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ww2artist
09-07-2007, 08:09 AM
I haven't ever seen much about Indians fighting during WW2 and want to learn more. I understand they fought for the British Empire extensively in North Africa, Italy, and Burma. I know they flew with the RAF both from India/Burma and others made their way to England to fly as fighter pilots and bomber crew.

Some elements fought with the Japanese with the promise of independence after the war, which I'm sure they wouldn't have received, and of course, others with Germany. (see link below).

http://www.feldgrau.com/azadhind.html

There seems to be a real lack of information regarding their contributions. Often the Poles, Czchs and other countries are mentioned, but I believe, at least with ground forces, far more Indian troops fought along side the British than those other countries mentioned.

What knowledge can others share?

Cheers,
WW2artist

Firefly
09-07-2007, 01:04 PM
Good questions, I dont know much about them either apart from the fact that the majority would have been deployed in India. They did fight at Monte casino too and in N Africa.

bwing55543
09-07-2007, 04:29 PM
Indian Bren gunner:
http://www.nwha.org/news_4Q2002/resources/punjab1.jpg

Machinegunners in Italy;
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORCES/Army/Images/0125.jpg

Italian grunt surrendering to an Indian in North Africa:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1c/Operation_crusader_italian_surrender.jpg

ww2artist
09-07-2007, 07:09 PM
Great photos, bwing!

Firefly, yes, I remember reading they fought at Monte casino. Shame there isn't more about them as I'm very interested.

Rising Sun*
09-07-2007, 07:10 PM
There seems to be a real lack of information regarding their contributions. Often the Poles, Czchs and other countries are mentioned, but I believe, at least with ground forces, far more Indian troops fought alonG side the British than those other countries mentioned.

What knowledge can others share?

Cheers,
WW2artist

I've seen a lot of books on India's war in a university library, but they were published in India (in English). I suspect you wouldn't find many in a local library, but you might find them a in a state or university library.

ww2admin
09-07-2007, 07:13 PM
If you guys look in the ww2incolor gallery, you'll find one in color. I believe it's in the German section...

1000ydstare
09-08-2007, 01:06 AM
Italian grunt surrendering to an Indian in North Africa:

Did they get medals for each nationality they surrendered too?

I have a few posts on here about the Indians, if you search they may come up.

The Indians never fought for the Germans or Japs. There was a "provisional" government set up that was recognised by the Germans as a government, and they promised to send men.

Fortunatly even goat herds with no knowledge of the outside world chose to fight for the British not the Germans. Not sure on the Japanese thing.

They were the largest volunteer Army ever. Bearing in mind that no Indian soldier was conscripted during the Second World War.

Rising Sun*
09-08-2007, 03:30 AM
The Indians never fought for the Germans or Japs. There was a "provisional" government set up that was recognised by the Germans as a government, and they promised to send men.

Fortunatly even goat herds with no knowledge of the outside world chose to fight for the British not the Germans. Not sure on the Japanese thing.

They were the largest volunteer Army ever. Bearing in mind that no Indian soldier was conscripted during the Second World War.

Indians definitely fought against Britain in Burma in 1944-45.

The rest of this is off the top of my head.

The Indian National Army at its peak had about 3? divisions and put about 10? 12? infanty battalions into Burma which were involved in the Kohima / Imphal fighting, although they didn't do too well.

I think the Japanese structured them so that they couldn't form true divisions in the sense of an independent formation with its own armour, artillery, etc, so they were reliant on the Japanese for other arms and support which a true division would have, which could have hampered their performance.

My recollection is that some Indians went over to the Japanese during the Malayan campaign and were actually fighting against the Commonwealth forces, although in many instances they escaped back to the Commonwealth lines when given the opportunity.

The INA is tied up with the Indian independence movement and was held in high esteem in many sectors of Indian society during and especiallyafter the war.

There were treason trials of INA leaders after the war by the British in India which became a focus for increased anti-British feeling during the tumultuous period leading to British independence. I have a feeling that some prominent Indian leaders (Nehru?) defended some of the main accused.


ww2artist

Google Indian National Army. There'll be plenty of stuff on its Mk I and Mk II versions. Also Google Chandra Bose and Mohan Singh who were prominent in it.

ww2artist
09-08-2007, 06:27 AM
The Indians never fought for the Germans or Japs. There was a "provisional" government set up that was recognised by the Germans as a government, and they promised to send men.
.

The Indians definitely did fight for both Germany and Japan. Not in the numbers that fought along side the Allies, but they were there none the less. Like Rising Sun mentions, they fought with the Japanese in Burma, and if you read the link I've posted above, its quite clear they fought in Europe with the Germans and were finally under the direct control of the SS as a foreign legion of volunteers.

1000ydstare
09-08-2007, 06:28 AM
Interesting, I 'll pop over to the site when I have a bit of time.

The Japs probably ham strung the Indians deliberately. If you have a whole Div of Indians on your flank, how do you know they wont suddenly turn and start smashing you up from the side!!!!

Worse if they are on Line of Communications duty!!!!

Rising Sun*
09-08-2007, 06:52 AM
Interesting, I 'll pop over to the site when I have a bit of time.

The Japs probably ham strung the Indians deliberately. If you have a whole Div of Indians on your flank, how do you know they wont suddenly turn and start smashing you up from the side!!!!

Worse if they are on Line of Communications duty!!!!

Very perceptive.

The Japanese attitude to the INA was ambivalent.

Again, this if off the top of the head.

The Japs wanted the INA for propaganda purposes and, indirectly, to add to British problems in India to tie down forces there or encourage insurrection there. But they didn't trust them, because a lot of the early INA joined up to escape the worse conditions of being a POW but weren't too committed to the Japanese cause, whatever their sympathies might have been with the INA and Indian independence.

The Japs also had their usual contempt for anyone who wasn't Japanese, with the Indians being worse in some respects because they served Britain.

I have some vague recollection of an incident at some stage where at a joint INA / IJA conference a Jap officer made some disparaging comments about the INA as puppets of Britain and other things. Unfortunately one of the INA officers understood Japanese. There were some serious tensions as a result of this, either on a local or wider level.

Conversely, the INA leaders wanted to get into action more than the Japs trusted them to from 1942 onwards. The INA was keener to fight than the Japanese allowed them to.

I suspect that the Japanese might have just done the usual thing in any alliance of ensuring that their own forces got first allocation of anything, leaving nothing much for the INA, rather than necessarily having a conscious policy of making sure the INA got the leavings. Still, I don't think the Japanese ever allowed them to form a proper division as an independent fully equipped formation. Even if they did, I'm pretty sure that the INA never went into action in such a formation in Burma or elsewhere.

Which sort of comes back to your point.

bwing55543
09-08-2007, 10:55 AM
Did they get medals for each nationality they surrendered too?

I have a few posts on here about the Indians, if you search they may come up.

The Indians never fought for the Germans or Japs. There was a "provisional" government set up that was recognised by the Germans as a government, and they promised to send men.

Fortunatly even goat herds with no knowledge of the outside world chose to fight for the British not the Germans. Not sure on the Japanese thing.

They were the largest volunteer Army ever. Bearing in mind that no Indian soldier was conscripted during the Second World War.

I know about how Indians weren't draftees. I find that surprising since India was a colony, but British Commonwealth nations had draftees to help the Brits, like Canada for instance.

Anyway, the volunteers were from the Indian Warrior caste, so they were career soldiers.

Rising Sun*
09-08-2007, 05:57 PM
I know about how Indians weren't draftees. I find that surprising since India was a colony, but British Commonwealth nations had draftees to help the Brits, like Canada for instance.

Not Australia. Our 2nd AIF (2nd = 2ndWW AIF= Australian Imperial Force) troops who fought in Europe, North Africa, and Malaya in support of Britain were all volunteers.

pdf27
09-09-2007, 05:15 PM
I know about how Indians weren't draftees. I find that surprising since India was a colony, but British Commonwealth nations had draftees to help the Brits, like Canada for instance.
So far as I'm aware ONLY some of the Dominions ever used conscription. No British colony ever did.

Pathfinder
09-18-2007, 09:48 AM
Indians definitely fought against Britain in Burma in 1944-45.

The rest of this is off the top of my head.

The Indian National Army at its peak had about 3? divisions and put about 10? 12? infanty battalions into Burma which were involved in the Kohima / Imphal fighting, although they didn't do too well.

I think the Japanese structured them so that they couldn't form true divisions in the sense of an independent formation with its own armour, artillery, etc, so they were reliant on the Japanese for other arms and support which a true division would have, which could have hampered their performance.

My recollection is that some Indians went over to the Japanese during the Malayan campaign and were actually fighting against the Commonwealth forces, although in many instances they escaped back to the Commonwealth lines when given the opportunity.

The INA is tied up with the Indian independence movement and was held in high esteem in many sectors of Indian society during and especiallyafter the war.

There were treason trials of INA leaders after the war by the British in India which became a focus for increased anti-British feeling during the tumultuous period leading to British independence. I have a feeling that some prominent Indian leaders (Nehru?) defended some of the main accused.


ww2artist

Google Indian National Army. There'll be plenty of stuff on its Mk I and Mk II versions. Also Google Chandra Bose and Mohan Singh who were prominent in it.

My great uncle became a POW in Malaya after the British pull out in 1941 himself and scores of other soldiers were left behind but I have never herd of Indians going to Japanese side and then returning to Allied side in Malaya. as for Indian soldiers who volunteered or were asked to volunteer turning on British Soldiers and Superiors again I never heard of it Scores of my family members were colonial cannon fodder. as for those indians who fought against British led forces they were the poor people who thought if they joined Axis forces India could be freed but only if they knew it would be free in matter of three years. but i will enquire.


Interesting, I 'll pop over to the site when I have a bit of time.

The Japs probably ham strung the Indians deliberately. If you have a whole Div of Indians on your flank, how do you know they wont suddenly turn and start smashing you up from the side!!!!

Worse if they are on Line of Communications duty!!!!

turn against who?

and i could not find the thread to post an introduction. so apologies.

Pathfinder
09-18-2007, 10:00 AM
I know about how Indians weren't draftees. I find that surprising since India was a colony, but British Commonwealth nations had draftees to help the Brits, like Canada for instance.

Anyway, the volunteers were from the Indian Warrior caste, so they were career soldiers.

