Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

Janine Davidson examines the art, politics, and business of American military power.

Bravery and Folly at Gallipoli, One-Hundred Years Ago

by Emerson Brooking Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Bearing heavy loads, a group of Entente soldiers tow their rowboat to the shore of Gallipoli, April 25, 1915. (Charles Bean) Bearing heavy loads, a group of Entente soldiers tow their rowboat to the shore of Gallipoli, April 25, 1915. (Charles Bean)

On April 25, 1915, 78,000 British, French, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers stormed ashore the Gallipoli peninsula amid a fury of Ottoman machine guns and shellfire. They struggled up treacherous bluffs wreathed with barbed wire, reading from maps as much as seventy years out of date. This was D-Day fought with the tactics and technology of World War I. The amphibious assault, intended to dismantle the Turkish guns that dotted the straits of the Dardanelles, would fail decisively. Facing hardened trench lines and determined Turkish defenders, the Entente forces would spend eight months and 47,000 lives to advance—at their maximum—four bloody miles. They would never come close to their day-one objective.

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A Century Ago Today, the Age of Industrial Warfare Began

by Emerson Brooking Thursday, August 7, 2014
ww1-industrial-warfare In this undated photograph, British soldiers prepare to fire a railroad gun. (Illustrated War News, Vol. 1, Illustrated London News and Sketch, London, 1916).

By Emerson Brooking

On August 7, 1914, the French advanced into German-controlled Alscace,  beating back the German divisions with a vicious display of massed firepower and artillery. This was the opening day of the Battle of the Frontiers, a month-long struggle of maneuver in which French, British, and German armies played tug-of-war across a 440-mile front. This was World War I before the trenches, where the visions of nineteenth-century military planners collided with the realities of twentieth-century industrial warfare. The battle saw 670,000 dead or wounded in a month—the highest density of losses in the entire war. This month would shatter a century of military doctrine.

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