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British Indian Army

British Indian Army

Overview
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in India before the partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947. The Indian Army was an important part of the British Empire's forces, both in India and abroad, particularly during the First and Second World Wars.

It was responsible for the defence of both directly governed British India and the Princely State
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

s (which could also have their own armies).

The first army officially called the "Indian Army" was raised by the government of India in 1895, existing alongside the three long-established presidency armies
Presidency armies
The presidency armies were the armies of the three presidencies of the East India Company's rule in India, later the forces of the British Crown in India...

 (the Bengal Army
Bengal Army
The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia. Although based in Bengal in eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North West Frontier Province...

, the Madras Army
Madras Army
The Madras Army was the army of the Presidency of Madras, one of the three presidencies of the British India within the British Empire.The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three...

 and the Bombay Army
Bombay Army
The Bombay Army was the army of the Bombay Presidency, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia.The Presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three presidencies to the direct...

) of the Presidencies of British India.
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Encyclopedia
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in India before the partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947. The Indian Army was an important part of the British Empire's forces, both in India and abroad, particularly during the First and Second World Wars.

It was responsible for the defence of both directly governed British India and the Princely State
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

s (which could also have their own armies).

The first army officially called the "Indian Army" was raised by the government of India in 1895, existing alongside the three long-established presidency armies
Presidency armies
The presidency armies were the armies of the three presidencies of the East India Company's rule in India, later the forces of the British Crown in India...

 (the Bengal Army
Bengal Army
The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia. Although based in Bengal in eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North West Frontier Province...

, the Madras Army
Madras Army
The Madras Army was the army of the Presidency of Madras, one of the three presidencies of the British India within the British Empire.The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three...

 and the Bombay Army
Bombay Army
The Bombay Army was the army of the Bombay Presidency, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia.The Presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three presidencies to the direct...

) of the Presidencies of British India. However, in 1903 the Indian Army absorbed these three armies. The term "Indian Army" was also sometimes used informally as a collective description of the former Presidency armies, particularly after the Indian Mutiny.

The Indian Army should not be confused with the "Army of India
Army of India
The Army of India consisted of both the Indian Army and the British Army in India between 1903 and 1947.Lord Kitchener was appointed Commander-in-Chief, India between 1902 and 1909...

" (1903–1947) which was the Indian Army itself plus the "British Army in India" (British units sent to India).

Organisation



The Indian Army has its origins in the years after the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

, when in 1858 the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

 took over direct rule of British India from the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. Before 1858, the precursor units of the Indian Army were units controlled by the Company and were paid for by their profits. These operated alongside units of the British Army, funded by the British government in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

The armies of the East India Company were recruited primarily from Muslims in the Bengal Presidency
Bengal Presidency
The Bengal Presidency originally comprising east and west Bengal, was a colonial region of the British Empire in South-Asia and beyond it. It comprised areas which are now within Bangladesh, and the present day Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Orissa and Tripura.Penang and...

, which consisted of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 and Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, and high caste Hindus recruited primarily from the rural plains of Oudh. Many of these troops took part in the Indian Mutiny, with the aim of reinstating the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II
Bahadur Shah II
His Royal Highness Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar , also known as Bahadur Shah or Bahadur Shah II was the last of the Mughal emperors in India, as well as the last ruler of the Timurid Dynasty.He was the son of Akbar Shah II and Lalbai, who was a Hindu Rajput...

 at Delhi, partly as a result of insensitive treatment by their British officers.

After the Mutiny, recruitment switched to what the British called the "martial races," particularly Marathas, Gakhar
Gakhar
Gakhar may refer to:*Gakhars, an ancient clan predominantly in present day Punjab, Pakistan.*Gakhar Hindus, the Hindu section of the Gakhar clan*Ghakhar Mandi, a small city in northeastern Punjab, Pakistan...

s, Rajputs, Kumaoni
Kumaoni
For the people of Kumaon see Kumauni PeopleThe Kumaoni are a people of the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand, a region in the Indian Himalayas...

s, Sikhs, Gurkhas, Awan (Pakistan)
Awan (Pakistan)
Awan , is a South Asian Zamindar tribe, putatively of Arab origin, living predominantly in northern, central, and western parts of Punjab, Pakistan...

, Pashtuns, Garhwali
Garhwali
The Garhwali language is a Central Pahari language belonging to the Northern Zone of Indo-Aryan languages. It is primarily spoken by the Garhwali people who are from the north-western Garhwal Division of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand in the Indian Himalayas.The Central Pahari...

s, Mohyal
Mohyal
Mohyal is the name of an endogamous ethnic group that originates from the Gandhara region and consists of seven Brahmin lineages of that area that left the usual priestly occupation of Brahmins long ago to serve as soldiers and in government services.The...

s, Dogra
Dogra
The Dogras are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group in South Asia. Being a diversified group, the Dogras include both Savarnas such as Brahmins, Rajputs and Non-savarnas. The Dogras also incluide merchant castes such as Mahajans...

s, Jats, Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

is and Saini
Saini
Saini is a Rajput descent caste of India. Sainis, also known as Shoorsaini in Puranic literature, are now found by their original name only in Punjab and in the neighboring states of Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh...

s.