There was such thing as British Martial Race http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_Race

what a load racist hoot it was but apparently Men of these races were good fighters, career soldiers well my great grand father was approached by...... and asked weather he could send his family members to defend the British Empire since they came up on their martial race figure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Rajputs

1000ydstare
09-18-2007, 10:56 AM
Interesting, I 'll pop over to the site when I have a bit of time.

The Japs probably ham strung the Indians deliberately. If you have a whole Div of Indians on your flank, how do you know they wont suddenly turn and start smashing you up from the side!!!!

Worse if they are on Line of Communications duty!!!!

turn against who?

In this instance, it would be Indians, who were fighting for the Japanese, turning against the Japanese and using their organic Armour and other heavy war equipment to great effect against the flanking units.

Don't worry about an intro thread, just let us know about yourself here and now. I will hold back from answering some of your other points until you can better explain your own point of view and where you are coming from.

You appear to have an axe to grind, but I will wait out.

Pathfinder
09-18-2007, 10:59 AM
In this instance, it would be Indians, who were fighting for the Japanese, turning against the Japanese and using their organic Armour and other heavy war equipment to great effect against the flanking units.

Don't worry about an intro thread, just let us know about yourself here and now. I will hold back from answering some of your other points until you can better explain your own point of view and where you are coming from.

You appear to have an axe to grind, but I will wait out.

i am from UK and age well in twenties

1000ydstare
09-18-2007, 11:30 AM
Of Indian descent?

Pathfinder
09-18-2007, 03:32 PM
Of Indian descent?

no i am not indian

1000ydstare
09-19-2007, 02:47 AM
A bit of info ref the German and Italian units of Indians.

http://www.feldgrau.com/azadhind.html

Firefly
09-19-2007, 02:59 AM
Just in case this thread starts to stray into areas that it wasnt meant to I think we should all remember that the opinions of people here are just that, their opinion. I would also like to say that if anyone brings a fact to the discussion here that it should be backed by a specific reference.

Now, not popular for some, the very fact is that some races and tribes are or were thought of as being more martial than others. Ghurkas for instance or the Old Highlanders of the 19th century.

This is not being Racist it is a fact and if you choose not to believe this fact thats your opinion.

The thread is about Indian soldiers in WW2, which encompases the entire sub-continent as in ww2 there was no Packistan or Bangladesh and therefore any soldier with origins from those regions would have been Indian.

So please stick to the specific topic and NOT get sidetracked by what came after 1945.

Thanks.

Rising Sun*
09-19-2007, 04:34 AM
I have never herd of Indians going to Japanese side and then returning to Allied side in Malaya.

Mohan Singh and his mates certainly didn't return to the Allied side after going over to the Japanese.

As for the rest, I don't have a reference handy, but I have a feeling it may be covered in either or both Masanobu Tsuji's Singapore: The Japanese Version and Gen Percival's The War in Malaya.


as for Indian soldiers who volunteered or were asked to volunteer turning on British Soldiers and Superiors again I never heard of it

Where did I say that?

But as you've raised it, it depends what you mean by "turned". About 30,000 out of about 40,000 Indian soldiers captured by the Japanese in Malaya joined the INA, for whatever reasons. Compare that with the number of British and Australian troops who went over. About zero.

But if you're referring to the INA, then they certainly turned on British soldiers by putting a few brigades into the field against them in Burma.

1000ydstare
09-19-2007, 04:48 AM
The wiki on the subject (as already PMd to Pathfinder)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_National_Army

The dubious nature of those Indians who fought on the Axis side is pretty much fact.

They mutinied against the Italians (who had a force of Indians working for them) in 1942 after the victory at Al Elemain. The Germans had better success retaining them.

The Japanese managed to pursuade some 30,000 - 40,000 Indian POWs caught in Malaya (IIRC) to swap sides. They were NOT allowed to rejoin the Indian Army after the war, or at any time, in the Indian agreement on liberty.

It is worth noting however that those who were recaught were processed by Field Int Teams (British and Indian) in to Black, Grey and White groups. Whites were realeased in batchs, as they were seen as not a threat and, in most cases, co erced to join up with the Japanese forces.

Greys were those who appeared to have small amounts of interest in the Japanese or Anti-Allied cause.

Blacks were those who had been fully indoctrinated by the Japanese, or were naturally deposed to such beleifs, and in many cases had commited atrocities such as the Japanese were want to do.

Pathfinder
09-19-2007, 05:00 AM
Mohan Singh and his mates certainly didn't return to the Allied side after going over to the Japanese.

As for the rest, I don't have a reference handy, but I have a feeling it may be covered in either or both Masanobu Tsuji's Singapore: The Japanese Version and Gen Percival's The War in Malaya.



Where did I say that?

But as you've raised it, it depends what you mean by "turned". About 30,000 out of about 40,000 Indian soldiers captured by the Japanese in Malaya joined the INA, for whatever reasons. Compare that with the number of British and Australian troops who went over. About zero.

But if you're referring to the INA, then they certainly turned on British soldiers by putting a few brigades into the field against them in Burma.

ok i should be clear that, my source is dead my source never told me about Indian soldiers turning against allied soldiers why he never told me i don't know but my source escaped and rejoined allied soldiers when the Malaya campaign began so please pardon my ignorance because i didn't know and i recently got interested in the campaigns that my family members were in part of. but i plan to travel and discover more about these campaign and thank you for the sources i will look into those.

Pathfinder
09-19-2007, 05:20 AM
Just in case this thread starts to stray into areas that it wasnt meant to I think we should all remember that the opinions of people here are just that, their opinion. I would also like to say that if anyone brings a fact to the discussion here that it should be backed by a specific reference.

Now, not popular for some, the very fact is that some races and tribes are or were thought of as being more martial than others. Ghurkas for instance or the Old Highlanders of the 19th century.

This is not being Racist it is a fact and if you choose not to believe this fact thats your opinion.

The thread is about Indian soldiers in WW2, which encompases the entire sub-continent as in ww2 there was no Packistan or Bangladesh and therefore any soldier with origins from those regions would have been Indian.

So please stick to the specific topic and NOT get sidetracked by what came after 1945.

Thanks.

Ok If I brought on anything other than circa 1945 my apologies. and the Martial Races like Gurkha and Highlander were considered more martial because of the loyalty other martial races like mine just were not as loyal to the British cause. but they were asked to volounteer which has to count for something.

what i should have said is that those martial races made a very little minority considering non martial people who were in their hundred millions. and the volunteer force could have been even larger if this belief was put away but it delivered non the less.

1000ydstare
09-19-2007, 08:21 AM
According to the wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_Race

It is worth noting that most of the "Martial Races" listed put up more than a fight when the British were against them.

The Gurkhas, fought the British to a standstill, and only at the end did they decide that an alliance was called for.

It is worth pointing out that the Scottish Highlanders were not that loyal to the British in the past. At one point there was a war between the Highlanders and English who were supported by the Lowlanders (in the main), yet Highlanders are still considered better fighters than Lowlanders in the main.

This applies to other units or nationalities too. Zulus also were considered a Martial Race.

I think over the years that this term HAS indeed been used to sullify the names of those who were not fully on side with the British.

Please tell us about yourself Pathfinder. You seem to be hinting at your linage, yet hold it secret.

George Eller
09-19-2007, 03:53 PM
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British Indian Army
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Indian_Army

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Sikhs and the British Empire
http://www.asht.info/Sikhs+&+British+Empire.html

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http://www.asht.info/assets/images/Photo_NirikSingh_Large.jpg
Naik Nand Singh VC, MVC (24 September 1914- 12 December 1947) was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. (See articles toward bottom for more)

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Sikhs in World War I & II and other wars
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh#Sikhs_in_World_War_I_.26_II_and_other_wars


By the advent of World War I, Sikhs in the British Indian Army totaled over 100,000; i.e. 20% of the British Indian Army. In the 100 years to 1945, 14 Victoria Crosses were awarded to the Sikhs, a per capita record given the size of the Sikh Regiments.[73]

"In the last two world wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded. They all died or were wounded for the freedom of Britain and the world, and during shell fire, with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith."
The Sikh Regiment in the Second World War[74]

Across the world Sikhs are commemorated in Commonwealth cemeteries.[75]

In 2002, the names of all Sikh VC and George Cross winners were commemorated by being inscribed on the pavilion monument of the Memorial Gates[76] on Constitution Hill next to Buckingham palace, London.[77] Lieutenant Colonel Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), Punjabi Indian World War II hero & Veteran, and president of the ex-services league (Punjab & Chandigarh) was instrumental in campaigning for the memorials building.

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Sikh Regiment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh_Regiment


The Sikh Regiment is the most highly decorated regiment of the Indian Army, with 72 Battle Honours, 15 Theatre Honours and 5 COAS Unit Citations and 1596 other gallantry awards.

The Sikh Regimental Centre is presently located in Ramgarh Cantonment, 30 km from the Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state in India. The Centre was earlier located in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh State.

Over its life of more than 150 years, the regiment has participated in various actions and operations both in the pre and post-independence era in India and abroad, including the First and the Second World War.

With a humble beginning of two battalions, today the fraternity has grown 20 battalions strong.

The war cry of regiment is: Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal (He who cries God is Truth, attains bliss)

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The Sikh Regiment
Indian Army's Most Decorated Regiment
D.S. Sandhu
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE3-6/sandhu.html


World War 2

To over come the heavy demands of manpower six new battalions of the Sikh Regiment were raised. They being 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 25th [5]. Out of the old battalions 1st and 5th saw action in Burma and three others, 2nd, 3rd and 4th fought in the Middle East.

The 4 Sikh were in Siddi Barrani and El Alamein in 1941. When the Germans launched their offensive on El Alamein the battalion was forced to disperse to the rear in small parties and over 500 became prisoners of war. The battalion was reformed and was back in action in Italy [5]. 2nd and 3rd Sikh were at Basra, Iraq. 2 Sikh later moved on to Italy where they took part in the fighting at the Gothic Line.

On the Burma-Malaya front, the 5 Sikh were the first to reach Malaya in April 1941. They fought the Japanese in Malaya, but had to disperse in small parties. About 200 of the men reached Singapore while the others were combined with elements from another battalion to form a composite 5 Sikh. The battalion could not hold back the Japanese tide and was pushed back to Singapore along with the rest of the British Forces. When Singapore fell in February 1942 the remnants of the 5 Sikh became POWs. While in the prison camps about 90 % of the men joined the Indian National Army (INA).

