Battle Report: 8th February 1997

Crimean Russian ~vs~ Crimean French/Turkish

(Robert Avery ~vs~ Richard Avery) .

Crimean Russian

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s Org. Class Weapons Pts/Fig Points
. CinC

1

. .. .   100
11th 2inC 1         50
(Moscva) 1st Bttn 48 4x12 LightsC mlr   520
Infantry 2nd Bttn 48 4x12 RegB sbm   424
Regiment 3rd Bttn 48 4x12 RegD sbm   328
  4th Bttn 48 4x12 RegD sbm   328
Attach- Cossack Foot 48 4x12 MilD sbm   280
ments Sailors 48 4x12 MilD sbm   376
Cavalry 2inC 1         50
Brigade Guard Dragoons 16 2x8 RegB s, mlc   292
  Hussars 24 4x6 RegC s   376
  Uhlans 16 2x8 RegC s, l, mlc   276
  Cossacks 10 2x5 RegC s, mlc   170
Artillery Battery A 3 3x1 RegC light mlsb FA   237
  Battery B 2 2x1 RegC heavy mlsb FA   237
Train Ammo Wagon 1         50
              4089
.

Crimean French/Turkish

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

  FRENCH

CinC

1

 

 

 

  100
1st 2inC 1         50
Brigade 1st Bttn 36 6x6 RegC mlr   384
  2nd Bttn 36 6x6 RegC mlr   384
  3rd Bttn 36 6x6 RegC mlr   384
2nd The Band 20 5x4 RegD mlr   210
Brigade 2nd Bttn (Zouaves) 36 6x6 LightsB mlr   492
  Ammo Wagon 1         50
Cavalry 2inC 1         50
Brigade Cuirassiers 12 2x6 RegB s, armour   200
  Lancers 12 2x6 RegB s, l   200
TURKISH CinC 1         100
Infantry 1st Bttn 20 4x5 RegC sbm   180
  2nd Bttn 24 4x6 RegD sbm   184
  3rd Bttn 24 4x6 RegD sbm   184
Cavalry Lancers 12 2x6 RegC s, l   176
Artillery Battery A 2 2x1 RegC light mlsb FA   148
              3476
.
. Crimean Russian Crimean French/Turkish
Foot 5760 4640
Horse 1320 720
Guns 10 4
 

The Turkish troops guarded a fort worth 52” of heavy works on the top right of the field, supported by a French camp top left.

Report

The battle opened with the Russians advancing strongly from the bottom left corner:  sending only their heavy infantry and Don Cossacks towards the French camp. Immediately the French headed for the fort:  although attempts at doubling ended in disorder.

The Russians halted within artillery range of the fort, defending their guns with lines of infantry. The Russian cavalry headed up the left wing whilst, on the right, the heavy infantry crossed a bridge and halted: still some way from the French camp.

The Russian guns opened up on the Turks:  all parties expecting the “sick men of Asia” to flee. They did not. In fact, the whole masterplan of the Russians was held up by the steadiness of the Turkish 2nd Brigade: which refused to budge despite the guns cutting vast swathes through their ranks.

The Russian cavalry then advanced to start peppering them with carbine fire: only to rout backwards at the first shots from the fort. In fact, Pasha Avery routed both the Uhlans and the Dragoons, severely disrupting general Russian morale.

Meanwhile, the French were now in column heading right from their camp. This was the moment that the Russian commander had been waiting for. His men surged forward into position: forcing the French into an uneven firefight four battalions to three. Fire blazed from one end of the line to the other.

The French line, outnumbered 3:2, began to waver and go shaken. Desperate measures were needed: particularly as the Turkish infantry had finally succumbed to Russian artillery fire and routed back to the fort.

The French commander ordered his Zouaves to charge the Russian line. They did: driving both the 4th Moscva and the light artillery from the field. A charge at the right flank of the Russian line was, however, less successful: with the 3ieme Battalion Ligne halted before impact.

At this point, both armies began to waver: the French from the appalling casualties taken from the firefight, the Russians from the morale effect of the French charges. Independently, but simultaneously, both Commanders ordered a withdrawal.

Casualties

The Turks lost 220 infantry and 200 Lancers.  The French lost 640 infantry, with the 1ere Bttn, 1ere Ligne being very badly hit.

The Russians lost 700 infantry, 180 cavalry and 20 artillerymen.

Results

Although technically a draw, the Russians failed to capture the fort, despite outnumbering the French/Turks!

Analysis

If nothing else, the battle showed that fighting line verses line can happen: and that even the force armed with smoothbore muskets can sometimes hold its own against muzzle-loading rifles.

The luck of the battle swung this way and that: with the Turkish infantry proving impossible to shift despite being D class.

In the end, a draw had to be declared: as both sides were about to quit the field. The Russians had, however, failed to shift the Turks from the fort: so had to accept “loser” status.