The meaning of the term "Indian Army" has changed over time:
1858–1894 The Indian Army was an informal collective term for the armies of the three presidencies
Presidency armies
The presidency armies were the armies of the three presidencies of the East India Company's rule in India, later the forces of the British Crown in India...

; the Bengal Army
Bengal Army
The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia. Although based in Bengal in eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North West Frontier Province...

, Madras Army
Madras Army
The Madras Army was the army of the Presidency of Madras, one of the three presidencies of the British India within the British Empire.The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three...

 and Bombay Army
Bombay Army
The Bombay Army was the army of the Bombay Presidency, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia.The Presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three presidencies to the direct...

.
1895–1902 The Indian Army had a formal existence and was the "army of the government of India", including British and Indian (sepoy
Sepoy
A sepoy was formerly the designation given to an Indian soldier in the service of a European power. In the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army it remains in use for the rank of private soldier.-Etymology and Historical usage:...

) units.
1903–1947 Lord Kitchener was Commander-in-Chief, India
Commander-in-Chief, India
During the period of the British Raj, the Commander-in-Chief, India was the supreme commander of the Indian Army. The Commander-in-Chief and most of his staff were based at General Headquarters, India, and liaised with the civilian Governor-General of India...

, between 1902 and 1909. He instituted large-scale reforms
Kitchener Reforms
The Kitchener Reforms of the Indian Army began in 1903 when Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, newly appointed Commander-in-Chief, India, completed the unification of the three armies of the former Presidencies , and also the Punjab Frontier Force, the Hyderabad Contingent and other local forces, into one...

, the greatest of which was the merger of the three armies of the Presidencies into a unified force. He formed higher level formations, eight army divisions, and brigaded Indian and British units. Following Kitchener's reforms:
  • The Indian Army was "the force recruited locally and permanently based in India, together with its expatriate British officers."
  • The British Army in India consisted of British Army units posted to India for a tour of duty, and which would then be posted to other parts of the Empire or back to the UK.
  • The Army of India consisted of both the Indian Army and the British Army in India.

Command


The officer commanding the Army of India was the Commander-in-Chief in India who reported to the civilian Governor-General of India
Governor-General of India
The Governor-General of India was the head of the British administration in India, and later, after Indian independence, the representative of the monarch and de facto head of state. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William...

. He and his staff were based at GHQ India. Indian Army postings were less prestigious than British Army positions, but the pay was significantly greater so that officers could live on their pay instead of having to have a private income. British officers in the Indian Army were expected to learn to speak the Indian languages of their men, who tended to be recruited from primarily Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 speaking areas. Prominent British Indian army officers included Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts
Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts
Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, Bt, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, PC was a distinguished Indian born British soldier who regarded himself as Anglo-Irish and one of the most successful British commanders of the 19th century.-Early life:Born at Cawnpore, India, on...

, William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood
William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood
Field Marshal William Riddell Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood, GCB, GCSI, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, CIE, DSO was a First World War British general who is best known as the commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915.- Youth and early career :Birdwood was born...

, Claude Auchinleck
Claude Auchinleck
Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, OBE , nicknamed "The Auk", was a British army commander during World War II. He was a career soldier who spent much of his military career in India, where he developed a love of the country and a lasting affinity for the soldiers...

 and William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim
William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim
Field Marshal William Joseph "Bill"'Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC, KStJ was a British military commander and the 13th Governor-General of Australia....

.

The main role of the Indian Army was seen as being defence of the North-West Frontier Province
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

 against Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n invasion via Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, internal security, and expeditionary warfare in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 area.

Personnel



Commissioned officers, British and Indian, held identical ranks to commissioned officers of the British Army. King's Commissioned Indian Officer
King's Commissioned Indian Officer
A king's commissioned Indian officer was an Indian officer of the British Indian Army who held a full king's commission after training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as opposed to the Indian commissioned officers , who were trained at the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun, and the...

s (KCIOs), created from the 1920s, held equal powers to British officers. Viceroy's Commissioned Officer
Viceroy's Commissioned Officer
A viceroy's commissioned officer was a senior Indian member of the British Indian Army. VCOs were senior in rank to warrant officers in the British Army, and held a commission issued by the viceroy...

s were Indians holding officer ranks. They were treated in almost all respects as commissioned officers, but only had authority over Indian troops and were subordinate to all British King's (and Queen's) Commissioned Officers and KCIOs. They included Subedar Major or Risaldar-Major
Risaldar-Major
Risaldar-major was originally a cavalry officer of the British Indian Army, the rank was created in 1886 - a risaldar-major was the most senior risaldar of the regiment...

 (Cavalry), equivalents to a British Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

; Subedar
Subedar
Subedar is a historical rank in the Indian Army, ranking below British commissioned officers and above non-commissioned officers. The rank was otherwise equivalent to a British lieutenant and was introduced in the East India Company's presidency armies, to make it easier for British officers to...

 or Risaldar
Risaldar
Risaldar , meaning "the commander of a risala " in Persian, is a mid-level rank in cavalry and armoured units of the Indian Army. Risaldars generally command squadrons....

