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Viewing Topic "A Campaign Suggestion - 2nd Afghan War 1878-80"
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Posted by: AdamC 2nd Afghan War 1878-80
Posted on: 25/05/2022 14:26:56

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Posted by: AdamC
Total Posts: 294
Joined Date: Thursday, 22 January 2009

Afternoon folks! Lets a have discussion on a possible title as it seems like it’s been a while. How about a CAM on;


2nd Afghan War 1878-80


What’s It All About?

In it’s ongoing efforts to keep Russia away from India’s boarders Britain launched a three pronged invasion of Afghanistan in order to put a pro-British ruler on the throne and create a buffer state between the Raj and the Russian bear. The campaign was spilt into two distinct phases. The first being a quick victory for the British in 1878 before it all kicked off again in September 1880 following the massacre of their delegation in Kabul. It all finally ended with a crushing British victory at Kandahar before we withdrew to India having achieved our aims, albeit at a cost.  The campaign had its ups and down for Britannia from racking up some impressive battlefield wins at Ali Masjid, Peiwar Kotal, Charasiab, the siege of the Sherpur Cantonment and the aforementioned battle at Kandahar to the massacre of the British delegation in Kabul following the garrisons heroic last stand and the destruction of a Brigade at Maiwand. All this added to the Imperial mystique of the The Great Game in popular Victorian culture and was an important chapter on the nature of life and war on the fringes of Empire.


Why is it Campaign Worthy?

It’s an important part of late Victorian expeditionary warfare and probably the last really big Victorian campaign to get some coverage from the CAM series (there are plenty of other smaller ones mind you!). The campaign certainly caught the imagination of the Victorian public and is repeatedly referenced in late 19th and 20th century literature (Sherlock Holms, The Man Who Would Be King, The Green Mantel, even the Carry-On franchise!). The Campaign covers plenty of pitched battles and sieges that fit nicely into the CAM format and includes plenty of interesting military and political personalities from the era (Sher Ali Khan the Emir of Afghanistan, the ill-fated Sir Loius Cavagnari and, arguabley the most capable of Victoria’s Generals and certainly one of her most famous, General Sir Frederick ‘Bobs’ Roberts, to name a few). It would also form a nice companion volume to CAM 298 covering the First Afghan War 1839-42. It’s in no way obscure and, in all honesty, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already!


Source Material

This campaign is very well documented, and an experienced writer/researcher would have no problem at all pulling together a manuscript on this topic. Sources, both primary and secondary are abundant and details of all the engagements are easy enough to find. With our recent involvement in Afghanistan still fresh in our minds it’s also a timely reminder of our past in this part of the World. The full colour battle scenes and birds eye views have plenty of options: the joint Highlander/Ghurkha assault on the “impregnable position" at Peiwar Kotal, the valiant but doomed defence of the Residency in Kabul by the Corps of Guides (the Indian Army formation not the girl’s youth organisation!), the Afghan army attempting to storm the Sherpur Cantonment before being beaten back, the last stand of the 66th Foot and Bombay Grenadier at Maiwand, British artillery opening up to start the battle of Kandahar? Take your pick really.


Would it sell?

Ah, that’s the million dollar question isn’t it! Osprey are the real experts here and, I guess, it would depend heavily on how well CAM 298 did. I suspect it would be a popular one on this (UK) side of the pond but perhaps might be a tougher sell in the US. That being said, Afghanistan is still a name a resonates on both sides of the Atlantic due to recent events so maybe I’m being harsh. Any US readers have an opinion on that? Would you guys be interested?



So, there you go folks. What does everybody think about this one as a possible title for Campaign? Have at it with a Tally-Ho, a stiff upper lip and three cheers for the Queen or is it more “Wounded and Dying on Afghanistan’s Plains”? Let me know what you think, all opinions welcome.

Posted on: 25/05/2022 14:26:57
Posted by: Molly @ Osprey
Total Posts: 31
Joined Date: Thursday, 7 October 2021

Hi Adam,

Thank you so much for your thoughts on this! I'll pass it over to our editors for them to consider.

With best wishes,


(Marketing Assistant)

Posted on: 25/05/2022 16:07:41
Posted by: Tarawa90
Total Posts: 105
Joined Date: Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Some of us on the other side of the pond enjoy British Imperial campaigns, so I say go for it.

Posted on: 25/05/2022 19:40:01
Posted by: AdamC
Total Posts: 294
Joined Date: Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hi both,

Molly - That's great, hope they like it. Let us know what they say.

Tarawa - Nice one, glad to hear you guys have some interest in the subject. Like I said, I'm surprised it's not been done already. 

Anybody else got any thoughts on this one?

Posted on: 26/05/2022 13:21:23
Posted by: Aetius453
Total Posts: 1
Joined Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Great suggestion Adam C.  I loved the first title and any excuse to see more Peter Dennis art is all I need to consider the book.  And I am an American, but I never look at Osprey titles from that perspective.  Good military history should be read regardless of the time or the location.  Wouldn't you agree?  There's always more to know.Cool

Posted on: 08/06/2022 17:23:08
Posted by: AdamC
Total Posts: 294
Joined Date: Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hi Aetius453,

Yes, I totally agree! My Osprey collection includes all sorts of subject across numerous time periods. I enjoy anything WWI or WWII related regardless of the front or combatants (I'm currently reading the B-25 Vs IJN Destroyer DUEL title which focuses on the Battle of the Bismarck Sea - one we werent involved in at all). I like the Roman stuff too, again regardless of where the action is happening. I loved the CAM titles they did on the Siege of Vienna and Dien Bien Phu despite there being no Brits involved. That being said though I know some readers like to stick to certain periods, fronts or national subjects and that can certainly influence if a title gets published (Osprey have said that a few times over the years). It's great to see you guys in the States are certainly interested in the second Afghan War though, that's two US readers who have given it the thumbs up now. 

Anybody else want to give an opinion on this title?

Many thanks


Posted on: 09/06/2022 09:47:50

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