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Great Battles #16 - Palkhed 1728 ( Bajirao Unleashed)

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Austerlitz, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    PALKHED 1728 - BAJIRAO UNLEASHED

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    BACKGROUND
    :

    The Region -
    The vindhya and satpura mountain ranges have formed the topographical barrier that seperated the great North Indian plains from the Deccan Plateau which serves as the entrypoint into south India from the western side.To the North is central India(Malwa) and Gujarat with Surat - the largest and most propserous port in Mughal India and the entrepot of India's trade with West Asia.Southwards is the extension of the Deccan plateau in the Karnataka region.

    The area roughly corresponding to the modern day indian state of maharashtra is divided geographically into the western coastal strip between Surat and Vengurla called the Konkan -about 700 kms in length and 20 km in width.The Konkan is dotted with ports and from early times foreign traders settled in small enclaves here - by the mid 17th century the arab traders had been displaced by the europeans.With the Portugese in Goa,Vasai and Chaul and the newcomer British in Bombay.The abyssinian Siddis based at Janjira were a naval

    The occupation of the people along these coasts was usually trade,fishing and piracy.The Konkan is seperated from the rest of the Deccan by the Sahayadri range,and the area around the sahayadri foothills.These areas are inhabited by hardy hillmen mainly subsisting on animal husbandry,hunting and limited agriculture.
    West of the Shahayadri is the Plateau area called 'desh'.This area supports agriculture and is the most revenue rich area of the deccan plateau as the Godavari river flows through it.

    The people of the region were hardy and self reliant due to the terrain and scant resources, they spoke the Marathi dialect.For most of the medieval period due to topography,most of the regional powers of the south were content to rule the area indirectly through the local Deshmukh chieftains.There had been no centralized power based in maharashtra region to unite these elements who were not aware of their own strength and served the different powers in the area as feudatories.This would change with coming of Shivaji and the rise of the marathas.

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    (Mughal India late 16th century)

    RISE OF THE MARATHAS :

    While most of North India fell to the invading Turks and afghans who established the Delhi sultanate, muslim penetration into Southern India came later and broke away from the control of Delhi.By the 16th century as the mughals replaced the sultanate at Delhi - the Deccan was dominated by the 3 sultanates of Bijapur,Ahmadnagar and Golconda and further South was the Vijaynagar Kingdom which ruled south india.Following the breakup of the Vijaynagar kingdom in the late 16th century there was a vaccuum of power and the area disintegrated into small regional chieftains fighting for power.The Deccan region was dominated by the power struggle between Bijapur and Ahmednagar with both vying for the support of the local chieftains.Meanwhile the mughals after consolidating their hold on North India entered the Deccan under Shahjahan and after a lengthy struggle liquidated the Ahmednagar Sultanate(1633). The Mughals annexed the North western areas ,but the hilly areas on the sahayadri foothills around Pune remained with Shahaji,the most prominent regional maratha sardar as his jagir even as he himself became a prominent noble in the bijapur court ,but was transferred to the region around Bangalore away from the troublesome maratha heartland.He left behind in his Jagir around Pune his young son Shivaji Bhonsle.

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    (Key map of region's forts)

    SHIVAJI CHALLENGES BIJAPUR :


    The young shivaji,a charismatic leader gathered around him a following and began to assert his independent authority in the region.In 1648,just 18 years of age he seized the fort of Sinhagar(see location of forts on map).In the following years he seized Chakan,then Torna and built a new fort nearby at Rajgad which became his base of operations.He consolidated his hold on the Pune region and also made limited northward raids.He then seized by deception the fort of Purandar.After this Bijapur sent a force to suppress him,but this was repulsed.In 1656 Shivaji broke into the Konkan and captured Raigad -the strongest fort in the region from the local deshmukhs by strategum .He founded a new fort-Pratapgarh to the south as an advance defensive strongpoint against Bijapur.He now dominated the whole countryside with his string of mountain forts and controlled the passes from the desh hinterland to the konkan coast.Bijapur was unable to respond being paralyzed by sickness of the king and the mughal attack under prince aurangzeb. Shivaji both kept correspondence with aurangzeb and also raided nearby territory with impunity.By 1659 he had expanded into the northern Konkan and had curved out his 'Swarajya'(self-rule) comprising of the area around Pune and Satara and a large part of the Konkan.His army had expanded to 20,000(half cavalry,half infantry)

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    (Killing of Afzal Khan)

    Bijapur now free of the mughal threat(Aurangzeb returned Northto fight for mughal throne ) sent a powerful army under the imposing Afzal Khan to crush shivaji.Shivaji refused to meet Afzal's heavy cavalry and artillery on the field,and retreated to Pratapgrah fort which was impregnable to the Bijapuri forces.To break the mutual deadlock,Shivaji feigning submission , agreed to meet Afzal for a personal meeting at a place strategically favorable to Shivaji, beneath the walls of Pratapgad, in a clearing in the dense forest whose trails were known only to the Maratha defenders.Both men came to the meeting armed (afzal had already killed an opponent this way before).Afzal struck with his kitar while the 2 men embraced,but shivaji was protected by chainmail under his robes and disemboweled Afzal in turn with iron claws hidden underneath his fingers.The Maratha troops then ambushed the leaderless bijapuri army which was unable to deploy in the forested terrain and slaughtered them.

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    (Bajiprabhu Deshpande)

    Shivaji now carried the war into Bijapuri territory further south from Satara into the Kolapur region seizing Panhala fort,but was met with a counterattack by a new large Bijapuri army which besieged him there.In a celebrated episode in maratha history hailed as the 'Maratha Thermopylae',Shivaji escaped with a small band of followers to nearby Vishalgad fort while 300 marathas under Bajiprabhu held the pursuing Bijapuri forces at bay all night in a final last stand at Pavan Khind pass which allowed shivaji to get to safety.Things settled into stalemate with Bijapur.

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    (Attack on Shaista Khan)

    CLASH WITH THE MUGHALS :

    Meanwhile Aurangzeb after gaining the mughal throne sent his uncle Shaista Khan with 100,000 troops to finally settle affairs in the Deccan in 1760.Acc to Mughal-Bijapur treaty Bijapur ceded all the former ahmadnagar sultanate territories in their possesion(from treaty in 1630s) to the mughals -bulk of this territory comprised Shivaji's fledgling state.Shaista Khan swept aside the vastly outnumbered marathas and occupied the plains areas around Pune district while Shivaji was forced to retreat into his mountain forts on the sahayadri .This is when the Mughals derided the marathas as 'Mountain rats'.

