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"31st Huntingdonshire Foot for The Sikh Wars" Topic

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679 hits since 30 May 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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RogerC30 May 2020 9:07 a.m. PST

Last of the units based before lockdown is now posted on the blog, I had been saving it, just to mix up the posts. See what you think;


Empires at War Sponsoring Member of TMP30 May 2020 11:09 a.m. PST

Excellent stuff as usual Roger. Could you recommend a couple of good books on the Sikh Wars. I can feel a new project itch developing!

RogerC30 May 2020 3:11 p.m. PST

The best military history I found was Amarphal Simghs, he did one on each War, The First Anglo Sikh War and the Second Anglo Sikh War. Gives a very different view of the conflicts. Also for the first Sikh War try At them with the bayonet. If you enjoy a good tale then Flashman and the Mountain of Light is wonderful and also accurate.

jhancock30 May 2020 7:02 p.m. PST

Search Google Books for free 19th Century texts in the public domain. You may find old "official" histories. They will be Anglocentric, of course.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2020 8:37 p.m. PST

Great looking unit. Nice work.

Dennis30 May 2020 11:51 p.m. PST

Empires at War (and anyone else interested):

Between unit histories, memoirs, travel books, and speciality histories, there are dozens and dozens of books available about Runjeet Singh, the Punjab, the Sikhs and the Anglo-Sikh wars.

While my list below is nowhere near exhaustive, it will give you some idea of what's available. It is meant, however, to be a moderately extensive list of what is widely available, and not a list of the books you should get and read unless, of course, you develop a deep interest in the Wars.

The "official" history of the Anglo-Sikh Wars is R.G. Burton's "The First and Second Sikh Wars." Burton served in India-albeit long after the Sikh Wars-and wrote his book for the General Staff, India. Burton's history is widely available in old copies, Indian reprints and a new publication in 2008 by West Holme.

As Roger mentioned, Amarpal Singh has books on both Anglo-Sikh wars, and he devoted far more attention to the sites of the battles than probably any other author-for example, he prepared nice new maps and includes photos. Singh's books, however, are a bit expensive.

Osprey recently published David Smith's "The First Anglo-Sikh War." Smith's book follows the general Osprey format. I believe a book on the Second Anglo-Sikh War is due out in a year or so.

Also from Osprey (about 2005) is Ian Heath's "The Sikh Army, 1799-1849." As with most Ospreys, it is a mix of potted history, some details, and some useful pictures. All in all it is a pretty good book, although I disagree with Mr. Heath's contentions that a majority of the Sikh army regular infantry were armed with percussion muskets.

Hugh Cook's 1975 book "The Sikh Wars, 1845-6, 1848-9" is a pretty good general history of the two wars. Cook's book is part of a series about various British colonial wars-all of which are pretty good including one about the Kandyan war.

Bruce's "Six Battles for India" is also a pretty good general history of the wars and was one of Fraser's sources for "Flashman and the Mountain of Light," his Flashman book on the Sikh wars.

Donald Featherstone 3 books that include sections on the Sikh Wars are very much wargamer resources. Good reads, but not detailed scholarship.

Back in 2006 Foundry Books published a book in their Armies of the 19th Century Series-"The British in India 1825-59" by John French. French's book contains a nice brief account of the two Anglo-Sikh wars. His sources are mostly secondary-including Featherstone- but he also used the casualty rolls as a source for British/HEIC units present at the various battles. French is also an easy read.

George Carmichael-Smyth's "A History of the Reigning Family of Lahore: With Some Account of the Jummoo Rajahs, the Sikh Soldiers and Their Sirdars" is probably the best contemporary history of the general period, and is available in a variety of inexpensive used and reprint editions. George McDonald Fraser leaned heavily on Carmichael-Smyth in writing his Flashman book.

You should be able to find used copies of Featherstone, Cook and Bruce in decent condition for $10 USD to $30 USD or so-French's book may be harder to find and more expensive. I personally like Burton's history of the two wars as he served in India, albeit in the late 19th Century, and he also wrote histories of Wellington's campaigns in India and the Maratha and Pindari war, so he has a good general understanding of colonial warfare in British India-Burton's book is somewhat skimpier than the some of the others.

As for older sources, there are contemporary and period sources like William M'Gregor's "History of the Sikhs," Joseph Davey Cunningham's "History of the Sikhs," Edward Joseph Thackwell's "History of the Second Sikh War," the "Annals of India," and James Lawrence-Archer's "Commentaries on the Punjab Campaign."

Charles Gough and Arthur Innes' "The Sikhs and the Sikh Wars, the Rise, Conquest and Annexation of the Punjab State" is another general history of the Wars: it's pretty good, but dates to the late 19th Century. Reprinted copies are generally available for about $15 USD or so.

As for general histories; Amarpal Singh's two books are good, but expensive, John French's book and Donald Featherstone's three books are easy reading, as are Cook's Sikh Wars, Bruce's Six Battles for India and Gough and Innes' Sikhs and Sikh Wars.

The Perry brothers wrote an article on Sikh uniforms that was published in the May 1996 issue of Wargames Illustrated.

John Watts' articles, "The Miniature Wargames Guide to the Sikh Wars," was published in Miniature Wargames, issues 156, 157, 158, and 159-May through August 1996. He also had a short article on Sikh War Flags published in the October 1997 issue of Miniature Wargames (no. 173). The Flag article has no real information on Sikh flags.

For wargamers and those with a general interest in the wars, I'd recommend a general history or two, some sort of contemporary book about the subject, and a painting and organizational guide. The magazine articles by John Watts and the Perry brothers I mentioned above and/or Ian Heath's Osprey, and some Ospreys or equivalents on the colonial British army will do nicely for organization and uniform guides.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART31 May 2020 3:49 a.m. PST

Flashman was there as well.

SgtGuinness Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 6:37 a.m. PST

@RogerC, I agree, the Mountain of Light was an awesome read.

Beautiful brush work and basing!

Sgt G

Empires at War Sponsoring Member of TMP31 May 2020 8:33 a.m. PST

Thanks for all of the recommendations, I'll pick a couple and buy them. Yes the history in the Flashman books is excellent, I've read them all and will read the Mountain of Light again. I'm also on book 8 of his Uncle Thomases 'memoirs'. Also very good.

RogerC01 Jun 2020 2:06 p.m. PST

Well thats interesting thanks guys, glad the figures kicked off a conversation. The magazine guides are both really good, I literally have the Miniature Wargames ones arms reach under the bed as I type, been there for the last 2 years as I dip in and out of this project. I may have a look through the list again and see what I have missed out so far.

MiniPigs17 Jun 2020 10:24 a.m. PST

Which were the Featherstone titles which had chapters on the Sikh Wars?

RogerC21 Jun 2020 3:26 p.m. PST

Victorian Colonial Warfare – India has a peice. and AT them with the Bayonet is also by Don Featherstone and is an account of the First Sikh War.

MiniPigs21 Jun 2020 4:58 p.m. PST

I just Started At them with the bayonet and I'll check out the Victorian warfare book.

RogerC28 Jun 2020 3:59 p.m. PST

At them with the Bayonet is very good, I have to say though that Amarhal Sings books are the best of the lot for me and look at both sides too. Also intersting is Solider Sahibs a book looking at the early careers of many of the famous officers serving in India, a whole section there looks at some of the Political officers in the Punjab at the outbreak of the SECOND sIKH wAR AND HOW SOME OF THEM PURSUADED mUSLIM TRIBES TO FOLLOW THEM AGAINST THE sIKHS, rEALLY INTERSTIGN PERIOD ALL TOLD.

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