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History October 25, 1854

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Martin Rohmann, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    "This is not war, this is madness!"


    On October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War, raging raged near the British supply port of the town of Balaklava a battle.

    Some of the Russian troops besieged in Sebastopol have broken out of the fortress, have united with reserves brought in from Russia and are now attacking under the command of General Pavel Liprandi ...

    [IMG]

    ... in a strength of 23,000 men the British and their allies under Field Marshall Lord Fitzroy Somerset, the 1st Earl of Raglan ...

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    ... which, with a total strength of 20,000 men, are somewhat weaker in number (but are considerably better armed with modern rifles).

    During the fight the Russians manage to get some Ottoman cannons ...

    [IMG]

    ... to conquer on the Causeway Hills - so called by the British.

    This defeat worries Lord Raglan - at that time losing a cannon to the enemy in battle was almost as shameful as losing a flag!

    Raglan therefore orders that the previously unused British cavalry be used to recapture the cannons from the Russians before they can transport them away as booty.

    His order, which is in itself very vague, runs through the chain of command of Raglan's Chief of Staff, General Richard Airey ...

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    ... to the orderly officer Captain Louis Edward Nolan ...

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    ... who passed it on to George Charles Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan ...

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    ... hands over the commander of the cavalry division and this in turn to his brother-in-law James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan ...

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    ... the chief of the light brigade.

    The command becomes more and more garbled from hand to hand.

    In addition, all three people involved, Nolan, Lucan and Cardigan, are related to each other, hate each other fervently and there is no willingness among them to help or support each other in a comradely manner.

    Cardigan, who is now supposed to carry out the matter, is confused - he doesn't know what to recapture.

    The cannons in question are on the Causeway Hills, which Cardigan cannot see from where he is. He asks Nolan to explain.

    But Nolan just wiggles his saber wildly and hits Cardigan with barely concealed contempt:

    "There, Sir, is the enemy! And there, Sir, are your cannons!"

    As the accident would have it, Nolan pointed with the point of his saber at another, well-fortified Russian cannon emplacement of the Don Cossacks at the end of the northern valley.

    A frontal cavalry attack on this - wrong one! - But position means: The riders have to take a nearly one kilometer path through an uncovered valley, the three surrounding mountain ranges of which are occupied by the enemy and at the end of which an artillery position is waiting ...:

    [IMG]

    When Cardigan Nolan points out the expected slaughter among his riders by crossfire from three sides, Nolan replies something like "Orders are orders!"

    Cardigan shrugs his shoulders and lets ride!

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    When the 673 cavalrymen of the 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers and 11th Hussars ...

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    ... start moving in the wrong direction, Nolan seems to notice the misunderstanding and gallops over to Lord Cardigan to bring him a correction.

    But before Nolan can reach the cavalry commander, he is killed by a Russian grenade direct hit ...:

    [IMG]

    The slaughter that Lord Cardigan expected is actually happening! Only about 200 horsemen (from originally 673) make it - shot from three sides - to the Russian artillery position ...:

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    During the long ride of the attacking British, the Russians had enough time not only to set up a few regiments of mounted Don Cossacks behind their artillery, but also to add a dragoon regiment to reinforce them!

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    When the surviving British actually manage to penetrate the artillery position, they are immediately attacked by the Russian cavalry and thrown back!

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    And the last surviving British horsemen would certainly have been completely killed by the superior Russian cavalry, had it not been for the French General Morris ...

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    ... would have come to the rescue on his own initiative with the 4e Chasseurs d'Afrique ...:

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    Less than 130 intact members of the Light Brigade can reach their own lines again ...:

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    Lord Cardigan is among them.

    I close with the famous words of French general Pierre Bosquet ...

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    ... who had to watch the attack by the British: "That's great, but it's not war, it's madness!"

    I myself never understood why people in Great Britain are so proud of this event that they have been celebrating the anniversary since 1875 ...

    [IMG]
  2. OldTaff PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
    Martin, the pride comes from the very fact that those fellows new what awaited them, but rode into the wrong valley anyway, following their officers. Remember that there had been few chances of full field warfare since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. These guys were full of patriotism, sang froid, and brio.
    Many books have been written on the campaigns and the charge in particular. When Alfred Lord Tennyson published his poem, " The Charge of the Light Brigade", in "The Examiner" on 9th. December 1854 (some 7 weeks after the event), it was received with critical acclaim, and fuelled continued enthusiasm for the Crimean War.
    Not for nothing was the Victoria Cross " For Valour" inaugurated, made from captured Russian bronze cannons.

    Alan
    Airkid and Tommy Atkins like this.
  3. OldTaff PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
    This date also resonates to the battle of Agincourt, 1415, a more fitting day for a National Holiday, IMHO. But it would probably be seen as politically incorrect in the current climate nationally and internationally. ;):)

    Alan
    Airkid likes this.
  4. grasshopper Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Canada
    Appallingly stupid action and waste on lives...and for ?
    well done Martin
  5. fogie A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    October 25th is also St. Crispin's day ...who is the patron saint of cobblers
    Airkid and OldTaff like this.
  6. OldTaff PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
  7. Airkid Active Member

    Country:
    England
    Nice work again Martin. A day deeply carved into the history of the British Cavalry. The Crimean War was full of such stuff. Alma, Inkerman, Redan, Tchernaya. Futile wastes of life in a war that achieved nothing in the long run.

    Phil
    Nap and grasshopper like this.
  8. Martin64 A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    Nap likes this.
  9. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    And don't forget the great losses by feaver at Varna...

    And "politically incorrect" is my second surname...:happy:

    Cheers
    OldTaff, akaryu and Airkid like this.
  10. Airkid Active Member

    Country:
    England
    The British Army went to the Crimea totally ill-equipped for a long campaign, and with a commander who had been desk-bound since Waterloo and whose appointment was entirely political. Was it ever thus?

    Phil
    OldTaff and Nap like this.
  11. Nap A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    Hi Martin

    Thanks for the thread .....a terrible waste of lives , heroic men being sent to death ...for what ....the empire and queen

    Led at times by commanders who IMO just didn't understand warfare at the time

    Interesting to read

    Nap
  12. Hawk_Uk PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Well written and a good reminder of all aspect of the day.
  13. Old Pete Active Member

    Country:
    Scotland
    Nolan.s best friend Captain Morris of the 17th Lancers shouted to him as he rode forward" no Noland this wont do" as in the film as he believed he intended to lead the charge not stop it,Nolan believed light cavlry could do anything if properly lead and he was the man to do it.wether this is true we will never know as he was killed by the first shot

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