    ''My home is not situated on a spacious plain,which may enable trenches to be run (against the walls) or assault to be made. It has lofty hill-ranges . . . everywhere there are nalas hard to cross; sixty forts of extreme strength have been built, and some are on the sea coast'' -Shivaji challenges the mughals

    Things rested here until one night in April 1663 Shivaji with 400 picked soldiers entered Pune ,where Shaista Khan had taken up residence at Shivaji's former palace.The soldiers were disguised as Deccani soldiers of the Mughal army and struck at midnight.In a daring commando raid,the Marathas infiltrated the compound and attacked the mughal elite resting inside causing carnage.Shaista Khan fled by jumping out of the window,losing his forefingers to shivaji's sword.His son and several of the top ranking mughal commanders were killed. Shivaji's men escaped amidst the confusion,and pursuing mughal troops were ambushed in the forests by hidden marathas. Shaken by the incident and fearing for his personal safety,Shaista khan retreated back to mughal territory.This incident immensely increased shivaji's reputation and the humiliated Aurangzeb recalled shaista khan.Shivaji recaptured all lost territory and followed up his success by the shocking sack of Surat -the greatest mughal port, carrying away crores of rupees.

    Aurangzeb now sent the best mughal general Raja Jai singh to tackle Shivaji in 1665.Leading a powerful army with the best siege guns,Jai singh methodically reduced the maratha forts one by one,forcing Shivaji into the disadvantageous treaty of Purandar by which he had to surrender several forts and enter mughal service.He had to go to Agra to meet Aurangzeb in the imperial court.However Aurangzeb snubbed shivaji who walked out of the court in an unprecedented event and was put under house arrest.In another often retold episode,shivaji decieved the mughal sentries and escaped with his son hidden in large fruit baskets after having established a routine of the movement of actual fruit baskets to and from his residence.After reaching the Deccan in the disguise of a Bairagi Sadhu(religious mendicant) he remained relatively quiet for the next 3 years and bided his time.The mughal underestimation and ignorance of the popular element in Shivaji's rise and basis of power is highlighted in the imperial correspondence of the period ,which views him as a petty zamindar whose basis of power was the tacit support of Bijapur.This lack of understanding of the popular dimension of the maratha movement was to cost the mughals dear later in Aurangzeb's final Deccan Campaign.

    ''Shiva is a zamindar and the pillars of his support (the Bijapur state) will not endure beyond a few years''

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    (Coronation of Shivaji)

    MARATHA KINGDOM ESTABLISHED:

    In 1670,Shivaji resumed the offensive and took back all the lost forts in a lightning campaign.He began to raid neighbouring Bijapuri and Mughal territory with impunity ,sacking Surat a second time.Maratha raids penetrated into Malwa and Khandesh for the first time.It was at this time that Shivaji instituted Chauth (25%) and Sardeshmukhi(10%) taxes on his neighbouring areas as a form of protection money from maratha raids.These began as a form of revenue to ease the pressure on the depleted central treasury(Shivaji maintained a standing army with paid officials).As Shivaji's own territories were an agricultural deficit area and devastated by years of warfare ,only external sources of revenue could make this possible.By the time of the Peshwas however these collection rights would become integral to the Maratha concept of hegemony.In its inception,Shivaji summed up its logic -

    ''The mughal emperor has brought war to Maharashtra,now we must make him pay for it''
    Both the mughals and the bijapuris were unable to stop him.Large part of the mughal forces were tied up in an afghan uprising on the N-W frontier and the breakdown of the Rajput alliance due to aurangzeb's political interference and increasing puritanism.The mughal forces in the Deccan under Daud khan were defeated at Dindori(1670), attempting to intercept shivaji's returning army from Surat and then under Diler Khan decisively routed in a day long battle at Salher(1672).These victories showed the growing power of the marathas,who were now increasingly capable of taking on the mughals in open battle.

    Bijapur too faced a crisis -factional civil war and rebellion of the Hindu Nayak chieftains in areas of the former Vijaynagar empire.The decade of relative calm between 1670-80 was employed by Shivaji in expanding his kingdom at the expense of the collapsing Bijapuris and reorganizing and fortifying his state after his grand coronation as king in 1674.In the Karnataka campaign the marathas established a presence in Karnataka and curved out a corridor to the east coast.Shivaji captured and refurbished the fort of Jinji in this area ,which would prove to be a far sighted decision.At the time of his death in 1680 - the marathas had become the ascendant power in the deccan in the teeth of Mughal and Bijapuri opposition.Even Aurangzeb seemed to have recognized Shivaji's achievement on his death,though he sought to rectify the problem in person soon.

    ''Shiva was the only person who recognized the importance of creating new states,even as i have been trying to dismantle the old ones.He was a great captain.My armies have been employed against him for 19 years,nevertheless his territories have only increased '' -Aurangzeb

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    (Shivaji's Karnataka Campaign)

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    (Maratha Swarajya 1680)
    CONTD.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  2. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    RISE OF THE MARATHAS

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    ENTER AURANGZEB :

    Aurangzeb entered the Deccan in 1683 with a huge imperial army of 350,000 intending to conquer the remaining deccan sultanates and finish off the nascent maratha kingdom(now under Shivaji's son Sambhaji) once and for all.Setting up his base at Ahmednagar he directed a pincer movement.The southern pincer under prince Azam went through Belgaum(see map for locations),passed Goa and tried to take the Konkan coast.However his supply lines were cut off and his forces reduced to starvation by maratha light cavalry and he had to be rescued .The Northern pincer tried to take the Maratha capital at Raigad,but the spread out besieging mughal forces and its reinforcements were heavily defeated by the main maratha army.In 1685 another attempted southern pincer failed again due to maratha harassment of supply lines.After This Aurangzeb changed his strategy ,he now focused on the elimination of the remaining Shia sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda which he believed were the main power behind the marathas.This was accomplished by 1686-87,but is considered to be a strategic blunder as it removed the final local checks on maratha power.Many bijapuri sardars joined the marathas . However in 1689 by a stroke of luck a careless Sambhaji was captured by a mughal party.Refusing to submit he was blinded,mutilated and executed by Aurangzeb.This would prove to be his second blunder.

