Page 74 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

barely understood. The 87th Brigade, however, had only to move
forward and their orders were explained at a conference of battalion
The artillery worked hard to prepare a scheme for artillery
support with the twenty-eight guns available. Meanwhile the Turks,
aided by the Allies' fatal delay, had had time to prepare positions,
and reinforcements of four battalions (two belonging to the Turkish
20th Regiment) had arrived.
The Turks were holding a number of mutually supporting posts
of about one platoon each, with advanced posts according to their
usual plan. Their position lay at an angle to the projected line of
On 28th April, after a not very convincing bombardment of the
position by the fleet and the twenty-eight guns, the advance began,
each of the leading brigades having one battalion in support, while
the 86th Brigade was in reserve. The 1st Battalion was now organ–
ized in two companies, under Captain H. Shaw and Major G. S.
Adams. The surplus officers and N.C.Os. accompanied the attack
as supernumeraries, as the system of leaving a proportion of a unit
behind as a first reinforcement had not then been introduced.
Battalion headquarters was still intact so that the battalion was well
off as regards "direction" in comparison with other units. The men
were in good fettle and their morale was improved by the fact that
they alone had expended but little ammunition during the previous
days and they still had their packs.
The effect of the intended manoeuvre was soon apparent. The
troops on the left did not wait for those in the centre and soon found
that their right flank was " in the air."
As soon as touch was gained with the Turks, the troops were, as
Wellington said, "attracted by the fire" and the objective was
forgotten. The battle became a "soldiers' battle" and by
considerable confusion existed in the centre; ammunition began to
fail and, as the Turks sent up their reinforcements, the advance
stopped. The 87th Brigade also stopped, although they had met
with little opposition. On the extreme right the French, after an
initial rush, were held up by skilfully placed advanced posts.
Brigadier-General W. R. Marshall, who was acting as local
commander, decided to send in the 86th Brigade with orders to take
up ammunition and then, taking the line forward, to capture
Lieutenant-Colonel D. E. Cayley (Worcestershire Regiment)
was in command of the 86th Brigade and he ordered the Lancashire
Fusiliers and the Royal Fusiliers to act as right and left front
battalions, with the "Dubsters," as the combined remnants of the
Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Munster Fusiliers were called,
support. However, this corps could not be found. They had been
rushed off on an SOS from some officer of the 88th Brigade, a
striking instance of the lack of trained staff officers.
Thus the advance of the 86th Brigade was made with two