Fire and Ash

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Changing History...Just a little - A 1936 Afghanistan AAR V2

“Afghanistan is more than the 'graveyard of empires.' It's the mother of vicious circles.”
― Maureen Dowd


afghanistanflag.gif

Chapter Index:


 
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Prologue​

The Treaty of Gandamak

Signed 26 May 1879 by the emir of Afghanistan, Mohammad Yaqub Khan and Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari it was the official end of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began as a repercussion to the Great Game. After tensions between Russia and the British Empire ended officially at The Berlin Conference of 1878 Russia turned its attention to its other frontiers. On the 22 July 1878 a Russian envoy arrived uninvited into Kabul. On the 14 August the British Empire demanded that Amir Sher Ali accept an envoy too. Sher Ali response was not to only refuse this request, but to stop it if any attempt was made to enter Afghanistan. In September 1878 a British Mission was sent and at the order of Lord Lytton, the Viceroy of India. As it neared the eastern entrance of the Khyber Pass it was stopped and turned back. This event triggered the Second Anglo-Afghan War. A British Force of 40,000 made up of Indian and British soldiers attacked Afghanistan from three different points. They made a rapid progress and occupied much of the country. The Sher Ali appealed to the Tsar of Russia, but failed to gain any support and three months later died of natural causes. His son Mohammad Yaqub Khan assumed control of the nation and signed the treaty a month later. It is widely regarded as the most humiliating treaty ever signed by an Afghan Ruler, it made Afghanistan a puppet of Britain in everything, but name.

800px-Mohammad_Yaqub_Khan_with_British_officers_in_May_of_1879.jpg

-Mohammad Yaqub Khan with Britain's Sir Pierre Cavagnari

As part of the treaty a British Mission was to be placed permanently in Kabul, taking control over Afghanistan’s Foreign policies. Less than two months since the signing of the treaty a dissatisfied regiment of the Amir’s Army stormed the Missions compound. The Mission headed by Sir Pierre Cavagnari and his staff were massacred, starting the Second stage of the war. Major General Sir Frederick Roberts led what would later be known as the Kabul Field Force across the Shutargardan Pass and defeated the Afghan Army that awaited him and occupied Kabul on the 6 October 1979. With the lack of any sizable resistance Yaqub Khan was forced to the peace table. Due to his suspected complicity in the massacre of Cavagnari he was obliged to abdicate the throne. Yaqub Khan chose to pass his throne onto his cousin Abdur Rahman who resigned The Treaty of Gandamak, but with a single alteration. There would be no British Mission in Afghanistan. With all other objectives achieved the British agreed and the Second Anglo-Afghan War ended.


"His Highness the Amir of Afghanistan and its depen-dencies engages, on the exchange of the ratifications of this Treaty, to publish a full and complete amnesty, absolving all his subjects from any responsibility for intercourse with the British forces during the war, and to guarantee and protect all persons of whatever degree from any punishment or molestation on that account.

His Highness the Amir of Afghanistan and its depen-dencies agrees to conduct his relations with Foreign States in accordance with the advice and wishes of the British Government. His Highness the Amir will enter into no engagements with Foreign States, and will not take up arms against any Foreign State, except with the concurrence of the British Government. On these conditions the British Government will support the Amir against any foreign aggression with money, arms, or troops, to be employed in whatsoever manner the British Government may judge best for this purpose. Should British troops at any time enter Afghanistan for the purpose of repelling foreign aggression, they will return to their stations in British territory as soon as the object for which they entered has been accomplished."


-First Section of the Gandamak Treaty. Included in the treaty was the transfer of Jurisdiction over the Korram and Pishin valleys, the Sibi district, and the Khaybar pass to the British.


The Third Anglo-Afghan War

Under the rule of Abdur Rahman Khan, Afghanistan and the British Empire went through a forty year period of reasonably good relations. Unfortunately it would be his death in 1901 that would lead to another war, eighteen years later. His successor Habibullah Khan was an unstable and unreliable leader who would side with either Britain or Russia depending on who would pay the highest price. Though Habibullah felt considerable resentment over the Convention of St. Petersburg he chose to remain the neutral in First World War. The Convention of St. Petersburg was a treaty that solidified the boundaries of control in Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet. A consequence of this treaty was that Afghanistan was to be considered a British Protectorate and that Russia was not to send any diplomats to the nation. While remaining neutral Habibullah did accept a Turkish-German mission in Kabul. During this time he resisted numerous requests for assistance from the Central Powers, instead be used both sides to benefit his position. The Turkish-German mission left in 1916 having failed to convince Habibullah to side with them. They did convince him though that Afghanistan was an independent nation in its own right and should be beholden to no one. With the end of the First World War Habibullah sought to gain reward for Afghanistan’s assistance with independence, even going as far to demand a position at the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919. The request was denied by the viceroy, but further discussions were planned. Unfortunately these never happened as on the 19 February 1919 was assassinated.

AfghanPowerStruggle-1.png

-Nasrllah Khan brother to Habibullah, left. Amānullāh Khān third son of Habibullah, right.

