The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

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To the East, to the Death, to the Struggle
To the East, to the Death, to the Struggle


1st September, 1914

With war not even a month ago, the coordination of the French and British forces was important. Together in Paris were the men who would kickstart the Allied war effort, or most of it rather:
- Field Marshal Horatio Kitchener, British Secretary of State for War.
- Field Marshal John French, Commander-in-Chief of the BEF
- Jean Viviani, French Prime Minister
- Alexandre Millerand, French War Minister
- Aristide Briand, French Justice Minister

The transcript remains in the British War Museum. It was the basis for the historical novel Gods and Generals: Volume 3, written by Peter FitzSimons:

Kitchener: Gentlemen, I thank you for your audience. I have received the notice from the President and from the French Commander-in-Chief -
Millerand: You must understand, Field Marshal, our great concern with frontline -
French: With me, you mean?
Millerand: Sir? With all due respect, the BEF is capable of holding the line -
French: No, we are not! (slams the table) The II Corps will not be able to stand against a single German corps. You must understand, Monsieur Millerand, my great concern -
Kitchener: Gentlemen, you make good points. The French do not want us to fall back to the Seine and Field Marshal French cannot stand alone. Against the Germans, he will have need of reinforcements. Field Marshal Joffre will need to press on an attack if French is to -
Viviani: Field Marshal Joffre is capable of handling his own affairs. After all, the Germans have been reinforcing East Prussia, is that not a good opportunity to -
French: I cannot attack without help from the French. Once I have endangered my men to save you and now you demand a second -
Viviani: War will make that happen to -
French: Do not lecture -
Kitchener: Field Marshal. I am of the belief that we need to cooperate -
Viviani: Is that not what we are doing already -
Kitchener: Yes, but I must be clear. As of now, the gap between I and II Corps will need closing. The BEF will need to stay for the good of the fight. The French will need to continue -
French: Of course (unintelligible mumbles). Am I given the right to fall back?
Kitchener: That is something that will occur. It will continue, but it must be in tandem with the French. The BEF will stand.
French: Of course (mouthing curses)
Briand: Gentlemen, what about the Ottoman Empire?
Kitchener: What about them?
French: Please tell (grinding teeth).
Briand: The Ottomans are neutral, yet they have closed the Dardanelles to trade -
Kitchener: But I must wonder about that. The Ottomans are neutral -
Briand: - Yet they have closed their trade and allowed German ships to acquired into their service. That as well as firing on Admiral Milne as well. We must ensure that Russia be able to reach supplies from the sea. Otherwise we would not be able to sustain pressure -
French: Sustain pressure? I have told you that the BEF is not able to hold the Germans back and here you are, stating we attack the Dardenelles -
Briand: There is a chance to do this, gentlemen. The Baltic will have the German High Seas Fleet as their protector. The Ottomans have only the Dardanelles. There is no other way -
Kitchener: Minister, it seems like a good idea, but there must be a plan in place. We cannot be serious about a campaign unless there is -
Briand: The French are retreating, the BEF is retreating, the Dardanelles is where we can -
Viviani: Minister, you will keep quiet -
Briand: The fight would be a breach of the Ottomans, yes, but it will supply the Russians. How many of us heard of what occurred at Tanneburg?
(A murmur from all men)
Kitchener: Field Marshal French will ensure reasonable movement away from the German lines. The French will continue their efforts in concert with the BEF.
Millerand: They will. The Field Marshal and the President will be glad of Field Marshal French's...change of heart.
French: I am sure that they will (murmuring).
Kitchener: That is all settled. I will telegraph the Cabinet of these efforts -
Briand: - Field Marshal?
Kitchener: Minister, what is it?
Briand: Field Marshal, will there be any consideration of my proposal?
Kitchener: (walks away)

(French and Kitchener gather in a different room)
French: What in devil's name was that!
Kitchener: If you haven't guess yet, it was cooperation -
French: - Twice they expect me to defend France. Twice, I will suffer a fate like Pyrrhus -
Kitchener: Well, you did make yourself the elephant of the room -
French: What?
Kitchener: You didn't show proper decorum to the men in the room at all -
French: Proper decorum? How dare you wear a bloody uniform while I am the Commander-in-Chief -
Kitchener: For goodness sake man, do you propose that I am usurping your authority? Heavens no, I am doing what will grant us victory the quickest. That means cooperation with the French, something that you know with Joffre -
French: Yes, yes, I am good with Joffre, but those men out there -
Kitchener: You have had it hard, my friend. Try not to take it out on those men. They are men who the public vote on, unlike us soldiering men. I may be able to retrieve some of your dignity back, if you wish -
French: - I would appreciate that (grumbling).
Kitchener: (Walks out of the room and joins the Frenchmen)

Kitchener: Gentlemen, I come here not on the state of affairs but more on a personal note. Field Marshal French may have appeared a bit, a bit bemused by what has occurred in recent times. For the sake of continued unity, he wishes for an apology for the state that he happens to be in -
Millerand: For the state that he happened to be in, is that what you are asking of us?
Kitchener: (Deep breath) I say this in the name of better relations. I have read of the problems with the BEF and of the importance of them falling back with the French. The BEF will continue, but it will not desert from the field. Is this alright?
Briand: (Clears throat) In the name of better relations, I will apologise.
Viviani: Very well then. We will apologise.
Millerand: (Deep breath) Very well. I will as well. But it will be only once.
Kitchener: Of course.
(Viviani and Millerand leave to apologise to French)
Briand: How much would a landing for the Dardanelles need?
Kitchener: It will have need of a large force. Enough to claim the peninsula and to ensure that it remains open.
Briand: I suppose you could tell me of how it would work?

***********************************************************************

26th November 1914

Having heard Briand's proposal, Kitchener drafted a war plan (known as "Kitchener's Note"). This was following the Ottoman entry into war on the 30th October. It was to start with a naval bombardment to clear any forts overlooking the region. This accompanied the start of mine sweeping, based of recent aerial evidence. Beach landings were to come later.

War Council:
Herbert Asquith, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty
Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener, Secretary of State for War

(The so-called "Kitchener's Note" gets handed from one member of the War Council to the other. Each man looks at it before handing it back to Kitchener. This is after all other business has concluded). The testimony comes from The Liberal Men. A book written by Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill, it told the story of David Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith's trials and tribulations. Not only in the war years, but as Prime Ministers of the Liberal Party.

