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.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

HAPPY MAIWAND DAY 133 - & Charasiab teasers...

It's been a while since I've posted anything here on Maiwand Day, but with today being July 27th, I felt I had to!  Not a bad -- obligatory -- "had to," but a good, enthusiastic one.

I've been extremely busy at work for the past half-year or more, which is a good thing.  Somehow by the skin of my teeth I was able to pull off a big commemorative game on the 150th Anniversary of CAMERONE DAY this past April 30th -- thanks to a lot of help from Nick Stern and Phil Chiu, who provided the French Foreign Legion and Mexican armies that fought atop my terrain, but out on the 28mm frontier of Afghanistan and Imperial British India, things have been terribly quiet...

But not completely so, I'm happy to say.

In the middle of June my wife took our three children to China, without me.  I just couldn't leave work. The one up side to this situation was it gave me some time to spend working on the terrain I need to finish for my long-gestating Charasiab lay-out.  I had three more rocky woodchip hills to build, plus two more 6'x2' terrain boards, one with the Logar River, one with the Kabul River, plus some low sandy hills, a swamp, and a Mughal stone monument commemorating the construction of the road from the town of Charasiab North through a mountain gorge to the city of Kabul by order of the Emperor Shah Jahan, who is far better known for building the Taj Mahal.

That's a lot of stuff to build!  But I got a headstart over those three weeks, and pretty much finished up two of the three hills, as seen here...

Now, while my family was away, I also moved my desk in my office, in order to extend my gaming table so it could accomodate 12' of terrain instead of just 10', and laid out a rough, unfinished facsimile of the terrain for Charasiab...

The West side of the table, with the Kabul River near the
Western edge, bordered by the Western spur of the South Hill,
with the Northern edge of the town of Charasiab itself below it
and the Southern edge of the village of Hinduki at the North
edge of the table...

The East side of the table, with the Logar River
the pair of conical hills on its Western edge and
the Central Hill a little further West, with the start
of the Sang-i-Nawishta Gorge forming between them,
and the small village of Khairabad midway between
the West Hill on the left and the conical hills on the right...

(NOTE: when this layout is done it will be crisscrossed by several
roads, including one into the Gorge, leading North to Kabul)

The pair of Conical Hills, with the entrance to the Sang-i-Nawishta Gorge just beyond them...

The Logar River, the Conical Hills, and the Central Hill...
(to be replaced by one of the rocky woodchip variety before I'm done)

Looking East from just beyond the Western Spur of the South Hill...

And finally, an actual reference photo, looking South down the
Logar River from the North side of the Northern conical hill...

Incredibly enough, the above pic was posted to Google Earth just a few days ago -- a very exciting find for me!

Here's a miniature version of the same view on my table...

Over the past couple of years I've spent a lot of time on Google Earth looking at this spot in Afghanistan, getting measurements for hills, open spaces, the swamp, the two Rivers, etc.  There are some more great reference pics I will post sooner or later as the Charasiab terrain keeps coming.

Recently I also learned that after winning the battle, General Roberts had the Sang-i-Nawishta ("Written in Stone") stone transported with him to Kabul, where it was set up in front of his quarters at the Sherpur Cantonment!  So when I get done building a 28m version, it will also be useful for gaming the Afghan attack on Sherpur in the Winter of 1879!

That's it for now, I think.  Hope everyone who reads this is in the midst of enjoying a great Summer -- or Winter, for the antipodeans -- and hope I manage to get back here and post some more before the season's over...


  1. Ah, Mad Guru, you are truly mad indeed to attempt so much . . . you must be an Englishman . . . (if only in a different lifetime).


    -- Jeff

    PS, your terrain is and will be magnificent, sir.

  2. The new hills look superb and add plenty of height to your wonderful terrain.
    A 12ft table, you lucky chap.

  3. Great work again Ethan the terrain is top notch. The set up of the Google pic looks very realistic well done.

    Best wishes


  4. Thanks very much, guys!

    Jeff -- your comment brought a big smile to my face. I take it as a compliment!

    Pat -- your blog is consistently inspirational. The only down side of my 12ft table is that it means I no longer have a desk to work at. The good news is at the moment I have an office go to; the bad news is I still have work to do at home!

    Willie -- I'm having a lot of fun watching the lead-up to the Fall of Constantinople on your blog! Thanks for noticing the Google pic. When I'm done, and hopefully have a narrow but tall mountain range up against the Eastern table edge, the tabletop version of the pic should look even more like the real thing.

  5. They are fantastic hills and if you don't mind I would like to a few the same. We have just started gaming the 2nd Afghan War/NFW this year and are having another game tomorrow night at the club.....great period and great collection and blog

  6. Thanks very much, Vinnie! Wish I could build you a few of those hills, but unfortunately I barely have enough time to build the handful I need for my own "Mad" purposes!

    I've seen your blog, and the pics of your club's 2nd Afghan WAr/NWF games, and they look quite FANTASTIC indeed, well done!

  7. Lovely stuff - and very inspiring. As you will have detected from google earth the charasiab field is little changed, I have been down there a couple of times. Sherpur is a very different story, surrounded by the sprawl of Kabul, but some parts of the old cantonment walls can still be seen.
    Am thinking of firing up a 2nd Afghan War army myself and would very much appreciate some tips if you're able to give them offline - ec_laireur at hotmail dot com

  8. Hi EC,

    Wow, you visited the area a couple of times?!?! That's AWESOME, and I truly envy you!!! Over the past decade, with the overlap between miniature wargaming and military service, I've wondered why there hasn't been more posting of pics of old 19th Century battlefields, landscapes, buildings, relics, etc. Even Mike Snook didn't manage to visit Maiwand while researching that chapter for "Into the Jaws of Death," which always surprised me, though I of course understand there must have been serious security issues in the area.

    I just sent you an email, so feel free to reply via that route, and/or post another comment here. I mentioned in it that you can SEARCH this blog, using the box in the upper left corner of this page, just type in what you're looking for -- conversions, terrain, battle report, etc., and you should get a bunch of pages to scan through. There is a lot of interesting and -- for the miniature gamer or modeler, potentially useful -- visual reference on the "Page" of this blog devoted to NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATIONS from the Second Afghan War, located at the bottom of the "PAGES" list, which itself is located below the photo of BOBBIE (the 66th Regiment's dog mascot) and the text that goes with it.

    The Second Afghan War is a FANTASTIC period for miniature gaming, for a myriad of reasons, so I hope you do choose to pursue it!

  9. Fantastic terrain elements, sir; your game table is really nice!

  10. Thank you very much, Juan! I just visited your blog for the very first time -- and it's FANTASTIC too! I really like those new Empress Miniatures Third Afghan War figures, but unfortunately for me, only a very small number of them are usable as late 19th Century, as opposed to early 20th Century, tribesmen. Still, I love to look at them, and I look forward to being able to do so over at your blog!

  11. Great looking terain, these hills are really impressive!