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Author Topic: July 27,1880. The worst defeat ever suffered by the British army in Afghanistan.  (Read 600 times)

tokugawa

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Maiwand.
"For the survivors of Burrow's force the retreat over the 45 miles to Kandahar was an ordeal that was even worse than the battle itself. Only the artillery and the baggage guard had been able to preserve their unit discipline and it was around the former, now under Captain Slade, that a rearguard was hurriedly formed. He described the scene: "All over the wide expanse of desert are to be seen men in twos and threes retreating. Camels have thrown their loads; sick men, almost naked, are astride donkeys, mules and camels; the bearers have thrown down their doolies (covered litters) and left the wounded to their fate. The guns and carriages are crowded with the helpless wounded suffering the tortures of the damned; horses are limping along with ugly wounds and men are pressing eagerly to the rear in the hope of finding water. Hordes of irregular horsemen are to be seen amongst our baggage animals, relentlessly cutting our men down and looting. A few alone remain with Brigadier Burrows to try and turn the rout into an orderly retreat."

"And so it goes on for five or six miles, till the sun begins to sink serenely into the horizon. The cries for Water! Water! become more frequent and louder. Most suffer in silence for they can hardly speak. The wounded open their mouths to show a dry parched tongue. After a long search in the dead of night a deep well full of muddy water is found in the village of Hauz-i-Madat. There is just sufficient to satisfy the wounded and those in severe distress, but none can be spared for the already worn out and exhausted horses. Everyone's hand is against us. Villagers from all sides creep up behind the low mud walls and fire on us, and many a gallant fellow who had battled against the trials of the night fell victim to the jezail (a long Afghan musket)." Gunner James Collis of E/B won his Victoria Cross for drawing the fire of these snipers onto himself and so enabled many wounded and straggling soldiers to escape. "

 " Fifteen years later James Collis forfeited his Victoria Cross when he was found guilty of bigamy. But it was restored to him in 1901 by Edward VII who said that if it came to it Collis could wear it on the scaffold! "

 More here, if you are interested.

http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armycampaigns/indiancampaigns/campafghan1878maiwand.htm
http://www.garenewing.co.uk/angloafghanwar/sitestuff/about.php

 

 

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Grant

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  Britains empire building adventures from the 1860's up to the early 1900's has always fascinated me.    Glory to the empire and all that, they fought a lot of wars.    While unsurprising that they won, considering the vast resources they could throw at an opponent, they had some spectactular defeats as well.   Mainly to overconfidence.

   
Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

tokugawa

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On the want list - these rifles have history in spades. The story of where they came from is interesting too- be sure to read about the armory find in Nepal.

http://www.ima-usa.com/original-british-p-1871-martini-henry-mkii-short-lever-rifle-1870s-dates-cleaned-complete.html

stephendutton

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On the want list - these rifles have history in spades. The story of where they came from is interesting too- be sure to read about the armory find in Nepal.

http://www.ima-usa.com/original-british-p-1871-martini-henry-mkii-short-lever-rifle-1870s-dates-cleaned-complete.html

I have an old Martini Henry rifle that still has its original sling. The soldier to who it was issued etched his name in both the butt and sling so that gives away whereabouts it was issued. The writing is in Punjabi and translates to 'Gunner Sarva' or similar, so it was issued to a artillery unit in India.
I also have an example of the cavalry carbine version and thanks to the UK's laws on antique firearms this one is still live firing - I just can't own any ammunition for it.
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tokugawa

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Many interesting weapons were brought home in years past, I have seen examples of many Boer Mausers from the Commonwealth, and all sorts of other weapons,  that are now deemed too dangerous for people to own. 
After Brexit, maybe you can keep those Martini's- the new EU regs were going to be far more strict than what applies now, apparently. 

On a side note, I watch the British Antiques roadshow - years ago, there was an old firearm or other weapon on from time to time- but now, anything of military origin seems to be a incidental piece of gear, or other memorabilia. Have not seen a firearm or sword of any description for a long time.
Is it your sense this is a deliberate effort to reduce interest in arms collecting as a legitimate hobby or enterprise? 

 I have been reading a bit about the second Afghan war, prompted by a purchase of a very interesting sword at our local gun show- it is a Victorian era Officers sword with an Afghan hilt applied later. The sword was sharpened for field use, yet it shows little signs of battle damage. I think perhaps it was captured from some unfortunate officer and was a war trophy for the Afghan. It is a thought provoking piece of history,  I am sure you feel the same way when you handle the Martini. Fascinating to think it could have been used at Kandahar or in the Zulu wars.   Someday I may luck into finding out exactly who owned it, there is a seal on it which I cannot identify.

stephendutton

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The Antiques Roadshow is on the BBC and they are very anti-shooting and anti-gun. Just recently they reported (seemingly with horror) on the number of children as young as nine years old who have shotgun licences. Of course they didn't mention that these children still can't own a shotgun or ammunition and didn't give a single example of them causing any deaths or injuries or committing any crimes.

Our political class is the same. They'd happily see every last law abiding citizen disarmed if they could. the main stumbling block is money. If they're going to issue an outright ban then owners would have to be compensated. Since the pistol bans of 1997 cost so much for so little return the new tactic is to allow people to keep what they have, perhaps introducing some prerequisite conditions for ownership, but ban the sale and transfer of ownership so that anyone who can't keep what they have can be said to have been surrendering them voluntarily and thus not be entitled to compensation.

Can you send me a decent photo of the seal on the sword? I may be able to look into that for you. An image of the full sword would be useful as well.
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MTK20

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The Antiques Roadshow is on the BBC and they are very anti-shooting and anti-gun. Just recently they reported (seemingly with horror) on the number of children as young as nine years old who have shotgun licences. Of course they didn't mention that these children still can't own a shotgun or ammunition and didn't give a single example of them causing any deaths or injuries or committing any crimes.

Our political class is the same. They'd happily see every last law abiding citizen disarmed if they could. the main stumbling block is money. If they're going to issue an outright ban then owners would have to be compensated. Since the pistol bans of 1997 cost so much for so little return the new tactic is to allow people to keep what they have, perhaps introducing some prerequisite conditions for ownership, but ban the sale and transfer of ownership so that anyone who can't keep what they have can be said to have been surrendering them voluntarily and thus not be entitled to compensation.

Can you send me a decent photo of the seal on the sword? I may be able to look into that for you. An image of the full sword would be useful as well.

Well said and a pity. It's the same the world over. They don't care that there is violence in society, it's the tool they are after. It's not "all guns" it's "your guns, the guns of the working class citizen" that are bad. Only those with the self proclaimed status, royal blood, or position should be allowed to have ownership of firearms and the "monopoly of violence" as Jeff Cooper called it.

People and Governments will do anything for power, and carry out the most egregious of machinations under the pseudo-altruism of "for the children" or "for the betterment of society"  :banghead.
Texas
Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

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stephendutton

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Well said and a pity. It's the same the world over. They don't care that there is violence in society, it's the tool they are after. It's not "all guns" it's "your guns, the guns of the working class citizen" that are bad. Only those with the self proclaimed status, royal blood, or position should be allowed to have ownership of firearms and the "monopoly of violence" as Jeff Cooper called it.

People and Governments will do anything for power, and carry out the most egregious of machinations under the pseudo-altruism of "for the children" or "for the betterment of society"  :banghead.

Yes, though strangely our Royal Family is much more friendly towards gun ownership than our elected government. In December 1996 the Duke of Edinburgh made his opposition to the pistol ban clear, attracting the expected criticism from the usual combination of MPs and self appointed busybodies.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/are-you-going-to-ban-cricket-bats-1315164.html
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