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Afghan Operations - Khyber Jul 1918


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The attached photo is in the collection of the grandson of a member of 22 Motor Machine Gun Battery (for further see )

it is entitled Afghan Operation Khyber Jul 1918.  I am curious if any GWF members can shed light on what was happening on the Khyber in Jul 18 - I can find no reference to a particular disturbance or operation at that time.  22 Bty have been associated with 4th (Rawalpindi ) Bde of 2nd (Rawalpindi ) Div - but I have no idea if these units were involved. The following year for the 3rd Afghan War, the units of 4th (Rawalpindi ) Bde are listed by the official history as 1st Bn Durham Light Inf, 1-33rd Punjabs, 40th Pathans and 2-54th Sikhs (FF). Is anyone familiar with the history of these units and could perhaps shed light on what was happening on the Khyber in Jul 1918, and in particular what 22 Bty MMG's involvement was?  We also noted there appeared to be a large number of horses in the photo - but no ideas what the cavalry unit might be.

Thanks for your help

Paul

Khyber_Pass_852x582.png.e7aeb02f2ddc5aae460a139233e2dc01.png

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I could not find anything specific about July 1918.

 

The closest I could find was the first page of the following which talks about the defensive nature of operations on the Indian frontier from 1916, and the troops maintained.

Perhaps there may be something in the introductory chapter of the following, although I didn't download it

Cheers

Maureen

 

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Below is the image above showing my Grandfather wrote: "Khyber Pass During Afgan[sic] Operation July 1918" above the image in pencil...

 

Khyber_Pass_July1918_800x718.png.b7a4438794da8f25abf63a93f716f941.png

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22 hours ago, Maureene said:

I could not find anything specific about July 1918.

 

The closest I could find was the first page of the following which talks about the defensive nature of operations on the Indian frontier from 1916, and the troops maintained.

Perhaps there may be something in the introductory chapter of the following, although I didn't download it

Cheers

Maureen

 

Thanks Maureen. I am familiar with both of these - they focus on the 3rd Afghan War itself in 1919.  There us no relevant detail concerning an operation in the Khyber in Kul 18. i got some hits on google books - but again nothing that was specific.

Regards, Paul

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4 hours ago, James A Pratt III said:

There is a book on the 3rd Afgan war. I think the title is "Crises on the Frontier"

Thanks James - there is indeed - by Brian Robson - and very good it is too - although heavily based on the official history - it covers the 3rd Afghan War  (1919) and the Waziristan Campaign of 1919-20.  I am attempting to establish what happened on the Khyber in Jul 18. At present I cannot find anything to shed any light - it might be some form of Divisional concentration / mobilisation of 2nd  (Rawalpindi ) Division - (although the photo caption says "operation") but I am wondering if there is anything anyobe else can add or point me at a source?

Regards, Paul 

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2 hours ago, KONDOA said:

One could do no better than read Harry's excellent piece.

 

 

http://www.kaiserscross.com/304501/478822.html

 

 

Roop

Thanks Roop - another interesting piece - but Baluchistan focused and doesn't explain what took a large force (including I think 22 Bty MMG) onto the Khyber in Jul 1918. But I have not come across the website before - looked well worth a trawl through (when I have a little more time!)

Best, Paul

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You are making an assumption!

 

The article mentions operations from Peshawar which is nearest to Khyber. In addition, the photo caption is not necessarily accurate. regarding exact location

Edited by KONDOA
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1 hour ago, KONDOA said:

You are making an assumption!

 

The article mentions operations from Peshawar which is nearest to Khyber. In addition, the photo caption is not necessarily accurate. regarding exact location

Roop

I am reading on a phone - but I see no mention of Peshwar in the article? Also the operation in Baluschistan was Feb - Apr 18 - i am intetested in Jul 18. 

I have not made an assumption about the location - Ali Masjid fort at the SE entrance to the Khyber pass is clearly visible in the photo -  it's the Khyber Pass.

I agree I have assumed the captioner has got the date correct - but I have seen other examples of his captioning and have no particular reason to doubt his accuracy.

Are you suggesting that this photo might depict a concentration of 2nd (Rawalpindi ) Division in Khyber, before being moved South to take part in the Baluchistan operation?  If so I'd assume somewhere there would be reports of a major movement of  a Division (or evan a Bde)  - I can find no evidence of this, and Harry's article doesn't suggest to me that this happened - or am I not reading it properly?

Regards

Paul 

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Yes, point taken. Ive been doing some more reading since Im at work :)

 

It appears to me to be unrelated to tribal conflicts or operations withing the border area. What has become of interest is that the Russian Revolution and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the north Persian border areas left a gap through which it was considered that the Turks, recently displaced from Baghdad etc could potentially threaten India. Your photos show quite a formidable force, more than one would imagine for border raiding? So the Khyber was an obvious route for entry into India. Interesting to see the Russian routes into Afganistan in 1979, the same situation was feared back in 1917/18.