In the resulting power struggle two men vied for control. Habibullah’s brother Nasrullah Khan who had proclaimed himself as Habibullah's successor, and Habibullah’s third son Amānullāh Khān who also proclaimed himself Amir. While this matter could have been decided quickly with the chain of succession, the Afghan army suspected Amanullah of complicity in the death of his father and would not declare their support. Needing a way of cementing his power, upon seizing the throne in April 1919, Amanullah presented himself as a man of democratic ideals, promising reforms in the system of government. He stated that there should be no forced labour, tyranny or oppression, that Afghanistan should be free and independent and no longer bound by the Treaty of Gandamak. With this support he seized the throne and removed his uncle, sentencing him to life imprisonment for the murder of his father. While the support for his promised reforms had allowed him to seize the throne his uncle had represented a large conservative support, one that now threatened to undermine his government. His solution came from the most unlikely of sources. On Sunder 13 April 1919, Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer marched fifty men to a raised river bank overlooking a crowd of 15,000 – 20,000 and opened fire. Dyer kept continual fire for more than ten minutes. This would later become known as the Amritsar massacre. Official figures place the number at anywhere between 350 – 1000 killed with almost 1500 believed injured. This massacre caused unrest throughout India and with the weakened state of Britain’s forces following the end of the war, Amanullah found a way to unify his people. On the 3 May 1919, he invaded India.

The Afghan army was not very formidable. With only 50,000 men in strength and with officers that lacked any real training. Their equipment was also a mix of whatever was available with reports putting them with a selection of German, Turkish, Russia and British equipment. Added to this force were the 20,000 – 30,000 tribal warriors that Amanullah expected to gather in the Khyber Pass alone. Against this force the British on paper fielded a much larger army and with better equipment. In reality though, the British Indian Army was severely undermanned with several divisions in Europe and those that were in India in a process of demobilisation. The machine guns available were out-dated, artillery was in short supply and the public’s opinion for another war was low. In the favour of the British Empire though was a modern RAF, Armoured Cars and Motor transport. The war began with the seizing of the Khyber Pass and the strategically important town of Bagh. Bagh importance to the Indian and British forces, as it supplied water for two companies of soldiers in the region, the closest forces to the Afghan invasion. The Viceroy of India, Lord Chelmsford immediately began to mobilise his forces, but until he was finished there would be only one battalion available, the 2nd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. On the 7 May the Battalion was sent to the engage the Afghan Army at the Khyber Pass. During this time the two companies closest to Bagh grew to Brigade strength with the arrival of the 1st Infantry Brigade under Brigadier G.D. Crocker. On the 9 May Crocker ordered an attack on Bagh. The attack failed though when to protect his flank Crocker split his forces in two. Without the concentration of force he failed to capture the town and was forced to fall back. On the 11 May a second assault was made, this time with almost double the amount of British soldiers. After several hours use of 22 artillery pieces, the British army charged the Afghan position with fixed bayonets. Against this onslaught the garrisoned Afghan forces were routed from the town. Their retreat was made more pressing due to RAF bombardment. As the retreating army made it across the border their British pursuers were fired upon from the mountains and forced to give up the chase. Casualties for what would be later known as the Second battle for Bagh were 100 Afghans killed, with 300 wounded, while the British in comparison lost, 8 men killed and 37 wounded.

On the 13 May the British Army choose to cross the border and took control of Western Khyber and Dacca provinces. The British Camp however was poorly sited for defence and as a consequence they came under an intense long range bombardment from Afghan Artillery. This was followed by an infantry assault. The assault was defeated and the British counter attacked, but already stretched and exhausted from the Afghan assault failed to consolidate their position. On the 17 May the area was finally secure. The previous day the British army launched an assault on what was nicknamed the Stonehenge Ridge. The attack went on throughout the day until late in the afternoon the 11th Sikh infantry reached the top of the ridge. Once there they discovered the Afghan forces had abandoned the position leaving behind equipment, standards and artillery pieces. While the British army had achieved two very important victories it soon became apparent that a new threat to the rear was emerging. The entirety of the Khyber Rifles began to become disaffected by the situation and began to desert en masse. As a result, it was decided to disarm and disband the regiment in an effort to stop the spread of similar sentiment to other regiments. Following this Lord Chelmsford decided that the situation could be resolved by continuing the advance further into Afghanistan and gave the order for the brigade in Dacca to march towards Jalalabad, however, this order was unable to be carried out as fighting broke out further to the south and in the eastern Khyber. The situation grew worse for the British, even going as far to abandon posts around the Kurram Valley. In response the British launched bombing raids on the region and Kabul, but it did little to stem the tide.

kandahar_92nd_highlanders.jpg

-92nd Highlanders in the battle for Quetta.

On 27 May the British attacked and captured the province of Quetta and in doing so gained the initiative in the south, the situation in Kurram, the centre of the warzone, remained dire. The Afghan forces in this area were under the command of General Nadir Khan who’s forces outnumbered the British presence by more than four too one. Matters became even worse when it became apparent that North Waziristan Militia protecting a flank was becoming disaffected. Concerned that they would rise against him and cause others to do so, Brigadier General Alexander Eustace ordered that the militia outposts be abandoned. This action ended up causing mass desertion and even caused the South Waziristan Militia to become disaffected. The militia based in Wana turned on their officers and any men who had remained loyal and attacked them. The survivors, under Major Russell, the commandant, were forced to fight their way out to a column of the North Zhob Militia which had been sent out to relieve them. With the situation deteriorating Nadir Khan took the opportunity to Thal. The posts nearing the fort had been abandoned days before. On the night of 28 May a group of men under his command seized control a tower fifty meters from the fort and managed to set fire to several food dumps. The situation for the men at the fort was bad beforehand, but now it was considered dire. Eustace's forces were outnumbered, outgunned and outclassed. He possessed no regular British infantry and his four battalions were all inexperienced Indian units, consisting mainly of young and inexperienced forces. As a result the 16th Infantry Division was ordered to relive Eustace's forces in Kurram. The division was spilt in two, part of it to cover the defence of their supply lines while the 45th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General Reginald Dyer would carry on to Thal. Possessing no transport Dyer was forced to march his men across the landscape. Despite the conditions Dyre made good progress and on the 1 June he encountered a large force of tribesman that barred both the south and north approaches to Thal. In a move that would make him a hero he spilt his forces in two and attacked both entrances. Unable to withstand this attack the tribesman withdrew and Eustace’s forces were finally relieved. The war would carry on for another month, until Nadir Khan received a message from Amanullah requesting a cease fire. It was not until 8 August 1919 that the settlement was finally concluded when the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed.