Churchill: It appears that the Ottomans brought this upon themselves. They wanted those two damn ships and they shot at us for it. I guess that is how they want to play now.
Asquith: Gentlemen, there is more than enough British men invested into the fighting as it is. We need to press the Western Front before it becomes deadlocked -
Lloyd George: Prime Minister, with all due respect, the front has stagnated since Ypres. What we are stating is nothing less than a backdoor towards the downfall of Germany and her allies -
Grey: - And leave the resources stretched out? Churchill, you of all people must know -
Churchill: What I know is that the Royal Navy will hold out for as long as God draws breath. We can hit the Dardanelles with 150,000 men and be in Constantinople within the year -
(Silence)
Kitchener: I have...I have not considered such a number in my plans -
Churchill: - But I have. Earl Kitchener, 150,000 men will be raised from the Empire as well as France. Given how Briand came up with the plan, it would do nothing but raise French morale. After all, they won't be facing machine guns from the sea to Alsace-Lorraine -
Asquith: - (Slaps the table) But they will be facing machine guns nonetheless. I mean, such a expedition would be monumental. Are we to copy Menelaus and the thousands of Greeks that besieged Troy? Stuck on one beach for ten years to then come up with a trick after so much death -
Churchill: (Drinks) It would be better if we made this clear. The front in Belgium will freeze. Meanwhile the Germans are making more and more gains within Russian territory. If we cannot show a supply route to Russia, then the Kaiser will be laughing when he steps inside the Winter Palace.
Grey: This will be a considerable amount of resources and manpower. What does Earl Kitchener think of this?
Kitchener: The plan would need several warships to clear out the forts and the mines. This will be before any possible landing on any shores -
Churchill: (Thumps table) - There are several old battleships that will be more than able to clear them away. I can assure the War Council here that Mister Fisher will be more than happy to furbish us the ships needed.

(27th September. Churchill and Kitchener meet Jackie Fisher, 1st Sea Lord)

Fisher: No, no, and no. I will have to resign over this -
Churchill: For the sake of the country, man, will you please consider it -
Fisher: (Shakes his head) No I will not. Kitchener, what do you hope will be done with an operation like this.
Kitchener: The operation, will lead to the capture of Constantinople. It will open up trade and supplies for the Russian Empire, no doubt -
Fisher: No doubt, no doubt at all, the both of you. But there are other ways -
Churchill: How many times are you going to bring up that G-d damn Baltic plan? We would have to skirt around Jutland and the Skagerrak to then face the German Baltic Fleet -
Fisher: - It can work, Winston, I know it can.
Kitchener: My Lord, I know it seems hard, but the ships that we can use will be able to break through to Constantinople. It is far easier to deploy ships from the Mediterranean Fleet. Them as well as older ones instead of, what, using six hundred ships -
Fisher: - And you claim that 150,000 men is any better?
Churchill: Fisher, this is something that can end this whole thing in one giant stroke. With Germany, we would have to march across Belgium, across one country to attack the other. But with this landing, we go straight for the heart of the Sultan itself. The heart of the Mohammedans themselves.
Fisher: (Grumbles), Go on then.


Fin.

The POD. Admiral Milne of the Royal Navy pursuing the German warships Goeben and Breslau. This occured on the 8th August, where in OTL, he instead guarded the Adriatic. This allowed him to catch up to the two ships as they left Donoussa. On the 15th August, the British attacked the two German ships at the mouth of the Dardanelles. Admiral Milne retreated when coastal bombardments deterred him from going further.

Because of this, the Ottomans declared the closure of the Dardanelles, mining it by the start of September. The Ottoman maritime agreement with Britain would shut down later that month. Enver Pasha, the Ottoman Minister of War, was responsible for the move. It fuels anti-British sentiment as well as given a legitimate excuse for pro-German factions within the Ottoman Empire.

Aristide Briand coming with the French Prime Minister Viviani and War Minister Millerand. He would come up with the idea of attacking the Ottomans on the 1st September instead of November. He would come up with the plan earlier because of Milne's actions. Churchill himself would demand 150,000 men given ATL's attack on Milne as well as his reading of "Kitchener's Note", opposed to ~70,000 men that he and Kitchener would agree on in OTL.

The rest of the war continues as it does in OTL. Except for two things:
The Ottomans will be on standby before they declare war the Gallipoli Campaign (dubbed Operation Iliad in January 1915), which considered earlier than OTL. Mobilising and organisation will start before December 1914.

As an Australian who sees stuff about Coronavirus and fires, Anzac Day holds meaning with me. To say that is a Gallipoli-wank will not be so accurate. It will be difficult, but I reckon it could be possible.

My other TL, Behold The Birth of a Sun, felt kind of boring despite enjoying the POD and the sort of things I could toy with. So, given what has happened, I wanted to start again.

I hope this makes more sense than Danish Mexico, King Arthur of England or Spanish Newfoundland. I suppose I could always reference one TL in this one.

Only one way to find out. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Ramontxo

Donor
For the next weeks I am going to be secluded in my home except for the Fridays when I'll have to go to the office. IMHO this is an excellent idea on a POD for a very common escenario. Are you going to follow this? beacouse I will be waiting for it..
 
I understand from Massie's 'Castles of Steel' that the Greeks offered their support quite early on with regards to the Dardanelles question - but the offer was turned down because as I understand it - Greeks in 'Constantinople' would upset the Russians who considered it to be in their sphere.

So how about this consideration is given greater support and the Greeks make an early RN supported assault on the Peninsular with RN and RM support with British and French Imperial forces following on as they become available.

It will all be over by Christmas
 
Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts, Except It's The British This Time
10th December 1914

'Thank you.' said Mr Elliot, taking a cup of coffee to deal with what was about to be a great struggle of men. Despite his experience with the Kingdom, Francis Elliot had shock when he saw the plan. One hundred and fifty thousand men? At Gaba Tepe? Fine, fine, it's out of my business. It is all up to the Romanians to decided. My duty is to tell the Greeks what is to hap -
- A knock on the door happens. Coming out, the Prime Minister sees him.
'His Majesty the King will see you now.' said the Prime Minister. This meeting was by request from the Prime Minister. Francis Elliot was to tell of British (and the wider Allied) intentions in the Aegean and the Near East. Not to the King only, but also to the pro-German factions.
Which included Ioannis Metaxas. A man that was a stalwart traditionalist and supporter of the King. He and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos were of the opposite sides. Metaxas, by this time, was espousing ideas that would later form fascism. Venizelos would present democracy and egalitarian principles to Greece in opposition to Metaxas. This helped the pro-Allied case, as support grew since the Ottoman declaration of war. It may be bit by bit, but support was growing nonetheless.
As for the King himself, he was well behind the speeding events. A man born in the ideal of "the balance of power", he refused to accept notions of Greece's entry either way. Constantine I saw the Allied demands as somewhat of a Morton's Fork. If Greece entered the fray on Germany's side, Britain's naval power will command the seas. If Greece joined the Allies, Britain (according to the King), would respect Bulgaria, Austria and the Ottomans. In both territory as well as national sovereignty. Of course, this was with the whole "balance of power" tinting his view.
Bowing his head and addressing by proper title, Francis Elliot began his case for the British. Sitting down at a table before the King, he sipped once more.
'Your Majesty,' he started, 'there are rumours, stated by your Prime Minister, about the Allies offensive of the Dardenelles. I will say now that these rumours are true. The plan is to assault the beaches with, with 150,000 men.'

Taking in that number, the Prime Minister and all other men on the table drew silence. Thinking of that number, Venizelos wondered about the men on those beaches. The ones that would stand and fight and those that would fall still as their brothers took fire.