 (Cavalry) equivalents to Captain; and Jemadar
Jemadar
Jemadar was a rank used in the British Indian Army, where it was the lowest rank for a Viceroy's Commissioned Officer . Jemadars either commanded platoons or troops themselves or assisted their British commander...

s equivalent, to Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

.

Recruitment was entirely voluntary; about 1.3 million men served in the First World War, many on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 and 2.5 million in the Second. Non-Commissioned Officers included Company Havildar Majors equivalents to a Company Sergeant Major
Company Sergeant Major
A company sergeant major is the senior non-commissioned soldier of a company in the armies of many Commonwealth countries, responsible for standards and discipline. In combat, his prime responsibility is the supply of ammunition to the company...

; Company Quartermaster Havildars, equivalents to a Company Quartermaster Sergeant
Company Quartermaster Sergeant
Company quartermaster sergeant is a military rank or appointment.-Canada:A Company Quartermaster Sergeant in the Canadian Forces is the non-commissioned officer in a company who is in charge of supplies. The CQMS also serves as deputy to the Company Sergeant Major and is the second most senior NCO...

; Havildar
Havildar
Havildar ) was the Military 'In Charge' of a Fort during the times of Maratha Empire. In the British Indian Army it was equivalent rank to Sergeant, next above Naik, and is still used in the modern Indian Army and Pakistan Army. The cavalry equivalent is Daffadar...

s or Daffadar
Daffadar
Daffadar was the equivalent rank to Sergeant in the cavalry of the British Indian Army, the next rank up from Lance Daffadar. The equivalent in other units was Havildar. Like a British sergeant, a Daffadar wore three rank chevrons....

s (Cavalry) equivalents to a Sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

; Naik
Naik
Naik is an administrative title and surname derived from the Sanskrit word "vash" means to control. Naik is a surname attributed to the Anavil Brahmin caste.Naik may refer to:...

 or Lance-Daffadar (Cavalry) equivalents to a British Corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

; and Lance-Naik or Acting Lance-Daffadar (Cavalry) equivalents to a Lance-Corporal.

Soldier ranks included Sepoy
Sepoy
A sepoy was formerly the designation given to an Indian soldier in the service of a European power. In the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army it remains in use for the rank of private soldier.-Etymology and Historical usage:...

s or Sowar
Sowar
Sowar , meaning 'The one who rides' in Persian, was originally a rank during the Mughal period. Later during the British Raj it was the name in Anglo-Indian usage for a horse-soldier belonging to the cavalry troops of the native armies of British India and the feudal states...

s (Cavalry), equivalent to a British Private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

. British Army ranks such as Gunner
Gunner (rank)
Gunner is a rank equivalent to Private in the British Army Royal Artillery and the artillery corps of other Commonwealth armies. The next highest rank is usually Lance-Bombardier, although in the Royal Canadian Artillery it is Bombardier....

 and Sapper
Sapper
A sapper, pioneer or combat engineer is a combatant soldier who performs a wide variety of combat engineering duties, typically including, but not limited to, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences, general construction and building, as well as road and airfield...

 were used by other corps.

Operational history of the Indian Army



The Presidency armies were abolished with effect from 1 April 1895 by a notification of the Government of India through Army Department Order Number 981 dated 26 October 1894, unifying the three Presidency armies into a single Indian Army. The armies were amalgamated into four commands, Northern, Southern
Southern Command (India)
Southern Command is a formation of the Indian Army, active since 1895. It has seen action during the integration of several Princely States into modern India, during the 1961 Indian Annexation of Goa, and during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani Wars....

, Eastern, and Western
Western Command (India)
Western Command is a formation of the Indian Army, active since 1947. It has seen action during the Indo-Pakistan Wars of 1947, 1965 and 1971. After the partition of India, the erstwhile command headquarters of which north India formed a part, Northern Command, went to Pakistan...

. In addition to the commands, eight divisions were formed in 1903: the 1st (Peshawar) Division
1st (Peshawar) Division
The 1st Division was a Regular Division of the British Indian Army it was formed after the Kitchener reforms of the Indian Army in 1903. During World War I it remained in India for local defence but it was mobilised for action on the North West Frontier on several occasions during the period.The...

, the 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division
2nd (Rawalpindi) Division
The 2nd Division was a regular army division of the British Indian Army. It was formed in 1903 after the Kitchener reforms of the Indian Army. During World War I it remained in India for local defence but it was mobilised for action on the North West Frontier on several occasions during the period...

, the 3rd (Lahore) Division
3rd (Lahore) Division
The 3rd Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army, first organised in 1852. It saw service during World War I as part of the Indian Corps in France before being moved to the Middle East where it fought against troops of the Ottoman Empire.-Pre-Mutiny:The Lahore Division first...

, the 4th (Quetta) Division
4th (Quetta) Division
The 4th Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army. It was formed by General Kitchener while he was Commander-in-chief of India. During World War I the division remained in India...