While the war was declared a victory for The British Empire, in reality it is more complicated. The British army achieved it objectives at the cost of almost twice as many soldiers. The outcome for Afghanistan was that it effectively gained independence. The British lost any and all control over Afghanistan and the tribesman that fought with the British felt betrayed leading to unrest and trouble along the India frontier for years to come. This has not been the only effect of the war though. Amanullah had only bought peace for a short amount of time. After Amānullāh travelled to Europe in late 1927, opposition to his rule increased. An uprising in Jalalabad culminated in a march to the capital, and much of the army deserted rather than resist. In early 1929, Amanullah abdicated and went into temporary exile in then British India. His brother Inayatullah Khan became the next king of Afghanistan for a few days until Habibullah Kalakani took over. However, Kalakani's nine months rule was soon replaced by Nadir Khan on October 13, 1929. Amanullah Khan attempted to return to Afghanistan, but he had little support from the people. From British India, the ex-king travelled to Europe and settled in Italy, and later in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Nadir Khan made sure his return to Afghanistan was impossible by engaging in a propaganda war. Nadir Khan accused Amanullah Khan of kufr with his pro-western policies.

Mohammed_Nadir_Shah.jpg

-Nadir Shan

One Mohammed Nadir Shah’s first actions as King was to remove many of the reforms Amanullah placed, with his focus being on rebuilding the nation’s army. Unfortunately while he struggled to rebuild his nation’s forces, the religious and tribal leaders’ forces did. In 1930 the country was gripped with rebellion, two rebellions in Kabul followed by two uprisings by the Pashtun Shinwari tribes. All of these were barely put down by Nadir Shan’s forces. In that same year a Soviet force crossed the border in pursuit of an Uzbek leader whose forces had been harassing the Soviets from his sanctuary in Afghanistan. He was eventually driven back to the Soviet side by the Afghan army in April 1930, and by the end of 1931 most uprisings had been subdued. What followed was two years of relative peace. During this time Nadir began improving Afghanistan in less obtrusive ways than Amanullah. He improved the road networks, creating the Great North Road through the Hindu Kush, established permanent lines of communication, established Afghanistan’s first university, funded prominent entrepreneurs to set up private business, created a banking system and a long term economic plan for the country. While his plans on increasing the army never bore fruit in his life time, after his death the national army grew from almost nothing to 40,000 in strength. On November 8, 1933, Nadir Shah was shot and killed by a teenager named Abdul Khaliq Hazara during a high school graduation ceremony. Khaliq Hazara was apprehended immediately after the assassination and was later executed along with members of his family.

Mohammed Zahir Shah. Zahir Shan was proclaimed King on 8 November 1933 at the age of 19, after his assassination of his father. He has followed the plan set out by his father. He has encouraged the growth of industry and the army, but now is the time for him to take control. Afghanistan has for almost 100 years remained a buffer state between the powers of the British Empire and the Russia. Now the British Empire is in decline, the USSR has it’s attentions fixed to Europe where the rise of a new power friendly to Afghanistan’s cause is set to usher in the new age. It’s time to see if Afghanistan can change history.

mohammed%20zahir%20shah.jpg

-Mohammed Zahir Shah

Authors Note:
A long time ago I started an aar called “Changing History...Just a little - A 1936 Afghanistan AAR”, in the end I abandoned it due to work reasons. I’ve been planning to knock this off my list to do for a while now. So here it is. Expect updates when I can get them. Hope you enjoy.
 
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Baltasar

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Just gotta love minor AARs and I believe an Afghanistan AAR hasn't been seen around here ever!

Are you using For the Motherland 3.05 or do you use a mod or self mod....?
 

eqqman

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Mohammed has had it a bit rough if he is still 19 in that picture, hehe
 

Fire and Ash

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Chapter 1: Preparation​


afghanistan_logo-1.png

The start of 1936 was at first like many precious years for Afghanistan. Since the early 19th century Afghanistan’s rule on the world stage had been that of a buffer state between the interests of Russia and the British peoples. Constant conflict between these two parties had crippled Afghanistan and led it to over a hundred years of turmoil. It was a constant pressure on the lives of each and every person in country. Things were changing though. The British Empire was a power in decline, the Communist forces in Russia were busy consolidating their position and the German Nation had returned stronger than before and seeking friends in Asia. With the power of the tribes and religious leaders broken in the Pashtun Uprising of 1930 and good relations with Britain and USSR, Afghanistan was in it most stable condition for generations. In the build up to 1936 Zahir Shan managed to increase the Afghan Army to over 40,000 in strength from nothing and became a member of the League of Nations. With aid sent from the German nation Zahir rebuilt at least part of his nation’s industry and infrastructure. 1936 would not be the same as previous years. The tribal leaders in the cabinet were corrupt and would not allow any change that threated their position. On the 1st of January he had them removed.

Afghan_Political.png

- The new Government Cabinet.

