From the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean, the conflict between the Russian and Ottoman Empires spread far beyond the peninsula
1 BATTLE OF OLTENITA
The first battle of the Crimean War actually takes place in Romania between Russian and Ottoman forces in the region of the River Danube. The Ottomans win a tactical victory but are unable to advance on Bucharest and drive the invading Russians out of their territories.
2 BATTLE OF SINOP
The Russian Navy wins a decisive victory against the Ottomans on the northern Turkish Black Sea coast. A technological game-changer in naval warfare, Sinop is notable for its extensive use of explosive shells. The Russian victory also brings Britain and France into the war.
3 SIEGE OF CALAFAT
The Ottomans defend Calafat in southern Romania against the Russians. During a four-month siege, the Russians suffer heavy losses from disease and attacks from the Ottoman fortified positions before they eventually withdraw.
A French cartoon mocks Russian attempts to take Calafat
4 SIEGE OF SILISTRA
Like at Calafat, the Ottomans defend another town against the Russians – this time in Bulgaria. Silistra is well fortified with an inner citadel and ten outer forts. Some Russian assaults are successful but the Ottomans are able to stay supplied until the besiegers return to positions north of the Danube.
5 BATTLE OF KUREKDERE
An Ottoman army of 40,000 marches towards the city of Alexandropol (Gyumri) in Armenia and fight an outnumbered Russian force of approximately 20,000 men. The Ottomans make a series of strategic blunders, which enables the Russians to win one of their few land victories of the war.
6 BATTLE OF THE ALMA
The British and French (with Ottoman support) fight their first land battle after landing on the Crimean Peninsula. The Allies march towards the strategically important port of Sevastopol but the Russians make a stand on heights south of the River Alma. Although they incur heavy casualties while attacking the Russians uphill, the Allies win the battle.
“A TECHNOLOGICAL GAME-CHANGER IN NAVAL WARFARE, SINOP IS NOTABLE FOR ITS EXTENSIVE USE OF EXPLOSIVE SHELLS”
7 SIEGE OF SEVASTOPOL
Allied efforts in the Crimea concentrate on besieging Sevastopol (the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet) with hundreds of thousands of men. All battles on the peninsula are fought with the ultimate aim of taking the port, which itself is subjected to many bombardments and assaults. Its eventual fall marks the Russians’ defeat in the war.
8 BATTLE OF BALACLAVA
25,000 Russians attempt to distract the Allies by attacking in the direction of the British supply port of Balaclava. Although the actual battle is indecisive, Balaclava becomes legendary in British military history for the ‘Thin Red Line’ action of the 93rd Highland Regiment and the infamous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’.
9 BATTLE OF INKERMAN
42,000 Russians launch a surprise dawn attack against outnumbered British positions at Inkerman. Confused, often cut off fighting occurs in thick fog although the British prevail after doggedly determined combat and the arrival of French reinforcements.
“ALL BATTLES ON THE PENINSULA ARE FOUGHT WITH THE ULTIMATE AIM OF TAKING THE PORT, WHICH ITSELF IS SUBJECTED TO MANY BOMBARDMENTS AND ASSAULTS”
10 BATTLE OF EUPATORIA
The Ottomans transfer soldiers from the Balkans to the western Crimean port of Eupatoria. The Russians attempt to make a surprise attack on Eupatoria’s garrison but heavy Allied ground and naval support force them to retreat. The Ottoman-led victory ensures total command of the Black Sea and the continuation of the Siege of Sevastopol. Eupatoria is therefore the most important engagement on the peninsula beyond Sevastopol.
11 SIEGE OF KARS
Although Sevastopol falls on 9 September 1855, the last major operation of the war continues in northeast Turkey. The Ottoman city of Kars has been besieged by the Russians since June 1855 and British General Fenwick Williams organises a defence. The Russians incur 7,500 casualties but Williams is forced to surrender because of supply shortages. Despite this victory, Russia has lost the war.
30 NOVEMBER 1853
4 NOVEMBER 1853 Ottoman horsemen charge at the Russian infantry at Oltenita
MARCH-JUNE 1854 The victorious Ottoman garrison sallies out of Silistra
Flames from burning ships light up the sky at Sinop
Kurekdere is the only battle of the Crimean War to be fought on Armenian soil 6 AUGUST 1854
20 SEPTEMBER 1854 The 2nd Rifle Brigade leads the British Light Division across the Alma
17 OCTOBER 1854-9 SEPTEMBER 1855 25 OCTOBER 1854 5 NOVEMBER 1854
The actions of each regiment count at Inkerman, which becomes known as ‘The Soldier’s Battle’
The decisive French victory at the Battle of Malakoff during the siege leads to the fall of Sevastopol
‘The Thin Red Line’ becomes a figure of speech for any thinly spread military unit that holds firm against attack
Fenwick Williams capitulates to the Russians. He is treated to an honourable captivity and is even introduced to Tsar Alexander II
Egyptian troops in the Ottoman army charge the Russians at Eupatoria 7-9 AUGUST 1855 JUNE-29 NOVEMBER 1855
17 FEBRUARY 1855