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    (Aurangzeb Alamgir)

    Aurangzeb now appeared triumphant.The northern Konakan and northern maharashtra were in mughal hands,and maratha resistance had been pushed back to central konkan and the sahayadri hills.The marathas were leaderless.However this overall picture was highly deceptive,Sambhaji's valiant death in the face of gruesome torture galvanized maratha resistance,and launched in effect a 'people's war' in maharashtra.This situation was further accentuated by the widespread devastation caused by armies in the region as peasants fled their burning fields and joined roving bands of armed men,preying on mughal supply lines. Raigad,the strongest fort in the Sahayadri fell to treachery and sambhaji's queen and son were captured,followed by the strategic fort of Panhala after heavy resistance and only after aruangzeb arrived in person.However the Marathas regrouped under Shivaji's younger son Rajaram,who was chased by the Mughals but took refuge in the remote Jinji fortress in Karnataka much to the South.Maratha resistance in Maharashtra itself now became a headless hydra,with each sardar harassing the mughal armies in his own designated areas.

    The mughals besieged Jingi with a large force under Zulfikar Khan,but the huge length of the fort meant they couldn't surround it properly.Maratha cavalry broke in and out with provisions with impunity,launched constant raids and destroyed reinforcements and supplies coming through the overextended lines of communication.The siege of Jinji would continue for 8 years-the longest in mughal history.Meanwhile the Maratha counterattacks shook the overextended mughal forces.In early 1692 Shankar Narayan and Parshuram Trimbak recaptured Rajgad and Panhala. In early 1693 Shankar Narayan and Bhosale captured Rohida. Sidhoji Gujar took Vijaydurg.

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    (The immense difficulty of taking forts such as these can be understood from these photos)

    THE DECCAN ULCER -

    Meanwhile the main mughal armies were kept busy and constantly harassed by the 2 main maratha generals - Dhanaji yadav and Shantaji Ghodpade.From Khandesh, Ahmednagar to Bijapur to Konkan and Southern Karnataka they wreaked havoc.The Maratha strategy was 2 -fold .The forts acted as the main bases of maratha power,and lacking big urban centres were the main symbols of authority in Maharashtra.Shivaji had built over 100 forts in his reign and left his kingdom protected by 250-300 forts.These became the lynchpin of the maratha defensive effort.Many of the mountain forts were nearly impervious to artillery due to altitude,and the mughal army centred around heavy cavalry lacked assault infantry like the maratha malvis.Mining was not possible due to stony terrain.This created huge problems for the mughal armies as the mountain forts could generally only be taken by starvation(which required large forces to keep it surrounded with exposed supply lines) or treachery.When major mughal armies approached, the forts served as shelter for people from the countryside and were defended until usually the advent of the monsoon(which stopped all military campaigning ),then the marathas slipped away into the countryside with however many men and treasure they could salvage or simply bribed the mughal commander( who didn't want to be caught facing heavy casualities to natural attrition on the exposed foothills in the open monsoon).Once the main mughal forces left the area,they recaptured the fort with a sudden surprise attack,or by cutting off supplies or bribery.The forts served as launchpads for bands of 3000-4000 maratha cavalrymen which raided any nearby mughal forces in their area and their supplies.Meanwhile the main maratha armies under Shantaji and Dhanaji (10000 -20,000 cavalry) stalked the main mughal army.They didn't offer pitched battle ,but annihilated reinforcement armies going to relieve a besieged mughal held fort or strengthen mughal forces besieging a maratha fort.Maratha mastery of the countryside allowed them advance warning of large mughal troop movements.They also launched annual long range raids into neighbouring Mughal provinces in Gujarat,Central india and the Deccan.These brought back large amounts of booty with which to continue the war effort and forced the mughals to detatch considerable forces away from the main theatre of war .The mughal armies were being steadily exhausted and demoralized.

    “Whenever Mughal horses used to refuse to go to the water to drink water, it was feared they had seen Santaji and Dhanaji” - Khafi khan,Mughal historian

    Santaji Ghodpade first came attention with a daring raid on the main mughal camp,which nearly killed aurangzeb - and carried off the royal standard after killing many bodyguards and officers in 1690 which served notice that maratha resistance was alive.The 2 maratha generals in 1692-93 forced zulfikar to temporarily lift the siege of jinji by destroying 2 incoming reinforcement armies.Further armies under Kasim Khan and Himmat Khan sent by Aurangzeb after Santaji were lured into ambushes and destroyed at Chitaldurg and Dunderi.Marathas suffered a setback when santaji was killed in an internal power struggle and Jinji was finally taken in 1698,but rajaram had escaped and joined the main maratha forces in Maharashtra.In 1699 the reorganized maratha forces launched counterattacks on all fronts. Dhanaji Jadhav defeated a large mughal force near Pandharpur. Shankar Narayan defeated Sarja Khan in Pune. Khanderao Dabhade, who lead a division under Dhanaji, took Baglan and Nashik. Nemaji Shinde, another commander with Shankar Narayan, scored a major victory at Nandurbar.Infuriated by these defeats the 83 year old emperor took personal command in 1700.

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    (Aurangzeb's Last Campaign 1700-1707)

    Aurangzeb besieged Satara,which held out until the monsoon foiling Aurangzeb's plan to capture more forts that season.Meanwhile Rajaram died in 1700,but his widow Tarabai took up the mantle of leadership.The mughal nobility was eager to end the unending war and return north,but Aurangzeb pressed on -even as the strains were becoming visible on the mughal finances and armies.When Tarabai took charge, Aurangzeb had laid siege to the fort of Parli . Trimbak defended the fort until monsoon and retreated quietly at the break of monsoon.The mughal army was dealt heavy loss by flash floods in the rivers around. These same tactics were followed by Marathas at the next stop of Aurangzeb, Panhala and at Vishalgad.In 1703-1704 there was famine in war-devastated Maharashtra and the mughal army suffered terribly.By 1704 ,Aurangzeb had Torana and Rajgad.But with Aurangzeb pinned down in the fortress belt the Maratha counter offensives began in the North.In 1705, two Maratha armies crossed the river Narmada. One under leadership of Nemaji Shinde hit as deep as Bhopal. Second under the leadership of Dabhade struck Bharoch and West. This left entire Gujarat coast wide open for Maratha incursions.The mughal supply lines were in disarray.

