WI : The allied Take Sevastopol in 1854 / Crimean War Pod

Following the battle of Alma the Allied had a chance to take Sevastopol in 1854 as the Russian themselves noted what if they did so ? What would be the effect on the rest of the War ? Could we see the allied trie to follow up their succes by their help the ottoman in the Caucasus to create a buffer state Georgia between them and Russia ?
 
Following the battle of Alma the Allied had a chance to take Sevastopol in 1854 as the Russian themselves noted what if they did so ? What would be the effect on the rest of the War ? Could we see the allied trie to follow up their succes by their help the ottoman in the Caucasus to create a buffer state Georgia between them and Russia ?
Georgia may not be the only buffer state created depending on how the war subsequently progresses.
 
Georgia may not be the only buffer state created depending on how the war subsequently progresses.
You would suggest what ? Circassian Caucasus Imamate ? I’m not sure that they could actually stop Russia from annexing them forever and European public opinion wouldn’t care much for them afterwards
 
You would suggest what ? Circassian Caucasus Imamate ? I’m not sure that they could actually stop Russia from annexing them forever and European public opinion wouldn’t care much for them afterwards
I was thinking more Ukraine, Poland, or and/or Baltic states.
 
I was thinking more Ukraine, Poland, or and/or Baltic states.

Ukraine as a buffer state? No Great power has the strength to overrun most of Russia even together and enforce such deal. I highly doubt that is even desirable as most nations would want the Russians to continue to export the wheat production to the West. My idea for the best option possible, in case of Prussian and Austrian intervention is...
- Bessarabia return to Moldova
- Georgia, Congress Poland and Finland become more autonomous with new appointed leaders. I think there are Georgian Nobles left in the Russian court willing to head this buffer state. With more autonomy I mean demilitarization as well. The Czar remains the nominal ruler over the areas (like with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria in 1878-1908)
- Crimea becomes demilitarized for any purposes as well. I would love to see a Crimean Tatar Buffer State formed in the Peninsula but I don't expect it. Although some kind of arrangements can be made if the Peninsula falls. Odds are Russia still keeps it but with more autonomy in the Peninsula and with more Crimean Tatars in the administrative function
- Todays Armenia + Nahcivan (Or just Yerevan and Gyumri) become part of the Ottoman Empire

Without Austria and Prussia we could possibly get something like this...
- Bessarabia still returned to the Moldavians
- Crimea demilitarized regardless.
- Georgia and Armenia demilitarized
- Ottomans gain slightly more in the Caucasus like Javakheti, parts of Russian Armenia and Poti, maybe even Abkhazia (Poti and Abkhazia would turn Georgia as a region dependent on the Ottomans, it can work in both ways as they become pro-Russian and want the areas back or pro-Ottoman to keep Georgia exporting and importing from the ports...)

In scenario 1, with Austrian and Prussian Participation, you can still have a strong Russia. The economically most important parts + the manpower source is unharmed. Russia will be very hostile against the West but not enough to cut all ties. They will use the advantage of future wars to remilitarize again and try to undo most of their concessions.

In scenario 2, without Austrian and Prussian Participation, you have pretty much the same Russia as OTL after the Crimean War. Nothing too hateful of the West but not unwilling to fight again. The situation is far more complex. Assuming Romania united, it will have Bessarabia and access to the Coast. It has no real reason to support Russia against a war with the Ottoman Empire. Russia would have far less military available in the Caucasus. But to be fair, the war of 1877 would be butterflied away regardless, or changed as much that it won't be resembled as we know it.

This all assuming the Peninsula falls after Sevastopol.
 
You would suggest what ? Circassian Caucasus Imamate ? I’m not sure that they could actually stop Russia from annexing them forever and European public opinion wouldn’t care much for them afterwards

Circassia and the Caucasus Imamate were independent already but at war with Russians. The best they get is Russia recognizing them. War can, of course, start as soon as Russia tries to set up forts in contested areas.
 
