Battle of Charasiab

The Battle of Charasiab was fought on 6 October 1879 during the Second Anglo-Afghan War between British and Indian troops against Afghan regular forces and tribesmen.

Battle of Charasiab
Part of the Second Anglo-Afghan War
Earl Roberts of Kandahar.jpg
Major-General Frederick Sleigh Roberts
Date6 October 1879
Location34°23′55″N 69°10′3″E / 34.39861°N 69.16750°E / 34.39861; 69.16750Coordinates: 34°23′55″N 69°10′3″E / 34.39861°N 69.16750°E / 34.39861; 69.16750
Result British Victory

United Kingdom of Great Britain and IrelandBritish Empire

Emirate of AfghanistanAfghans
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Major-General Frederick Roberts Nek Mohammed Khan
3,800 men 12,000 Afghan army troops and tribesmen
Casualties and losses
18 killed, 70 wounded[1] Over 300 killed[1]
Gatling guns with British forces during the Afghan War

The battleEdit

The first phase of the Afghan War ended in May 1879 with the Treaty of Gandamak. However, when in September 1879 the British envoy in Kabul was murdered, the war recommenced. A Kabul Field Force was created, commanded by Major-General Sir Frederick Roberts, which advanced on Kabul.[2] On the evening of 5 October 1879, Roberts reached Charasiab, a small town 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Kabul, where he camped overnight, awaiting the arrival of his force's baggage. The next morning, 6 October, saw a large force of regular Afghan soldiers, equipped with artillery and reinforced by local tribesmen, on the ridge of the hills ahead. It was led by Nek Mohammed Khan, Governor of Kabul and uncle of former Amir Yakub Khan, who intended to attack the British.[3]

Attacking first, Roberts' force feinted to the left of the Afghan line, before launching his main attack to the right. The fighting lasted several hours, but eventually the Afghan army was pushed back, and by 3:45 pm the British-led force had opened the route to Kabul.[1] After this, Roberts resumed his advance and occupied Kabul on 13 October.[2]

British casualties amounted to 18 killed and 70 wounded, while Afghans deaths exceeded 300.[1] Twenty Afghan field guns were captured, including an eight-inch brass howitzer previously presented to the Afghan government by the British; as was a large proportion of the small arms and ammunition used during the battle.[3]

The British force was equipped with two Gatling guns, with Charasiab the first time these rapid fire guns were used in action.[1]

The spelling of the battle varied. The formal dispatch published in the London Gazette stated 'Charasiab',[3] the regiments present received the battle honour 'Charasiah',[4] while General Roberts' memoirs[5] and the clasp authorised for the Afghanistan Medal referred to 'Charasia'.[6]

Order of battleEdit

The following regiments participated in the battle:[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Farwell, Byron (1973). Queen Victoria's Little Wars. London: Allen Lane. p. 209. ISBN 0713904577.
  2. ^ a b Robson, Brian (2007). The Road to Kabul: The Second Afghan War 1878-1881. Stroud: Spellmount. pp. 138–160. ISBN 978-1-86227-416-7.
  3. ^ a b c General Robert's dispatch for the Battle of Charasiab "No. 24801". The London Gazette. 16 January 1880. pp. 214–220.
  4. ^ N.B.Leslie. The Battle Honours of the British and Indian Armies 1695-1914. p. 78. Published Leo Cooper. 1970.
  5. ^ Roberts, Sir Frederick (1897). "Chapter LI.". Forty-one Years in India. London: Macmillan & Co.
  6. ^ a b Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. p. 155. Published Spink, London. 1988.

External linksEdit