indian army

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British Pattern 1821 Artillery Officer’s Sword for an Officer of the Madras Artillery

A very desirable and rare early Madras Artillery officer’s sword, by Hart, from around the 1850s. This example is in the foot artillery length, with a 32.5 inch blade, which features very detailed and profuse etching. The blade has been service sharpened right down to the ricasso and it is housed in a wood and leather field scabbard which is later in period but fits the blade perfectly, suggesting it was made for this sword and the sword perhaps had a long service life. Being an Indian-serving officer’s sword and being service sharpened, it is likely to have had a very interesting career. The blade is solid in the hilt. The blade and hilt have a dark patina all over and a little pitting here and there, but the blade etching is still very crisp. The grip is in pretty good condition, with 95% of the shagreen and only a couple of strands on wire missing. The hilt has a somewhat unusual shape, the guard being narrower than normal and the pommel being angled unusually. A very desirable sword that is a pleasure in the hand. 

The Army of Immigrants

Records of men who camped at Valley Forge, expose the myth of farmers throwing down their plows to fight for land they’d owned for generations.

Enlisted ranks were largely landless men in their teens or early twenties, unmarried and poor.  The army offered steady wage, food, whiskey, and clothes, so patriotism was not often the driving factor of their enlistment.  A study of 710 New Jersey Continentals showed almost all came from lower economic classes and only a small number had a profession at all.

In addition to being landless, most were not American-born. Before the revolution, over 300,000 Irish had immigrated to North America, and their bitterness of British oppression helped lead the drive for independence. In most New England Continental regiments, 10-20% of the men had Irish surnames, and in middle states that percentage was consistently higher. Units from Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware were usually around 45% Irish. In The First Pennsylvania, 315 of 660 men were Irish-born and another 215 listed “America” as their place of birth, likely second-generation immigrants.  

After the Irish, German-born men held the second-largest percentage, making up somewhere from 10-20% of the rank-and-file soldiers at Valley Forge.  They were the largest ethnic group in the United States at the time, mostly settled in New York and Pennsylvania.  

Additionally, almost 10% of Washington’s army, camped at Valley Forge, was made up of African or African American soldiers.  Many enlisted voluntarily, but it’s true that some were given as bounty for their masters to avoid enlistment.  And, many served through to the end of the war, finding better treatment among enlisted ranks as ‘brother soldiers’.

info from: “No Meat, No Soldier: Race, Class and Ethnicity in the Continental Army” Charles P. Neimeyer

To My Countrymen All Over The World

PM of India: Force Govt of India to rescue Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav before Pak hangs him - Sign the Petition!
https://www.change.org/p/pm-of-india-force-govt-of-india-to-rescue-indian-naval-officer-kulbhushan-jadhav-before-pak-hangs-him?recruiter=707649788&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=whatsapp


(I have signed this petition) - Aniket More.

Please sign this petition and hope that the government brings Kulbhushan Jadhav back. 🙏🏻🇮🇳

Guerrilla fighters of the Indian Special Frontier Force (SFF) in 1971. The SFF was founded in the early 1960s and raised mostly from Tibetan refugees who had fled into India. Originally envisioned for use against China in the event of a future conflict, the 9,000 man force first saw significant action during the 1971 War, deploying in the Chittagong Hill Tracts on the eastern border of Bangladesh, and engaging in clandestine operations beginning in November (prior to official involvement of India in the war).

(Conboy)

We have reduced public opinion on TV to black and white polarities: Hindu versus Muslim, Right versus Left, liberals versus extremists, nationalistic versus anti-nationals, them versus us. It is almost as if we have caricatured the medium into stereotypes, with even news anchors reduced to performers on screen. Nowhere is the danger of this more apparent than in the narrative on Kashmir. In the contemporary TV format, Kashmir is now about stone-pelters versus Army, separatists versus “true” Indians. As a result, we are no longer willing to explore the nuanced complexity of the situation in the Valley: either you tell the story of the Army jawan who is under pressure to ensure law and order in the Valley, or tell the story of a young boy who has lost his eye because of a pellet gun. If you tell the former, then you are a true nationalist, desh bhakt journalist. If you tell the story of the stone-pelter, then you must be anti-national. What if I tell both stories, my friends? Isn’t that what good journalism is about? Social media has no accountability but surely television news, with the instant and powerful impact of the visual medium, cannot afford to be similarly reckless?
—  Rajdeep Sardesai, veteran journalist, and author
instagram.com
Instagram post by Paul Newman • May 7, 2017
Paul Newman (@historyfan1815) on Instagram: “An officer's uniform of the 1st (The Duke of York's Own) Regiment of Bengal Lancers, c.1900. A stunning uniform elegantly displayed in the redeveloped British National Army Museum which I visited a few weeks back. I want in the future to study the British Indian Army.”
reddit.com
How effective was Native American weaponry and armor when compared to contemporary european equipment in 1500? • /r/AskHistorians

By /u/400-Rabbits



The Spanish Conquistadors regularly expressed their respect of both native weaponry and armor. Bernal Díaz del Castillo gives us our most vivid descriptions of combat when engaging with Mesoamerican forces. For instance, this passage from the second time the Spanish and Tlaxcalans clashed:

When, therefore, the attack commenced, a real shower of arrows and stones was poured upon us; the whole ground was immediately covered with heaps of lances, whose points were provided with two edges, so very sharp that they pierced through every species of cuirass, and were particularly dangerous to the lower part of the body, which was in no way protected.