    ''She(Tarabai) took vigorous measures for ravaging the imperial territory, and sent armies to plunder the six provinces of the Deccan as far as Sironj, Mandisor, and Malwa. She won the hearts of her officers, and for all the struggles and schemes, the campaigns and sieges of Aurangzib, up to the end of his reign, the power of the Marathas increased day by day. By hard fighting, by the expenditure of the vast treasures accumulated by Shah-Jahan, and by the sacrifice of many thousands of men, he had penetrated into their wretched country, had subdued their lofty forts, and had driven them from house and home; still their daring increased, and they penetrated into the old territories of the imperial throne, plundering and destroying wherever they went. ... Whenever the commander of an army hears of a large caravan, he takes six or seven thousand men and goes to plunder it. If the collector cannot levy the chauth, the general destroys the towns. The head men of the villages, abetted by the Marathas, make their own terms with the imperial revenue-officers. They attack and destroy the country as far as the borders of Ahmadabad and the districts of Malwa, and spread their devastations through the provinces of the Deccan to the environs of Ujjain. They fall upon and plunder caravans within ten or twelve kos of the imperial camp, and have even had the hardihood to attack the royal treasure'' -Khafi Khan

    Aurangzeb tried to draw the maratha armies out by a sudden attack towards wadinegra -where the last vestiges of the old Vijayanagara dynasty ruled.The fort finally fell ,but the royal family escaped with the help of the marathas.In Aurangzeb's absence Dhanaji Yadav's main army rapidly retook most of the major forts in the sahayadri - Parli, Satara and Sinhgad falling one by one.Finally Aurangzeb realized it was all futile after after 27 years of effort began his retreat towards Burhanpur with the remnants of the mughal army. The Marathas harried the withdrawing imperial army,decimating its rearguard.Aurangzeb,a broken man, breathed his last in Aurangabad in 1707.The last decade of his Deccan campaign had cost an estimated 100,000 men and 300,000 animals(camels,oxen,horses) annually and exhausted the mughal treasury -which was at that time the richest in the world.The mughal aura of invincibility was shattered ,the army demoralized and soon the forces of decentralization would engulf the empire.It is thus said that as the Spanish ulcer ruined Napoleon,the Deccan ulcer ruined Aurangzeb.

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    (Bajirao & Nizam-ul-Mulk)

    ASCENDANCY OF THE PESHWAS :

    The mughals limped back to the north,but released the now grown up Shahu,son of sambhaji before departing which created civil war between the maratha factions.By 1713 Shahu won out and consolidated his power around satara,but the opposing faction retreated to kolhapur which became their stronghold.The maratha sardars continued raids into neighbouring regions,but there was general chaos in the devastated maratha country.It was only under his new chief minister Balaji vishwanath,who became the first Peshwa that the economy of the region was slowly rebuilt and the sardars slowly brought back in line,though this was never fully succesful.In 1718-19 a maratha contingent under Balaji vishwanath aided the Sayyid brothers in their bid for the power at Delhi.In return the marathas were granted the right to collect Chauth and sardesmukhi (total 35% of revenue owed to the state) from the six mughal subahs of the deccan.Balaji died in 1720 and shahu appointed his son,the 20 year old firebrand Bajirao as the new Peshwa against the wishes of his older ministers.The court at Satara was divided into 2 parties -the conservative faction wanted to consolidate their hold on the Deccan and rebuild Maratha country.The more aggressive faction led by Bajirao saw the mughals as rich,decadent and weak ,and the time as ripe for the expansion of Maratha power into North India.The concept of 'Hindu-pad-padsahi' provided the ideological element in the latter argument .In a heated debate at court Bajirao sealed the argument with a vigorous speech that won shahu over -

    ''Let us transcend the barren Deccan and conquer central India. The Mughals have become weak indolent womanizers and opium-addicts. Strike, strike at the trunk and the branches will fall off themselves. Listen but to my counsel, and I shall plant the saffron flag on the walls of Attock”.

    RISE OF NIZAM UL MULK :

    Aurangzeb's long absence in the North and puritanical policies bred rebellion in different parts of the mughal empire which was now in a downward spiral.The Sikhs were rampant in Punjab,the Jats and Satnami peasants ravaged areas close to delhi.The Rajputs barring Amber,remained alienated.The exhausted army and treasury was further strained by court factionalism and a continous cycle of succession wars from 1708-1720.Ambitious mughal nobles were trying to consolidate their power in the different subahs of the empire - in Bengal,Awadh and Deccan.The rise of the Nizam ul Mulk as the most powerful mughal noble in the subcontinent and the founder of the defacto independent mughal succesor state in the Deccan must be viewed within this context.

    The future Nizam ul Mulk hailed from the top echeleons of mughal aristocracy of the Turani faction.His grandfather had been vizier to Shahjahan,and his father Aurangzeb's most trusted noble.The family were hardcore Aurangzeb loyalists which brought them great prestige and power while he lived and the young Nizam himself was a favourite of Aurangzeb who gave him his birthname (Mir Qamiruddin) and sometimes instructed the boy once a week in matters of statecraft.He retained the favour of Aurangzeb throughout by being one of the few mughal commanders to escape disrepute in the Deccan campaign and was awarded high rank mansabs and the title Chin Qilich Khan(Boy swordsman) for bravery.However the family's diehard loyalty towards Aurangzeb didn't endear them to his sons and when the succession war broke out after his death,they followed a cautious policy of armed neutrality(having stockpiled guns and ammunition in advance for this eventuality).Their military strength prevented their liquidation by the series of weak emperors who were distracted by other threats,but in the decade between 1710-1720 the Nizam largely remained outside the inner circle of Delhi politics.In 1714 he was first given the Governorship of the Deccan and in his 2nd stint here in 1719,he laid the foundations of his future Hyderabad state.The Nizam returned to prominence after the fall of the Sayyid brothers when he became Wazir (vizier) of the empire in 1722 ,but his attempts at reform were sabotaged by his political rivals at court.Frustrated, he was finally forced to leave Delhi when his opponents sent Mubariz Khan to seize his powerbase in the Deccan.Mubariz Khan was defeated and the Nizam became all powerful in the Deccan,but still kept up the pretense of loyalty to the mughal throne.The emperor lacking any options was eventually reconciled to the Nizam's control over the mughal subahs of the Deccan.In 1724 thus the foundations of the future Hyderabad state were laid.The Nizam had succesfully defied the emperor in Delhi ,was now in control of all the deccan subahs -an area the size of France.He was also as yet unbeaten in battle,and recognized as the most powerful mughal Nawab on the subcontinent.He had recieved Bajirao's aid in his victory against Mubariz on the assurance that the maratha demands for Chauth and Sardesmukhi over the Deccan(earlier extracted from the sayyid brothers) be recognized.But once his position was secure ,the Nizam had no interest in following through and negotiations gradually broke down.The Nizam was however confident that he could utilize the internal divisions among the Marathas and bring them under control.One of his letters of the time read - '' This entire army(marathas) is mine,i shall make use of them to administer the Western part of the Deccan for me''
    The young Peshwa in Satara had other ideas.