Ukraine as a buffer state? No Great power has the strength to overrun most of Russia even together and enforce such deal. I highly doubt that is even desirable as most nations would want the Russians to continue to export the wheat production to the West. My idea for the best option possible, in case of Prussian and Austrian intervention is...
- Bessarabia return to Moldova
- Georgia, Congress Poland and Finland become more autonomous with new appointed leaders. I think there are Georgian Nobles left in the Russian court willing to head this buffer state. With more autonomy I mean demilitarization as well. The Czar remains the nominal ruler over the areas (like with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria in 1878-1908)
- Crimea becomes demilitarized for any purposes as well. I would love to see a Crimean Tatar Buffer State formed in the Peninsula but I don't expect it. Although some kind of arrangements can be made if the Peninsula falls. Odds are Russia still keeps it but with more autonomy in the Peninsula and with more Crimean Tatars in the administrative function
- Todays Armenia + Nahcivan (Or just Yerevan and Gyumri) become part of the Ottoman Empire

Without Austria and Prussia we could possibly get something like this...
- Bessarabia still returned to the Moldavians
- Crimea demilitarized regardless.
- Georgia and Armenia demilitarized
- Ottomans gain slightly more in the Caucasus like Javakheti, parts of Russian Armenia and Poti, maybe even Abkhazia (Poti and Abkhazia would turn Georgia as a region dependent on the Ottomans, it can work in both ways as they become pro-Russian and want the areas back or pro-Ottoman to keep Georgia exporting and importing from the ports...)

In scenario 1, with Austrian and Prussian Participation, you can still have a strong Russia. The economically most important parts + the manpower source is unharmed. Russia will be very hostile against the West but not enough to cut all ties. They will use the advantage of future wars to remilitarize again and try to undo most of their concessions.

In scenario 2, without Austrian and Prussian Participation, you have pretty much the same Russia as OTL after the Crimean War. Nothing too hateful of the West but not unwilling to fight again. The situation is far more complex. Assuming Romania united, it will have Bessarabia and access to the Coast. It has no real reason to support Russia against a war with the Ottoman Empire. Russia would have far less military available in the Caucasus. But to be fair, the war of 1877 would be butterflied away regardless, or changed as much that it won't be resembled as we know it.

This all assuming the Peninsula falls after Sevastopol.
Where there any reason for the Prussian to attack Russia ?
 
Where there any reason for the Prussian to attack Russia ?

I am not sure about that. It is a theoretical scenario. But the actual reason of Russia to attack... Maybe if they are in conflict with Austria over the Danubian Principalities and Prussia feels too uncomfortable about the Russians being near Austrian Poland.
 
Where there any reason for the Prussian to attack Russia ?
None whatsoever. Which does not mean that it would not under any circumstances. 😜

As for the rest, the Palmerstonian ideas regarding partition of Russia were not realistic and the same goes for the ‘buffer states’ proposed in the earlier posts. One thing overlooked is that in the Crimea Russia held a minimal amount of troops even during the war and the bulk of its forces was on the border with the Danube Principalities, Austrian border, etc. all the way to Finland.

The French and Brits had quite limited capacities in the terms of bringing more troops even to the Crimea and their ability to operate anywhere far from the ports also was limited. Even the task of getting out of the Crimea would be not trivial. Basically, in OTL the Allies got the best realistic scenario they could get: fighting in a close proximity to the port with no need to march anywhere far from their base. Sevastopol did not have the land side fortifications so the Allies had been dealing with the makeshift defenses. So this was a predominantly static war in which the Allies had an advantage both numerically and in the terms of supplies and eventually “bombarded” themselves into the success.
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Could they take Sevastopol immediately after Alma? Probably they could. Then what, comparing to OTL? The Black Sea navy was not functional anyway (unlike OTL, it would be probably forced into a suicidal attack which could cause considerable allied losses) but the “capture” would apply only to the Southern Side (admittedly, most of Sevastopol). The bulk of the Russian forces would march to the Northern Side (which is across the Big Bay), which they eventually did in OTL after losing the main points of the defenses on the Southern Side. And the Allies would have to advance in a difficult terrain (the Black River battle reversed) and in the case of success start chasing the opponent to nowhere across the Crimea: growing length of the supply lines, problems with getting enough of the supply wagons (and the beasts), etc. Most of the Crimea interior is a rather unpleasant semi-desert with very little in the terms of the local resources and water and on the other end of it there is more of the same.

An idea of changing the map on Caucasus was pushed by Palmerston but there would be serious problems. The “Circassians” (top left corner on the map below) were a geographic possibility for the allied intervention because they were still resisting Russian conquest but they did not have anything close to the united state or even the single nation but rather had been a set of the distinct ethnic entities with not too much of organization above the level of a single settlement. Taking into an account the terrain, it was very difficult to subdue them just because there was no “center” important for the resistance (AII used genocidal methods and mass expulsions to achieve his goal). So, landing there was possible but practical outcome is anything but clear. Creation of the sustainable “Circassian” state was unrealistic and so was building up anything remotely similar to the regular army. Anyway, they kept resisting we’ll beyond the CW so this “stare” thingy is rather irrelevant.