 

Ive been through the dispatches in the Gazette and there is no mention of this whatsoever, so it was probably strategic rather than operational.

The Allied Intervention in Russia, 1918-1920: The Diplomacy of Chaos

By I. Moffat

 

Very interesting.

India.jpg

Edited by KONDOA
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7 hours ago, KONDOA said:

Yes, point taken. Ive been doing some more reading since Im at work :)

 

It appears to me to be unrelated to tribal conflicts or operations withing the border area. What has become of interest is that the Russian Revolution and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the north Persian border areas left a gap through which it was considered that the Turks, recently displaced from Baghdad etc could potentially threaten India. Your photos show quite a formidable force, more than one would imagine for border raiding? So the Khyber was an obvious route for entry into India. Interesting to see the Russian routes into Afganistan in 1979, the same situation was feared back in 1917/18.

 

Ive been through the dispatches in the Gazette and there is no mention of this whatsoever, so it was probably strategic rather than operational.

The Allied Intervention in Russia, 1918-1920: The Diplomacy of Chaos

By I. Moffat

 

Very interesting.

India.jpg

Roop

Many thanks for this - it is indeed interesting.   I agree it does appear to be a significant force - especially when you consider that in 1918 India was right at the back end of the que for manpower. Whether it would be regarded as a "sledgehammer to crack a nut" for keeping the tribes in order i am less sure -  there were 3 Divisions in India at this time plus a number of independant and cavalry brigades. Border security eas taken seriously despite the manpower shortages - as your links nake clear. But your suggestion that it may have been strategic posturing to deter Turkey rather than an anti tribes operation makes sense - but if it was really deliberate then I think there would have been a mention in official despatches or reports. And while this explanation would not have been given to the troops -  they would surely have been given some form of operational orders/reason. I am still hopeful that may be we can find some sort of explanation at unit level - it is clearly a significant concentration of troops - pissibly it is a Divisional "Test" mobilization or similar? Which has strategic impact - although it didn't stop the Afghans invading the following year! Thanks again for your help - and particularly for posting the Kaisers Cross link.

Regards, Paul 

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  • 4 months later...
On 8/4/2017 at 07:02, KONDOA said:

Here's another interesting snippet that may point you in the right direction. The Indian Government in Exile (Kabul) seems a prominent player in this too so worth reading about.

 

Roop

Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris.pdf

Roop

 

Thank you - another interesting piece of the grand strategic puzzle.  My apologies for being away from this thread for such a long time.  I was off the GWF for a lengthy period through August and research then took me in other directions, without realising I had not replied.

 

Regards, Paul

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Still trying to establish what units might have been in the Khyber in Jul 18 and feature in the photo in the original post.  And what they might have been doing there.  Possibly units from 4th (Rawalpindi) Bde, perhaps 1st Bn Durham Light Inf, 1-33rd Punjabs, 40th Pathans and 2-54th Sikhs (FF)?  Or perhaps other units of 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division?

 

Regards, Paul

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Dear Paul,

Apropos 40th Pathans.

This medal in my collection 5a2fa45fa7761_P1140505-Kopie_small.jpg.cf656a3b9aad4f1aaa18ba25818d5faa.jpghas the clasp Afghanistan NWF 1919...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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11 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Dear Paul,

Apropos 40th Pathans.

This medal in my collection has the clasp Afghanistan NWF 1919...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

 

Thanks Kim.  Anything that indicates 40 Pathans might have been up in the Khyber in Jul 1918 and why?  Best, Paul

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Peter Hopkirk book Like Hidden Fire/On Secret Service East of Constantiople deals with German plots to start revolts in India.

 

The book Warcars by David Fletcher deal with British armored cars in WW I might be some info on the 22 Battery MMG

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20 hours ago, James A Pratt III said:

The Peter Hopkirk book Like Hidden Fire/On Secret Service East of Constantiople deals with German plots to start revolts in India.

 

The book Warcars by David Fletcher deal with British armored cars in WW I might be some info on the 22 Battery MMG

James

Many thanks for your help. I am not familiar with Hopkirk but will have a check. I have a copy of War Cars, which has some sketchy details of the MMG batteries, including 22, in an appendix by Charles Messenger, who contributes on this forum. See my separate thread on 22 Bty. 

Regards, Paul

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/2/2018 at 00:44, James A Pratt III said:

The Peter Hopkirk book Like Hidden Fire/On Secret Service East of Constantiople deals with German plots to start revolts in India.

 

James I now have obtained a copy of On Secret Service East of Constantinople (is Like Hidden Fire an alternate title?).  I have just started reading - and it is fascinating.  Although I`m  not sure it is going to provide an answer to my specific original question ("what was happening on the Khyber in Jul 1918, and in particular what was 22 Bty MMG's involvement?") - it certainly looks as if provides the strategic background, which you and @KONDOA have hinted at.  I`ll report when I`ve read it!

 

Regards, Paul

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