    [​IMG]
    The Nizam's dominion (note this is the formal territory which marathas seldom respected)

    ROAD TO PALKHED :

    Bajirao had been in the meantime busy consolidating his hold on the Konkan against the Portugese and the English with whom treaties were signed.He then made initial inroads into Malwa and Khandesh ,leaving some of his lieutenants there to establish a presence.Around 1725 he was campaigning in Karnataka.Meanwhile negotiations with the Nizam over the promise of collection rights broke down.The nizam insisted he couldn't decide whether to send the revenue to Shahu at Satara or Sambhaji at Kolhapur. He then proposed to act as the mediator between the two - a position which would in effect make him the Kingmaker in Maharashtra and the supreme power in the Deccan.
    This was not at all acceptable to Bajirao and negotiations broke down.The Nizam then halted the existing payment of Chauth in the neighbouring regions and threw in his open support for Sambhaji who joined him with his forces.Bajirao's army was recalled from Karnataka to save Shahu's throne from the impending invasion.

    NEXT : OPPOSING ARMIES
     
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  3. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    THE MARATHA ARMY

    [​IMG]
    EVOLUTION OF THE MARATHA ARMY :

    The maratha army over its nearly 2 centuries of existence went through 3 general phases of evolution.Under Bajirao it was to reach the pinnacle of its second stage.The maratha army as created by shivaji was a centralized standing army paid in cash.It was defensive in its essence,and in the hilly terrain and reliance on fortress warfare infantry was indispensable.Thus shivaji's army had an equal proportion of infantry and cavalry,and some of his best troops were the Mavali Infantry recruited from the sahayadri foothills.
    The army remained in the cantonment only during four months of rainy season. During the remaining eight months, it went out either to conquer fresh territory or to collect supplies from the enemy-land. Every article of every soldier was accounted before he left cantonment and when he returned to it, so that no soldier could hide his booty. Shivaji formed elaborate rules and regulations to maintain discipline in the army and all of them were rigorously enforced. The army was disciplined,centralized and the sardars were kept in check.

    This situation changed drastically after the breakdown in central control in the aftermath of Sambhaji's death and Rajaram's flight to Jinjee.The maratha sardars were left to prosecute the war against aurangzeb largely on their own.The centralized standing army collapsed as there existed no central administration or treasury to pay for it.Rajaram had to gain the loyalty of his sardars by giving them large hereditary land grants (Vatans) in lieu of salary in cash,a practice which shivaji had done utmost to curb.This decentralized the military machine and the administration(which perhaps was necessary to defeat the mughals) but increased the power of the sardars who by the end of the mughal invasion were entrenched in their rights and used to enjoying semi-independent authority.In the roots of this development lay the birth of the future Maratha Confederacy.(instead of centralized empire)

    [​IMG]
    (Shivaji's army)

    Another development was the increasing importance of cavalry.Cavalry became all important for mobility with which to conduct raiding expeditions deep into mughal territory and guerilla warfare (Ganimi Kava) against the mughal armies.Infantry became confined to siege operations and defense of fortresses while all the main engagements in the countryside were carried out by ever mobile cavalry columns under the different generals.By Bajirao's time infantry had further declined as the immediate threat to the maratha heartland was gone.They were now confined to garrisons in fortresses.The entire maratha field army was cavalry - composed of a small royal standing force and the contingents of the different sardars.Bajirao was aware of the limitations of this system,but didn't attempt to fundamentally alter it.Through his personal charisma and military leadership he rather united most of the sirdars and turned their energies outward - into mughal India.Under him the Maratha cavalry was honed into a nimble and deadly weapon feared throughout the subcontinent.The maratha army didn't have any proper field artillery until the 1750s and under Bajirao fought as a purely mounted force.

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    (Maratha heavy cavalry armour)

    MARATHA CAVALRY :

    Khasa Paga -
    The Maratha cavalry under Bajirao was composed of 3 types .The elite were the small royal standing army - Khasa Paga .These served as bajirao's personal retainers and the elite heavy cavalry of the marathas.They were armoured as well as the mughal heavy cavalry with the distinctive maratha helmet,a combination of chain mail and plate armour.Paid for and equipped at state expense they rode the best horses- generally imported from Arabia.In battle they usually formed a reserve.The khas paga itself was divided into khas silehdar and khas bargirs.

    [​IMG]

    Silehdar -
    Silehdars owned both - their horses as well as their weapons . A contingent was known as 'pathak'and their leader was called 'Patki '. Many times these Patkis would have status of a 'sardar' . A shilahdar was given a salary of Rs 25 - 30 per month . About 1/3 - 1/2 was paid before Patkis would commit their contingents towards a campaign . This was called 'naalbandi ' The Silahdars usually formed the core of a sardar's contingents.Their equipment and quality of horse in terms of armour could vary depending on the means available to that particular sardar.Almost every household in Pune ,Satara region could equip a horseman with his arms and equipment.Military manpower was thus not a problem for the marathas provided finances could be arranged.These Ekas/Ekandas where singular volunteers They where responsible for their own horse and equipment. They where paid in proportion to the value of their horse. Usually before going on a campaign Bajirao would call up the local silehdars around Pune and Satara to join the khas paga.This core force would then be joined by the regional sardars who had been summoned for that campaign with their contingents.

    [​IMG]

    Bargir -

    They owned neither their horse nor their weapons . Both was provided for by the ruler or a sardar. The bargirs were given regular salary of Rs 5 - 10 .These were basically young men eager for military service -glory and plunder.These formed the bulk of the maratha light cavalry.They wore no armour,usually being clad in a muslin turban and robe and trusting to mobility and the reach of their long lances .They mounted deccan ponies,which were no match for the mughal central asian steeds in terms of speed , carrying power and weight but possesed excellent endurance and were very hardy with minimal logistical burden,being able to subsist on bushes in the countryside.

