Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010



It's been a long time since my last post -- several weeks. In that time my mother-in-law sadly passed away, following my father-in-law, who left us a little over 2 months earlier, back in early June. We had a long-planned family vacation in the works which they were both supposed to go on. In the event, our family and my sister-in-law's family went, together with my wife's one other sister, who happily was able to fly in from Shanghai in time for the funeral. Luckily we were able to arrange it so she could take the place of my recently deceased mother-in-law, which enabled 2 complete branches of the family and a representative of the 3rd branch to all spend some time together, mourning, remembering, laughing and crying. I'm glad my wife decided we should all stick to the planned vacation, rather than canceling it on the heels of the sudden tragic turn of events. It's been a rough Summer, especially for her and her two sisters, as well as the 7 grandchildren. I think spending time together, away from almost all day-to-day responsibilities, helped us all deal with things a little better. Obviously this has absolutely nothing to do with Maiwand in miniature but I feel obligated to spend a little time on the subject and hope those of you reading along will bear with me. Now, on to far happier matters...


Yes, it's true, myself, my 13 year-old son and our good buddy Matthew will all be lugging 6'x12' of Maiwand terrain up to Santa Clara for the upcoming PACIFICON GAME EXPO this coming Labor Day weekend.

Here's a link to the convention's website:

We will be lending the terrain to my TMP brother in Maiwand Madness, Nick Stern, for use with his Black Powder Maiwand game to be held starting at 11:30am on Saturday, September 4th.

I'm almost done with the 6th board, which will eliminate the need to "rotate" the boards to extend the table Southwards, beyond Mundabad Ravine and the karez, in order to make room for the rest of the villages of Mundabad and Khig and especially for the walled gardens of Khig, where members of the 66th Regt. made their last stand at the end of the actual battle of Maiwand.

I'll try hard to post a few shots of the table with the 6th board attached, after it's all done. I've also finished up some more high quality trees to use in the villages and the gardens. The trek to Santa Clara is a little bit daunting, only because the boards have never travelled before -- but I have a plan to utilize some carpet foam as packing material to cushion the bumps along the road, plus I've got some furniture blankets that may come in handy as well.

If any readers of this blog happen to be planning to attend Pacificon, please try to stop by Nick's Maiwand game to check out the table in person and say hi!

Here's a pic of board #6 -- still without its final dry-brush highlight coat of sandstone --

Thursday, August 5, 2010



So the guns got away (almost exactly as they did in the real battle), limbering up and galloping South down the center nullah and the plain until they reached the North edge of Mundabad Ravine...

A RED CARD is pulled, enabling the Bombay Grenadiers to FORM SQUARE within the narrow confines of the East Nullah. With only 14 men fit for duty, two faces of the square presented 4 men each and the other two presented 3 men each -- but if they had a few more men left, they wouldn't have been able to fit their square -- and its +2 in the probable melee -- inside the nullah. Their Subadar recovered from his wound, so he could retake command, freeing up Brigadier Burrows to withdraw with the guns towards Mundabad Ravine and the villages beyond, where he hoped to establish a strong defensive position from which he might have a chance at stopping the Afghan army which he now realized overwhelmingly outnumbered his own...

The Bombay Light Cavalry and Scinde Horse both CHARGE the Afghan Regular Cavalry to their front. There are 3 units of Afghan Regular Cavalry in the area but they are bunched up and mis-aligned and the Brits are able to single out 2 units and charge one apiece while the third Afghan Cavalry regt. is left out of the fighting. Though they may take casualties, success could mean clearing all the remaining enemy cavalry off the table (since all 4 units of Tribal Cav . have already been destroyed), which would be a significant achievement and would help strengthen the British left flank by erasing any threat from fast-moving cavalry.

The British Baggage Guard troops advanced in an effort to provide fire support to the now isolated Bombay Grenadiers...


All 3 British guns were limbered and galloping at full speed, leaving them unable to fire.

