Friday, April 29, 2011

And while on the issue of Patna

Here is a painting from the early 1800s of a procession in Patna.

Beautiful work...I love those flags!


Patna Relief Day!

In November 1759, the army of the Great Moghul, Shah Alam II, commenced to besiege the British & Bengali forces at Patna, having become concerned regarding the British intentions to extend control over the sub-continent. The army, under the command of the Great Moghul, retreated when the garrison was reinforced by 300 Europeans, 1000 sepoys and 6 guns, commanded by Major Caillaud (later Brigadier-General and CinC India).

Patna c.1814

The Great Moghul again attempted to besiege the Britsh in February 1760. At this time the garrison comprised 170 Europeans and 400 sepoys under the command of Captain Cochrane and some 15,000 Bengali troops under the command of the Nawab's son, Mir Miran. Cochrane deployed on the plain and was promptly over run by Mahratta cavalry. The survivors and the Bengali troops retreated inside the city walls.

Shah Alam - The Great Moghul-reigned 1759 to 1806

Caillaud returned and on 22 February gave battle to the Great Moghul, personally leading sepoys in a countercharge against the Moghul horse and causing the Moghul army to retreat. Caillaud later wrote of Mir Miran:

He for some time stood the shock well, but being wounded and turning his elephant-which in plain English is running away - the whole army in an instant were following his example.Luckily for him, however, I brought up a battalion of sepoys...thus ended the Battle of Seerpore with a loss of about 500 killed and wounded on both sides.

And further, a pursuit was impossible:

On account of two scratches from arrows which he was pleased to think were very dreadful wounds...we set out for the dancing girls of Patna.

Caillaud commenced the pursuit of the Great Moghul on 2 March, stripping Patna of its troops. Soon he was alerted to the fact that the French, under Law, had also arrived at Patna and awaited the further arrival of the Great Moghul. The Moghuls arrived in late April and by the 28th of that month had breached the city walls.

On 29 April a relief force of 200 Europeans and approximately 600 sepoys arrived under the command of Captain Ranfurly Knox, having marched 300 miles in 13 days - hardly an easy task!  The garrison of Patna sallied out, catching the Great Moghul's army at their mid-day meal. The Great Moghul then withdrew from Patna, pursued by the British. Today marks the 251st anniversary of the relief.

Tomb of Shah Alam II, died 1806

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You can never have enough...!!!

Weapons, that is!

Here's a painting of a native soldier from north-western India, possibly a Sikh.

There are 3 firearms, an axe, sword, possibly 2 daggers and a shield!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Indian Artillery

I had a query recently regarding the size of Indian artillery and whether the Redoubt model I used was too large for 25mm. Nominally, the Redoubt range is 25mm, but in reality closer to 32mm.

Here is a picture of the miniature:

Crew by Foundry & London War Room

Here is a picture of a barrel made between 1600 and 1645, taken in the 1880s. The barrel is apparently iron and forge welded.

In comparison, the Redoubt model looks perfectly underscale!


Two Portraits by Joshua Reynolds

It's interesting how material turns up all over the place. Surfing around I found two interesting paintings by Joshua Reynolds with connections to 18th Century India. The first picture is of Captain John Foote, HEIC in ceremonial native costume.

The picture was painted c1761. Although it is sometimes referred to as Foote going "native" it appears that is far from the case. The subject was a friend and neighbour of Reynolds and it was clearly painted in England. Very much a case of the subject displaying the orientalism much in vogue at that time.

The second painting is George Clive ,M.P. and family. The subject was the cousin of the victor of Plassey. I have seen this painting described as Clive of India, but that is obviously wrong! Also present is an Indian servant girl, which would appear to be an attempt to relate the subject to his cousin.

Painted c.1765

I have read a notation somewhere that this Clive was also a member of the HEIC, although can't find anything to confirm that. In fact, I have found it hard to find much about him at all.

Any information on Foote or George Clive would be much appreciated.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Buildings!

And probably the last for the while...More troops are needed!

Hovels Mosque - Jesuit at work.
Both are painted by Peter. The mosque by Hovels came up much better than I expected. The casting looked a little rough, but a good drybrush works wonders.

Interior of mosque
The dome lifts off to reveal the above interior.

Removable dome
The resin around the edge of the dome piece was brittle and required reinforcement. Peter did this with some heavy card.

The next building is one of the Miniature Building Authority's  Arab buildings. Again, the roof lifts off. Peter has added the awning above the door and the fences, both by GW. The ruined section has also been added and is from the Najewitz Modellbaushop range.

