April 28, This Day during the World War l

April 28, 1915 – The First Battle of Krithia was the first Allied advance of the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War. Starting at Helles on 28 April, three days after the initial landings, the attack broke down due to poor leadership and planning, lack of communications and exhaustion and demoralisation of the troops. The battle commenced around 08:00 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. The further up the peninsula the troops advanced, the more difficult the terrain became, as they encountered the four great ravines that ran from the heights around Achi Baba towards the cape. 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 1st and 6th Gurkha Rifles would capture the post on the night of 12–13 May. This involved them going up a 300 ft vertical slope which had defeated both the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The site became knowning as ‘Gurkha Bluff’. The exhausted, demoralised and virtually leaderless British troops could go no further in the face of stiffening Ottoman resistance. In places, Ottoman counter-attacks would drive the British back to their starting positions. By 18:00 on 28 April, the attack was called off. 14,000 Allied troops participated in the battle, suffering 3,000 casualties. The scale and duration of the battle was minor compared to later fighting but the First Battle of Krithia was one of the most significant of the campaign as it proved that the original British assumption of a swift victory over an indifferent enemy was grossly mistaken. Thereafter, Helles would become the scene of numerous attrition battles and success would be measured by an advance of 100 yd (91 m) or the capture of a trench. 

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