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Indian Army and the First World War1914-18$
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Kaushik Roy

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199485659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199485659.001.0001

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East Africa

East Africa

(p.167) 4 East Africa
Indian Army and the First World War

Kaushik Roy

Oxford University Press

In 1914 at the Battle of Tanga, the Indian troops performed badly because of inadequate training and hardware. After Tanga, mainly dispersed small actions rather than decisive great battles characterized the campaign in East Africa. Sporadic small-unit actions resulted in mostly battalion-size engagements, rather than mass infantry armies colliding with each other within a confined space as in France. Bush fighting required skirmishing, sniping, ambush, reconnaissance patrol, and so on—tactical forms in which the Indian infantry, who were veterans of North-West Frontier fighting, were well acquainted. However, ‘raw’ sepoys required some time to adopt this specialized form of combat technique. From mid-1917 onwards, material superiority and adoption of proper techniques of bush warfare by the British and Indian troops enabled them to keep the Germans on the run.

Keywords:   Battle of Tanga, Indian troops, training, Bush fighting, skirmishing, sniping ambush, reconnaissance patrol, North-West Frontier, Germans

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