Considering that number, Metaxas wondered of the Allied fighting fury. Of each man leaping towards glory and towards victory. Every time that their brother gets shot down, the others would fill with zeal. The zeal to finish and to strike at the Turk. The chance to avenge Byzantium. The chance, the -

' - Mr Elliot, what is the point of you being here?'
Stepping forward, the Prime Minister speaks. 'Your Majesty, this is a chance to renew our efforts with the Entente - '
' - I asked Mr Elliot, not you!' the King stated, before snorting hard for air.
Clearing his throat, Mr Elliot spoke. 'Your Highness, Bulgaria recently concluded its negotiations with us - '
' - Speak more of those Slavs and you'll find this meeting recently concluded - '
' - Your Majesty, he is telling you what you want to - '
' - I will not have you talk over me, Venizelos!' the King said, gritting his teeth from hearing that infernal word. Bulgaria. Since the war started, the nature of Greece will tie itself with Bulgaria and with one other nation.
Romania.
After half a minute of tense silence, Elliot wanted to speak again. 'Your Highness,' he said, clear and calm, 'the British government has no response from Bulgaria. Vasil Radoslavov has stated Bulgarian neutrality and rejected all treaties as of November.'
'Even so, we must not accept such a proposal - '
' - Your Highness, the Allies are willing to negotiate with us. Bulgaria is either neutral or going for the Central P - '
' - For goodness sake man, please be silent - '
' - For a man who gets the votes from the public, you sure do talk a lot for yourself - '
' - I seem to be in the wrong place. After all, the men who should be telling me what the situation is are as loud as the motion picture.' said Venizelous to Metaxas. Gritting his teeth, Metaxas stayed quiet , having lost the chance for an insult.
Smiling, he changed tact. 'The Turks have twelve divisions in Eastern Thrace. That is one hundred and twenty thousand men, not to mention the other units that will be supporting. How much would it be worth for such a landing? As much as I hate the Mohammedans, I do not relish the chance that is being put before us.'

Taking this in, Elliot had to make it clear. 'The Prime Minister as well as the French President have heard of the war plans and have seen it. They have given the alert for one hundred and fifty thousand French and British soldiers. They have also heard of Radoslavov's decline of any talks with the Entente. The French are speaking to King Ferdinand of Romania, while I am tasked to talk with you. Prime Minister Asquith has backed the concessions to you - '
' - What concessions?' the King asked. Knowing his choice, he would rather the British ambassador's reason instead of anger.
'The future settlement of the Ottoman Empire will be the surrender of the Dardanelles to the Kingdom of Greece. That, as well as the claim of Constantinople as well as Eastern Thrace. That will be the Greek possessions. If and only if you declare war on the Central Powers. You will have the full guarantee of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean as well as the French Navy.' Finishing, Elliot hoped that he had done enough to present the Allied cause.

With every fast heartbeat, he wondered about the number again. One hundred and fifty thousand men. Looking to the King, he made sure to continue drinking the coffee that he had since his arrival in the room. With hope in the Almighty, he would not seem so weird and misplaced. He had to remain calm, much like the days of winning the Ladies' Plate again and again and again and again.

Looking to him, the King spoke. 'We cannot assure our entry in the fighting. We would have no land bridge to the new territories, with Bulgaria on one side and the defeated Turk on the other. What will the Allies ask of us? After all, you seem to be asking every little power to join the fray against the Germans, there must be something - '
' - There is something, Your Majesty,' Venizelos interrupted, 'we would have to contribute one corps of men. Not only that, as well as the entire Royal Hellenic Fleet - '
' - This is something pathetic for such a worthwhile thing,' said Metaxas, 'at no point will our navy be at the call of the Allies. Even those Russians. I am willing to believe that they want Constantinople - '
' - That depends on one thing Metaxas,' said Elliot, thinking of a good line, 'does Greece even deserve Constantinople - '
Rising from the chair, Metaxas stared at the man. ' - Of course Constantinople belongs to us, not to the Russians - '
' - But not with an army corps - '
' - No, the fool thinks a corps is enough. It will not be enough. Not for something to assault the Ottoman Empire. It cannot be the position of the Kingdom of Greece. We will fight and fight, fight at your call, to then have ourselves put down the moment we ask for what we deserve - '
' - That is not true, Metaxas, as a soldier you should know it - '
' - If you consider the soldiering process better than us, then you should consider it. After all, it will make you into a man at last.'

Tightening his fist, Venizelos took a second thought and relaxed it.
A man of democracy, he was not going to sacrifice it to the whims of savage illiberal means. Even if Metaxas was goading me into it.

'We are more than capable of fighting alongside the Allies. More than capable. We are stronger than the Turk. We have more of a chance to be with the Allies then we are to stay neutral. There are one hundred and fifty thousand men. That is not including any Greek soldiers from the Greek Army or ships from the Royal Hellenic Navy. How you two men, Your Majesty and Metaxas, you two talk on how great tradition is. Well, here it is, right there for us. Byzantium reborn. The descendent of Augustus and Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius and Constantine. Constantine XI Palaiologos will have vengeance for what him and Constantinople.'

Elliot finished his coffee.
'The Allies will have every chance to defend the waters of the Kingdom of Greece. You will not be alone in this fight. Constantinople will be of Greece once more. It will not be a matter for me to decide, but it will be yours to decide.'
Looking to the ambassador and the Prime Minister, Metaxas sighed.
'If this, plan, goes ahead, will the Allies guarantee our demands?' Metaxas asked.
'I must protest - '
' - Your Majesty - '
' - Keep quiet, Venizelos. You will not speak any longer when your monarch is speaking! Ambassador, we will consider your proposal as we see fit. You will have an answer soon. You are free to leave us now.' said the King. At his final word, Mr Elliot stood from the chair and bowed before leaving the room.

He hoped, beyond all things, that this was not a wasted expedition.

********************************************************************

25th December 1914

'Pass me a large glass of brandy, will you?' asked Winston, as he was entertaining the presence of a man wanted by the Cabinet.

Ioannis Gennadius was the Greek Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The man who would have a direct link to Athens, to the King and to the Greek Army. Pouring a glass, Ioannis gave a glass to his visitor while he and Edward Grey would live with whiskey.

'Gentlemen,' Ioannis started, 'I expect nothing less than your demand for the answer - '
' - And I happened to expected nothing less than a filibuster. Say it now, my good man, will the king consent to reconquering Constantinople or will the Russians grab the glory - '
' - Winston means to say that the Greeks are well within their rights of neutrality or to choose a side.' Grey said, holding back any anger with the cool drink.
'You know I didn't say that - '
' - Gentlemen, I will state the truth,' started Ioannis, 'my government will consent to the plan. We will be ready to sign.' Drinking his brandy, Winston grew a cough in his throat. Taking it hard, he cleared his throat.

'Am I led to believe that there was an agreement between the Prime Minister and His Majesty the King?' Winston asked, as Grey took another sip.
'His Majesty reserves nothing less than a reasonable anxiety, something that we all have when war occurs - '
' - Not me.' said Winston, as he took another drink.
'When will the Kingdom of Greece declare for the Allies?' Grey asked, trying to move past his associates' attempt of conversation.
'We will declare in the new year,' said Ioannis, 'all efforts have started to mobilise soldiers. From the last time that I have heard of at least 100,000 men as well as the entire Royal Hellenic Navy. We will begin to consider helping your forces - '
' - Excellent, excellent,' said Winston, emptied the glass halfway, 'gentlemen. This is going to be something that will end the war by next Christmas - '
' - A bit provocative, Winston.' Grey said, giving the man a sneer. Never wanting this expedition to the Dardanelles, Grey had to take every development. It was like a tap on the shoulder or an itch he could not scratch. Knowing of Asquith's reluctance, Grey wondered why Lloyd George and Churchill were able to put this forward. Gennadius' development had done nothing but fuel the fire.

