Talk:1842 retreat from Kabul

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Number of Troops[edit]

I'm writing a story based on the Northwest Frontier during the Great Game, and I thought that some details from this expedition could provide some useful background material. However, I've found that the number of troops listed is rather inconsistent. In this article and in the Great Game and William Brydon article I've found four different accounts:

1.) 12,000 Sepoys, 4,500 British troops, unknown number of support personnel

2.) 12,000 troops (total), 4,500 camp followers

3.) 12,000 British civilians left behind, 4,500 troops (690 of which were British, the rest Sepoys)

4.) 4,500 men with 10,000 camp followers

The recurring numbers 4,500 and 12,000 lead me to think that the numbers are correct, but I have no clue what they're the actual numbers of. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated! Phædrus (talk) 00:15, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Number of Europeans[edit]

I wonder why the box on the left mentions 690 Europeans in brackets - after civilian and military casualty figures. I can understand that European lives were more important to British historians of the Raj - but does it really matter in this day and age on wikipedia? And if one really wants to put an ethnic/racial differentiator in the box shouldnt it be 3810 Indians killed? Since they were fighting for a colonial empire? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 2 October 2010 (UTC)


I'm no expert on Afghanistan (I study British imperialism in Palestine and Egypt) but it may be important to note that the Ghilzais, the Pashtun tribesmen who massacred the retreating British, had over the previous several decades been bitter rivals of the Durrani Pashtuns of Kabul and were not really under Akbar Khan's political control. I will refrain from editing that in since I don't actually know whether that had an impact on the outcome of the event - I'll leave that to someone more knowledgeable, or until I could get a citation. Also, large sections of this page go uncited - that's not to say the statements are illegitimate, just that I'd be more comfortable if there were clear citations for all facts given. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:48, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Hello everybody, I just started to categorize the article and put some links on it to attract some attention. I read about the unbelievable story in a newspaper and wanted to get some further info from wikipedia. However, I failed to find anything useful. No related article like First Anglo-Afghan War, William George Keith Elphinstone, Battle of Gandamak (not a good article) or Akbar Khan covers the massacre and circumstances properly. Since I am no native speaker everybody is heartily invited to soften the language (Oliver-hh 18:50, 2 February 2007 (UTC))

Hi everyone,

I know a fair deal about this event so I'll probably return at some point to add to this article. For the moment I've made a quick scan and edited all of the grammatical and spelling mistakes I could find at a cursory glance. I've also removed a sentence or two, either for a smoother flow in the narrative or, in the case of the sentence regarding the Indian Mutiny, because of lack of supportive evidence. I've never heard that particular theory and it had no references. It seems unlikely to me, as most of the British army that was wiped out was itself Indian. Also, the use of the word "disproportionate" seemed a bit emotionally charged and I don't feel that the arguments at the moment raging on the Indian Mutiny page need to spill over unnecessarily.

If Oliver-hh is still interested in this event an excellent starting point would be George MacDonald Fraser's link "Flashman" novels which, although fictional, are "notable for the accuracy of the historical settings".—Preceding unsigned comment added by DavidDene (talkcontribs)

Assistance needed at List of events named massacres[edit]

Until recently the above linked list article was named simply: "List of Massacres", as such the massacre of Elphinstone's army certainly belonged on the list. However, due to constant edit warring over whether certain events were or were not "massacres", and a recent decision at AfD, this list article has renamed, and a new set of inclusion criteria have been created. Now, the list focuses on whether multiple reliable sources use the word "Massacre" as part of an accepted NAME for the event. I did a quick google search, and am unsure if this event meets the new inclusion criteria or not. A lot of sources discribe the event as being a massacre, but it is unclear if they use "Massacre of Elphinstone's Army" or something similar as a NAME for the event. What would be ideal for us is to have a few sources that say something along the lines of "The battle became widely known as the 'Massacre of Elphinstone's Army'."

