Kars, 15-20 March, 1853
Lieutenant-General Muraviev was becoming very frustrated. At every staff meeting he had to listen to the comments ... in fact, the insults ... of his fellow officers. Their divisions were deployed to the west of the town, out in the snow, suffering from the cold and the blizzards. His privileged Guards were billeted in the lower town that had been abandoned when the Russians first arrived.
His argument that his men were close enough to suffer daily cannon fire from the defenders were ignored – after all the chances of being killed were so small that it was almost a fair price to pay for a warm roof over their heads – at least to men sleeping in makeshift shelters.
And today, they were even more annoyed. Marshal Vorontsov had ordered them to send back all but their lightest cannon. Finally the engineers had created a platform where the field artillery could hit the main walls. And an Armenian spy  had provided details of the damage done by the steady bombardment by the heavy guns. The eastern end of the long walls had been breached and were beyond repair. Vorontsov was determined to press this advantage before the Ottoman armies at Erzurum could intervene.
Poruchik Drubetskoy looked over his shoulder to check that the Guards were following his engineers up the steep slope. The pouring rain muffled the sounds as men lost their footing and as officers cursed them for falling behind. However, if the rain protected their approach, it would also limit the impact of the planned cannonade. The assault troops were on their own.
Turning back he tried to relate what he could see to the maps and the information from the spy. The problem was one dark rock looked like another in the gloom.
“Gospodin  Poruchik … over here”
As he clambered across the wet rocks, it was clear they had veered too far to the west. After a brief discussion, the party retreated and then moved up the right defile. As they came near the top it was clear that so far the rain had masked their approach. Now the hard part began.
Slowly the Engineers brought up the explosives that would collapse the wall. As best as they could on the steep slope, the infantry deployed into assault columns behind the last escarpment on the slope. Officers and men knew it was a meaningless gesture but it served to keep the men together and ease communications.
Drubetskoy decided to risk one last move forwards. The better placed the explosives, the more chance they had of living through the day. Taking several men he moved up to within sight of the wall. As they tried to spot the weakest part they were surprised to hear Polish curses from within the fort .
It was clear they were repairing the damage and trying to strengthen the weakened wall.
Turning back down the slope, Drubetskoy started to organise the final steps. The sky was starting to lighten even if the rain fell more heavily. Even so, he carefully checked and double checked every decision, every fuse length, even where they would try to place the explosives.
“You … you .. yes you. Are you Drubetskoy?”
Looking up he was surprised to see General Muraviev so close to the front.
“Why are you delaying us … I have heard of your reputation”
“Not good, not good … stop delaying the assault”
At that, whether due to the slowly improving light, or the sound of a bayonet against a rock, or simply that so many men made too much of an impression … came the noise they had all dreaded. First a shout, then a bugle call, they had been spotted.
“Drubetskoy – if this fails I will have your head”
Turning to his men, Poruchik Drubetskoy accepted his fate. Gathering the explosives they raced for the wall. No time to worry now about fuse lengths, especially as the first ragged musket volleys rang out from the walls.
The explosion broke open a gap. The first columns of infantry quickly entered and the battle became little but a confused melee. The Ottoman forces to the east of the breach surrendered by mid-morning while the rest of the garrison fought their way steadily back to the western citadel.
By early afternoon, the Russians held most of the fortress and started the grim process of collecting the dead, the wounded and their prisoners.20 March
With the fortress all but in his hands Vorontsov did what he could to avoid further losses. Unfortunately some of the remaining defenders had no wish to fall into Russian hands. On the morning of the 20th his patience ran out. Again the Russians formed their attack columns but this time the response was a few volleys and the last handful of cannon balls. In an hour, the remaining defenders had surrendered the citadel.
The door to Anatolia was now wide open.
 Very much a feature of the war, spying and reliance on more or less friendly local groups was something both the Russians and the Ottomans did very enthusiastically as both had potential allies in enemy territory. Of course, as ever, it was the innocents who paid the price. Post-war the Russians expelled many Crimean Tartars and there were Ottoman reprisals both against the Armenians and in the Danube region.
 As you can see I am using my nice new train line to bring up fresh supplies.
 A standard way for the rank and file to address low ranking officers and NCOs.
 Historically the Ottoman defenders of Kars were commanded by a British General - William Fenwick Williams. Among the defenders were Hungarian and Polish refugees who had fled to the Ottomans after the revolutions of 1848-9 … not surprisingly these had no love for the Russians.