The Russo Turkish War of 1877-78 began on 24 April
1877. Fuelled by the Pan-Slavic movement Russia sought to ‘liberate’ the
Balkans from Ottoman rule. The savage repression of uprisings in Bosnia
and Bulgaria followed by Ottoman success in the 1876 Serbo-Turkish War,
left the Turks with few international allies.
The Russian plan was to pass through ‘neutral’
Romania, cross the Danube upriver from the Turkish fortresses and then
cross the Balkan mountains to Adrianople and on to the Turkish capital
Constantinople. The Russian Army of the South consisted of four corps,
supplemented in May by three more corps. No accurate records exist of
Turkish forces and estimates vary from 186,000 to 250,000 men. The
campaign began well for the Russians. By July four Russian corps had
crossed the Danube and were pressing Nikopolis and Rushchuk. However,
this early initiative was brought to a sudden halt. The Russian advance
on Rushchuk was effectively resisted on the River Lom by Mehmet Ali and
Osman Pasha force-marched 11,000 troops to hold Plevna. This town close
to the Russian lines of communication to the Balkan passes became the
key to the campaign. For 143 days outnumbered Turkish forces repeatedly
resisted Russian assaults on the town before surrendering on 10
December. Unfortunately for Osman Pasha, divisions among the other
Turkish commanders hindered an effective and co-ordinated relief effort.
The Russians supported by the
army and Bulgarian volunteers crossed the Balkan Mountains aided by
the capture of
by an advance guard led by Gourko. They advanced on Istanbul before
a concerted effort by the great powers brokered a peace settlement.
The Russian infantry were generally armed with the
outdated Krenk rifle. Guards and rifle battalions had the more modern
Berdan. Infantry Divisions had two brigades of two, three battalion
regiments. The paper strength of a battalion was around 1000 men.
Cavalry divisions also had two brigades of two regiments. A cavalry
regiment had around 750 men. The artillery had older bronze Krupp guns.
For uniforms see below or at the
Latest addition to the collection is my new project
using 28mm figures from the
Outpost Miniatures range. First the Turks.
Including cavalry and artillery
Then the Bulgarian Legion infantry.
and then the Russians
Including the cavalry in the form of Cossacks with artillery
The figures below are 15mm figures mainly from the
Awesome Enterprises range plus some older Pioneer miniatures.
|| Osprey 1994
Siege of Plevna
Russia and its Campaigns in Turkey
Pallas Armata 1879