There’s really two aspects to both native and foreign arms and armor being demonstrated here. One thing to note is that the Spanish who accompanied Cortés were very rarely wearing anything resembling full-body steel armor. Spanish accounts confirm that the “infantry” would have had at least a sword and shield, but armament beyond that was up to the individual soldier to supply for themselves. The most common pieces of armor mentioned are helmets, gorgets, and cuirasses, though the presence of these were not universal to all soldiers, nor did the initial arms and armor of the Spanish always last through the rigors of the campaign. To quote Díaz del Castillo again, he remarks that when a group was traveling back to the Gulf coast to confront Narvaez:

We were altogether in want of defensive armour, and on that night many of us would have given all we possessed for a cuirass, helmet, or steel gorget.

Even the steel cuirasses of the Spanish were not always protection from Mesoamerican weaponry, as the first passage quoted indicates. Díaz del Castillo himself writes about one instance where his steel cuirass was pierced by an atl-atl dart, and he was saved from serious injury only by the cotton armor he had taken to wearing underneath it. Indeed, the Spanish often took to adopting some form of the quilted cotton ichcahuipilli, sometimes paired with a Spanish cuirass but sometimes not, because of the both the protection and comfort it afforded.

Whatever steel armor the Spanish could afford for themselves did provide a more effective defense, but rarely did it protect the whole body. Ross Hassig notes, in his Mexico and the Spanish Conquest:

Clubs and swords had their effect, but Spanish steel armor was proof against most Indian projectile, except perhaps darts cast from very close range. Indeed, Spanish wounds were typically limited to the limbs, face, neck, and other vulnerable areas unprotected by armor…

Those unprotected areas could find themselves very vulnerable given the rain of arrows that accompanied assaults, and reports of injuries and deaths from volleys of arrows (and sling stones) are not uncommon in Conquistador accounts. Hassig, however, points to an advantage in the missile weapons of the Spanish, noting their crossbows and harquebuses were most effective at close range, with the inaccurate latter weapon even more effective against closely masses troops, as Mesoamerican military doctrine at the time tended to provide. Nevertheless, we see native forces sometimes retreating back to a point where the guns of the Spanish were largely ineffective, but that the bows of the indigenous archers could rain arrows down on the Spanish at a much greater rate then the Spanish crossbows could reply. If the Spanish were unlucky, as in the case of the Cordoba expedition in a Maya town, the arrow/sling barrage could keep them pinned down until more Maya forces arrived and swamped the Spanish, resulting in the loss of about 50 of the 100 Spanish soldiers, including Cordoba himself later dying from injuries.

If the Spanish were lucky, they could maintain a defensive formation and withdraw, using cavalry charges or artillery to break the lines of the opposing force. These are the tactics Cortés used in his clashes with the Tlaxcalans. No matter the defensive advantage of steel armor or the offensive advantages of crossbows, guns, and artillery on massed troops, the Spanish quite often found themselves having to maintain a defensive position and execute strategic withdrawals in the face of more numerous and better supplied foes who were quite capable of enacting grievous harm on them. Only with the alliance with native groups would the Spanish (and their allies) see a distinct military advantage. To quote Hassig again:

Thus, while the Spanish enjoyed greater firepower, which prevented their enemies from engaging them in organized formations, and although they could disrupt the enemy fron much more easily than could Mesoamerican armies, they were too few to exploit these breaches fully. If they joined forces with large Indian armies, however, these allies could exploit the breaches created by the Spaniards, while maintaining the integrity of their own units, because other Indian armies lacked the Spanish edge in arms and armor. Together they could wreak havoc on the enemy.

Ultimately, if we look at the clashes between Spanish and indigenous groups in Mesoamerica, neither guns, steel, or horses (or germs, for that matter), were decisive. While it is tempting to crudely lump the Aztecs into the “Stone Age,” while putting the Spanish further along some imaginary and arbitrary tech tree, we must keep in mind that the macuahuitl and tepoztopilli were not “crude” weapons, but the result of centuries of refinement and practical tests in Mesoamerican warfare. The Spanish rightly feared and respected those weapons. So to were the tactics of the Aztecs refined for the opponents they faced. Prior to the Spanish, the Aztecs had enjoyed a century of almost ubiquitous military victories, and though we can absolutely see how their tactics were thrown for stumble by the addition of never before seen weaponry like artillery and cavalry, particularly at early encounters like Otumba, this was an intelligent and adaptive war machine. By the time the Spanish licked their wounds from La Noche Triste and returned in force with the Tlaxcalans, the Aztecs had autochthonously invented cavalry counter-measures with pike-like spears and ensuring the chosen field of battle with marshy or strewn with stones. They had adopted tactics to blunt the guns and artillery of the Spanish with breastworks and zig-zag maneuvers.

Bottom line, both the Spanish and the Aztecs respected each other as deadly opponents.

A Pinch of Snuff, Delacour, c.1760. Depicting Malcolm MacPherson of Phoness who, at the age of 67 joined the 78th Foot as a Gentleman Volunteer. MacPherson distinguished himself at the Battle of Quebec in 1759 and the following year was presented to King George II.

‘He gives the “V” sign from the port-hole of a ship as he arrives at Singapore - and his “V” is backed by a million Indian troops and the rest of the Empire as well.’ From the collections of the Imperial War Museum.

The Indian Army during World War II began the war, in 1939, numbering just under 200,000 men. By the end of the war it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945. Serving in divisions of infantry, armour and a fledgling airborne force, they fought on three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia.