Remnants of an Army “I am the Army!”

In January 1842 the British Army began its retreat from Kabul, following the killing of the two British representatives there. The nearest British garrison was in Jalalabad, 90 miles  away, and the army would need to go through mountain passes with the January snow hindering them. Under the command of Major-General William George Keith Elphinstone, 4,500 British and Indian soldiers plus 12,000 civilian camp followers including wives and children set out for Jalalabad on 6 January 1842, on the understanding that they had been offered safe passage. Afghan tribesmen intercepted them and proceeded to massacre them during the next seven days.          Click on each picture to enlarge.20120919225756!Last-standLast stand of the 44th at Gandamak, painted by William Barnes Wollen The final stand took place at Gandamak on the morning of 13 January 1842 in the snow. Twenty officers and forty-five British soldiers, mostly of the 44th Foot, found themselves surrounded on a hillock. The Afghans attempted to persuade the soldiers that they intended them no harm. Then the sniping began, followed by a series of rushes. Captain Souter wrapped the regimental colours around his body and was dragged into captivity, the Afghans thought he was a high-ranking officer mistakenly taking the yellow colours as general’s yellow waistcoat. The remainder were shot or cut down. Only six mounted officers escaped, of whom five were killed along the road. On the afternoon of 13 January 1842 the British troops in Jalalabad, watching for their comrades of the Kabul garrison, saw a single figure ride up to the town walls…The Remnants of an Army 1879 by Elizabeth Butler (Lady Butler) 1846-1933‘The remnants of an Army.’ An oil-on-canvas painting by Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler. It depicts William Brydon, Assistant Surgeon in the Bengal Army, arriving at the gates of Jalalabad in January 1842. The walls of Jalalabad loom over a desolate plain and riders from the garrison gallop from the gate to reach the solitary figure bringing the first word of the fate of the “Army of Afghanistan.” Supposedly Brydon was the last survivor of the approximately 16,000 soldiers and camp followers from the 1842 retreat from Kabul in the First Anglo-Afghan War, and is shown toiling the last few miles to safety on an exhausted and dying horse. In fact a few other stragglers from the Army eventually arrived, and larger numbers were eventually released or rescued after spending time as captives of Afghan forces.

 William Brydon, was asked upon arrival what happened to the army, to which he answered “I am the army”. Although part of his skull had been sheared off by a sword, he ultimately survived because he had insulated his hat against the cold with a periodical magazine, which deflected the blow. Brydon later published a memoir of the death march. The pony he rode was said to have lain down in a stable and never got up.660405

Brydon became widely, if inaccurately, famous for being the only survivor of the entire army. In fact, he was not the only European to survive the retreat; about 115 British officers, soldiers, wives and children were captured or taken as hostages and survived to be subsequently released. Nor was Brydon the only European to survive the trek from Kabul to Jalalabad without spending time in captivity; by Brydon’s own account a “Greek merchant”, a Mr Baness, also made it to Jalalabad, arriving two days after Brydon but surviving for only one day. In addition a small number of Indian sepoys reached Jalalabad on foot over the subsequent weeks. ‘Surgeon Major’ William Brydon CB,  Circa 1864 

300px-General_William_ElphinstoneThere is obviously a lot more to the First and Second British Afghan Wars that provides a staggering and lengthy read; a wealth of information taken from intelligence and political reports, as well as daily military reports running into their hundreds of thousands.

Sadly such information is rendered useless when stored away by Government scribes, and ignored by  arrogant ‘past their sell by date’ Generals. In this case the leadership of Major-General William Elphinstone (right) is seen as a notorious example of how the ineptitude and indecisiveness of a senior officer could compromise the morale and effectiveness of a whole army (though already much depleted). Elphinstone completely failed to lead his soldiers, but fatally exerted enough authority to prevent any of his officers from exercising proper command in his place. My main reason for posting was to place the print images of the paintings relating to the monumental cock-up, with a simple brief to follow on.        Yours Aye.

‘When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains 
An’ go to your ‘Gawd’ like a soldier.’

