Named after the first battle of the Crimean War, in which Britain and France joined Turkey to block Tsarist Russia’s ambitions to expand into the old Ottoman Empire. It was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Victorian age, costing the lives of more than 18,000 British troops. The Battle of the Alma was fought on September 20, 1854, when the allied expeditionary force charged the Imperial Russian Army defending the Crimean Peninsula. This was no easy task as the allied armies, which had been marching on the port city of Sevastopol, had to navigate four rivers and then charge uphill to reach the enemy, under the command of the Russian general, Prince Menshikov. Torn to pieces as they advanced, it looked as if all was about to be lost for the allies but the Russians overplayed their hand, launching a victory charge too early, the British regrouped and rallied. When the Highland Brigade with the Black Watch moved in to reinforce the British the battle was transformed. The Russians were overwhelmed and fled to Sevastopol. The victory allowed the British to establish their supply base at Balaclava, a deepwater port.
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