100747 | GREAT BRITAIN & RUSSIA. Crimean War bronze Medal.
100747 | GREAT BRITAIN & RUSSIA. Crimean War bronze Medal. Issued 1854. The Battle of the Alma (41mm, 40.69 g, 12h). By Messrs Pinches.
SEPTEMBER 20, 1854, troops advancing right behind standard bearer; ALMA in incuse below / Legend in 18 lines, listing the participating regiments. Edge: Plain.
BHM 2539; Eimer 1490. Gem Mint State. Glossy chocolate brown surfaces, with pleasing luster. Rare in bronze.
Though there were many factors which led to the outbreak of the Crimean War, the main focal point involved Russia's desire for a stronger position around the Black Sea, as this water had long been important in her military strategy and might. The waning of the Ottoman Empire's power provided an opportunity to Russia around not only the Black Sea but also parts of the Balkans. Great Britain and France, neither wanting to see an expanded Russia, banded together to push back the latter. Stalled action in the southeastern Black Sea by the French and British forces caused them to turn their attention to Russia's main naval base on the Crimean peninsula at Sevastopol. This approach led to the successive battles of Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman, the initial being an allied victory, with the latter two being more indecisive. Nevertheless, the allied presence was felt, and the assault on Sevastopol resulted in her submission, but only after nearly a year. As Russia saw more nations coming to the side of the allies, she had no choice but seek peace and an end to the war in early 1856. One of the resounding effects of their defeat was the decree that the Black Sea be neutral, preventing Russian warships from sailing there and greatly limiting her influence in this vital, warm weather weather port.
Almost exactly 160 years later, Russia would again seek to stake her claim in the region, invading and annexing the peninsula away from neighboring Ukraine. This "Crimean Crisis" continues to spark debate and remains very much in dispute. Will a 21st century band of allies repulse this Russian imperialism, similar to that of Great Britain and France of the mid 1850's? Only time will tell.