Miniature Building Authority Arab building
The MBA buildings come prepainted. However, the model was repainted, and a floor added to the first floor. I wasn't really impressed by the original paint job and this has come up a treat!

Roof removed

interior with disgruntled resident


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Latest from HG Walls!

Here are the latest two commissions from Herb at HG Walls! The first is a Sultan's Retreat based upon an article by Ian Weekly in Military Modelling many years ago. The first picture is Herb's, the second out of the article.

Ian Weekely model from Military Modelling

Herb did report that the dimensions in the article are not correct as they give a model that has less interior room than the Weekley model.

Next is an indigo farm. I am ashamed to say that I stole this idea from John Suth's thread  on the WDlovesme forum. The link to his amazing Mutiny project is here. John is a great guy so I hope he doesn't mind. There are some other ideas that I may also borrow!

As usual, great work by Herb!!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Books concerning Sepoys

Two books that may be of some interest are Naukar, Rajput & Sepoy and The Best Black Troops in the World.

The author of Naukar, Rajput & Sepoy was a professor of Modern South Asian History at the University of Leidan. The book, published by Cambridge University Press (1990 & 2002), developed from the author's interest in a 1626 Dutch history of the Mughals written by Peter Munday.

Naukar (retainer), Rajput and Sepoy, the author states were originally interchangeable terms for a peasant in military service and who comprised the first of the castes that really only became defined by the middle of the 1600s.Rajput has, of course developed a more specific meaning ethnically now although it was not so at the time. Kolff states:

Rajput soldiers of the seventeenth century must have been of the most diverse origins. True, with a large number of them, memories of their precise social backgrounds were gradually obscured by vague territorial identities... But in ancient times, recruitment…had not taken social origins into account. Instead, it overlaid old identities with a new…’rajput’ veneer.

Essentially, caste was not as rigid as we today assume it was.

Mundy recounted travelling through India in 1632 where he saw labourers with their guns, swords and bucklers leying by them while they ploughed the ground

Approximately 60 pages deal with the period 1700 to 1901. It contains interesting information, although very specific in nature. There are no illustrations, no uniform information and no detailed information regarding battles. Not one for the beginner to the period!

This book was published in 2002 and is full of good information. It is not as heavy as the above book and it contains illustrations and maps, alas in b&w. The introduction basically deals with all the issues that the first book does, but in 31 pages.

The book contains a succinct account of the development of the Mughal recruitment system and nature of battles before European arrival. The author then contrasts this with the European system.

The book contains much useful information - such as most sepoys serving Clive were Muslim. By 1780 this had changed with most sepoys being Hindu. By 1790, most sepoys seem to have been boys - older men not being available due to the ravages of the earlier wars. There is no information on uniforms, although there are a couple of b&w pictures.

There is information on tactical organisation from circa 1742, formation of battalions and training. There are accounts of the battles of Buxar (1764), Tiruvannamalai (1767), Porto Novo (1781), Seringapattanam(1799), Assaye (1803) and the lesser known Laswari (1803).

The only appendix deals with the composition of storming parties between 1764 and 1803 (13 noted).

Published by Manohar Publishing in India. Unlike many books published in India, this is of good quality.

All in all, this is a very good book!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Talwar by Not By Appointment

I recently commissioned David at Not By Appointment to design the Golcondan Royal Scimitar. Here is the result!

Great work! I am very pleased with the result. And he's a good guy, to boot!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bengali Equipment

And here are some pictures of the equipment that the Bengali sepoys were likely to carry.

Powder horn and cartridge belt

Another powder belt and cartridge belt

Mother of Pearl powder flask

Another mother of pearl powder flask

French 1728 musket

1728 Pattern musket


Bengali Sepoys Finished!

Here are the Bengali Sepoys that Ian has finished for me!

Officer & Standard

Same officer - different angle

Drummer & Musketeer
The figures are armed with 1728 French pattern musket. I intend to use these for the 8 "regular" Bengali battalions at Buxar, fought 22 October 1764, between the British and and the Nawab of Bengal. The sepoys were trained by Walter Rheinhardt, known as "Sumroo", meaning dark, because of his dark complexion.

Each battalion of trained sepoys had its own uniform and triangular standard. The typical composition of a Bengali brigade was four battalions of infantry, a regiment of cavalry and a company of between eight to ten guns. 50% of the army, at least, was composed of the usual irregular troops.

