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By T. Moreman

This complete learn is the 1st scholarly account explaining how the British and Indian armies tailored to the abnormal calls for of combating an abnormal tribal opponent within the mountainous no-man's-land among India and Afghanistan. It does so by way of discussing how a tactical doctrine of frontier combating was once constructed and 'passed on' to succeeding generations of squaddies. As this publication conclusively demonstrates this kind of colonial conflict continually exerted a robust impact at the service provider, apparatus, education and ethos of the military in India.

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Extra resources for The Army in India and the Development of Frontier Warfare, 1849–1947

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821 regular troops in 1855. 1K The length of the uninhabited border, the broken scrub-covered terrain in the foothills, the close proximity of tribal territory and the location of many villages and areas of cultivated land well in advance of the outposts meant that a system of passive defence had limited effectiveness. It proved difficult to safeguard the local inhabitants as the administrative border between tribal territory and the plains was ill-defined and because many of the Pathan tribes owned land and lived on both sides of the border.

During a withdrawal the main body of the piquet would retire with speed downhill leaving a small party consisting of an officer or NCO and a handful of men who would make as much noise as possible and then quickly retreat from the position once the rest of the piquet had rejoined the column. If casualties were suffered it became axiomatic to immediately counterattack to recover dead and wounded and to reoccupy the position. Piqueting required a high degree of physical fitness, drill, co-ordination.

Macpherson, Military Secretary to the Punjab Government, pointed out: 'The drill also of Rifte Corps give the men a great superiority over soldiers trained to the Battalion exercise. ' 31 l Two regiments were completely re-armed with two-grooved Brunswick Rifles so that rifte regiments could be stationed permanently at Kohat, and in the Upper and Lower Derajat, in addition to the flank companies of the remaining units. ~ 1 It also proved impossible to employ conventional horse-drawn wheeled road-bound field artillery in mountainous areas.

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