Chitral 1895

An Episode of the Great Game

Mark Simner

‘Chitral 1895: An Episode of the Great Game' examines the true story of a garrison of British Army officers and their Indian troops at Chitral Fort, and the subsequent military campaign fought to relieve them. Although called a ‘minor siege' at the time, it was an important last move in the ‘Great Game' between the British and Russian empires.
Date Published :
August 2017
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
black and white photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781781556184
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.15 inches
Stock Status : In stock


In 1895, a small Indian Army garrison, commanded by Surgeon-Major Sir George Scott Robertson and Captain Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, was besieged by a joint Chitrali and Pathan army at the fort of Chitral. Despite the odds being heavily stacked against them, Robertson’s beleaguered little garrison held out for forty-eight days until a relief expedition was able to fight its way through to the rescue. The siege and subsequent relief is a story of valor and sheer determination in the face of a stubborn adversary and extreme weather conditions, all played out on the often-mountainous terrain of the northwestern border of British India. Robertson described events in Chitral as a ‘minor siege’, but the siege and subsequent relief should be viewed as an important episode in Britain’s ‘Great Game’ with Russia, which would have serious consequences for the British several years later. Indeed, the retention of Chitral by the Indian Government would be a contributing factor to the mass uprisings along the northwest Frontier of India during late 1897. In reality, it was anything but a minor siege.

About The Author

Mark Simner has been interested in British military history since childhood, having widely read and researched the period of 1700 to 1945. In 2007 he setup the incredibly successful Victorian Wars Forum, which was followed by the equally popular Napoleonic Wars Forum in 2011. His first book, ‘An Illustrated Introduction to the Battle of Waterloo’, was published in May 2015, and he has since written a number of other titles and articles.


“Both the siege and relief expedition are covered in detail in this new work by the author, who has several previous books published on the wars of this era. The descriptions of the harsh weather, difficult terrain, and stubborn fighter all blend together to give the reader a clear idea of the hardships faced by the combatants during this time. The result is an interesting look at a little-known battle with far-reaching consequences for the British Empire in this region.”

- Military Heritage, May 2018

"...places the 'minor siege' of Chitral within the overall context of the Anglo-Russian imperial rivalry of the nineteenth-century 'Great Game.'"

- International Journal of Military History and Historiography

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