As usual, a great job by Ian!


Now here is an interesting horse...

and so is the armour on it! The armour is designed to fool enemy elephants that the horse is actually a baby elephant.

The horse armour dates from at least 1576 and was worn by Chetak at the Battle of  Haldigati.  The battle was between the forces of Maharana Pratap of Mewar, a Rajput state and the Akbah, The Great Moghul. Although Mewar had been conquered by the Moghuls in 1568, the further conflict essentially arose from a dispute over precedence between Pratap, a king, and a Moghul prince, Kunwar Man Singh.

The Moghul army greatly outnumbered the Rajputs and the battle lasted only four hours. Folklore has it that Pratap personally attacked Man Singh, Chetak placing its front legs on the trunk of Man Singh's elephant so that Pratap could throw his lance. Man Singh ducked, and the elephant driver was killed.
When the battle turned against the Rajputs, Pratap's generals compelled him to flee.  Chetak had been seriously wounded by the elephant's trunk sword and died a short way from the battle field.  The spot where he died is marked by the following memorial.
Chetak was either a Mawari or Kathiawari breed, both of which descend from the Arabian breed. He is described as having a blue tinge. Pratap, as a result, is often refered to as "The Rider of the Blue Horse."


Monday, April 11, 2011

A good read!

I recently finished The Cobras of Calcutta by Grant Sutherland (Macmillan Press 2010). It is 400 pages and the first in a series of novels concerning the "Decipherers" - a group of  intelligence analysts ( my description sounds a bit modern, doesn't it?). It is set in 1757 in India. It appears that the series will extend to 1815. The enemy? France of course!!

One of the main criticisms seems to be that the central character, although handy with a sword, isn't a Sharpe or similar character. He witnesses or reports on events, rather than necessarily being at the centre of the action. The fall of Calcutta and the aftermath I thought was particularly well written.

I enjoyed it, but it may seem a bit slow compared to other similar series. And the cover is trash : )


History of the Indian Navy

I recently purchased this two volume set of books from On Military Matters  in the US. As usual, the service was exemplary!

The books are published in India by Manas Publications. The set I have is a reprint from 1985. They were originally published in 1877. Volume 1 covers the period 1613 to 1830.

As with books published in India the quality is not what one would expect from a US or UK publisher. Some pages have blemishes and creases and the gluing of the interior cover is not flat.

There is a lot, and I mean a lot, of useful information in these books. There is a nice appendix of ships built in the Bombay dock yard and a very useful list of the naval establishment at the time of the Mutiny, together with a list of commissioned officers.

My only complaint is that some pages are three quarter footnotes (well,  not really a problem) and that on the odd occasion when you expect a list of vessels in a particular battle or account of a chase it may not be there! Nonetheless, they contain much information I have not seen elsewhere. There are about 40 pages dealing with the period 1754 to 1760.

There are no illustrations nor maps.

There are OCR (optical character recognition) copies available. I absolutely hate OCR reprints. They come with warnings that  "There may be typos or missing text. There are no illustrations or indexes." They contain, in my experience garbled text and multitudinous typos! And they can cost a lot. A quick check of the cost reveals that volume 2 alone is $113!! Rant over...

Another interesting book is Lords of the East, published by Conway Maritime books in 2000. There are 16 pages of colour plates.

A good book, explaining why the tonnage of East India Company ships is usually incorrectly recorded - essentially less taxes to pay! This book deals much less with the military side of things.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Royal Artillery Information

I went browsing through the second hand book shops today and I found a copy of the Battery Records of the Royal Artillery 1716 - 1859. The book was published in 1952 by the Royal Artillery Institute and is compiled from muster rolls, pay lists, lists of officers and similar official documents.

The book traces every company of Royal Artillery  from date of formation, including company commanders, monthly location and major detachments. It is very useful for tracing the RA in India.

For example, one entry indicates that 6 companies under Capt-Lt Hislop embarked to India with the 39th on 25 March 1754 in HEI ships London, Kent and Britannia. The 6 companies totalled 72 men, including the 12 men of the Cadet Company. The Cadets, surgeon, paymaster and senior officers are named. The detachment disembarked at Madras on 15 October and 18 December 1754, the ships having become separated at sea. The guns taken were 2 light 12 pdrs and 10 light 6pdrs.

Copies on Amazon are selling for the equivalent of $233 at the moment. Mine cost $25 with some water damage to the cover. A good day of shopping!

All in all a very useful acquisition - and not just for India!