces in their tracks eventually, thanks to their knowledge of the landscape and the natural fortification of the bay. With all the unsuccessful pushes and attempts to take the Dardanelles, the British felt it was time to replace their leader, and in September, would do just that. However, it was too little too late.
By late November, it was evident that the campaign would not be a victory for the British and French forces, and in waves, the Allied Forces left the shores of Turkey. By the first week of January 1916, all troops had been evacuated. The British’s bid to take the straits and help the Russians had failed, and dealt the British a devastating defeat.