Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Application of Airpower in the Third Afghan War


British Aircraft on Patrol During Afghan War

The Third Anglo-Afghan War also known as the Third Afghan War, the British-Afghan war of 1919, and in Afghanistan as the War of Independence, began on 6 May 1919 when the Emirate of Afghanistan invaded British India and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. Airpower played a key role during the 3rd Afghan War (1919) and the revolt in Waziristan (1919-1920). Five Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons of BE2Cs, Bristol F2Bs, De Haviland DH9As, and De Haviland DH-bombers were used in strafing and bombing attacks on the rebellious frontier tribes and on targets in Afghanistan itself, including Kabul and Jalalabad. The attacks on Afghan towns, although small-scale, helped bring King Amanullah to the negotiating table.

Handley Page V/1500 Bomber, "Old Carthusian,"
That Bombed Kabul

In May 1919, during the brief Third Anglo-Afghan War, the Royal Air Force (RAF) employed a lone Handley Page V/1500 to bomb the palace in Kabul. Although little physical damage resulted, the bombing caused great distress among the city’s residents. One author noted that “the women of the royal harem rushed on to the streets in terror.”

The attacks on Kabul and other Afghan towns, although small scale, helped bring King Amanullah to the negotiating table. Within days, Afghanistan’s King Amanullah Khan had called for a truce. Nevertheless, the month-long war gained the Afghans the conduct of their own foreign affairs. A peace treaty recognizing the independence of Afghanistan was signed at Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) on 8 August 1919.

Sources: Wikipedia, British Army Museum, RAF Archives, Encyclopedia Britannica, Imperial War Museum

1 comment:

  1. What a difference from today. We routinely bomb Afghanistan with thousand of ponds of bombs daily with little or no result.