Douglas Miniatures Logo

Douglas Miniatures Logo

Monday, 7 August 2017

Battle Report - Valley of Death

The Light Brigade, with Lord Cardigan at its head begins to trot down the North Valley towards the Cossack Battery, of 12 guns. Initially the stunned Russians simply stare at the spectacle, but it is not long before they realise the intent of the British light cavalry. Guns on both flanks and the Cossack Battery begin to pour shot and cannister into the the ranks of the five British regiments:

The Cossack battery does little damage; however the guns the right flank bring down 10 men and horses. The Light brigade continues to trot down the valley.

The next salvos are more effective as 50 men from the 11th Hussars and 17th Lancers fall.
The British Cavalry break into a charge and hurtle towards the Russian guns, which are now blasting from all sides and another 70 men are brought down. Already the Light brigade has lost 130 from a total of 600. Somehow Cardigan at the very front survives the hailstorm.

On the fourth turn the Light Brigade reaches the Cossack Battery, although another 20 men are lost. The action now breaks into a series of smaller battles. Behind the guns and to the right and left are three regiments of cossacks and a regiment of hussars. They are tested to see if they stand. They do except one of the cossack units, which turns tail. In the centre the 17th Lancers and the 8th Hussars, which piles into the fray begin to batter the cossack gunners; the 13th Light Dragoons peel off to the right to engage the Russian hussars and the 11th Hussars and 4th Light Dragoons swing left to engage the cossacks. The flanking guns continue to fire into the British rear.

Meanwhile on the Fedioukine Hills the French Chasseurs d' Afrique charge into the Russian battery that had done so much damage to the 11th Hussars:
The battery is destroyed, but the Russian infantry, now in square pour fire into the French horsemen, who break off the attack:
Around the Cossack Battery a bitter fight continues, with the Russian gunners doing surprisingly well. For two whole turns they fight off the British cavalry, before finally being overwhelmed, but the damage is done, the remainder of the Light Brigade is fighting against ever increasing odds:
Having taken the cossack guns the 17th Lancers and 8th Hussars attempt to reform. However, two fresh regiments of Russian lancers appear from behind the hill:
The 17th Lancers Turn to support the 13th Light dragoons, who are locked in a losing skirmish with the Russian Hussars
On the left, the 11th Hussars, badly mauled by the artillery are now smashed into by the Don Cossack lancers, suffering severe casualties and they break and turn away from the fight:
The 8th Hussars, still sorting themselves out beyond the guns see a new regiment of cossacks bearing down on them:
And, the 4th Light Dragoons beat off their cossack lancers, only to be attacked by fresh Russian lancers:
Over on the right, the remnants of the 17th Lancers and 13th Light Dragoons finally rout the Russian Hussars and they look for an exit, turning to head back down the valley, but they come under more shell fire from the Causeway Heights and on their right flank they can see a Regiment of Russian lancers bearing down on them:

On the left the remains of the 4th Light Dragoons and the 8th Hussars are now outnumbered and almost surrounded; they attempt to break out, losing more men and once more coming under artillery fire. In the background the 17th Lancers bash through the Don Cosssacks, but are reduced to less than 50% strength:
It is over, the tattered remnants of the Light Brigade trot back to their starting positions. Out of their original 600, just 210 men remain. Cardigan trots back to his tent for a bath to clean off the dust:
Meanwhile at the Russian end the cossack cavalry and lancers regroup behind the destroyed cossack battery.

Who won? Well the Light brigade completed their objective and reached the guns, but were seriously mauled in the process, as were the French. The Russians lost the guns. However, the guns were not the intended objective, so the action was somewhat pointess


  1. Just as it was on the day. From a wargamerly standpoint, however, a magnificent display. Simply wonderful. I have half a mind to try something similar but in a mid-18th century context. A great scenario for misunderstanding and misinterpretation of orders.

    Best Regards,


  2. Remarkably like the events on the day , very enjoyable write up , Tony

  3. That is absolutely magnificent Bob. What a fantastic spread.

  4. As you say "the action was somewhat pointless" - so a completely accurate recreation. Lovely looking spectacle!

  5. Thank you all for your very kind comments. This was a fast paced game; as for the first 4-5 turns the allies simply moved, while for the Russians just the guns and a handful of infantry fired. I was surprised by how long it took the Light Brigade to clear the guns, with the Cossack gunners having a series of winning dice rolls, despite the advantages of cavalry vs guns, charging etc.

    The small separate actions that evolved once the Russian cavalry became involved were more complex. I had factored in the real reactions that occurred on the day, in that the Russian cavalry were in awe of the British following the earlier Heavy Brigade action. At the real charge the Russians were very reluctant to engage at first; in my action just one regiment stood still.

    Overall, as others have said, the outcome of this little battle bore a remarkable resemblance to the events of 25th October 1854.

  6. By God Sir, you've lost the Light Brigade! What a splendid spectacle though...

  7. A full light brigade of Douglas figures - brilliant! I can just about do it in S Range, just waiting for the Light Dragoons. Though I do have a bunch of Douglas ones somewhere...

    1. A full brigade of S range would be a fine sight. It is a shame that Douglas did not produce any French cavalry. I had to resort to my S Range figures. In fact apart from the French, a couple of Russian guns and the staff officers, this battle is made up entirely of Douglas figures.

  8. Flashed all their sabres bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air
    Sabring the gunners there...

    This is just too glorious, Bob.

  9. Splendid game report with lots of photos of your wonderful armies.

  10. Impressive pictures, a great looking game!