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"Zamburak Camel Guns for Sikh Wars" Topic

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RogerC07 Aug 2020 8:53 a.m. PST

Iwasnt overly happy with what was available and the Sikhs had loads of these so converted a few camel I picked up on ebay. Photos etc on the blog see what you think.



Andrew Preziosi07 Aug 2020 10:41 a.m. PST

They look QUITE Good.

Neil Carleton's been helping me w/the, artillery angle of the SWSB.

We know the Persian army had regular drills and formations re: usage of the Zamburek's/Jingal's, but not much info about the Sikh usage…EXCEPT the "Greybeard's" (Ghorchurra's) disdained their usage and just barely tolerated their presence on the FoB!

GunDogMiniature Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2020 2:05 p.m. PST

Superb – love a camel gun! Definitely need to see more of these!

Berzerker7307 Aug 2020 5:08 p.m. PST

Nice camel guns, they would be useful for Nadir Shah's army.

RogerC08 Aug 2020 4:20 a.m. PST

Cheers Guys, Berzerker73 I reckon you could use them from Plassey right through to second Afghan War comfortably.

Andrew can I ask what SWSB stands for?

Andrew Preziosi08 Aug 2020 7:24 a.m. PST

The Sikh War Source Book…which I am aiming to have finished, writing wise, by early next Spring in order to have it gussied up for the publisher by Winter of 2021.

And YES, you could actually use them (in small quantities or one off jobbies) for just about any NW/NE Frontier and small Central Asia conflicts, at least up until the 20th Century and even a bit beyond (methinks absolute cut-off date would be 1920'ish).

RogerC08 Aug 2020 8:28 a.m. PST

Interesting, I look forward to seeign that.

evilgong08 Aug 2020 7:21 p.m. PST

There is some interesting information that suggests camel-mounted troops were the first to use fire-arms in the Sub-continent.

It looks like there may have been a bit of evolutionary diversion for camel-gunners in Eastern armies generally.

Some are heavier 'guns' zamburaks (and similar names) – that Europeans and others classify as artillery.

These could shoot from the saddle, either while circulating or kneeling.

They could do other things such as detaching the guns to fire dismounted (which apparently risked damaging the mount fittings) or the units could form up on the flanks of infantry to fire multiple projectile rounds {light canister?} to aid infantry shooting.

(Persian illustrations c1810 show lines of zamburaks routing Russian infantry or engaging Russian artillery.)

Other cameleers seem to have been one or two men riding a beast and using long-barrel accurate heavy musket-weapons, probably for use dismounted, as mobile highly effective snipers and skirmishers.

From European pics and some descriptions of units I suspect the Sikhs may have had both types at different times and perhaps together.

I claim no detailed knowledge of the Sikh military.

It's also possible that 2-man camels could be a zamburak gun at each end of the beast but evidence for this is not conclusive.

I'll also be keeping an eye out for Andrew's book.


David F Brown

RogerC09 Aug 2020 2:09 p.m. PST

Really interesting David, so by coincidence using both types I may have got it a little bit right!

evilgong09 Aug 2020 5:28 p.m. PST

This link shows a pic of the 2-man musket variety.


The site has info on flags.


Rhingyll Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2020 6:59 a.m. PST

This is a Camel Gun that I think I got from Westfalia Miniatures years ago. It was listed in the Napoleonic Range I believe.


Rhingyll Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2020 6:59 a.m. PST


Andrew Preziosi10 Aug 2020 11:01 a.m. PST

I STILL have no idea how to post pics to TMP, but here's a link to a tonne of them.

I have not seen it today, but there is a picture of a Persian Z battery, circa 1812-24, in formation/on maneuvers, with the Z racks (see Rhingyll's second picture, directly above this post), unloaded off camel and set up as a battery, with officers standing nearby with small red signal flags.

I'm not saying the Sikh's did not do this, but no evidence of such usage during the Sikh Wars and earlier battle accounts of Ranjit Singh's (and his generals) prior to 1839 are relatively generic at best.

Still though…I hope this helps. (and if someone can find the picture I'm referring to, by all means, please do post it here.


RogerC11 Aug 2020 10:27 a.m. PST

Cheers for that, I had seen some of these images and really useful. I am happy with the way I will have mine though I ma sure not everyone will agree.

Rhingyll I was tempted by these but I felt the camels a little small and the gunners (naturally) look very Persian and Uniformed agaisnt what I was lookign for.

