A Counterfactual Study of the Charge of the Light Brigade

Historical Methods. 48(2): 80-89.

Abstract:  Researchers use a mathematical model to perform a counterfactual study of the 1854 Charge of the Light Brigade. They first calibrate the model with historical data so that it reproduces the actual charge’s outcome. They then adjust the model to see how that outcome might have changed if the Heavy Brigade had joined the charge and/or if the charge had targeted the Russian forces on the heights instead of those in the valley. The results suggest that all the counterfactual attacks would have led to heavier British casualties. However, a charge by both brigades along the valley might plausibly have yielded a British victory.