Third Anglo-Afghan War Resources

The Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919 is a short (May-August 1919) and often forgotten war, and an interesting product of both the aftermath of the Great War, Afghan domestic politics of the time, and ongoing issues along the North-West Frontier of India (as one might guess given this is the Third Anglo-Afghan War…). The Wikipedia article is a good basic rundown, but more specialized material is available online, often for free.

Khyber.org’s Army in India & Frontier Warfare 1914-1939 set me to looking for interwar Northwest Frontier & 1919 Third Afghan War material online, along the lines of my earlier Great War Resources article.

It turns out the Khyber.org article I first found is republished (with permission) from King-Emperor.com which has more good NWF/3AW stuff.

I was somewhat surprised (but pleased!) to find the British Army’s 1925 Manual of Operation on the North-West Frontier of India on the US Army’s CARL Digital Library website. It’s obviously post-3rd Anglo-Afghan, but the NW Frontier really didn’t change that much in the inter-war decades. (Indeed, you could argue it hadn’t changed much since the expansion of British India in the mid-19th C created the Frontier in it’s familiar form… you could probably even argue that it hasn’t changed much today, but I’m not a modern-era wargamer and I’ll stay focused on the WW1/Interwar Era, thanks…)

There’s also Mountain Warfare on the Sand Model via the Internet Archive. Date of publication unknown, mid-1930s is the best I can do given the references and other publications mentioned in this one. Designed as a series of tactical exercises for junior officers; the application to modern wargaming should be obvious! The other “Useful Publications” by the same publisher mentioned in the book don’t seem to have made it online, which is a pity. I might well be doing a more detailed post here about this book at some point later, actually. It’s a neat series of exercises that could be easily adapted to gaming.

“Passing it On: Short Talks on Tribal Fighting on the North-West Frontier of India” (1932) by Sir Andrew Skeen is mentioned on several websites and in contemporary publications, but it doesn’t seem to be online. At least one Amazon listing claims to have it available, but I have my doubts about that sort of dodgy-looking Amazon listing… Given that military operations in the NWF/Afghanistan area are back in the news this century, there is an edited and republished version of this book from 2011, with some new material. I might have to add this to my long-dormant Amazon wishlist!

“Operations in Waziristan 1919-1920” is an official history by the British Indian Army’s General Staff; it’s available as PDF on both the US Army’s CARL site and or via the Internet Archive.

The full “Official History of the Third Afghan War” doesn’t appear to be online anywhere, but it is available for £18 from Naval & Military Press in the UK. I have several other NMP facsimile reprints, and they’re very good quality books. NMP also have Lessons in Imperial Rule, originally published 1908, which sounds fascinating.

Wargaming Resources

Lots of companies have suitable Great War British figures in the famous tropical-issue pith helmet – in 28mm, I really like Brigade Games, and have heard good things about Woodbine Design’s WW1 in the East range. Copplestone Castings’ Brits are nicely sculpted but very, very large and bulky figures.

Over on the Afghan side, for Afghan regulars in 28mm we’re currently out of luck, which is unfortunate. For tribal Afghans Empress has the best figures in their slowly-expanding Jazz Age Imperialism line – and they’ve talked about adding Afghan regulars to that line, I believe! Old Glory Miniatures has a line of Afghan/Pathan tribesmen amongst their varied ranges. I’ve not seen them in person but apparently there are many nice figures in the lineup; I’ve heard it described as OG’s best-sculpted group of figures. They’re technically for the late-19th C, but from 3rd AAW-era photos I’ve seen, tribal dress didn’t change much.

If you have any further links, please stick them in the comments below!

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