ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is recognized globally on the anniversary of the landing of troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I at dawn on April 25, 1915. In Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Newfoundland it is known as the Gallipoli Campaign or simply as Gallipoli.
A joint Imperial British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the geographical area that is now Turkey and provide a secure sea route for military and agricultural trade with the Russians including the strategically important Dardanelles in the Aegean. Russian troops were fighting on many fronts, particularly against troops from Germany and the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. 70,000 troops were amassed including the ANZAC forces were the first to arrive to fight on new sea fronts
As dawn broke on 25th April 1915, the troops were towed ashore in lifeboats to land at what quickly became known as Anzac Cove, and some way short of the intended landing place. ‘The boats missed their bearing‘ and it proved to be a costly mistake. On the first day alone over 2,000 men lost their lives and little ground was won.
Heavy casualties and bravery of military personnel were experienced on both sides in the 260 days at Gallipoli from April to December 1915. In the battles, many lives were lost on both sides and the Allied forces did not succeed. The last ANZAC forces withdrew from the Gallipoli peninsula by December 20, 1915. The retreat was just about the only successful operation with very few casualties.
||Over 8,000 Australian and 2,721 New Zealand soldiers soldiers died in the Gallipoli campaign alone, and even though the campaign was a military failure, the ANZAC legend was formed. Many saw this as the start of the ANZAC spirit. This is an Australasian ideal based on the “mateship” and cheerful suffering the forces showed during this campaign.
||In Turkey, the campaign is known as the Çanakkale Savaşları, after the province of Çanakkale. In Turkey, the battle is perceived as a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people – a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the centuries-old Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The struggle laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Turkish Republic 8 years later under Ataturk, himself a commander at Galipoli.
In spite of losses, the Battle of Gallipoli / Çanakkale Savaşları resonated profoundly among all nations involved.