1 Sikh landed in Rangoon in February 1942 and took part in some fierce fighting but the Japanese had built up their strength in the area and pushed the British forces to the Indian border. The battalion was rested and refitted and was back in the war zone on the Indo-Burma border. On March 11, 1943 the battalion was the advance party along the Maungdaw-Buthidaung road. The Japanese were holding a knife-edge hill feature and putting up stiff resistance. The only way to approach the hill was by means of a narrow track. On this track leading the attack was the section commanded by Naik Nand Singh. When the section reached the crest it came under heavy machinegun fire and every man in the section was killed or wounded. Naik Nand Singh dashed forward alone, he was wounded by a grenade as he neared the first Japanese trench. He took out his bayonet and killed the two occupants. Under heavy fire Nand Singh jumped up and charged the second trench, he was again wounded by a grenade and knocked down, but he got up and hurled himself into the trench again killing two Japanese with his bayonet. He then moved on to the third trench and captured it single-handed. With the capture of the third trench the enemy fire started to die away and the rest of the platoon charged the other Japanese positions, killing with bayonet and grenade thirty seven out of the forty Japanese holding it. Naik Nand Singh wounded six times in the assault literally carried the position single-handed. For his valour an immediate award of Victoria Cross was bestowed upon him. The company commander Maj. John Brough was awarded the DSO and the platoon commander Jemadar Mehr Singh the IOM. Two IDSMs were also awarded for this attack [5].

The battalion then moved to Imphal and took part in the famous battle at Kanglatongbi. After this battle the battalion was among the vanguard in pushing the Japanese back and recapturing Rangoon. During the Second World War the battalions of the Sikh Regiment won 27 battle honours.

At the end of WW2 all the newly raised battalions except for the 7 Sikh were disbanded and 5 Sikh was not re-raised, because of its men joining the INA. At the time of independence to accommodate the Sikh soldiers coming to India from regiments allotted to Pakistan, three new battalions were raised. They being the 16th, 17th and 18th Sikh.

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Naik Nand Singh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nand_Singh


Nand Singh VC, MVC (24 September 1914- 12 December 1947) was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Details
He was 29 years old, and an Acting Naik in the 1/11th, Sikh Regiment, Indian Army during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 11/12 March 1944 on the Maungdaw-Buthidaung Road, Burma (now Myanmar), Naik Nand Singh, commanding a leading section of the attack, was ordered to recapture a position gained by the enemy. He led his section up a very steep knife-edged ridge under very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and although wounded in the thigh, captured the first trench. He then crawled forward alone and, wounded again in the face and shoulder, nevertheless captured the second and third trenches.

He later achieved the rank of Jemadar in the post-independence Indian Army, and his unit [1 Sikh] was the first to be involved in the Jammu & Kashmir Operations or Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 which began in October 1947 as Indian troops went into action to repel a planned invasion of J&K by raiders from Pakistan.

On 12th December 1947 Nand Singh led his platoon of D Coy in a desperate but successful attack to extricate his battalion from an ambush in the hills SE of Uri in Kashmir. He was mortally injured by a close-quarters machine-gun burst, and posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra(MVC), the second-highest Indian decoration for battlefield gallantry. This makes Nand Singh unique in the annals of VC winners.

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Sikh Regiment
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/rgt-sikh.htm
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORCES/Army/Regiments/Sikh.html

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Sikh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh

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Advanced Google Image Search: "British Indian Army"
http://images.google.com/images?q=+%22British+Indian+Army%22&as_st=y&ndsp=20&svnum=10&hl=en&start=0&sa=N

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ww2artist
09-20-2007, 08:35 AM
An excellent, informative thread. My initial reasoning for raising this thread is the fact that I myself am half English and half Indian; Anglo-Indian. :)

George Eller
09-20-2007, 10:56 AM
An excellent, informative thread. My initial reasoning for raising this thread is the fact that I myself am half English and half Indian; Anglo-Indian. :)
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This is an interesting topic. I can kind of relate to it as my mother has a colonial background. Her father was Dutch career military and served in the KNIL (Royal Netherlands Indies Army) and her mother was Indonesian from Java. So my mother is half Dutch and half Indonesian; Dutch-Indonesian. My dad is American - 8th generation (German, English, Scottish and Irish), but my last name is German. My German ancestor Georg Michael Eller came to America from Germany in 1743.

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Amrit
09-20-2007, 06:53 PM
One of the Indian Divisions that fought against the Italians, Germans and then the japanese was the Fifth. Their amazing war service was recorded in a history entitled "BALL OF FIRE" by ANTONY BRETT-JAMES. The book is long out of print (and copies sell for over £60 now). However, the entire book has been uploaded, so have a read:

http://www.ourstory.info/library/4-ww2/Ball/fireTC.html

The site has also uploaded the wartime publication entitled "The Tiger Triumphs" about the Fourth, Eighth and Tenth Indian Divisions in Italy:

http://www.ourstory.info/library/4-ww2/Tiger/triumphsTC.html#TC.

And for those who state that some Indians joined the Axis, that is true, but then so did many from the USSR, Western Europe and other Asian countries. But I would ask you to remember these words (though written about WW1 the words are just as apt for the WW2 - at the time of writing it was referring to the Indian Mutiny):


Though mutineers some of them might have been,
They were not trusted soldiers of the Queen,
...
Britannia, do not blame, I beg of you,
The loyal many for the traitírous few;
When once again the star of peace has beamed,
Then Indiaís pledge to you will be redeemed.
They only plead for one reward,
Repaying every loss,
The right to wear like Britainís sons,
The great Victorian Cross.
Indiaís reply in the days gone by,
To other nations may have been absurd,
But when Britainís flag unfurlíd,
They províd to all the world,
How the Sons of India kept their word.

Pathfinder
09-21-2007, 06:04 AM
well the story of Indian Soldiers Fighting Against Allied Soldiers is true but they were not in its majority. majority fought alongside the allies.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3684288.stm

Rising Sun*
09-21-2007, 07:59 AM
For something that is even less well known about Indian soldiers

http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j37/indians.htm


On the face of it, it seems like the Indian POW's in New Guinea were doing better than the Australians and British and Asians on the Burma Railway etc as they staged a hunger strike, which would have been a meaningless demonstration to reject the scant food in Burma etc. A similar action in Burma etc would have resulted in a massacre.

However, the reference to beri beri suggests that the Indian POW's in New Guinea might have been in similar lousy condition to the other Imperial / Commonwealth POW's elsewhere.

But it's apparent from the link that it's difficult to work out how badly, or how well, Indian POW's were treated in New Guinea.

The other, and most important, thing is, the Indian POW's in New Guinea were there only becuase they didn't go over to the INA.

India seems to have disowned its own POW's, unlike the English speaking countries which accord them a status as revered victims of Japanese brutality.

Note this from the link above in particular


Many Indians still hail members of the INA as fighters for India's freedom. Those who rejected Japanese blandishments and remained loyal to their oath of service were regarded as dupes of the imperial power and have been disregarded by an independent India, which does not provide pensions to former members of Britain's Indian army.

Indian prisoners of war have also been largely overlooked in the war literature of both India and of the western Allies. Official histories provide scant coverage. The Indian official history devotes almost no space to the experience of captivity, only to a brief summary of the work of the Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees organisation (RAPWI). An appendix to Volume V of S. Woodburn Kirby's British official history The war against Japan provides a short summary of the numbers captured and the locations at which prisoners were held. It makes clear that Indians were held in Hong Kong, Burma, Singapore, Malaya, Sumatra and British and Dutch Borneo. Although at war's end nearly 6,000 Indians were recovered in Australian New Guinea the British official history omits any mention of them. The only reference is in relation to Singapore, stating that "many of the Indians eventually left the island, mainly in forced labour battalions for islands in the south-west Pacific".3 The Australian official history, which deals extensively with the war in the South-West Pacific Area, accords them half-a-dozen references in Gavin Long's volume The final campaigns. In spite of the importance of loyalty as a central idea in Indian Army history, Philip Mason's history of the Indian Army barely mentions loyal prisoners – though INA members are discussed at length.4


I should mention that the author of the paper, Peter Stanley, is in my view a superficial historian on the only areas I know anything about, notwithstanding his position until recently as the Principal Historian at the Australian War Memorial. I don't doubt that he has far wider and deeper knowledge than me and most other amateur historians on just about everything, but he has also displayed a spectacular ability to put forward superficial, inadequately researched, and demonstrably false bullshit as history in two other contentious papers about the risk of Japan invading Australia and a whole lot of related matters.

Amrit
09-21-2007, 08:29 AM
http://www.psywarrior.com/AxisPropIndia.html

Pathfinder
09-22-2007, 04:18 PM
'We Were There'.
I never knew it but 58 Years after the war ended a memorial was placed for the volunteers in 2002 to be exact. well never too late i suppose.

http://www.wewerethere.mod.uk/index.html

1000ydstare
09-22-2007, 11:38 PM
Amrit,


And for those who state that some Indians joined the Axis, that is true, but then so did many from the USSR, Western Europe and other Asian countries.

We know that many countries had people fighting on both sides, there were some Italians who fought for the Allies and some Germans who fought for us too. And of course there was the despicable treatment of the Japanese in America, the men of whom often fought with courage and valour.

This isn't a witch hunt where all Indians are regarded as traitors. It is simple fact being brought up. There is no need to get all defensive about it.

Amrit
09-23-2007, 04:49 AM
This isn't a witch hunt where all Indians are regarded as traitors. It is simple fact being brought up. There is no need to get all defensive about it.

Defensive? I ask that the INA be put into context, and I get accussed of being defensive. Maybe you should re-read what I said.

Pathfinder
09-24-2007, 05:23 AM
Amrit,



We know that many countries had people fighting on both sides, there were some Italians who fought for the Allies and some Germans who fought for us too. And of course there was the despicable treatment of the Japanese in America, the men of whom often fought with courage and valour.