The Bombay Grenadiers loosed a volley at the Ghazis poised to close into combat with them, inflicting several casualties but likely not enough to make a significant difference when the melee came --

The Afghan guns did the same from long range, picking away at those British targets not screened by other Afghan troops --

The Afghan Regular Cavalry which had been charged by 3rd Bombay Lights and 3rd Scinde Horse loosed feeble volleys with their mounted carbines, inflicting little or no casualties whatsoever -- their trigger-fingers shaking with fear of what the Queen Empress's retainers atop their trusty steeds, were about to inflict upon them with the cold steel in their hands --


-- which was not much, as both Indian Cavalry units, which needed to roll a 5 or 6 in order to NOT close into combat, did just that (again, very much as both units had done in the actual battle, where they failed to close into combat with the enemy when ordered to do so in an effort to stave off the threat to left flank of the British fighting line). So both units of Indian Cavalry turned around, fell back shaken and started to race for the Ravine, taking Brigadier Nutthall, the British cavalry commander, with them...

But such was not the case at the center nullah, where both Ghazi units, desperate for the chance to kill, cripple and maim for Allah and Ayub Khan, CLOSED INTO COMBAT. Luckily, the 1st Bombay Grenadiers showed themselves to be made of sterner stuff than their horse-riding brethren and rolled to STAND AND FIGHT against both charges.

-- The Grenadiers had a +2 for defending in square formation;

-- The Ghazis had a +1 for attacking from higher elevation (for the first round of figure-to-figure combat only);

...taken together this left a cumulative +1 for the British;

-- The Ghazis also WOULD WIN ALL TIES as their CHARGE BONUS;

...also, in accordance with our tradtional "Ghazi Rule" the Ghazis, if they lost a combat on a roll of "2" which left them wounded, would ROLL AGAIN: odd number and they would indeed fall wounded, EVEN NUMBER and they would take the wound in stride and FIGHT ON...

There were about 14 Grenadiers with one LEADER (their Subadar) Vs. 30-odd Ghazis with 3 leaders, including their HIGH COMMAND MULLAH, who lined up to strike the very first blow against the accursed Hindu idolators...


The British rolled a 6 -- +1 = 7. The Ghazi Mullah rolled... 1. THE FIRST HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT OF THE DAY RESULTED IN THE GHAZI MULLAH BEING KILLED!

A cheer went up from the thin ranks of the Bombay Grenadiers, it sounded something like this: "DIE GHAZI MULLAH!!!"

For a moment the British caught a glimpse of a glorious turn of events, despite the overwhelming odds, perhaps the strength of their square would cut through the attacking Ghazis like a futuristic Maxim gun and leave the Afghan attack blunted in the center, at least for another couple of turns, while the Grenadiers, after finishing up the rest of the Ghazis, could follow the rest of the Brigade across the Ravine and into the villages, which they could occupy in strength and use as cover against the accursed long range artillery of the Afghans...

Rolling melee dice recommenced... and alas, though the British did well and rolled their share of more 6's and 5's, the Afghans did well enough too. Each time a Ghazi fell wounded he shrugged off the bayonet stab as if it were a scratch and continued to fight. It took 3 rounds of melee dice for it to end but when it was over there were 3 surviving Bombay Grenadiers RETREATING SHAKEN chasing the guns down the nullah towards Mundabad Ravine, while the victorious Ghazis plus those who had fallen back during the melee, added up to some 8 or 9 survivors from a starting strength of more than 30.

It was a bloody fight and it marked the utter destruction of the first British unit of the day, representing 1/4 of the entire British infantry force.

The following turn, masses of Afghan Regular Infantry began to advance down the center of the plain and one 61-fig Tribal element advanced into the East Nullah, while the other 61-fig Tribal element advanced into the Western one and the remaining fresh 61-fig Ghazi element sliding South along the East table edge, skirting the edge of the East Nullah, heading for the Ravine where they could turn right, infiltrate the village of Khig and hit the British in their own Right Flank...

Meanwhile the British cavalry units retreated through the beaten zone of the Afghan artillery and were shot to pieces.

As he retreated his remaining 2 infantry units up the South face of Mundabad Ravine and began to organize his defense, Brigadier Burrows wondered why he hadn't woken his troops several hours earlier, left the slow-moving baggage train behind and marched as fast as humanly possible for the town of Maiwand early enough to have beaten Ayub Khan to the place, thereby avoiding the battle which was about to enter its final phase. But he hadn't, so now he had to establish a strong defensive perimeter, site his 3 remaining guns where they could inflict the most death and destruction upon the advancing enemy and make the Afghans pay for every step they took closer to his remaining forces. He had managed to retreat across the Ravine in good order, with the majority of his Brigade intact and his flanks and rear free of direct threats (none of which was the case when the real remnants of the real British army retreated across Mundabad Ravine on the Real Maiwand Day).

