By late March, 1855, the British army’s “winter troubles” were over. As the warm weather returned and the new railroad brought plenty of supplies to the front, siege operations were aggressively resumed after months of holding the trench lines against Russian sorties in what was merely a defensive struggle. The installation of new siege guns and batteries was pursued with vigor, and on April 9 the “Second Bombardment” of Sebastopol was opened, a sustained, ten-day cannonade which, it was hoped, would so reduce the fortifications as to make them untenable against a massive infantry attack. It proved a rather successful cannonade, too, which silenced a good part of the Russian artillery. But when the moment for attack came, the French bowed out: The risk was too great, General Niel of the corps of engineers championed a totally different strategy, and Napoleon III wished no decisive action to take place until he personally appeared in the Crimea. He was eventually persuaded to drop this flamboyant scheme, but for several weeks, the allied leadership at the front was stalemated. 240