Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 17: The Crimean War (1853-56)

The recent crisis in Ukraine has moved its epicenter to the Crimean Peninsula in the south of that country. Crimea was the epicenter of a terrible war involving several European powers in the 1850s. It was the first major war involving major European powers after the fall of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. The crisis erupted over the religious sites of the Holy Land, which was then under the Ottoman Turkish rule. The Russians wanted to guarantee the rights of the Orthodox Christian pilgrims there. However, underlying this was the Russian expansionism, aimed at the weakening Ottoman Empire. On the other hand, major European powers wanted to contain Russian expansion to the Mediterranean Sea.
William Simpson’s painting “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

1. One of the initial battles of the war was fought in November 1853, when the Russian Black Fleet under Admiral Pavel Nakhimov attacked a Turkish naval force and defeated it, inflicting heavy casualties. In which Black Sea port in Turkey did this battle took place?

2. After the initial battles between the Russians and the Turks in Danube area, the war moved to Crimea. From then onwards, even though fighting took place in several other fronts, the main attention was on Crimea. The main objective of the allies (England, France, Turkey and Sardinia) was to capture the largest city in Crimea, which was the home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Allies stumbled on pathetically. Their planning was faulty, they were not prepared for the Russian Winter and they generally under-estimated the Russians. For a year, the city held on, falling on September 9, 1855. Later in history, this city became famous for resisting the Nazi German forces during the Second World War. What is this city?

3. During the Crimean War, the main Allied supply head quarters was at Balaclava, a town in Crimea. (The town gave the name to the cloth masks which covers the head, exposing only a part, mainly the eyes). Russians assaulted the town on October 25, 1854 to disrupt the Allied supplies. The Allies defended successfully. Two British units became famous for their bravery at the battle. One unit was the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders Regiment of Foot, which successfully rebuffed a Russian cavalry attack, despite being outnumbered. This action is known by a particular term, which is also a figure of speech to English language. It is used to describe a thinly spread military unit holding off an attack. This term also refers to the color of the British military coat, red. What is this term?

04. Another heroic action of the British Army at the Battle of Balaclava was the “Charge of the Light Brigade” when a light cavalry brigade launched to attack a well defended position of the Russian Army. This is often cited as one of the best examples of military discipline. The attack itself was totally foolish, since light cavalry could hardly hope to dislodge a well defended artillery position. This action was immortalized by the poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” Who wrote the famous poem?

05. One positive outcome of the Crimean War was the establishment of modern nursing. It was Florence Nightingale, “the Lady with the lamp” who initiated this. Arriving at the Selimiye Barracks in Turkey, which had been allocated to the British during the war, she found the conditions at the military hospital appalling. Medications were limited, staff was overworked and the problems were confounded by official indifference. The region where the Selimiye Barracks was located is a district in Istanbul. Today this district is known as Uskudar. But during the Crimean War, this district was known by another name. What was the name of this district during the Crimean War?

Answers to Quiz 16: Football World Cup 1930

1. Jules Rimet
2. Montevideo
3. Carol II of Romania
4. Bert Petenaude
5. Francisco Varallo

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