The new cabinet layout represented Zahir’s own power in the government. He was now the most dominant force in the cabinet and allied with the loyal second most powerful, Duad faction. With Duad’s loyalty to Zhair Shan, they now represented the true power within Afghanistan. This shake up of power wasn’t just Zahir’s attempt to grip power, but also represented his drive towards a successful and productive Afghanistan. With this new cabinet he set about the creation of a new budget.

Industry.png

- The allocation of the nations industry in accordance with the new budget.

The Afghan Standing Army had never been larger or more modern, but it like, so many other areas of Afghanistan, was undermanned. In a survey he predicted he would struggle to reinforce the Army to its full strength. Attempting to build new units would stretch their logistical ability more than it already was. A decision was made that until a time when the nations industry could handle an expansion of its military, they would be better severed on increasing the competency of its standing units instead of creating more. The extra industrial capacity was to be used for supplies and the updating of equipment.

Over several meetings the course of the Afghan Army strategy was created. The majority of the Army was made up of Militia units loyal to Zahir Shan. Not as well trained as normal soldiers, but the choice was made to increase the ability of these units rather than converting them into normal soldiers. They believe that the right path for their army was to gain better equipment and superior organisation.

historical_afghanistan_soldiers.jpg

- A typical group of Militiamen in the 1930's.

Zahir Shan had no plans to repeat the mistakes of his forbears in warring against the British Empire, but times were changing. The forces of the world set their eyes on Europe once more. The British Empire is faltering and German is offering a hand of friendship. History will be made soon and only time will tell what his place in it will be.


Authors Note:

@Baltasar: Thankyou, I usually play small nations these days for the challenge. I am using FTM 3.06. No mods, but I may change edit things in the game if I think it helps with the RP aspect of this AAR.

@eqqman: Lol. Yeah, I tried finding a younger photo, but it seems this is about as young as it gets. :p
 
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Fire and Ash

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Chapter 2: War and Planning​


afghanistan_logo-1.png


The nation of Afghanistan was well known for the strength of its warriors and for the lack of stability. With the recent years of stable climate since the breaking of the government’s enemies in the 1930 Pashtun Rebellion the nation had experienced growth, but the nation’s unity was still broken. Only half of its populace supported the current government, so Nadir Shan set his internal agents the goal of improving this.

Internal.png

- Internal Agents of the Governments new priority.

He did not need long to confirm this as the right course of action, when news of Ethiopia’s defeat reached him. The war between Ethiopia and Italy began the year before when Italian troops entered Ethiopian territory. The war began with the Wal Wal Border Clash. The war could have ended there with the League of Nations declaring the incident neither parties fault, but France and the UK were keen to keep Italy on side. On the 7th of January 1935, the Italian and French Governments signed an agreement allowing Italy to engage in warfare in Africa. The result of this was to allow Italy to attack Ethiopia without repercussion. On the 9th of March 1936, Ethiopia surrendered unconditionally to Italy.

EthopiaPuppet.png

- The Defeat of the Last Independent Nation of Africa.

War was not constrained to just the far flung reaches of the world. In Europe the fires of war were finally being stoked to flame. Spain had broken. In the North of Spain, Nationalist forces have seized the country and attack provinces all over the country. In the South, Republican forces attempt to hold back the tide and strike back at their enemy in the north. The Army supported the North and Government the South. The situation seemed reminiscent of many times throughout Afghanistan’s past. Nadir Shan had no intention of letting it happen here.

SpanishCivilWar.png

- The Spanish Civil War.

It seems the Head of the Foreign Ministry had the same idea. Nadir had been open to the reorganisation of the different areas of the government, but this was the first case another had declared himself openly in support. Nadir shuffling of the cabinet however had caused offense to the other factions in the country. To anger further would be unwise, so he instead choose to leave them as they were, but assured Haji Fiaz that change would come.

Re-OrgEvent.png

- The Foreign Ministry moves with the times.

With the end of year drawing closer an account of the scientific advancement of the country was put together and given to Nadir. They made advances in their forces weaponry and were close to perfecting a new technique of management for their militia.

Research.png

- Current Research projects, planned and in progress.

Coinciding with the new equipment for the Afghan Army also came with the reorganisation of its forces and leaders. Zahir was a competent leader in his own right and believed as many of the previous Kings did that he should be the true leader of his army. Below him he placed men of skill and loyalty to his him.

1Layer.png


Armylayoutv20.png



Armylayoutv22.png



Armylayoutv21.png

- The new structure for the Afghan Army.

The flames of war are brewing. Soon all the preparation in the world will not help Afghanistan. Soon they will have to be ready.


Authors Note:

Its the holiday! I can finally start updating more often. That said, I hope none of them take as long as getting the army structure right. Part 3, coming soon.
 

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Such a unique idea; I never would have thought of it. I'm signed on!
 

Fire and Ash

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Chapter 3: Broken Promises

afghanistan_logo-1.png

In the early of hours of the day on the 12th of March, 1938 German troops crossed the Austrian border and were greeted with cheers and salutes. Several hours later Hitler crossed the border himself and met with the leader of Austrian National Socialists party, and signed into effect the annexation of Austria. Many would later call this the Flower War and was first real show of political power and military might of the German War Machine. This is opposed to the promises Hitler made to the former Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg. 12th February that year Kurt Schuschnigg, in an attempt to avoid the annexation of Austria, gave away many of the most important positions of his government to the ANS in return for a public recognition of support for Austria’s national sovereignty. Schuschnigg agreed and made the changes to his government. A week later the Hitler made this public speech.
“The German Reich is no longer willing to tolerate the suppression of ten million Germans across its borders.”
-Adolf Hitler.