Would the British be able to hold on to the South side of the Ravine? Would they fight from atop the Southern edge or fall back into one or both villages and prepare for house-to-house fighting when the Afghans reached them? Would the Afghans even cross the ravine with their regulars or just send in waves of Ghazi and Tribal forces while their near endless supply of guns pounded away at the British, whether they were prone atop the ravine or hunkered down in the village(s)...?


Tuesday, August 3, 2010



The game began with Lieutenant Hector Maclaine of the Royal Horse Artillery having already set up his 9pdr RML Field Gun (one gun w/4 crew, representing his 2-gun Section) within long range of the Northern-eastern edge of the table, where the Afghans would be entering. The remainder of the British brigade was laid down in their historical order of march, arrayed on the plain between the Western and center nullahs, with the Scinde Horse and 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry in open order skirmish line, one behind the other, another 2 RHA RML (Rifled Muzzle Loaders) and 3 SB (Smoothbore) guns, all limbered up and advancing amidst march columns of 30th Bombay Native Infantry (Jacob's Rifles) on the left and 1st Bombay Grenadiers and 66th Regiment on the right.

The half-company of Bombay of Bombay Sappers & Miners (10 figs w/1 leader) followed the advance up the West Nullah, moving in March Column...

The Combined Baggage Guard (10 Brit. Inf. & 10 Ind. Inf. w/2 leaders each) took up position on the Southern edge of the plain, just North of Mundabad Ravine.

The Afghans brought in all 12 of their guns -- 3 Armstrong Rifled Breech Loaders and 9 lesser pieces -- literally as their "advance guard," allowance of which was a bit of an oversight by the collective brain of the players and Game Master in particular, but still probably didn't change all that much other than slightly speeding the time it took for them to get their artillery into action. As it was they were able to bring their guns -- particularly the Armstrongs, which outranged the best of the British guns by 12" -- to bear on the British immediately.

Afghan counter-battery fire proved painfully effective against the British guns set up on the plain, less so against the one RHA piece that dropped the trail of its limber in the center nullah, making it a CLASS IV TARGET. In fact, by TURN 6, three British guns -- 2 Royal Horse Artillery RMLs and 1 Smooth Bore -- had been put out of action by counter-battery fire alone.

The Afghans sent their TRIBAL CAVALRY (4 units, total of 50 figs) in on their left, down the East Nullah...

Afghans sent their REGULAR CAVALRY (3 units, total of 37 figs) in on their right, where it rode to the far Western edge of the table before turning South to face both units of British cavalry which had come up via the West Nullah and the flat plain...

Afghan REGULAR INFANTRY entered in two massed brigades, each comprised of four 20-fig units & 5 additional leaders.

The first Afghan Infantry brigade was comprised of 3 brown-uniformed Kabuli and 1 khaki-uniformed Kandahari regiments; the second Afghan Infantry Brigade was comprised of 2 HERATI, 1 HIGHLAND GUARD & 1 WALI'S MUTINEERS regiments.

The brown-coated Kabulis & Kandaharis entered in multiple successive ranks of OPEN ORDER, moving 3xD6 down the center of the Maiwand Plain, stretched in open order line between the West and Center Nullahs.

The mixed -- and mostly red-coated -- brigade was brought in behind the tribal cavalry on the Afghan left, stretching from the East to Center Nullahs.

For three turns the British continued to advance, trading artillery fire with the Afghans. It quickly became clear that the British would not do well in this exchange, being out-ranged and outnumbered.


After advancing for 3 turns, the British began an orderly withdrawal towards the potentially strong defensive position of Mundabad Ravine and the villages of Mundabad and Khig to the South.

The combined Baggage Guard unit withdrew down the North slope of Mundabad Ravine and headed South to take up position atop the Southern edge of the Ravine to anchor the British rear and guard against enemy infiltration of the Khig and Mundabad.


On their own LEFT FLANK the British turned the 66th Infantry and 30th BNI (Jacob's Rifles) around, marched them up out of the West Nullah -- where they were slowed down by moving through ROUGH TERRAIN and sent them marching in column atop the West edge of the table back towards Mundabad Ravine.