This isn't a witch hunt where all Indians are regarded as traitors. It is simple fact being brought up. There is no need to get all defensive about it.

but then why is it that only Indian subjects are being brought up more often as back-stabbers. 40-50000 out of the millions turned against the allies for which there are reasons, but that is not even the overwhelming majority either.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 06:26 AM
but then why is it that only Indian subjects are being brought up more often as back-stabbers. 40-50000 out of the millions turned against the allies for which there are reasons, but that is not even the overwhelming majority either.

Perhaps because nobody likes turncoats.

Contrast the rest of the huge mass of Indian volunteers with those who were captured in Malaya, the vast bulk of whom went over to Japan, although some of those who didn't suffered appallingly .

I don't have a problem with Indian nationalism or India wanting independence from Britain, but when it came to the real test in Malaya the Indian volunteer soldiers were overwhelmingly disloyal to Britain.

I don't blame them as Indians, because it wasn't their fight, but I don't have any regard for them as soldiers as you fight for and are loyal to the flag you've joined. If you don't, you're just a mercenary.

Mercenaries rank one step above turncoats, in my book anyway.

ww2artist
09-24-2007, 07:34 AM
Like it's been stated, the majority of Indians did fight for the allies and Great Britain very loyally, winning a number of Victoria Crosses!
Although, when you think about it, would you have fought for a country that occupied your own and discriminated you as a 2nd class citizen?
I think it was a purely a question of choosing the lesser of two evils, in your own mind that is.
And while we're on the topic, where are the memorials for Indian aircrews, men who had to pay their own passage to get to England and fight in many cases. I see the Poles, the Czechs, Free French, Canadians and the Eagle Squadron mentioned, but the Indians? I've seen nothing!
As for turncoats: the Italians? The Departments of France that became Vichy France? The Russians before the Germans did the dirty and attacked them? The Fins? We could go on and on....within the SS their were volunteers from many nations, including a small amount of British.

I personally don't think there can be any clearly defined lines when using colonial forces in such traumatic times.

It would have surely been right for Germans to turn against the Nazi party, and I'm sure it could have been achieved, but would that have made them turncoats in our eyes, or humanitarians?

Amrit
09-24-2007, 07:50 AM
And while we're on the topic, where are the memorials for Indian aircrews, men who had to pay their own passage to get to England and fight in many cases. I see the Poles, the Czechs, Free French, Canadians and the Eagle Squadron mentioned, but the Indians? I've seen nothing!

Sadly, the fact that a number of Indians travelled to the UK, and joined the RAF, is relatively unknown, even in the aviation fraternity. One example is S/L Pujji (my signature). However, to be fair, most memorials to the fighting forces mentioned are relatively recent. And there are two memorials to Indians that do stand out:

Coventry
http://www.asht.info/Coventry+Memorial.html

http://www.asht.info/assets/images/coventry_memorial_Large.jpg

Memorial Gates - built in memory of the five million volunteers from the Indian subcontinent.
http://www.cwo.uk.com/projects/memorial_gate.html

http://www.cwo.uk.com/images/memorial_mont.jpg

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 08:14 AM
Like it's been stated, the majority of Indians did fight for the allies and Great Britain very loyally, winning a number of Victoria Crosses!

Nobody disputes that.

It's a separate issue from the spectacular treachery of most Indian troops in Malaya.


Although, when you think about it, would you have fought for a country that occupied your own and discriminated you as a 2nd class citizen?

No.

I would always fight against any country that occupied, or tried to occupy, mine, as Japan aimed to do in WWII.

I can't begin to imagine the mentality of anyone joining up with an occupying force in my own country, or any other country.

One of the reasons that such sentiments didn't apply in India was that the vast bulk of its people didn't have any concept of Indian nationality before and during WWII, which was largely a consequence of Indian history rather than anything done by the British.

Don't think that the Indians were the only ones offered the easy way out in Malaya, or other conquered territories.

They're just the only ones who took it in any serious percentages, outside Indonesia and pockets of the Philippines.


I think it was a purely a question of choosing the lesser of two evils, in your own mind that is.

Or just a question of honour.

The honourable Indians captured in Malaya suffered the same as their colonial masters.

The other Indians, who had taken the same oath of loyal service to the King, didn't.

I don't have a problem with them being heroes of Indian independence, if that's what some people want to believe by ignoring reality as the reason for them being in Malaya in the first place, but they were shithouse examples of loyal soldiers in the first army they joined. After that, they were just traitors. And shithouse soldiers in Japan's service, too, which tells you something about their quality and commitment to any cause they supposedly served.


And while we're on the topic, where are the memorials for Indian aircrews, men who had to pay their own passage to get to England and fight in many cases. I see the Poles, the Czechs, Free French, Canadians and the Eagle Squadron mentioned, but the Indians? I've seen nothing!

I don't know.

It may be a gross and unfair neglect of them.


As for turncoats: the Italians?

When?



The Departments of France that became Vichy France?

A government decision not comparable with individual soldiers betraying their oath.


The Russians before the Germans did the dirty and attacked them?

Ditto.


The Fins? We could go on and on....within the SS their were volunteers from many nations,

So?


including a small amount of British.

When did British turncoats put a few brigades, or any unit, into action the British, like the INA, and exactly where?

ww2artist
09-24-2007, 08:25 AM
Working on a painting right now, but will get back to you Rising Sun; interesting debate and educational, too

Amrit
09-24-2007, 08:37 AM
The question of loyalty and oaths is an interesting one. The vast majority of Indians who joined the INA did so after the mass surrenders of the Allied forces in Singapore.

So, once they surrendered, do their oaths still stand? Do they still take orders from the supposed "legitimate" chain of command? Or can they make their own decisions about where their loyalties lie?

Now compare the possible responses to the above questions with ones asking the same thing of those who joined the Free French, and the other European Free Forces. In the cases of France, Belgium, Holland, Norway etc, the legitimate governements of those countries surrendered, and by rights, their armed forces should have ceased to fight. However, as we all know, many did not; they escaped and carried on fighting with the Allies. By the same logic that would have Indian soldiers fighting against their former masters and their own oath, then so did these European forces. And just as most the occupied countries had Governements-in-exile, so did India (and in all cases the legitimacy of these governments has always been questionable).

Where does one draw the line?

Pathfinder
09-24-2007, 04:24 PM
Perhaps because nobody likes turncoats.

Contrast the rest of the huge mass of Indian volunteers with those who were captured in Malaya, the vast bulk of whom went over to Japan, although some of those who didn't suffered appallingly .

I don't have a problem with Indian nationalism or India wanting independence from Britain, but when it came to the real test in Malaya the Indian volunteer soldiers were overwhelmingly disloyal to Britain.

I don't blame them as Indians, because it wasn't their fight, but I don't have any regard for them as soldiers as you fight for and are loyal to the flag you've joined. If you don't, you're just a mercenary.

Mercenaries rank one step above turncoats, in my book anyway.


Nobody disputes that.

It's a separate issue from the spectacular treachery of most Indian troops in Malaya.



No.

I would always fight against any country that occupied, or tried to occupy, mine, as Japan aimed to do in WWII.

I can't begin to imagine the mentality of anyone joining up with an occupying force in my own country, or any other country.

One of the reasons that such sentiments didn't apply in India was that the vast bulk of its people didn't have any concept of Indian nationality before and during WWII, which was largely a consequence of Indian history rather than anything done by the British.

Don't think that the Indians were the only ones offered the easy way out in Malaya, or other conquered territories.

They're just the only ones who took it in any serious percentages, outside Indonesia and pockets of the Philippines.



Or just a question of honour.

The honourable Indians captured in Malaya suffered the same as their colonial masters.

The other Indians, who had taken the same oath of loyal service to the King, didn't.

I don't have a problem with them being heroes of Indian independence, if that's what some people want to believe by ignoring reality as the reason for them being in Malaya in the first place, but they were shithouse examples of loyal soldiers in the first army they joined. After that, they were just traitors. And shithouse soldiers in Japan's service, too, which tells you something about their quality and commitment to any cause they supposedly served.



I don't know.

It may be a gross and unfair neglect of them.



When?




A government decision not comparable with individual soldiers betraying their oath.



Ditto.



So?



When did British turncoats put a few brigades, or any unit, into action the British, like the INA, and exactly where?

what do you think was the reason for the mass anti British movements Sir.

ww2artist
09-24-2007, 05:56 PM
I can't begin to imagine the mentality of anyone joining up with an occupying force in my own country, or any other country.

No disrespect Rising Sun, but with statements as those above and below, you appear to have a personal issue with Indian troops during WW2. I don't think you could begin to imagine the mentality of people in their position to be honest.

Don't think that the Indians were the only ones offered the easy way out in Malaya, or other conquered territories. They're just the only ones who took it in any serious percentages, outside Indonesia and pockets of the Philippines.


It may be a gross and unfair neglect of them.

No maybe about it, it is unfair.


Quote:
As for turncoats: the Italians?
When?

3rd Sept 1943 surrendering to the Allies; Oct 13 declaring war on Germany.

Quote:
The Departments of France that became Vichy France?
A government decision not comparable with individual soldiers betraying their oath.
A government decision like this is worse. Soldiers, no matter what you say, are individuals and most know right from wrong. If that wasn't the case, we couldn't blame the SS for the atrocities committed in concentration camps, could we? After all, they were honourable following orders, and couldn't break their oath.

Quote:
The Fins? We could go on and on....within the SS their were volunteers from many nations,
So?
So, we're talking about switching sides. Being disloyal to principles, yet it seems governments swopped and changed to suit their needs. That's okay is it?


Quote:
including a small amount of British.
When did British turncoats put a few brigades, or any unit, into action the British, like the INA, and exactly where?.
Splitting hairs, mate. I'm using them as example that some English themselves were disloyal to their own country. Whether they had a chance to fight is not relevant. Had they had the chance they would have.

The more I think of it, the more I think honour can be such a blinding quality. After all, the Kamikaze pilots of the IJN were apparently dying honorable deaths, yet there was nothing honorable in it, only the sad fact that they couldn't think for themselves.

However, we're all entitled to our own opinions. This thread has made interesting reading and I think I have gone off topic slightly, so back to you guys.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 07:18 PM
what do you think was the reason for the mass anti British movements Sir.

The reasons for anti-British sentiment and activity are irrelevant to the conduct of soldiers who take an oath to serve a nation and then go over to the other side.

