Second Battle Of Krithia

Following the failure of the First Battle of Krithia the exhausted soldiers of the British 29th Division halted to consolidate their positions. They had to endure a number of Turkish counter-attacks on May 1 and May 3. Similar counter-attacks were repulsed at the Anzac landing on May 2 so that General William Birdwood, commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps deemed his front sufficiently secure to enable two brigades to be moved to Helles for the next assault on Krithia.

The plan for the attack was made despite the fact that the British had no clear idea where the Turkish fortifications were. There was as yet no continuous system of trenches and aerial reconnaissance had failed to locate the defences. Consequently the preliminary bombardments that were made before each advance were utterly ineffectual. Hunter-Weston also insisted that the attacks be made in broad daylight, fearing that an attack under the cover of darkness would become confused. Having failed with this approach once during the first battle did not deter Hunter-Weston and as the second battle progressed he would remain undeterred.

The Allied advance began later than scheduled, around 11 a.m., on May 6 but was immediately and bloodily halted by strong Turkish resistance. The 88th Brigade of the 29th Division advancing on Fir Tree Spur managed to capture Fir Tree Wood and the 6th (Hood) Battalion of the British 63rd (Royal Naval) Division advanced strongly along Kanli Dere but at all points on the line the gains were never more than 400 yards. At no point were the Turkish defences reached.

On the 8th the exact same plan was repeated with the Anzac reserves, yielding the exact same result.

About one third of the Allied soldiers who fought in the battle became casualties. General Hamilton could ill-afford such losses as they made it difficult enough to hold the little ground he had, let alone continue to capture more. The poor planning of the battle extended to the medical provisions for the wounded which were woeful. The few stretcher bearers that were available often had to carry their burdens all the way to the beach as there was no intermediate collecting station with wagon transport. The hospital ship arrangements were also inadequate so that once the wounded were taken off the beach they would have trouble finding a ship prepared to take them on board.

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