September 1915: Men of the 42nd East Lancashire Division encamped at Gully Reach in Gallipoli. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Third Battle of Krithia, launched on 4 June had made significant progress along the central axis of the attack, around the Krithia Spur, but the attack had broken down on the flanks. The situation on the right flank had then been improved for the Allies when the French launched an attack around the Kereves Dere area on the 21st June and made some good gains.
However the left flank still lagged behind and the British sought to remedy this with an attack launched on 28 June, an action that would rage across the next week, resulting in heavy casualties for both the British and Ottoman forces. The attack was concentrated across two spurs – those of Gully Spur and Fir Tree Spur, as well as the low ground that separated them – known as Gully Ravine.
This attack began with a massive artillery bombardment followed by an infantry advance that initially made good progress. However the inexperienced British 156th Brigade, operating without artillery support were slaughtered in large numbers as they advanced along Fir Tree Spur. Ottoman machine guns and bayonet charges produced a 50% casualty rate before reinforcements arrived.
The situation went much better for the British along Gully Ravine where the Ottomans, short on artillery and machine guns resorted to massed bayonet charges, where they, in turn where shot to a standstill by the British.
A series of Ottoman counterattacks followed with the casualties mounting at a terrifying rate, as masses of dead bodies piled up in front of the British defensive positions. Finally the carnage became so great that on 5 July the Ottoman Command ordered their troops back. The battle was a victory for the Allies with the Gully Ravine area ending up in British control.
In what had been a truly murderous battle the Ottoman casualties in just 6 days were estimated to have been around 6000 troops with the British number approximately 3800 men.