FIRST BATTLE OF PANIPAT 1526 BACKGROUND : Panipat has been described as the pivot of indian history for 300 years.And its story begins in the first great battle of 1526.After the fall of the sayyids,the afghan lodi dynasty had seized power at delhi.The power of the sultanate had decreased considerably at this time,though the sultan could still command significant resources.Ibrahim lodi,the third ruler was unpopular with the nobility for his persecution and execution of a large number of old nobles.A prominent noble,Daulat khan fearing for his life appealed to Zahir-ud-din Babur,the Timurid ruler of Kabul to come and depose ibrahim lodi.It was thought that babur would defeat lodi,plunder and leave.Babur however had different ideas. Babur,a timurid prince with descent from Timur and Chingiz khan had originally inherited the kingdom of fergana -one of the brekaway regions in the aftermath of the breakup of the once mighty timurid empire.The 2 foremost powers in the region at this time were the Safavids of Iran and The Uzbeks of central asia.Squeezed between them babur had to fight for survival.Gaining and losing Samarkand 3 times he eventually moved to Kabul in 1504,where he aimed to consolidate a powebase.It was here that he came into touch with India and between 1504 and 1524 had raided accross the Northwestern frontier 4 times.His main goal at this time was to consolidate his position in Afghanisthan by crushing the rebellious pathan tribes of the region,particularly the Yusufzais.Having given up his aspirations of retaking Samarkand in 1512 he now dreamed of a new empire east of the Indus,and bided his time for an oppurtunity.In the Baburnama he writes that as these territories were once conquered by timurlane he felt it was his natural birthright and he resolved to acquire them by force if necessary.The invitation of the Afghan chiefs provided him with this oppurtunity. (India 1525 & Babur's Invasion route - The delhi sultanate and rajputs under Rana sanga were the 2 major powers in north india.South india being dominated by the deccan sultanates and Vijaynagar) BABUR'S INVASION : Babur started for Lahore, Punjab, in 1524 but found that Daulat Khan Lodi had been driven out by forces sent by Ibrahim Lodi. When Babur arrived at Lahore, the Lodi army marched out and was routed. Babur burned Lahore for two days, then marched to Dipalpur, placing Alam Khan, another rebel uncle of Lodi's, as governor.There after he returned to Kabul to gather reinforcements.Alam Khan was quickly overthrown and fled to Kabul. In response, Babur supplied Alam Khan with troops who later joined up with Daulat Khan and together with about 30,000 troops, they besieged Ibrahim Lodi at Delhi. He defeated them and drove off Alam's army , Babur realized Lodi would not allow him to occupy Punjab.Meanwhile Alam also demanded Babur assign delhi to him after its capture,which was not acceptable to Babur.In 1525 November ,Babur set out in force to seize the empire he sought.Crossing the Indus a census of the army revealed his core fighting force numbering 12,000.This number would grow as it joined his garrison in Punjab and some local allies or mercenaries to around 20,000 at Panipat.Entering Sialkot unopposed he moved on to Ambala.His intelligence alerted him that Hamid Khan was about to reinforce Lodi's force with a contingent,he sent his son Humayun to defeat his detatchment at Hisar Firoza.From Ambala the army moved south to Shahabad, then east to reach the River Jumna opposite Sarsawa. At the same time Ibrahim Lodi, Sultan of Delhi, had gathered his army and was advancing slowly north from Delhi, eventually camping somewhere close to Panipat. Late in March 1526 Ibrahim decided to send a small force across the Yamuna into the Doab (the area between the Yamuna and the Ganges).Babur learnt of this when he was two days south of Sarsawa, and decided to send a raiding force across the river to attack this detachment.His right wing had won the victory on 26 February, and so this time he detached his left wing, once again reinforced with part of the centre, so the two armies may have been about the same size. Babur's men crossed the Jumna at midday on 1 April, and advanced south during the afternoon.At day-break on 2 April Babur's men reached the enemy camp. Daud Khan and Hatim Khan would appear to have been caught by surprise and attacked before they could form their men up into a proper line. Babur's men quickly broke their resistance, and chased Ibrahim's men until they were opposite Ibrahim's main camp. Hatim Khan was one of 60-70 prisoners captured, along with 6 or 7 elephants. Just as after the battle on 26 February most of the prisoners were executed, again to send a warning to Ibrahim's men. After this victory Babur continued to advance south, reaching Panipat on 12 April.Here Babur recieved news of the apparent huge size of Lodi's army and began to take defensive measures.He was confident in his troops,the core of which were battle hardened veterans ,loyal friends to him through thick and thin.He also enjoyed a solid rapport with his men and treated them on a equal footing.Any could dine at his table.Ibrahim lodi however was facing dissension in ranks.He even had to resort to distributing riches to encourage his troops and promised more.Personally brave,ibrahim was an inexperienced commander and quite vain which upset some of the afghan nobility. For eight days Both armies stood facing each other without making a decisive move.Finally babur in an attempt to goad lodi into attacking him ordered a night raid by 5000 picked horsemen.However the attack faltered badly,and the mughals narrowly escaped. Elated by his success,Lodi now advanced to meet Babur's forces on the fields of Panipat. THE AFGHAN SULTANATE ARMY : The Delhi sultanate armies had traditionally been based around cavalry.To this the addition was made of the Indian war elephant.The Elephant and horse formed the 2 pillars of sultanate military strength.The army would be based on a quasi-feudal structure.A small central force uder the Sultan's direct control at Delhi supplemented by large number of contingents brought by the different afghan chiefs or Jagirdars,plus Jagirdars(turkish) and indian feudal levies and mercenaries(largely infantry).There was no gunpowder artillery and infantry was very much a cannon-fodder force.Ibrahim Lodi was at this time involved in attempts at centralization which was unpopular amongst his chieftains.Ibrahim Lodi's army at Panipat may be estimated at 50,000 men and 400 war elephants.Perhaps 25,000 of these were heavy cavalry predominantly afghan ,rest being feudal levies or mercenaries of less value. Heavy Cavalry - The afghans were not a steppe people and thus didn't master horse archery.Rather they relied on heavy shock cavalry as the basis of their military power.Above shows the equipment of an afghan mailed heavy lancer.To the left is one wearing the standard plate-chainmail hybrid armour of the day.To the right is iron lamellar armour.Both would have been in use ,though mail would have predominated.2 in the second picture depicts a typical afghan mailed lancer in action.They were a redoubtable foe and under Sher shah proved could easily turn the tables on the mughals. Ghulam Armoured cavalry,standard melee cavalry of the delhi sultanate since the time of the ghurids.These would have changed little since the early days of the sultanate except perhaps in armour.Even though the turks were no longer in power at delhi,most jagirdars would be bringing cavalry of similar type.Armed with Shield,lance,Mace and scimitar. Ibrahim's Primary shock force was his 400+ armoured elephants. A terrifying shock weapon as well as mobile fortress,used properly they were a formidable problem.They mounted a mahout and 2-3 infantrymen with spears and bows.Against the earlier mongol invasions of the delhi sultanate under the khiljis,the combination of armoured elephants and Sultanate cavalry had proved too much even for the mongols.However this descendant of genghis had something-that the earlier chagatai mongols didn't have - Cannons.