ANZAC versus Ottoman Soldier- Combat Series

Review by Martin Koenigsberg

Just finished my 8th Book Review of the Year!!

During WWI, the British Empire made the destruction of Imperial Germany’s Allies its concern, as part of their strategy- and part of its last years of Imperial expansion. Two of its campaigns, one a costly failure and the other a hard-won success with ramifications to the present day were those at Gallipoli and Palestine. The British were able to use their Australian and New Zealand Allies in these tussles, pitting some of their best soldiers against Ottoman conscripts pulled from an Empire ranging from the Anatolian heartland to Palestine, the Caucasus Iraq, Arabia Syria, and the Iranian border. Si Sheppard, one of Osprey Publishing’s stable of Military History authors compares and contrasts the two forces, in a very readable package full of Maps. diagrams, b/w pics of the era, and great color plates of key actions. Any reader will understand WWI on the peripheral fronts better after this book. At Gallipoli,. the British imperial forces were operating at the very furthest of a very long logistical support chain- whilst the victorious Turks were quite close to their Capital, Constantinople- sort of the point of the whole campaign. There, Ottoman soldiers were almost all Turkish- drawn from nearby Anatolia, and highly motivated to defend their homeland. In Palestine, it was the British and their ANZAC Allies who were close to a base- longtime client state Egypt with its Suez Canal. The Turkish forces they faced had a lower percentage of Anatolians and higher numbers of other ethnic and language groups, less socio-politically tied to the Ottoman polity. By 1918, the Allies were able to defeat the Turks decisively – leading to Ottoman collapse. I enjoyed getting insight into the front of WWI that many readers may have previously ignored. There are few adult themes, save Nationalism and politics, and only a bit of graphic injury description, so this is a book for the Junior Reader over 13/14 years. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast, this is a great way to learn about this part of WWI. The Gamer gets three scenarios, Lone Pine and Chanuk Bair from Gallipoli, and Beersheba in Palestine. I am not a fan of trench warfare gaming- too close perhaps to my Grandfather’s war experience- but I know some new rule sets make it possible and compelling for some. The Modeler gets a lot of diorama ideas- but may want more color resources to get more coverage. The Military Enthusiast gets an interesting view of a WWI front outside of France, something that might be refreshing to some readers.

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