Shamil’s Imamate was something like a state but it was on a wrong side of the Caucasus ( top right on the map).
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The additional problem with that theater was that, unlike the Crimea, it had a very capable Russian commander (see map below) and the Allied ability to act beyond the coastal area would be limited, anyway. Not to mention that a serious deployment there would mean less forces in the Crimea. In OTL the Ottomans lost enough of the territory for the Russians to use it as a bargaining chip at Paris and get away with close to zero territorial losses. An idea that somehow the Ottomans could reverse the pattern and get back the territories they lost decades earlier is not quite realistic (by the time of the CW the Ottoman army could defend fortifications but its ability to act offensively was quite limited).
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Now, why would Georgia (how would the allies get there to start with?) look forward to the independence at that time is anybody’s guess. Independence would mean a clear and present danger from the Ottomans, the nationalist movement was pretty much absent, there were no clear leaders and in general the locals were quite OK under the Russian Empire.

The same goes for Finland.

Creation of the Polish state? Neither Austria nor Prussia were at that time enthusiastic by the obvious reasons.

An idea of giving the Russian Baltic provinces to Prussia (IIRC, one more Palmerstonian pipe dream) did not generate any enthusiasm from a potential beneficiary: they did not worth the related trouble.

Sweden was worried about not being attacked by Russia and thus was extent of King Oscar’s interests.

Austria was looking for the Danube Principalities, which it occupied, anyway, after the Russians left them. But an expensive military demonstration was one thing and a full scale war against the bulk of the Russian army was a totally different issue.
 
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Could they take Sevastopol immediately after Alma? Probably they could... the “capture” would apply only to the Southern Side (admittedly, most of it). The bulk of the Russian forces would march to the Northern Side (which is across the Big Bay), which they eventually did in OTL after losing the main points of the defenses on the Southern Side.
The Allies were coming from the north, though, and marched round the city to invest the south side because they thought correctly that the defences were weaker. However, had they attacked the north even when they arrived historically, Todleben anticipated them being able to take the entire city.
 
None whatsoever. Which does not mean that it would not under any circumstances. 😜

As for the rest, the Palmerstonian ideas regarding partition of Russia were not realistic and the same goes for the ‘buffer states’ proposed in the earlier posts. One thing overlooked is that in the Crimea Russia held a minimal amount of troops even during the war and the bulk of its forces was on the border with the Danube Principalities, Austrian border, etc. all the way to Finland.

The French and Brits had quite limited capacities in the terms of bringing more troops even to the Crimea and their ability to operate anywhere far from the ports also was limited. Even the task of getting out of the Crimea would be not trivial. Basically, in OTL the Allies got the best realistic scenario they could get: fighting in a close proximity to the port with no need to march anywhere far from their base. Sevastopol did not have the land side fortifications so the Allies had been dealing with the makeshift defenses. So this was a predominantly static war in which the Allies had an advantage both numerically and in the terms of supplies and eventually “bombarded” themselves into the success.
View attachment 589659
Could they take Sevastopol immediately after Alma? Probably they could. Then what, comparing to OTL? The Black Sea navy was not functional anyway (unlike OTL, it would be probably forced into a suicidal attack which could cause considerable allied losses) but the “capture” would apply only to the Southern Side (admittedly, most of Sevastopol). The bulk of the Russian forces would march to the Northern Side (which is across the Big Bay), which they eventually did in OTL after losing the main points of the defenses on the Southern Side. And the Allies would have to advance in a difficult terrain (the Black River battle reversed) and in the case of success start chasing the opponent to nowhere across the Crimea: growing length of the supply lines, problems with getting enough of the supply wagons (and the beasts), etc. Most of the Crimea interior is a rather unpleasant semi-desert with very little in the terms of the local resources and water and on the other end of it there is more of the dame
I know little about the Crimean war so i’m gonna trust your opinion on that even if it seem they could possibly have taken the whole city .
An idea of changing the map on Caucasus was pushed by Palmerston but there would be serious problems. The “Circassians” (top left corner o. the map below) were a geographic possibility for the allied intervention because they were still resisting Russian conquest but they did not have anything close to the united state or even the same nation but rather a set of the distinct tribes with not too much of organization above the level of a single statement. Taking into an account the terrain, it was very difficult to subdue them just because there was no “center” important for the resistance (AII used genocidal methods and mass expulsions to achieve his goal). So, landing there was possible but practical outcome is anything but clear. Creation of the sustainable “Circassian” state was unrealistic and so was building up anything remotely similar to the regular army.

Shamil’s Imamate was something like a state but it was on a wrong side of the Caucasus ( top right on the map).
Honestly I didn’t think they could create and maintain a Circassian or Imamate buffer state but they could probably support for the duration of the war no for the Circassian at least .

