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Britain's greatest military disaster (Graveyard of Empires, Part 3)

July 26, 2019



with an army of roughly 31,000 800 soldiers accounting for both British and Sikh forces William hay Macnaghten entered Afghanistan as the advisor to the Indian Viceroy but Nagin was tasked to subjugate the Afghans by installing a puppet regime in Kabul but a plan was a little off the mark in the coming years while the blood of Afghans manure to ground the British Empire was dealt one of its greatest military disasters I'm your host Shivan and welcome to gas beam report upon passing the ball on pass in the spring of 1839 the British column met no resistance and even took Kandahar without a fight by summer the army had reached the imposing walls of Ghazni which was the only fortress standing in the way of the capital Kabul the Afghans considered the city impregnable but the British had some tricks up their sleeve on one hot day in July under the cover of darkness the city residents were startled by the sound of British cannons soldiers and gunfire but it was all a ruse when the Afghan troops rushed to the point of attack they left the other side of the city undefended that's where the British packed some explosives at the foot of the fortress and down came the impregnable gates of Ghazni this was the only northward the episode of fighting in the anglo-afghan war immediately afterwards dost Muhammad Khan abandoned his capital and the British captured Kabul in August 1839 upon conquering the capital the British restored the rule of Shueisha Durrani who had been deposed by deuced Mohammed three decades earlier and who had been living in exile in British India a year into the occupation Lord Auckland arranged for sure Ash's safe passage through the Sikh Empire in return for ceding the disputed territories of Peshawar to Ranjit Singh of the Sikhs consequent to the news those Mohammed who had relocated to the northern highlands and assembled an army of booze bags to fight a guerrilla war suddenly surrendered no one understood why but the deuced was a king of tricks he had come to power by shrewd political will he can be sure this man had a plan for the moment duce Muhammad was retired to India to the very residence just vacated by Shueisha there deduced would wait patiently for his second coming meanwhile in Kabul the British soon learned why Sher Shah had lost his throne in the first place he spent most of his time with his harem which by then had grown to include more than 800 women with an old – absent King in Kabul someone had to govern the country so McGowan decided to extend their stay in Afghanistan and took upon himself the role of chief adviser to the Afghan King which made the British agent the de facto ruler of the country placed as second-in-command was the spy Alexander Burns it was his job to gather intelligence and expose political plots against the throne Burns was to act as the eyes and ears of Makhno gang since they were going to extend their stay the British officers and their Indian subordinates sent for their families servants and concubines they carried with them furniture whiskey cigars and other items of luxury a small British community was taking root in Kabul at the same time substantial bribes were paid to the hillside Pashtun tribes by the mountainous passages between Peshawar and Kabul to keep the supply lines open for a while things seemed stable in the countryside the scene could not be more different dost Mohammad's sister was roaming the land and recruiting a vast army she both inspired and shamed men into taking up arms moment by moment day by day the army grew by the second year of the occupation the new army numbered in the thousands at the helm was vizier at birth a young military commander who had gained a fierce reputation during the hostilities with the sikhs he also happened to be the son of dost Muhammad the Afghan Prince raided the roads between the cities and disturbed the supply lines soon enough petty crime surged and bands of marauders thugs and bandits disrupted the daily life within months turmoil erupted even within the larger cities as British officers and their civil servants were randomly attacked in the streets such episodes of violence were insignificant on their own but collectively the attacks drained the morale of the British McNaughton however believed otherwise he sent a letter to Lord Auckland in India stating that Afghanistan enjoyed profound tranquility Burns had falsely convinced McNaughton that the situation was improving because as soon as Afghanistan was deemed stable he would replace mclogan as an envoy shortly after the letter was sent the government of British India considered the military mission in Afghanistan to be complete as such most of the British troops returned to India leaving only 8,000 in Afghanistan moreover the handsome bribes that were being paid to the hillside Pashtun tribes were cancelled things were moving fast and Afghanistan was heading to a full-blown rebellion the hills I commenced an all-out attack further disrupting the supply lines across the mountainous passages around Peshawar at the same time prince akbar khan stepped up his attacks by relentlessly besieging British patrols and outposts in the meantime in Kabul the presence of British troops had turned to what the locals considered an intrusion random attacks were now part of the daily routine and rumors were circulating that the British officers were fraternizing with the local women then in November 1841 a crowd gathered before the residents of Burns demanding that he'd do something about the complaints unfortunately that day Burns had been entertaining a couple of local women and they were still inside with him when the crowd found out about this they turned into a mob and attacked his house as Byrnes attempted to flee he was caught and cut to pieces Kabul was a powder keg just waiting to burst at the slightest provocation in this hopeless situation McNugget did the only thing he knew as a diplomat he tried to strike a deal with Akbar hung whom he considered to be the head of the insurgency but equi Han despite his military credentials was not the old unifying leader that Matt Nagin needed such a leader did not exist at the time the closest all-round recognized leader of Afghanistan was deduced and in his absence a power vacuum had brought the country to the brink of conflict this is probably what dost Muhammad had envisioned when he surrendered himself either way with Nagin arranged a meeting with Akbar Hawn but in the weeks leading up to the gathering the British envoy wrote a secret letter to the senior officer in Kandahar urging him to bring his large force to Kabul as soon as possible McGowan was planning to double-cross Egbert Hawn somehow this letter fell into Afghan hands on the day of the meeting the Afghan Prince returned the favor he deceived and captured McGowan put a pistol in his mouth and shot him what burns on McGowan dead commander-in-chief Major General William Elphinstone was left in charge but at the age of 60 he was not up to the task in his despair Elphinstone agreed to surrender Kabul in return for safe passage to Jalalabad for his men akbar khan agreed but he was making a promise that he had no intention of keeping the afghan prints belonged to the Durrani tribe while the rival Ghilzai tribe controlled the passages out of the country as a Durrani Akbar Khan had no say over the affairs of the hills i unbeknownst to Elphinstone he and his army were walking into an ambush in January 1842 in the middle of the winter season a column of 4,500 troops and 12,000 camp followers departed on foot the journey was about 140 kilometers away but it was across the twists and turns of the Hindu Kush with narrow and slippery canyons traveling across this terrain was dangerous in its own let alone in the winter as the British dragged through the deep snow in sub-zero temperatures thousands of kills a tribesman on the high slopes pork fire into the retreating army at night hundreds were frostbitten in their sleep and never woke up those who did survive were greeted the next day by a host of tribal horsemen eventually of the 16,500 soldiers and civilians only one made it out alive it was Britain's greatest military humiliation of the 19th century the disaster in Afghanistan shattered the myth of British invincibility and subsequently inspired the great mutiny in India in the next few months the British lick their wounds someone assassinated shri shah and Lord Auckland was replaced in the summer of 1842 the British army returned to Kabul and inflicted their revenge on the populace destroying much of the city in the process but by and large Britain's policy had changed dost Muhammad was returned to a seat of power with a Treaty of Friendship in place in which the Afghans considered say over their foreign policy plus the domain of the deuced was restricted to the surroundings of Kabul with the rest of the country being controlled by rival clans the Afghan King started cracking down on collaborators traitors rivals and installed his loyal sons as governors in every region possible his most beloved son however Akbar Khan fell ill and died so the King started grooming the next in line at the age of 70 just after taking back everything he had lost the deuced was lowered into his grave in his lifetime he started with low prospects being the youngest of 21 brothers yet he had come out on top during the Civil Wars only to lose everything to the British followed by his resurrection and then the slow duration of his realm it had not been an easy road but the torch of leadership was now passed to his ears who would each leave a mark in history on their own terms I've been your host Shivan from Caspian report credit goes to our top contributors on patreon for making original content like this possible if you want to learn more visit the link in the description for now so hole

