Çanakkale Cephesi’nde Osmanlı ve İtilaf Devletleri Hava Güçlerinin Görsel Verilerle Desteklenmiş Nispi Güç Analizi
Yılmazer, İbrahim Bülent
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Establishment of aviation within the Turkish armed forces goes back to the final stage of the Ottoman Empire, concurrent with its contemporary states in early 20th century. The first experiences in the deployment of aviation over the battlefield have also befallen the Ottoman Army. Handicapped with weak resources Ottoman Army was unable to make use of aviation during the Ottoman-Italian War of 1911-1912. However; the Ottoman Army gained experience in developing defensive measures against the aerial operations carried out by the Italian aviators. During the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, Ottoman Army made extensive and effective use of aviation. The Ottoman Army was able to extract further lessons, and to deploy them at the battlefield. In this way; Ottoman Army became a pioneer in the development and application of aerial operations in support of the operations carried out by the armies on the ground. Despite its lack of an industrial base for aviation equipment and munitions, the experiences gained prior to World War One has enabled the Ottoman Army to make use of aviation more effectively in the first years of World War One (1914-1918) compared to the armies of the other nations. On the other hand; the armies of the Allied Nations have entered World War One with ill-equipped and inexperienced aviation units. The military leaders of the Allied Nations thought that their leadership in technology and numbers would be sufficient to meet their expectations from the aviation units. This conception has found wide acceptance in the studies of aerial operations at the Gallipoli Front conducted years later, and the conclusions therein have been shaped based on this belief. In this study; a comparison of Ottoman Army air force versus the Allied Army’s air forces, in the time period from the start of World War One until the withdrawal of Allied Armies from the Gallipoli peninsula (1 August 1914 - 9 January 1916), has been be conducted by the use of “comparative force analysis”, which integrates quantitative and qualitative data through a mixed methods research. This method of analysis has not been used in previous studies of the subject. Visual materials have been used to support the data utilized for the conduct of comparative force analysis. Visual displays created by contemporary simulation techniques have been used along with original photographs of aerial activities at the Gallipoli Front, in the hope to enhance the reader’s perception of the arguments put forward. The result obtained from comparative force analysis of Ottoman and Allied Army’s air forces at the Gallipoli Front within a specific time period during World War One has been compared to the conclusions reached in previous studies. The result of analysis has been also evaluated to see how well it fits with the actual historical outcome. Archive materials and documents available at the Turkish General Staff Military History and Strategic Studies Directorate, The National Archives of United Kingdom, Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv of Germany and Bibliothèque du Cercle de Garnison de Lyon in France have been used in collection of data for the conduct of comparative force analysis. Data available in official air force histories, military and academic works published in Turkey, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia and United States of America have been used also. As both quantitative and qualitative data are evaluated during comparative force analysis, mixed methods research is utilized during this study. Unique and original photographs regarding aerial operations at the Gallipoli Front available in my private archive as well as photographs available in the aforementioned sources have been used as visual materials. In the process of forming the mathematical model for comparative force analysis, among the problem solving techniques, Ishikawa Diagram has been used as it provides the most suited tool in determining the factors affecting the cause and effect relationship. The information and knowledge gained during the research studies conducted since 1990 at the archives and libraries of the Turkish General Staff and Turkish Air Forces, interviews conducted at the Air Force Headquarters starting with the force commander down to branch manager officers, and interviews conducted with the commander and instructing staff officers at the Air War College was used extensively during the conduct of comparative force analysis. As a result of the comparative force analysis; it has been revealed that although the Ottoman Army air force was relatively weaker in quantitative terms compared to the Allied Army’s air force, it was superior in qualitative terms. The air force of the Allied Armies, in terms of human and material resources (aircraft, balloons, airships, weapons, etc.) was not at a sufficient level of proficiency to meet expectations or to provide effective support for the operations on land or the seas. On the other hand; the Ottoman Army air force, due to its qualitative superiority, was able to employ the aviation vehicles, weapons and equipment available to it in a more effective way and caused a greater loss among the air forces of Allied Armies. During the time period under study, neither side was able to achieve dominance of the air, however Ottoman Army air force was able to achieve air combat superiority. As a result of this study; it has been shown that the alleged claim of previous studies regarding aerial activities at the Gallipoli Front; “the allied aviation was more successful because they had greater number of aircraft” is not valid. The result of the comparative force analysis performed under this study is compatible with the outcome of historical events. It is demonstrated by the number of enemy aircraft shot down and the number of allied aviators who lost their life in aerial combat or those forced down and taken prisoner that Ottoman Army air force was more effective and successful in the skies over the Gallipoli Front. The result of this study brings some fresh perspective and offers some new prospects in the field of studies related to social sciences and armed forces. This study demonstrates that the tools of problem solving techniques can be applied effectively in determining the similarities and difference and in constructing the relationships pertaining to the historical case under study. It also demonstrates that mathematical models based on a comparative approach can be used to comprehend and to reveal the cause and effect relationships in historical events. An evaluation from historical perspective demonstrates that in the application of contemporary comparative force analysis by the armed forces; a high degree of care must be exercised in the utilization of data sources, critical thinking process must be used in evaluation of the sources, and the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches employed must be interrogated. It is hoped that such awareness will assist in improving the current models used for analysis. It also points to the importance of such meticulousness and awareness in historical research and thus it is hoped this will lead to increase in the quality of historical studies.