View attachment 589660
The additional problem with that theater was that, unlike the Crimea, it had a very capable Russian commander (see map below) and the Allied ability to act beyond the coastal area would be limited, anyway. Not to mention that a serious deployment there would mean less forces in the Crimea. In OTL the Ottomans lost enough of the territory for the Russians to use it as a bargaining chip at Paris and get away with close to zero territorial losses. An idea that somehow the Ottomans could reverse the pattern and get back the territories it lost decades earlier is not quite realistic (by the time of the CW the Ottoman army could defend fortifications but its ability to act offensively was quite limited).
View attachment 589665
Now, why would Georgia (how would the allies get there to start with?) look forward to the independence at that time is anybody’s guess. Independence would mean a clear and present danger from the Ottomans, the nationalist movement was pretty much absent, there were no clear leaders and in general the locals were quite OK under the Russian Empire.
Honestly I was thinking that with the Allie having a freer hand in Crimea they could probably support more the ottoman in the caucasus and focus in a possible objective of taking Georgia to create a buffer state here with a Romanov or a local prince at his head not a state created by a nationalist revolt but now it seem a too much optimistic and naive so let’s say instead of creating a buffer state the Allie force manage to hold Kars against the Russian what are the effect on the peace ? Could we see the ottoman gaining some territory in the Caucasus (sorry I didn’t mean Balkan ) or the Moldavian gaining Bessarabia ?
Anyway thank for your post
 
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I know little about the Crimean war so i’m gonna trust your opinion on that even if it seem they could possibly have taken the whole city .
I said that they could take the city quite easily, at least it’s Southern part. The land fortifications shown on the pre-war scheme were rather rudimentary, most of them were not finished, they were not garrisoned and did not have a needed number of the artillery pieces (these issues had been addressed during the siege by using the crews and guns from the ships of the Black Sea Fleet). My point was that, besides the fact that the naval base is destroyed (it lost sense as soon as campaign. started), nothing is achieved and, strategically, the Allies are in a worse position than in OTL because to achieve anything they have to advance deeper into the Crimean peninsula with all related logistic problems while in OTL they were in a much better logistical situation than the Russians (who had to carry everything across the peninsula by the bad dirt roads. The same goes for the numbers: the Allies landed 60,000 with 134 field and 72 siege guns vs. Menshikov’s 35,000 with 84 guns (in OTL after Menshikov moved the field army out of the city, the defenders numbered 18,000, mostly the naval personnel).
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Not that somebody prevented the allies from the offensive operations: by the end of a war they had in the Crimea 175,000 against 85,000 Russians only 48,500 of which were engaged in the defense of Sevastopol. Nobody was preventing them from leaving fraction of their forces at Sevastopol and proceed with the conquest of the Crimea with the rest: they’d have at least 2:1 advantage. But somehow neither Brits nor French volunteered. Why? Because such a campaign would be extremely difficult logistically while leading pretty much nowhere strategically.


Honestly I didn’t think they could create and maintain a Circassian or Imamate buffer state but they could probably support for the duration of the war no for the Circassian at least .
Imamate was created without the Allies and both regions were conquered only well after the CW. Support which they could provide to the Circassians could not impact the regional dynamics too much: they had been raiding the area anyway.

Honestly I was thinking that with the Allie having a freer hand in Crimea they could probably support more the ottoman in the caucasus and focus in a possible objective of taking Georgia to create a buffer state here with a Romanov or a local prince at his head not a state created by a nationalist revolt but now it seem a too much optimistic and naive so let’s say instead of creating a buffer state the Allie force manage to hold Kars against the Russian what are the effect on the peace ? Could we see the ottoman gaining some territory in the Balkan or the Moldavian gaining Bessarabia ?
Anyway thank for your post
Taking Sevastopol earlier would not make the Allies “freer” or at least their leaders did not think so because if they did think something of the kind they’d proceed with the conquest of the Crimea instead of sitting in front of Sevastopol with 4:1 numeric advantage losing huge numbers from the diseases and attacks on the Russian fortifications.

As for Georgia, they would have (a) to go there (which is not too easy from the coast and supply line is quite “interesting”), (b) conquer it (good luck in fighting in the mountains which you do not know) and (c) get the Georgians interested in a plan and somehow convince them that they’ll not end being absorbed by the Ottomans (yeah, sure). Oh, yes, there would be no “nationalist revolt” first because the Russians were generally considered as protectors against the Muslim neighbors (including “Circassians”), second because there was no (yet) a meaningful nationalist movement and third because, while a single word had been used on the map, the area was (is) populated by the numerous ethnic groups.