But in the center of the table, on the British RIGHT FLANK, the Bombay Grenadiers could not extricate themselves from the face of the Afghan advance so easily and so -- rather than fall back atop the plain where they would be easy targets for the powerful Afghan artillery -- they hunkered down in the Center Nullah and opened fire on the swarms of Tribal Cavalry approaching down the East Nullah. They were supported with fire from one of the RHA 9pdrs. and 2 of the 3 Smooth Bores. The combined efforts of the Grenadier rifles and the 3 British guns inflicted many casualties on the Tribal Cavalry --


All 3 remaining tribal cavalry units all CHARGED the Grenadiers in the Center Nullah.

At this point the Officer was WIA and the NCO was KIA, leaving the Grenadiers LEADERLESS in the face of looming hand-to-hand combat.

The only officer within reach of their lines was BRIGADIER GENERAL BURROWS himself.

General Burrows found himself in a heated debate with his escort and staff, all of whom argued he should NOT ride over to take command of the Grenadiers due to the terrible increase in personal risk and fear of the potential command & control disaster which might befall the entire brigade if he were to become a casualty. But the General disregarded these arguments, made for the Nullah and took command of the Grenadiers as they opened fire once more on the approaching ranks of Tribal Horsemen, supported once again by artillery fire from one RHA and 2 Smooth Bore guns...

These combined efforts wiped out nearly all that remained of the Tribal Cavalry and when it came time for the handful of survivors to roll to CLOSE INTO COMBAT with the close order line of Grenadiers in the Nullah below, they failed, turned tail and galloped away.

A cheer went up from the somewhat thinned-down (due to continued long range Afghan artillery fire at their covered position) ranks of the Grenadiers...


The Bombay Light Cav and Scinde Horse played a slightly odd game of cat & mouse with the 3 Afghan Regular Cavalry regts. opposing them. At first it appeared as if the British would launch an all-out 2 against 3 charge, sending both units against their 3 afghan opposite numbers -- but at the last moment the order was rescinded and the British Cavalry were kept in hand, the plan being for them to maintain a protective screen across the Left Flank of the British lines for several more turns in order to slow down the Afghan advance on that side of the field. But the Afghans took matters into their own hands and CHARGED the Scinde Horse -- but the Scinde Horse then managed to EVADE THE CHARGE and got away, and since the Afghan cavalry had charged they were unable to open fire that same turn.


saw matters reach a critical point for the Bombay Grenadiers in the Center Nullah. At the very end of Turn 5 their OFFICER had recovered from his wounds and returned to ACTIVE DUTY, making it possible for Brigadier Burrows to head for Mundabad Ravine, where he needed to be in order to direct preparation of the defensive positions into which the rest of his brigade would soon hopefully by falling back.

A BLACK CARD was pulled and a horrible cry (to British ears) went up from the East Nullah, where masses of GHAZIS had been moving from the North-East corner of the table. 61 Ghazis -- 3 x 20-fig units plus their Mullah -- all CHARGED the thin khaki line of Bombay Grenadiers in the Center Nullah.

Now General Burrows faced a difficult decision. The Grenadiers were weakened but still a viable unit with 14 of their original 20 figures remaining in the fighting line. With enough support it could be possible for them to hold on, defeat the Ghazi onslaught and then retire along with the rest of the brigade back to the Ravine, using the Nullah to lessen the effect of Afghan artillery as they did so. The units that could provide this needed support were the 3 guns already set up in position to do so, the same guns which had helped preserve the Grenadiers in the face of dozens of Tribal horsemen.

But there was a difference. In one turn the situation had changed. Whereas before there was no serious threat of the British guns being overtaken by the enemy, now the general Afghan advance made such a threat very real and the number of Ghazis about to possibly close with the Grenadiers was far, far larger than the number of irregular cavalry who had threatened them last time. In his most difficult decision of the battle to this point, General Burrows chose to order all 3 guns to limber up and extricate themselves from the possibility of being overrun by the Ghazi charge. In doing so he preserved one of the strongest remaining assets on the British roster... but he also condemned the men of 1st Bombay Grenadiers to near certain death.


Monday, August 2, 2010


66th (Berkshire) Regt. ...20 figs.
1st Bombay Grenadiers ...20 figs.
30th Bombay Native Infantry (Jacob's Rifles) ...20 figs.

Combined Baggage Guard (incl. elements of 66th, 1st & 3oth) ...20 figs.

...plus 2 NCOs & 2 officers

...plus 1 mtd. Inf. Commander (Brigadier Burrows, Brigade CO)

half-company Bombay Sappers & Miners ...10 figs.

