During the Anglo-Afghan Wars of 1839-1842, Afghan warriors used homemade jezail rifles with devastating results against British East India Company troops. The British Brown Bess muskets weren’t accurate beyond 50 yards, and using the long barreled jezails, the Pashtuns picked off British patrols from cliffs up to 500 yards away.
Jezails were handmade and most were smooth bore weapons, but some had their barrels rifled. The rifling, combined with the barrel’s long length, made these weapons very accurate for their time. The Jezail was beautifully decorated, and, as a further insult to the British, most jezails used the flintlock lock mechanism from captured or broken British Army’s Brown Bess muskets.
in January 1842, using the jezails, the Afghans annihilated the entire 4,500 British force, called the Massacre of Elphinstone‘s Army, during their doomed retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. Only one British soldier, Dr. Thomas Brydon, survived.
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