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For a long time Russia has been trying to gain a warm port for the trading of goods. The location of Russia did not help at all since it was in the very north so most if not all of its ports were freezing. Because the Ottoman Empire was declining in power Russia thought of this as a chance to gain a warm port. This would have been perfect since this land would give not just a warm port but also a route from the black sea to the Mediterranean Sea improving the transportation of goods. In this book report I will be talking about how this erupted into a war between Turkey, Britain, and France against the Russian empire.
Setting the stage:
In 1783 Catherine the great was performing some military coops around the Crimean area to further extend the Russian territory and to gain warm ports in the black sea for easy transportation from the Black sea to the Meditarean Sea. This was the main reason the Russians wanted to gain the land near the Crimean. The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) was already decreasing in power before the war. After Suleiman has died a succession of weak leaders, corrupt officials, theft causing financial loses, and inflation the empire’s strength was decreasing drastically. Russia thought of this as an opportunity to gain the warm ports they have always wanted. The Russian Empire was gaining power a lot this was considered to be a threat to European nations where it was going to change the balance of power in the continent. Another reason for Russia to occupy the Crimea region is that they claimed that they wanted to defend the Eastern Orthodox in the Ottoman Empire. In 1853 St. Petersburg called for The Ottoman Empire to be aware of Russia’s right to protect Eastern Orthodox believers in the empire. When The Ottoman empire refused this order Russia considered this to be a chance to go to war with the Ottomans. This is where Britain decided to step in. The British combined with The Ottoman Empire, France, and Sardinia against Russia so that they will not gain this land. This was mainly for the purpose of stopping it to gain the land and improving the economy and enlarging the land that Russia has. There was some heat between the Russia and France since Russia supported the Eastern Orthodox believers while France supported the catholic monks over who was going to guard the holy places in Jerusalem. This wasn’t the mean reason of the war however it helped warm the tension between the two. War erupted between the Ottomans and the Russians in October 1853. Battles between them cause for a devastating loss for the Ottomans where in which the Ottoman fleet was destroyed at port Sinope. This gave a justification for the British and French to declare war on Russia, supporting the Ottomans. On 3 January 1854 the British and French naval squadrons entered the Black Sea with the Ottomans support. A letter was sent to St. Petersburg saying that the Russian fleet must retreat to Sevastopol, warning that if they don’t the British and French will take actions. The letter said “Refusal or silence â€¦ [would] be equivalent to declaration or war”. Russia did not respond which initiated the war. There was still a chance for a peaceful solution but the Russian Tsar would never subdue his territory. On March 28 war was declared on Russia. This was a war of three great nations against one so it wasn’t really a fair one. First having Great Britain one of the greatest superpowers of the time. The British fleet in the Black Sea consisting of 16 warships commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas. Moreover the French also had 12 battle ships increasing the number to 25 before landing at the Crimean. Turky however helped in increasing the number of soldiers mainly. On the other hand we have Russia which was alone in this war. Some people would say that since Russia is under the command of one chief it would be an advantage but that was not true they were two. The western part was under Prince Menshikov; while for the east and north it was General Khomutov. These two were not in best terms. Russia was out of its leage considering the very powerfull fleets the allies had up against them.
The Battles of the Crimean War:
The first major battle of the Crimean war was the Battle of Alma in September 20, 1854. In this battle Russia was outnumbered by almost double considering the soldiers. Russia having 33,000 infantry while the allies having 60,000. After landing at Calamity Bay French and British forces marched towards the Russian port at Sevastpool. To stop this advancement Russain General Prince Menshikov placed his forces behind the Alma River. The French suggested that they would scale the cliffs since south of the Alma was just cliff from the coast inland to Telegraph Hill. This would drive the Russians away from there allowing the British to attack across the River. This move was successful however the French commanders on the south bank were unable to advance because they were waiting for reinforcement which was slow to arrive. Meanwhile the British advanced across the river but because they were trying to pass many obstacles their troops were mixed making them unable to realign. As the British kept moving forward they opened fire on the Russians. Because they were driving the Russians back, they were successfully able to capture the Great Redoubt. As this was happening Lord Raglan and his crew were able to bypass all this and take over Telegraph Hill. From there he commanded artillery to join in helping in defeating the Russains. This caused for the victory of the British but with the cost of a lot of casualties.