    ''Remember that night has nothing to do with sleep. It was created by God, to raid territory held by your enemy. The night is your shield, your screen against the cannons and swords of vastly superior enemy forces.'' - Bajirao I

    Tactics -
    The maratha cavalry of this period lacked the discipline of a trained standing army.It made up for this with aggressive spirit,self confidence borne of repeated succeses against the mughals and superb mobility.Strategic mobility was the key to maratha success.Unlike the mughal armies which travelled leisurely with a huge camp following and were supplied by Baanjara mercahnst who set up a bazaars in the camps as the army advanced,the marathas didn't have any organized logistics.Like the mongols the maratha cavalry largely lived off the land .The maratha was hardy being able to subsist on little,usually dried bread with little of any vegetable.The maratha ponies also required little foraging.There was a spare horse for every 2 cavalry troopers.This resulted in an extraordinarily swift army that could routinely move 40-50 miles a day when contemporary mughal armies generally managed around 10.Bajirao would exploit this mobility to the hilt to engage and disengage enemies at will and lure enemies into battlefields of his choosing.Maratha close quarters fighting centred around mastery of the lance to strike at more heavily armoured enemies from a certain distance,or refusing to often meet incoming heavy cavalry head on and feigning retreat until they lost momentum ,then striking from the flanks.A mughal historian describes -
    “They so use the lance that no cavalry can cope with them. Thousands of lances are held up against their enemy so close together as not to leave a span between their heads. If horsemen try to ride them down the points of the spears are levelled at the assailants and they are unhorsed. While cavalry are charging them they strike their lances against each other and the noise so frightens the horses of the enemy that they turn round and bolt.”

    ''The Marāthas possess extraordinary skill in horsemanship, and so intimate an acquaintance with their horses, that they can make their animals do anything, even in full speed, in halting, wheeling, etc.; they likewise use the spear with remarkable dexterity, sometimes in full gallop, grasping their spears short and quickly sticking the point in the ground; still holding the handles, they turn their horse suddenly round it, thus performing on the point of a spear as on a pivot the same circle round and round again.'' - Contemporary British observer

    MARATHA WEAPONS :

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    Quality of Indian wootz steel weapons were reputed throughout the world and the maratha weapons in variety and quality do not disappoint.The maratha weaponry contain a rich mixture of mughal and indigeneous designs.
    The main weapon of the maratha horseman was the Bhala (lance),it could be thrown or used for thrusting,a bamboo/wooden shaft with a steel head,it was employed also by paik infantrymen to keep cavalry at bay.The bhala was complemented by Dhaal -a small round shield made of hide or steel with handles on the inward side.The dhaal was effective in deflecting blows due to its excellent shape and could also resist musket balls at longer ranges.For close quarter combat the marathas employed both curved and straight bladed swords.

    The Shamsher - exquisitely curved weapon was of Persian origin and less popular with the marathas than with the mughals,while the Indian indigineous variant -the heavier Tulwar was used throughout the sub continent.The talwar was used by both the infantry as well as the cavalry because of its effective draw cut and is considered the quintessential Indian sword of the pre-modern era. .The third type was the indigeneous recurve sword - the Sosun Pata.This was similar to much much longer than the ottoman Yatagan.All these 3 curved blades were eminently suitable to be used from horseback and could decapitate or hack off limbs with one slash.

    Of the straight bladed weapons,the classic Indian Khanda broadsword was still in use,but it was more prefered by the infantry as curved blade weapons were generally easier to use on horseback.Variants of the Khanda also now used a pointed tip instead of the old blunt tip ,so that it could be employed for thrusting.The Khanda was most popular with the Rajputs and sikhs,though the marathas still used it.Increasing rapidly in popularity among cavalrymen was the Firangi type straight bladed longsword -which was derived from european designs with modifications.With a long heavy double blade and a basket hilt, this was a very efficient design for thrusting on horseback due to its long length and had enough punch to go through mail armour.Bajirao's portrait on horseback depicts him wielding a Firangi.A unique Indian design was the Dandpatta gauntlet sword very popular among the marathas.The Dandpatta originally rose to popularity among the Rajputs who found the weapon very useful for their infantry against heavy cavalry(could chop off the legs of a horse with one stroke and long enough to outreach enemy scimitars).The maratha infantry used Dandpattas extensively,and the light cavalry also used it as a thrusting weapon.A Rajput or Maratha when surrounded without escape ,usually spun in a circle with the dandpatta causing maximum damage before being killed.Bajiprabhu wielded dual Dandpattas in his last stand at Pavan Khind pass.The Kirach was similar to the Firangi but shorter and wider and with one sharp blade side.
    While battleaxes and maces were in use amongst some ,these were generally far more frequent and popular amongst rajput and mughal heavy cavalrymen.

    [​IMG]
    (Firangi and Dandpatta)
    Bows and arrows were also used,as were matchlock muskets.Gunpowder weaponry was proliferating throughout the Indian countryside ,which posed a challenge to mughal authority which until the last century had near monopoly on gunpowder weapons(except some heavy artillery for rajputs).However numbers remained low and Marathas didn't possess the ability to mass produce these weapons,and most muksets were acquired from mughal arsenals or through Europeans.TheDutch and more prominently the English also had began to dominate the gunpowder trade,which was centred on the saltpeter mines of Bihar-the greatest in the world.(Once the East India Company seized Bengal and Bihar after Plassey in 1757,they monopolized this trade which gave them mastery over 70% of the saltpeter production of the contemporary world).For last ditch defense a variety of exotic daggers were used,the most well known being the Katar.

    NEXT : NIZAM'S ARMY
     
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  4. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    ARMY OF NIZAM -UL-MULK

    [​IMG]
    The army of the Nizam-ul mulk was mixed force in all aspects composed of both hindus and muslims and men of various ethnicities ,but unlike the marathas lacked a 'national character' which imparts greater morale and cohesion.The army was a veteran force having served the Nizam throughout his rise to power with a hard core of loyal retainers and was modelled entirely on the mughal system.At the core were former members of the mughal aristocracy who had accompanied the Nizam,Pathan and baluch adventurers , north indian rajput and purabiya fortune seekers,renegade maratha sardars and the muslim nobility of the former deccan sultanates.It was a balanced force of infantry,cavalry,armoured elephants and artillery.The Nizam maintained a standing army with additional contingents sent by the jagirdars.The main strengths of the army was in heavy cavalry,matchlock infantrymen and ofcourse,his trump card - a state of the art (for contemporary india) artillery arm.The Nizam was as yet undefeated in battle.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    INFANTRY :

