In 1942, when the Americans began to arrive in strength in England, the US generals pushed hard for an immediate cross-channel invasion of France in the following year. Churchill thought it was a little too soon. Why not strike the "soft underbelly of Europe" first and invade Italy or the Balkans. The Americans pooh poohed the idea but had to go along with it. Churchill seemed excessively cautious to the Americans, who had not yet had any experience.
The main reason for Churchill's reticence was probably his leadership as Lord of the Admiralty in the campaign in Gallipoli in WWI, which he enthusiastically endorsed. It was an amphibious landing on the peninsula that guarded the opening to the Black Sea. The capture of Constantinople (now Istanbul) would have made possible the flow of arms to our ally Russia and the flow of grain outward.
The landings were led by the Anzacs -- Australians and New Zealanders -- along with British and French. It was a disaster.
The landings weren't planned or managed well. The British troops took their beach almost without resistance and instead of pushing inland sat down and brewed up. The courage and determination of the Turks was wildly underestimated, as the enemy's ability often is. There were about 250,000 casualties on each side, from combat and illness.
The head honcho, General Kitchener, visited the battlefield after it had turned into trench warfare and ordered it evacuated. "He came, he saw, he capitulated," remarked Churchill.
Churchill's sarcasm didn't save him from humiliation and disgrace. But it did put him a little higher on the learning curve than his American Allies in 1942.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this