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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

LINK to art from the Second Afghan War

I posted this same link on TMP a few days ago, so many who visit this blog may have already visited the site and seen the pictures in question, for which I apologize! But someone suggested I put the link up here too, and I thought it wasn't a bad idea, so now it's here as well.

The link is to a set of 5 pages, each with a mix of 6 hand-colored woodcuts and lithographs, all 30 of which are for sale by STOREY'S LTD., a venerable London print & map shop.

Most were done as illustrations for contemporary newspaper articles. A couple date from the First Afghan War of 1839-1842, but the vast majority are from the Second Afghan War.

If you're a devotee of the period you will probably be familiar with some of them, but there are many I've never seen before, so chances are you will find something new as well. I certainly hope so!

If interested, please click on the link here:

Friday, May 13, 2011

3rd Scinde Horse

As many of you probably know, Blogger has had some difficulties the past few days, which have prevented users from uploading any new content. I'm glad to see the problem seems to have been solved, at least for now! Better to blog late than never, so I'll get on with the topic at hand...

Recently came across some interesting online visual info. on the 3rd Scinde (or "Sind") Horse.

First up are 2 views of the same sketch from a May, 1879 issue of The Illustrated London News, showing --


Here's a view of the sketch with the contemporary text identifying it --

-- and here's a possibly slightly closer view, without the text --

Next up are views of what might possibly be the Regimental standard/cavalry guidon. In all honesty, from the look of it, it's more likely be a replica, but to those of us who would like to have more exact knowledge regarding all aspects of the regiments present at the battle of Maiwand. I've never read of the 3rd Scinde Horse or 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry carrying their standards at the battle, nor have I explicitly read that they did not. We have definite written records of the 66th Foot and 1st Bombay Grenadiers carrying their standards at the battle, but nothing for sure about 30th Bombay Native Infantry (Jacob's Rifles), who may or may not even have possessed any regimental flags at all, as they held the title of a "Rifle" regiment, and such regiments in the British army -- whose traditions the Indian army largely adopted for very obvious reasons -- usually did not.

Anyhow, without further distraction, here are a pair of links to each side of the standard in question:

...and its flip-side:

The pics come from this site, which is dedicated to the memory of Brigadier General John Jacob, CB:

As mentioned above, I'm the first to admit they may well not be the real thing, but they are more to go on regarding the likely appearance of the Regiment's flag, if indeed they carried one, than I've ever had before, which is a good thing in my book. And if by any chance someone who reads this has any information regarding the matter, I'd ask you to please invest a little time to leave a comment and share what you know, and sincerely thank you in advance for doing so!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CONVERSIONS XI - British officer w/umbrella

I felt a little strange putting up a post WITHOUT ANY PICTURES, so I'm back with a simple conversion that I think turned out quite nicely.

It started when I posted a question on TMP (for anyone reading this blog who doesn't know, that's "The Miniatures Page" at TheMiniaturesPage.com ) asking for suggestions of 28mm figures holding open umbrellas. I wanted one to use for a conversion of a mounted Afghan Amir, holding an umbrella for shade. I planned to use him in a 3-player scenario where the British have to escort him from one end of the table to the other, while one Afghan player wants to set him free, and a second Afghan player wants to kill him. I still hope to get to that conversion some day, but I was distracted when the suggestions included this pack of Copplestone Chinese Warlord Officers, sculpted by the very talented Mark Copplestone, whose particular sculpting style I've always loved:

It made me realize I'd never seen a figure of a British colonial officer holding an umbrella, which somehow seemed wrong, so...

I put the open umbrella aside for the time being and ordered the above pack of Chinese Officers, available here: LINK to Copplestone Back of Beyond range.

(As an aside, I've always wished that Mark Copplestone had included some Afghans in that range, or even better, done an all-Afghan/Persian mid-to-late 19th Century range! Back in the mid-1990s it looked for a while like the Perrys might do such a range for Foundry, but it never happened. Speaking of which... why didn't Foundry EVER come out with an "Armies of the 19th Century" volume on Afghanistan?!?!?! They did China, the North-East Frontier, Burma & Indo-China, the Central Asia and the Himalyan Kingdoms, India through the Mutiny -- but still NO Afghanistan!? Ian Heath, if you every happen to stumble across this humble blog of mine, I'm begging you, man!)

Whoa, sorry for the interruption! Back to the topic at hand...

I believe one important aspect of a successful miniature conversion is using parts that were all sculpted by the same person. Lucky for me I had the head of an excellent British explorer with mustache and sun helmet, sculpted by Copplestone for the Foundry Darkest Africa range, available here -- LINK to Clean Limbed British Officers and Adventurers pack @ Wargames Foundry -- and as seen here:

So, with Chinese officer and British head in hand, I commenced...

Nothing complicated, but I really like the result. I think the umbrella adds a ton of character!

Monday, May 9, 2011

LINK to thesis article about Maiwand

Just came across this paper, written by Michael T. Grissom, a US Army officer, for his Master's thesis at Fort Leavenworth in 2009. The full title is: TEUTOBURG FOREST, LITTLE BIGHORN, AND MAIWAND: WHY SUPERIOR MILITARY FORCES SOMETIMES FAIL.

Speaking for myself, I would take some issue with the premise of the Battle of Maiwand being an example of the failure of "suprerior military forces," considering how the Afghan army not only greatly outnumbered their British foes, but also far outclassed them in both numbers and technological quality of artillery. Another point of the thesis is that these three battles are all examples of primitive native forces overcoming more disciplined, regular army enemies. Although this may apply somewhat to Maiwand, the truth is that in addition to large numbers of tribal foot and horse and a great many Ghazis (religious fanatics), the Afghan army at Maiwand contained large numbers of regular troops, both infantry and cavalry, as well as that vitally significant aforementioned artillery. The last thing I'll take issue with is that IMHO the author lets Brigadiers Burrows and Nuttall off the hook a bit too easily. Of course hindsight is always 20/20, and it's stupendously easy to sit back and point out fatal flaws committed by commanders in the field, who were struggling at the time to overcome obstacles and meet challenges we barely begin to truly comprehend, but with that said, Burrows (the overall British commander) and Nuttall (commander of the cavalry brigade) both delivered poor performances as generals on Maiwand Day.

Nonetheless, even with these caveats, I think the paper is worth reading. There's nothing new in terms of newly discovered primary sources, or groundbreaking insight, but it's not often we get to see the Battle of Maiwand seriously reconsidered in any fashion, and considering the battle in combination with an ancient Roman defeat at the hands of the Germanic tribes, and Custer and the 7th Cavalry's defeat at the hands of the Sioux, is not without value.

I plan to add a permanent link to the page in my "Maiwand Links" section some time soon, but for now here it is: