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"missing" from charge of Light Brigade

Thought this may be of interest to Crimean War collectors .all other figures is in 1/72.

The Times 3.4.1855 p 10
Letter-

The LIGHT CAVALRY CHARGE at BALAKLAVA
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
Sir,— Having been repeatedly asked to lay before the public what I know relative to the attack made by the Light Cavalry at Balaklava, and what was done, or not done, by the Horse Artillery, I have been induced to make the following statement:— It is well known that on Major Maude falling seriously wounded early in the day I, who had been with him in four previous actions and affairs, succeeded to the command of his troop. Passing over all previous occurrences of that day, I had brought my guns up at a gallop on the left flank of the Heavy Cavalry, while reforming after their charge. The Light Cavalry, having passed along my rear, were on my left flank. It must now be remembered that the whole cavalry brigade were in the plain on the Balaklava side of the heights on which were the redoubts. My troop would be about 600 yards from the crest of those heights. Considering all immediate action over, if not, indeed, the whole thing for the day, I rode over the heights to reconnoitre. I there met Lieutenant-Colonel M’Mahon, the Quartermaster-General of Cavalry. We were alone, and with our telescopes were examining the Russian Artillery in the bush on the opposite heights across the second plain. The distance would be about 1,500 yards. I had counted 10 guns; there were other guns further on to the left of these. There was cavalry, infantry, and artillery in the plain, nearly a mile away. I knew that the Russians held Nos. 1, 2, and 3 redoubts, which, it must be remembered, faced the bush I have before mentioned. Captain Charteris rode up to us; he was accompanied, I think, by Captain Methuen, of the screw steamship Colombo. The former said, ‘You will see something now; the Light Cavalry are going to attack down the plain.’ I exclaimed, ‘You will all be destroyed. I will go and bring up the troop and try and give assistance.’ I galloped back; I could not see Lord Lucan; but, Major-General Scarlett being close at hand, I said, ‘Will you allow me to go to the support of the Light Cavalry?’ His answer was, ‘Certainly.’ I moved off at a smart trot, seeing the rear regiments of the Light Cavalry just slip out of sight over the heights. My horses were tired and reduced in numbers, several having been killed in the early part of the day; so I soon came to a walk. The Scots Grays had moved before me, and had halted in line just at the foot of the heights. I passed through their squadron at intervals. At this time Major Walker, Lord Lucan’s aide-de-camp, rode up to me, and, in a conversation I had with him afterwards, he said, ‘with an order for me to advance.’ I perfectly remember his being with me, but have no recollection of this order. Had he brought me directions to do otherwise than I was doing, I should probably have paid more attention. Major Walker, in speaking to me on the subject afterwards said, ‘My life was probably saved by being sent back for you.’ I passed on over the heights with the troop; a heavy fire was immediately opened on me, happily without effect, from the artillery in the bush on the opposite heights; to this I could not reply, the range being too great for my light guns. I at once ‘wheeled to the right,’ and endeavoured to pass along the Balaklava side of the heights immediately below their crest, screened from the enemy’s fire, and so come over, if possible, on the right rear of our Light Cavalry, but a cut down into the Woronzoff road, past which I could not get my guns, prevented me. I wheeled about and followed the Heavy Cavalry, which had now come up, down into the plain in support of the Light Cavalry.

The fire at this time from the Russian front and flanks was tremendous. I halted for a moment in the rear of the Heavy Cavalry, but, not being able to make my guns of any use, seeing the disaster and knowing from previous observation that descending further into the plain was taking the troop to certain destruction and giving the guns intrusted to my care into the hands of the enemy, I retired at a walk to the crest of the heights on my own responsibility, fearing a second Chilianwallah, and was almost immediately followed by the Heavy Cavalry, who were, indeed, close on to my guns when I reached the crest.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
J D SHAKESPEAR, Captain RA

Re: "missing" from charge of Light Brigade

Technically to do a complete Charge of the LB you would need British Horse Artillery and French Chasseurs d'Afrique. Both seem like an obvious addition to the range in the future.

Re: Re: "missing" from charge of Light Brigade

Precisely Jon. Strelets French Cavalry had rumours(i wont believe til i see them) they have spahis/Chasseurs D'Afrique included/we have waited long to see only 1 figure in the "future" release page.Did the French give the Chas D'Afrique horse artillery troop...at least ? Plot thickens eh?

I guess when the French Light Infantry have Zouaves included there is that possibility we may see spahis, however only Strelets will confirm that.Doesnt exactly help ones collection planning does it.

If spahis included they MAY also be used for Foreign Legion auxillary cavalry(eg "Fort Saganne" movie Gerard Depardeau and Sophie Marceau).Guess that brings in Emhars "PROPOSED" french Infantry also.Could be more exciting 1/72times ahead Jon.Have fun Hank

Re: "missing" from charge of Light Brigade

An interesting letter, and one of many that were sent to the Times in that year and for a few years afterwards, as the drama concerning who was to blame for the loss of the light brigade turned into a political and military football, everyone blaming everyone else. Captain Shakespear seems to remember the whole scene, but cannot remember receiving a direct order from his commanding officer as he 'was not paying close enough attention,' he tell us! No one wanted to be seen as not doing his duty and everyone seems to have their own thoughts on what exactly happened that day. The only thing that each individual officer could all agree on was that they themselves were not to blame for those brave men who were sent forward to be slaughtered.

Re: Re: "missing" from charge of Light Brigade

The politics around the Light Brigade's conduct at Balaklava are almost more interesting than the action itself. It was a great embarassment for the British because they held the Russian Army in such contempt. (The Brit's were contemptious of just about everyone in those days.)

The "old boy" network in the British Officer Corps was what caused the disaster. Neither Raglan, nor Lucan were fit to lead; Lord Cartigan was an over dressed fox-hunter; the lot of them ought to have been retired, but the social hierarchy over ruled common sense. The incompetance started at the top, and the blame started at the bottom. Each attempted to blame his subordinate, when it was the duty of the C/O of the Light Brigade to soberly observe the course of the battle and the lay of the land.

As for Capt. Shakespear, it is hard for one to remember an order that was never given. The Horse Artillery could not have saved the Light Brigade, they would only have lost their guns. He discribes that the other officers he met were all talking to him informally, one does not deliver orders informally.

If the British General Staff has written & exchanged their orders as exactly on the day of the battle as they did when defending their actions in the press... well, we wouldn't be discussing it now. What was "missing" at the charge of the Light Brigade was a competant General Staff.

Re: Re: Re: "missing" from charge of Light Brigade

Bang on old chap, the old school tie and the (Horse)Guards seniority and "by-jingo" code had alot to answer to. Poor old Tommy Atkins.

Re: Re: Re: Re: "missing" from charge of Light Brigade

Thank goodness by the Great War (1914-1918) the army was run by professionals and a real General Staff, so no screw ups occured.
Yours with heavy sarcasm
DM