128 year old British Martini-Henry rifles found in Afghanistan

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128 year old British Martini-Henry rifles found in Afghanistan

British soldiers serving in Afghanistan have recovered weapons looted from the bodies of their Victorian forebears.

Rare Martini-Henry rifles lost in the bloody defeat at Maiwand in July 1880 have been retrieved 128 years later by troops fighting the Taliban and al-Qa'ida in Helmand province.

Two of the rifles, dated 1874 and 1878, are currently on sale in a Sussex antique shop for 1,100 apiece.

Mark Hawkins, co-owner of The Lanes Armoury, Brighton, said:
... Quote:
When we first fought the Afghans, we kept sending out armies who lost. The Afghans killed our chaps and took their weapons.

Now British officers are finding these guns, recognise them for what they are, and are getting permission to bring them back. We've had a few through.

The Martini-Henry is a very, very collectable gun almost entirely down to Michael Caine and the film Zulu. Everyone who has seen that film has seen the Martini-Henry and knows it is the rifle used by the British in that era.


The Martini is particularly popular with collectors, he said, because of both its place in the development of firearms technology and for the role it played in the famous battles of Britain's colonial campaigns.

The battle of Maiwand was one of the worst British defeats of Queen Victoria's 63-year reign. A 2,500-strong Anglo/Indian force was routed by an Afghan army of about 12,000 men.

Among the 1,000 British and Indian dead were 286 men of the Martini-armed 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, who made a last stand in a walled garden in the village of Khig. When only two officers and nine men of the 66th remained alive, they charged the hordes of tribesmen surrounding them.

An Afghan witness described the end:
... Quote:
These men charged from the shelter of a garden and died with their faces to the enemy. So fierce was their charge, and so brave their actions, no Afghan dared approach to cut them down.

Standing in the open, back to back, firing steadily, every shot counting, surrounded by thousands, these British soldiers died. It was not until the last man was shot down that the Afghans dared to advance. The behaviour of those last 11 was the wonder of all who saw it.
The weapons they wielded so gallantly could finally be returning home.

 http://www.independent.co.u...

Martini-Henry_1867.png - 32.8kb
By netchicken: posted on 9-6-2008

Well the English sure messed around all over the world didnt they ?? Maybe in a 100 years they'll find M16s in Iraq and afghanistan and sell on them to collectors.

Also they might similarly say how they fought gallantly against the Taliban, back to back and all that jazz.

Didnt the British go to conquer the place ? I find nothing "gallant" about imperialism.
By IAF: posted on 9-6-2008

The British were involved in a proxy battle with Russia I think. Isn't it what was called "The great game"? What surprises me is that people are still using 128 year old guns. Surely their accuracy and ability must be less than more modern weapons.

I wonder if Afghanistan is one huge antique weapons dump considering all the wars fought there by outsiders.

What is surprising is that this was the worst British loss in 60 years, yet only 1000 were killed against a force 5X greater.
By netchicken: posted on 10-6-2008

Here we go :)

The Great Game is a British term for what the British saw as a strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia.

The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as running approximately from the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 a second, less intensive phase followed.

The term "The Great Game" is usually attributed to Arthur Conolly, an intelligence officer of the British East India Company's Sixth Bengal Light Cavalry.[1] It was introduced into mainstream consciousness by British novelist Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim (1901).

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...
By netchicken: posted on 10-6-2008

... Quote:
Originally posted by IAF
Well the English sure messed around all over the world didnt they ?? Maybe in a 100 years they'll find M16s in Iraq and afghanistan and sell on them to collectors.

Also they might similarly say how they fought gallantly against the Taliban, back to back and all that jazz.

Didnt the British go to conquer the place ? I find nothing "gallant" about imperialism.


It was till that point of time. After this they lost badly on a number of occasions. The most famous being the Gallipoli campaign, the seige of Kut, the Japanese invasion of Burma, the loss of Singapore to the Japanese, the repeated defeats in Afghanistan . I'd say they lost surprisingly often. However, none of those battles get much publicity. Just goes to show how much control a dominant power had on information even in the past and the ability to influence the future.

Here is a web page of all the famous British defeats: http://www.friedgold.co.uk/...
By IAF: posted on 10-6-2008








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