More men for another front, meanwhile he looked out to the Christmas night. Receiving news of the truce, it made him freeze. A freeze in the fighting, one that has not taken any great moves since Marne. It was something that made Grey's blood boil. At how this plan could somehow -
- The door slammed open. All men standing up, they see one of the servants to the Greek Ambassador. A British man, huffing and puffing.
'By God it's happened - '
' - What!' shouted Grey, speaking for the two other men.
'Fire! Bombing! The Germans! They've hit Dover!'
************************************************************************

FIN.

So, new developments so I'll explain.

I took inspiration from @Cryhavoc101 for the whole negotiations with the Greeks. I found the Ambassadors for Greece (Francis Elliot) and United Kingdom (Ioannis Gennadius). The latter does not have a Wikipedia page, so you know.

I saw the King, from OTL, as a pro-German traditionalist that hated the Pan-Slavism of Russia. Taking this in hand, as well as the POD of Milne attacking the two German ships in Turkey, it would fuel some fun. Metaxas and his OTL proto-Fascism would be rising given earlier declaration. Venizelos issued a message on the 14th August 1914 (Before POD) that went to France, Russia and Britain. It regarded Greece's position in the war and post-war Europe. Britain was the only nation to respond to that message. The message, AFAIK, was to stake Greece's position on the Ottoman Empire. If Ottomans be neutral, Greece remains so (after all, Bulgaria was being courted at the time). If the Ottomans go to war, Greece will receive Britain as an ally.

Once the POD occurred, the Ottomans joined the Central Powers, Greece gets affected. Bulgaria's rejection lines up with OTL, with Romania being more receptive. That does not mean it enters the war just yet, which justifies the pro-German camp in Greece. That is the offer goes to Greece before it gets offered to Russia in OTL (who are dealing with the Caucasus right now). Romania, in the meantime having King Ferdinand I as a new monarch, they will wait and see.

I hope that this does make sense, by the time that it reaches January 1915!

We get to deal with the Russian negotiations with Grand Duke . As well as the start of the actual description of Operation Illiad, which will be as dangerous and as fun as it can be.

Make no mistake. Throwing more men onto those beaches will not make the task easier. Not even if Metaxas himself was leading them in some sort of proto-Fascist rally. Gallipoli will be one for the ages.

By now, the casualties will be OTL for WW1, but they will change once Gallipoli occurs. Then we get to the nuts and guts of the thing.

I hope everyone manages to get through the Coronavirus without a scratch or a sniff. I hope everyone has a nice day.

Call out any inaccuracies, any faults and I will see you back here soon enough. Gallipoli will be epic. Thank you all.
 
@Raymontxo I have had this idea cooking around for a while. Given how this is a WW1 scenario, this is not going to be as clean cut as Normandy. But given how things are going on in the world, I decided to do this to pass time.

@Fred the Great I was thinking that when I did them. At least I know what I am doing when I do it like a novel. But thanks for the comment.

@steamboy Having browsed Wikipedia, I found that the 1st September meeting had Kitchener playing the good cop while French was the "grumbling, pissed off, ready to say something inappropriate because of pressure and stress" cop. Millerand would question French's actions, while Viviani would back him in. Briand would be more concern with the east than any other man in the room, due to the POD, so he'd be the odd man out. There was the same sort of dynamic with the King and the Prime Minister and Metaxas as well. I hope it does make sense.

Any other comments will be welcome and thankful.
 
Very interesting and very well written, the politics and diplomacy of the time seems incredbily fraught with ego and bruised national pride for all involved as well as long standing grudges and old hatreds. But glittering prize of Constantinople under the Greek flag is just too much to resist. (Even if it was basically Roman :p But don't tell the Greeks that :p)
 
@Rickshaw I listened to the Eric Bogle version just before I wrote the first post. Of course, with this song, all versions are equal in merit. The Nathan Lay version is one for a listen.

@steamboy Thanks for that. I have to tell you now, I use Hemingway Editor to write this timeline. No adverbs and no long sentences. Now I know how the man did it. But I can assure you that the prize will be fought for.
 
Question time
1. For the role of commanding an invasion with over 150,000 men (British/Commonwealth forces + French Imperial forces + Greek forces), would I need to appoint a Field Marshal for such size of soldiers?
 
@TimTurner Thanks for that. See, I wasn't too sure about the title. Other names would have been:
1. Gallipoli's Glory (which kind of undersold what I was trying to do with the POD)
2. A Third Frenchmen (whilst alright, but I didn't think it would be good enough)
3. Over The Top (Nah, passed my mind quicker than entering it)
4. I Vow To Thee My Country (after listening to the song, which made me tear up, just one of only five songs that make me cry)

Having listened to several Civil War songs, I tried to think of one for Gallipoli. Then it hit me. A teacher at my secondary school was great at singing "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", so I searched it up and looked at the Eric Bogle version. I knew I found my title.

Now I'm just filling in the preparations for Operation Illad and for what should be an earlier end to the First World War.
 
Now, The Russians Need Telling, The Plan Needs Preparing And The World Needs Telling
30th December 1914