Second major battle or you can say event was the Siege of Sevastpool which began in September 27, 1854. Here the Allies were battling the Russian forces in a long range fight. The Allies believed that only 20,000 men were defending the naval base but they thought wrong were there was almost 30,580 men in the field. The allies would not attack without some proper bombardment, thus they started planning for one to take place. However this was hindered a lot since many of the troops got sick fast. In October 17 which became known as the First Bombardment which happened by 126 French and British guns. This was stalled by the Russians firing earlier. The British did some great damage opening way for an infantry assault, the French on the other hand were unable to do so. Even though the French were able to reopen fire the day after, this bombardment continued for a week winning this battle.
Third Major Battle is the Battle of Balakava beginning in October 25, 1854. Here Meshikov gathered around 25,000 men instructing General Liprandi to strike from the east. Because they attacked early, Russian troops were able to devastate the Turkish defenders. Liprandi ordered for Ryzoh’s cavalry to move forward. As they advanced he saw some of the Allied infantry position consisting of the 93rd Highlands and some or the Turkish unit near the village of kadikoi. He ordered 400 of his men to battle with them. However the Russians were met by an astonishing defense by the “Thin Red Line” of the 93rd. Scarelett from a distance spotted the Russian infantry from the left and disposed his men to attack pushing the Russians back. The landscape of the land made it difficult for them to see anything but what was directly in front of them. Only the ones stationed in the hills were able to see everything clear. Here Lord Lucan was sent to secure these hills. He refused when he didn’t see the infantry support he was promised which gave the Russians time to collect themselves. They set up their guns on both sides of the valley. The charge of the Light Baragade was an utter disaster for the British but nonetheless it was still a victory for the British. Russians gained the Causeway Heights as an outcome of this war.
Fourth and last Major battle is the Battle of Inkerman of November 5, 1854. This was a very messy battle where both sides suffered great casualties. This battle acctualy decided the fate for the whole Crimean war. This battle was mainly between the Russian troops and the French Anglo troops and the British. The aim of this battle for the Russians was to lift the siege of the Allies from Sevastpool. However poor commanding by the Generals ad direction caused for a devastating loss to the Russians. This demoralized the Russian army greatly since they suffered much more losses then the Allies did. Even though the Allies were outnumbered greatly they managed to win this battle.
Contributors to the War:
Lewis Edward Nolan was an outstanding a gifted cavalry officer born in a family of soldiers. Born in Canada in 1818, he joined the Royal Hussars. He served with his regiment in a Hungarian and Polish provinces, earning praise for his outstanding swordsmanship and riding abilities. Later on he purschased advancement to lieutenant and was posted as a cavalry depot at Maidstone . He impressed a lot of his instructors by his abilities and manners. By the age of 31 Nolan was pretty famous although he hadn’t been in action. However this would change when he would participate in the Crimean war. He used the cavalry in the most unimaginable way in the Siege of Sevastopol. He helped in a lot by using the technique of pursuing the enemy troops after a battle and carrying out investigation. He later on joined the 17th Lancers and rode with them behind Lord Cardigan. He went ahead of them shouting and waving while he looked at the brigade but was shot instantly.
Another major contribution to this war was women! It was the first war where in which women were put as nurses in it. Ellen (Nell) Butler was the wife of one of the sailors in the regiment. After seeing the horrors of the war, one day while in the battlefield she heard a man say: ‘Nurse, come here and hold down this
man’s hands while I take his leg off.’. After helping the healing of this man she became a nurse by default. She tried her best to help with the wounded as she used her own coat as bandage. Her arm got frostbite at the winter of 1854-55. After that her husband Michael was sent home for a serious wound she went back with him and they were welcomed as hero’s.
Another woman with the name of Frances (Fanny) Duberly also had a great contribution to the war. She on the other hand kept a detailed journal about the war. She was known as the cavalry wife because she followed her husband on his campaign on her own expense. She recorded many of the important details of the war where in which her husband was dispatched in a ship called Shooting Star. Her journal alone contributed with supplying details of the clash between the Allies and the Russians. She also recorded her views in the actions that the Generals made.
Ending and Aftermath of the War:
In June of 1855 the last significant battle was the capture of Sevastopol. The French and the British were successful in evacuating the area from the Russian troops. The war was officialy over when the Treaty of Paris was signed in March. Russia was forced to leave all its military activates in the Black Sea area. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives because of this war ; Russia having the greatest number of causalities. The French gained the most out of this war because of its major victories. The Ottoman Empire on the other hand you would think gained the most but because of this war the weaknesses of the military was exposed. British had modernized its army after the war. Russia also did the same thing to improve its army.
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