Wednesday 16 March 2011

ABC Wednesday I is for Inkerman

The 20th Foot at the Battle of Inkerman by David Rowlands
Original owned by Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The Battle of Inkerman took place on 5th November 1854 in Crimea, during the Crimean War of 1853 – 1856. The territory of Crimea was at that time part of the Russian Empire which had annexed it in 1783.

The battle was fought by the allied British and French troops against the Imperial Russian Army. It earned the name ‘The Soldier's Battle’ because foggy conditions on the day isolated the troops, sometimes into small parties of men, requiring them to rely on their own initiative. The name also refers to the savagery of the fighting.

The Russian attack, comprising 42,000 men and 134 guns, split into two forces, was concentrated on the British Second Division, numbering 2,700 men and 12 guns.
At dawn on Sunday, 5th November, the church bells of the Russian naval port of Sevastopol began pealing, not to call the people to worship, but to encourage the Russian troops as they advanced towards the British. 6,000 soldiers in dense columns were preceded by 300 riflemen. A further 9,000 men were held in reserve.

The Russian infantry pressed forward through drifting fog and were met by British troops using the British MiniĆ© rifled muskets. These were designed to give rapid muzzle reloading. They had a longer range and were more accurate than the Russians’ flint lock muskets. They were also more reliable, particularly in wet conditions.

As things began to look very difficult French and British reinforcements arrived, raising the numbers to 8,500 British with 38 guns and 7,500 French with 18 guns. (These numbers vary according to different sources) In spite of being heavily outnumbered, the British being outstripped by 5 to 1 for much of the fighting, the allied troops held their ground and repelled the Russian attacks. The Russians had no fresh reserves, having earlier deployed all their 42,000 troops. Gradually they started withdrawing. The allies did not give chase and by 2:30 pm were left holding the field.

Sir Edward Bruce Hamley, then a young officer, described the end of the fighting saying: ‘This extraordinary battle closed with no final charge nor victorious advance on the one side, no desperate stand nor tumultuous flight on the other. The Russians, when hopeless of success, seemed to melt from the lost field.’

This was the last occasion during the Crimean War that the Russians attempted large-scale attacks to defeat their opponents. They had been surprised and impressed by the tenacity and fighting spirit of their adversaries.

Twelve Victoria Crosses were awarded to British soldiers.

Thanks go to the Inspired Denise Nesbitt and her Indefatigable team who organise and host this weekly meme. Click here to see more Is.


  1. something about church bells pealing top encourage war...bugs me somehow. I knew about the Crimean War, but not this particular battle.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  2. One thing I think history shows. The British people will fight and keep on fighting until the last man. I admire their courage.

  3. Yes, that is an yellow anthurium. But only an artificial one:(

    Thanks for ur kind words...M glad u like my hair style..experimenting, u know:)

  4. you know so much about the history of Inkman,
    reflective and informative i post.
    Happy Wednesday.

  5. It must have been a horrendous experience, bullets flying everywhere in the foggy conditions. The painting sums it up wonderfully.

  6. Amazing victory!

    I just finished reading War and Peace, and I am struck by how dreadful war is! Europeans must have been almost constantly at war with each other during the nineteenth century.

  7. Thanks for this piece of history! There is still so much to learn. Have a great Thursday.

  8. Very interesting. You dealt with Inkerman; I dealt with Agincourt.

  9. visiting your I entry. please visit my entry I is for Invitation, thanks!

  10. Informative! That's what I'd call this entry.

    ABCW Team

  11. That was fascinating. Thank you!

  12. It's a period of history I know very little about - apart from Tennyson's poem. Fascinating post.

  13. So many wars! I read so much history and how can one count all the wars let alone keep track of them all.

  14. This is new to me, thanks for sharing this. Anyway, thank you also for the nice comment to my ABC Wed entry.

  15. You know so much history! I don't remember learning anything about this in school (but that was a long time ago anyway.

  16. Yes that was some battle. As I recall 900 French soldiers fell and one of them was Frederic Le Normand de Loumel, who was general of the brigade. In Paris, in the 15eme arrondissement, there is a street named as a tribute to him, rue de Lourmel.

  17. Thank you for the history lesson, me and Simba really enjoyed that :)xx

  18. I love going to new blogs and learning neat things. Thank you!


  19. I never heard of this war before, interesting read about it.


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