'Prime Minister, it is an honour to be in your presence in this trying time.' said the Ambassador, dispatch in hand from the Grand Duke himself. Tied to civil duties of the campaign, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia hoped that his message would pass on.
Receiving the note, Asquith would read. Reading it, it was another digging of the hole that he couldn't escape. Never wanting this campaign, he urged himself to remain calm. Seeing the plans for himself, he could not curse the Chancellor or the First Lord of the Admiralty. Not when the country demanded more of him. First the Irish would be demanding Home Rule, then the French urging the BEF to hold their ground, now this. An attack on the most valuable thing the Ottomans have. Apart from Constantinople itself. As the planning went on behind his back, it seemed that all the failure, if there was failure, would fall on him.
The man who never wanted it -
' - Prime Minister? Are you - '
' - What? Oh yes, I have read of it. Troubling business. Care to sit?' Asquith asked him. Agreeing, both men sat down. Calling a servant forward, the two men asked for cups. Taking tea with milk no sugar, the ambassador Alexander von Benckendorff would relax. Sipping away on tea with no milk no sugar, Asquith took another look at the plan.
'The Grand Duke puts himself in troubling affairs. Doğubeyazıt and Köprüköy are in Russian hands, well before the winter. I must congratulate the French Ambassador, his name escapes me - '
' - Ah, Maurice Paléologue, I hear he's a writer but I digress. The campaign will involve the use of, the use of over one hundred and fifty thousand men - '
' - Am I to understand that the number of men to storm the Dardanelles will be more than - '
' - Yes, yes, it will be that. As much as I detest that - '
' - What was that?' the Russian Ambassador asked, rising from his sweet cuppa. Mumbling under his breath, Asquith cursed himself for compromising his own composure. Seeing how an ambassador was near and not a fellow man, he sunk his eyes and lips towards the drink in hand.
'The attack will occur on the 18th of March next year. So I am led to believe by Secretary Kitchener and Lieutenant General Birdwood - '
' - Who?' the Ambassador asked.
'Lieutenant General William Birdwood, Secretary for the Indian Army Department. I mean, he would have stayed that way had this plan not come forward. Kitchener has ordered him to command a section of the attack, the 30th Division to be precise. As for the Commander-in-Chief, I have been waiting for a reply from Kitchener.' said Asquith, hoping the tea would make him calmer. Looking at the ambassador, he hoped to not show his bitterness.
'Prime Minister,' said the Russian Ambassador, 'having claimed territory in the east, I am concerned with time. The Grand Duke will be, expecting a easier timetable. Not only him, but also Yudenich - '
' - Yudenich is not the Governor-General - '
' - No, but such concerns do not matter to me when Holy Russia is claiming what she can from the infidels.' said the ambassador, drawing a long sip from his cup.
'Would you like biscuits?'
'But of course,' said the ambassador, 'I mean not to demand a quicker time, after all. I must state that when the winter ends in early March, Russia and the Armenians mean to march on. The Grand Duke will not be amicable should there be a delay.'
Bowing, Asquith dipped the first of the tea biscuits into his drink. Feeding every crumb into his mouth, he hoped that the taste would take the quivering feeling away. With every bite, it seemed that the plan would be out of his reach and out of his control.
'I suppose that the Russian offensive can come first,' Asquith said, 'not to say abandonment is a reality, no no. Kitchener and this Commander-in-Chief. They will put forward the plan that will save Russia and the war for us. Once we open up the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, the Russians will gain supplies. With thanks to the Third Republic and the British Empire.' Raising his cup he sipped again with a manufactured smile. Like the bullets and shells for this coming expedition.
'All efforts, I suppose, are in place to gain control of the Dardanelles. Are the French right in saying the entire Royal Hellenic Fleet will be with us?' the Ambassador asked, managing to finish the cup down to the dregs.
'Yes,' said Asquith who would have said unfortunately, 'as of now, the King of Greece has committed 50,000 soldiers. This will mean that 200,000 soldiers will be at the Dardanelles. Right when the Russians begin to assault the front with the Armenians. It is something that. Something that I cannot tell if it will fail or succeed.'
Keeping himself silent, Asquith wondered of the two men. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Admiralty. You two, 200,000 men could break the German lines at Ypres or anywhere. Anywhere but the bloody Dardanelles. Admiral Milne will have himself to blame for the bodies that float around the coast. I hope you are happy.
With no more matters to discuss, Asquith finished his cup and showed the man out of 10 Downing Street. With the door closed, Asquith walked back to the chair. Sitting down, he cursed Churchill and Lloyd George. You two will pay for this.

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Operation Illiad: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Australia's Darkest Hour
By Bob Katter, Prime Minister of Australia, written in The Argus on the 18th of March 2015.

Operation Illiad was to match both the reference and the monumental scale of the plan on the 18th March. Operation Downfall (WW2), Operation Skysplinter (Katangan War) and Operation Hellwalker (Anglo-French War) would exceed the logistics needed. It is today, the 18th March, that we give thanks to the men who served. The British, the ANZACs, the French Imperial forces or the soldiers of the Kingdom of Greece. Even now, as I travel each electorate from Wannon to Angus to Calwell, I see the looks on the kids faces. Children today are, more often then not, the descendants of the men who trod on that shore. I recall several students from Xavier College who tried to wrap their heads around such a number. "200,000, that is insane", I hear one of the boys say upon this day. I will not say his name, but I know he must be proud to see a man like me quote him for such a momentous day. For every student today, they will have the honour of the five minutes' silence as well as the other great things. The hearing of the Last Post. The uttering of "In Flanders Fields" and the Ode to Remembrance. The call for attention as The Rouse finishes their duty. It all becomes part of their honour as free Australians. Not to instil fanaticism like that of Volkish Germany, but to show the reality of the First World War. Operation Illiad being one of these realities.

Operation Illiad began after Admiral Milne's chase for the Goeben and the Breslau. Desperate, Milne hunted them to the steps of Constantinople itself. Retreating from Turkish gunfire, Milne had established the Ottoman entry into war. Whether you approve or not isn't for debate. It happened and it allowed for this to occur. Aristide Briand, three time French Prime Minister, came up with the answer. With news of the minelaying of the Dardanelles, he urged John French and Kitchener to attack. What began was a shouting match between John French and the French representatives. But what came out of it? Nothing less than proof of a gruelling, yet brilliant strategy.

With the Kingdom of Greece declaring war on the 1st January 1915 on the side of the Allies, the plan went ahead. The one factor was its military. Following the declaration, Ioannis Metaxas resigned his post. With much negotiation with the Prime Minister, Panagiotis Danglis resigned his Parliamentary seat. With the King's forced support, Danglis returned to the Staff Service for the duration. With popular support now for the Allies, the King had to relent with news of German halting its advances. Danglis would offer the whole Greek fleet as part of currying favour for the Allies. He was hoping to fulfil Greek territorial ambitions as was the Prime Minister. As part of the Allied effort, this included 50,000 men. Knowing Bulgaria would remain neutral (and would remain so), mobilisation began.

The grand total for all Allied ships was to be one hundred and five. Sixty were British, twenty-three were French, one was Russian and twenty-one were Greek. Thirty of these ships were minesweepers, with the task of opening the Dardenelles. In human history before the 18th of May 1915, no such plan had come forward except only in Homer's eponymous tale. The demand was for boats, these would carry forty men each instead of thirty. The demand was something that was testing manufacturers and also the British Cabinet. Asquith, the Prime Minister from 1908 to 1915, would not consider such a plan no matter how well planned. He did not matter if 78,000 men fought for the beaches or 200,000 or 5,000, he would not consider it. With the demands from Churchill and Lloyd George, Asquith had to accept. Kitchener endorsed the plan, more than what Churchill or Lloyd George could say. His general public image would motivate those in logistics to keep the plan going. His word was as solid as iron to everyone involved. The plan was going to go ahead, damn the consequences.

Manpower was the greatest question of all. The students at Xavier College or any other place get shocked by the final number. A total of 100,000 men raised for the effort were from the British Empire. Out of this number, a total of 22,000 were ANZACs. The French would put forward 60,000 men while the Greeks still stood at 50,000 men. This would count towards 210,000 men. Short of the future Operation Downfall and Operation Hellwalker. But great a number nonetheless. Such a number was infuriating to men like John French as well as Henry Wilson. These men would argue ad infinitum that these men could break the stalemate in the Western Front. That somewhere, somehow, this could lead to a breakthrough to send the Hun back to Berlin. After the First Battle of Ypres, no such consideration for the plan ever occurred. Manpower, having raised itself, would need to land in such a way that would not risk life and limb.

Aerial sorties started in January 1915. It was with a total of ten British planes, six French planes and four Greek planes in use. From the 1st of the month to the 19th, two planes had come down. While the two deaths occurred, the rest got crucial details about the artillery and forts. It is with great honour that I remember the two British airmen that made the sacrifice than many others made.

It is with great honour that I remember this ANZAC Day, every year on the 18th March. Not by myself, but with my family. It is with honour to serve a country that has contributed much to the effort and to the world after the Armistice. Every child knows of the story, of the sacrifice and of the daring due and the danger that these men had to face. They know it because their ancestors fought for every scrap of sand, every bit of dirt in the name of the British Empire and of Australia. We did not fight because we were told to by "fat cats" as the Socialist Labor Party continues to day. We did not fight because we wanted to kill non-whites as the Australian Fatherland Party preaches.

