The Battles of Alma & Balaclava

Overview of the main points of the battles of Alma and Balaclava, during the Crimean War

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  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 07-04-09 18:42

The Battle of Alma: 22nd September 1854

  • A large Russian force, led by Menshikov, settled on a hill south of Alma to attack when he heard of the British march south towards sebastopol
  • The British and French settled on the banks of the River Alma. Cholera was a big problem.
  • The French commander St Arnaug rode over to Lord Raglan to discuss tactics and strategy
  • Lord Raglan confirmed his help, but had no plan of his own. Also he did not notify his own troops of the french plans.
  • He also did not complete any reconnaisance, and so had no idea about the strength of the Russian forces
  • Lord Raglan didn't seem to realise how crucial the battle was: if they won, the way would be open to sebastopol. If they lost, the war could be over.
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The Battle of Alma: 22nd September 1854

  • The Russians were so confident of victory that they invited families out to watch the battle with picnics
  • The French launched their attack, but were quickly pinned down
  • The British, without any plan, attacked straight up the hill- and won!
  • The Russians suffered heavy casualties. They had to retreat.
  • The British also suffered 363 deaths and over 1,600 injuries. They had made little medical preparations and most of the casualties had to be sent back to the ships, who were not expecting the sheer number of injured soldiers they received.
  • A high cost, but the way to Sebastopol was open
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The Battle of Balaclava: 25th October 1854

  • The Russians began an advance, with 25,000 men, on the British supply base at the port of Balaclava

The Thin Red Line

  • The 93rd Highland Regiment, led by Sir Campbell, formed a long line 2 men deep to stop the chrage of the Russian cavalry- instead of the traditional square shape.
  • They managed to halt the cavalry, and Lord Lucan's cavalry routed the Russians
  • William Russell described the formation as a "thin, red streak"
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The Battle of Balaclava: 25th October 1854

The Charge of the Light Brigade

  • Lord Raglan ordered Lord Lucan to prevent the Russians from capturing cannon from the causeways heights above the 2 valleys of Balaclava
  • He gave the written order to Captain Nolan, but the captain's explanation and gestures gave the wrong impression to Lord Lucan
  • He ended up orderinghis cavalry into the wrong valley
  • Lord Cardigan led a brave charge against guns, but most men died
  • Terrible military ineptitude, but brilliant bravery
  • Many letters and poems were written about this event
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