    Above are the general troops types of a mughal/succesor army of the period.The infantry were the lower end of the spectrum consisting of Paiks -usually a combination of spearmen with round shields and archers,or in emergencies levies of militia infantry .These could be generally recruited from the dynamic military labour market of India and supplied by jagirdars to bolster numbers.Heavily armoured infantry was few in number and would have constituted guard units .The most important force amongst the infantry were the Matchlock musketeers,these were able to penetrate any armour at good ranges but were exceptionally slow to reload and also inaccurate unless fired in masses.The armies of the subcontinent didn't have any drilled infantry formations at this time,nor a trained officer corps .The bayonet was unknown.Musketeers called tufang nonetheless as Babur had shown 200 years back were deadly if their fire was concentrated and employed correctly.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    CAVALRY :

    The heavy cavalry were the cream of mughal/succesor armies.They were clad in mail or composite armour(plate and mail combination as shown in photo).These were mounted on the best imported battlehorses from central asia.Mughal India imported 25,000 Khorasani horses annually .It was only after the loss of Kabul(where they were sold) to Nadir Shah in 1740s onwards that the Mughal heavy cavalry lost this last remaining advantage as well.Weapons included battleaxes,warhammers,swords and lances.Composite bows were also used but after one and a half century of settled urban life,they no longer possesed any of the skill in horse archery of the original mughals of Babur.

    [​IMG]
    ELEPHANTS :

    Elephants had been a dominant feature on Indian battlefields since antiquity,but with the advent of the gunpowder age their effectiveness had decreased considerably.Nonetheless the Nizam maintained hundreds of elephants.Elephants had severe handicaps especially in logistics -they couldn't campaign in summer and were very demanding in supply consumption.Elephants were still used as command platforms,prestige symbols,pack animals and also for war.Battle elephants were clad in plate armour and mounted by musketeers and spearmen.Extremely useful for intimidating lesser opponents and in pitched battles against opponents without cannons ,they were of little use against highly mobile cavalry armies of the marathas.As pack animals they were used to drag the heaviest siege guns.

    [​IMG]

    ARTILLERY :


    Artillery was the most powerful element of the Nizam's army and the one are where the marathas had no direct counter to until the 1750s.These guns were not very mobile though being heavy and lacked screw carriages or independent wagons of the european horse artillery.They fired brass or stone shot.Canister and grape shot was not used until the English introduced it.Guns were high quality but lacked standardized calibres or ammunition.The Nizam trusted his artillery to demolish the marathas in a pitched battle.Heavy guns were drawn by 8-oxen teams,lighter ones by 4-oxen teams.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    MUGHAL ERA WEAPONS :

    Both armies shared a common array of weaponry.The mughals too employed the lance and round shield.The shamsir was very popular,as were the Talwar variants -the rajasthani Sirohi and the afghan Pulwar.The khanda and straight longswords were also used.Dandpatta was less common.The favoured close quarter weapons of the mughal heavy cavalry were maces,battleaxes and warhammers which were perfect for anti-armour capability.Above picture shows varieties of mughal heavy close quarters weapons flanged maces,war hammers and the Tabar battle axe.

    NEXT : BATTLE OF PALKHED
     
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  5. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    CAMPAIGN OF PALKHED

    [​IMG]
    (Geography and borders)
    The preliminary movements began with the Nizam's generla Aivaz khan attempted to intrude into the Northern part of Maharashtra . He was repulsed by Tukoji Powar, a maratha sardar and forced to return to Aurangabad after skirmishes near Junnar.The Nizam's main army was massing on the maratha border aimed at an offensive towards Satara.Bajirao was recalled from Karnataka.He left his brother Chimaji appa to protect Shahu with the help of sardars like ranoji shinde in support.The main maratha army was joined by his young lieutenants like Udaji pawar and Malharrao Holkar with their contingents from Gujarat and Malwa.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Bajirao left Pune in mid-october 1727, he moved as if to threaten Ahmednagar but actually skirted past to the West and crossed the Godavari at Puntamaba(common crossing point because of bend and lowest current) then entering the Nizam's heartland turned east towards Jalna.The Nizam followed him ,but by the time he had reached Jalna Bajirao's cavalry had sacked the place ,seized the local treasury at Sindhkhed,and moved deep East into the Nizam's most prosperous districts.While the Nizam searched for him,he was at Washim on the 8th of November,Mangulpir on the 9th,Hatgaon on the 10th.Having laid waste to these rich areas,he then suddenly turned West towards Burhanpur -one of the most prosperous trading centres in the Deccan.The Nizam detected this move and moved his main army to cover Burhanpur intending to fight a pitched battle with the marathas.Instead,Bajirao only feinted towards Burhanpur ,his army moved past and ravaged through Khandesh towards Broach(Bharuch) and into Gujarat. Enroute he crossed the Tapi and then the Narmada river.His intention seemed to be 2 -fold .Fight the war on enemy territory,exhaust the enemy army with his superior mobility and scorched earth tactics and finally lure the Nizam into a place where he could be seperated from his heavy guns.A river crossing was the most ideal place for this - and thus he possibly crossed the 2 rivers hoping to draw the Nizam after him.The Nizam initially followed ,but the slow his moving army with its heavy guns was unable to keep up ,being steadily exhausted by constant movement following the marathas over devastated territories already stripped bare of all supplies by the maratha hordes.

    [​IMG]
    The Nizam changed his strategy,instead of following Bajirao he turned South towards Pune.Udapur ,Narayangarh,Khed,Pabal and other places were captured by him enroute to Pune.But Shahu and the maratha treasury were safe behind the walls of Purandar fort.The Nizam made no effort to besiege the maratha forts,but crowned Sambhaji of Kolhapur who was accompanying him as the even maratha king.he then started pillaging the areas around Pune intending to draw Bajirao into a pitched battle on the plains nearby where he could decimate the outnumbered maratha army with his heavy artillery.However Bajirao didn't take the bait.Instead of heading towards Pune,he headed towards Aurangabad - the greatest city of the mughal deccan,in effect threatening the Nizam with a 'Queen exchange' as in chess.(Hyderabad just expanding in 1728).Palkhed is 28 kms to the West of Aurangabad(not shown in map).The Nizam now headed northwards intending to save Aurangabad,possibly leaving behind some of his heaviest guns in haste at Ahmednagar.But to do this he would have to recross the Godavari at Puntambe.This was the oppurtunity Bajirao was waiting for.

    [​IMG]
    BATTLE OF PALKHED :

    The Nizam's army begins to cross the river Godavari.Due to the extensive baggage train carried by mughal style armies and the limitations on pre-modern engineering this process usually took multiple days.As was the norm for mughal style armies,an advance force would be sent forward in such a case to select a camp site -usually a nearby town - in this case Palkhed.Here the Banjara civilian traders who had been in the business of supplying armies in the subcontinent for centuries would set up a mobile bazaar where all supplies would be available for the army.Next the main body would pass along with the heavy artillery and its escort and the rearguard.

