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Access to History. The Experience of Warfare in Britain: by Alan Farmer

By Alan Farmer

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This aimed to cut off Russian supplies from the Sea of Azov area. The 15,000-strong expedition was successful: Kertch captured, the Sea of Azov raided, 100 guns taken, thousands of tons of corn and flour destroyed, Russian boats sunk and arsenals demolished. The British forces lost just one man. The death of Raglan Pelissier now prepared for an assault on Sevastopol. On 7 June, the French captured the Mamelon fortress while British forces took the Quarries. On 18 June, after another great cannonade, British forces hoped to take the Redan and the French the Malakhov, regarded as the key to Sevastopol’s defensive system.

While such cold spells were rarely prolonged, the weather was also wet. Given the shortage of tents and the lack of firewood, men were unable to cook or stay dry and warm. Congestion in Balaclava harbour Over the winter, Balaclava became a place of nightmarish chaos. Much of the blame rested with Admiral Boxer, who was in charge of transport arrangements. His inefficiency led to ships arriving at Balaclava without notice and with nobody sure what supplies they carried. In Balaclava there were insufficient landing stages.

Russell invariably paid credit to the bravery of the British troops. Although he initially avoided criticising Raglan, he asked awkward questions and when he saw problems, he wrote about them. He was not the only influential reporter. Thomas Chenery, The Times’ correspondent in Constantinople, was the first to report the dreadful conditions in the hospitals at Scutari. The press attack on Raglan The army’s plight stirred John Delane, The Times’ editor, to attack Raglan and his staff for gross incompetence.

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