Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kabul, 1842.

This is coolbert:

"The history of a battle, is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals may recollect all the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost, but no individual can recollect the order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred, which makes all the difference as to their value or importance." .. - - Wellington.

"These are reverse engineered British Enfield rifles. They weren't used until the second Afghan-Anglo war. The 16,000 who were massacred were by sword and arrow. Get a damn education you moron." - - Anonymous.

On this date 173 years ago [1842] that British contingent of 16,500 persons, camp followers and troops [with 2,000 camels carrying the baggage train] both having departed Kabul en route to the perceived safety of Jalalabad, a distance of ninety miles [145 kilometers], only one survivor [Doctor Brydon] having completed the journey seven days later, the rest of the column having perished. [reputedly about twenty sepoy also straggled into friendly hands at a later date]

Of that ordeal a variety of accounts exist, persons surviving either offering themselves as hostages [in return for safe conduct passage not granted] or captives taken on the battlefield [held to be returned later in return for ransom].

As described in chapters 15 and 16 of the book "The Dark Defile" [2012] by Diana Preston it is apparent that casualties occurring primarily from:

* Exposure to the cold.
* Exhaustion.
* Jezail rifle fire.
* Sword and dagger.

That armed force consisting of about 4,500 troops, that "European" element a single battalion of the 44th of Foot, H.M. East Essex Regiment, the remainder native sepoy infantry and cavalry, unit cohesion and integrity having more or less broken down completely after the first two days of the march.

Temperatures at all times below freezing, no shelter, food or water available.

Afghan tribesmen firing their jezail rifles from the surrounding heights at long range, the Brown Bess musket of the British infantry unable to reply with effective fire. That marksmanship of the Afghani as remarked by all present most enviable.

NOT one single mention of bows and arrows!

Ever since 2001 my worst fear those American and allied troops in Afghan for whatever reason or combination reasons eventually having to march out of the country in a manner as occurred in 1842, the results most similar, BUT IN REALITY HAVING NO WHERE TO GO TO!


No comments: