A Battle or a Skirmish:Plassey 1757

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Peter, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,211
    Likes Received:
    1,127
    Location:
    Kolkata
    Battle of Plassey

    Though it was more of a skirmish than a battle, the British victory under Robert Clive at Plassey in Bengal was a crucial event in the history of India. The young Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ad-daula, had taken Calcutta from the East India Company with a huge army in June 1756, when the notorious ‘Black Hole’ episode occurred. It was not until August that the news reached the Company in Madras and not until October that Clive, now thirty-two years-old, left for Calcutta at the head of a mixed European-Indian force of some 2,500 men. He drove Siraj’s army out early in January 1757.
    Clive decided that the best way to secure the Company’s interests in Bengal was to replace Siraj with a new and more pliant nawab. He found a candidate in a discontented elderly general named Mir Jafar. After complicated conspiratorial discussions and the promise of enormous bribes to all concerned, a secret agreement was smuggled into the women’s quarters of Mir Jafar’s house, which was being watched by Siraj’s spies, and Mir Jafar signed it.

    Siraj knew or suspected there was a conspiracy against him, despite Clive’s earnest protestations to the contrary, and moved south to Plassey . On June 13th, Clive moved north with some 2,000 Indian sepoys and 600 British infantry of the Thirty-Ninth of Foot plus close to 200 artillerymen with ten field pieces and two small howitzers. Ambiguous messages were coming in from Mir Jafar and Clive was moving into a dangerous situation against heavy odds. He seems to have had a crisis of confidence and summoned his officers to a council of war on June 21st. The majority, including Clive, voted against action. At that point, according to his friend Robert Orme, Clive retired into a grove of trees where he stayed for an hour in meditation. On his return he gave orders for the army to move on to Plassey.

    The confrontation came on a cloudy morning north of the village of Plassey on the bank of the Hughli river. Clive’s army was drawn up in three divisions, as was the Nawab’s army of perhaps 40,000 men with its war-elephants and more than 50 cannon. One division was commanded by Mir Jafar. After an opening cannonade, a crash of thunder at noon heralded a torrential downpour of rain that lasted half an hour.Well it seems that when the destiny of a nation is going to be decided even the skies know it. The British artillerymen quickly covered their cannon and ammunition with tarpaulins, but the enemy failed to do the same and their artillery was put out of action, so that when the Nawab’s army moved forward, assuming that Clive’s cannon were also out of action, it was met with a withering storm of fire. The enemy withdrew and Siraj, who distrusted his generals and had already been warned of impending defeat by his astrologer (who had possibly been bribed), lost his nerve when Mir Jafar advised retreat. When Clive’s army attacked again, Siraj fled on a fast camel. His demoralized army followed suit and when the British entered the enemy camp at about 5pm, they found it abandoned.

    According to Clive, he lost eighteen men killed, while he estimated the nawab’s dead as around 500. Siraj-ad-daula was killed by his own people and Mir Jafar replaced him. Clive, who was now effectively master of Bengal, skilfully bolstered Mir Jafar’s apparent authority while keeping him on leading strings. The skirmish at Plassey was critical to the East India Company’s triumph over its French rivals and, in the longer term, to the establishment of cruel British rule in India.

    That day a great number of Indians had to part with their freedom because of the greed and evil of one traitorous man.However the encounter also gave us heroes like Mohan Lal and Mir Madan.May history never forget their valour and sacrifice.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  2.  
  3. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,211
    Likes Received:
    1,127
    Location:
    Kolkata
    Here`s the account from Murshidabad portal

    On June 23rd, 1757 at Plassey, a small village and mango grove between Calcutta and Murshidabad, the forces of the East India Company under Robert Clive met the army of Siraj-ud-Doula, the Nawab of Bengal.

    Clive had 800 Europeans and 2200 Indians whereas Siraj-ud-doula in his entrenched camp at Plassey was said to have about 50,000 men with a train of heavy artillery. During the battle a monsoon storm, lasting nearly an hour, drenched both sides and the ground, The Indian guns slackened their fire because their powder was insufficiently protected, but when the Indian cavalry charged in the hope that the British guns had suffered similarly they were sharply repulsed by heavy fire. The battle lasted no more than a few hours, and indeed the outcome of the battle had been decided long before the soldiers came to the battlefield. The aspirant to the Nawab's throne, Mir Jafar, was induced to throw in his lot with Clive, and by far the greater number of the Nawab's soldiers were bribed to throw away their weapons, surrender prematurely, and even turn their arms against their own army.

    Siraj fled, leaving a still nervous Mir Jafar to occupy the palace and treasury, and to await Clive's coming before ascending the masnad or throne. The act ended with the capture of Siraj-ud-doula when nearing Bihar and was brutally murdered by Mir Jafar's son Miran. Plassey was decisive for the British in India, and for Clive. Jawaharlal Nehru, in The Discovery of India (1946), justly describes Clive as having won the battle "by promoting treason and forgery", and pointedly notes that British rule in India had "an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since."
     
  4. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
  5. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,211
    Likes Received:
    1,127
    Location:
    Kolkata
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    Battle of Plasseey (Palashi) | VAN Namboodiri's Blog

    An opposing view would be that effective leadership counts more than great numbers.
     
    Peter likes this.
  7. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,211
    Likes Received:
    1,127
    Location:
    Kolkata
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
    Peter likes this.
  9. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  10. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015

Share This Page