Thanks guys.

Andrew Preziosi11 Aug 2020 12:52 p.m. PST

Your Zamburek Battery is Da BOMB!, RogerC!

Rhingyll Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2020 3:14 p.m. PST

RogerC- The camels on my set are a little thin and the figures are Persian looking. I thought about at least swapping the heads out but was too lazy. I don't recall ever having used them in a battle. I had forgotten about them until you posted your very nicely done set.

evilgong11 Aug 2020 8:05 p.m. PST

I quoted some Sikh zambuarak unit info in my Persian book, in a section discussing zamburak formations.


From 1845 'topkhana zamburakhana'

52 guns – 76 men
80 guns – 127 men
105 guns – 146 men

(sourced from Romesh C Butalia, The evolution of Artillery in India, 1998)

The extra men per gun in the units are probably grooms, servants, other non-combatants.

David F Brown

Andrew Preziosi12 Aug 2020 2:09 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link too, David…appreciated!

RogerC12 Aug 2020 3:53 p.m. PST

Some great information here guys, and interesting about the Sikh battle flags too David cheers.

Andrew Preziosi18 Aug 2020 3:08 a.m. PST

Okay, time for me to pitch in with some stuff.

First Off…

David Brown…I just snagged your Persian War booklet from WV…took long enough due to transferring funds from my Bank to Paypal, but at least I now have a copy.


From the forthcoming SWSB…

An OB of the Sikh Technical Services from the 1844 Parade State and OB of the Khalsa,
a detailed accounting of the Artillery (including the Zamburkhana)… Enjoy!

Sardar Lehna Singh Majithia

Derah Ilahi Baksh (#1) (to Fauj-i-Khas Brigade)
Derah Amir Chand (#2)
Derah Fateh Singh and Mubarak Khan (ex-Imam Shah, Sayyid) (#3)
Derah Bakhtawar Khan (#4)
Derah Muhammad Baksh's (#5)

Derah Hira Singh and Sobha Singh (ex-Canara Singh) (#1) (to Mahtab Singh's Brigade)
Derah Fazli-I-Ali (ex-Jodh Singh) (#2) (to Court Sahib's Brigade)
Derah Nihal Singh (ex-Gurmukh [Diwan] Singh) (to Kahan Singh's Brigade)

Topkhana Jawahir Mal:
Jawahir Mal

Derah Ishwar (ex-Shiv Parshad) (#4)
Derah Mazhar Ali Beg (#5)
Derah Mewa Singh (#6)

Remaining Aspi:
Derah Bhag Singh (#7) (to Partab Singh's Brigade)
Derah Surat Singh (ex-John Holmes) (#8) (to Gurdit Singh's Brigade)
Derah Ala Singh (ex-Kahan Singh) (#9) (to Gulab Singh's Brigade)
Derah Fateh Khan and Lahaura Singh (ex-Kalu Khan) (#10)
Derah Buland Khan (ex-Derah Ford Sahib) (#11) (to Avitabile's Brigade)
Derah Hafiz Bakhsh (#12) (not listed)
Derah Bal Singh (#13) (to Buddh Singh's Brigade)
Derah Jawahir Singh (#14) (to Kishan Singh's Brigade)
Derah Bakhshish Singh (#15) (to Dhaunkhal Singh's Brigade)
Derah Jawala Singh (ex-Steinbach's) (#16) (to Gurdit Singh's Brigade)
Derah Gulab Singhwala Hobath (Howitzers) (#17) (to Lehna Singh, Majithia's Brigade)
Derah Lehna Singh, Moranwala (#18)

Zamburkhana: (Zambureks)
Abdul Rahim Khan's Regular Army Derah (#1)
Jai Singh's Derah (#2)
Khair Ali Khan's Mortar Derah (#3)
Mahmud Baksh's (Shahs) Derah (#4)
Faiz Bakhsh's Derah (#5) (to Lehna Singh, Majithia's Brigade)
Nihal Singh's Derah (Newly raised) (#6) (replaced Shams-ud-Din's Derah?)

Engineering, Technical and Support Staff: (Beldars, Sofar Mina, sarbans, etc.)

No units are specifically mentioned, but from here on out they are now considered part and parcel of the regular army.

Andrew Preziosi19 Aug 2020 10:27 a.m. PST

David Brown…please drop me a line. Thanks!

Druzhina21 Aug 2020 3:01 a.m. PST

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