Submarines – were they too successful?

Submarine E11 returning from the Dardanelles after a successful patrol

Submarine E11 returning from the Dardanelles after a successful patrol. AWM H10287

Submarines were new technology in the First World War, but at Gallipoli they played a major role. In fact it has been said that they were too good, and may have made the Campaign last longer than necessary.  Although the navy didn’t manage to break through the minefields in the Dardanelles, a few submarines got through and began to sink Turkish ships.  Just when some of the Allied generals began to doubt that the land campaign could succeed, news came that submarines were blowing up Turkish troop ships. General Sir Ian Hamilton told his officers, ‘You have got through the difficult business, now you have only to dig, dig, dig until you are safe.’  The soldiers dug in, and there followed eight months of trench warfare – and many thousands of lives lost.  Perhaps the submarines had raised false hopes?

Here, Michael Forrest describes the part played by submarines at Gallipoli.