[quote=“DocAV”]I beg to differ, Vince Green. The Indian Army was as fuilly equipped with British current equipment as the British Army ( SMLEs, Vickers guns, Lewis/Hotchkiss/Vickers Berthier and then Brens.)
at the time of WW I ( and before, since the 1870s, after the Problems of the Indian Mutiny (1857) had been Politically resolved.)
The Loyalty shown by these So-called Native Troops in the siege of Kut (Mesopotamia), The “War of the Bees” (Tanganyika) and on the Western front, places them on a Par with the French Senegalese Troops, the US 359th Regiment (“coloured”) and the US 9th and 10th Cavalry (“Buffalo Soldiers”:). The Initial reason for the Local Police to be issued with “nonstandard” firearms before 1920, was the problem of “Theft” by Bandits…if the ammo was not available, a firearm was of no use. This was the Principle of the 1907 Decree banning all civilian use of “military Bores” (ie, .303, .45 (as in MH) and .577 ( as in Snider)…but the British/Indian Gun trade overcame this, by introducing BSA “8mm Lee” rifles (8x50R Austrian) the .465 and 470 and 577/500 cartridges, and of course the 450/400 etc…all for Civilian Use. India (after Partition) continued this British regulation, and Introduced (re-introduced) the .315 Indian cartridge, (Clone of the 8x50R Austrian) as the Major “Indian Hunting Cartridge,” with Ishapore-made Lee Enfield sporting rifles. India Made M93 8x50R during WW II, to supply the thousands of M95 Mannlicher rifles captured in Italian East Africa in 1941, and shipped to India as training Rifles. Khirkee even made 6,5mm Carcano and 8mm Breda ammo as well during WW II. See Labbett.
The Use of .303 at Amritsar caused quite a stir. An official Inquiry led to the Cashiering of several (British) Officers, as well as a change in “Crowd Control” Policies. Hence the Ball and shot loads (ie, the Ball load for real criminals, and the shot load for “crowd control”. And the word “Riot” is not an understatement…In India, when a crowd riots, it is something…we are not talking of a Western style demonstration fracas ( several dozen or even a Hundred People)…we are talking Thousands and more, often armed with sticks (Big uns) and stones and maybe rudimentary Firearms,. swords, etc. The Crowd at Amritsar was estimated at between Ten and Twenty Thousand…not a pretty sight facing a couple of companies of Police and soldiers, and a couple of Armoured cars with a couple of British Officers, fresh from WW I… And armed with a limited amount of .303 Ball…what were they to do, fire over their heads???.There is nothing like challenging one’s religion to raise a storm…( Don’t we know it???).
PS, it is not a “nonPC” answer, just an ill-informed one.[/quote]
You may beg to differ by all means. The point you make is correct but not really relevent to the subject of the thread. The Indian Regiments, as you say, were fully armed and fully trained regiments. They formed a very important part of the British standing army and were highly respected professionals. The most highly regarded and respected of the Commonwealth troops, they were used extensively all over the Empire. Everywhere that is except India. You talk about the Indian army but the ‘Army of India’ was the British Army in India not an army of Indians.
Britain followed the example of the Romans before them and didn’t deploy native troops on their home ground, for obvious reasons. The British also followed the example of the Romans in leaving most of the local administration to local Maharajas so there was no need for a big military presence most of the time.
That explains why there are so many mint Martini rifles still coming out of India today, we armed the Maharajas with the Martinis but only when the Martinis were obsolete, thereby being careful to keep them undergunned, and we still controlled the supply of ammunition.
You mention the Massacre at Amritsar but that was not carried out by Indian troops, it was men of the Gurkha Rifles (mostly) under the command of British officers but yes they did have .303s. That illustrates the point fairly clearly, the Indian regiments consisted largely of Sikhs. There is no possibility that a Sikh detachment would have fired upon a crowd of Sikhs at the Sikhs’ most holy temple on a holy day.
There is also a lot of debate about whether the crowd was even behaving agressively at all. The majority of the victims were shot in the back trying to get out of the exit gate and the British were pouring fire at the exit in a classic crossfire. The crowd was there for a religious festival, it wasn’t a riot ‘per se’ although there was some ill feeling about a few local arrests earlier that week. There were a lot of women present which mean to me that the riot part of the story was grossly exagerated later in mitigation. I have been there and seen it. When my father and I went it was virtually unknown here in Britain
The sort of people who had these converted SMLEs were the guys who stood around in the railway stations wearing ill fitting uniforms keeping the beggers and pickpockets out. The ‘rifles’ were for show more than anything.
The grandsons of these guards are still there today and as Falcon says still carrying the same SMLEs
google.co.uk/search?q=india … B569%3B390