I’m not sure that the allies would volunteer into the war in the unfamiliar mountain region where many of their advantages may go away and, if you look at the map, Kars was isolated on all sides and besieged. So there would be French or British contingent locked there and starved into capitulation. Even if we assume that in general they manage to minimize Russian advance in the Caucasus, then what? The Ottomans could not gain “some territory on the Balkans” because they already owned the Balkans. Staying in the Crimea forever was not an option for the Allies because they (at least French) had been already fed up and creation of the buffer state there was not realistic because Russia would refuse and the war would have to keep going beyond it being productive for the allies. Getting a bigger chunk of Moldavia would be a possibility but this would be of a minimal importance to both the Ottomans and the Russians (anyway, Moldavia was the vassal state so the area is not going directly to the Ottomans).
 
I’m not sure that the allies would volunteer into the war in the unfamiliar mountain region where many of their advantages may go away and, if you look at the map, Kars was isolated on all sides and besieged. So there would be French or British contingent locked there and starved into capitulation. Even if we assume that in general they manage to minimize Russian advance in the Caucasus, then what? The Ottomans could not gain “some territory on the Balkans” because they already owned the Balkans. Staying in the Crimea forever was not an option for the Allies because they (at least French) had been already fed up and creation of the buffer state there was not realistic because Russia would refuse and the war would have to keep going beyond it being productive for the allies. Getting a bigger chunk of Moldavia would be a possibility but this would be of a minimal importance to both the Ottomans and the Russians (anyway, Moldavia was the vassal state so the area is not going directly to the Ottomans).
Sorry I mean in the Caucasus instead of the Balkan.
For Kars I was more thing along helping the ottoman relief force to break the siege than being actually with the besieged . Well Moldavia getting Bessarabia (or at least part of it ) seem actually important to me that would create some big change to me ,
As for Georgia, they would have (a) to go there (which is not too easy from the coast and supply line is quite “interesting”), (b) conquer it (good luck in fighting in the mountains which you do not know) and (c) get the Georgians interested in a plan and somehow convince them that they’ll not end being absorbed by the Ottomans (yeah, sure). Oh, yes, there would be no “nationalist revolt” first because the Russians were generally considered as protectors against the Muslim neighbors (including “Circassians”), second because there was no (yet) a meaningful nationalist movement and third because, while a single word had been used on the map, the area was (is) populated by the numerous ethnic groups.
(A)didn’t the ottoman have OTL taken sukhumi (b) I agree it was a little unrealistic (c) i don’t think it’s actually important in the initial creation of the state for it to happen the coalition must already be in control of Georgia they would just set up a king of Georgia preferably a local prince or a member of a European dynasty reuse the old state infrastructure of the region and that it there no reason for the Georgian to be particularly opposed to it especiallyif it proposed by the fellow Christian and comport Georgian in the leadership . Now that state is probably not particularly popularity and legitimacy with a lot of Russian sympathy . And I honestly don’t think the Georgian would have to fear the ottoman absorbing it quite the contrary the ottoman would seem happy to have it around for no more having a border with Russia .
 
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The Allies were coming from the north, though, and marched round the city to invest the south side because they thought correctly that the defences were weaker. However, had they attacked the north even when they arrived historically, Todleben anticipated them being able to take the entire city.
The defenses on the Northern side of the bay were practically absent (a single fort built in the early XIX and a couple of the sea-looking batteries). But there was very little on the Northern side of the bay so what would they go to capture? The allies could not attack the Sevastopol from the North because the bay is on the way and the existing sea side fortifications on the Southern side of the bay had over 800 guns and were not destroyed even by the massive allied naval bombardment. Most of the city was on the Southern Side as well. Anyway, how exactly would they cross the bay if they are attacking from the North? Moving from the North, they could attack the city from the North-East which they more or less ended up doing (and capture of the Malakhov Kurgan proved to be a critical action after which the Russians left the Southern side) but doing all that on the march without established supply base (Bakaklava, to the South from Sevastopol) would be extremely risky. Anyway, a direct attack from that direction hardly was possible due to the ravines and the Black River.
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BTW, it seems that your link references to the situation in the Northern fort defended by Kornilov, which would be, indeed, desperate. Situation in the city (southern side) is described later. Not sure where did Totkeben said that capture of the Northern Fort would result in the fall of Sevastopol.
 
