Battle of the Alma

The Battle of the Alma (short for Battle of the Alma River) was a battle in the Crimean War between an allied expeditionary force (made up of French, British, and Ottoman forces) and Russian forces defending the Crimean Peninsula on 20 September 1854. The allies had made a surprise landing in Crimea on 14 September. The allied commanders, Maréchal Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud and Lord Raglan, then marched toward the strategically important port city of Sevastopol, 45 km (28 mi) away. Russian commander Prince Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov rushed his available forces to the last natural defensive position before the city, the Alma Heights, south of the Alma River.

Battle of the Alma
Part of the Crimean War

Battle of the Alma by Eugene Lami
Date20 September 1854
Location44.831036°N 33.668879°E / 44.831036; 33.668879
Result Allied victory
 United Kingdom
Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Lord Raglan
Jacques Arnaud
Suleiman Pasha
Alexander Menshikov
56,500[1]–58,000[lower-alpha 1] 37,500[1]
Casualties and losses
4,103 killed and wounded[1] ~5,000 killed and wounded[1]

The allies made a series of disjointed attacks. The French turned the Russian left flank with an attack up cliffs that the Russians had considered unscalable. The British initially waited to see the outcome of the French attack, then twice unsuccessfully assaulted the Russians' main position on their right. Eventually, superior British rifle fire forced the Russians to retreat. With both flanks turned, the Russian position collapsed and they fled. The lack of cavalry meant that little pursuit occurred.

The battle cost the French roughly 1,600 casualties, the British 2,000, the Ottomans 503, and the Russians some 5,000.

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