Sevastopol

The background information has been extracted in part from the following Website:  
http://www.sevastopol.org

However, the photos are by the Webmaster


            Sevastopol is located in the southwest of the Crimean peninsula, and boarders the Black Sea.  It is part of modern Ukraine.  Many thousands of years ago the region was home to various tribes.  At Quarantine Bay, the ancient Greeks, played an important role in the history of the Northern Black Sea coast. 

         As a result of the war with Turkey 1768-74, the long struggle by Russia for territory bordering the Black Sea was successfully. With the signing of the Kuchuk-Kainardzhiysky treaty, the Crimean peninsula was made  independent from Turkey and passed under protection Russia. The commander by Russian army in Crimea, A. V. Suvorov, appreciated the strategic importance of the waterways, and within five years the construction of city and port began.  In 1778 it was determined that what today is the city and harbor would be a fine place to establish a naval base for what was to the home port for the Russian Black Fleet.  By April, 1783, the territory that is today modern Ukraine had been claimed by Russia, and Turkey had lost a base of operation on the Northern Black Sea coast.  The victory reduced Turkish dominion of the people present day Bulgaria, and Romania.

         By the second half of the 19th century, the naval base and the city had grown, and the technical and economic backwardness of serfdom in feudal Russia had begun to change.  Sevastopol soon  became not only a first class sea fortress, but also the largest city of Crimea.  In 1844, there were 41155 inhabitants in Sevastopol, of which a large part were military. Civilians consisted of families of military men, officials, handicraftsmen - tailors, shoemakers, tinsmiths, and merchants.  

        The city rested on three hills divided by deep ravines.  The houses were mainly constructed of white stone from the nearby quarries at Inkerman, with the city center situated around the Southern hill  where now a ring of central streets and squares may be seen.  On the main street lived the general governor, the urban head, and rich merchants.  There were several churches, a boarding house, a naval barracks and houses for working crews.  Nearby there were houses of army and navy officers.  Additionally, Sevastopol had small mansions with front gardens, which made a pleasant impression upon travelers. Behind the main streets, in area of present-day Historical Parkway and the central market,  were the beggars side-streets, which were populated by laborers.  One such neighborhood was at the top of the Southern hill, and was called the "ridge of lawlessness ".  Hovels of the poor were located here, and so were the ill, drunk.  In the harbor, many ships could be seen under construction or repair in admiralty, which was on the southwest party of a Southern bay.  There were located the dry docks.

        The Crimean war flared up in 1854 as result of long economic and political contradictions between England, France, Turkey and Russia.  Each of these countries aspired to strengthen the influence on Near East to win the markets of selling to subordinate to itself new territories.  In Sevastopol, it is felt today that England and France provoked Turkey in 1853.  On November 18, 1853 the Russian Black Sea Fleet, under the command of vice-admiral P. S. Nakhimov raided Sinope bay and destroyed the Turkish squadron.  This soon forced England and France to aid Turkey, and in December, 1853 the combined English & French fleet came to the Black Sea.  The war was one of the most bloody of the 19th Century.  The war was fought on the Baltic and White seas, on the  Danube and Caucasus, even on far off Kamchatka.  However, the main theatre of military actions was the Crimea.  Knowing, that Sevastopol was well protected from the sea, the Allies had landed a large force to the south of Eupatoria and approached Sevastopol from the land.  On September 13, 1854 the city was under a state of siege. The 349-day defense had begun.


 

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 Malakhov

 

       The defenders had a very short term to construct a defensive line consisting seven bastions.  An eighth bastion, later named as Kornilovsky, was on Malakhov barrow.  The very talented engineer, E. I. Totleben, supervised the  construction of the fortress. Sevastopol harbor in the beginning of a defense had appeared inaccessible to an enemy, but it soon became apparent that it needed to be blocked.  

         It was decided to flood a part of the lower area near the docks, and to provide a barrier of sunken Russian ships to refuse any attempt of breaking into Sevastopol from the sea.   More than nine thousands seamen naval crews have joined structure of Sevastopol overland garrison and steel by its main force.  Ship guns, shells, the whole property they have transferred on bastions, where at once ascend the throne the faultless naval order. 


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Russian Redoubt
River Al'ma

         The defeated army from the River Al'ma bypassed Sevastopol to the east. The British had taken possession of Balaklava and had harbored their fleet there, while the French had set up camp in Cane Bay. By organizing this base for supplies, the Allies prepared to storm Sevastopol.  On October 5, 1854 they undertook the first bombardment of the city.  The bastions held, albiet with large losses. The heaviest loss to the Russians was the death of admiral V. A. Kornilov, fatally wounded that day on Malahov barrow. After his death, the defenses were in the hands of has P. S. Nakhimov.          

        On 13 October the Battle of Balaklava  occurred, and on October 24 the Russian army suffered a defeat at the Battle of Inkerman. However, British losses were significant, and both commands were compelled to proceed with a long siege of city. Both armies began their re-supply. The defenders of Sevastopol remained armed with heavy smooth-bore guns, while the Allied army was armed with the new rifled muskets. Moreover, Allied reinforcements and ammunition were received faster than were Russian.  In the spring of 1855, Allied forces made active the actions.  At dawn on June 5, there began a bombardment of the city, and on 6 June the Allies attempted to storm the city.  However, Russian forces, by displaying exclusive courage and heroism, drove back the attackers with serious casualties on both sides. The searing military actions in and before Sevastopol exhausted the forces of both armies.  Still, the opponent could did not manage to unlock the besieged fortress. Defensive structures broken in the afternoon, but by night they had been restored.  At night the Russians sorties to the enemy positions, putting the opponent appreciable losses. 

 

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Balaklava
today

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The Valley of Death

       The Russians surpassed the French and British in the underground electric-mine war.  Courage was displayed not only the soldiers, but by sailors and their commanders, as well as the population of Sevastopol, including women and children.  On  September 8, the Malahov barrow fell to the French. To continue the fight inside Sevastopol was not thought possible.   

       Thus, during the night of September 9, and under the order of commander-in-chief M. D. Gorchakov, the Russian Army left by the southern part of the city using a newly constructed floating bridge. Active military actions in Sevastopol are finally ended. On March 30, 1856, after a long diplomatic struggle, the Paris peace contract was signed, in which Russia lost the right to have by the Black Sea Fleet, or to build fortresses and naval bases in the area.


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