So if the Greek win, will the British hand over the United States of the Ionian Islands? Or will they wait?
They got handed over in 1864 IOTL to bolster George I's reign, and even with the Greeks doing better I don't see the islands being handed over much more than a couple years earlier.

EDIT: ninja'ed by Marshal
 
Just waiting for more...
Apologies for the delay, but the next part is a bit of a bear.:cool:

Jokes aside, I should have it ready by tomorrow, I've just been a little busy with IRL things. This next part is also the longest one yet by far, so your patience will be rewarded.
 
Part 27: The Bear and the Horse Tail
Part 27: The Bear and the Horse Tail

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Russian Soldiers Ready for Battle

Coinciding with the declaration of war on the 1st of May, a 95,000 strong Russian Army under the command of Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein advanced into the Danubian Principalities starting the latest entry of the Russo Turkish Wars. A conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire had become inevitable in recent years since the death of Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory IV over seven years before. Though war had come close on many occasions, the repudiation of the Akkerman Convention Treaty and the closing of the Dardanelles to Russian ships finally provided Tsar Nicholas I with the impetus for war that he had been waiting for. To that end, two armies were prepared that would strike towards the heart of the Ottoman Empire. In the West, the Commander in Chief Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein would lead the main thrust into the Balkans with elements of the Guard Corps, the 2nd Infantry Corps, the 3rd Corps, the 6th Corps, and the 7th Corps through the Danubian Principalities towards Constantinople. While in the East, Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich would lead the Separate Caucasus Corps into Ottoman Armenia and Abkhazia.

The Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia had suffered greatly from nearly seven years of brutal occupation from the Fall of 1821 to the start of 1828.[1] Though the Akkerman Convention Treaty between the Russians and Ottomans had done much to restore stability to the region, its effects were fleeting, and ultimately the region was thrown into disarray once more with the repudiation of the Treaty in March. Highwaymen became increasingly prominent throughout the countryside and all semblance of law and order in the Principalities had collapsed. Added to this was a terrible drought which had stricken the region leading scores of Wallachians and Moldavians to starve as crops failed and herds went hungry making an incredibly bleak setting even more so. The Russians for their part, were to act mainly as peace keepers in the region, intent on reinstating stability to a region that had become a lawless land ever since Alexander Ypsilantis sparked the fires of rebellion seven years before. Their thrust into Wallachia and Moldavia also served another purely strategic purpose; holding the Danubian Principalities would provide Russia with a strong Southern bulwark against the Ottomans and a base from which they could launch offensives towards Constantinople.

Advancing into the Principalities in early May, the Russians made quick progress in Moldavia, securing the capital of Iasi on the second day of the war followed by the remainder of the Principality in the following week. Their efforts in the Principality of Wallachia similarly went unchallenged except for a determined, month-long resistance by the Ottomans in the fortress of Braila and the city of Galati in the East along with the fortresses of Giuriu and Turnu in the South. Despite the valor of the Ottoman contingent in Galati, the Russians brought in barges and rafts to complete the encirclement of the city from the river leading to its fall on the 30th of May. Once Galati had fallen and realizing aid was not coming, Braila promptly surrendered a week later. Giuriu and Turnu, due to their distance from the main front, would continue to hold out through the remainder of the year. With the Danubian Principalities mostly secured Field Marshal Wittgenstein began advancing southwards across the Danube in early June.

Pushing into Dobruja under the watchful gaze of Tsar Nicholas himself, the Russian soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Corps led the charge across the Danube near Isaccea under heavy fire from the Ottoman line on the right bank of the river. Despite taking grievous casualties, the Russians managed to secure the right flank of the Ottoman trenches by overwhelming their foe with raw numbers. With their right flank in enemy hands, the Ottomans of the center and left flanks were forced to fall back to the South. With their foothold established, the Wittgenstein began transporting the remainder of his army across the Danube. Due to delays caused by the weather, and Wittgenstein’s overly cautious disposition, the endeavor was completed by the end of the June, finally permitting the Russians to move south into Bulgaria. Almost immediately, however, their offensive ground to a halt as the Ottomans had arrayed against them 150,000 Ottoman soldiers with the largest concentration being in the fortresses of Rousse, Shumen, Silistria, and Varna which managed to resist the initial assaults against their walls.

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Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein, Commander in Chief of the Russian Military

The Ottoman garrison at Shumen was especially large at 40,000 men which massively outnumbered the 20,000 poorly equipped soldiers of the Russian 3rd Corps sent to seize it. Still, Wittgenstein managed to maintain a semblance of a siege around the city thanks in large part to the strong defensiveness of the hills and forests to the east of the city. Their position remained tenuous, however, as Turkish partisans constantly raided their dangerously exposed lines of supply and communication running to the north. The raiders also made scavenging an impossibility resulting in short falls in food supplies. As such, the Russian cavalry was systematically slaughtered by the hundreds to provide food for the rank and file. By the end of August, the only horse in the Russian camp outside Shumen was Wittgenstein’s personal steed. Ammunition also became a scarcity in the Russian camp and disease was running rampant through their ranks killing scores of men every day. On several occasions, the siege came very near to breaking from the combined pressure of the Ottoman garrison, the Turkish raiders in the countryside, and the ravages of disease on the Russian camp, forcing Wittgenstein to strip men and resources from the sieges of Silistria and Rousse to bolster the faltering siege of Shumen.

