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15: Reorganisation, Re-Equipment, and More Trouble in India in VS .NET
15: Reorganisation, Re-Equipment, and More Trouble in India
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If the victorious Afghans had not paused to loot the baggage, it is unlikely that any of Burrows s men would have survived In the event, the British faced a night of being sniped at and thirst-tortured marching from well to well Some of Nuttall s troops reached Kandahar during the early hours of the morning Primrose sent out a relief force, and the provision of water did much to restore discipline By mid-afternoon on 28 July, after 33 hours of marching and fighting, much of the time without food or water, the last British survivors trudged through the gates of Kandahar Of the 2565 men who fought at Maiwand, 962 were killed, including a party of 150 Rifles and Grenadiers who lost their way during the retreat and were massacred Only 161 of the wounded survived the battle and the horrors of the retreat Seven guns were lost or abandoned and over 2000 horses and transport animals were killed or captured It took Ayub a week to clear the field of his own dead, including 1500 of his regulars and between 3000 and 4000 ghazis When he did resume his advance on Kandahar, he had to leave 1500 of his more seriously wounded behind in Maiwand
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Marching from Kabul to Kandahar
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In Kandahar, General Primrose immediately sent a signal to the Commanderin-Chief India, General Sir Frederick Haines, informing him of the Maiwand disaster, and put the city into a defensible condition At Haines s suggestion, Lieutenant General Sir Donald Stewart, now commanding the British troops in Kabul, quickly organised a flying column under Roberts (see the section Retaking the Kabul Residency , earlier in this chapter), recently knighted and promoted, giving him the pick of the troops that were present Roberts s mission was to relieve Kandahar as quickly as possible The column consisted of one cavalry and three infantry brigades, three British and one Indian mountain batteries It had to march 500 kilometres (313 miles) over terrain that included mountains and deserts, and it had to travel light The logistic planning for the march to Kandahar was a triumph All transport consisted of pack animals British officers were allowed only one mule each for their personal effects, and British soldiers were permitted 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of baggage per man, Indian soldiers 9 kilograms (20 pounds) Infantrymen each carried 70 rounds of ammunition, with a further 30 rounds per man in regimental reserve and 100 rounds in the Ordnance Field Park The mountain batteries each had 540 rounds of ready-use ammunition, with a further 30 rounds per gun in reserve Each company was allocated one mule to carry the arms of sick or wounded men As no wheeled transport was permitted, special provision was made for the field hospital, including 2192 bearers, 115 doolies (litters to be carried on the shoulders), 286 ponies, 43 donkeys, 3 bullocks, and 6 camels The column s pack animals included 2740 horses and ponies, 4511 mules, and 912 donkeys The troops carried basic marching rations, but the commissaries bought livestock for slaughter, grain, and firewood from local sources along the way
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Part IV: Nineteenth-Century Wars
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The march was not comfortable At noon temperatures were scorching, but at night they dropped nearly to freezing point The torment of sandstorms added to the choking dust kicked up by thousands of animals The troops had to cross long stretches of the desert without water Along the way, the garrison of Kalat-I-Ghilzai, including two detached companies of the 66th, reinforced the column The British established heliograph contact with the Kandahar garrison on 27 August Ayub abandoned the siege and withdrew to a low ridge 65 kilometres (4 miles) northwest of the city Four days later, led by the pipers of the 72nd and 92nd Highlanders (respectively 1/The Seaforth Highlanders and 2/The Gordon Highlanders), the British column marched into Kandahar It had marched the 500 kilometres (313 miles) in just 21 days, including one rest day, a truly remarkable feat for any army Roberts now commanded two infantry divisions, two cavalry brigades, and six artillery batteries, a total of 14,000 men and 36 guns, including two big 40-pounders He had no intention of letting Ayub rest and the following morning led out his troops to do battle Ayub s strength had dropped to 5000 regulars, about 10,000 ghazis and irregulars, and 32 guns His men resisted the British attack to the best of their ability, but as the old saying had it, an Afghan attacked was far less formidable than an Afghan attacking The British drove Ayub s men off their position, and the Afghans abandoned their camp and all their artillery, including the two guns belong the E/B Battery taken at Maiwand The 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry and the 3rd Scind Horse also had their revenge for Maiwand, cutting down 350 of the fugitives as they ran In total, Ayub lost about 1200 killed and wounded Roberts s losses amounted to 35 killed and 213 wounded Ayub no longer presented a threat Abdur Rahman was steadily bringing the rest of the country under his control and was clearly a man with whom the British could do business He agreed to eliminate the Russian influence in Afghanistan in return for the British not forcing a Resident on him As it happened, the Russians were just as unpopular as the British, so the decision involved no great hardship for the Afghans The Second Afghan War had run its course
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The Great Frontier Rising, 1897 1898
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In 1897 the tribal areas of the North West Frontier were abuzz with rumours The rumours started because the previous year Greece and Turkey had gone to war The Turks had won and massacred some of their opponents Great Britain had protested formally and that annoyed the Sultan As the Sultan was a very important figure in the Muslim world, the protest also annoyed the frontier mullahs, notably Sayid Akbar (known as the Mad Mullah of Swat), and the Haddah Mullah in the country of the Mohmands This was a wonderful time, they said, to drive the infidels from their land, and by that they meant Hindus as well as Christians
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