We fought because we wanted to. We wanted to fight. Men like Albert Jacka and Walter Rodney Kinghorn and John Monash fought for their country and lived to tell the tale. Men like Robert Gordon Menzies paid the ultimate sacrifice. To secure our way of life, that we did not have to be burdened with war debts that the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians and the Ottomans would have put onto us. To not be burned with the brutal and savage ideals that Volkism and its ilk produced in Japan, Russia and Germany after the war.

We fought because we had something to defend. Ourselves. Australia. Our families. Our communities. That is what we had to defend.

Every single year, students get to see the tale told again and again and they get to hear it from the people who fought. They get to hear it all, from the heroic to the brutal and savage. Even if every veteran were to disappear off the Earth, there would still be men and women willing to fight.

I can only hope that the children we have may never know death the way those men did when they landed.

Thank you all and God bless Australia.

Lest We Forget.

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The World after the POD that doesn't concern the War

3rd September 1914:
Pope Benedict XV succeeds Pope Pius X
William, Prince of Albania leaves the country after six months of rule

5th September 1914:
Federal Election. Andrew Fisher returns to power.
Australian Labor Party: 858,451 votes (42 seats having gained +5)
Commonwealth Liberal Party: 796,397 votes (32 seats, losing -6)
Independents: 31,915 votes (gaining +1, with George Wise in Gippsland)

South Melbourne wins the premiership, 5.15.45 beating Carlton 5.8.38

15th September 1914:
The Maritz Rebellion occurs. It is the Boers angry against the Union of South Africa.
Koos de la Rey dies from a traffic accident.

22nd - 25th September 1914:
University Football Club, a team of Melbourne University students, considers disbanding. Failing to reach a majority, the Victorian Football League deals with the issue. Knowing of their 51-game losing streak, the VFL dissolves the team. They are then to merge with Melbourne. With now nine teams, a tenth was the issue. The choices were between North Melbourne, Prahan, Port Melbourne and Brunswick.

26th September 1914:
Federal Trade Commission established in the United States.

27th September 1914:
Following a special Committee, St. Kilda announced a change to their colours. They would now wear red, yellow and black instead of red, white and black (colours of the German Empire). The new shirts will be available for next season.

4th October 1914:
Burdur Earthquake in Turkey

5th November 1914:
Alpha Phi Delta are now a fraternity at Syracuse University

16th November 1914:
The Federal Reserve opens

21st November 1914:
Harvard beats Yale 36-0

23rd November:
Last US troops leave Veracruz

24th November:
Benito Mussolini evicted from the Italian Socialist Party

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And that wraps up 1914. Here, we're now going to get serious. I should be able to get the battle up and running within reason soon enough.

Once the battle occurs, the butterflies will spring out. The boogaloo will occur at full strength once the Germans realise what is happening.

I hope Operation Illiad is as great as I make it out to be and as grim as it is going to be. I hope you all stick around for it all.

Thank you all for the comments and for the likes. This cannot happen without your support. So, I'll continue as usual. It's now past one am for me.

In the meantime, I'll decide which team fills in number ten. I should warn you though, many things could occur one way or the other:
North Melbourne (OTL joined the VFL in 1925 along with Footscray. Ended up winning flags in 1975, 1977, 1996 and 1999)
Port Melbourne (OTL a VFL club from its origins to now, recent premiership was 2017)
Prahan (OTL in Division 1 of the Victorian Amateur Football Association)
Brunswick (OTL dissolved in 1991)

After all that, it's goodbye from the front line. See you all around.
 
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@Rickshaw Having seen the man's record, I can assure you that the distance between him and command of the assault is as far as me from the Eiffel Tower. Of course, he'll have to be placed somewhere.

Any thoughts or comments? All will be welcome.
 
@Rickshaw Having seen the man's record, I can assure you that the distance between him and command of the assault is as far as me from the Eiffel Tower. Of course, he'll have to be placed somewhere.

Any thoughts or comments? All will be welcome.
About Hunter Bunter? He was IMO an officer promoted too high. He would have made an excellent Battalion commander and an adequate Brigade commander but no higher. He was too concerned with the minutiae of command. He once is quoted as saying, "Casualties? What do I care about casualties!"
 
The New Year, The New Things
9th January 1915

Having gathered at the Admiralty, the men had the map outstretched on the table. With sea currents shown with landing points, the Dardanelles looked enticing, tempting. That the attack would not be for a strategic point, but for glory and fortune. Tucking into pumpkin soup, Churchill had imagined himself atop the Dardanelles. Like Rhodes in Africa, he wanted his form to stand one foot on each side of Constantinople's entrance.
'As of now, the attack will go ahead with the time of March the 18th. As much as I disagree with it, the attack will occur after sunrise - '
' - When? There's about twelve hours or so to decide on, which one?' Having heard the voice of the Minister, Asquith and Grey looked grim to one another.
'Mr Churchill, please let him speak on. Unless you wish to volunteer for the landing parties. We've got another three thousand places on those boats to fill - '
' - Kitchener, I will say this in the view of every man in this room. If it fails, which I do not believe for a second, I will retire from the Cabinet, from the Parliament for the front lines. If I can show the men what true mettle will shown, then there will be no sign of despair. Every man out there is proving himself worthy of the house of the immortals. The Elysian Fields, the Valhalla of Odin and Thor, the Kingdom of God which all truehearted men will go in God's name. If we fail in the Dardanelles, I will not fail in the west - '
' - As much as I appreciate your enthusiasm, I must ask that the, ah, ambassador. What brings you here.' With all men looking, Benckendorff stormed in room with a communique from Petrograd. Rushing towards Asquith, the ambassador looks him in the eye.
'The Tsar expresses some concerns about the future division of the Ottoman Empire.' said the ambassador. Closing his eyes and sighing hard, Asquith had to be calm.
'The Greeks have claimed the Dardanelles first. Not only that, the French have concurred with this message. Viviani as well as Millerand agreed with Kitchener two days ago - '
' - Two days ago? I have been telling of you my concerns about the future divisions. All between me stating how late the attack's date is and your mumbling of this and that - '
' - What was that mumbling - ' Winston tried to interrupt.
' - What happened in Paris happened,' said Asquith, 'the French will communicate to Petrograd. Let's see, in two hours time, their opinion of Greece's entry. N-not only that but also the future divisions of the Ottoman Empire. As of now, they are in rousing communication with King Ferdinand of Romania - '
' - My concern is not with the Romanians, but with you - '
' - With me - '
' - Forgive me when I say this, Prime Minister. You have nothing but dithering about the issues in your repertoire.' said the ambassador, stating what Lloyd George and Churchill could not. Having the last of his lunch, Churchill shot Asquith a glance. A chuckling, devilish and cheeky smile, one that would bury itself in Asquith's mind.

