Afghanistan - The Great Game - A personal view by Rory Stewart

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by afghanman, May 29, 2012.

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  1. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    There was a bit missing from the 1840 part, which was that our forces were set up in an absolutely indefensible position. But Rory has spent a lot of time in the area and appears keen to frat with the locals.

    My grandmother always maintained that her father 'rode with Lord Roberts from Kabul to Kandahar' but I have never been able to substantiate that from original sources.
  2. It was pretty much as you would expect from the beeb, unbalanced. It was unbalanced because it drew too heavily and uncritically from the Afghan side. An Afghan interviewee laughed at the idea that a british column could be outgunned, but that is precisly what happened at Maiwand. The Afghans under Ayub Khan massively outnumbered the British even before being joined by 6000 British-equipped Afghans who mutinied and abandoned their blocking position at Girishk, they had a 30 guns (inc 14 pounders) to 12 superiority, and much more ammunition. The British guns having only 50 rounds per gun due to transport logistics problems and had dumped a lot of ammo into the Helmand river. Even so, the Afghans had 5x as many casualties as the british, who did eventually manage a fighting retreat to khandahar.
    A bad defeat certainly..but the Afghans had had to put in a mighty effort against a numerically smaller and "outgunned" opponent.
  3. Negligent-Discharge

    Negligent-Discharge LE Book Reviewer

  4. I liked the bit where the Afghan emigre living in London fondly reminisced about the glory of Maiwand and how it's coded into Afghan DNA. I wonder if child prostitution and endless civil war are also encoded as well.
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  5. I'm not sure it's fair to blame the Beeb, the show was written & produced by Mr Stewart.

    He's not an ignorant man but I think he might be suffering from a touch of 'Lawrence-of-Arabia' syndrome. He's quite good in Parliament.
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  6. Funny you should say that. T E Stewart did a doc recently about his alter ego, including a shot of himself walking along a railway line.

    I always thought Rory should have had himself buggered by the Turks ... for research purposes, natch.

    He could have done a piece to camera while the Pasha flicked his scrotum with a glint in his eye.
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  7. The SAS briefed him about being raped, according to his book, so he was well on his way.

    Takes some balls to walk across Afghanistan with nowt but a stick, some paracetamol and a half-dead dog to keep you company.
  8. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer


    'Saving the Guns at Maiwand'
  9. I'd forgotten the dog. It was a horrible, bad tempered beast. I think it was called N... oh..

    He's a good egg is Mr Stewart, imho, even though he sometimes comes across as the Stephen Fry of military history. In his mind's eye, he has got his frock on, strolling across the roof of a train.
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  10. Cracking bit of cinema that.

    I quite enjoyed the programme, made me want to dig out Peter Hopkin's On Secret Service East of Constantinople from whever it has gone in the admin vortex of my place.

    I do wonder what a chap like Mr Stewart will do as an MP. Can't be for long surely, I can't see him to happy with the professional politicians of the Whitehall village. Boring sycophants, and I am astounded by the spread between really thick and hyper-bright-but all hot-housed.

    I seem to think he won't fit the "I always listened to my party's call and I never thought of thinking for myself at all" way it seems done at Westminster.

    Did like one of his offerings in Parliament was quite interesting:

    HoC 28/11/11
  11. Reading the thread title I actually thought this was about a book I read titled Shooting Leave - Spying Out Central Asia In The Great Game by John Ure. The book centres very much on Afghanistan and doesn't really, from memory, delve into any of the modern history instead focusing on the great game of the 19th century. Fantastic book that I would highly recommend.
    I'll need to look into this programme though. Has anyone read Shooting Leave and do they know if this programme is along the same lines?

    Sent from my brick using poo stained fingers
  12. Cracking book, that. Agreed, El Stewart won't last long in the Palace of *****. He's far too close to the Royals to have his heart in what we might call public service.

    The only slight beef I had with him, apart from the need to emulate the saintly Lawrence in such a cartoon way was his charity in Kabul. It was - occasionally - a case of buying up old buildings, hoofing the poor beggars who lived in them out on the street with a brogue up their hoop, in order to 'restore' it and flog it on for a profit.
  13. sirbhp

    sirbhp LE Book Reviewer

    a good piece of historic reporting , it seems that even in 2000 the lessons were lost . Of course the programme was biased towards the Afghans , it was about their history . However it didn't mention the internal infighting and attempted coups that have plagued them since time immemorial . Yon feller has been there done it and got the bow legs from all his walking in the region . Cant wait to see Wednesdays episode .