Russia made an issue of the fact that the holiest sites in Christianity — Jerusalem, Bethlehem etc — were under Turkish control. A: It was fought on the Crimean peninsula, and also on the Black Sea. It was supposed to play out in the Danubian Principalities Moldavia and Walachia , but successful Turkish military action and political pressure from Britain, France and Austria forced Russia to withdraw. The new target for France and Britain became the Russian naval base at Sevastopol — they wanted to destroy Russian naval power in the Black Sea.
There were three main battles: the battle of the Alma on 20 September , the battle of Balaclava on 24 October, and a major Russian attack at the Inkerman, in November. After the battle of the Alma, the city was besieged by British, French, and later Sardinian troops.
Battle of the Alma, 1854
The Russians came out in October and November and tried to push the allies back. But these were not decisive, and the siege dragged on until September This was trench warfare, with British and French troops trying to push into certain Russian positions. There were heavy casualties.
More than , were killed. That is for all armies, including the Russians. A: In September the Russians evacuated Sevastopol following the storming of the vital Malakhov bastion by French troops. In short, Russia gave in, and there began a move towards peace talks. The Treaty of Paris was signed on 30 March A: As part of the treaty, the Russian naval base was supposed to have been run down, to reduce Russian power in the Black Sea, but it never happened.
Britain and France were soon no longer strong enough to make it happen, and there emerged increasing tensions between them. But not all of the problems went away.
Turkey and Russia went to war once again in , but this time Britain and France stayed out. To Sevastopol the Russians fled, They left the wounded and the dead; And the rivers they run with blood all red From the blood was spilled at Alma. Now France and England hand in hand, What ne'er a foe could them withstand! So let it run throughout the land, The victory won at Alma.
There were fifteen hundred French they say That fell upon that fatal day, And eighteen hundred Russians lay In the bloody gore of Alma. Now France and Britain hand in hand, What foe on earth could them withstand? Let it run throughout the land, The victory won at Alma. You loyal Britons, pray give ear Unto the news I bring you here, And joy each Briton's heart it will cheer The victory we gained at Alma. Sing tandara airin all the day, Sing tandara airin all the day, And joy each Briton's heart it will cheer The victory we gained at Alma.
Sing tandara airin all the day, Sing tandara airin all the day, We landed safe all on the Crimea Upon the road for Alma. All night we lay on the cold ground, No tent nor shelter to be found, And by the rain was nearly drowned To cheer our hearts for the Alma. But the Highland lads with their kilt and hose, They were not last, as you may suppose.
They boldly faced the Russian foes And they gained the heights of Alma. And sing tandara airin all the day, Sing tandara airin all the day, They boldly faced the Russian foes And they gained the heights of Alma. And when the heights they did command, They fought the Russians hand to hand, The Russian bears, they couldn't stand The Scottish charge at Alma. And sing tandara airin all the day, Sing tandara airin all the day, The Russian bears, they couldn't stand The Scottish charge at Alma. Canrobert's 1st Division and to Canrobert's left Prince Napoleon's 3rd division were unable to cross the river in the face of heavy fire coming from Telegraph Hill , and their advance stalled.
Prince Napoleon sent word to Gen. George de Lacy Evans , 2nd Division's commander on his left, calling on the British to advance and take some pressure off the French. Raglan was still waiting for the French attack to succeed before committing British troops, and at first told Evans not to take orders from the French, but under pressure from Evans, he relented. At , he commanded the British Light, 1st and 2nd Divisions to advance, although without further orders. Behind them was a second line - the 1st Division under Duke of Cambridge , consisting of the Highland and the Guards Brigades, which were deployed to support the first line's advance.
The remaining British troops were held in reserve. The Light Division had not extended itself far enough left and advanced at an angle. Soon, the troops on the right of the Light Division and the left of the 2nd Division began merging.
Battle of The Alma | Lancashire Infantry Museum
The strategic formation of the British line was lost. Once they had crossed the river, all order was also lost. Companies and regiments became jumbled together, and where the lines had been two men deep, now just a crowd resulted. The Russians, seeing this, began to advance down the hill from either side of the great redoubt, firing on the British below. Mounted British officers galloped round their men, urging them to reform their lines, but were unsuccessful in persuading them to move from the shelter of the riverbank.
Some sat down and took out their water cans; others began to eat. Aware of the danger of the situation and unable to reorganize, Maj. William John Codrington , commander of the Light Division's 1st Brigade, ordered his troops to fix bayonets and advance. The densely packed Codrington's Brigade started to advance uphill in a thick crowd.
Without time and unable to put the soldiers in formation, the officers gave up and urged them to charge toward the Russian guns in the redoubt. As Russian artillery opened fire, the British continued scrambling upward until some of the Light Division's advanced guard tumbled over the walls of the greater redoubt. As the Russians were trying to redeploy their cannons, soldiers clambered over the parapets and through the embrasures, capturing two guns in the confusion. However, realizing their lack of reinforcements, and as the Vladimirsky Regiment poured into the redoubt from the open higher ground, British buglers sounded the withdraw order.
Russian infantry charged with fixed bayonets, driving out the British and firing at them as they retreated down the hill. By now, the First Division had finally crossed the river and the Russians in the greater redoubt saw approaching them the Guards' Brigade, with the Grenadiers on the right, the Scots Fusiliers in the center, and the Coldstream on the left. Campbell was irritated by the Guards' delay and ordered an immediate advance.
A firm believer in the charge with bayonets, Campbell told his men not to fire their rifles until they were "within a yard of the Russians". The Scots Fusiliers, by then ahead of the rest of the division, started to move uphill immediately, repeating the Light Division's mistake, which at that moment was running down from the redoubt, pursued by Russian infantry.
The Light Division crashed into the advancing Scots Fusiliers with such force that the line was broken in many places. The Scots faltered, but emerged on the other side with only half their numbers and continued towards the great redoubt in a chaotic state. The Scots Fusiliers were forced to retreat, stopping only when they reached the river; they remained in the riverbank shelter for the rest of the battle, ignoring repeated orders to advance. The two other guards' regiments filled the gap left by the Scots Fusiliers, but refused orders to charge with bayonets up the hill.
This stopped the Russians, and the Grenadiers and the Coldstream were soon able to close the gap between them; the Russians were again forced back into the redoubt. Soon, the fire of the Guards was joined by the 2nd Division under Evans, on the British right. As the Russian infantry and artillery withdrew, the British slowly advanced uphill. With the French in command of the cliffs above the Alma, the battle clearly had been virtually decided.