The painting depicts a scene from the last great European cavalry battle – the Battle of Komarov, which took place on 31 August 1920. The chronicler of the battle, who commanded one of the regiments in it, Rotmistrz Kornel Krzeczunowicz believed that it was the greatest battle in over a hundred years. In the clash, 1500 Polish soldiers were victorious over a 6,000-strong Russian army.
The scene shows the morning charge of the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment against Budyonny’s troops during the battle for hill 255 which was the strategic point of the battle. In the first row we can see the Russian troops retreating in panic – a soldier with a wound head slipping from his horse and several others looking back in flight. Behind them there is an attacking Polish Light Cavalry holding raised sabres.
The painting was conceived as the left wing of a triptych illustrating the Battle of Komarov. The picture was painted by Jerzy Kossak for the Cavalry Training Centre in Grudziądz, from where it was stolen in September 1939 and has not been found so far.
The painter created in the realism style. Like his father and grandfather, Jerzy Kossak mainly dealt with illustrating scenes from Polish history, especially battle scenes. The painter had a habit creating replicas of his works, thanks to which the two images from the triptych survived and are now in the Ossolineum collection.