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Approach to Battle

Training the Indian Army during the Second World War

Series : War & Military Culture in South Asia 1757-1947 #5

Author : Alan Jeffreys

Approach to Battle : Training the Indian Army during the Second World War

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General - Pages : 249 | Images : 8 maps

Hardback - Date of Publication : January 2017 | Size : 234mm x 156mm | ISBN : 9781911096511 | Helion Book Code : HEL0715

eBook - ISBN : 9781913336912

The Indian Army was the largest volunteer army during the Second World War. Indian Army divisions fought in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy - and went to make up the overwhelming majority of the troops in South East Asia. Over two million personnel served in the Indian Army - and India provided the base for supplies for the Middle Eastern and South East Asian theatres. This monograph is a modern historical interpretation of the Indian Army as a holistic organisation during the Second World War. It will look at training in India - charting how the Indian Army developed a more comprehensive training structure than any other Commonwealth country. This was achieved through both the dissemination of doctrine and the professionalism of a small coterie of Indian Army officers who brought about a military culture within the Indian Army - starting in the 1930s - that came to fruition during the Second World War, which informed the formal learning process. Finally, it will show that the Indian Army was reorganised after experiences of the First World War. During the interwar period, the army developed training and belief for both fighting on the North West Frontier, and as an aid to civil power. With the outbreak of the Second World War, in addition to these roles, the army had to expand and adapt to fighting modern professional armies in the difficult terrains of desert, jungle and mountain warfare. A clear development of doctrine and training can be seen, with many pamphlets being produced by GHQ India that were, in turn, used to formulate training within formations and then used in divisional, brigade and unit training instructions - thus a clear line of process can be seen not only from GHQ India down to brigade and battalion level, but also upwards from battalion and brigade level based on experience in battle that was absorbed into new training instructions. Together with the added impetus for education in the army, by 1945 the Indian Army had become a modern, professional and national army.


"This will undoubtedly appeal to anyone interested in how the Indian Army adapted to the many challenges it faced." Miniature Wargames


“ … Alan Jeffreys’ seminal new work on the Indian Army during the Second World War demonstrates what it takes to train an army … Will rank as one of the essential works in understanding the rise of the Indian Army and its pivotal role in the Second World War.” Durbar, Journal of the Indian Military Historical Society


“ … All aspects of training this vast army are described, and we commend this groundbreaking book and commend Alan on a splendid piece of work.” Bulletin of the Military Historical Society


“ … This book is diligently researched and accessibly written. It deserves to be a benchmark work in Indian Army historiography and there is much of value and benefit to be drawn for Second World War British Army historians, not just specialists in the Indian Army. Very highly recommended.” Newsletter of the Society of Friends of the National Army Museum


“Jeffreys outlines how, during the interwar years, the standard of ‘training in the Indian Army was high, particularly in those units that had served on the Northwest Frontier…[he] shoes us how, by 1945, the Indian Army had become an effective ‘learning institution’ and he argues convincingly that it was this aspect of its development that made all the difference to its vastly improved performance in the later years of the war.” War in History 


“...one must unreservedly accept that through painstaking research Alan Jeffreys has brought to the forefront a subject that is fading away from the mind of today’s Indian Army. The wealth of detail that he has managed to marshal from archives in the United Kingdom, memoirs of officers from the British, Indian and Pakistani armies and contemporary writing add greatly to its attraction for the military reader...this book would serve to educate those interested in the subject and be a useful addition to any military library.” Journal of Defence Studies 



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