Blind Eye Comics: Sands of Gallipoli

Kemal Mustapha Pasha stood at his command post, listening to the updates from headquarters. An Ottoman flag hung behind him, a symbol of the Sick Man of Europe and its outdated political system. If he ever had the chance, Mustapha swore, he'd replace it with something more modern. For now, he had more immediate concerns, as the concentrated might of the British Empire forced its way onto the doorstep of his homeland.

His scouts and superiors had informed him that the British Empire had brought their best fighters. The ANZACs, Gurkhas, and others from lands under the Union Jack had come to storm the beaches of his home country. Their fleet steamed into the cove at Gallipoli, right into the metaphorical jaws of Turkey itself. The minefields managed to damage some of their vessels, but replacements kept coming. Luckily for him, the mountaintops to the north and south provided a good location for his artillery batteries.

The British had been able to maintain a beachhead in between both sides of the cove. Churchill and Kitchner had supported their camp with naval artillery and supply lines, creating a small pocket wedged in an area his artillery could not target. Due to his own men's fortifications and entrenchments, the British found advancement difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes, they'd take more land, but be unable to hold it under machine gun and sniper fire from more angles of exposure. The more of Turkey they took, the more fire they would be exposed to.

He had told his troops it was not their duty to attack, but die. In the time until they died, other commanders and troops could arrive to replace them. There was no defensive line, all of it was a defensive area. The goal was to defend their homeland from the literal tide of invaders. As little love as he had for the Sultan and the rotting Empire, he'd prefer to see his nation ruled from within rather than without, whether directly or by a puppet.

Things became a brutal stalemate for weeks and months, until the British brought in some new troops to the battlefield. Intelligence confirmed them as Mahagurkha Enhanciles, equipped with grappling hooks and mountain climbing gear. They assaulted the flanks of his artillery positions, almost capturing a number of key mountains and hills.

Casualties were skyrocketing, and the British were advancing in days far more rapidly than they had in months. It was those desperate circumstances that drove him to deploy deadlight shells in his artillery, each equipped with a dirty bomb inside. The British had not yet used them, for fear of upwind contamination of their own troops. He had not employed them on the British base camp due to the ease a shift of wind could come and irradiate his own command post. With reluctance, he ordered some dropped on peaks that the British Enhanciles had overrun, denying them to both sides in the battle. There were still plenty of artillery guns on other peaks he had left.

The British eventually redeployed their Enhanciles to the frontlines near the basecamp, going for the jugular vein. It was only due to massed artillery shelling and machine gunfire from several nearby peaks, smokescreens to cover machinegun nests, concealed trenches, and snipers with elephant guns pressed into service that the advance of the Enhanciles was halted. The cost in men was terrible. The sixty percent casualty rate increased to at least seventy five. Even some of the wounded were pressed onto combat.

Luckily, the British did not seem to want to waste many Enhanciles after that. Based on what his observers had said, the British were simply massing them for an even bigger assault. The Turkish commander knew he had to turn to desperate options. While Enhanciles were something he knew his army lacked, he pressed some of his best engineers into service. Some Ritter suits had been provided by Imperial Germany, but so far, they had rarely been used. He demanded his engineers begin mass production of their own versions of the suit, with some lead plating added to offer some resistance to the deadly radiation.

He knew they were working with a literal cottage industry, fabricating them in a small workshop less than a kilometer away from the warzone. He put his most physically adept troops through a crash course run by a none-too-pleased German military advisor, and got them used to the weight of the suit and moving inside of it. Dubbing them the Janissaries, he sent them against the British Enhanciles with a machinegun mounted on their armor. As a mobile machinegun nest, they were able to return Gallipoli to how it had been, a meatgrinding, bloody stalemate. Due to their resistance to radiation, they were able to flank and harass the British from the irradiated mountain peaks.

By the time the British had withdrawn, many of his men had received radiation poisoning. Many of the others were at risk for cancer. The man who would be later known as Ataturk realized then the true necessity of having Enhanciles in the armed forces. The age of massive conscript armies and artillery had ended. Enhanciles, air power, and mobile armor were the wave of the future. It was with this in mind that he and his heirs later invited the Khan of Science himself to relocate to Turkey. The historians of the future would state that Turkey's Enhancile program and involvement with the Khan of Science began on the sands of Gallipoli.