, the 5th (Mhow) Division
5th (Mhow) Division
The 5th Division was a regular division of the British Indian Army and part of the Southern Army which was formed in 1903 after Lord Kitchener was appointed Commander-in-Chief, India between 1902 and 1909...

, the 6th (Poona) Division
6th (Poona) Division
For the World War II formation see 6th Infantry Division The 6th Division was a division of the British Indian Army. It was formed in 1903, following the Kitchener reforms of the Indian Army.-World War I:...

, the 7th (Meerut) Division
7th (Meerut) Division
The 7th Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army that saw active service during World War I.-Pre-Mutiny:The Meerut Division first appeared in the Indian Army List in 1829, under the command of Sir Jasper Nicolls, KCB...

, and the 8th Lucknow Division
8th Lucknow Division
The 8th Lucknow Division was a formation of the British Indian Army's Northern Army that was first formed as a result of the Kitchener reforms of the Indian Army in 1903...

, in addition to a number of cavalry brigades. The Indian Army, like the Presidency armies, continued to provide armed support to the civil authorities, both in combating banditry and in case of riots and rebellion. One of the first external operations the new unified army faced was the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 in China from 1899 to 1901.

The main "conventional" warfare task of the Indian Army was to prevent an invasion of India via Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier
North-West Frontier (military history)
The North-West Frontier was the most difficult area, from a military point of view, of the former British India in the Indian sub-continent. It remains the frontier of present-day Pakistan, extending from the Pamir Knot in the north to the Koh-i-Malik Siah in the west, and separating the...

. There was also a need to pacify warlike local people and prevent banditry. This involved numerous small scale actions. The Indian Army established the Command and Staff College
Command and Staff College
The Command and Staff College was established in 1907 at Quetta, Balochistan, British Raj, now in Pakistan, and is the oldest and the most prestigious institution of the Pakistan Army. It was established in 1905 in Deolali and moved to its present location at Quetta in 1907 under the name of Quetta...

 in 1907 at Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, in present-day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to provide the army with staff officers who had knowledge of local Indian conditions.

First World War




Prior to the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the strength of the British Indian Army was 155,000. Either in 1914 or before, a ninth division had been formed, the 9th (Secunderabad) Division
9th (Secunderabad) Division
The 9th Division was a formation of the British Indian Army. It was part of the Southern Army and was formed in 1904 after Lord Kitchener was appointed Commander-in-Chief, India between 1902 and 1909...

. By November 1918, the Indian Army rose in size to 573,000 men.
After Kitchener's reforms
Kitchener Reforms
The Kitchener Reforms of the Indian Army began in 1903 when Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, newly appointed Commander-in-Chief, India, completed the unification of the three armies of the former Presidencies , and also the Punjab Frontier Force, the Hyderabad Contingent and other local forces, into one...

 of 1902–1909, the Indian Army was organised along British lines, although it was always behind in terms of equipment. An Indian Army division consisted of three brigades each of four battalions. Three of these battalions were of the Indian Army, and one British. The Indian battalions were often segregated, with companies of different tribes, castes or religions. One and a half million volunteers came forward from the estimated population of 315 million in the Indian subcontinent

The Indian Army had very little artillery (only 12 batteries of mountain artillery), and Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 (Royal Indian Artillery
Royal Indian Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Indian Artillery, generally known as the Royal Indian Artillery , was an administrative corps of the British Indian Army...

) batteries were attached to the divisions. The Indian Army Corps of Engineers
Indian Army Corps of Engineers
The Indian Army Corps of Engineers has a long and illustrious history dating back to the mid-18th century. The earliest existing subunit of the Corps dates back to 1777 while the Corps officially recognises its birth as 1780 when the senior most group of the Corps, the Madras Sappers were...

 was formed by the Group of Madras
Madras Engineer Group
Madras Engineer Group are a regiment of the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army. The Madras Sappers draw their origin from the erstwhile Madras Presidency army of the British Raj. This regiment has its HQ in Bangalore...

, Bengal
Bengal Engineer Group
The Bengal Engineer Group or the Bengal Sappers or Bengal Engineers as they are informally known, are remnants of British Indian Army's Bengal Army of the Bengal Presidency in British India; now a regiment of the Corps of Engineers in the Indian Army. The Bengal Sappers have their regimental...

 and Bombay Sappers
Bombay Engineer Group
The Bombay Engineering Group, or the Bombay Sappers as they are informally known, are a regiment of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers. The Bombay Sappers draw their origin from the erstwhile Bombay Presidency army of the British Raj. This regiment has its centre in Khadki, Pune in...

 in their respective presidencies.