38 Comments

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  • Reply craggey91 July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I cannot fathom why the British, Soviet and American Empires across the centuries have all wanted Afghanistan. What point and purpose does it serve? It's composed of mountains, rocks and sand, it hardly has tactical value.

  • Reply John Snow Kumar July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    In the last two centuries from about the time of Napoleon, usually one harassed local tribe , out of many local tribes, invites the Brits or French or Germans in a chaotic kingdom in the old world to send their orderly armies to rule over them to check their oppressing other local tribes. . The colorful uniforms of europe's armies had an effect. Local uneducated villagers say, gosh, these red coats seem to be good people. Their uniforms are nice. So they must be rich. May be, we should allow them to rule over us. Their officers play 2 hours of tennis and golf after 8 hours of training. May be, we can give them a chance to rule over our villages, with countless infighting among our various fanatical warlords all over our kingdoms (Afghanistan or Pakistan or India). These Brit / French soldiers may be better than those local militants (who used to dress like Bin Laden). The desire to invite these three powers to bring in order in chaotic far away kingdoms , usually Islamic kingdoms or those non Muslim kingdoms ruled by Islamic warriors, such as parts of India, abruptly ended after the cruel misrule of Germany's Hitler.

  • Reply Ibn Arabi July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    USA will run in disgrace too

  • Reply alfredo_5auce July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    suck it anglos

  • Reply David Rosner July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Is the United States doing any better than the British in Afghanistan?

  • Reply Thumper Hunts July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    What program does he use for his maps??

