Product SKU: P-5-01114
CAPTION BELOW PICTURE: 'Captain Glasse, and his Chief Engineer, H.M.S "Vulture" Superintending the repairs of the mortars during the Bombardment of Sveaborg'
Crimean War: Baltic theatre
The Baltic was a forgotten theatre of the war. The popularisation of events elsewhere had overshadowed the significance of this theatre, which was close to Saint Petersburg, the Russian capital. From the beginning, the Baltic campaign was a stalemate. The outnumbered Russian Baltic Fleet confined its movements to the areas around fortifications. At the same time, British and French commanders Sir Charles Napier and Alexandre Ferdinand Parseval-Deschenes – although they led the largest fleet assembled since the Napoleonic Wars – considered Russian coastal fortifications, especially the Sveaborg fortress, too well-defended to engage and they limited their actions to blockading Russian trade and conducting raids on less fortified sections of the Finnish coast.
Russia was dependent on imports for both the domestic economy and the supply of her military forces and the blockade seriously undermined the Russian economy. Raiding by allied British and French fleets destroyed forts on the Finnish coast including Bomarsund on the Åland Islands and Fort Slava. Other such attacks were not so successful, and the poorly planned attempts to take Hanko, Ekenäs, Kokkola and Turku were repulsed.
The burning of tar warehouses and ships in Oulu and Raahe led to international criticism, and in Britain, MP Thomas Gibson demanded in the House of Commons that the First Lord of the Admiralty explain "a system which carried on a great war by plundering and destroying the property of defenceless villagers". In the autumn, a squadron of three British warships led by HMS Miranda left the Baltic for the White Sea, where they shelled Kola (which was utterly destroyed) and the Solovki. Their attempt to storm Arkhangelsk proved abortive, as was the siege of Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka. Here, an Anglo-French naval squadron successfully shelled the town but a naval brigade of 800 sailors and marines landed the next day was repulsed.
In 1855, the Western Allied Baltic Fleet tried to destroy heavily defended Russian dockyards at Sveaborg outside Helsinki. More than 1,000 enemy guns tested the strength of the fortress for two days. Despite the shelling, the sailors of the 120-gun ship Rossiya, led by Captain Viktor Poplonsky, defended the entrance to the harbour. The Allies fired over twenty thousand shells but were unable to defeat the Russian batteries. A massive new fleet of more than 350 gunboats and mortar vessels was prepared, but before the attack was launched, the war ended.
Part of the Russian resistance was credited to the deployment of newly created blockade mines. Perhaps the most influential contributor to the development of naval mining was inventor and civil engineer Immanuel Nobel, the father of Alfred Nobel. Immanuel helped the war effort for Russia by applying his knowledge of industrial explosives such as nitroglycerin and gunpowder. Modern naval mining is said to date from the Crimean War: "Torpedo mines, if I may use this name given by Fulton to self-acting mines underwater, were among the novelties attempted by the Russians in their defenses about Cronstadt and Sevastopol", as one American officer put it in 1860.
DATE PRINTED: 1856
IMAGE SIZE: Approx 15.0 x 23.0cm, 5.75 x 9 inches (Medium)
TYPE: Antique wood engraved print
CONDITION: Good; suitable for framing. However, please note: The image shown may have been scanned from a different example of this print than that which is offered for sale: The print you will receive is in Good condition but there may be minor variations in the condition compared to that shown in the image. Please check the scan for any blemishes prior to making your purchase. Virtually all antiquarian maps and prints are subject to some normal aging due to use and time which is not obtrusive unless otherwise stated. We offer a no questions asked return policy.
AUTHENTICITY: This is an authentic historic print, published at the date stated above. It is not a modern copy.
VERSO: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture. In some cases this may be visible on the picture itself (please check the scan prior to your purchase) or around the margin of the picture.
ARTIST/CARTOGRAPHER/ENGRAVER: Unsigned;sketched by J.W. Carmichael
PROVENANCE: Illustrated London News
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