Taking in the glance, he looked to the Russian ambassador.
'Constantinople, as part of the future settlement, will be in Greek hands. Along with the Dardanelles,' he said with hesitation, 'there will be more than enough for Russia in the - '
' - The matter, dear Prime Minister, is about Constantinople. Russia has always prided itself as "Third Rome". The successor state to Rome and Byzantium, not Greece. The faith will expect it to return to Holy Russia alone. Not the Tsar in Sofia or the Sultan or the King in Athens, but Holy Russia alone.' said the ambassador. Though not an Orthodox zealot, he was not going to relent on what the Grand Duke and the Tsar wanted from the Allies. Control over Constantinople.
Taking in each breath, Asquith had to come up with something. Anything to get the smug Churchill away from his mind.
'The final divisions will not be set in stone now,' said Asquith, 'when we meet again at the end of the war, then we will discuss it. In the meantime, I must urge you to message Petrograd on the importance on holding the front - '
' - Which we cannot do unless the Allies speed up the invasion. What about the 1st of the month - '
' - And risk undersupplying the men? That, sir, I must protest.' Churchill said, standing up.
'The ambassador is relaying his concerns - '
' - and now, Prime Minister, I relay mine,' said Churchill, looking to the Russian, 'let me make it clear. Clear as the snow. Kitchener is not going to order any speed up, neither will Fisher and neither will Hamilton.' He said when looking at the Secretary of State for War, the First Sea Lord and the now-promoted Field Marshal.
'Ambassador, I must say something,' said Hamilton, 'this being in newfound confidence. Russia has spilled blood, blood from itself and Ottoman and German and Austrian blood. Greece will soon do the same when they land with us. I cannot emphasise how difficult it will be unless we attack at once. We will attack on the 18th and you may go earlier than that. Ambassador, consider this. We are both attacking the "Sick Man of Europe", are we not?'
Looking to his navel, the ambassador clicked his heels together. 'We are.'
'Now, if I may use a metaphor -'
' - Please do.' interrupted Churchill with a smile on his face and a whisky in his hand, nodding to Hamilton.
'Well then,' Hamilton started again 'the Russians will be attacking the leg, we will say. Constantinople is the beating heart, the most valuable and the most precious. The Ottomans must protect it at all costs. Mines lain in the waters, forts on both sides and the like. What is necessary, for all that to happen, is manpower. From all knowledge, the Ottomans have one hundred and twenty thousand men nearby. In the Dardanelles area as well as Eastern Thrace, one hundred and twenty thousand in total. It will take two month's marching for over two hundred thousand men to get to the capitol. Now, Russia. Russia must attack before us. It will draw away as much manpower as possible. For every man fighting the Russians and Armenians, another man cannot man the post. Once the men claim the opening of the Dardanelles, then we, turn the screws I suppose.'
'I must say, Gene-I mean Field Marshal, you have a brilliant way of stating the obvious to a man that knows it. No no, this man asks for Constantinople. Why must it be Greek instead of Russian? My dear fellow, if you wanted the answer, it is simple. You are happen to be rushing in the wrong place.' Churchill said -
' - That was horrible.' said Fisher, staying silent.
'I know my dear fellow, it was - '
' - If this whole thing becomes a mess, then I will resign the day after - '
' - Why not resign during the attack to send the message right home - '
' - Oh, you fickle oik.' said Fisher, shaking his head as Churchill tried to keep the chuckle from escaping. Going back to the ambassador, he sighed deep and he looked to the room.
'Gentlemen, I must say that I hope. I hope that the Tsar will receive the message from Monsieur Paléologue as you say. In the meantime, I will gather my thoughts and relay my own communique to Petrograd. In the meantime, I can only pray for the attack to be quick and speedy.' Shaking hands with the Prime Minister, the ambassador left.

With the doors closed shut, Asquith turned to Churchill.
'You had a lot of bloody nerve in front of our dear friend. Tell me, why so obtuse?' Asquith asked.
Taking a sip, Churchill looks to him. 'Dammit man, you beat me first. I was going to say the same thing to you - '
' - Gentlemen, we have a war to fight outside these four walls - '
' - Indeed Kitchener, indeed. We have a war to fight every time Cabinet assembles and every time we are together - '
' - Such a shame you're losing it, though.' said Churchill. Seeing what he was doing, Asquith did not say anything further. Clearing his throat, Hamilton brought the attention back to him.
'Gentlemen, do I have the full confidence of the room, given how some of you have no confidence in others?' Hamilton asked. Kitchener and Fisher nodded. Churchill nodded. Grey nodded and so did Asquith.
'Go on man.' said Kitchener. Clearing his throat once more, Hamilton had the attention of the room.

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26th January 1915

'Grey has sent a communique to us Prime Minister,' said Sonnino, 'it seems that after Greece, we are to enter.' With a smile, he drew a sip from the cup of Malvisa bianca in his hand.
'The majority will not want the war - '
' - But they will love the reward - '
' - That they would, Sidney.' said Salandra, the Prime Minister of Italy. Looking at Grey's communique, the signatures were present. Not for him only, but also the Prime Minister.
'If I may pick Asquith's brain, I would believe that he wants an "all-in" effort. Would you say that?' the Prime Minister said, taking one more spoonful of tiramisu.
'Well, I received a message from the Greek Ambassador. He seemed a bit too reserved, as if he wanted to blurt something out - '
' - A dirty joke or something like that, something about naked wrestling.' said the Prime Minister, before the two of them shook their heads and chuckled.
'Austria and Germany have offered us a large sum of money - '
' - Was that last week?' asked Salandra. His Foreign Minister nodded. Having read the message from the Kaiser on the 22nd, his mouth dropped at the sum.
'Does the Kaiser seem, pressured?' asked Sonnino.
'Did you ask Grey about Bulgaria's intentions?' Pushing the spoon down, Salandra manages to get the tap of the silver spoon to the plate. Taking the spoonful, he wanted every morsel to play with his mind, to give him a pleasurable result.
'No, but next time I will. They have been neutral and I have spoken to the Bulgarian ambassador - '
' - What was his, opinion on the matter?'
Shrugging his shoulders, Sonnino took another sip. 'The man didn't speak anything other than a few lines, as if he was reading from a play.'

Playing with his dessert, the Prime Minister lapped it up save for the little specks in his moustache.
'If Bulgaria reconsidered its position, it would have been the Kaiser or even the Emperor of Austria - '
' - The man is too old. His vision is too weak already to see his troops in Galicia or south facing against Serbia.' said Sonnino, halfway down through his drink before laughing. With the defence of the treaty's conditions, it allowed the men's defiance to grow. One generation ago, Italy was a underdog with the help of the Dual Monarchy and the Second Reich. With one generation passed, the relationship became scorned and tested and erased.

Opening Grey's communique at last, Salandra read the contents. Showing it to Sonnino, both men took in the promises. The price for neutrality, if they agreed to remain in the Triple Alliance, would be a payment of 100,000,000 lira. Payment would be 10% per year. Not only that, Italy would receive Zanzibar, British Somaliland and Gambia. Given how small and insignificant the promises were, no progress ratified it. Looking at the Allied concessions, Salandra and Sonnino gave them a better look.
Yawning, Sonnino finished the last of his drink. 'I hope we can look at these tomorrow.'
Nodding, the Prime Minister stood from the table. Retiring from the room, both men would sleep on what the Allies had to offer.