The Russian position at Varna went somewhat better under the command of Adjutant General Alexander Menshikov. Varna was one of the strongest fortresses in the entire Ottoman Empire with massive stone walls and mighty bastions, 178 guns, a garrison of 15,000 men, and a strong position along the shore of the Black Sea. However, the positioning of the castle proved to be a detriment to the Ottomans as the Russian Navy held complete dominance over the Black Sea. The Battle of Cesme had proven to be especially catastrophic for the Ottomans as nearly two thirds of the Ottoman fleet had been present at Cesme at the time of the battle. Five months later, the damage continued to be felt across the Ottoman Empire as ships were regularly transferred from other theaters to the Black Sea. At the outbreak of war with Russia in May, only 10 warships remained in the Black Sea and another 10 had been stationed in the Sea of Marmara. As such, the Russian Black Sea Fleet reigned supreme in the Black Sea enabling it to routinely bombard the Fortress of Varna from the sea with little opposition from the Turks.

It would take the arrival of fresh reinforcements in the form of the Imperial Guard Corps in late August before any significant progress could be made against Varna’s walls, with their most important contribution to the siege being the detachment of 64 siege guns and field guns they brought with them. Their arrival was followed soon after on the 10th of September by 20,000 Albanian and Ottoman soldiers marching to Varna from the West under the Albanian commander Omer Vrioni. Following his defeat to the Greeks at Missolonghi over five and a half years earlier, Vrioni had steadily lost favor with the Ottoman government and was ultimately reassigned to Üsküp where he was relegated to hunting brigands. Arriving outside Varna, Vrioni chose to loiter on the outskirts of the city and only engaged in some half-hearted attacks and skirmishes against the Russians. What attacks he did make were generally done at the expense of the Turkish troops in his company, who were wasted on several failed assaults across open fields in plain view of the Russian trenches. After three days in the area, Vrioni and his remaining men withdrew to the West as quickly and suddenly as they had arrived. Abandoned by Vrioni, Varna would finally succumb to the Russians a few days later on the 18th of September when Russian mines destroyed five bastions creating an opening in the castle’s northern wall.

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The Siege of Varna

Even after the fall of Varna to the combined might of the Russian Black Sea fleet and the Western Russian Army, the situation in the Balkans remained unfavorable to Wittgenstein. Silistria and Shumen continued to resist the Russians well into the Winter, and the Ottomans still outnumbered the Russians by ever growing numbers. Logistics also proved to be a delicate issue, while positions along the coast could be supported, those inland could not. When an Ottoman Army under the Serasker Khosref Pasha began approaching Shumen from the South in early November, Wittgenstein was forced to withdraw back to the North, abandoning the siege of Shumen in the process. This was repeated at Silistria with similar results and by the end of the year, the only position South of the Danube in Russian hands was Varna, which had only just managed to rebuff the Ottoman attempt to retake the city in late November.

To the East, the situation for the Russian Empire was much improved as Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich had made significant progress in the Caucasus Mountains. His offensive was initially designed as a distraction, a ploy meant to hold down as many Ottoman soldiers as possible allowing the main thrust through the Balkans to quickly strike at Constantinople and as such his force was limited to the Separate Caucasian Corps, numbering 25,000 strong.[2] Among his other objectives, Paskevich was to seize the Ottoman castles along the Black Sea which had long provided the Circassians with arms and munitions, furthering their resistance against the Tsar. It was an audacious strategy, and one which was quickly undone in the West by the stout resistance of Shumen and Silistria against the Russians, foiling the Tsar’s grand battle plan. Despite his more limited resources comparted to Wittgenstein’s, Paskevich managed to achieve much more than his cautious counterpart.

Launching his offensive in early June, Paskevich and his Caucasian Corps made quick work of the Ottoman defenses along the border West of Gyumri and began swiftly advancing into the mountains of Ottoman Armenia. His men were primarily of local stock, Georgians and Armenians who had lived in these hills and mountains for generations upon generations. They knew the terrain like the back of their hand allowing Paskevich excellent intel on the environment and enabling him to deftly surmount the Ottoman forces in the region. They were also battle tested and hardy folk who had fought against the Persians the year before to great success. Paskevich himself had served with valor in the war with Persia leading the Separate Caucasian Corps to a string of victories over the Persians, chief among them being the conquest of Yerevan.

