Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A very nice Maiwand Day at the Muzeo

Things went very nicely at the MUZEO. I don't think it was a record-setting day in terms museum attendance, but the visitors showed lots of interest in the game, and asked lots of questions, and I think everyone there had a fun time. The Brits beat a hasty retreat back across Mundabad Ravine, and proceeded to fortify positions in the twin villages of Mundabad and Khig, even dismounting their cavalry to add to the firing line.

When the Afghans reached them, things went fifty-fifty, with the ghazis, irregular tribal cav and regular cav winning half the melees and the 66th and Bombay Grenadiers winning the other half, while the ill-fated Jacob's Rifles got an unfortunate "6" on their "Stand-&-Fight" die roll -- the only result which would have, and did, cause them to turn tail and rout off the table. At that point the museum was about to close and we needed to beat a hasty retreat in order to pack up and load out before they locked the doors on us.

I call the result at the time we ended a narrow Afghan victory. The Afghans still hadn't brought their powerful artillery train to bear on the villages, and their vast numbers of regular infantry had yet to make their presence known, so despite taking massive casualties, they had a good chance to overwhelm the British positions, despite their defensive strength.

At the start of the game, Hector Maclaine -- the firebrand RHA officer who ran his guns up to engage the passing Afghan army, somewhat contravening his orders at the time -- did exactly what he'd done in real life, sticking around a bit too long to fire at the advancing enemy, resulting in his gun being overrun and lost. In the game the figure representing Maclaine escaped the melee alive as a "fall back," which is much better than the real Maclaine did, being captured, held prisoner for about a month, and then having his throat cut just before British troops reached him in the Afghan camp at the end of the battle of Kandahar.

I'd like to thank my friend Matthew Rigdon for showing his Texas spirit by helping me out at the last minute, putting together a DVD of Second Afghan War imagery, plus the scene of the attack on the British residency at Kabul from "The Far Pavilions," which played in the background of the museum gallery behind our game table -- he even threw in some battle footage from "Zulu," and the final charge from the 1968 "Charge of the Light Brigade," all of which perfectly fit the Victorian British paintings and artifacts on display.

I'd also like to thank Harmon Ward and his fellow St. Crispin's Irregulars gamers of Anaheim, several of whom showed up to help out and to play -- and a special thanks to RJ and Rod Galati, who treated us to lunch and dinner.

And a very big thank you to several members of the legendary Bengal Club who made the trek down to help as well, and even brought some very nice hand-outs they had prepared for the occasion.

Last but not least I need to thank my entire family -- my mom & dad, my wife and our daughters, all of whom showed up to lend their support. But most of all, my son, who accompanied me back and forth from LA to Anaheim on Saturday & Sunday, loading, unloading, carrying a ton of stuff, lugging and setting up tables, and generally helping me out a great, great deal.

Here's a LINK to the video we showed in the b.g. of the game at the museum. As mentioned above, it includes period maps and photos, some nice pics of the Maiwand game from Colonial Barracks, and the scenes of the Siege of the Kabul Residency, from 1980s TV miniseries "The Far Pavillions," as well as a couple of other Victorian military movie scenes. It runs just under 40 minutes altogether…


With my family and I about to move, Maiwand Day will be taking a brief leave of absence. I hope to be back some with some blog activity in early 2012, showing off another Afghan/NWF rocky hill, which may even be big enough to use to refight the battles of Charasiab or Kandahar. In the meantime I wish everyone reading this a very Merry Christmas -- or, for members of my tribe, Happy Hanukah -- and a WONDERFUL NEW YEAR!