Thursday, 21 August 2014

Charging into History

Interview and review by the Yorkshire Post Newspaper.

Charging into Hisotry

Anthony Dawson, a Yorkshire-born archaeologist and historian, has spent more than a thousand hours of painstaking research collecting these letters and poring over the Victorian newspapers that originally published them. They form the basis of his new book – Letters from the Light Brigade: The British Cavalry in the Crimean War – which describe in detail what it was like to fight in the battles of Alma and Inkerman, the siege of Sebastopol, as well as the charge of the Light Brigade.
Many of the letters were written by Yorkshiremen to their families and friends and were published in local papers like the Leeds Mercury. They include graphic accounts of the fighting, of the terrible loss of men and horses shot and they describe, too, the miserable conditions with men dying as much from disease as from their wounds.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Attack on the Bilboquet and Gringolet

Many cavalry theorists of the 1840s and 1850s considered that the days of cavalry, especially armoured heavy cavalry, were numbered. The 'Beau ideal' for many, including British observers, were the French 'Chasseurs d'Afrique' who were trained as both light cavalry and as mounted infantry. Rifled muskets which had an effective range of 800-1000 metres meant the end of brightly coloured uniforms and were deadly against tightly-formed ranks of cavalry. Despite the assertions of Captain Louis Edward Nolan (1818-1854) in England, the Crimean War (1853-1856) showed that cavalry could not overcome well-formed infantry and that the cavalry charge was more deadly to it's own army than to the enemy.  Often considered to have out-performed her Ally, the French cavalry came unstuck when attempting to attack two Russian artillery batteries during May 1855.