Rudyard Kipling: The Young British Soldier

British soldier re-writes Kipling poem in damning attack on conditions 2009

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Cheerfulness in the face of adversity

The ultimate act of heroism: Marine, 24, who jumped on a grenade to shield his comrade from the blast in Afghanistan is set to receive the Medal of Honorarticle-2575042-1C170DE200000578-684_964x350Kyle Carpenter, 24, will reportedly be presented with the nation’s top military award later this year, becoming only the service’s third recipient from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While no formal announcement has been made, sources have said that plans are being finalized for a ceremony in Washington. Carpenter, from South Carolina, was just 21 when he intentionally threw his body over a grenade to save his friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, (center right) while they stood guard on a rooftop in the Helmand province in 2010. He lost his right eye and most of the teeth, and suffered multiple breaks to his right arm. MORE HERE: The ultimate act of heroism: Marine, 24, who jumped on a grenade to shield his comrade from blast in Afghanistan is set to receive the Medal of Honor

The bravest sight in the world is to see a good man being cheerful in the face of adversity. BZ Kyle Carpenter.            Yours Aye.

Fish have waterproof heads (stating the bloody obvious).

Afghanistan will revert to being a terrorist haven after Allied military withdrawal, U.S. study warns  *Fears that the Taliban will seek to regain political power in Kabul. *The group may have recovered from losses suffered during coalition campaign by as soon as 2016.         Saying ‘hello’ to the bad guys 20 miles away…US-troops--Afghanistan-jpgAfghanistan could become a future terrorist haven when the U.S. withdraws unless a larger & more expensive Afghan security force is planned, a study has warned. The report sketched a scenario in which the Taliban would seek to capitalize on the absence of foreign combat forces and press its campaign to regain political power in Kabul. ‘History suggests that the Taliban will use sanctuaries in Pakistan to regenerate their capabilities as military pressure on the movement declines,’ the report said. ‘Homeward’ the best trip!US Troops Begin to Leave AfghanistanTo combat this terrorist haven, the Afghanistan security force will need more funding, along with international trainers and advisers until at least 2019. U.S. military commanders have recommended such a role following the withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO combat troops in December, but the Obama administration has not yet committed to it. The study was ordered by the Congress and conducted by CNA Strategic Studies, a federally funded research group. It describes in detail what is at stake for the U.S. at an important juncture of the war, which was launched by President George W. Bush in response to the 9/11 attacks orchestrated by al-Qaeda, then based in Afghanistan.130109030135-us-troops-afghanistan-1-story-topPresident Barack Obama is weighing his options in Afghanistan, aware of the American public’s war-weariness as well as the risks of failing to ensure that Afghanistan does not once more become a sanctuary for al-Qaeda. The U.S. currently has about 33,600 troops in Afghanistan, down from a high of 100,000 in 2010. U.S. and coalition combat operations are to end by Dec. 31, but the international military presence beyond that is still in doubt. MORE HERE, STATING THE ‘BLEEDING’ OBVIOUSAfghanistan will revert to being a terrorist haven after Allied military withdrawal, U.S. study warnsimages-1

They need a Federal funded research group to reveal the obvious? They could have saved themselves a lot of time and money by simply reading up on the Soviet Unions tactical withdrawal process, or could have chatted to the lowest grade Private serving in the toilet  wastes of Afghanistan.Private Godfrey You certainly do not require the brains of an Arch Bishop to understand the logistics of delaying the inevitable. “NOT ONE MORE WESTERN LIFE SHOULD BE WASTED, NOR ONE MORE DROP OF BLOOD LOST IN THE DIRT OF AFGHANISTAN’S PLAINS.” 

With the greatest respect to Justin Welby the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, and Private Godfrey on ‘Khazi’ duty…   Yours Aye.