Their first target in this war was the fortress city of Kars forty miles to the West of Gyumri. Kars was located on the road between Akhaltsikhe and Erzurum making it a pivotal point of operations for the Ottomans in the region. If Paskevich could take and hold Kars he would effectively cut off Ottoman Georgia from the rest of the Empire, barring the coastal road through Trebizond and Batumi. Arriving on the outskirts of Kars on the 24th of June, a company of Russian riflemen belonging to Paskevich’s vanguard opened fire on elements of the Ottoman garrison who were caught unawares. Despite receiving orders not to advance, several additional units rushed forward to assist the lone company and in the ensuing skirmish an opening was created in the Ottoman defenses.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, Paskevich rushed forward the remainder of his forces and quickly pushed over the walls and into the city of Kars. By nightfall on the 24th, only the citadel remained with most of the garrison either in flight, dead, or captured. Two days later, the remaining soldiers within Kars’ citadel surrendered to Paskevich’s men when they stormed the castle’s walls. Despite being one of the strongest fortresses in the region, Kars had fallen in only three days. 1350 Ottoman soldiers were taken prisoner in the battle and over 2,000 had been killed compared to the 400 Russian soldiers lost in the engagement, in addition to this the Russians captured the vast majority of the Ottoman munitions at Kars along with 151 of their guns. More surprisingly was fact that Kars had surrendered when an Ottoman relief force was only a day’s march to the West. Kios Mehmed Pasha of Erzurum had mustered an army of 20,000 to relieve Kars, but when he learned of its surrender on the 26th, he immediately turned North instead towards Ardahan.


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The Siege of Kars

Paskevich’s great feat was continued at Akhalkalaki in July, Akhaltsikhe in August, and Ardahan, Atskhur, Guria, and Poti in September. To the North, the cities of Anapa and Sujuk Kale had also been captured in a daring amphibious assault back in early June by Adjutant General Alexander Menshikov and a detachment of Marines. By the end of the campaigning season the entire northern shore of the Black Sea from the mouth of the Danube River in the West to the outskirts of Batumi in the East belonged to the Russian Tsar. Despite holding a 3 to 1 advantage in manpower, the Ottoman commander in the region Kios Mehmed Pasha was continually outwitted by Paskevich.

At Akhaltsikhe, Kios Mehmed outnumbered the Russians 40,000 to 15,000, yet when Paskevich turned to face him, the levies of the Ottoman Army turned and fled after the opening volley. Kios was himself wounded in the attack and with 5,000 of his original 30,000 he fled into the citadel of Akhaltsikhe were he sought refuge. Beginning the siege of the city, Paskevich set fire to the town killing hundreds of its inhabitants.[3] The ploy was as callous as it was calculated as the civilians of Akhaltsikhe in their despair fled to the citadel seeking refuge and in his humility, Kios Mehmed opened the gates. The Russians in turn fell upon this opening and managed to seize control of the citadel’s walls and by the following morning, Kios Mehmed Pasha and the remaining Ottoman forces in the city surrendered on the 17th of August.

As was the case in the Balkans, Paskevich’s offensive would eventually grind to a halt several miles to the east of Erzurum as he came across increasing numbers of Turkish soldiers. At the end of October, Kios Mehmed was replaced with the more capable Salih Pasha and Hagki Pasha and the number of Ottoman soldiers in the region was also increased to 100,000 men by the start of Spring the next year. These new forces included soldiers of the newly organized Nizam-i-Djedid, the regular army of the Ottoman Empire. Their officers had been meticulously trained by Austrian and French volunteers, they had been taught modern military tactics and strategy, they wore European style uniforms, and they had been equipped with the latest weapons and armaments available. While they constituted a small fraction of the total manpower in the field for the Empire, some 50,000 soldiers out of the total 370,000 men under arms across the entire Empire in 1828, they provided the Porte with a solid core of professional soldiers well beyond the proficiency of their average soldier.

Paskevich’s numbers however, were steadily declining due to attrition and the focus on the Balkan front forcing the Caucasian Corps to take a more cautious approach over the coming months. Another issue was the recent assassination of the Russian ambassador to the Persian Empire. On the 30th of January 1829, a mob of angry Persians gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Tehran demanding blood, specifically Russian Ambassador Alexander Griboyedov’s blood. Three Armenians, one man and two women, had escaped from the Shah’s household seeking the safety of the Russian embassy.[4] When Griboyedov refused to turn the Armenians over to the crowd, they stormed the building killing all inside including Griboyedov. Fear of war with Persia ran rampant in St. Petersburg and while it was ultimately averted, many of the reinforcements dispatched to the Caucasus Front to reinforce Paskevich were instead redirected to the Persian border in the off chance the war with Persia restarted.