Amrit
09-24-2007, 07:35 PM
The reasons for anti-British sentiment and activity are irrelevant to the conduct of soldiers who take an oath to serve a nation and then go over to the other side.

Is it? But what if the Oath is to the King Emperor, and not the country? Indian soldiers never took an oath to India, and if they then decided (and don't forget that they did not desert in the face of the enemy during combat, but made choices after their "leaders" had ordered them to surrunder) to choose to fight for Indian Independence, then was that traitorous?

Also don't forget that at the same time that these soldiers were choosing to join the INA, in India Gandhi had started the Quit India Movement which advocated the non-cooperation with the British, and the war effort. As he stated:


Our quarrel is not with the British people, we fight their imperialism. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger. It came to enable India to play its due part at the present critical juncture It is not a happy position for a big country like India to be merely helping with money and material obtained willy-nilly from her while the United Nations are conducting the war. We cannot evoke the true spirit of sacrifice and velour, so long as we are not free.

As soon as the movement started Gandhi, and 100,000 supporters were arrested and spent most of the war in prison. Gandhi's wife died whilst incarcerated. So imagine how this played with the Indian soldiers, psychologically. Their foremost leader advocating disobediance unless Britain started discussions on Independence, and then for him to be imprisoned. And Japanese propaganda would have played on these issues.

And Japanese propaganda was actively pushing the message of Asia for the Asians - a message that was taken up by many nationalist movements across Asia.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 08:10 PM
No disrespect Rising Sun, but with statements as those above and below, you appear to have a personal issue with Indian troops during WW2.

I donít have any issue with Indian troops as such.

My issue is with traitors.

I have exactly the same view about soldiers in every army who switched sides.

If you want to see some really spectacular side switching, read up on the Chinese armies that switched sides from about 1930 to 1949. Those warlords make the Indians look like amateurs. At least the Indians only switched sides once.


I don't think you could begin to imagine the mentality of people in their position to be honest.

Tens of thousands of American, Australian, British, and Dutch service men and women were in the same position. They didnít switch sides, even when they were in a far worse position than the Indian traitors ever experienced.

Itís more relevant that about 10,000 out of 40,000 Indians captured in Malaya didnít switch sides. They were in exactly the same position as those who did and, in time, in a lot worse position. The difference is that one lot were true to their oath as soldiers and the other lot werenít.


3rd Sept 1943 surrendering to the Allies; Oct 13 declaring war on Germany.

Thereís nothing wrong with surrender. Itís an entirely different thing to treason.

In any event, that was a national surrender that has nothing to do with individual treachery.

The same goes for the conflict between Italy and Germany after Italy surrendered. The conflict arose because Germany refused to recognise the surrender and remained in occupation of Italy for its own purposes.


A government decision like this is worse. Soldiers, no matter what you say, are individuals and most know right from wrong. If that wasn't the case, we couldn't blame the SS for the atrocities committed in concentration camps, could we? After all, they were honourable following orders, and couldn't break their oath.

Individuals have moral sense.

Governments, and successful politicians in general, donít.

Soldiers serve and obey governments, subject supposedly to the laws of war and higher moral principles, which is something of a moral paradox given the nature of war.

Governments do what they like, invariably without regard to the interests of their own soldiers and people in other countries and frequently without regard to the best interests of all of their own people .

Itís a lousy system from a philosophical or moral point of view, but thatís the way it is.


So, we're talking about switching sides. Being disloyal to principles, yet it seems governments swopped and changed to suit their needs. That's okay is it?

Apparently it is, so far as governments are concerned. They do it all the time, without any sense of shame. Witness Japan being an Ally in WWI versus its position in WWII, which in part flowed from Britain renouncing its alliance with Japan a few years after WWI ended. Or, more recently, the Westís support for Saddam Hussein for years before we decided to invade his country and kill him.

The last thing I expect from any government or any successful politician is loyalty to anything but their own interests; consistency; and adherence to principle. Or even having principles other than advancing their own interest at the expense of everyone else, inside and outside their own country.

I think itís a disgusting way to behave, which is why most decent people donít get involved in serious politics. Theyíre just the bunnies who enlist and try to serve with honour when the politicians have got them into a war in pursuit of the politiciansí partisan interests.


Splitting hairs, mate. I'm using them as example that some English themselves were disloyal to their own country. Whether they had a chance to fight is not relevant. Had they had the chance they would have.

It wasnít on anything like the same scale as the Indians in Malaya, no doubt because the Indians who switched sides in Malaya didnít have the same commitment to Britain that most people of British origin did.

As for those who switched, regardless of nationality, theyíre just as bad as the Indians who switched.


The more I think of it, the more I think honour can be such a blinding quality. After all, the Kamikaze pilots of the IJN were apparently dying honorable deaths, yet there was nothing honorable in it, only the sad fact that they couldn't think for themselves.

The same applies to just about everyone who serves on any side in war.

We get sucked into it by the bloody politicians trying to advance their personal and national ambitions and then go off to war with ultimately pointless notions of honour and service to the nation by engaging in an orgy of violence and destruction which offends every decent human sentiment and every sound moral principle. Then when the soldiers come home after doing the governmentís bidding, the government promptly shits on them after promising them a land fit for heroes while the heat was on. It was ever thus, and always will be.

Amrit
09-24-2007, 08:43 PM
Tens of thousands of American, Australian, British, and Dutch service men and women were in the same position. They didnít switch sides, even when they were in a far worse position than the Indian traitors ever experienced.

Yes, but as you point out yourself, they were fighting for their own country. Indians weren't - they were fighting for the Imperial masters.


Itís more relevant that about 10,000 out of 40,000 Indians captured in Malaya didnít switch sides. They were in exactly the same position as those who did and, in time, in a lot worse position. The difference is that one lot were true to their oath as soldiers and the other lot werenít.

Interestingly, the very large part of the Indian contigent who surrendered in Malaya were new recruits - most of whom who hadn't completed their training and had been rushed to Malaya. Though I don't any research has been carried out, their is probably a correlation between those who stayed "loyal" and their length of service.


Thereís nothing wrong with surrender. Itís an entirely different thing to treason

True, but RS, you have yet to address the question of whether the Indian troops were really commiting treason. Even the British authorities baulked at addressing this issue after the war, and as has been pointed out in an earlier post, most INA members were not charged thus. Even those who were deemed as the worst offenders were charged with criminal offences such as brutality. Even then, the British authorities knew that this was politically explosive. They knew that they were on shaky ground.


In any event, that was a national surrender that has nothing to do with individual treachery.

The same goes for the conflict between Italy and Germany after Italy surrendered. The conflict arose because Germany refused to recognise the surrender and remained in occupation of Italy for its own purposes.

The same way that Britain and the Allies did not recognise the surrender of the France, Belgium, Norway etc?


Governments do what they like, invariably without regard to the interests of their own soldiers and people in other countries and frequently without regard to the best interests of all of their own people .

EXACTLY - so if by your own logic, then individuals have to make their own decisions when asked to make a choice once they have been abandoned by their leaders/governments, such as after an order of surrender


As for those who switched, regardless of nationality, theyíre just as bad as the Indians who switched.

Really - what about the Vichy troops who were persuaded to switch to the Free French? They are seen as heroes by the French, and the Allied nations.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 09:27 PM
Amrit and others

I should make it clear that so far my comments have been addressed to the quite simple issue of whether or not the Indians who switched sides were traitors, in the sense of betraying their oath as soldiers and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Obviously I think they were.

That was also the result of the trials of the few leaders who were tried in the Red Fort trials after the war.

The reasons why they switched sides are a different issue that, in my view don’t have any bearing on whether or not they are to be judged as traitors. It does, however, bear on understanding their actions.

Something I’d forgotten is the further complicating factor that a good number of Indians who went over to the First INA chose to revert to POW status after Mohan Singh fell out with the Japanese, rather then join the Second INA.

It doesn’t alter their initial offence, but it puts them in a different category to those who proceeded with the Second INA under Chandra Bose and who went on to take up arms against British troops in Burma.



Is it? But what if the Oath is to the King Emperor, and not the country? Indian soldiers never took an oath to India, and if they then decided (and don't forget that they did not desert in the face of the enemy during combat, but made choices after their "leaders" had ordered them to surrunder) to choose to fight for Indian Independence, then was that traitorous?

It’s a good point that the Indians weren’t British and weren’t in the British Army but in the Indian Army. However the King Emperor’s enemies, whether as King of England or King Emperor of India, were the Japanese, so I don’t think the distinction matters for practical purposes.

The oath was to the King Emperor and their duty was to fight his enemies. Breaching that oath and supporting his enemies was the basis of the Red Fort trials.


Also don't forget that at the same time that these soldiers were choosing to join the INA, in India Gandhi had started the Quit India Movement which advocated the non-cooperation with the British, and the war effort.

Nehru (I don’t know about Gandhi) actually stated that he opposed an invasion of India by the INA, saying that Bose and Co had put themselves on the wrong side and that they were

“functioning under Japanese auspices. No person could come to India in this way under such foreign auspices. Therefore, whatever the motive behind these people, they had to be resisted inside and outside India”

Speech by Nehru in D. Y. Dev, Patriots not Traitors, New Delhi, 1945, p.3, cited by L. C. Green, The Indian National Army Trials, [1948] Modern Law Review , 47, at 49.

I think that Nehru’s position demonstrates that in serving Japan the INA troops were also traitors to the independent India to which Nehru, Gandhi and others aspired, in the sense that treason consists in giving aid and comfort to the enemy of one’s nation.

Nehru also kept former INA soldiers out of India's army, although there was a lot of opposition to him on this point.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 09:49 PM
Yes, but as you point out yourself, they were fighting for their own country. Indians weren't - they were fighting for the Imperial masters.

True, and it's understandable in the same way that indigenous Indonesian troops went over to the Japanese in the NEI, but it doesn't alter the fact that they joined up voluntarily and breached their oath.


Interestingly, the very large part of the Indian contingent who surrendered in Malaya were new recruits - most of whom who hadn't completed their training and had been rushed to Malaya. Though I don't any research has been carried out, their is probably a correlation between those who stayed "loyal" and their length of service.

There is probably some correlation. After the Farrer Park address I think that a large proportion of officers declined to switch sides, and they'd be far more experienced than raw recruits. Many would also be much more likely to identify with the British interests they served, although clearly there were some like Mohan Singh who harboured resentment.


