Friday, 3 June 2011

Indian Mountain Artillery: the Kohat & Derajat Batteries

Brief History of the first Five Indian Mountain Batteries


This premier Indian mountain battery was raised at Bannu in 1851 from the Sikh artillerymen following the second Sikh War of 1849. The Battery saw action in the Frontier area during the first war of Independence  in 1847. (Sadly many Indian historians still call it Indian Mutiny) and in subsequent battles through out the 19th century.

During the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, it was deployed at Peiwar Kotal and saw heavy action at Kabul.
In the early stages of the First World War, the Battery helped defend Egypt from Turkish aggression and soon thereafter, landed at Gallipoli where it supported the Australians and New Zealanders in the fighting and the subsequent pull out. Later the Battery was sent to Mesopotamia & Persia till the war ended.

During the inter-war years, it was deployed in Waziristan in early 1920’s and again in late 30’s. After India’s independence & partition of the country, the Battery was transferred to Pakistan.


This Battery, like the 1st kohat, was also raised from the disbanded Sikh artillerymen. However, it was raised two years earlier, in 1849 at Dera Ghazi Khan. During the 1857 Rebellion, its one detachment was deployed at Oudh and Bundelkhand

During the Second Afghan war of 1878-80, it remained deployed at Peirwar Kotal and Charasia to defend Kabul and then moved to the south of Kandhar, undertaking that most famous march. Later, in 1895, the Battery took part in battles at Chitral and participated in operations of the Tirah Field Force.

During the First World War, in 1916,  the 2D (its nick-name) joined campaign against Colonel Von-Lettow-Vorbeck in German East Africa until the armistice.

Later on, the Battery took part in the Third Afghan War in 1919, the Mohmand Campaigns of 1933 and 1935, and operations in Wazirstan against the Fakir of Ipi from 1936 on.

This was the Battery where I had the proud privilege to serve in early 1960’s. With the modernisation of the Indian Army and its guns; the 2-D is no more a Mountain Battery but has become a Field Battery.

Before Second World War, the Mountain Batteries were equipped with various kinds of guns.The picture above shows a Mountain Battery in action with six of its 7 Pounder guns in ready position.

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