The first seven months of the war could best be described as little more than a wash. While the Tsar’s armies had made good gains in the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia, their results in the Balkans had been underwhelming thus far considering the higher priority that front had received in terms of men and supplies. Wallachia and Moldavia had been swiftly occupied in the opening month of the war, but their efforts South of the Danube left something to be desired as all their gains in Bulgaria, barring Varna, were quickly recouped by the Ottomans over the Winter. The failures of the Balkan Campaign were laid primarily at the feet of Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein. Despite his success in the Danubian Principalities, he had been too cautious and inept in Bulgaria for the Tsar’s liking and his retreat from Shumen without so much as a fight was simply too egregious an act for him to remain in command. As such he removed Wittgenstein as Commander in Chief and in his stead, Tsar Nicholas appointed the Prussian Hans Karl von Diebitsch as Commander in Chief.

Next Time: The Last Push


[1] Technically there was a brief interruption of the Ottoman Occupation of the Danubian Principalities from the Fall of 1826 to the Winter of 1828 when the Akkerman Convention was in effect.

[2] The Separate Caucasian Corps was in fact a much larger unit comparable to a full army rather than a single corps with its total strength being somewhere in the ballpark of 60,000 men. However, most of these soldiers were tasked with guarding the Persian border and occupying the new land from the Treaty of Turkmenchay as the war with Persia had only just ended prior to the war with the Ottomans.

[3] The cause of the fire is generally unknown. Akhaltsikhe was a densely populated city built mostly from wood and other flammable materials and its very likely the fire was an incidental consequence of heavy fighting in the city’s streets.

[4] The man was believed to be a Eunuch in the service of the Shah while the two women were harem slaves belonging to the Shah’s son. Griboyedov was completely within his right to offer the three sanctuaries in the Russian Embassy as the newly signed Treaty of Turkmenchay enabled the Russian Government the right to protect Christians in the Persian Empire. Suffice to say, the people of Tehran felt otherwise.
 
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So I decided to split this part in half as it was getting a little too long for my tastes. Fear not though, I'll have the second half up later today.
 
Part 28: The Last Push
Part 28: The Last Push


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Field Marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch, Commander in Chief of the Russian Army

Field Marshal Han Karl von Diebitsch would prove to be a much more enthusiastic and aggressive campaigner than his predecessor Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein as was evident in swift reorganization of the Russian Army’s supply situation. New supply depots and roads were constructed from Odessa to Braila where he made his headquarters, and he instructed the Russian Navy to seize the important port town of Sozopol near Burgas to provide a good harbor to dispense supplies to the Russian Army in the area. Though the Russians would succeed in capturing Sozopol in February, their victory was quickly nullified when the Ottomans immediately moved to blockade the port by land, denying Diebitsch from using the city as a logistical hub. The Russian Black Seas Fleet was also reassigned to primarily support operations in the Balkans as opposed to those in the Caucasus due to the successful completion of their objectives there. When the winter finally gave way to Spring, he advanced across the Danube and laid siege to the city of Silistria once again on the 5th of May.

Coinciding with Diebitsch’s attack on Silistria, the newly appointed Grand Vizier Khosref Pasha had begun marching against Varna with 40,000 men seeking to reclaim it for the Porte. Diebitsch upon learning of this, immediately moved from Silistria with much of his force, some 26,000 soldiers and nearly 7,000 Wallachian and Moldavian volunteers, leaving behind a small detachment to continue the siege in his stead. True to his reputation, Diebitsch and his men raced South at lightning speeds to catch Khosref and the Ottomans in the hills near the village of Provadiya on the 12th of June. Arriving on the scene, Russian soldiers immediately moved to seize the hilltops overlooking the road but they were soon opposed by Khosref Pasha and his army who advanced up the hill and drove the Russians from its peak. As the Ottomans attempted to run down their fleeing foe, they were met by the remainder of Diebitsch’s force on the plains north of Provadiya who promptly released an enfilade of cannon fire on the charging Turkish soldiers before the Russian infantry made a bayonet charge of their own. It was a gruesome struggle with casualties mounting on both sides to an alarming degree but by nightfall neither side was willing to cede the field.

Overnight, Diebitsch received reinforcements from the Guard Corps and local Bulgarian volunteers refilling his ranks with fresh bodies. Come morning, Diebitsch ordered a general attack on the Ottoman position and despite fighting uphill, they gradually pushed the Turks back. The main advantage the Russians held at Provadiya lay not in the number of their infantry or cavalry, but rather in their number of cannons and field guns. The 450 artillery pieces that Diebitsch had with him pounded away at the tight ranks of the Ottomans to devastating effect as entire companies of Ottoman soldiers were wiped from existence in a matter of seconds. The thunderous barrage of cannons eviscerated the morale of the Ottomans soldiers causing men to break and flee. Recognizing the battle was lost, Khosref Pasha, his guard, and whatever men he could rally fled back to Shumen where he would remain in wait of reinforcements.