True, but RS, you have yet to address the question of whether the Indian troops were really committing treason. Even the British authorities baulked at addressing this issue after the war, and as has been pointed out in an earlier post, most INA members were not charged thus. Even those who were deemed as the worst offenders were charged with criminal offences such as brutality. Even then, the British authorities knew that this was politically explosive. They knew that they were on shaky ground.

I think the Red Fort trials establish that it was treason.

As for chasing the rest, it was probably ignored partly for the same reason that most Japanese war criminals were ignored. It was just too hard. The dominant purpose was probably to avoid inflaming matters even more than the Red Fort trials of a few INA leaders did. Britain needed to be trying, imprisoning and executing 40,000 to 50,000 soldiers widely seen as independence fighters like it needed the proverbial hole in the head.


EXACTLY - so if by your own logic, then individuals have to make their own decisions when asked to make a choice once they have been abandoned by their leaders/governments, such as after an order of surrender.

Not at all.

Surrender and captivity are consequences of war, which all soldiers have to accept. Itís not an act of abandonment by their government.

The overriding duties of a captured soldier, who remains subject at all times to the military law of his nation, are to co-operate as little as possible with the enemy and to escape back to his own lines.

Gen Gordon Bennet, the Australian commander who escaped from Singapore shortly after the surrender was widely reviled by his military peers for making his own decision to escape, without orders from Gen Percival, rather than remain with his troops in captivity.


Really - what about the Vichy troops who were persuaded to switch to the Free French? They are seen as heroes by the French, and the Allied nations.

Like everything, deciding whether or not something is right or wrong, or justifiable or not, depends upon oneís viewpoint.

However, I donít think the Vichy comparison is apposite to the INA. The French troops continued to fight for France against its occupying conqueror. France wasnít at war with Britain, so the French troops went over to Franceís former ally rather than to its enemy.

Amrit
09-24-2007, 09:53 PM
And it was the same Nehru who put forward the motion at the National Congress Meeting that the INA men who were to be tried should be defended by the Party. And it was in this motion that he stated "not a hair on the heads of the brave soldiers of Indian freedom must be touched....it would be tragic if these men were to be punished" (The Forgotten Army" by Fay pg 446).

Fay then quotes from the message sent by Gandhi to Wavell (pg 450) "Though not at one with those who would resort to arms even in self defence, [Gandhi] could not be blind to the courage and patriotism often displayed by persons who did, 'as seems to be the case here'. Could the Viceroy afford to ignore what Indians were thinking? 'India adores these men...No doubt the Government have overwhelming might on their side. But it will be a misuse of that power if it is used in the teeth of universal Indian opposition'" (Italics indicate Gandhi's words)

Not exactly words or actions of men who thought the INA were traitors.

Rising Sun*
09-24-2007, 11:37 PM
And it was the same Nehru who put forward the motion at the National Congress Meeting that the INA men who were to be tried should be defended by the Party. And it was in this motion that he stated "not a hair on the heads of the brave soldiers of Indian freedom must be touched....it would be tragic if these men were to be punished" (The Forgotten Army" by Fay pg 446).

Fay then quotes from the message sent by Gandhi to Wavell (pg 450) "Though not at one with those who would resort to arms even in self defence, [Gandhi] could not be blind to the courage and patriotism often displayed by persons who did, 'as seems to be the case here'. Could the Viceroy afford to ignore what Indians were thinking? 'India adores these men...No doubt the Government have overwhelming might on their side. But it will be a misuse of that power if it is used in the teeth of universal Indian opposition'" (Italics indicate Gandhi's words)

Not exactly words or actions of men who thought the INA were traitors.

Well, at least it demonstrates my point about politicians and governments lacking consistency and adherence to principle. :D

ww2artist
09-25-2007, 05:25 AM
Rising Sun, with all due respect to your knowledge, you seem to have very opinionated views about this topic; the way wars are started! You counter everything with quotes and seem to question every single comment made, as though you are some kind of oracle of WW2.

Thinking about it, I have no desire to be part of this thread any longer, as your inflexible thinking and obvious negative sentiments towards Indians make me feel uncomfortable. I also think you have given other readers a very tainted view of what were on the whole, a brave and loyal fighting force to Great Britain.

Good day to you, sir!

Amrit
09-25-2007, 05:50 AM
Come now, ww2artist, don't be like that. I think RS is merely taking a stance that many have and do take - the question of former allies joining the "enemy" is indeed an emotive one, and the INA is a very good case in point. If you really want to see emotions you should read the newspapers of the time - boy, battle-lines really were drawn back then. Flicking through the British and Indian papers, one would think that the Indians and the Brits were going for all out war.

So far, I feel that RS has shown restraint (considering his position :) ) and I've quite enjoyed the debate. Being of Indian origins, and a partial supporter of the INA ideal (rather than their methods), I can't say that I have been offended.

So, ww2artist, come back and enjoy this debate, because at the end of the day, that's all it is.

A

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 06:11 AM
Rising Sun, with all due respect to your knowledge, you seem to have very opinionated views about this topic; the way wars are started! You counter everything with quotes and seem to question every single comment made, as though you are some kind of oracle of WW2.

Sorry.

First, I thought that politicians started wars, unless we want to go back to some oddities like the medieval Anglo-French fishing wars. Obviously someone else starts them. Could you let me know who, apart from the governments of the major Axis and Allied combatants in WWII started, controlled and set grand strategy for the European, China and Pacific wars?

Second, I didn't realise that I wasn't allowed to challege other people's views and, worse, do it by by referring to facts and quotes.

What would you prefer to be used instead of historical facts in historical discussion which, by definition, involves an exchange of views?

As you're so offended by my practice of using quotes, perhaps you should rebuke Amrit for challenging my posts with his own facts and quotes, for which I'm grateful because in challenging my views and providing new information he makes me think and learn. I wonder why you find the same practice acceptable for him and objectionable when I do it?

Do you just want quotes that support your preferred view, to avoid thinking and learning about a very difficult subject?


Thinking about it, I have no desire to be part of this thread any longer, as your inflexible thinking and obvious negative sentiments towards Indians make me feel uncomfortable.

Read my posts, for Chrissake!

It's got nothing to do with Indians, it's to do with traitors, who in Malaya happened to be Indians in very large numbers.

I suspect you're uncomfortable not because of what I've said, but because it forces you to recognise some unpalatable facts that contradict your rosy view of the noble and unanimously loyal Indian forces in WWII. Well, some of them weren't, any more than they were in the Indian Mutiny.

One of the unpleasant things about military history is that, if one approaches it objectively, it often teaches one unpalatable facts about one's own nation and people, which contradicts the reams of propaganda put out by governments during and after the war, as well as contradicting the positive beliefs we all like to have about ourselves and our nations.

I don't have any problem in accepting discreditable acts by Australians in various wars. I don't know why you're so reluctant to accept discreditable acts by Indians. Or did I misunderstand the thread title as being code for the silent sub-title "But don't mention anything about the INA etc"?


I also think you have given other readers a very tainted view of what were on the whole, a brave and loyal fighting force to Great Britain.

Really?

So the only fighting force that India put in the field was the INA, which has been the subject of most of my posts? It may have been brave but it certainly wasn't loyal to Great Britain.

Or should I shut up about that, because it offends your desire to have an India of pure and unsullied service to the King Emperor?



Good day to you, sir!

If you disagree with what I've said, offer some contradictory facts instead of just taking your bat and ball and going home in a huff like a petulant little kid who can't get his own way.

This is a forum.

It involves discussion, not just blind rooting for the home team.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 06:23 AM
Come now, ww2artist, don't be like that. I think RS is merely taking a stance that many have and do take - the question of former allies joining the "enemy" is indeed an emotive one, and the INA is a very good case in point. If you really want to see emotions you should read the newspapers of the time - boy, battle-lines really were drawn back then. Flicking through the British and Indian papers, one would think that the Indians and the Brits were going for all out war.

So far, I feel that RS has shown restraint (considering his position :) ) and I've quite enjoyed the debate. Being of Indian origins, and a partial supporter of the INA ideal (rather than their methods), I can't say that I have been offended.

So, ww2artist, come back and enjoy this debate, because at the end of the day, that's all it is.

A

Thanks.

You posted while I was composing, and I didn't see your post before posting my last.

We're agreed that Indians made a huge contribution to the British war effort in various ways, both in India and elsewhere.

It's in the nature of military history that great victories, great defeats, and other unusual events are of much greater interest than the 'routine' slogging that comprises most of what happens in war.

The INA interests me for a whole range of reasons, not least the background in India before, during and after WWII up to Partition, and the ambivalent treatment its members got after the war.

India was a boiling cauldron of pro and anti British sentiment and movements during that period, not to mention internal tensions which expressed themselves in another violent fashion during Partition.

In case it's not clear :), I condemn any soldier who goes over to the other side. It's wrong.

However, in the case of the INA, there are so many factors that make it understandable and yet so many that make it incomprehensible that Indians were even in Malaya.

You may know the answer to this, but was one factor in Indian recruitment just an economic one of getting a better job for the poor?

I'm wondering if there is a sort of parallel with Australia's enlistment rates in WWII, particularly in the early part. Many men had not recovered from the Depression. We had militia bases called drill halls. One of our politicians famously described some of the men who joined up early as "economic conscripts sitting on the drill hall steps".

Amrit
09-25-2007, 06:39 AM
Thanks.

You posted while I was composing, and I didn't see your post before posting my last.

We're agreed that Indians made a huge contribution to the British war effort in various ways, both in India and elsewhere.

It's in the nature of military history that great victories, great defeats, and other unusual events are of much greater interest than the 'routine' slogging that comprises most of what happens in war.

Very true. WW2 was unique not only because of the enormity of the conflict but because so many social and political issues arose during and after the war. In many ways that interests me more than the "bang bang" parts of the war.


The INA interests me for a whole range of reasons, not least the background in India before, during and after WWII up to Partition, and the ambivalent treatment its members got after the war.

India was a boiling cauldron of pro and anti British sentiment and movements during that period, not to mention internal tensions which expressed themselves in another violent fashion during Partition.

Again very true. However, the internal tensions did not merely erupt after the war, but can be seen to have done so during the war.