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The defenses on the Northern side of the bay were practically absent (a single fort built in the early XIX and a couple of the sea-looking batteries). But there was very little on the Northern side of the bay so what would they go to capture? The allies could not attack the Sevastopol from the North...
"It has been argued by the advocates for the flank march that the Allies might have taken the north side, and yet have failed to destroy the Russian ships and arsenals. Todleben is of a different opinion : he asserts that the fleet and arsenals could have been really destroyed from the north side."
"So far as the authority of the Russian Engineer can weigh, the question is decided with respect to the certainty with which the north side would have fallen into the hands of the Allies, and to the ease with which they could have destroyed the ships and arsenals of the south side afterwards."

how exactly would they cross the bay if they are attacking from the North?
Why would they need to cross the bay? If the Allies take the North side which is more strongly defended, and the South doesn't surrender as a result, they do what they did historically and march round the flank to capture the less-defended South. If for whatever reason they march round and capture the South and the garrison evacuates to the North side, the North side is still indefensible and the Allies march back and reduce it. All your arguments about how the siege would play out are predicated on the extra year the Russians had to build defences, and bear little resemblance to the actual scenario as Todleben describes it.
 
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"It has been argued by the advocates for the flank march that the Allies might have taken the north side, and yet have failed to destroy the Russian ships and arsenals. Todleben is of a different opinion : he asserts that the fleet and arsenals could have been really destroyed from the north side."
"So far as the authority of the Russian Engineer can weigh, the question is decided with respect to the certainty with which the north side would have fallen into the hands of the Allies, and to the ease with which they could have destroyed the ships and arsenals of the south side afterwards."


Why would they need to cross the bay? If the Allies take the North side which is more strongly defended, and the South doesn't surrender as a result, they do what they did historically and march round the flank to capture the less-defended South. If for whatever reason they march round and capture the South and the garrison evacuates to the North side, the North side is still indefensible and the Allies march back and reduce it. All your arguments about how the siege would play out are predicated on the extra year the Russians had to build defences, and bear little resemblance to the actual scenario as Todleben describes it.
Sorry, the North side was not strongly defended from the land and hardly defended at all except for the crumbling old port. An idea of its defenses being strong was one of the allies (based upon the inadequate reconnaissance) which Totleben denounces. Look a the map of the fortifications and read carefully the page you are referencing to. Quotes from Totleben clearly show that defense of the North Fort was a hopeless exercise. Which does no mean that the defenders could not be evacuated by the still existing ships. However, concentration on the North would give Russians more time to prepare the South.

As far as the allied ability to destroy the city by bombardment across the bay is involved, with all my deep respect to Totleben, I don’t see how exactly this would happen if the OTL naval bombardment failed to achieve anything of the kind and the same goes for OTL bombardment of the city from the South, aka from a much shorter distance. What about the Russian seaside fortifications on the Southern Side? Unlike the land-looking fortifications, they had strong artillery (out of which approximately 200 guns had been facing across the bay, the main being #6, Pavlovskaya and Nocholayevsjaya batteries) and at least some of them had been strong enough to withstand a massive OTL bombardment.

Now, it did not take Russians a year to build the first fortifications, the first line of defense was ready by the time the Allies came from the South. Are you saying that after settling in Balaklava the Allies had been waiting for a year? Buildup was continuing during the siege on both sides but this is a different issue.

Why would they need to cross the bay? Because you were talking about them taking the North side and forcing capitulation of the city by bombardment from there. At the beginning of the siege they did not have enough of a heavy artillery to achieve such a result and in OTL, with a much stronger artillery by the end of a siege it took the bloody assaults to achieve fall of the city. Then in that scenario they would have to bombard with approximately 70 siege guns from a distance of approximately 1km (less if they put these guns on a water edge) against 200 guns in the fortified positions and trying to destroy the specific targets which locations they did not necessarily know. Even if they manage to destroy some of the important buildings in the South (did they in OTL?) this would not mean fall of the city. Destruction of the Russian ships was not a real issue because they were doomed anyway. Probably the South Bay could be reached from the North but OTOH the allied batteries set on the coast would be vulnerable to the fire from the ships (as happened at Sinop). Totleben, judging by the reference, was not talking about taking the city by bombardment across the bay, just about the scope of destruction.

Of course, crossing the bay is unrealistic, which is what I’m implying but what you are saying means one of two things:
(a) They are trying to destroy the city exclusively by bombardment from a considerable distance.
(b) They are leaving part of their force on the North and march to the South. Sounds nice except that there is Russian field army which is now quite free to attack the detachment on the North and destroy it before the Allies on the South can do anything to help it. Theories aside, the allied leadership was not considering such a scenario a safe one and did not assume that the existing numeric advantage allows safety on both sides. The book you are quoting clearly says so on the page 84. And on the page 83 the British general described an idea of the immediate attack on Sevastopol as “desperate attempt” in which “a check would have been ruin”.