Austria would prove to the first of many broken promises.

Anschluss.png

-Map of Central Europe after the annexation of Austria and a copy of the, telegram that was given to Nadir Shan later that evening.

The Spanish Civil War finally came to an end on the 3rd of May. The Nationalist faction emerged victorious after smashing the last of the Republican Army in Seville. The Nationalists were supported throughout the struggle by Germany, providing supplies and equipment. While Spain did not sign a treaty with Germany, the Allies found their position in Europe increasingly isolated by German allies and nations friendly to the German cause.

NatSpain.png

-Nationalist Spain Victory in the Spanish Civil War.

The years 1937-1938 saw a dramatic change in Afghan politics. The political chaos’s created in previous years due to Nadir’s cabinet changes were finally being resolved. New parties and groups with different ideals were emerging and on the 9th of September 1937 the cabinet met to discuss the probation of these parties. The cabinet came to the decision that strong centralised government following the same ideals, would be better for the nation than a disunited government. In truth Nadir Shan faction held the most amount of the power in the country. Allowing these new parties in would damage his hold. An order for the immediate and permanent disbandment of these parties was issued.

NewPartiesv2.png

-The Establishment of New Parties.

This decision would come back to haunt him when a young women was an assaulted at a public gathering by members of the local militia. On the 23rd of February 1937, a group of thirty men, women and children gathered at the Kandahar city centre to protest the laws against political gatherings. The local militia attempted to disperse the group. During this action a young woman was hit with a bludgeon and knocked to the ground. She suffered only a concussion, but news of this spread like wild fire throughout the country.

ParmGatev2.png

-Nadir Shan steps down from a position in the face of public scandal.

This became a public embarrassment for Nadir as the blame was laid solely with him. To calm the masses Nadir Shan stepped down from the position of Minister of Security. In his place he gave the position to Carlo Garbasso. Carlo Garbasso was a Spanish businessman that immigrated to Afghanistan at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. His wealth brought him power and his wide known support of the King and National Revolutionary Party made him perfect choice. The scandal was a public embarrassment for Nadir Shan, but by the end of the year Nadir would have more pressing concerns.

CurrentCab.png

-The new cabinet and their positions after the Kandahar Scandal.

In the past Russia and Britain would use their influence in the nations of Asia and the Middle East to try and gain advantage over the other. However with the attention of all parties focused towards Europe, the stability of these nations were kept through the non-aggression pacts signed every ten years. This treaty was signed by the nations of Afghanistan, Persia, Iraq and Turkey. Delegates from all the involved nations met in Tehran the capital of Persia to sign the Treaty of Saadabad. Just before the delegations to meet, Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, the Shah of Persia announced that Persia would not be signing the treaty. To make matters worse before news could reach each nations respective capital, the delegations were ejected from Tehran. The British Empire made a formal complaint against Persia and threatened to place trade sanctions with the country. Reza Shah later made public speech about his actions.

“We can no longer allow the powers of old to hold us back. Russia and Britain have used us to fight their war and for their causes. We are choosing to lead the way for our Arab Brothers, to show them the true path.”
-Reza Shah.

The Afghan army was placed on high alert in response. Military Units were positioned along the border and were given strict orders to turn around any Persian nationalists that attempted to cross. Relations with Persia hadn't been this bad since Afghanistan independence from the Persian Empire in 1747. It was common held belief by many that Germany was responsible for supporting Rezah Shah actions and consequently relations between Afghanistan and Germany soured.

HighAlert.png

- The position of Afghan army September 1938.

Three days later Germany stopped sending funds to Afghanistan and demanded the return of all German nationals. This would have severely hurt the Afghan modernisation process had it not been for the British Empire that agreed to support Nadir Shan. In the outbreak of war in europe it was believed by the British that Persia would be used to threaten the British colonial holdings and open up another front. Afghanistan stood publicly opposed to Germany and Persia, and Britain used this to try and manipulate Nadir to join with the Allies. At the end of 1938 though Nadir declared his continued neutrality in the events of the worlds powers. 1939 would change this.
 
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Fire and Ash

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Chapter 4: The Afghan-Persian War: Part 1

afghanistan_logo-1.png

The beginning of 1939 began quietly enough. The British Empire had decided to back down from asking Afghanistan to join their alliance until a later date. While tensions remained high in the region, the lack of movement along the Persian borders led to the Afghan Minister of Security, Carlo Garbasso, stepping down the alertness of military. Nadir Shan as Commander-in-Chief adopted a similar command structure to the British in India. Using a series of Command centres in a pyramid structure allowed him to keep control of all his forces. This organised approach stands opposed to previous Afghan armies.

BurningVilliage.jpg

-A burning building in the Town of Farrah.

In the quite hours of the early morning of January 21st 1939, the town of Farah was awoken by the sounds of gunshots. Twelve men armed with rifles and grenades attacked the town and its population. An eye witness account stated the men were firing indiscriminately. The attack carried on for more than twenty minutes before a border patrol by chance heard the sound of gunfire and investigated. The attackers disappeared from the town as soon as the patrol arrived. What they found was a scene of devastation with other thirty civilians’ dead and twenty either wounded or dying. In the coming days the number of dead would increase to forty seven. This event would later be known as the Massacre of Farah.

PersiaGerEmblem.png

-Survivors reported seeing this unknown emblem worn by some of the attackers.

