The Battle of Inkerman, during the Crimean War, was perhaps one of the most confused in 19th century military history, fought partly in darkness and largely in heavy fog.
On 5th November 1854, the Russians launched an early morning attack on the right flank of the allied position on a hill called Home Ridge. The Russian force was made up of infantry and guns from the garrison of Sevastopol and totaled some 42,000 men and 134 guns. The attack fell on the British Second Division which, prior to reinforcements coming later in the battle, comprised some 2,700 men and 12 guns. The British force included the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards.
The allies won the battle but suffered heavy casualties. During the battle, individual heroism came to the fore, with small units becoming frequently cut off behind enemy lines and forced to fight for survival.
During the battle, the Grenadier Guards distinguished themselves in the defense of an area known as the Sandbag Battery and beat off repeated, determined attacks. The color party was surrounded and reduced to 100 men. The fighting lasted around 6 hours but they managed to fight their way back to the British lines. During the battle the battery had changed hands seven times.
The conditions were appalling and the hand-to-hand fighting was intense. The many acts of bravery during the Battle of Inkerman led to 19 Victoria Crosses being awarded, 3 of these to the Grenadier Guards 3rd Battalion. Incidentally, the Victoria Cross was created in January 1856, partly in response to the valor shown at Inkerman. The defense of the position against overwhelming odds is considered one of the epic battles of British military history.
Our figure portrays one of those brave guardsmen, with the classic bearskin and grey coat that gave them world fame as depicted in Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler’s painting “The Roll Call”. Despite inferior numbers, one advantage the British force had over the Russians was the Minié rifle, also portrayed in the miniature. The Minié rifle gave quicker, longer range and more accurate fire than the Russian’s flint lock muskets, and the cap firing mechanism of the Minié rifle was far more reliable in the damp conditions.
Text courtesy of FeR Miniatures