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The Battle of Provadiya

Despite being the victor, Diebitsch had suffered significant casualties at Provadiya amounting to 1,681 killed and 5,822 injured to the Ottoman’s 5,139 killed, and 6,089 wounded, with another 1,930 Turkish soldiers captured in the battle along with the entirety of the Ottoman siege and baggage train. Thousands more had simply abandoned the Ottoman camp all together, forcing Khosref to scour the countryside for levies to defend Shumen where he believed the next attack would come. Rather than chase after the Ottomans to Shumen, Diebitsch chose instead to loiter in its outskirts providing the semblance of a siege, while he awaited the arrival of his men from Silistria. The victory at Provadiya was followed two weeks later with the fall of Silistria which finally fell to the Russians, once it became clear Khosref Pasha had been defeated the Ottoman garrison within the city surrendered freeing the 3rd Corps to join the main Russian army outside Provadiya. Now united, Diebitsch immediately tasked the 3rd with occupying the attention of Khosref and his men at Shumen for as long as possible, while the 6th and the 7th Corps would secretly advance towards their main objective, Constantinople.

Striking East towards the sea, the Russian Army circumvented the Ottoman defenses of the Balkan Mountains by traveling first to Devnya then Galata before proceeding down the coast of the Black Sea towards Burgas. Under the protection of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Diebitsch came to find little resistance in his path as Ottoman morale in the region had completely collapsed in the aftermath of Provadiya enabling the Russian Army to go faster and further afield. Crossing the mountains on the 10th of July near Byala, Diebitsch raced south towards Burgas seizing the city on the 12th of July, Aytos on the 13th, and Karnobat on the 14th. Two weeks late on the 28th, a cavalry detachment from the 6th Corps managed to dispatch a force of Turks near Sliven effectively cutting Khosref Pasha off from the South.

By this time Khosref Pasha finally learned of the Russians’ intentions and marched forth to stop them. No sooner than he did, however, was he attacked by the 3rd Corps which had been left behind to shield Diebitsch’s advance. For nearly a month, Khosref was under the false impression the entire Russian army was besieging the walls of Shumen, when in truth only a quarter of Diebitsch’s force was north of the Balkan Mountains. Though Khosref quickly managed to overwhelm the Russian rearguard, effectively destroying it as a viable unit, they had succeeded in their objective, albeit at great cost. By the time Khosref Pasha and the Ottoman Army could travel south from Shumen it was too late, Adrianople had surrendered without a fight.

Fearing the war lost and lacking contact with Grand Vizier Khosref Pasha, the commandant of Adrianople surrendered to Diebitsch on the 8th of August, ceding the last major fortification before Constantinople to the Russians. Diebitsch, however, had bet everything on his gamble to take Adrianople. His force had been steadily eaten away by disease and battle depleting his force to barely 25,000 men. Even with the aid of the local Bulgarian populace his army had suffered greatly. Though Diebitsch boasted to his men they would march on Constantinople and capture the Sultan himself, in truth, he no longer had the men needed to take Constantinople. Either out of a false sense of bravado or in another desperate gamble, Diebitsch and the remains of the Russian army struck out once more on an offensive towards Constantinople.

Worse still for the Grand Vizier was the deteriorating situation in Anatoli. Over the Spring and Summer, Russian Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich had been relatively successful as well in Eastern Anatolia. Despite being outnumber nearly 5 to 1 by the start of the 1829 campaigning season, Paskevich and his Caucasian Corps, bolstered by volunteers from the local Georgian and Armenian communities, advanced on the city of Erzurum. Opposing him was Hagki Pasha and an army of 20000 Nizam Infantry. Hagki Pasha had placed himself right within the Saganlug Pass that led directly to Erzurum, the shortest and most direct route from Kars. It was also incredibly narrow and defensible as discovered the previous Fall when Paskevich drove Eastwards, only to be repelled by a much smaller Ottoman army composed of less skilled soldiers.

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Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich, Commander of the Separate Caucasian Corps

As such, Paskevich opted instead to split his forces, sending one half towards the Saganlug Pass and the other along a longer path to the North. If his plan worked as intended, then the Caucasian Corps would be able to catch Hagki Pasha and his men from both directions and destroy it. Though it took longer than expected to traverse the northern route, Paskevich’s stratagem payed off and Hagki Pasha was surrounded in the Saganlug Pass on the 19th of June. In the ensuing battle, much of the Ottoman army managed to break free of the trap, but Hagki Pasha and several thousand men were not as fortunate. After several more hours of resistance the Ottomans finally surrendered clearing the road to Erzurum which would itself surrender one week later on the 26th of June.