Before the war, the Indian government had decided that India could afford to provide two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade in the event of a European war. 140,000 soldiers saw active service on the Western Front in France and Belgium – 90,000 in the front-line Indian Corps, and some 50,000 in auxiliary battalions. They felt that any more would jeopardise national security. The over four divisions eventually sent as the Indian Expeditionary Force formed the Indian Corps and the Indian Cavalry Corps
Indian Cavalry Corps
The Indian Cavalry Corps was a formation of the British Indian Army in World War I. It was formed in France in December 1914. It remained in France until March 1916, when it was broken up....

 that arrived on the Western Front in 1914. The high number of officer casualties the corps suffered early on had an effect on its later performance. British officers that understood the language, customs, and psychology of their men could not be quickly replaced, and the alien environment of the Western Front had some effect on the soldiers. However, the feared unrest in India never happened, and while the Indian Corps was transferred to the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 in 1915 India provided many more divisions for active service during the course of the war.
Indians' first engagement was on the Western Front within a month of the start of the war, at the First Battle of Ypres
First Battle of Ypres
The First Battle of Ypres, also called the First Battle of Flanders , was a First World War battle fought for the strategic town of Ypres in western Belgium...

. Here, Garwhal Rifles were involved in the war's first trench raid on 9–10 November 1914 and Khudadad Khan
Khudadad Khan
Khudadad Khan, VC , was the first South Asian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces...

 became the first Indian to win a Victoria Cross. After a year of front-line duty, sickness and casualties had reduced the Indian Corps to the point where it had to be withdrawn.

Nearly 700,000 then served in the Middle East, fighting against the Turks in the Mesopotamian campaign. There they were short of transportation for resupply and operated in extremely hot and dusty conditions. Led by Major General Sir Charles Townshend, they pushed on to capture Baghdad but they were repulsed by Turkish Forces.

In the First World War the Indian Army saw extensive service including:
  • Western Front
  • Battle of Gallipoli
    Battle of Gallipoli
    The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli, took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War...

  • Sinai and Palestine Campaign
    Sinai and Palestine Campaign
    The Sinai and Palestine Campaigns took place in the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I. A series of battles were fought between British Empire, German Empire and Ottoman Empire forces from 26 January 1915 to 31 October 1918, when the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire and...

  • Mesopotamian Campaign
    Mesopotamian Campaign
    The Mesopotamian campaign was a campaign in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I fought between the Allies represented by the British Empire, mostly troops from the Indian Empire, and the Central Powers, mostly of the Ottoman Empire.- Background :...

    , Siege of Kut
    Siege of Kut
    The siege of Kut Al Amara , was the besieging of 8,000 strong British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, by the Ottoman Army. Its known also as 1st Battle of Kut. In 1915, its population was around 6,500...

  • East Africa
    East Africa
    East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

    , including the Battle of Tanga
    Battle of Tanga
    The Battle of Tanga, sometimes also known as the Battle of the Bees, was the unsuccessful attack by the British Indian Expeditionary Force “B” under Major General A.E. Aitken to capture German East Africa during World War I in concert with the invasion Force “C” near Longido on the slopes of...



Participants from the Indian subcontinent won 13,000 medals, including 12 Victoria Crosses. By the end of the war a total of 47,746 Indians had been reported dead or missing; 65,126 were wounded.

Also serving in the First World War were so-called "Imperial Service Troops
Imperial Service Troops
The Imperial Service Troops were forces raised by the princely states of the British Indian Empire. These troops were available for service alongside the Indian Army when such service was requested by the British government...

", provided by the semi-autonomous Princely States. About 21,000 were raised in the First World War, mainly consisting of Sikhs of Punjab
Punjab (British India)
Punjab was a province of British India, it was one of the last areas of the Indian subcontinent to fall under British rule. With the end of British rule in 1947 the province was split between West Punjab, which went to Pakistan, and East Punjab, which went to India...

 and Rajputs from Rajputana
Rajputana
Rājputāna was the pre-1949 name of the present-day Indian state of Rājasthān, the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. George Thomas was the first in 1800 A.D., to term this region as Rajputana...

 (such as the Bikaner Camel Corps
Bikaner Camel Corps
The Bikaner Camel Corps was a unit of Imperial Service Troops from India that fought for the allies in World War I and World War II.The Corps was founded by Maharaja Ganga Singh of the Indian state of Bikaner, as the Ganga Risala after the British government of India accepted his offer to raise a...

 and the Hyderabad, Mysore and Jodhpur
Jodhpur
Jodhpur , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located west from the state capital, Jaipur and from the city of Ajmer. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar...

 Lances of the Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade). These forces played a prominent role in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
The Sinai and Palestine Campaigns took place in the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I. A series of battles were fought between British Empire, German Empire and Ottoman Empire forces from 26 January 1915 to 31 October 1918, when the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire and...

.

Interbellum (1918–1939)


Elements of the Army operated around Mary, Turkmenistan
Mary, Turkmenistan
Mary is the capital city of Mary Province in Turkmenistan. Former names include Merv, Meru and Margiana. It is located at . The city is an oasis in the Karakum Desert, located on the Murghab river. In 2009, Mary had a population of 123,000 , up from 92,000 in the 1989 census.-History:The ancient...

 in 1918–19. See Entente intervention in the Russian Civil War. The Army then took part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War
Third Anglo-Afghan War
The Third Anglo-Afghan War began on 6 May 1919 and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. It was a minor tactical victory for the British. For the British, the Durand Line was reaffirmed as the political boundary between the Emirate of Afghanistan and British India and the Afghans agreed not to...

 of 1919.

