The Indian Army was one of the most important colonial institutions that the British created. From its humble origins as a mercantile police force to a modern contemporary army in the Second World War, this institution underwent many transitions. This book examines the Indian Army during the later colonial era from the First Afghan War in 1839 to Indian independence in 1947. During this period, the Indian Army developed from an internal policing force, to a frontier army, and then to a conventional western style fighting force capable of deployment to overseas’ theaters. These transitions resulted in significant structural and doctrinal changes in the army. The doctrines, and tactics honed during this period would have a dramatic impact upon the post-colonial armies of India and Pakistan. From civil-military relations to fighting and structural doctrines, the Indian and Pakistani armies closely reflect the deep-seated impact of decades of evolution during the late colonial era.
Pradeep Barua is professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Chapter 1 The Frontier Army
Chapter 2 The Indian Army and the Great War
Chapter 3 Between Two Wars
Part I: North Africa
Chapter 4 The Indian Army and the Second World War
Part II: Italy
Chapter 5 The Indian Army and the Second World War
Part III: East Asia
Chapter 6 The Indian Army and the Second World War
About the Author
Pradeep Barua accomplishes a remarkable feat by providing a detailed and deeply researched yet brisk and highly readable account of campaigns conducted by the colonial Indian Army from the Afghan wars of the nineteenth century to the North African, Italian, and Asian theaters of the Second World War. This will surely become the standard military history of the late colonial Indian Army, confirming Barua’s standing as a leading authority on the subject.
Pradeep Barua has written an excellent detailed and comprehensive history of the campaigns and battles fought by Indian army formations against foreign enemies from the Afghan wars through World War II. His work emphasizes the twentieth century, but all is placed in rich perspective. Barua’s attention is not solely focused upon the actions of Indian troops, but on all those engaged in the fights, friends and foes alike. This provides essential context for the actions of the Indian troops. Barua also examines important reforms and advances in Indian military institutions and practices. This book will be welcomed as a key foundational study for those wishing to understand the development of the Indian Army up to Independence.
This book offers a sweeping history of the British Empire’s military forces in India. Barua discerns the origins of British colonial forces in the armies of the British East India Company and their operations on the Afghan frontier. After the rebellion of 1857, the Company was dissolved and its military absorbed into a new government of India. Barua traces the institutional development of the British colonial Indian Army from the 1850s to independence in 1947. The book highlights Indian contributions to the British Imperial war effort in East Africa, Europe, and the Mediterranean during the First World War. The heart of the book provides an operational history of the Indian Army’s extensive operations in North Africa, Italy, and Southeast Asia during the Second World War. The book presents new perspectives on Indian military history and expands our understanding of the global dimensions of the World Wars.