News of the attack spread like wildfire throughout Afghanistan. The Massacre of Farah shocked and angered the people. Not even in the Anglo-Afghan wars had there ever been such a loss of civilian lives, nor the level of casual brutality. The people demanded to know who was responsible for the attack and how it was allowed to happen. Things became worse when a week later a newspaper published an article stating that it would have taken hours for the army to respond had that patrol not been there by chance. As Minister of Security, Carlo Garbasso had been responsible for evaluating the security of the borders and based on his decisions the order to stand down the military alert level.

ParlScandalv2.png

-Carlo Garbasso fails his position.

On the 31st of January Nadir Shan asked Carlo Garbasso to resign from the government. Carlo Garbasso left the country three days later to return to his homeland of Spain. In his place he appointed Ghulam Faruq Usman. Ghulam Faruq was a member of the National Afghan Security force. He was known throughout Afghanistan for his investigative skills and dedication. His fist act was to evaluate the nation’s security and to find out the origin of the men responsible for the Massacre of Farah. Russia and Britain both offered their assistance in the search for those responsible and medical assistance.

Cabinate.png

-Ghulam Faruq Usman appointment to Office.

He and a group of investigators travelled to Farah and interviewed survivors. He discovered that the men that, had attacked the town from the south and fled in that direction. The militia that pursued spoke of how they had followed tracks for several days and how they led away from the Persian border and instead towards British India. Ghulam followed the trail and found it ended five miles from the border to India. Using the local militia they searched the area discovered, hidden in a cave bodies. Eight bodies burnt beyond recognition. Ghulam concluded that these men must have been part of the group that were responsible for the attack. No weapons, uniforms or identifying items were found. Ghulam sent the bodies back to Herat to be studied, while he carried his search into India. He met with Louis Mountbatten, a delegate sent by Archibald Wavell, the Viceroy of India. Together they searched for the men responsible along the coast. Britain had been monitoring the Persian border since the attack, escape to Persia by land would be impossible if the men responsible had come from there. They came to the conclusion that the only way these men could possibly get to Persia was by sea. With tensions rising in Europe there was no way they could use a battle ship to patrol the water, so the British instead positioned men across all the docks. If the men responsible were from Persian origin they would still be hiding in India. A plan was hatched. Information was leaked to the criminal elements of the area the British would be standing down the men at the docks. That night Ghulam, Mountbatten and a group of British soldiers waited in hiding. At 11:04pm four men emerged from the shadows made their way to a small fishing boat in the docks. Ghulam and the others approached and when they were right on top of them demanded their surrender. One of the men reached for a weapon and was shot. Two other men were killed attempting to escape while the third was wounded. The surviving man was of Persian origin.

On the 18th of February he returned to Kabul with a full report on his investigation. He provided evidence that the weapons used in the Massacre of Farah were of German origin. The weapons found in the residence of the man caught in India carried the same ammunition used in the attack and matched the wounds of the bodies in the cave. The bodies in the cave were a group of Indian tribal warriors that had been hired by the other four to assist in the attack. Once their usefulness had ended the other four betrayed the warriors, killing them to cover their tracks. He concluded that the men responsible had tried to place the blame on Britain, but hadn’t counted Ghulam continuing the pursuit into India. He concluded that the Massacre of Farah was not only an act of terrorism against the people of Afghanistan, but also an act of war. That from this day onward Afghanistan should consider itself at war with nation of Persia. Two days later Nadir released the information to the public. The British and Afghanistan were outraged and demanded the immediate removal of Raze Shah from power. When no response was given both nations imposed trade embargos on the country. The rest of the Commonwealth followed suite. The Afghan army was mobilised and following reforms were passed with nearly total support from the population.

Policiesv2.png

In the coming weeks the Afghan Army would be mobilised to its full strength. In the coming months the rest of the world would join Nadir and others like him in the belief that a war was coming. One the likes of which the world had never seen. In Asia Japan launched its attack into the mainland of China in response to the Marco-Polo incident. Within days the nation of Shanxi fell to Japanese troops. China rushed to respond, moving troops to the borders to combat the Japanese.

JapanMarch.png

-A map of China. The beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

In Europe Hitler marched on Czechoslovakia in direct violation to the Treaty of Munich signed earlier that year, seceding the region of Sudetenland to Germany. In a matter of days Germany annexed Czechoslovakia, to the shock international community. With a day of this news the United Kingdom guaranteed the right of independence for the nation of Poland. A few days later Nadir Shan was woken in the night to the news of a nonaggression pact being signed between the nations of Germany and Russia. In Nadir’s mind the last power that could curb the Germans desire for power had just guaranteed the Second World War.

GauranteePoland.png

-The UK guarantee Poland.

Due to the partial mobilisation of the Afghan Army before the call to mobilise came it took little month for the Army to reach full strength. During this time a number of breakthroughs were made in the nation’s research projects. With a new level of efficiency Naidr was pleased to find that the road modernisation project was completed ahead of schedule. His militia were now equipped with some of the latest weapons and organisation techniques. His forces were ready for whatever storm was coming.

Research-1.png

On the 8th March 1939, the survivor of the group responsible of the Massacre of Farah, confessed that his group had followed direct orders from Raze Shah himself. On the 9th of March Nadir Shan made one final appeal to the Raze Shah to step down in twenty four hours or Afghanistan and Persia would exist in a state of war. In response Raze Shah ejected the Afghan Ambassador from Persia. At exactly 10am on the morning of the 10th of March 1939, Nadir Shan declared war on Persia.

