The purely naval campaign to force a passage through the Dardanelles, heavily guarded as they were by powerful modern forts, mine fields, and shore torpedo tubes, culminated in a final attack by the entire allied fleet operating in those waters on March 18, 1915. This attack should have succeeded, but through the inability of the mine sweepers to clear a passage through the mine fields guarding the narrows, four of the allied capital ships struck mines, of which three actually sank in the straits, thus influencing the allied naval commander to withdraw his forces. The following diary of the day’s action was written by me in a small notebook whilst serving as a midshipman on board a British battle cruiser. My duties as spotting officer, in a secondary control position, gave me sufficient time not only to obtain a very good view of the whole operations, but also to note them down briefly in my notebook.
Ships Versus Forts—Dardanelles, March, 1915
By Lieutenant D. D. Mercer, Royal Navy (Retired)