BTW, in his own practice Totleben was rather on a methodical side rather than a risky dash as was demonstrated by his actions at Plevna.
 
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Now, it did not take Russians a year to build the first fortifications,
They did, however, take until August 1855 to build the 900-meter pontoon bridge that enabled them to retreat to the north side when the south was taken. That's why I found your argument that "The bulk of the Russian forces would march to the Northern Side" so surprising, especially when coupled with the fact that the original plan was always to attack the North side first. This new suggestion that the Northern garrison will simply pile into ships and evacuate to the South is pretty much just a Russophile fantasy: if it had been possible for them to do so in the reverse direction, they wouldn't have bothered building the bridge.

As far as the allied ability to destroy the city by bombardment across the bay is involved, with all my deep respect to Totleben, I don’t see how exactly this would happen if the OTL naval bombardment failed to achieve anything of the kind
I much prefer the man on the scene's opinion - particularly as you just have to look at the map of the city which you've posted in this thread multiple times to envisage the difference between shooting at the harbour from out at sea and from across the bay, which lets you fire directly into the heart of the harbour. If the fortifications on the north side weren't necessary to defend against from troops landing to the north and bombarding the harbour, one wonders why the Russians built them at all.

Unlike the land-looking fortifications, they had strong artillery (out of which approximately 200 guns had been facing across the bay,
I doubt it, because Todleben states "there were only 172 guns, all under 24-pounders, in the Forts" in the period we're considering. The Russians mounted more over time, of course, but the quicker the Allies move on Sebastopol the less time they have to mount guns.

OTL, with a much stronger artillery by the end of a siege it took the bloody assaults to achieve fall of the city.
Because, by the start of October 1854, the Russians had 32,000 troops in the Sebastopol garrison (closer to 50,000 by the end of the siege) and 341 guns on the south side alone. Immediately after the battle of Alma, they have less than 12,000 men and 29 guns on the mile-long northern front and 5,000 with 145 guns on the five-mile long southern front. Clearly, it's irrelevant whether the Allies bombard the harbour or move round to the South once they've taken the North - once that Northern garrison is neutralised, the rest of the city can't put up any meaningful resistance.

Theories aside, the allied leadership was not considering such a scenario a safe one and did not assume that the existing numeric advantage allows safety on both sides. The book you are quoting clearly says so on the page 84. And on the page 83 the British general described an idea of the immediate attack on Sevastopol as “desperate attempt” in which “a check would have been ruin”
And on page 81 it says "Sir John evidently did not know that the garrison was so weak, the works so slight, that there was a breach in them, and, above all, that the covering army... had marched away and left the garrison to its fate." However, while we're all well aware of why the Allies marched round Sebastopol and began regular approaches historically, it's completely irrelevant in a scenario in which the explicit POD is the prompt capture of Sebastopol - which Todleben's own first-hand evidence illustrates would be far easier than you tended to suggest.
 
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They did, however, take until August 1855 to build the 900-meter pontoon bridge that enabled them to retreat to the north side when the south was taken. That's why I found your argument that "The bulk of the Russian forces would march to the Northern Side" so surprising, especially when coupled with the fact that the original plan was always to attack the North side first.
Perhaps I was not clear enough but you are definitely not paying attention to what is written. "The bulk of the Russian forces" was Menshikov's army, which marched away from Sevastopol. The original allied plan did not and could not anticipate this move (which is rather clearly stated in the book you are quoted). This army did not have to cross the Big Bay to get to the North by the reasons obvious: it was not in the city and had a complete operational freedom. The allies did not know its size and (as, again, is stated in your book) tended to overestimate it.
Then, if you are referencing some events, it is helpful to be precise about the specific time frame. Just as it did not take a year for the Russians to build a defensive perimeter around Sevastopol, it did not take them " until August 1855" (which implies that they started in 1854) to build a bridge. Its construction started on July 14 of 1855 and the bridge was completed on August 15. In other words, construction took a single month. Not that this is relevant in a view of what I wrote about the main Russian army.\


This new suggestion that the Northern garrison will simply pile into ships and evacuate to the South is pretty much just a Russophile fantasy: if it had been possible for them to do so in the reverse direction, they wouldn't have bothered building the bridge.
Do yourself a favor and read something besides a single book. By the time the bridge was built the Russian fleet was on a sea bottom while at the start of the siege it was there and mostly intact except for the ships sunk at the entry of the Big Bay to prevent the allied fleet from entering it. And, BTW, keep the things alike "Russophile fantasy" to yourself because the whole perception can be labeled as "Anglophile" or "Francophile" fantasy based upon the assumption that the Allies had a perfect knowledge of the situation including all movements of the Russian troops, logistics, etc. The source of your quotations clearly indicates that this was a much bigger problem for the allies than for their opponents. So we are either assuming a reasonably OTL level of knowledge and the way of thinking on both sides or we are in a complete fantasy land.