War.png

 
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robw963

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well there's a country I've never played...very interesting Fire and Ash. I'm curious to see where you take this. *subscribed*
 

Baltasar

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Interesting. Is Militia AT really worthwhile? It seems that you could have invested into another doctrine instead.
 

Fire and Ash

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Chapter 4: The Afghan-Persian War: Part 2

afghanistan_logo-1.png
The first gain in the war came when the Herat Cavalry division commanded by Major General Bardolucci arrived in the province of Kashmar on the 14th of March 1939. Within weeks of this the regions of Birjand and Zaheadan would follow. Nadir believed that Raze Shah had not taken the threat of invasion seriously and this had led to the almost lack of Persian troops along the border. This did not mean Raze was a fool though and on the 19th of March, Bardolucci sighted the 1st Persian Infantry division. The 1st Persian Infantry was led by none other than the Prince Gholam Reza Pahlavi. After sighting the enemy Bardolucci made the decision to attack before the enemy could dig in. The coming battle would later be known as the Battle of Khur.

BattleofKhur.png

-The Battle of Khur.

The Battle of Khur began at 11am and ended at 10pm that same day. The Battle of Khur ended when the Herat militia joined in the attack at 9pm. Prince Gholam Reza was a competent commander and pulled his troops back. During the battle Bardolucci would prove himself as a commander in consistently breaking through the enemies lines of defence. This would be the first victory in the war against Persia and it would cost ninety two afghan lives.

BattleofKhurVic.png

-Bardolucci victory at the battle of Khur. The first victory in the war.

The plan for the war was laid out by Nadir Shan two days before the war began. The first objective of two of the three Afghan armies was to cross the desert as quickly as possible. Between the border of Afghanistan and Tehran were miles of desert terrain. It favoured the attacker, but if the mountains were defended then that advantage would become Persia’s. The Kandahar Army objective was to secure the Port of Bander e'Abbas. Bander e'Abbas was the largest port in Persia and controlling it would allow Nadir to control the flow of trade through the Persian Gulf to Persia. Once this port was secured the Kandahar Army was to advance along the coast and to eventually flank towards Tehran.

Warplan.png

-The Afghan War Plan.

The success of the Afghan war effort so far could not be said for Japan's. Chinese troops from across the country had united in the face of the Japanese invader. They rallied behind Chiang Kai-shek and his counter attack had begun to push Japan back. In the space of less than a year he had reversed China's position in the war and on the 26th of March, advanced into Manchukuo.

Chinastrikeback-1.png

-China's reversal of fortunes.

On the 27th of march the Faizabad Militia attacked the retreating 1st Persian infantry. Prince Gohlam Reza surprised the pursuing militia and stood his ground. The battle carried on until the 1st of April, when a the Royal Guard Infantry division arrived. The battle was an indication at where true strength of the Persian forces lay. While Nadir focused his efforts on turning his militia into a fighting force, Raze had focused on the equipment of his infantry, turning them into a formidable opponent.

BattleofDargardan.png

-The Battle of Dargardan.

It has been almost a month since the war began. Since the start of the war over 306 Afghan lives have been lost and over 150 Persian lives. Despite this the Afghan army numbers and size has allowed them to push deep into the Persian desert. The Persian Army also seem to be no where near the same size as Afghanistan's. Only time will tell whether this success will continue into the mountains.

Month1.png

-Afghan progress. 1st April 1939.

____________________________________


Authors Note:

@robw963: Thanks for the support.

@Baltasar: My main reason for choosing this was for RP value and for the punching power it gives me.
 

robw963

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I just wanted to send over a quick note of encouragement in the hope you keep this going. I kind of missed some of the flavor imagery used in your first posts and noticed there's less of it in your last post...and then it hit me: Digging up photo materials like that for Afghanistan in the World War 2 era must be incredibly difficult! Perhaps if you manage to conquer Persia (and who can say you won't!) you might be able to find more photo resources related to Persia. Keep it up!
 

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Fire and Ash, CONGRATULATIONS!

I've just awarded you the WritAAR of the Week Award for this magnificant AAR!

This means you get to bask in glory for a week, then pass it along to another worthy author who hasn't received this award recently (1st post in that thread shows who's won in the past year). I think they'd appreciate hearing a little about you and the AAR.

It also means you HAVE to continue this! :p No slouching. Not continuing will not only waste this valuable promotional opportunity but also embarrass me, and you, and everyone who's paying attention over here to your wonderful AAR. No pressure... :D

I know it's only been a week, and it looks like you're intending to continue this, so I'm looking forward to reading more. Great work!

Rensslaer
 

Fire and Ash

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Chapter 4: The Afghan-Persian War: Part 3

afghanistan_logo-1.png

The month of April would bring new challenges to the advancing Afghan forces. The success of the initial invasion had begun to stretch the command lines of the Afghan armies. Nadir Shan gave the order to advance the armies Head Quarters to keep up. In the meantime the Afghan armies continued to press the smaller and outstretched forces of Persia. On the 4th of April Hashim Khan once again engaged Gohlam Reza at the province of Bezahem.

BattleofBezameh.png

-Victory at Bezameh.

Though the battle of Bezameh was won by the Afghan Army the effect of Gohlam Reza continued fighting retreat was having an opposite effect in Tehran. Many in Tehran believed the actions of the Raze Shah actions into the build-up of the war had been reckless, ill-thought and dangerous. This however was mild compared to the thoughts of the population on Raze Shah actions in the war so far. The Persian army employed professionally trained infantry and modern equipment, and their current lack of success was an embarrassment to Raze Shah. While Raze Shah was becoming increasingly isolated in the capital Prince Gohlam Reza was considered a hero. On the 11th of April the Persian Prime Minister Muham Jam sent a message to the Prince.