Guardian Angel Stood to…

article-2562608-1B9F6D5700000578-685_636x382Shocking pictures and video from the mountains of Afghanistan show a 500-pound bomb dropped by U.S. aircraft land on a U.S. Army infantry observation post after the pilot mistook it  for a Taliban position. The dramatic video shows soldiers at the outpost watch the aircraft as it flew overhead. Seconds after there is a loud scream of incoming, followed by a huge detonation. The soldiers react with poise and shock amongst the chaos caused by the explosion, which fortunately happened slightly off centre of the OP. Thankfully, there were no casualties caused by what appears to be a ‘friendly fire’ incident created by pilot. Dramatic pictures & video here: Terrifying moment a US aircraft mistakenly dropped a 500-pound bomb on a US outpost-and everyone SURVIVED

Someones career just took a nose dive, no doubt the investigation will run all the way down to the ships cat! A fortuitous moment for all concerned, which sadly should never have happened with the amount of ‘failsafe’ systems in place. After note: If that was my O.P. I would be growling and chewing heads off for the amount of clutter and mess strewn around. Some one needs to get a grip…            Aye.

Beneath contempt-a despicable s**t

article-0-1B781FB3000005DC-976_306x440Afghanistan’s president angered the families of British soldiers yesterday by suggesting the presence of Nato troops over the past 13 years had made his country worse. 

The US-led invasion in 2001, a response to the September 11 attacks, was launched to drive out Al Qaeda & the Taliban. But describing the Taliban as ‘brothers’ and America as ‘rivals’, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai said: ‘The mission, in terms of bringing security, has not been successful, particularly in Helmand.’What they did was create pockets of wealth and a vast countryside of deprivation and anger.’ Asked by The Sunday Times if it would have been better if British troops (many of whom are based in Helmand province) had never gone there, Karzai replied: ‘I guess so. Yes.’

article-0-0A42B405000005DC-176_468x310His remarks were labelled an insult by relatives of some of the 447 British soldiers who have lost their lives there. Joan Humphreys, whose 24-year-old grandson Kevin Elliot, a Black Watch infantryman, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, said: ‘He has been hinting at this for a while but never said anything this blatant. I find his comments vile.’  Britain’s commander in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General John Lorimer, disputed Karzai’s claims. He said: ‘Amazing things have been achieved here.’ British troops are due to be withdrawn later this year. MORE HERE Afghan President Hamid Karzai provokes fury among families of British soldiers after saying troops’ presence had made the country worse

Karzai is beneath contempt for making his statement, he is a snivelling embezzling coward; and an utter despicable bastard of the highest order! Lets see where he flee’s to when NATO pulls out, and the Taliban destroy his rag-tag military. My Dad would say “never go to bed angry, or hating, even if it means sitting up all night”! It has gone past 00:45 hrs GMT; it looks like it’s going to be a very long morning…                            Yours Aye.

Playing the Get Out of Jail Free card

fnbagram25eThe announcement that Afghanistan is planning to release 88 prisoners from jail has been met with fury by officials in the US. The US wants Afghanistan to halt the release because they pose a serious threat to security, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, adding to strains between the two sides. About 40 percent of the prisoners were directly responsible for wounding or killing 57 Afghan civilians and security forces, and 30 percent had participated in direct attacks that killed or wounded 60 U.S. and coalition troops.

AFGHAN-REFER-articleLarge-300x208‘These are guys that are tied directly to killing and trying to kill our forces and Afghan forces,’ an American military official told the New York Times. ‘This is an issue of deep concern. It is serious. READ MORE HERE: Anger in Britain and the U.S. at Afghan plan to release 88 Taliban prisoners responsible for scores of attacks that killed and maimed troops and police

It was the incumbent P.M. ‘Tony B’liar’ that sent forth the British troops to Afghanistan, and every sensible person here in the UK asked the question ‘WHY’?  Once again the general public was lied to. In April 2006, John Reid; the ‘Socialist’ Labour Government Defence Secretary, visited Afghanistan, where Britain then had more than 3,000 troops that were set to take charge of a Nato-led peacekeeping force.article-1111702-0468E1CE0000044D-380_468x286 Whilst speaking to the press he said “troops were there to help the Afghan reconstruction effort, and would be perfectly happy to leave without firing a shot”. The same British troops who were sent there with inadequate equipment, ranging from ‘fall apart’ weapons, to negative-armoured vehicles, or sufficient air support; who gave their all, as was expected of them. Lions led by donkey’s.         ‘Eeyore’ Reid ——> 

The very same ‘Former Defence Secretary’ John ‘without a shot being fired’ Reid who in 2009 secured a £50,000 job with a private security company operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The man was never fit to lick the dust off a pair of military boots. Yours Aye.

