Saturday, 29 December 2018

Hand-to-hand combat between Mahsud tribesmen and the Gurkha mercenaries of British-Indian army [14 January 1920]

Painting depicting intense hand-to-hand combat between a party of Mahsud tribesmen and the Gurkha mercenaries of British-Indian army at Ahnai Tangi, South Waziristan, 14 January 1920. On this say, the British admitted to the loss of 15 officers and 450 soldiers in fighting in and around Ahnai Tangi. Pashtun tribesmen suffered lesser casualties, estimated by British to be 250 Mahsuds and 70 Wazirs killed.

Though Mahsuds faced well-trained units of British-Indian army with long experience in Frontier fighting, their tactical knowledge, training and armaments had been improved due to the presence of a large number of deserters from militias. Although there was a heavy fighting on the ground, it was the British bombing of Mahsud and Wazir villages that was instrumental in bringing the conflict to an end in 1920. The Mahsuds reluctantly accepted the terms imposed upon them and operations closed on May 7, 1920. The 1919-20 campaign is officially described by British as one of the unparalleled hard fighting and severity. The difficulties they experienced, made the British change their policy on the North West Frontier. Until 1947 Waziristan was to be permanently garrisoned with regular troops who worked closely with local militias. By 1923, Razmak and Wana were linked by a circular road with Bannu and Tank to accelerate communications. By 1924, North and South Waziristan militias were disbanded and were replaced by the Scouts with revised organization rationale.

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