Crimea Tour: Charge of the Light Brigade, Crimean War

Crimea Tour: Charge of the Light Brigade, Crimean WarCrimea Tour: Charge of the Light Brigade, Crimean War

A Russian attack on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War, on British positions, near a town in Ukraine, 10 km/6 mi southeast of Sevastopol. It was the scene of the ill‐timed Charge of the Light Brigade of British cavalry against the Russian entrenched artillery. Of the 673 soldiers who took part, there were 272 casualties. Balaclava helmets were knitted hoods worn here by soldiers in the bitter weather.

The Russian army broke through Turkish lines on 25 October and entered the valley of Balaklava, intending to attack the British supply base in the harbour and relieve the encirclement of Sevastopol by attacking British positions from the rear. The battlefield consisted of two valleys divided by low hills; the British cavalry's Heavy Brigade was positioned in the south valley, while the Light Brigade was in the north valley. The first Russian advance broke into the south valley and was immediately driven back over the hill by the Heavy Brigade, forcing the Russians to fall back on their line of artillery.

The Light Brigade was ordered to ‘prevent the enemy carrying away the guns’– it seems that this was intended to direct them to the hills where the Russians had captured some Turkish guns, but the order was badly phrased, leading the Light Brigade's commander to assume that his target was the Russian guns about a mile away up the north valley. Erroneously obeying what he assumed to be his instructions, he led the infamous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ up the length of the valley between two rows of Russian artillery, sustaining heavy casualties. A charge by French cavalry saved the Light Brigade from total destruction, and the 93rd Highland Regiment broke up a Russian cavalry attack. The battle ended with the Russians retaining their guns and their position.

Next continue your tour and pause on Sapoune Heights where Lord Raglan and his staff observed the Battle of Balaclava, 25 October 1854. The complete panorama of the 'Valley of Death' will unfold before you from the top of the hill recollecting the events of famous and infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. After will visit Balaklava, and view the ruins of the medieval fortress Chembalo overlooking the town. The small town of Balaklava was in the past the main base of the British troops in the Crimean War and the secret Soviet Naval base.