In the aftermath of the First World War, the Indian Territorial Force
Indian Territorial Force
The Indian Territorial Force was a part-time, paid volunteer organisation within the Indian Army in British India. Its units were primarily made up of European officers and Indian other ranks....

 and Auxiliary Force (India)
Auxiliary Force (India)
The Auxiliary Force was a part-time, paid volunteer organisation within the Indian Army in British India. Its units were entirely made up of European and Anglo-Indian personnel....

 were created in the 1920s. The Indian Territorial Force was a part-time, paid, all-volunteer organisation within the army. Its units were primarily made up of European officers and Indian other ranks
Other Ranks
Other Ranks in the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are those personnel who are not commissioned officers. In the Royal Navy, these personnel are called ratings...

. The ITF was created by the Indian Territorial Force Act 1920 to replace the Indian section of the Indian Defence Force
Indian Defence Force
The Indian Defence Force was a part-time defence force established as part of the Indian Army in 1917 in order to release regular troops from garrison duties during the First World War....

. It was an all-volunteer force modelled after the British Territorial Army. The European parallel to the ITF was the Auxiliary Force (India)
Auxiliary Force (India)
The Auxiliary Force was a part-time, paid volunteer organisation within the Indian Army in British India. Its units were entirely made up of European and Anglo-Indian personnel....

.

After World War I the British started the process of Indianisation by which Indians were promoted into higher officer ranks. Indian cadets were sent to study at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is a British Army officer initial training centre located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England...

 and were given full commissions as King's Commissioned Indian Officer
King's Commissioned Indian Officer
A king's commissioned Indian officer was an Indian officer of the British Indian Army who held a full king's commission after training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as opposed to the Indian commissioned officers , who were trained at the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun, and the...

s. The KCIOs were equivalent in every way to British commissioned officers and had full authority over British troops (unlike VCOs). Some KCIOs were attached to British Army units for a part of their careers.

In 1922, after experience had shown that the large groups of single battalion regiments were unwieldy, a number of large regiments were created, and numerous cavalry regiments amalgamated. The List of regiments of the Indian Army (1922) shows the reduced number of larger regiments. Until 1932 most British Indian Army officers, both British and Indian, were trained at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is a British Army officer initial training centre located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England...

, after that date the Indian officers increasingly received their training at the Indian Military Academy
Indian Military Academy
The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun is the officer training school of the Indian Army. IMA was established in 1932.-Demands for an Indian military training academy:...

 in Dehradun
Dehradun
- Geography :The Dehradun district has various types of physical geography from Himalayan mountains to Plains. Raiwala is the lowest point at 315 meters above sea level, and the highest points are within the Tiuni hills, rising to 3700 m above sea level...

 which was established that year.

Second World War






At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Indian army numbered 205,000 men. Later on during the Second World War the Indian Army would become the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in size. In doing so the Indian III Corps
Indian III Corps
The III Corps was a formation of the Indian Army during World War I formed in Mesopotamia. Prior to the reorganization of the British and Indian forces in Mesopotamia, it was designated as the Tigris Corps....

, Indian IV Corps, Indian XV Corps
Indian XV Corps
XV Corps was first established in 1942, as part of the British Indian Army, during World War II. XV Corps was first formed from Headquarters Assam and Bengal Presidency District HQ on 30 March 1942, to defend Bengal, under the command of Eastern Army. It was disbanded in 1945.The Corps was...

, Indian XXXIII Corps
Indian XXXIII Corps
XXXIII Corps is a corps of the Indian Army. It draws sort of its heritage from the British Indian XXXIII Corps which was formed in 1942, but disbanded in 1945.-Reformation 1962:...

, Indian XXXIV Corps
Indian XXXIV Corps
The Indian XXXIV Corps was formed in March 1945 to be part of the British Fourteenth Army for Operation Zipper, the invasion of British Malaya. Significant formations under Fourteenth Army for 'Zipper,' possibly under XXXIV Corps, included 5th Indian Division, 23rd Indian Division, 25th Indian...

, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 23rd Indian Divisions were formed, as well as other forces. Additionally two armoured divisions and an airborne division were created. In matters of administration, weapons, training, and equipment, the Indian Army had considerable independence; for example, prior to the war the Indian Army adopted the Vickers-Berthier
Vickers-Berthier
The Vickers-Berthier light machine gun manufactured by Vickers-Armstrong was based on a French design of just before World War I. In 1925 Vickers in Britain purchased licence rights for production in their Crayford factory, and as a replacement for the Lewis Gun.-History:During the 1932 British...

 (VB) light machine gun instead of the Bren gun of the British Army, while continuing to manufacture and issue the older SMLE No. 1 Mk III
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

 rifle during the Second World War, instead of the Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk I issued to the British Army from the middle of the war.

Particularly notable contributions of the Indian Army during that conflict were the:
  • Mediterranean, Middle East and African theatres of World War II
    • East African campaign
      East African Campaign (World War II)
      The East African Campaign was a series of battles fought in East Africa during World War II by the British Empire, the British Commonwealth of Nations and several allies against the forces of Italy from June 1940 to November 1941....

