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Osprey Men-at-Arms 277 : The Russo-Turkish War 1877

On 24 April 1877 Tsar Nicholas II declared war on the Ottoman Empire. It was Russia's fifth war against Turkey in the 19th century, but probably the first to enjoy a measure of popular support, thanks to the growth of Slavic nationalism. In 1876, a rising by Bulgarian Christians, timed to coincide with a Serbian offensive on Turkey, was brutally suppressed by Ottoman irregulars - modern estimates place civilian casualties at around 30,000 men, woman and children. To the Turks the systematic massacre of rebellious peoples was simply a traditional instrument of Ottoman rule, but it stunned Europe as never before. In Britain, Gladstone's energetic campaign publicising the 'Balkan horrors' prevented the Conservative government coming to the aid of Turkey; the long-standing British policy of preventing Russia from taking Constantinople was frustrated by public opinion. The London protocol, issued in March 1877, called upon the Turks to introduce reforms and demobilise. The Sultan refused, recognising Russian invasion was all but inevitable. Thanks to the Crimean War, the Sultan had a battle-hardened army ready for war. For the Tsar, this was to be the first major conflict since the abolition of serfdom and the creation of a German-style military reserve system. Ian Drury details the campaigns fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, and the uniforms and organisation of the armies of both sides, in a text backed by numerous illustrations and photographs, including eight full page colour plates by Raffaele Ruggeri.

    Contents
  • The Seeds of War
  • The Campaigns
  • The Russian Army
  • The Turkish Army
  • The Plates

 

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