Reconnaissance


We do not know whether it was Burrow's intention to fight the whole battle from the exposed position that he occupied initially. As a place from which to face a vastly superior force it had some major drawbacks. It was almost totally exposed both to enemy observation and to the sun, and resupply of water and ammunition was at least half a mile away. Worse still, so rapid had been the deployment of the force that no reconnaissance of the ground was undertaken by Burrows or his staff. It wasn't until after midday that it was found that an extension of the ravine in front of Mundabad ran right across the front of the British/Indian position (later measured as being at a distance of between 300 and 600 yards away). This provided the enemy with cover from direct fire for his troops forming up for attack. Although the desert floor of the valley looked flat it was in fact cut by folds in the ground and numerous dry watercourses which the enemy used with advantage.

There is some suggestion that Burrows, having deflected the enemy from continuing towards Ghazni by his attack, intended to withdraw to Mundabad and possibly Khig which offered some cover and defensive positions which he could more easily have held. Unfortunately such a move became impossible once his force had been outflanked and become closely engaged.


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by Stephen Luscombe