    • North African campaign
      North African campaign
      During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

      • Operation Compass
        Operation Compass
        Operation Compass was the first major Allied military operation of the Western Desert Campaign during World War II. British and Commonwealth forces attacked Italian forces in western Egypt and eastern Libya in December 1940 to February 1941. The attack was a complete success...

      • Operation Battleaxe
        Operation Battleaxe
        Operation Battleaxe was a British Army operation during the Second World War in June 1941 with the goal of clearing eastern Cyrenaica of German and Italian forces; one of the main benefits of this would have been the lifting of the Siege of Tobruk....

      • Operation Crusader
        Operation Crusader
        Operation Crusader was a military operation by the British Eighth Army between 18 November–30 December 1941. The operation successfully relieved the 1941 Siege of Tobruk....

      • First Battle of El Alamein
        First Battle of El Alamein
        The First Battle of El Alamein was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, fought between Axis forces of the Panzer Army Africa commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Allied forces The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert...

      • Second Battle of El Alamein
        Second Battle of El Alamein
        The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

    • Anglo-Iraqi War
      Anglo-Iraqi War
      The Anglo-Iraqi War was the name of the British campaign against the rebel government of Rashid Ali in the Kingdom of Iraq during the Second World War. The war lasted from 2 May to 31 May 1941. The campaign resulted in the re-occupation of Iraq by British armed forces and the return to power of the...

    • Syria-Lebanon campaign
      Syria-Lebanon campaign
      The Syria–Lebanon campaign, also known as Operation Exporter, was the Allied invasion of Vichy French-controlled Syria and Lebanon, in June–July 1941, during World War II. Time Magazine referred to the fighting as a "mixed show" while it was taking place and the campaign remains little known, even...

    • Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran
      Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran
      The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran was the Allied invasion of the Imperial State of Iran during World War II, by British, Commonwealth, and Soviet armed forces. The invasion from August 25 to September 17, 1941, was codenamed Operation Countenance...

    • Italian campaign
      Italian Campaign (World War II)
      The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the...

      • Battle of Monte Cassino
        Battle of Monte Cassino
        The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...

  • Battle of Hong Kong
    Battle of Hong Kong
    The Battle of Hong Kong took place during the Pacific campaign of World War II. It began on 8 December 1941 and ended on 25 December 1941 with Hong Kong, then a Crown colony, surrendering to the Empire of Japan.-Background:...

  • Battle of Malaya
    Battle of Malaya
    The Malayan Campaign was a campaign fought by Allied and Japanese forces in Malaya, from 8 December 1941 – 31 January 1942 during the Second World War. The campaign was dominated by land battles between British Commonwealth army units, and the Imperial Japanese Army...

  • Battle of Singapore
    Battle of Singapore
    The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

  • Burma Campaign
    Burma Campaign
    The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

    • Battle of Kohima
      Battle of Kohima
      The Battle of Kohima was the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive into India in 1944 in the Second World War. The battle was fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima in northeast India. It is often referred to as the "Stalingrad of the East".The battle took place in...

    • Battle of Imphal
      Battle of Imphal
      The Battle of Imphal took place in the region around the city of Imphal, the capital of the state of Manipur in North-East India from March until July 1944. Japanese armies attempted to destroy the Allied forces at Imphal and invade India, but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses...



About 87,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives during this conflict. Indian soldiers won 30 Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

es during the Second World War. (See: Indian Victoria Cross recipients.)

The Germans and Japanese were relatively successful in recruiting combat forces from Indian prisoners of war. These forces were known as the Tiger Legion and the Indian National Army
Indian National Army
The Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II. The aim of the army was to overthrow the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese assistance...

 (INA). Indian nationalist leader Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose known by name Netaji was an Indian revolutionary who led an Indian national political and military force against Britain and the Western powers during World War II. Bose was one of the most prominent leaders in the Indian independence movement and is a legendary figure in...

 led the 40,000-strong INA. From a total of about 55,000 Indians taken prisoner in Malaya and Singapore in February 1942, about 30,000 joined the INA, which fought Allied forces in the Burma Campaign. Others became guards at Japanese POW camps. The recruitment was the brainchild of Major Fujiwara Iwaichi who mentions in his memoirs that Captain Mohan Singh Deb
Mohan Singh Deb
Mohan Singh was an Indian Military officer and member of the Indian Independence Movement most famous for his role in organising and leading the First Indian National Army in South East Asia during World War II...

, who surrendered after the fall of Jitra
Jitra
Jitra is a town in Kedah, Malaysia. It is located in the Kubang Pasu district.It is the fourth largest town in Kedah after Alor Setar, Sungai Petani and Kulim....

 became the founder of the INA.

Some Indian Army personnel resisted recruitment and remained POWs. An unknown number captured in Malaya and Singapore were taken to Japanese-occupied areas of New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 as forced labour. Many of these men suffered severe hardships and brutality, similar to that experienced by other prisoners of Japan during the Second World War. About 6,000 of them survived until they were liberated by Australian or U.S. forces, in 1943–45.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, after the fall of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and the ending of ABDACOM in early 1942, until the formation of South East Asia Command
South East Asia Command
South East Asia Command was the body set up to be in overall charge of Allied operations in the South-East Asian Theatre during World War II.-Background:...