    1.The Nizam's vanguard sets up camp around Palkhed.Bajirao is waiting for them with his army in a horseshoe formation.The Maratha cavalry skirmish and probe the advance guard's defenses possibly scaring away some of the Banjaara traders.
    2.The Nizam's main body moves up in support of its vanguard in haste.
    3.The heavy guns being slow and ponderous are the most difficult to bring across and are still on the other side with the rearguard and its escort.

    [​IMG]
    1 and 2.The maratha sardars Dewalji Somvanshi and Pilaji Yadav hover around the flanks of the Nizam's army at Palkhed.The Maratha light cavalry dominates the no man's land between the 2 armies and prevents the hyderabad army from collecting drinking water beyond its immediate proximity on the shiv nadi - a small stream.Bajirao commands the centre ready to reinforce either wing if necessary and with his main body directly blocking the way towards aurangabad.

    3.Malharrao Holkar (and possibly Udaji Powar) arrive following a different route and cut off the Nizam's main army from his rearguard and heavy guns which are unable to cross the river Godavari.the marathas have succesfully seperated the Nizam from his greatest battlefield asset,seperated his army thus nullifying his numerical advantage and trapped him in a place with rapidly dwindling supplies and drinking water ,encircled on all sides.If the Nizam turns to crush Holkar ,the other 3 Maratha divisions will fall upon him from flanks and rear and without the support of his guns he will be annihilated.Running out of food and water,the Nizam was in desperate straits and recognized his position as hopeless.Finally he opened negotiations and was forced to concede to all maratha demands.He had to abandon the cause of Sambhaji,return all lands belonging to the Swarajya and above all accept the maratha right to collection of Chauth and Sardeshmukhi over all of his territories(six subahs of the Deccan).The terms were sealed by the Treaty of Moongi-paithan.

    It is debatable why the marathas let the Nizam survive,when he was at their complete mercy.The destruction of the Nizam would have ended the nascent state of Hyderabad at Palkhed but also created a large power vaccuum,perhaps the most important reason was that the Marathas were as yet not prepared to take over the administration of such a huge area as the whole of Deccan.Also the Nizam ruled through indirect rule and facade of nominal legitimacy to the mughal emperor in much of his territories.All these territories would have to be reconquered by years of hard campaigning.The marathas also lacked artillery and it would be very difficult to take the powerful deccan forts.The Delhi durbar was also likely to send reinforcements and a new subahdar to the area rather than watch it fall passively.All this would embroil the marathas in years of hard campaigning in the extensive deccan region and divert their resources from Bajirao's goal - central and North india .With the Nizam's acceptance of Chauth and Sardeshmukhi,the marathas in effect gained 35% of the revenue of the whole Deccan without any administrative upkeep or effort in return.The Maratha armies were also freed up for large scale operations into the heartland of the mughal empire to the north.Finally,Bajirao was only a Peshwa and had to keep in mind the wishes of Shahu who always prefered a diplomatic approach whenever possible.


    [​IMG]
    (Bajirao Ballal)

    AFTERMATH :

    Palkhed sealed Maratha supremacy of the Deccan and freed up its armies to be launched Northwards.The Nizam continued to pay tribute to the marathas until his death.By the mid 1730s the marathas under Bajirao had overrun Gujarat,Malwa and Bundelkhand completely and were thundering at the gates of Delhi.The Nizam made one final attempt in 1737 to destroy maratha power,but this attempt failed miserably again at the Battle of Bhopal when Bajirao again outmaneuvred the combined Nizam -mughal army of 80,000 ,cut off its supplies and encircled it from all sides.This debacle was followed shortly by Nadir Shah's invasion of the mughal empire and forever broke the power of the mughal empire ,opening the floodgates to maratha expansion.The Hyderabad state gradually lost much of its original territories to the Marathas and Mysore,and was by the end of the 18th century reduced to a british protectorate.Bajirao died in 1740 at the young age of 40 after an undefeated career in which he is said to have won 40 engagements.The british field marshal Bernard Mongomery described him as 'possibly the finest cavalry commander India ever produced'.

    [​IMG]
    (Maratha Expansion under Bajirao I -marathas also collected Chauth and Sardesmukhi from whole Deccan)

    BATTLE ANALYSIS :


    At Palkhed Bajirao achieved the rare feat of having defeated an enemy army through maneuver alone,(he was to repeat it again a decade later at Bhopal).

    Mobility-
    Mobility was the centrepiece of the campaign ,it allowed Bajirao to dictate the terms of the campaign and completely unravel the Nizam's larger and technically superior army.Montgomery described it as a 'masterpiece of strategic mobility'

    Surprise-
    Bajirao continuously surprised the Nizam throughout the campaign,with his unpredictable movements and feints.Tactical surprise was also achieved by Malhararo Holkar's move into the rear of the Nizam's army which encircled it.

    Terrain -
    Bajirao's eye for terrain was key .He chose the battlefield and waited for the Nizam at Palkhed where he could surround the Nizam from all sides with a forested ridge blocking movement North,and his guns seperated from him by the Godavari river.

    Selection and Maintainence of Aim -

    Bajirao conducted the entire campaign with the objective of fighting the war on the enemy's territory and luring the Nizam into a place where he could be seperated from his artillery.He never deviated from these core objectives despite adverse developments and refused to give in to the Nizam's provocations intended to draw him into a frontal pitched battle on the open plains.

    [​IMG]
    Sources -
    Bajirao -An Outstanding Cavalry General(Col.R.Palsokar)
    The Marathas 1600-1818 ( Stewart Gordon)

    Osprey Mughals
    Net Sources


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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  6. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I wud request you to do a write up about the emergence of Jaats in mid 1600s from Tilpat in Delhi. My forefathers played piovotal role in that and I will be able to contribute some facts unknown to the history. Historians have been very unkind to Jaats. They have recorded their contribution and valour in just one line-Jaats ended the Mughal empire in India. It was neither Marathas nor Sikhs but Jaats who ended Mughal rule in India and it was their rebellion which directly benefitted Marathas and also Rajputs of Mewar as Aurangzeb was forced to enter into a treaty with Mewar to secure an alternate route to Deccan away from Mathura-Agra-Dholpur axis. Also please do a write up about Thrid battle of Panipat. There too I will contribute few facts straight from the history of my family.
     
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