Alexandretta! Of Course!

In late November 1914 and than again in 1915, the idea was floated by Lord Kitchener to land a force in and around Alexandretta and cut the supply lines between Anatolia and the rest of the Ottoman Empire. It was around Alexandretta that the rail line switches twice due to mountains. These were tunnels were not completed until towards the end of the war.

Troops and supplies would dismount the trains and travel by foot or cart to the follow on train station. This was to cause disruptions in the supplying of troops in Mesopotamia and Palestine. This also has a fair number of troops milling about the province.

The French were in favor of themselves taking Alexandretta and the surrounding area (including Syria) as part of their ancestral right. But not until after the Battle of the Marne were they able to take the time to even consider planning for such an operation. As the Ottoman were thought to have approximately 50,000 troops in the area an equal number of French and British troops would be needed. Even as late as 1917 the idea for the landings still existed, but the French were concerned that if the British landed they would not want to give this back to the French. Some things never change.

So was this landing possible? Was it feasible? Would the British give it back if they took it?

The landing is very possible, especially if it is coordinated with the landings in the Gallipoli Campaign or the Turkish attack over the Sinai. Troops could have been made available from French North Africa. An Indian Army Expeditionary Force would have been made available as this area of the Ottoman Empire was considered an area of interest by the Indian government and army. An addition Australian or New Zealand force could be gathered as well to round out the invasion force.

To ensure that Britain would allow France to keep this part of the Ottoman Empire they will need to not only send the majority of the troops but also capture Alexandretta.

The forces available will be limited, as the landings at Gallipoli will take precedence.

French Navy
Battle Squadron A of 4 Danton
Battle Squadron B of 3 Liberte
Cruiser Group A of 2 Edgar Quinet
Cruiser Group B of 3 Dupleix
Destroyer Group

Royal Navy
Cruiser Group C of 6 Edgar and Blake Cruisers
Cruiser Group D of 5 Bristol Class Cruisers
Seaplane Carrier
Destroyer Group

The troops for the landing will be of mediocre quality, as they will have received very little training. Only the French Metropolitan Division and the British Calvary Division will have seen combat on the Western Front.

2 Colonial and a Metropolitan Division with a Calvary Division

British Empire
IEF H of 2 to 3 Divisions
ANZAC of 2 Brigades of Infantry and a Brigade of Calvary
British Calvary Division

The victory conditions will be simple. Troops have to secure the beachhead and move towards the rail lines. This will require the troops to move fast and secure the hills and passes. Control of Alexandretta and the towns will be important for supply coming off of the landings.

This will make for some interesting skirmish games. If this reaches the design phase for a game I will let you know.



Oh, the title comes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a classic.

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