British and French armed forces disembarked at Varna, supported by the newly-organized Allied Fleet: nineteen ships of the line, consisting of fifteen sailing vessels and four steam-powered ships of the line as well as numerous steam-frigates. Nicholas I and Admiral Menshikov refused even to consider advancing against such a powerful enemy on the open sea. Thus the Black Sea Fleet was concentrated at Sevastopol under Vice-Admiral Kornilov. Admiral Menshikov, responsible for defending the Crimea, did not foresee an Allied invasion and prepared neither Sevastopol nor the region as a whole for such a possibility. Both Menshikov and the Emperor were convinced that, after the Russian withdrawal from the Danube, the British and French would agree to peace negotiations. This miscalculation was to have serious repercussions.
On 10 April 1854, Allied vessels appeared near Odessa, and the town immediately came under fire. On 30 April the 16-gun British steamer frigate Tiger went aground in a fog near Odessa. After being bombarded by Russian artillery, the Tiger surrendered and 226 sailors were taken prisoner
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