The Quit India Movement is one example. Though Gandhi was a great Anglophile, he strongly believed that the British should not expect "blind" support from India unless they were willing to start the debates of India's reward for such support. Though India had declared war on Germany, that decision was not made by the Indian government (which at that time had been going through a 20 year period of Indianisation) but by the Viceroy, without consultation of the Indian parliamentarians who had minority positions in local and national governments.

At the beginning Gandhi, and Congress, supported the fight against what they believed to be a great evil. But in Indian eyes, the British refusal to open negotiations, lead to disenchantment. What is really interesting about this is that Jinnah and the Muslim League saw this as an opportunity to openly break from Congress, and he stated his support for Britain - as you would say, RS, politicians can be devious. Jinnah knew that such open support would hold him in good stead after the war. So one could say that the roots of post-war communal problems started then


You may know the answer to this, but was one factor in Indian recruitment just an economic one of getting a better job for the poor?

I'm wondering if there is a sort of parallel with Australia's enlistment rates in WWII, particularly in the early part. Many men had not recovered from the Depression. We had militia bases called drill halls. One of our politicians described some of the men who joined up early as "economic conscripts sitting on the drill hall steps".

The way that Indians were recruited is both economic and social roots. Though it tended to be the poor that were recruited, this is not really comparable with the West. The additional factor of what the British called the "Martial Races" (which has been mentioned in an earlier post) played a major part in who and from where the British recruited.

The main factor, though, that played badly for the British and Indians in Malaya, and later Burma, was that from 1939 to 1941, the Indian Army was so badly organised, and the administrators so relaxed about the possibility of a future war with Japan, that they only implemented minimal increases in recruitment and training facilities.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 06:42 AM
And it was the same Nehru who put forward the motion at the National Congress Meeting that the INA men who were to be tried should be defended by the Party. And it was in this motion that he stated "not a hair on the heads of the brave soldiers of Indian freedom must be touched....it would be tragic if these men were to be punished" (The Forgotten Army" by Fay pg 446).

Fay then quotes from the message sent by Gandhi to Wavell (pg 450) "Though not at one with those who would resort to arms even in self defence, [Gandhi] could not be blind to the courage and patriotism often displayed by persons who did, 'as seems to be the case here'. Could the Viceroy afford to ignore what Indians were thinking? 'India adores these men...No doubt the Government have overwhelming might on their side. But it will be a misuse of that power if it is used in the teeth of universal Indian opposition'" (Italics indicate Gandhi's words)

Not exactly words or actions of men who thought the INA were traitors.

This has just occurred to me on scanning earlier posts.

You could also have pointed out the Nehru appeared as a barrister for at least one of the accused in the Red Fort trials (can't recall details).

Normally that isn't significant as a lawyer isn't endorsing his client's actions by appearing for him, but in Nehru's case my recollection is that he hadn't practised as a barrister for a long time (or ever?) before making a hugely important and symbolic appearance in that case.

I think Nehru's inconsistent statements and actions illustrate the shifting nature of attitudes towards the INA in some influential independence circles, although my understanding is that there was a lot more unequivocal popular support for the INA.

Amrit
09-25-2007, 06:55 AM
Basically Nehru was a pragmatic politician, which at the time was a great counterfoil for the idealistic Gandhi. Nehru knew how to sway with the populist sentiments, and acted accordingly during this whole period (not just on the issue of the INA but in a lot of matters).

However, he was also pragmatic enough to know that British opinion had also changed, and that the Labour government was ready to accecede to Indian independence demands - so he could go out on a limb (which he probably wouldn't have done to the same degree during the war).

What was important was Indian public opinion - Bose was still considered a national hero (though most of activities during the war were not known to the public), and the INA were seen as a force who had actually tried to actively do something for Indian freedom. The Quit India Movement had failed big-time, and the leaders had lost some credibility because of their absence from the public arena. India needed heroes, and the INA fit the bill for them - and the fact that the British were seen to hate them so much was seen as vindication of the INA members.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 07:16 AM
Very true. WW2 was unique not only because of the enormity of the conflict but because so many social and political issues arose during and after the war. In many ways that interests me more than the "bang bang" parts of the war.

Agreed.

If we ignore the military aspects during the war, it was really, in unintentionally, a war of liberation from European colonialism in Asia, to a fair extent in the Middle East, and to a similar but slower extent in Africa.

WWII had more lasting significance outside Europe for ending the colonial era and forcing European powers to re-evaluate a whole range of things, from economic exploitation to human rights, than it did for stopping Japan's expansion.

The paradox is that Japan purported to be embarking on a war to liberate Asia from European colonialis when in reality it just wanted to replace European colonialism with Japanese colonialism, yet in the process it ensured that Asia would free itself from all forms of foreign imperialism, from Partition in India to expelling the French from Vietnam and the Dutch from Indonesia and so on (Although fortunately not the Australians from Australia. :D)


Though India had declared war on Germany, that decision was not made by the Indian government (which at that time had been going through a 20 year period of Indianisation) but by the Viceroy, without consultation of the Indian parliamentarians who had minority positions in local and national governments.

Can you expand on that?

I didn't realise that India was able to act independently of the British at that point.



The main factor, though, that played badly for the British and Indians in Malaya, and later Burma, was that from 1939 to 1941, the Indian Army was so badly organised, and the administrators so relaxed about the possibility of a future war with Japan, that they only implemented minimal increases in recruitment and training facilities.

Was it the case that British officers from the Indian Army, and Indian officers, NCO's and troops, were taken to fight the Germans in North Africa etc before the threat from Japan was fully apparent in the second half of 1941, so that the training cadre in India was badly denuded and unable to train troops as well as before? Leading to ill-trained troops in Malaya?

Although I have to say, the Dogras at Kota Bahru on the initial invasion put up a bloody good fight which they could never win because of British failures (going back to Churchill) in air support, while the failure at Jitra was due more to a range of problems emanating from staff levels than the troops on the ground who ended up in bad positions because of it. The level of inexperience of Indian troops might be gauged from the Punjabis at Jitra reportedly never having seen a tank before (seeing one for the first time when itĎs firing at you in battle is bound to be quite demoralising), while later in the campaign Indian troops reportedly fled from unseen advancing Japanese tanks which in fact were the tireless wheels of the bicycles of the advancing Japanese whose tyre tubes exploded in the heat, so they tore the tyres off and rode on the steel rims. That's probably also partly in the nature of an army in a retreat that is nearly a rout. A lot of those problems go back to poor leadership by British officers in the Indian Army, many of whom were arrogant zombies of the worst colonial type who dismissed the Japanese as bespectacled pygmies incapable of facing European troops successfully.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 07:32 AM
India needed heroes, and the INA fit the bill for them - and the fact that the British were seen to hate them so much was seen as vindication of the INA members.

Hence the Brits being on a hiding to nothing if they tried to prosecute all the INA members after the Red Fort trials had become a sharp focus for anti-British and Indian independence sentiments.

I think one of the factors that changed between Clive and WWII was that what we now call India was originally carved up between various principalities etc, but by WWII a sense of national identity was emerging.

Again paradoxically, that in turn was an inevitable but unintended consequence of Britain's ubiquitous presence on the sub-continent, so that in dividing and conquering the discrete principalities etc and replacing them with a uniform British administration that crossed all previous boundaries, Britain actually succeeded in providing a focus for united opposition to it across the sub-continent. This widespread level of opposition was far greater than anything Britain could handle, unlike earlier episodes in the Jewel in the Crown where the troops could be sent in to a local hot spot to put down trouble.

The INA, as one expression of united opposition to Britain and comprising a range of diverse ethnic Indian groups, also symbolised a national identity.

Or am I going too far with these inferences?

Amrit
09-25-2007, 07:41 AM
Agreed.

If we ignore the military aspects during the war, it was really, in unintentionally, a war of liberation from European colonialism in Asia, to a fair extent in the Middle East, and to a similar but slower extent in Africa.

WWII had more lasting significance outside Europe for ending the colonial era and forcing European powers to re-evaluate a whole range of things, from economic exploitation to human rights, than it did for stopping Japan's expansion.

The paradox is that Japan purported to be embarking on a war to liberate Asia from European colonialis when in reality it just wanted to replace European colonialism with Japanese colonialism, yet in the process it ensured that Asia would free itself from all forms of foreign imperialism, from Partition in India to expelling the French from Vietnam and the Dutch from Indonesia and so on (Although fortunately not the Australians from Australia. :D)

An excellent book on the effects of the war in the immediate post-war period in Asia is "Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain's Asian Empire (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Wars-Britains-Empire-History/dp/0713997826/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/203-4319733-4770361?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190723209&sr=8-1)" by Bayly & Harper, which is the sequel to their "Forgotten Armies (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Armies-Britains-Asian-Empire/dp/0140293310/ref=pd_bbs_2/203-4319733-4770361?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190723209&sr=8-2)". It does an excellent job of describing the fortunes and misfortunes of many nationalist movements, many of whom had initially supported the Japanese. Well worth a read.


Can you expand on that?

As stated earlier, India had been going through a period of Indianisation, and though it didnot have Dominion status like Canada, Australia or New Zealand (who declared war independently), many Indians believed that this process had lead to a position where they would be consultedon such issues. The political relationship was that the Viceroy was the representative of the King, and could act semi-independently from Whitehall for internal matters. Things were negotiated rather than poicy being completely handed down from Whitehall. However, the declaration was made without discussion. For a bit more info, have a read of:

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-47058/India#486428.hook

I didn't realise that India was able to act independently of the British at that point.


Was it the case that British officers from the Indian Army, and Indian officers, NCO's and troops, were taken to fight the Germans in North Africa etc before the threat from Japan was fully apparent in the second half of 1941, so that the training cadre in India was badly denuded and unable to train troops as well as before? Leading to ill-trained troops in Malaya?

