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Board index » Non-Fiction » History


Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

The Indian army in WW 2

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Sarevok
 Post subject: The Indian army in WW 2
PostPosted: 2012-06-05 02:43am 

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Joined: 2002-12-24 08:29am
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So I learned that one of my friends grandfather was with the British Indian army fighting in the desert campaign. A pity he passed away many years ago so no chance of talking to him. It surprises me how little the subject of Indian involvement in WW 2 is discussed here in the subcontinent. It's largely overshadowed by the event of India gaining indepedence and partitioning into multiple states. So in school texts or media the subject is largely ignored. So my question is twofold.

1. How important was the British Indian army to Britains war efforts ?

2. What are the significant battles etc that troops from India helped win ?
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-06-05 08:43am 

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Joined: 2002-09-20 11:15am
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1. Very.
2. They were everywhere almost. But mostly in west and southeast asia.

The wiki should be a decent primer for you if you have not checked it out before.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_in_World_War_II
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PainRack
PostPosted: 2012-06-07 03:19am 

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Joined: 2002-07-07 03:03am
Posts: 7137
Location: Singapura
Sarevok wrote:
So I learned that one of my friends grandfather was with the British Indian army fighting in the desert campaign. A pity he passed away many years ago so no chance of talking to him. It surprises me how little the subject of Indian involvement in WW 2 is discussed here in the subcontinent. It's largely overshadowed by the event of India gaining indepedence and partitioning into multiple states. So in school texts or media the subject is largely ignored. So my question is twofold.

1. How important was the British Indian army to Britains war efforts ?

2. What are the significant battles etc that troops from India helped win ?

very. Prior to WW2,India was the only readily source of manpower to meet Britain Imperial commitments. As such,it served to garrison everywhere from sechyelles islands to Burma.

It would continue to provide valuable manpower for Britain Africian campaigns. For example,5th Indian division actipns in the Sudan against the Italians. Essentially,Britain could not have fought and won any Africian or Middle East campaign if those units werent there,at least,not without sacrifices or delays. Also,barring the invasion of Persia.

By the end of 1943,Indian forces were increasingly committed against the Japanese and thus played a decreasing role in the European theatre of war.
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Brother-Captain Gaius
PostPosted: 2012-06-12 10:06am 

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Indian troops played a pretty significant role at Cassino (and by extension Italy in general). Some of the most violent fighting was between the 4th and 8th Indian Divisions and 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision in the mountains around the town and monastery.
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lord Martiya
PostPosted: 2012-06-14 05:30pm 

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Joined: 2007-08-29 11:52am
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My knowledge is limited, but I do know that Indian troops fought the Italians and the Afrika Korps in Egypt since 1940 and took part to the conquest of Italian East Africa.
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Ziggy Stardust
PostPosted: 2012-06-15 02:50pm 

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IIRC, Indian troops were also used in the invasion of Madagascar after the fall of France, and for a variety of colonial operations in Africa outside of the "main" theaters of the war.
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Captain Seafort
PostPosted: 2012-06-15 02:55pm 

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Ziggy Stardust wrote:
IIRC, Indian troops were also used in the invasion of Madagascar after the fall of France, and for a variety of colonial operations in Africa outside of the "main" theaters of the war.


The only campaign I don't think they fought in was NW Europe in 1944-45. Everywhere else they were not only present, but were frequently the bulk of the allied forces.
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Ziggy Stardust
PostPosted: 2012-06-15 03:54pm 

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Captain Seafort wrote:
The only campaign I don't think they fought in was NW Europe in 1944-45. Everywhere else they were not only present, but were frequently the bulk of the allied forces.


Well, I guess you could also point to the New Guinea campaigns, which were primarily ANZAC and American, but yeah, for the most part the Indian Army was omnipresent.
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