I believe the soldiers to have been portrayed as heroic for a number of reasons, The first reason being that the soldiers are British. This poem was written by a British poet who obviously intended to use it for propaganda purposes. Simply because of the fact that the soldiers are risking their lives for Britain makes them heroes to the intended audience. The second reason I believe the soldiers are portrayed as heroes, is due to their valiant performance which is described, that even though they were given bad orders that sent most of them to their deaths, the soldiers are described after every stanza as 600 men, showing that no one retreated, they all rode into the 'valley of death' described as "cannons to every side of them" with their swords unsheathed, breaking through the Russian and Cossack lines, sacrificing many of their lives, but still riding as 600 men. Only very few men return however it is all of the 600 men who charged in my belief that are the heroes. And the last reason I believe that the soldiers are portrayed as heroes, is simply because they were all willing to sacrifice their lives for their countries, it is in this belief that I can also say that the Russian and Cossack soldiers are also portrayed as heroes, as they too were prepared to sacrifice their lives, on behalf of their countries.
Some soldiers did lose their lives, while others stayed alive, regardless of this they were all prepared to sacrifice their lives, when they entered the battle. We know this as the location the riders charge into is described as a "valley of death" obviously symbolizing that there was a basic guarantee of death that awaited any of the soldiers entering the valley, regardless of this fact, the soldiers on both sides fight, sacrificing their lives, and because of this I would regard them as heroes.