  • Reply Y J July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Sending love from Somalia to my Afghan brothers ❤️

  • Reply Grigoris Karelis July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Graveyard is an exageration because british wasn't successfull in taking the lands. I mean persians succesfully took what is now Afghanistan (twice in persian history), Also Alexander and greeks he settled in Bactria. Also Arabs -that's why they are muslims now. Also Turks. Also Mongols. Well not realy a graveyard of empires. 😉 Actually it seems who ever wasn't humane to non combatants and didn't played by modern war rules was successfull. 😉

  • Reply Bushan Mehra July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Dear Shirvan the name is SHAH SHOJA DURANI not SHOIA SHAH DURANI with all respect.
    SHAH means king.SHOJA means brave in parsian

  • Reply Douglas Kelban July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Another great video

  • Reply Flavius Lupu July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    AFGHANS WERE SINCE EVER A NATION OF TERRORIST !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Afrodisiac July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Had no idea about this, definitely skipped over in history classes 100%

  • Reply Vienna The Grill July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    So this disaster began because some official got power hungry and greedy fucked some woman and didn’t want to tell British army the situation in fear of not getting the post

  • Reply Black Gold July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Sikhs alwats make out to be peaceful, but they helped british slaughter indians as well as persians.

  • Reply Ibnziyad Tariq July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Search and destroy ? more like Search for destroy

  • Reply dustisdeadbodies85 July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    This wasn't a British defeat…. it was a tactical loss

    [ S I P S T E A ]

  • Reply Syed Saqlain Alvi July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Allahu Akbar

  • Reply Ano Nymous July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Britain's greatest military disaster, until yesterday. Oh and congratulations on your new PM. at long last will england achieve indepence from whatevers left of your empire. cheers!

  • Reply Zeeshan ali July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Raja ranjit singh punjab kingdom also denied british any help so they lost because no neighbouring power help them.Later after the death of ranjit singh they annex the punjab kingdom.The control over afghanistan is necessary to make russia stay away from british empire.
    They have treaty with persia according to which no power would be allowed to cross persia into the territories of indian empire.

  • Reply Zeeshan ali July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    The Secretary of auckland died in 1857 mutiny in Agra fort.His grave is in front of peacock throne.

  • Reply Arun Goyal July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    excellent, one of your best!

  • Reply Alvaro1ization July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Blas de Lezo disagrees with this video

  • Reply Yazid Abdullah July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    The fucking attrition.

  • Reply Jacob Schmidt July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Tips for invading Afghanistan:
    Don't

  • Reply Seema Taj July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    “16,500 soldiers and civilians only one came out alive” Now I know why Afghanistan is called Graveyard of Empires.

  • Reply Emperor Tikacuti July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    ‪#Afghanistan has problems of itself when uncompassionate empires there meet death and within internal turmoil‬.

  • Reply Comments July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    The British were unique in that never before in the history did so small a country cause so much suffering on so many countries around the world.

  • Reply Al Demir July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Respectfully, Long live Afghanistan. Beating the supper powers, you certainly deserve respect and honer, proud people.

  • Reply Devashis Shrestha July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Next video suggestion: Anglo Nepal War!

  • Reply Elena G July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Afghanistan has never been governable. Not even Alexander could keep them under his control.

  • Reply Paul July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I'm noticing a huge lack of an intelligence network. Without that they have: no eyes, no ears, no understanding of the power structure(s), and no proper plan of action. I'd say they were doomed from the start, but hind sight is 20 20.

  • Reply Jean-Luc Martel July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Afghanistan: BRITISH EMPIRE COULDN'T;T TAKE EM, SOVIET UNION COULDN'T TAKE EM, NATO STILL CAN'T TAKE EM. basically the Vietnam of the middle east.

  • Reply i HughmannTM July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Awesome 👏👏👏

  • Reply i HughmannTM July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    part 4 will b about communists
    part 5 will b interesting coz it will b of

    America🙋

  • Reply Azid Sanu July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Graveyard of empire part 3
    Where is part 1 & 2

  • Reply Not Sure July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Only way to tame Afghanistan is follow the Ghengis Khan / Timurid playbook: massacre all adults taller than a cartwheel, raise the orphans under heavy indoctrination and without hindrance from the tribal culture which would no longer be passed down through the generations. That's how they got rid of the native Afghan Buddhists / Sogdians / Tocharians / Greco-Bactrians. But doing so nowadays would amount to war crimes / genocide charges at the ICC.

  • Reply EmilKadabell July 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Every time i hear about the british being defeated, its always as a result of a mistake, an accident or arrogance.. Which is both kind of a compliment and a humiliation at the same time🙃

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