Battlefield Archaeology: The forgotten WW1 struggle at Ravine, May 1, 1917

Interviews, WW2 Wrecks

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos by Giannis Karageorgiou 

Giannis Karageorgiou from Greece has extensively researched the forgotten battlefields of the Macedonian Front, also known as Salonika Front, the area which witnessed bitter fighting with many casualties during WW1.



Obscured by the epic battles of the western front during WW1, relatively few are aware of the ferocity in the battlefields of Macedonia, Greece.


One such forgotten battle of epic proportions, which resulted in the deaths of most of the soldiers who took part in it is the “Battle of Ravine”, fought on May 1st, 1917.


Ravine was a fortified hill on the Greek territory on the west side of Axios river, which was occupied by German-Bulgarian forces during World War 1.


The Allied Staff based in Thessaloniki ordered the hill to be taken from the Bulgarians and from 23 to 30 April 1917 the hill was bombarded extensively.


In the early hours of May 1st, 1917, a full frontal assault by Greek troops   managed to expel the Bulgarians from the hill, albeit at a high cost for both sides.


The Bulgarians launched their counter-attack almost immediately and the Greeks suffered heavy losses, with  most of their men killed or injured.


The few remaining Greeks were forced to leave Ravine Hill, until a new Greek counter-attack resulted in the Hill remaining in Allied hands until the end of World War 1.


READ MORE: Battlefield Archaeology: 100 years since the forgotten battles of the Macedonian Front