Dear Prince Gohlam Reza Pahlavi,

It is not for me to interrupt you in matters of military importance and I would not have done so if the matter I were writing to you were anything over than the highest of importance. Before I continue you must understand, I place my life and the life of others in your hands. The people are angered. Your father’s actions have led us to war and in the people’s eyes disaster. There is talk not only in the shadows, but in the bright of day. Your father is asking you an impossible task and he refuses to see reason. Even worse than our possible defeat by the Afghans is the prospect of the British invasion. If we act now we can end this madness before it is too late...
-An extract from Prime Minister Muham Jam's letter.

The Prince's response to the PM was to refuse the prospect of taking his father’s place. Though young, the Prince's political views were much more liberal and refined compared to that of his father and combined with his military prowess made him the best man to take his father’s place and to maintain the Pahlavi dynasty. His refusal wasn't total though as he made it clear that if the situation were to deteriorate any further he could be forced to side with the PM.

MohammadRezaPahlavi.png


-Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

On the 12th of April the Kandahar Army, led by Lt.General Wali Khan seized the vital port of Bander e'Abbas. With the capture of the port for the first time in over two hundred years, the Afghan military had access to the sea. Not since the days of the Durrani Empire had Afghanistan held a port. In towns throughout the Afghanistan this victory was celebrated, in the capital it was celebrated as the beginning of the Second Durrani Empire.

PortTaken.png

-The Kandhar Army Capture Bandar e'Abbas

At precisely 8pm on the 16th of April the Herat Cavalry came within sight of Tehran. After miles of desert and mountainous terrain the first Afghan troops had arrived within walking distance of the capital. Seeing the end of the war in sight Bardolucci ordered his Calvary to advance on the capital. The following skirmish lasted only an hour before the order to full back was given. The Afghan Cavalry advanced into the city outskirts before being fired upon from by a cavalry column led by Raze Shah himself.

BattleofThran.png

-Bardolucci falls back from Kabul.

Bardolucci orders an immediate retreat from the city losing twenty four men in the skirmish. It becomes clear to Nadir that Raze Shah has fortified his position in Tehran and without the rest of the army backing them, any conceivable attack would fail. The mountain terrain proves to be an advantage for Raze Shah, but also for the Herat Cavalry. This is proven when Raze Shah leads an attack into the mountains around the city three hours later. His attack failed and cost the lives of over 510 Persian solders to 124 Afghans. On that same day the Fiazabad Militia engage Gohlam Reza troops. The attack sees one of the longest battles in the war, lasting three days in length. Just under 700 Afghan lives are lost compared to the 132 Persian. The aim of this battle was achieved though. While the Prince was engaged he had not been able to see the risk of the growing encirclement. On the 22nd of April the Fiazabad Militia called off the attack and the Prince was trapped.

Pocket22.png

-The Dastgardan Pocket.

Prince Gohlam Reza was surrounded by over 27,000 Afghan soldiers and was completely cut off from any retreat. The attack started midday on the 23rd and ended on the early hours of the 25th. The division put up a fight for those two days before surrendering utterly to the surrounding troops. Soldiers reported groups of thirty to a hundred troops surrendering to just a handful of soldiers. One incident reported over fifty Persian soldiers surrender to a messenger that got lost and stumbled into the area. The prince however was not found among the prisoners.

IranArmy.jpg

-Persian troops surrender.

On the 1st of May, 1939 the truth of where the Prince had gone became apparent. At 1am of that day a soldier entered the palace carrying a message from the PM to the Raze Shah. The message demanded the immediate removal of Raze Shah from office and all political matters. He was to step down in the place of his son and give him to the title of Shah of Persia. Raze Shah left the palace later that day and was seen heading towards the Turkish border.

EndofMonth.png

Afghan progress. 1st May 1939.


____________________________________

Authors Note:

@robw963: Thanks for the support and yes it is very difficult to find pictures of Afghanistan from this time period. The picture of the surrendering Persian troops actually took an hour to find. Very difficult to find pics of even the Iranian Invasion 1941.

@Rensslaer: I have mentioned in the tread how honoured I am at receiving this award. I'll do my best to make sure I don't let you down.

@31PvtPrivate: I did intend to give a little gap between updates, but I didn't expect it would be this long. I promise to be shorter in the future.

To everyone who has responded in this AAR so far, thank you. It is a huge encouragement seeing other people thoughts. :)
 
Last edited:

TekcoR

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Go go Afghanistan! And congratulations on a well deserved award.
 

robw963

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Nice update Fire and Ash. I suspect the invasion (EDIT: pre-emptive anti-British maneuver) of Persia is going to be a long, slow affair given the infrastructure and terrain there...not to mention your relatively weak (all apologies) army. All the same, Afghanistan is growing! I know you started with 4 IC...has that increased yet? at all? I also have to say that image of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is quite impressive. He looks very dashing in that uniform all festooned with medals. It's a shame he rejected the sensible offer from Muham Jam. I suspect he'll change his mind...but perhaps when it's too late...?
 

Rensslaer

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Very impressive to have both, made it to the sea, and surrounded the prince!

I'm excited to see how this turns out, and then how you will proceed from there on out.

Minor suggestion on the text -- in a number of places I think you transposed the letters so that "Reza" was shown as "Raze" -- that threw me a number of times, until I got used to it and knew what you meant. :)

Rensslaer