Stoning to death is a mercy for mankind

Death by stoning for convicted adulterers could be rewritten into Afghan law, 12 years after the barbaric execution method was banished along with the Taliban regime, a senior government official has said. Rohullah Qarizada, who is part of the sharia Islamic law committee working on the draft, said the sentence could only be passed if the act of adultery was witnessed by four people or more. The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country’s penal code being managed by the ministry of justice. images-1

‘We are working on the draft of a sharia penal code where the punishment for adultery, if there are four eyewitnesses, is stoning,’ said Qarizada, who is also head of the Afghan Independent Bar Association. It is the latest sign that human rights won at great cost since the Taliban were ousted in 2001 are rolling back as foreign troops withdraw. Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances to one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning [to death],’ article 21 states. Article 23 goes on to state that stonings should be carried out in public. Billions have been invested on promoting human rights in Afghanistan over more than 12 years of war and donors fear that hard won progress, particularly for women, may be eroding.
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During the Taliban’s 1996-2001 time in power, convicted adulterers were routinely shot or stoned in executions held mostly on Fridays. Afghanistan considers reviving Taliban’s punishment of stoning for adulterers, 12 years after toppling the religious regime 

If you have the stomach for it; simply Google ‘stoned to death’ and view the images the search reveals… Then ask yourself; has the last 12 years of sacrifice and loss in Afghanistan been worth it. The Islamic holy book of nonsense & hypocrisy, makes a mockery of any type of deal/ international agreement with non-islamic Western powers. An historical mistake of biblical proportions, which no doubt will be repeated over and over again, until the Western world wakes up to the reality of Islam, and its extremist teachings…            Yours Aye.

“Ayo Gorkhali!” Gurkha war cry

Ayo Gorkhali” translates as “The Gurkhas are here“. Their motto, ‘Kaphar hunnu bhanda marnu ramro’ means, ‘It is better to die than to live like a coward.’article-0-187EAC5600000578-812_306x490  

A hero Gurkha has won the Military Cross after single-handedly fighting off two armed Taliban attacking an Afghan patrol base with his issue Kukri  Rifleman Tuljung Gurung tackled the gun-wielding insurgents armed only with his razor-sharp traditional Nepalese blade and forced them to flee. Incredibly, the soldier – now an acting Lance Corporal – battled them despite being dazed after a bullet smashed directly into his helmet, and after being knocked down by shock-waves from an enemy hand grenade, which he threw to safety when it landed next to him. Military Cross for hero Gurkha who was shot and hit by a grenade Now the modest 28-year-old has won the third highest gallantry award for his courage in Afghanistan. Acting L/Cpl Gurung received the Military Cross for his action in stopping the extremists from reaching sleeping British soldiers in the Helmand compound.Ghurka_kukri

“If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha”Former Chief of staff of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. 

Who Are the Gurkhas?  Well done Johnnie Gurkha, each one of you is worth your weight in gold. You offer Queen and Country your all, and yet the government of Great Britain treats you despicably. The day will soon come when your receive equal rights as those of a British Tommy, as well as the rights of British citizenship. You have my continued support.            Yours Aye.

Silent Justice, allegedly…

There are whispers abound over the ‘alleged‘ interference from the Marine Commandant or his staff, who ‘allegedly‘ intentionally manipulated legal proceedings then tried to cover up their involvement. It is further ‘alleged‘ that the Commandant said he wanted to ‘crush‘ the Marines linked to the Musa Qala Afghanistan urination video filmed on 27th July 2011.article-2415661-1BB44B92000005DC-490_306x423  USMC Captain linked to video of US Marines URINATING on Taliban insurgents will NOT be charged 

Read into it as you see fit, but two ‘reluctant‘ witnesses were set to testify on behalf of Captain James V. Clement, about a possible cover up in a private meeting. Captain Clement’s defense attorneys had earlier won a judge’s order to get two staff attorneys to testify that senior Commanders had ‘allegedly‘ interfered to get a guilty verdict. Charges against Capt. James V. Clement have since been dropped with NO EXPLANATION.

