Founded by Catherine the Great in 1783, the maritime city of Sevastopol has been fought over for centuries. Crucial battles of the Crimean War were fought on the hills surrounding the city and the memory of this stalwart defence inspired those who battled the Germans during the Second World War. Despite all the losses and hardships, its citizens and defenders displayed an indomitable ‘spirit of Sevastopol’, to quote Leo Tolstoy. Twice the city has faced complete obliteration and twice it has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes.
In his lecture, Major General Melvin will explore how Sevastopol became of such enduring strategic and patriotic significance to Russia. In light of the controversial Russian re-annexation of Crimea in 2014, it is all the more important to tell the dramatic story of this most coveted city. Drawing on first-hand interviews, detailed operational reports and battle analysis, Major General Melvin will weave together a rich tapestry of military history.
Major General (Ret’d) Mungo Melvin CB OBE became a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI in January 2012, having been a member for over thirty years. He retired from the British Army as a Major General in December 2011. He has a long association with strategy, joint professional education and military history. His final post before retirement was leader of the Ministry of Defence's Enhancing Strategic Capability study. At the same time, he was Director of the Strategic Studies Cell at the Royal College of Defence Studies, where he edited and co-wrote the College's monograph Thinking Strategically. His research interests are international relations, grand and military strategy, and military history. He speaks German and has some basic Russian. He authored Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010) and edited the British Army’s Battlefield Guide to the Western Front of the First World War.
Major General Melvin will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book entitled Sevastopol’s Wars: Crimea from Potemkin to Putin (Osprey Publishing: 20 April 2017), which will be on sale.
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Refreshments will be served from 1215.
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