Despite this collapse of the Ottoman frontier to the Russian Army, the war still hinged on a knife’s blade. Four days following the fall of Erzurum, a detachment of the Caucasian Corps sent to secure the road to Trebizond was ambushed and promptly destroyed by a band of local Lazes and Adjars near the neighboring village of Hart. When Paskevich moved to pillage Hart for this transgression the following day he himself was ambushed and though he managed to fight off his attackers, his force had suffered terrible losses forcing him to immediately fall back to Erzurum after burning Hart to the ground. In the Balkans, the Russian Army of Field Marshal Diebitsch was soon cut off from their support in the North and the Black Sea by Khosref Pasha with foes closing in all around them. A skirmish near Kırk Kilise also revealed the porous situation of the Russians in the region when the Russians were forced to cede the field despite inflicting higher casualties on the Ottomans. Khosref Pasha, sensing the Russians were weakening, was of the mind to chase down Diebitsch and destroy him once and for all, but as he readied his force to chase the Russians, a messenger arrived from Constantinople. Sultan Mahmud had made peace with the Russians.

Sultan Mahmud II had thus far been known to the Russians for his aggressiveness, his belligerency, and his stubbornness, yet surprisingly in August 1829 he came to them seeking peace. After eight years of constant war, Sultan Mahmud II had grown incredibly weary as the constant string of setbacks from Greece and Bulgaria to Anatolia and Armenia had gradually worn away at his resistance to anything less than absolute victory. The fall of Adrianople and Erzurum had been proven to be the last straw in a long line of defeats, and within a week of Adrianople’s surrender the Sultan permitted his representatives to begin peace talks.

For all their victories, the Russians were similarly exhausted. The war had hardly been the great success they had envisioned in the Spring of 1828, casualties were mounting, with most coming from disease rather than Ottoman arms, but the result was the same. The Russians were hemorrhaging men at a terrifying pace both in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. By August of 1829, Paskevich’s force had fallen below 12,000 of the original 25,000, while Diebitsch had dipped below 50,000 across the entire Balkan theater. The war had also become surprisingly unpopular in Russia, most likely due to the high casualties, high taxes, and rigid enforcement of conscription caused by the war. Protests and riots were quickly becoming common occurrences in St. Petersburg and other cities across the Empire. It was clear to both sides that peace was needed now more than ever.

Delegates of the Russian and Ottoman Empires met at the city of Adrianople to discuss Peace Terms. Rather quickly though it became apparent that the Sultan, while clearly demoralized, still possessed some dignity and would not cave to all the demands the Russians originally presented, especially when news of the battle near Kırk Kilise reached the conference at Adrianople. As such, the Russians wisely curtailed their demands somewhat to preserve the “honor” of the Ottoman Sultan.

· Russia shall return to the Ottoman Empire all territory within Europe, hitherto occupied by the Russian Army, with the exception of the mouth of the Danube and its outlying islands which shall be ceded to the Russian Empire.

· The cities and fortresses of Anapa and Sujuk Kale, along with their surrounding hinterlands shall be ceded to the Russian Empire.

· The Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, Imeretia, Mingrelia, Guria, and Kars shall be ceded to the Russian Empire.

· All territory hitherto unmentioned and remaining under occupation of the Russian Army shall be returned to the Ottoman Empire.

· The Ottoman Empire shall accept the terms of the Treaty of Turkmenchay between the Russian Empire and the Sublime State of Persia.

· The Ottoman Empire shall permit Russian and foreign merchants the rights to traverse the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits freely and safely.

· The terms of the Akkerman Convention shall be reaffirmed by all parties, establishing Wallachia, Moldavia, and Serbia as autonomous Principalities subject to the Ottoman Empire.[1]

· The Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia shall remain under Russian dominance until the payment of war indemnities amounting to 1.2 Million Dutch Guilders is paid by the Sublime Porte to the Empire of Russia.

· The fortresses of Braila, Giuriu, and Turnu shall be ceded to the Principality of Wallachia.

· The Ottoman Empire shall abide by the terms laid forth in the Treaty of London, establishing Greece as an autonomous state subject to the Ottoman Empire.

With that the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire came to an end on the 1st of September 1829.

Next Time: The Long Road to Independence


[1] In truth, the Russians are de facto in control of the Danubian Principalities while the Ottomans hold de jure suzerainty over them.
 
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Wow, that was a hell of a war. Did Paskevich pull off all of that crazy stuff OTL?

Looking at Wikipedia it seems like the differences to the OTL Treaty of Adrianople are that the Straits Question has been settled earlier and maybe a more favorable deal for Russia in Romania—not sure though.
 
Wow, that was a hell of a war. Did Paskevich pull off all of that crazy stuff OTL?

