Osman Nuri Paşa also Gazi Osman Pasha (1832-April 5, 1900) was an Ottoman Turkish field marshal and the hero of the Siege of Pleven in 1877. He was awarded the title 'Gazi' (Turkish for 'Veteran') as a result of that siege. After the Russo-Turkish War was declared (24 April), Russian troops under the command of the Czar's brother Nicholas marched south toward the Danube. The only well-manned Ottoman fortress opposing them was at Vidin, where Osman’s forces were garrisoned having just defeated the Serbs. While Osman's forces were in Vidin, his erstwhile commander Suleiman Pasha was on the Montenegro border, and Abdülkerim Pasha, the other divisional commander, was in Greece. There were only 186,000 Ottoman troops in the Balkans, of which Osman had less than 20,000. When the Russians crossed the Danube and invaded Bulgaria at Svishtov in July, the Turkish high command sent Osman to reinforce the city of Nikopol. Before Osman could reach Nikopol, the Russian vanguard had taken the city in the Battle of Nikopol (16 July) and Osman settled on Pleven to the south. Pleven was a more strategic location being the center of transport and communication lines in northern Bulgaria. Osman started by ordering trenches dug around the city. These trenches are considered an early example of modern bastion defensive works. He literally took his artillery and men under the ground. While Osman was still constructing these fortifications, the Russian forces began to arrive (19 July). However, the Russians were used to warfare in open territory, and sent columns of infantry to directly attack the fortifications. Osman’s defence repelled two Russian attacks with huge casualties on the Russian side. Most analysts agree that a counter-attack at this point would have allowed the Turks to gain control and destroy the bridge at Svishtov. However, Osman had explicit orders to stay fortified in Pleven, and so did not take advantage of the opportunity.