The extermination of the British. 1842 year.
Original taken from
The residents of the villages of Afghanistan were imposed a heavy burden of taxes. The British plundered the country on the one hand, on the other, the nobles of the new emir Shuji-ul-Mulk were zealous in plundering Afghans.
Unpunished robbery could not last long. Afghans have risen. The forces of insurgents appeared in the autumn of 1841 near Kabul. By December 1841, the British were driven out of all the forts adjacent to Kabul. In one of the clashes killed the initiator of the seizure of Afghanistan, Agent Burns.
The British army was blocked in the fortified camp of Sherpur, which was dominated by the heights of Bemar and Siyah-Sang. Weak artillery of the rebel Afghans was installed on these mountains.
The blockade of the Sherpur military camp deprived the British of food and fuel. The winter of 1841 was frosty. Sipai were used to the heat. The British had to either knock down Afghans from the heights, or eventually die of starvation, shelling, and cold.
On November 13, 1841, the British attempted to attack the heights of Bemar, in order to destroy the ghilzai tribe and Kabul artisans and merchants who had dug in there.
Approximately 2,000 soldiers were sent to the assault, but all the attacks on the heights were repulsed by cannon firing and accurate fire from ancient flint guns-jails, from which Afghans skillfully shot. The bloodless ranks of the British infantry were overturned by the cavalry of the Ghilzais, who did not take prisoners. So great was the bitterness of the Ghilzais against the hated British robbers.
For the second time General Elphinstone attempted to capture the heights of Bemar, sending a detachment of Major Swain to the field with a servant under the command of Lieutenant Eyre. Swain almost died, his unit was routed by the Afghans to flight. Lieutenant Eyre escaped with a leg wound.
Nor did the reinforcements sent by Elphinstone help - 1,200 infantry, 400 cavalrymen, and a cannon. Afghans counterattacked cavalry. When the British tried to climb the ridge of height, they were simply shot from jails, like partridges.
The expedition to the height of Bemaru demonstrated the complete impotence of the British command. Sherpur fortified camp was a trap.
Agent McNaughton achieved talks with the leaders of the Afghan tribes and with representatives of Kabulis. The council of tribal elders agreed to release the English from Sherpur. But with the condition - to give the officers hostages, to give all the artillery and ammunition. For this, the tribal leaders undertook to conduct a convoy of the British from Sherpur to Jalalabad.
General Elfiston pretended to agree to the proposal of the Afghans. The agreement between the British and the Afghans was concluded on January 1, 1842.
The performance of the English from Sherpur began on January 6, 1842. More than 16 thousand soldiers and servants went to the Khurd-Kabul pass. You had to go through Tezin and Jagdalak to get to Jalalabad. There, parts of Elphinstone could shelter under the protection of General Sayle's troops.
Elphinstone did not keep his word - they did not leave ammunition to Afghans. After the meeting with the elders, the rebel leader Akbar Khan decided not to give protection to the British. The decision Elfinstona expensive, as it soon turned out, cost the British.
At the first stage, the British maintained the structure of the marching column. Almost the entire 44th infantry regiment was at the forefront. A squadron of native Indian cavalry and three guns accompanied the infantry.In the center, the brigadier Shelton's sepoys were wandering. In the rear guard - two battalions of the native infantry and a squadron of the native cavalry, 4 guns (Colonel Chambers).
On the second day of the campaign, the Pashtuns killed the entire rearguard, shooting it from the heights in the gorge. Guns chambers threw in the snow. A lot of sepoys simply froze into the night following the rout.
Both day and night, a column of British attacked the horse parties of the Afghans. Especially ruthless were detachments of Gazi - fighters for the faith. They cut down the British fiercely not afraid of death. In a panic, the sipai were deserted by crowds. Many joined the sleeve and Pashtuns.
Soon the British army turned into a crowd, there was no military order. Brigadier Shelton and General Elphinstone with their officers could not restore discipline. Nobody listened to the officers.
Sipai "The sipai were deserted by crowds. Many joined the shells and Pashtuns."
On the third night after the frost, several hundred dead soldiers remained at the bivouac. With great effort, the British reached the Hurd-Kabul pass. Ahead there were five miles of narrow gorge, on the heights of which the arrows with their long-range jails were already waiting for the English.
The 44th Regiment paved the way with bayonets.But after passing through the Khurd-Kabul gorge as part of the 44th infantry regiment, only 200 fighters remained. Fewer than a hundred soldiers now numbered the companies of the native infantry. In the squadron of cavalry there were no more than 50 horsemen.