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28th January 1915, Egypt

'George? That's your name right?' Arthur Jones said to the man standing next to him, after both men were silent in cleaning their kit. The Fitzroy ruckman shook hands with George Challis. A man who a Carlton wingman who played sixty four matches compared to Jones' seven. Having had playing careers, their enlistment designed itself to have the footballers together. Two from St. Kilda, five from the defunct University Football Club side as well as a few others.
'Do you think those bastards would try and surrender when they see us?' George said, taking some bully beef and eating it.
'If they see us coming, they'll try it. D'you see the tents? How many of us are there?' Arthur asked. Shrugging, George took another scoop of the beef in his fingers. Looking out of the tent, both Jones and Challis see three dozen men past. Both men look out, to see them rig up their own tents in the only free space for about a mile.
'What do you think's happening?' George asked the Fitzroy ruck.
'Something big, I reckon. Tell you what, I'm getting some tea before they set camp. You want some?'
'Nah, I'm fine,' said George as Arthur left, 'he'll be right. Pretty good from what I saw.'

From the birds-eye view, the Allies had their duty to rig as much infrastructure as possible. 150,000 British, Indian, Australian and New Zealander troops had settled around Cairo. This included the French gathering at Crete with permission from the Venizelos Government. With two-thirds for Operation Illiad (+ 60,000 French), the rest would take the Western Front or the Suez. From what the British had gathered, the Ottomans had attempted to push onto the Suez. Based off hunches, General John Maxwell believed it to be the great surge of trainees. Seeing the troop surge, he lobbied Kitchener to divert from the Dardenelles to the Levant. Having wasted personal capital and risked humiliation, Kitchener offered a curt refusal. Given Churchill's reaction on the 29th, Maxwell's plan was better off unwritten.

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17th January - 1st February 1915

Marching on the road, the Russians made for one last push during the winter. A few days ago, the 3rd Army of the Ottoman Empire had suffered defeat at Sarikamish. Out of 110,000 soldiers under the command of Enver Pasha, only 9,000 returned. 33,000 would die from the fighting, 10,000 from their wounds and another 7,000 would face capture by the Russians. The rest would fail to catch up, falling prey to the oncoming Russian and Armenian soldiers. By "the rest", I mean a total of . These soldiers, from Sarikamish to Koprukoy, would become prisoners of war. A total of 9,000 Turkish troops would become prisoners. A total of ~40,000 soldiers would either die in the cold or by advancing Armenian scouts.

Following Sarikamish, the remnants of 3rd Army would return to Erzurum. Battered and bruised, they were to make defensive positions as quick as they could. Day and night, they worked to erect barriers with bricks and dirt and wood. With Enver Pasha resigning his command, it would fall to Hafiz Hakki Pasha. Haifiz was a man shattered by the defeat handed to the Ottomans. Not only did they fail to attack in concert, but they suffered defeat at the hands of a smaller enemy force.

As the days wore on, messages relayed westward demanding for reinforcements. With soldiers battered, Pasha hoped winter would stop the advance of the Allies.

How hopeful he was for something so enticing for the Russians to do.

Seizing on the Ottoman's destruction, Nikolai Yudenich ordered an advance. On the 18th January, 40,000 Russian troops and 8,000 Armenians would advance from Sarikamish. Pursuing enemy soldiers, the oncoming Russians and Armenians took food, bullets and clothes. Fuelling nationalist sentiments, the news urged Armenian troops towards victory. Ignoring a second and third order to disengage, Yudenich was threatening his own men. Every day, he feared that he would be extending the lines. That the 3rd Army would be able to reform.
By all day, the Russians and the Armenians marched. One place after another, they saw deserted. Taking any supplies they could, Yudenich urged men on for the 3rd Army's Headquarters.

On the 28th of January, the Russians and the Armenians reached it. Erzurum. By the signal, the Armenians and the Russians encircled the entire area. Fearing a sudden Ottoman attack from the north, the attack started.

At once, all forces advanced from all sides. Suffering from over confidence, Yudenich believed that he could take Erzurum. Before the winter ended, the Ottomans believed that there was not enough food to last in a fort like Erzurum. Surrounding them on all sides prevented the defenders from executing defeat in detail. Under heavy fire, over 5,000 Russians stormed over the defences. With hand to hand combat occurring, it led to a break in the Ottomans. Under orders to fight, over 800 on the northern barrier threw down their arms and surrendered. The part of the wall they held taken by Armenian soldiers.

In less than fifteen hours, the battle was over. Hafiz Hakki Pasha surrendered to Yudenich and his Armenian commanders. Out of the 9,000 Ottoman defenders, only 4,800 remained alive. Out of the 48,000 Russo-Armenian attackers, 21,000 died. The fort captured along with several thousand men led Yudenich's promotion to commander-in-chief. From the 1st February, he would be leading all Russian forces in the Caucasian Front.

As for the Ottomans, they had to revise and revise hard. In the space of less than a month they had:
- lost 93,200 men to fighting or the cold
- 22,800 men become POW's

For Enver Pasha, a man bitter about losing Sarikamish, the solution was obvious. On the 1st of February 1915, he would begin issuing orders. To dismiss Armenian soldiers of any rank. It was to follow along the arrest of any Armenian citizens that were not fighting for the Russians.
Enver Pasha would cement himself in history. But not in the way he wanted it. The 20th Century, or any century after this, would not appreciate the work he did.

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Hey guys, I hoped you like the update.

1. The attack planned, Operation Illiad, occurs in the daytime. This would go against Hamilton's ideas OTL. This will be interesting. Because this will mean that landing boats will be better at tracking their location. That, as well as the loss of the element of surprise. But there is another element that is good. It will make sense soon enough.

2. Because of Greece's entry in the war earlier than OTL, the Italians are going to be receiving a stronger deal. Not from the Central Powers only, but also from the Allies. The Allies' proposals are the same as OTL, but the Central Powers' deal is ATL.

3. Because of greater numbers, a more British and ANZAC soldiers get recruited. This includes George Challis and Arthur Jones. Challis died on the Western Front in OTL. In ATL, he and more Australians get recruited for Operation Illiad.

4. With more soldiers in Egypt, 7,000 British soldiers in the Suez advance eastward. After that, they intercept the oncoming Ottoman forces. The Battle of the Sinai (26th - 31st January), leads to 6,000 Ottoman deaths and 3,000 British deaths. The Ottomans retreated in good order.

5. With Operation Illiad known to Russian/Armenian military, Yudenich defends Sarikamish with determination. The ATL statistics are far more brutal for the Ottomans. With Yudenich getting word of the attack on the 18th March, he orders an advance to pursue the Ottomans. ATL Battle of Erzurum destroys the 3rd Army and captures the HQ. This will mean the Russian/Armenian forces will face the urge to reinforce and replenish. The news will no doubt be welcome for the Tsar.

6. Because of ATL Sarikamish and Erzurum, Enver Pasha will start the Armenian Genocide. Because he had his arse handed to him harder than OTL. It will be worse.

I hope that I managed to explain the trends for January 1915.

Next will be February. During that time, D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation shows itself to the world. So that will be fun I guess.

Please call anything out, comment, like and share it around. I hope that this is as good as it sounds. Operation Illiad, I hope it's legendary.

Thanks for watching and I hope it's a good one.
 
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