This was partially the reason - the long-standing professional army had been sent off to fight in Africa. Part of this was due to the fact that by 1941, Australia was (obviously) starting to worry about Japanese threats so close to home. However, a core remained behind in India and should have been used to better train new recruits but complacancy and incompetance on the part of higher command (and the lack of resources) meant that the pace was very slow


Although I have to say, the Dogras at Kota Bahru on the initial invasion put up a bloody good fight which they could never win because of British failures (going back to Churchill) in air support, while the failure at Jitra was due more to a range of problems emanating from staff levels than the troops on the ground who ended up in bad positions because of it. The level of inexperience of Indian troops might be gauged from the Punjabis at Jitra reportedly never having seen a tank before (seeing one for the first time when itĎs firing at you in battle is bound to be quite demoralising), while later in the campaign Indian troops reportedly fled from unseen advancing Japanese tanks which in fact were the tireless wheels of the bicycles of the advancing Japanese whose tyre tubes exploded in the heat, so they tore the tyres off and rode on the steel rims. That's probably also partly in the nature of an army in a retreat that is nearly a rout. A lot of those problems go back to poor leadership by British officers in the Indian Army, many of whom were arrogant zombies of the worst colonial type who dismissed the Japanese as bespectacled pygmies incapable of facing European troops successfully.

Considering the position that the army (with all troops - British, Indian & Australian) was put into, with continual political interference from Churchill, military mismanagement, and most importantly, the lack of training, equipment and supplies, they did remarkably well. The issue of what the troops then did only comes about after they surrendered.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 08:01 AM
The issue of what the troops then did only comes about after they surrendered.

Yes, and a point I meant to make earlier but overlooked for some reason (the beer, probably :D) was that the same options weren't available to all captured troops.

The Japanese wanted to get the Indian troops on side to enhance Japan's position as the leader of Asian liberation, among other things.

So far as troops of European nations and Australia went, it was more selective and primarily for propaganda rather than military purposes (like Charles Cousens http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A130571b.htm) , and compounded by the contempt Japan had for Europeans.

It's interesting to contrast the Japanese attitude to Indian POW's who switched sides and were treated by Japan as honourable soldiers with the contempt Japan showed for European soldiers who offended Japan's code of 'no surrender' and were therefore worthless animals to be worked to death and slaughtered on a whim. Just like the Indians who didn't go over to Japan.

The supposedly rigid Japanese with their bastardised code of Bushido were just as full of bullshit as everyone else when it came to subordinating their inflexible noble principles of honour to the political expediency of suborning Indian troops to help Japan's intentions towards conquering India.

Amrit
09-25-2007, 08:34 AM
Yes, but the Japanese didn't see the Indians as soldiers who had surrendered of their oown volition but rather slaves of the European imperialists, who had been conned into fighting against their Asian brethern. So the "Bushido" code of surrender being dishonourable didn't apply - which is probably why they treated those Indians who didn't change sides even worse (seeing them as unrepentant lackeys of the Europeans).

Looking at from the Japanese point of view (merely hypothesising - not agreeing), those Indians who didn't join the INA were the traitors. But that was at the political level - as has been shown, japanese military leaders weren't so certain that the INA would remain loyal - they knew that renegades (though I think we agree to disagree as to whether they were traitors, I would certainly accept that they were renegades), once they had acted once in such a manner, may then act again in the same way because all allegiances, except to their own cause, have been broken.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 08:51 AM
Considering the position that the army (with all troops - British, Indian & Australian) was put into, with continual political interference from Churchill, military mismanagement, and most importantly, the lack of training, equipment and supplies, they did remarkably well.

I'm not sure that they did too well, at all. That's not a criticism of the troops, of any nation, but of their commanders, senior officers, and field officers. Maybe even subalterns, in some cases.

Notwithstanding the critical failure to supply Malaya with adequate aircraft which was the fault of Churchill and Whitehall, there was some appalling mismanagement by all the commanders, but perhaps least of all by poor old General Percival in one way, although as commander he bears ultimate responsibility for the disaster.

Here's some of my views on it

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4781&highlight=malaya

As for the magnificent Australian command, Gen bloody Bennett never went forward in the peace phase, let alone when the shooting started. Never a coward, but very poor as a divisional commander despite some outstanding performances in WWI at battalion and brigade level.

Ran back to Australia rather than stay with his troops, because he believed he had great knowledge of Japanese tactics, so he said. He could have sent a captain or major back with that knowledge.

Maybe he just wanted to get back to make sure that he rather than Gen Blamey got the top job. Blamey got it, despite having fled the rout Churchill caused in Greece by not providing air support (familiar theme?) in a small aeroplane and giving one of the few seats to his surviving son, who was of no military significance and much lower rank than the few other officers on the plane.

Senior military commanders share one feature with the politicians who get us into wars: ambition which ensures self-preservation at the expense of others.

Amrit
09-25-2007, 09:05 AM
What I meant, and you probably agree with me, is that the troops on the ground did their jobs well, under the circumstances. In fact there were no major panics or routs (though it often did look like that because of the incompetent handling of the troops, and the contnual orders to fall back). Soldiers fought, and died, bravely, when they were given the opportunity to do so.

As to Bennet, I only know the little that I have read, and from what I have read, his egomania was a great obstacle to him being a good leader. But then again, his "escape" back to Australia with the contempt that it really did deserve, and he received no-more important command positions.

I am ambivalent about Percival - he wasn't the best commander to have on the spot, but then again, his position was made untenable by the interference from Whitehall, and he wasn't of a strong enough character to counter the constant bickering between the commanders of the three military arms (who all seemed to have their own ideas about the best courses of action - the adage of too many cooks really does seem appropriate).

In many ways, Malaya and Singapore was lost from the moment the Allies failed to counter the threat of the Japanese invasion of Thailand.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 09:30 AM
Looking at from the Japanese point of view (merely hypothesising - not agreeing), those Indians who didn't join the INA were the traitors.

An original and insightful point, but it makes sense. I don't know if that's how the Japanese thought.



But that was at the political level - as has been shown, japanese military leaders weren't so certain that the INA would remain loyal - they knew that renegades (though I think we agree to disagree as to whether they were traitors, I would certainly accept that they were renegades), once they had acted once in such a manner, may then act again in the same way because all allegiances, except to their own cause, have been broken.

That's pretty much what led to the collapse of the First INA, but if Japan had been smart enough to recognise that the desire of Mohan Singh and his men to fight the British was genuine they wouldn't have lost some Indians who preferred to go back to POW status. The problem there was with Japanese deviousness and suspicion (assuming that the INA would be as crooked as the Japs) rather than INA conduct.

It's always the problem that nobody trusts someone who has abused the trust placed in them, whether a soldier who has betrayed his oath or a primary school kid who has snitched on another kid for whatever.

The fact that many Indians willingly chose POW status, although perhaps without full understanding of what it would mean for them (nobody knew what was coming, Indian or other POW's), suggests that their loyalty was to India rather than to Japan and its aims or to Britain and its aims. That's hardly rocket science.

I'll accept renegade as a convenient term for people whose actions we might interpret in different ways, rather than labour the point I've already made repeatedly.

I don't have any problem in understanding the actions of Indians who went over to the Japanese, although Iím sure that there was a variety of reasons in each manís mind, not least self-preservation. I wouldnít be above it in the right circumstances. Well, actually, any circumstances, as I'm a congenital coward. :D

Perhaps the first practical problem is that at the Farrer Park address there remains confusion about what the British officer, ? Hunt (sorry, working off my failing memory here - some might think itĎs a name that rhymes with Hunt but starting with an earlier consonant in the alphabet, about three from the beginning), said.

Some Indians understood him to say something to the effect that ĎYou are now part of the Japanese Armyí while others understood him to say only that they were prisoners of the Japanese. It may have got lost in the translation. The Indians had been separated from the British and many felt abandoned. So, that was fertile ground for the blandishments of the Japanese and First INA speakers who followed.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 09:43 AM
What I meant, and you probably agree with me, is that the troops on the ground did their jobs well, under the circumstances.

Agreed.


In fact there were no major panics or routs (though it often did look like that because of the incompetent handling of the troops, and the contnual orders to fall back). Soldiers fought, and died, bravely, when they were given the opportunity to do so.

Lower levels of command rarely met the expectations placed upon them by distant commanders. The lower levels often did rather better than the resources and directions given to them by distant commanders deserved.


As to Bennet, I only know the little that I have read, and from what I have read, his egomania was a great obstacle to him being a good leader. But then again, his "escape" back to Australia with the contempt that it really did deserve, and he received no-more important command positions.

Like so many things, it's more complex than that. Read his biographies and the contemporary views of his peers and there's an equivocal view. Then there's a picture (which bloody Google can't find) of his 8th Div troops who'd been in captivity for close to four years, hanging a "We want Bennnet" (not entirely an unambiguous statement :D) off the rails of their ship.


I am ambivalent about Percival - he wasn't the best commander to have on the spot, but then again, his position was made untenable by the interference from Whitehall, and he wasn't of a strong enough character to counter the constant bickering between the commanders of the three military arms (who all seemed to have their own ideas about the best courses of action - the adage of too many cooks really does seem appropriate).

In many ways, Malaya and Singapore was lost from the moment the Allies failed to counter the threat of the Japanese invasion of Thailand.

Everybody of any importance in Malaya knew what had to be done to resist the Japanese.

They were just prevented from doing it for a range of reasons that had nothing to do with the troops, and commanders, on the ground in late 1941 early 1942.

Even if Percival had been Patton (a shithouse general in his own right in some respects, but one who got some things done), the result probably wouldn't have been any different

Amrit
09-25-2007, 09:44 AM
It is indeed uncertain what Hunt (yep it was Hunt ;) ) said that day, and what is interesting is that he was the only European officer to speak to the Indian soldiers that day, as all the others had been seperated and marched off to Changi.

Fay makes some interesting points about the period immediatelly after the surrender, and I shall scan the 4 or 5 pages a little later for you to read (have to pop out now so will scan this evening).

Interesting debate so far - hope to continue it when I get back.

Rising Sun*
09-25-2007, 09:51 AM
(yep it was Hunt ;) )

A pity.

Some of the troops might have thought he was the other thing. :D

ww2artist
09-25-2007, 05:41 PM
Amrit,
Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji DFC looks like an interesting character. I must look into his exploits sometime. As you may or may not know, I specialise in WW2 aviation art; perhaps his experiences could make for an interesting, future artwork.

ww2artist
11-02-2007, 10:56 AM
Looking back on this thread, I think I owe Rising Sun an apology for getting 'shirty' a while back on this thread. I have sent him a PM accepting I was out of line and hope he accepts my apologies.

Regards,