I much prefer the man on the scene's opinion - particularly as you just have to look at the map of the city which you've posted in this thread multiple times to envisage the difference between shooting at the harbour from out at sea and from across the bay, which lets you fire directly into the heart of the harbour. If the fortifications on the north side weren't necessary to defend against from troops landing to the north and bombarding the harbour, one wonders why the Russians built them at all.
If you did look at the map, you must notice 3 big fortified batteries inside the harbor looking at the North side. Over 200 guns . Plus guns of the ships.

I doubt it, because Todleben states "there were only 172 guns, all under 24-pounders, in the Forts" in the period we're considering. The Russians mounted more over time, of course, but the quicker the Allies move on Sebastopol the less time they have to mount guns.

Which "forts" had he been talking about in this specific case?

And the allies would need a time to put their own batteries in place under the enemy's fire.


Because, by the start of October 1854, the Russians had 32,000 troops in the Sebastopol garrison (closer to 50,000 by the end of the siege) and 341 guns on the south side alone. Immediately after the battle of Alma, they have less than 12,000 men and 29 guns on the mile-long northern front and 5,000 with 145 guns on the five-mile long southern front. Clearly, it's irrelevant whether the Allies bombard the harbour or move round to the South once they've taken the North - once that Northern garrison is neutralised, the rest of the city can't put up any meaningful resistance.

If bombardment across the bay is "irrelevant", why bother with the North at all instead of marching fast to the South and breaking through the almost non-existing defense line? The allies knew that the Southern side is weakly defended on the land and marched there. True, they overestimate strength of the Northern defenses but they also could not know at the time of their maneuver that Menshikov withdrew the field army from the city (his march was happening simultaneously with the Allied march to the South). Immediately after Alma the field army was still in Sevastopol and only after he left the garrison amounted to 18,000 so the whole Northern scenario implies possibility of almost extra 30,000 being still in the city.

It is quite clear from the source you are quoting that the allies did not consider it possible to march to the South while keeping a sizeable detachment on the North because this would be too risky (their opinion). Then, with the line of communications open, who would prevent Menshikov from reinforcing the South while the allies are dealing with the North? Actually, he did just that in the early October.

"Neutralization" of the garrison of the North is another tricky issue, which I already addressed. A part of it would be probably lost but the rest could be evacuated or even retreat marching along the coast. The fleet, which was still mostly intact, could provide some cover.

And on page 81 it says "Sir John evidently did not know that the garrison was so weak, the works so slight, that there was a breach in them, and, above all, that the covering army... had marched away and left the garrison to its fate." However, while we're all well aware of why the Allies marched round Sebastopol and began regular approaches historically, it's completely irrelevant in a scenario in which the explicit POD is the prompt capture of Sebastopol - which Todleben's own first-hand evidence illustrates would be far easier than you tended to suggest.
The logic is faulty because you are implying that all 12,000 Russian troops on the South would be exterminated by the snap of the fingers and then the allies will teleport themselves on the South not giving its defenders any time to do anything. BTW, Totleben did not necessarily had the whole numbers because when he mentioned artillery on the North, he talks only about the guns in the existing fortifications. Wouldn't the troops on the North have their own guns?

Edit. Taking into the account that most of the troops defending the North (including Kornilov) moved to the South practically as soon as the allied maneuver became known, it does not look like the bridge across the bay was needed for this action. The fundamental difference from the eventual move to the North was in the fact that in the first case we are talking just about the foot soldiers with some artillery pieces and no heavy train and in the second we are talking about much greater numbers with a lot of extra things to evacuate: hospitals, a lot of artillery, supplies, non-combatants, etc.
I suspect that a big part of the troops in the first case had been transferred by the boats and small vessels, plenty of which had been available at that time.



Totleben, judging by the parts that I read, was talking about a possibility to destroy the fleet and arsenal by bombardment across the bay (but I did not find a direct quote, author just references to his opinion) , not about capture of the city, which could be done only from the South. And, again, "left the garrison to its fate" is author's statement (not Totleben's), which is not true. Look at your own numbers: initially, the garrison amounted to 17-18,000 but by the early October it was over 30,000. Why? Because Menshikov sent reinforcements and, by removing his army from the city, hold communications line open and could even make some diversions (like one at Balaklava) and could wait for the reinforcements, which kept arriving.
 
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