By Carl Posey, Air & Space magazine, March 2009
“How the Republic F-105 got good at a mission it was not designed to fly. At the 1854 Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, British cavalry were ordered to attack withdrawing Czarist artillery brigades. By the time the order cascaded down the chain of command, however, it misdirected the British horsemen into a hail of fire from Russian guns. The debacle caused a furor in England, and inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to pen ‘Charge of the Light Brigade,’ with its mournful refrain: Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.
Just over a century later, something like that infamous charge was performed in modern dress, this time with airplanes, and with the Russian weapons hidden in the forests of North Vietnam. And this time the action was not completed in a single day, but recurred, every morning and afternoon, weather and politics permitting, for more than three years. Charge of the Light Brigade, meet Groundhog Day.”