At the Battle of the Cowshed, Snowball shows himself to be a leader of great competence and valor. Having learned a little about military strategy by reading a book about Julius Caesar's campaigns, he uses his expertise to come up with a battle plan. When Jones and the men attack, he orders a retreat. The animals' withdrawal turns out to be a ruse that leads the humans into a trap. Snowball himself shows considerable courage in leading the animals in a counterattack:
Snowball now gave the signal for the charge. He himself dashed straight for Jones. Jones saw him coming, raised his gun and fired. The pellets scored bloody streaks along Snowball’s back, and a sheep dropped dead. Without halting for an instant, Snowball flung his fifteen stone against Jones’s legs. Jones was hurled into a pile of dung and his gun flew out of his hands.
So Snowball is not only responsible for planning the battle, but he risks his own life to lead the animals to victory. After the battle, he, as well as Boxer, is decorated for bravery with the award "Animal Hero, First Class." After his falling out with Napoleon, however, Snowball leaves the farm, and Squealer goes to great lengths to rewrite the history of the battle, claiming that Snowball had no role in it. Indeed, he is later portrayed as having actually plotted with the humans to encourage the invasion in the first place. Snowball's role in the battle is analogous to Leon Trotsky's role in the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil War. Like Trotsky, he is forced to flee into exile.