1922 Erkan-ı Harbiye-i Umumiye Matbaası Map of Dardanelles Fortifications

قلعه سلطانيه / [Sultaniye Castle]. - Main View

1922 Erkan-ı Harbiye-i Umumiye Matbaası Map of Dardanelles Fortifications


Walls of the Sea.


قلعه سلطانيه / [Sultaniye Castle].
  1922 (dated)     19 x 22 in (48.26 x 55.88 cm)     1 : 200000


An engrossing 1922 Ottoman Turkish military and topographic map of the Dardanelles, produced by the Erkan-ı Harbiye-i Umumiye Matbaası. It highlights fortifications, lines of communication, and other essential military information constructed just before and during World War I (1914 - 1818), preparations that would pay off during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915.
A Closer Look
Coverage includes the southern part of Erdine Province and much of Çanakkale Province, including most of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The map's title comes from the Sultaniyeh Castle, also known as the Çimenlik Castle, a 15th-century fortification on the Asian side of the Dardanelles built at the narrowest point. Across from it, on the European side, is the Kilitbahir Castle, also built in the 15th century. Although old, both castles were upgraded over the centuries to provide a nearly impregnable defense for the Dardanelles and approaches to Istanbul. Aside from topographic features like elevation, waterways, and terrain, settlements and military installations, including fortifications, roads, railways, and other lines of communication, are labeled. Anchorages and lighthouses are also indicated.
Historical Context
After belatedly recognizing that their defenses along the Dardanelles were out of date, the Ottomans rapidly fortified both shores in the years before the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign. These efforts continued throughout the campaign, and ranged from smaller-scale works like trenches to fortified gun batteries. Although the length of the Dardanelles was heavily fortified and these waters did see naval engagements, most of the fighting took place slightly to the south, around Seddülbahir (the 'Walls of the Sea') at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The Gallipoli Campaign
The Gallipoli Campaign was an ambitious but ultimately ineffective attempt by Entente Powers to weaken the Ottoman Empire and knock it out of the war. The Ottomans were believed to be very weak given their losses in the recent Italo-Turkish War (1911 - 1912) and the First Balkan War (1912 - 1913). Aside from weakening the Ottoman military threat, a secure supply line to the Black Sea would be a major advantage against the Axis. Initially, the Entente attempted to break through the Dardanelles and Bosporus using naval power alone, but this proved impossible. Afterward, the Entente turned to an amphibious operation, but planning suffered from poor intelligence and an underestimation of the quality and quantity of Ottoman forces.

In fact, the Ottoman troops tasked with defending Gallipoli were highly motivated (they were, in essence, defending their capital) and commanded by an experienced corps, including both Turkish and German officers. Perhaps most importantly, the Entente ran into significant delays in disembarking troops, giving defenders weeks to prepare after the invasion plan had lost its element of surprise. Landing in late April 1915, the Entente troops, including large contingents of Australian, New Zealander (ANZAC), and Indian troops, quickly established beachheads at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula around Seddülbahir (Cape Helles). Further up the peninsula, however, they ran into heavily entrenched Turkish troops defending high ground, armed with machine guns and artillery. Over the next several months, both sides threw in hundreds of thousands of troops, along with battleships, submarines, airplanes, and other resources, to push the enemy trenches and effect a breakthrough. In the end, though, the battle proved a stubborn stalemate. Given the difficulties of securing and supplying their beachhead, the Entente position was more tenuous, leading to an evacuation in November-January.

Military historians debate the significance of the Gallipoli Campaign, but there is no doubt that the Entente failed to achieve their objectives. Not only were the Dardanelles not opened, but the Ottomans were given a major boost of confidence and remained in the war until the very end, drawing troops and resources away from the Western Front (and Eastern Front in the case of the Russians). In the long term, the battle contributed to the national consciousness of Turkish, Australian, New Zealander, and Indian troops, weakening their parent empires in the years after the war. Finally, the campaign had an enduring impact on the careers of two of its commanders. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill's career was nearly ruined by its failure, while on the Ottoman side Mustafa Kemal, who commanded an infantry division that suffered tremendous casualties, emerged as a national figure and built much of his later cult of personality around his heroism at Gallipoli.
Publication History and Census
This map was produced by the Erkan-ı Harbiye-i Umumiye Matbaası, the official publisher of the Turkish military's General Staff. The date of the map is difficult to read, but appears to be 1340 AH (1922). It was part of a series of topographic maps of strategic locations produced in several editions from the early 20th century into the 1920s. The present map is quite rare in any edition; the SALT (Garanti Kültür A.Ş.) archives contain an example from 1910, while the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds an example dated 1919. We are also aware of an edition dated 1912 held in private hands in Turkey.


Erkan-i Harbiye-i Umumiye Matbaası (اركان حربيه عموميه مطبعه سى ; fl. c. 1899 – 1927) was an Istanbul-based publisher of the late Ottoman and early Republican eras affiliated with the Turkish military's General Staff. More by this mapmaker...


Good. Toning. Wear along original fold lines. Verso repairs at fold intersections. Closed margin tear repaired on verso.


OCLC 163140179 (1919 edition).