Looking at Wikipedia it seems like the differences to the OTL Treaty of Adrianople are that the Straits Question has been settled earlier and maybe a more favorable deal for Russia in Romania—not sure though.
The events on the Caucasus Front are more or less from OTL, primarily because they were such an extraordinary turn of events, but also because the butterflies in Greece probably wouldn't have effected a discernible effect on Russia, or Eastern Anatolia for that matter to any significant degree. Paskevich was routinely outnumbered during the Caucasian Campaign and yet he still managed to achieve victory after victory in rapid succession due in large part to the knowledge of the environment and the experiecne of his troops. His soldiers were drawn primarily from the Christian peoples of the Caucasus Mountains, namely the Georgians and Armenians, they were incredibly hardy soldiers who were battle tested and extremely proficient for fighting in the hills.

Regarding the TTL's Treaty of Adrianople, the free navigation of the Straits only applies to Russian commercial vessels not military ships. The major changes from the OTL Treaty are the retention of Kars and the lessening of the war reparations from 1.5 Million Guilders to 1.2 Million. The Danubian Principalities as far as I know were also occupied by Russia in OTL following the war until the Ottomans paid the indemnity to the Russians.
 
The major changes from the OTL Treaty are the retention of Kars

Well, that will suppose the considerable enlargement of OTL Ottoman territory with Armenian population under Russian rule.

AFAIK Kars had significant strategic importance in Caucasus Wars betweeen Russians and Ottomans....will ITTL seizure of the fortress allow the Russians to advance further (Erzurum) in the subsequent Russo-Turkish wars?
 
Well, that will suppose the considerable enlargement of OTL Ottoman territory with Armenian population under Russian rule.

AFAIK Kars had significant strategic importance in Caucasus Wars betweeen Russians and Ottomans....will ITTL seizure of the fortress allow the Russians to advance further (Erzurum) in the subsequent Russo-Turkish wars?
Kars was a world renowned castle town which was a very important part of the border defenses for the Ottoman Empire in the East. It provided the Ottoman Empire with a strong forward defensive position, while also serving as the primary fortification on the road to Erzurum. Obviously Russia taking Kars in 1829 is a pretty big deal as it deprives the Ottomans of this fortress and it makes Erzurum much more vulnerable, but it also allows the Russians to have a more westerly jumping off point for their future offensives into Anatolia.

Kars was a common target for the Russians in the two subsequent wars between them, and on both occasions the Russians succeeded in capturing Kars. In a situation where the Ottomans are not as capable as they were in OTL, it would seem reasonable to me that the Russians take Kars now rather than in a future war since the Ottomans are in such a poor condition. That said, there will be some consequences for this land grab.

In regards to more of the Armenian population being brought into the Russian Empire, this is both a good and bad thing for both everyone involved due to the rising tide of nationalism around the world. The Russians weren't exactly the best caretakers of their minorities in this time period either as Russification became a major part of Tsar Nicholas I's, and his son Alexander II's internal policies leading to a period of unrest across the Russian Empire that, if anything, will probably be worse ITTL as a result.
 
Kars was a common target for the Russians in the two subsequent wars between them, and on both occasions the Russians succeeded in capturing Kars. In a situation where the Ottomans are not as capable as they were in OTL, it would seem reasonable to me that the Russians take Kars now rather than in a future war since the Ottomans are in such a poor condition. That said, there will be some consequences for this land grab.

In regards to more of the Armenian population being brought into the Russian Empire, this is both a good and bad thing for both everyone involved due to the rising tide of nationalism around the world. The Russians weren't exactly the best caretakers of their minorities in this time period either as Russification became a major part of Tsar Nicholas I's, and his son Alexander II's internal policies leading to a period of unrest across the Russian Empire that, if anything, will probably be worse ITTL as a result.

First of all, Russian Kars seems like an existential threat to the Ottoman frontier. I am not sure that the Ottomans won’t take it back as soon as they can. Moreover, this is still a point where the Ottomans can turn things around militarily and politically; the Tanzimat could be much more successful ITTL if the Ottomans are more desperate.

If the Russians do keep the region the Armenians themselves may not be totally out for the count. Given their geographical isolation, they could start a nasty Caucasian rebellion if Russification gets too bad. That didn’t go well for the Circassians OTL, but Armenia might be able to call for foreign aid—a long shot but the Egyptians might be able to help them?
 
First of all, Russian Kars seems like an existential threat to the Ottoman frontier. I am not sure that the Ottomans won’t take it back as soon as they can. Moreover, this is still a point where the Ottomans can turn things around militarily and politically; the Tanzimat could be much more successful ITTL if the Ottomans are more desperate.

