Gallipoli Campaign

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1915 Apr 28

First Battle of Krithia

Sedd el Bahr Fortress, Seddülb

The First Battle of Krithia was the first Allied attempt to advance in the Battle of Gallipoli. Starting on 28 April, three days after the Landing at Cape Helles, the defensive power of the Ottoman forces quickly overwhelmed the attack, which suffered from poor leadership and planning, lack of communications, and exhaustion & demoralisation of the troops.

The battle commenced around 8:00 a.m. on 28 April with a naval bombardment. The plan of advance was for the French to hold position on the right while the British line would pivot, capturing Krithia and assailing Achi Baba from the south and west. The overly-complex plan was poorly communicated to the brigade and battalion commanders of the 29th Division who would make the attack. Hunter-Weston remained far from the front; because of this, he was not able to exert any control as the attack developed. The initial advances were easy but as pockets of Ottoman resistance were encountered, some stretches of the line were held up while others kept moving, thereby becoming outflanked. As the troops advanced further up the peninsula, the terrain became more difficult as they encountered the four great ravines that ran from the heights around Achi Baba towards the cape.[27]

On the extreme left, the British ran into Gully Ravine which was as wild and confusing as the ground at Anzac Cove. Two battalions of the 87th Brigade (1st Border Regiment and 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers) entered the ravine but were halted by a machine gun post near 'Y' Beach. No further advance would be made up the ravine until the 1/6th Gurkha Rifles captured the post on the night of 12/13 May. This involved them going up a 300-foot (91 m) vertical slope, upon which the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers had been defeated. The site became known as 'Gurkha Bluff'. The exhausted, demoralised and virtually leaderless British troops could go no further in the face of stiffening Ottoman resistance. In some places, Ottoman counter-attacks drove the British back to their starting positions. By 6:00 p.m. the attack was called off.[28]