Few military maneuvers instill as many thoughts of heroism and daring as the cavalry charge. Rushing at full speed against an onslaught of enemy forces has inspired such poetic works Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s as “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” and have launched political careers, as did the Battle of San Juan Hill for U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.While always exciting, the cavalry charge was not always glorious, and rarely successful. World War II was the last of the Calvary charges, including one of the most disastrous. It took place on November 17, 1941, during the Battle of Moscow.
Facing heavy opposition, the Soviet 44th “Mongolian” Cavalry Division charged the German lines near Musino, west of the capital. The Soviets’ bravery was no match for the Nazi weaponry. The cavalrymen were ravaged, first by German artillery, then by machine guns.
To say the charge failed is a colossal understatement. The charge ended with 2,000 cavalrymen slaughtered and not a single loss on the German side.