Without ‘alleging’ any thing any further, I have no doubt that there will be a form of politically correct retribution enforced against Capt. James V. Clement. Political Correctness & Health & Safety! Bah Humbug to the bloody lot of it. Common sense within the military has worked since the first arrow was let loose against a common foe.                  Yours Aye.

Incredible bravery

Please note: If there are any sports announcers looking in, and you are of the type who constantly refer to  soccer players footballers as being ‘heroes’ just because they knock a ball into the oppositions net; then stop! Stop abusing the word hero, as well as its plural, heroes. This is the action of a true hero… Incredible bravery of British soldier who put his body over Taliban bomb so injured comrade could be rescued article-2401185-1B6D9D77000005DC-243_634x475

Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Andy Peat. Royal Engineers, who heroically used himself as a human shield to protect rescuers from triggering another improvised explosive device (IED).            Yours Aye.

Climbing like home-sick angels

My usual Friday early morning routine is set in granite. It finds me sat atop the felled tree logs with my tin mug toppers with red-hot tea, observing my two Staffies as they mount a canine clearing patrol around the fields. Nothing can ever fault such a start to the day, no matter what the weather may be. Except this morning was different, a first even, because from behind my rosy position of solace, I could hear a ‘whine’ in the far distance (as I’m not married, and don’t have a wife, I instantly wrote that one off as the possible source)! The pitch grew louder causing me to look over my shoulder; just then two Typhoon FGR4 fighter-bombers flying ultra low level, screamed directly overhead, upon which they hit their after burners and powered into a vertical climb, like two home-sick angels.800px-Eurofighter_typhoon_2

The whine turned into a deafening roar of jet turbine engines, from which their super heated wash created a visible swirling turbulence. The canine clearing patrol appeared at the gallop from the long grass seeking refuge upon me, spilling the contents of my tin mug into the crutch of my rugby shorts. Bloody RAF. Bloody Staffies. Bloody hot tea… I watched the jets ride on until they were black dots, chuckling to myself whilst holding the material of my shorts away from my bare skin. The noise will have at least wound up ‘Mr. Angry’ from the village, which reminded me of a previous evolution…

One early morning last summer I received a caller at the door, it turned out to be the local busy body from the small village nearest to me (an ex-civil servant who I shall refer to as ‘Major Blunder’, due to his dated pompous arrogance, colonial attire, abrupt clipped speech, and walrus moustache).dm A neatly printed form attached to a clipboard was thrust in front of me, with an order (not a polite request) to read & sign the petition; with his finger tapping on the spot next to my address, with ‘name unknown’ next to it. I can also do rude and bad manners when required, which I did, on my doorstep. A full blistering barrage, that brought the devil to attention, and stopped the horses grazing in the adjoining field. Major Blunder left with a flea in each ear… that probably irritated him for the rest of his day. <— Similar version of Major Blunder.

Major Blunder’s petition was an action being passed around the villages within the Parish boundary. It was aimed at stopping the RAF from conducting early morning, and late evening training flights, both by fast jets as well as choppers. When I checked my mail later, I also found a flier full of bureaucratic procedure that only an ex-uncivil servant could have put together, though it did contain details for a planned meeting in the local village hall covering the same issue. Three days later I attended the meeting early, and landed a seat in the front row. All who dwell within a country village worth their salt will attend such a meeting, as it is the done thing and expected, it’s English, it’s traditional. Bah~Humbug to those who decline!