Since the editors to this article are more likely to know the best sources for this event, perhaps someone could pop over to the list and add a few sources that establish the use of term as part of the event's name. And if there are alternative names, please let us know that as well. Thanks Blueboar (talk) 14:14, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. Referencing and appropriate inline citation guidelines not met. With appropriate citations and references, this article would easily qualify as B class if not higher. --dashiellx (talk) 12:00, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Incorrect use of the word "Victory"[edit]

The lead of this article says "victory", but the title of the article is correct: massacre. To massacre a defeated army, who has already surrendered and has been promised free passage home, is of course not a "victory", but a honorless massacre. The lead of this article needs to be rewritten. Greswik (talk) 15:26, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Of course, it was a VICTORY - against British Imperialism. Which is why it is so hard to swallow by western demagogues posing as scholars of History. I suggest we re-name THE ARTICLE : "VICTORY OF THE AFGHANS OVER THE BRITISH", because that's what it really was. Massacre was what preceded it - & Nott's later incursion into Kabul.MajMaverik (talk) 09:38, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

It's a shame that the Brits didn't depopulate that country afterwards. They'd have done humanity a lot of good. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:16, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Cinematic references[edit]

The massacre is briefly described as backstory in Daniel Myrick's The Objective. Details are fudged to suggest a supernatural cause for the deaths, but the character speaking is not an entirely reliable narrator, telling a campfire story. Asat (talk) 07:16, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Requested Move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to 1842 retreat from Kabul Mike Cline (talk) 21:43, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Massacre of Elphinstone's ArmyRetreat from Kabul (1842) – After searching for this online, it seems obvious that the name of this article is incorrect and should be really: Retreat from Kabul. On doing a quick Google search for both names, it seems pretty clear the title "Retreat from Kabul" elucidates 2.9million hits whereas the "Massacre of Elphinstone's Army" only gets about 122,000 hits.

IMO the word massacre in the title is POV because on the other hand the Aghans and Pashtun tribesmen probably see it as a great success as they literally reduced the invaders to nothing. It would be also more helpful and less flaming to use a more neutral title because it was a retreat. Particularly as there are views on this talk page that already reflect that viewpoint. The one thing that is without question is it was a retreat. (talk) 09:37, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment. The lede should be updated to reflect the name Retreat from Kabul. If moved, it should be moved to Retreat from Kabul, since that title is unoccupied (WP:PRECISION). -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:14, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
    Also, "retreat from Kabul" Elphinstone -wikipedia gets 330,000 hits[1], which still outstrips the current title, but not as much. Some "retreat from Kabul" hits could be talking about other things. -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:16, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
    • Yes Retreat from Kabul (1842) seems a more appropriate title on balance. The date should of course be included to avoid any possibility of confusion - Afghanistan has seen its share of massacres and retreats. Incidentally the famous painting does tend to obscure the fact that there was more than one survivor - an unrecorded number of sepoys straggled in after Dr Bryden, prisoners taken were later released and no-one seems to have taken much notice of the fate of the camp followers who made up the great majority of the doomed column. At least one sepoy (Sita Ram) survived several years of captivity in Kabul before being able to make his way back to India and rejoin his regiment. Buistr (talk) 20:23, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
      If the year is needed in the title, it would be 1842 Retreat from Kabul, rather than the parenthetical. Since the title is not ambiguous, we wouldn't need a parenthesized qualifier. -- JHunterJ (talk) 20:33, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
      • Agree. Should we relist to consider this as an alternative proposal? Unsure whether there is any support for it at this stage, the comments above all seem qualified in some way. Andrewa (talk) 14:44, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose the proposed name Retreat from Kabul (1842). We only need the parenthesised form of the title if there is more than one existing Wikipedia article to which that word or phrase might be expected to lead (Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Deciding to disambiguate). Andrewa (talk) 14:44, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
          • Just change the page to 1842 Reteat from Kabul. How hard can it be? If there are "house rules" about the use of parenthesis then don't use them. At the moment the use of Elphinstone is v.ambiguous. The sooner the change is done the better. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:27, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Article title[edit]

Just wondering whether we should do another RM on this.

Google [2] [3] gives me over 4,000 ghits on 1842 retreat from Kabul and more than 40 times that when I leave off the date (your results may vary), and most important, leaving off the date doesn't seem to add any extraneous hits about other actions.

(Similar results [4] [5] without the -Wikipedia, but wow, we have some clout don't we!)

In terms of precision there seems no justification at all for having the date in the title. Andrewa (talk) 22:28, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Suitable picture addition?[edit]


Does anyone know if this picture depicts Afghans attacking British soldiers during the 1842 retreat or British soldiers during a different retreat? If it's the former then it would make a good addition to the retreat section which looks a bit heavy on text with only one picture. Tomh903 (talk) 17:20, 24 May 2015 (UTC)