Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

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Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby Borys » 29 Jan 2009 12:08

Ahoj!
According to this fine site:
http://www.britishbattles.com/first-afg ... ndamak.htm
the below units were "wiped out".
44th Foot
2nd Bengal Light Cavalry
1st Bengal European Infantry
37th Bengal Native Infantry
48th Bengal Native Infantry
2nd Bengal Native Infantry
27th Bengal Native Infantry.
Bengal Horse Artillery

How quickly were they rebuilt? When were they again combat ready?

Borys
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Re: Units destroyed in retreat from Kabul

Postby Liz » 29 Jan 2009 13:15

Hi Borys

While thousands of people were killed in the retreat from Kabul, there were at least 100 survivors. I am in the process of putting together a comprehensive list. In the meantime, you'll find a number of postings where we discuss survivors including Dr Brydon, Captain Souter and Lady Sale.

The 44th was reformed and went on to fight in a number of conflicts - see http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=634 for a good overview. At least some of the HEIC reigments were also reformed but went on to mutiny in 1857-58 and were not then reformed.

Cheers,

Liz
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Re: Units destroyed in retreat from Kabul

Postby Borys » 29 Jan 2009 13:54

Liz wrote:Hi Borys

While thousands of people were killed in the retreat from Kabul, there were at least 100 survivors. I am in the process of putting together a comprehensive list.

:)
I've dabbled in military history for too long to believe in "wiped out to a man" stories.
There always are some sort of stragglers ( who show up a week later) or POWs.
Not to mention all the men in hospitals, seconded somewhere else, on leave, etc., depot, etc.

Borys
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Re: Units destroyed in retreat from Kabul

Postby mike snook » 29 Jan 2009 16:38

Borys

The list is not correct. No Bengal European Infantry. Only European Inf was HM 44th.

There was a bty of Bengal Horse Artillery. From memory, that's too many NI battalions too. I'd run a quick cross-check against another source if I were you. I'm away from home so can't help unfortunately. Perhaps somebody else will chime in with the accurate list.

Regards

Mike
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Re: Units destroyed in retreat from Kabul

Postby Borys » 29 Jan 2009 17:39

Ahoj!
Thank you, take your time. I'll wait.
Borys
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Re: Units destroyed in retreat from Kabul

Postby clansman » 12 Feb 2009 19:55

The column left Kabul on the 6th January, 1842. It comprised of 4,500 soldiers, including 690 Europeans and 12,000 wives, children and civilian servants. Despite a guarantee of safe conduct the column was attacked as soon as it left Kabul. On 13 January, the last remnants comprising of 20 officers and 45 soldiers, mostly of the 44th, made a last stand on a hillock at Gandamak. Only six moúnted officers escaped and of these five were murdered on the route back. On the afternoon of the 13th, British soldiers in Jelalabad, watching for their comrades from the Kabul garrison, saw a lone rider approaching. It was Doctor Bryden, sole survivor of the column.
The entire force of 690 British soldiers, 2,850 Indian soldiers and 12,000 civilians, were all killed except for a few taken prisoner. The 44th lost 22 officers and 640 soldiers, mostly killed. The Afghan casualties are unknown.
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Re: Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby Liz » 13 Feb 2009 03:36

Hi Clansman

I'm always delighted when people take an interest in the 1st Afghan War because it's relatively obscure compared to, say, the 2nd Afghan War. It does however mean that there are lots of myths/misinformation about it.

For example, there were considerably more than 6 mounted officers who made a break for Jellalabad. And while the column definitely came under attack from locals, the weather also accounted for a very large number of deaths (just as in Napoleon's retreat from Moscow a few decades earlier).

If you are interested I would be happy to post details of where you can access some 1st hand British/Indian accounts of the retreat or (if you'd prefer a broader perspective) some well-researched modern books on this subject. Cheers,

Liz
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Re: Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby clansman » 13 Feb 2009 10:02

Thanks for that, Liz.

I didn't know more than six officers escaped, but was the good doctor the only one to reach safety? We can't imagine the horrors the column had to endure, especially for the women and children. I read somewhere that 3,000 casualties were left in a gorge. As you say the weather was a huge factor in the losses. My main interest is the Highland regiments during the Crimean War but I am interested in all the campaigns on the forum.
Thanks again, clansman.
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Re: Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby phil12908 » 19 Jan 2010 19:05

Hi all,

I have just been reading your posts about the First Afghan War, particularly those about the retreat from Kabul in January 1842. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction of any useful primary sources you are aware of which would assist me in writing a piece of research for my degree? I am particularly looking for sources relating to the reaction to the events in Britain and the repercussions. I am finding them a little hard to track down. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Yours,

Phil
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Re: Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby Liz » 20 Jan 2010 04:14

Hi Phil

A warm welcome to the VWF. Am happy to post a list of 1st Afghan War sources although finding the time to put it together may be a little tricky... In the meantime, when you talk about the reaction to the events, whose reaction are you most interested in: the public? the upper echelons of the HEIC aka the Kings of Leadenhall Street? the British government? What sources have you already located? And will you be publishing your research online?

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Re: Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby phil12908 » 21 Jan 2010 18:34

Hi Liz,

I would be very appreciative of any help you could give me and I entirely understand that finding the time to compile a list of sources wouldn't be at the top of your list of priorities! When I talk about the reaction to the events I was going to examine that of the public, the government, the ramifications for the military and the wider implications for EIC policy as it undoubtedly altered the strategic security of India. I have already located a number of contemporary newspaper articles and intend to use the painting by Lady Butler entitled 'The Remnants of an Army' as an additional source. I am so far in the early stages of gathering sources but intend to visit the National Archives in London in the near future to find more and I also have a meeting planned with my university supervisor. I would be happy to email you a copy of my research when it is complete in way of thanks for your very kind help but I am not sure if the University would permit to post my work online in its entirety due to plagiarism by other students.

Phil
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Re: Units destroyed in 1842 retreat from Kabul

Postby fayec » 04 Mar 2010 15:52

Hi all,

I've been reading about the retreat from Kabul and have found some suggestions that there was a cover up afterwards by the government but I can't seem to find anything in the books I'm using to back this up.

Does anyone know anything about this or could anyone point me in the right direction! Obviously it could just be a red herring!

Thanks,

Faye
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The Myth of the Last Man

Postby JasonUbych » 31 Dec 2014 20:48

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