chapter  1
46 Pages

The early adventurers and the modernisation of warfare in hindustan

ByUma Shanker Pandey

The second half of the 18th century in north India witnessed remarkable changes in the methods of warfare. With the help of European adventurers, mostly French, many north Indian states raised modernised armies with infantry and artillery forming its core. René Madec, Sombre, Gentil, Canaple, Delamarr, Sonson, and Pedrose were some early adventurers who introduced remarkable changes in the military landscape of Hindustan. Initially employed by Awadh, most of these adventurers later ended up in the service of the Mughal Empire. The introduction of new methods of warfare, tactics, and potent firearms began to change the outcomes of battles. War tactics of column formation and hollow square methods along with power-packed flintlock and musket firearms proved lethal in defensive and offensive combats. We find that the Jats and the Mughals equipped with the new kind of military strength defeated the unorganised armies of their rivals many times. This confidence became the new feature of reformed armies. Faizabad, Lucknow, Sardhana, Bharatpur, Weir, Agra, and Delhi emerged as new military centers characterised by recruitment and training of soldiers in modern systems of warfare. Arsenals and foundries were set up in these centers for the ready supply of firearms for combats. This changing military landscape of Hindustan in the third quarter of the 18th century was certainly a new phenomenon for it paved the path for revolutionary military transformations in the last decade of the century.