Akbar Khan sent messengers to Elfinston. The leader of the Afghans offered to release the family members of the officers. Some of the weakened women and children were led by riders of Akbar Khan to his mountain residence and saved from extermination.
By January 10, the remnants of the army of Elphinstone were to break through the gorge of Tangi-Tariqi. It was a short mountain pass covered with snow. But it was possible to pass through it only in a column one by one. Afghans took a comfortable position to beat the enemies to choose from.
Apt sniper gilzayev laid in this gorge almost the entire vanguard of Elphinstone. The British managed to slip through Tangi-Tariqi, using the only cannon. But the gorge was littered with icy corpses of vultures and Englishmen. In the ranks left no more than 200 soldiers.
General Elphinstone and Brigadier Shelton surrendered to Akbar Khan, believing that this was the only way to save their lives. The rest of the British continued their journey to Jagdalak.
150 soldiers and officers came to the Dzhagdalak gorge.They all came under heavy fire of Pashtun snipers. The British climbed the icy slopes, fought like lions. They fought desperately for their lives, but on the side of the Afghans there was an excellent knowledge of the area and numerical superiority.
Brigadier Ankettil, Colonel Chambers, almost all the officers of the cavalry and artillerymen still alive survived in the Jagdalak gorge. Twenty officers and 45 soldiers were lucky - they escaped from Jagdalak.
The lucky ones decided to travel twenty miles to Jalalabad alone or in small groups. Everyone was saved now at their own peril and risk. Captain Souter saved his life thanks to his own enterprise. He wrapped the banner of the 44th regiment, deciding that the Afghans would be able to take him in this form for an important rank and would not be killed. So it happened.
On January 30, the only survivor of all 16 thousand British who left Kabul on January 6, 1842, arrived in Jalalabad. That was the surgeon Billy Bridon. He survived by a miracle. The rest of his comrades were frozen in the rocks, were shot, hacked to death by Afghans.
The news of the defeat of the army, aimed at the conquest of Afghanistan, made a terrible impression in Calcutta and then in London.The Governor of India, General Oakland, was removed from his post.
The unhappy ruler of Afghanistan, who tried to establish himself on the throne with the help of British bayonets, Emir Shuja-ul-Mulk was shot dead from an ambush on April 5, 1842. For a week the corpse of the former ruler was bitten by stray dogs in the canvas.
Reference: In the thirties of the 19th century, Russian agents increased their activity in the countries of Central Asia. This region has become increasingly fall under the sphere of interests of the Russian Empire. The government of Emperor Nicholas the First supported the emir of Afghanistan Dost-Muhammad.
The Afghan ruler needed the protection of the Russian Tsar, hoping to rely on the help of the Russians in the struggle for influence in his own country. But Russia's activity on the approaches to India further aggravated the Anglo-Russian contradictions.
Jan Witkevich, lieutenant.
Born in the family of impoverished Polish nobles near Vilna in 1808. In his youth, he joined a secret anti-government organization, the Black Brothers, for which he was sentenced to indefinite military service. From March 1824, he served as a private 5th linear battalion of the Separate Orenburg Corps in the Orsk Fortress.
In 1830, for distinguished service, he was promoted to non-commissioned officer. He knew English, French, Polish, Chagatay, several Turkic dialects and Farsi. In 1831 he was transferred to Orenburg to the border commission, in 1832 received the rank of ensign. He repeatedly carried out special assignments of a delicate nature, resolving disputes between Kazakh clans, collecting information about Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand.
In 1835, during a trip to Bukhara, he accidentally found out about the hostile activities of Russia by British agents in Central Asia. On behalf of the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came into confrontation with British intelligence. Accompanied in Orenburg the envoy of the Afghan emir, mediated in his negotiations with the Russian government.
Already with the rank of lieutenant, he went to Afghanistan, where, during 1837 and 1838, he led a fine reconnaissance game with the English resident Alexander Burns. Its result was the failure of British policy in Afghanistan and the military conflict between these countries. He was recalled by the Foreign Ministry at the request of the British. The Treaty of Friendship between Russia and Afghanistan in St. Petersburg was disavowed.
On May 1, 1839, he arrived in St. Petersburg, having with him an archive of documents that indisputably prove the anti-Russian orientation of British policy in Central Asia.He was received by Foreign Minister Nesselrode.
May 9 was found dead in his room at the Hotel Paris. Shot from a pistol to the head, no papers in the room were found. One of the versions of the incident was revenge from the British intelligence for the failure of the Afghan adventure London. The investigation was classified.