British Riflemen and Light Infantry ford the River Alma
The British Light Division crossed the Alma on the 20th September 1854 and attacked Russian positions defending the road to Sevastopol. The Light Division crossed the river and attacked uphill towards a defensive redoubt. A strong Russian force advanced to counter attack but accurate rifle fire from the men of the Rifle Brigade who led the division forced them back through their defensive redoubts.
The Battle of Alma was a scrappy affair with British infantry bunching up and attacking more en masse rather than in ordered lines. The British abandoned the redoubt believing advancing Russian forces to be a French relief column. The French army faired little better and the fractured allied command had little idea of the exact positions of their own units. When the Russian reserve of 10,000 men was later broken by the advancing Highland Brigade, who advanced while firing giving the Russians no opportunity to envelope them, the French were unable to support the British forces who wished to pursue the retreating enemy. The men of the Light Division had been recently issued with the new Enfield Pattern Model 1853 replacing their older Brunswick Rifles. With these new rifles capable of ranges out to 800 yards the British infantry were able to fend off Russian bayonet charges.