The Dardanelles As Seen From Tarsus

THE BATTLE OF GALLIPOLI WAS NOTHING SHORT OF LEGENDARY. ITS SOIL IS NOW THE ETERNAL RESTING PLACE NOT ONLY OF ITS GREAT KNOWN HEROES, BUT OF COUNTLESS UNSUNG NATIONAL HEROES AS WELL.

And one of those heroes, diminutive in size but which nevertheless played a pivotal role in the victory, is the minelayer Nusret, which one dark night switched off all its lights and set out to lay its last 26 mines along the line where the enemy ships were going to maneuver.

THE MOST POWERFUL FLEET IN HISTORY
The Dardanelles Strait where the battle was fought was swarming with patrol boats of the enemy fleet. For the Nusret to lay the mines along the specified line and return safely to base was fraught with difficulties. But the minelayer, according to plan, succeeded in laying the mines parallel to the shore and turning back towards Çanakkale without being detected by the enemy patrol boats.

İSMAİL HAKKI BEY OF TOPHANE
The captain of the minelayer Nusret was İsmail Hakkı Bey of Tophane. Suffering from heart disease, he nevertheless agreed to carry out the operation without so much as a moment’s thought. When the Nusret had successfully completed its mission and returned to base, the Ottoman Mine Group Commander Hafız Nazmi Bey was eager to congratulate İsmail Hakkı Bey. But the captain, whose heart was weak already, couldn’t bear any more excitement. He joined the caravan of the dead and went down in history as the Nusret’s only casualty.

A GREAT VICTORY
Just how timely and successful the plan laid by the Ottoman war command and executed by Nusret’s captain had been became clear ten days later when the allied fleet attacked. Striking the mines that had gone undetected by reconnaissance ships and aircraft, the warships Bouve, Irresistible and Ocean all sank to the bottom of the sea. Meanwhile the Inflexible, Suffen and Golva suffered serious damage that left them unfit to do battle. A small minelayer named Nusret had changed the course of the war and paved the way to victory.

“THE DAY THAT HAD STARTED OUT SO WELL ENDED IN A TOTAL ROUT DUE TO THAT ONE FATAL ROW OF TWENTY MINES THAT HAD NOT BEEN DISCOVERED BY THE TRAWLERS.”