During the Crimean War, the British army and its French and Turkish allies, moved to capture the Russian port of Sevastopo. In the ensuing battle at Balaklava, a misunderstood order, plus enmity between senior British officers, led to a heroic but catastrophic charge by Lord Cardigan’s Light Brigade.
In October 1854, allied forces were besieging the port and fortress of Sevastopol. British forces were based at Balaklava on the right flank of the siege, but lacked sufficient numbers to defend in depth. The Russian General Liprandi decided to attack this weak point in an attempt to disrupt the supply lines between the British base and the siege lines. Liprani's forces consisted of 24 battalions of infantry, 23 squadrons of cavalry, 13 squadrons of Cossacks and 66 heavy guns. Supporting Liprani was a further Russian force on the nearby Fedioukine Hills.