The Charge of the Light Brigade, during the Crimean War in 1854, is one of the greatest military blunders of all. Forming part of the defence of Balaclava from the Russians, the British commander, Lord Raglan, faced the daunting prospect of silencing heavy Russian guns at the end of a narrow valley, with infantry and light guns on the slopes.
Deciding to send the Light Brigade into the slopes to take out the light guns, he dispatched a Capt Nolan with a message to advance.
In command of the Light Brigade were Lords Cardigan and Lucan, the latter being confused and asking which guns? Nolan pointed down the valley towards the wrong, heavy guns. The entire Brigade of six hundred cavalrymen charged down the valley, soon facing murderous fire from three sides. Heroically, they reached the heavy Russian guns, but then faced more murderous fire as they raced back towards British protection. Immortalized as the Valley of Death by Tennyson, only about 300 returned intact from the heroic, but foolhardy, engagement.
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