Saturday, July 16, 2011

A great book - but with a Caveat!!

Sometimes a book comes along that has great information in it - and this is one of them!

This is a reprint of an original publication in 1817 by an officer of the East India Company. There is lots of good information regarding the original organisation of the Bengal Native Infantry, the campaigns in which they fought, reorganisation over time etc. The author does state that he wrote most without the benefit of documentation and mostly from personal experience/ recollection. Where he cannot remember something he says so.

There are two grey scale pictures of sepoys c.1817. Those are the only illustrations.

Now the caveat - as noted on the inside of the cover and not noted on the online vendor's site:

The disclaimer

pages 186, 187 and some others...
Not only are there blank pages but there are several  pages missing - 88, 123 & 124 at least. Some of this makes no difference to the text, some of it does... One can only wonder what is missing!

This certainly isn't as bad as those Optical Character Recognition ("ocr") books that I have complained about before. Some of those are just unreadable rubbish. However, there is certainly valuable information missing from this book.

There is great information in this book, such as listing the names of the 60 European officers in the Bengal army in 1760, noting which were at Plassey. Circa 1796 the European officers corp had expanded to more than 1600!

Overall, I am very happy with what is in this book. Lots of info you just can't find elsewhere.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Empire's First Soldiers - A short review

I received this book, and some others, from On Military Matters yesterday.

Unfortunately, it isn't quite as I expected, extending up to modern times and covering the War of 1971, UN operations and counter-insurgency. The theme of the book is stated to be to show how India has stood to  benefit from professional soldiering but is now seen by the world as a soft state, cowering in front of all and sundry. It is a call by the author for India to face the terrorist threat of today.

The author, DP Ramachandran,  is a veteran of the 1971 war. It is published by Lancer Publishers of Delhi in 2008. Quality wise, this is a nice book, well bound - one is always uncertain as to quality when getting a book from India!

There are 10 maps, three of which deal with the Carnatic, Maratha Wars and Burma campaign of 1824. The other seven maps deal with the Kashmir war of 1947 and subsequent campaigns.

The first 129 pages are of most interest for the subject of this blog, covering from 1746 to 1824. As an introduction to the period it is quite good, but general in nature. The information, however, can  be obtained from other sources dealing with the topics in greater depth. It is, however, a very good overview of the Indian military from 1746 to date.

I wouldn't recommend this book if your interest doesn't extend beyond the Mutiny. It is highly recommended if you want a good overview of the Indian military from 1746 to date. There are no illustrations other than the maps.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Forts and Palaces of India

I picked up a copy of this book recently from the local shop.

It was published in 2010 by OM Books International. It runs to 256 pages in total with more than 300 colour photos.The author, Amita Baig has been involved in the protection of India's cultural heritage for 25 years and is currently a consultant with the World Momuments Fund.

The photographer is Joginder Singh, an architect turned architectural photographer. The photographs in this book are beautiful!

Inside the Rajput fort at Dungarpur - occupied between 1292 and the early 19th century
On reflection, this is a great book. That sounds bad, like I had to think about it, but that isn't what I mean. There is just so much covered in this book that perhaps some entries aren't given the space they deserve. 53 Indian forts are included, covering the Sultanate, Mughals, Marathas and others. There is a short chapter on colonial forts as well.

The book not only documents the richness of the architecture, but also how many are not preserved and, in some cases, shockingly defaced such as the fort at Golconda.

The Indian price is 2995 rupees, equating to roughly $60.00. On line they vary between $72.00 and $299.00!

A visual feast!


Golconda Rising Miniatures Now Available

In anticipation of an announcement on The Miniatures Page, I thought I had better list the figures that are currently available and being sold on my behalf by Eureka Miniatures.

The numbers aren't the Eureka stock number, just something I am using temporarily to list them here:


1. Officer
2. Drummer
3. Standard Bearer
4. Regular Musketeer marching (4 variants)


1. Officer
2. Drummer
3. Standard Bearer
4. Regular Musketeer marching (4 variants)

Hindu Infantry
1. Archer
2. Swordsman (2 variants)
3. Matchlockman (3 variants - marching, loading, firing)

1. Rajput officer
2. Moghul officer

Cavalry is up next!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Painted Mysorean Regulars

A bit more colourful than the Bengalis!

As usual, painted by Peter.


Painted Bengalis

Finally, pictures of the painted Bengalis!

variant 1
All painted by Peter as usual.

variant 2

variant 3

variant 4
The paint scheme depicts the army of Begum Sumroo, described in an earlier post.