Burrows' knowledge of Ayub's whereabouts, strength and intentions was woefully
inadequate. Apart from information gained from his cavalry patrols all his
other intelligence was about three days old. Meanwhile Ayub, it would
appear, was much better informed about British movements. It meant that,
until sighting Ayub's army on the morning of 27 July, Burrows was unaware of
its full strength and was also surprised to find his enemy's main body
already at Maiwand before him. Even when one of his patrols did give him
information relating to Ayub's early advance on Maiwand, he waited two days
for confirmation. In the end he was suddenly forced to act and gave his
orders at 10.30 p.m. on the 26th for the advance early next morning, which
resulted in few of his men getting any rest the night before the battle.
Colonel Leigh Maxwell has been particularly critical of the intelligence collection plan which he describes as rigid, unimaginative and lacking in initiative and aggression. A more robust patrol plan should have been implemented as soon as the enemy's main body began to close in after its 300 mile march from Herat. There is no doubt that this deficiency put Burrows at a disadvantage at the start of the battle from which he was never able to recover.
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