If the Russians do keep the region the Armenians themselves may not be totally out for the count. Given their geographical isolation, they could start a nasty Caucasian rebellion if Russification gets too bad. That didn’t go well for the Circassians OTL, but Armenia might be able to call for foreign aid—a long shot but the Egyptians might be able to help them?
Taking Kars is certainly an issue for the Ottomans and one they will certainly wish to rectify as soon as possible. I will admit that I am being rather harsh on the Ottomans right now, but this is generally consistent with the events of OTL in this time period, it really was a rough period for the Ottomans from 1820 to 1840 with almost every region of the Empire engaged in some form of conflict or unrest, and unfortunately it will probably get worse ITTL before it gets any better for them as Egypt has yet to have their say in Syria, not to mention the Bosnians and Albanians. But as you said it will force them to go further in regards to their reforms which will help them in the long run, provided they can survive the next few hurdles relatively intact. And as was the case in OTL the Great Powers, barring Russia, will seek to prop the Ottoman Empire up as an alternative to Russia, as no one, not even Greece, wants to see Russia on the Mediterranean.

The Armenians generally did well under the Russians for many years as merchants and proto-capitalists and for the most part they were model citizens of the Russian Empire. It was only during the last days of the Empire where relations between the Russians and Armenians became worse, primarily under Alexander III and Nicholas II, with several riots and terrorist attacks taking place in Eastern Armenia from 1887 to 1905. Even then their behavior was relatively mild compared to the other minorities in the Russian Empire during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
 
Taking Kars is certainly an issue for the Ottomans and one they will certainly wish to rectify as soon as possible. I will admit that I am being rather harsh on the Ottomans right now, but this is generally consistent with the events of OTL in this time period, it really was a rough period for the Ottomans from 1820 to 1840 with almost every region of the Empire engaged in some form of conflict or unrest, and unfortunately it will probably get worse ITTL before it gets any better for them as Egypt has yet to have their say in Syria, not to mention the Bosnians and Albanians. But as you said it will force them to go further in regards to their reforms which will help them in the long run, provided they can survive the next few hurdles relatively intact. And as was the case in OTL the Great Powers, barring Russia, will seek to prop the Ottoman Empire up as an alternative to Russia, as no one, not even Greece, wants to see Russia on the Mediterranean.

The Armenians generally did well under the Russians for many years as merchants and proto-capitalists and for the most part they were model citizens of the Russian Empire. It was only during the last days of the Empire where relations between the Russians and Armenians became worse, primarily under Alexander III and Nicholas II, with several riots and terrorist attacks taking place in Eastern Armenia from 1887 to 1905. Even then their behavior was relatively mild compared to the other minorities in the Russian Empire during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I think you can argue with a straight face that Machmud gave the Ottoman empire one more century of life and his reforms more or less formed the basis of what became modern Turkey. That said I'm not certain how much further you can go with them given the hand he was dealt with. He's certainly going to at least be matching the OTL performance, losing a few more islands to Greece and Karl to the Russians is not affecting his core tax Base all that much, losing Reshid is probably a worse blow in the short term and losing Crete a blessing in disguise the 1866 revolt cost millions of pounds and thousands of soldiers by itself. On the other hand the economic strain of both his reform and his wars is massive, it's no accident that the silver content of the currency, already dropping took a nose dive during his reign. And you still have Muhammed Aly and Ibrahim waiting around the corner... And their fleet was not at Cesme I note.
 
I think you can argue with a straight face that Machmud gave the Ottoman empire one more century of life and his reforms more or less formed the basis of what became modern Turkey. That said I'm not certain how much further you can go with them given the hand he was dealt with. He's certainly going to at least be matching the OTL performance, losing a few more islands to Greece and Karl to the Russians is not affecting his core tax Base all that much, losing Reshid is probably a worse blow in the short term and losing Crete a blessing in disguise the 1866 revolt cost millions of pounds and thousands of soldiers by itself. On the other hand the economic strain of both his reform and his wars is massive, it's no accident that the silver content of the currency, already dropping took a nose dive during his reign. And you still have Muhammed Aly and Ibrahim waiting around the corner... And their fleet was not at Cesme I note.
Mahmud II was certainly was one the better Sultans for the Ottoman Empire and his reforms were extremely beneficial to the Empire. Unfortunately, he was dealt a really bad hand for much of his reign with a series of conflicts from the Serbian Revolution, the Wahhabi Wars, the Greek Revolution, the war with Russia, and the two Wars with Egypt, not to mention the growing influence of the Powers over his country. The point you made about their currency was especially problematic for the Ottomans with the Piastre losing more than half its value in the span of five years from 1820 to 1825 and mounting debt would plague the Empire for the rest of its existence.

In terms of the immediate future for the Ottoman Empire, Muhammad Ali is eyeing up Syria and unlike OTL, he is in a better position as his fleet was not destroyed at Cesme. The Bosnians and Albanians are also on the verge of rebellion as well, mostly stemming from their dissatisfaction with Mahmud's reforms and the terms in the Treaty of Adrianople. Reshid Pasha will surely be missed by the Ottomans in both those engagements and while his replacement Khosref Pasha is loyal and moderately capable, he isn't as talented or skilled as Reshid was. The next 10 to 15 years will be extremely trying times for the Ottomans, and in all likelihood they will struggle immensely but if they survive that they may limp along for some time yet.
 
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