Massive Naval Assault On Ottoman Empire Begins
For over a month Allied forces have been focused on mounting an attack that would result in capturing the Dardanelles, the narrow, strategically vital strait in northwestern Turkey separating Europe from Asia.
Although the French wanted to delay until ground troops could be spared from the Western Front, First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill pushed to begin immediately. Ottoman forces are prepared for an Allied naval attack on the strait as German engineers have improved their defenses in the region. Allied bombardment has destroyed Ottoman forts near the entrance to the Dardanelles in the days leading up to the attack,
On March 18, 1915 six English and four French battleships headed towards the straits. But the water was heavily mined and three of the 10 Allied battleships—the British Irresistible and Ocean and the French Bouvet—were sunk, and two more were badly damaged. With half the fleet out of commission, pressing on the attack seems futile.