3rd Bombay Light Cavalry ...12 figs.

3rd Scinde Horse ...12 figs.

...plus 1 mtd. Cav. Commander (Brigadier Nutthall)

E Battery/B Brigade RHA ...12 crew w/3 guns

Smooth Bore Battery ...12 crew w/3 guns

GRAND TOTAL: 144 fighting men & 6 guns







Above is a shot of General Burrows' brigade laid out in order to confirm the units would all fit in their historical positions amid the terrain features as sketched atop the boards before carving the features out of the foam...

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I already posted everything below on its own PAGE, so I apologize for "double-dipping" the same info twice -- but I feel it's important enough to warrant an entry here on the HOME PAGE as well. I probably should have put it up here first.

So, in case you missed it when it went up yesterday on a back-page, here it is as a headline. The BRITISH ARMY LIST should be coming very soon, as it is much, MUCH shorter to transcribe!

In time (hopefully before too long) I will post info on all the figures used for all the units and LINKS to the companies that manufacture them -- though I imagine most visitors to this site know that stuff already!


At the battle (7/27/1880): ________In the game (7/27/2010):

5 Regts. Kabuli Infantry _____________4 x 20 fig. units + 5 additional leaders

4 Regts. Herati Infantry _____________2 x 20 fig. units + 2 additional leaders

1 Regt. Kandahari Infantry ___________1 x 20 fig. unit + 2 additional leaders

1 Regt. The Wali's mutineer infantry_____1 x 20 fig. unit + 1 additional leader

SUB-TOTAL: approx. 7,000 men________SUB-TOTAL: 170 figs.


At the battle:_________________In the game:

1,000 Kabuli cavalry______________3 x 12 fig. units + 1 additional leader

SUB-TOTAL: approx. 1,000 men______SUB-TOTAL: 37 figs.


At the battle:________________In the game:

36 guns & crew*_______________12 guns, each w/4 fig. crew

_____________________________SUB-TOTAL: 48 figs.


At the battle:___________________In the game:

Approx. 3,000_____________________4 x 12 fig. units + 2 additional leaders

Jamshidi & Feroz-Kohi

tribal horse

SUB-TOTAL: approx. 3,000 men________SUB-TOTAL: 50 figs.


At the battle:____________In the game:

Approx. 15,000 men_______6 x 20 fig. unit of Tribesmen + 2 additional leaders

_______________________6 x 20 fig. unit of Ghazis + 2 additional leaders

SUB-TOTAL: approx. 15,000 men____SUB-TOTAL: 244 figs.

GRAND TOTAL AT THE BATTLE: Approx. 25,000-30,000 MEN



According to my non-professional but somewhat exhaustive research, Ayub Khan's army which set out for Maiwand contained 36 guns -- but en route from Herat, one battery of 6 stayed behind in the city of Farah (LINK to wikipedia's FARAH page), leaving a total of 30 guns; then there is a near-definitive record of a FULL BATTERY of Afghan artillery WITHDRAWING from the field before firing a single shot or even having "dropped trails" to set up its guns (see the page of this blog devoted to Baden-Powell's visit to Maiwand battlefield weeks later -- Baden-Powell visits the battlefield -- for his first-person report re: what may have been one of the guns from that never-engaged Afghan artillery battery).

This leaves us with 24 Afghan artillery pieces actually lobbing shells at the enemy during the course of the day.

Using the not uncommon tactical-level horse-&-musket period scale ratio of 2:1, with a two-gun "section" represented on the table by a single model canon & crew, this gave me a grand total of 12 Afghan guns, which -- using the Table of Organization and Equipment from The Sword And The Flame -- meant FOUR 3-GUN BATTERIES, one of which I classified as ARMSTRONG RIFLED BREECH LOADERS, with longer range than the best of the British Artillery, while the remainder were treated as lesser quality guns than the RHA battery's but equal to the guns of the improvised Smooth Bore battery, manned by crews formed from infantrymen of the 66th Regt.


I was en route to bed, having had a long day of family activities and knowing tomorrow will be more of the same -- when I discovered this pic had been sent to me by Matthew Rigdon, one of my fellow "Maiwand Maniacs." It blew me away and I couldn't go to sleep until after posting it here!

On a related front, a little earlier this evening I managed to post a PAGE devoted to the Afghan Army List we used for the game. It too has some nice pics, but this one blows all else away for me...