The first major Ottoman battle of the war, the Battle of Sarikamish against the Russians in January 1915, resulted in catastrophe for the Ottomans, and afterward the British thought that taking Constantinople and knocking the Ottomans out of the war would be an easy task. So easy, in fact, that the 1915 Dardanelles operation was referred to as a “cruise through the Sea of Marmara”. But that offensive- Gallipoli- failed, as the British army was stymied again and again until the attacks were finally called off after 8 months and casualties in the hundreds of thousands. When, just a few short months later, the British surrendered an entire army to the Ottomans at Kut-al-Amara on the Tigris River, the British army, the nation, and even Winston Churchill -the initial impetus behind the Dardanelles Operation- knew that the Ottoman Empire was anything but a pushover and any enemy armed with modern weaponry was a formidable one. Churchill took a lot of heat for his role in the Dardanelles Operation and left his post as First Lord of the Admiralty for the Western Front to lead a battalion there, but the two military failures were a real blow to British morale in general, and High Command realized that hubris does not win battles in modern war. Ottoman morale, on the other hand, soared, as the Empire rallied around Mustafa Kemal, the new national hero after his leadership at Gallipoli, who would one day be known as Ataturk, the founder and first president of Turkey. The British would, however, learn from their mistakes, and 1917 and 1918 would see great British successes in the Middle East.