 (SEAC) in August 1943 some American and Chinese units were placed under British military command.

Post Second World War


As a result of the Partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947, the formations, units, assets and indigenous personnel of the Indian Army were divided, with two thirds of the assets being retained by the Union of India, and one third going to the new Dominion of Pakistan
Dominion of Pakistan
The Dominion of Pakistan was an independent federal Commonwealth realm in South Asia that was established in 1947 on the partition of British India into two sovereign dominions . The Dominion of Pakistan, which included modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was intended to be a homeland for the...

. Four Gurkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

 regiments (mostly recruited in Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, which was outside India), were transferred from the former Indian Army to the British Army, forming its Brigade of Gurkhas
Brigade of Gurkhas
The Brigade of Gurkhas is the collective term for units of the current British Army that are composed of Nepalese soldiers. The brigade, which is 3,640 strong, draws its heritage from Gurkha units that originally served in the British Indian Army prior to Indian independence, and prior to that of...

 and departing for a new station in Malaya
Malayan Union
The Malayan Union was a federation of the Malay states and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It was the successor to British Malaya and was conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government so as to simplify administration. The Malayan Union later became the independent...

. British Army units stationed in India returned to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 or were posted to other stations outside India and Pakistan. During the transition period after partition, Headquarters British Troops in India, under then Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Lashmer Whistler
Lashmer Whistler
General Sir Lashmer Gordon Whistler GCB, KBE, DSO & Two Bars, DL , known as Bolo, was a British army officer who served in the First and Second World Wars. In the Second World War he achieved senior ranks serving with Field Marshal Montgomery in North Africa and Europe...

, controlled the departing British units. The last British unit, 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, left on February 28, 1948. Equipment from most British units was retained by the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

, as only a single infantry division, the 7th Indian Infantry Division, had been stationed in Pakistan before partition.

Most of the remainder of the Indian Army's Muslim personnel proceeded to join the newly created Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

. Due to a shortage of experienced officers, several hundred British officers remained in Pakistan on contract until the early 1950s. From 1947 to 1948, soon after the Partition of India and of the Indian Army, the two new armies fought each other in the First Kashmir War, beginning a bitter rivalry which has continued into the 21st century.

The present-day Indian Army and Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 thus were formed from units of the pre-partition Indian Army. Both of these forces, and the Bangladesh Army
Bangladesh Army
The Bangladesh Army is the land forces branch and the largest of the three uniformed service of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The primary mission of the Army is to provide necessary forces and capabilities in support of Bangladesh's security and defense strategies including defense of the nation's...

 which was created on the independence of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, retain Indian Army traditions.

See also

  • Presidency armies
    Presidency armies
    The presidency armies were the armies of the three presidencies of the East India Company's rule in India, later the forces of the British Crown in India...

    • Madras Army
      Madras Army
      The Madras Army was the army of the Presidency of Madras, one of the three presidencies of the British India within the British Empire.The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three...

    • Bengal Army
      Bengal Army
      The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia. Although based in Bengal in eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North West Frontier Province...

    • Bombay Army
      Bombay Army
      The Bombay Army was the army of the Bombay Presidency, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia.The Presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 transferred all three presidencies to the direct...

  • List of regiments of the Indian Army (1903)
  • Indian Victoria Cross recipients
  • Observatory Ridge, Johannesburg
    Observatory Ridge, Johannesburg
    Observatory Ridge is the highest point in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is 2,208 metres above sea level. It is based in the suburb of Observatory.There is a large sandstone monument on top of the ridge that commemorates the British Indian Army...

    , site of a monument commemorating the British Indian Army
  • Royal Indian Navy
    Royal Indian Navy
    The Royal Indian Navy was the naval force of British India. Along with the Presidency armies and the later British Indian Army it comprised the Armed Forces of British India....


Further reading

  • Farrington, Anthony (1982). Guide to the records of the India Office Military Department, India Office Library and Records, ISBN 0903359308, 9780903359306 (via Google Books)
  • Holmes, Richard. Sahib the British Soldier in India, 1750–1914
  • Latimer, Jon
    Jon Latimer
    Jonathan David Latimer was an historian and writer based in Wales. His books include Operation Compass 1940 , Tobruk 1941 , Deception in War , Alamein , Burma: The Forgotten War and 1812: War with America which won a...

     (2004). Burma: The Forgotten War, London: John Murray.
  • Mason, Philip. (1974), A Matter of Honour: An Account of the Indian Army, its Officers and Men, Macmillan
  • Masters, John
    John Masters
    Lieutenant Colonel John Masters, DSO was an English officer in the British Indian Army and novelist. His works are noted for their treatment of the British Empire in India.-Life:...

    (1956). Bugles and a Tiger: Viking. (autobiographical account of his service as a junior British officer in a Gurkha regiment in the years leading up to World War II)

External links