A veritable host of bribes refreshments had been laid on, which someone had taken their time presenting, it also included fresh tea and coffee, with plain digestive, and milk chocolate biscuits! Major Blunder I presume? The great man appeared and called the meeting to order, with a small committee aside him presiding on an elevated platform, looking over the great unwashed below. After much discussion to and fro, the eventual consensus of opinion of the gathering appeared to be that although the noise from the aircraft could be loud when the weather was over cast, it was also bearable. It was obvious from the flight patterns that the sorties also changed quite frequently, switching their aerobatic dogfights from land, to the heavens over the North Sea. I waited until the very end to have my say, and fired one barrel over the heads of the gathered crowd as a safety shot. Not many, if any know of my past, of which I prefer

As I addressed the multitude, I obviously spoke against the petition. Jet-powered aircraft create intense noise from aerodynamics, which is affected greatly by atmospheric pressure and weather conditions, etc, etc. I spoke of the importance of pilot training throughout the military, and how others and I had required the assistance of fast jets as well as choppers throughout my previous life as a Bootneck. In addition I asked them to think of those serving now, who, when in contact with the enemy close up and personal, could end up severely maimed or badly wounded casualties. 115020551_endofyear_367815bTheir chances of survival required skilled pilots flying the blood chariots with medics to extract them. Or they may well require ordnance from fast jets, delivered danger close to their own positions to stave of attacks. I purposely kept the controlled rant short and sweet, which must have hit a raw nerve, as several couples asked for their names to be withdrawn from the petition.

I saved the second barrel for Major Blunder and his rag tag committee, which I blatantly aimed at his outmoded heart, and gently, squeezed the trigger. I asked them not to take my words for granted, and mentioned that I could arrange a visit to HEADLEY COURT, The Defence Medical Rehabilitation service from where they could hear first hand accounts of the bravery of such pilots flying blind in medevac dust off’s, or pilots conducting strafing runs danger close. This from those whose lives had been saved through the same selfless commendable action’s. I waited for a response, which was met by a wall of silence, and ‘eyes to the floor’ embarrassment. Thought not!

At the end of the meeting, I declined the proffered 30 pieces of silver cup of tea and biscuits, as well as the social banter that would normally follow. Shortly after I heard that the whole petition formulated by Major Blunder had crashed and burned. A feeling I knew well, as my tin mug of tea had been quite fresh and hot when it was doused over my lap, through the sheer panic fighting withdrawal action conducted by Hannah & Joss as they made their way back to my position. C’est la guerre…            Yours Aye.

Diseases from Afghanistan

When it comes to sexual diseases and the military, Dear Abby (AKA Abigail Van Buren, AKA Jeanne Phillips) is the recognized expert. Read this:

DEAR ABBY: My husband is in Afghanistan for a year. When he returns, I want to ask him to get tested for STDs before we have sex. I do not have any specific reason to think he would be having sex with someone while deployed, but let’s face it. He’s a man, and a year is a long time to abstain when there are females present. I have seen text messages from his buddies that read, “What happens on deployment stays on deployment,” regarding them cheating on their spouses.

How do I approach the subject in the most effective way? I know that when I do, he will be mad, but it’s not the first time that STDs have been a problem in our relationship. Help! — THINKING OF MY HEALTH

DEAR THINKING OF YOUR HEALTH: One would think that a man who loves his wife would want to be absolutely positive that he wouldn’t give her a sexually transmitted infection. However, because your husband has given you one before, it is perfectly logical that you tell him it is the reason you want him to be tested before resuming your marital relationship.

Good advice. . .

A letter beyond contempt

Last week, Malala Yousafzai, ‘the brave Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban’ addressed the U.N. Youth Assembly in New York on Friday 12th July.article-0-1AC8A8FE000005DC-230_634x421 

The day was equally as special to her for another reason, it was Malala’s 16th birthday. The speech Malala made was in her own hand, and direct from her heart, It earned a standing ovation and rightly so

It would appear that Malala opened up Pandora’s box that day, as her newly found position as a political activist has given her personal cause a powerful platform, far more powerful than the one used by the cowards who tried to take her life. Malala has just received a letter from Taliban commander Adnan Rasheed, which is a letter beyond contempt. ‘Dear Malala, this is why we tried to kill you’ The pen wielded by Malala Yousafzai, has proven to be mightier than the ’7.62mm’ sword of Adnan Rasheed! I would urge you to listen to the speech given by 16-year-old Malala, on a birthday that her family thought would never happen. 

Yours Aye.