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Thread: British Indian Army in WW2

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    Senior Member J도so's Avatar
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    Default British Indian Army in WW2

    During The Second World War 2.5 million Soldiers came from the Indian Subcontinent which Includes Modern Day India & Pakistan. They Were Part Of The British Commonwealth Forces and the Largest All Volunteers Based Army with campaigns from 1939 to the surrender of Japan in 1945. However this army is all but forgotten very few people are aware of their contribution to the war effort.









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    Senior Member a_very_ex_STAB's Avatar
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    And your point is? Bernard Manning is representative of all Brits?

    A bit of context would be helpful too. Yes the Indian Army in WW2 was the largest all volunteer army but the vast majority of those 2.5 million men were deployed on internal security duties in India (although Indian units did see active service in the Western Desert, Italy, Ethiopia, Middle East, Malaya and Burma).

    The post independence Indian government has to take its fair share of responsibility for their efforts being 'forgotten' as they have bigged up renegades like Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA who sided with the Japs in their efforts to turn India into a Jap colony at the precise time that the Brits were on their way out, while neglecting the efforts of the actual Indian Army!

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    Senior Member J도so's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_very_ex_STAB View Post
    And your point is? Bernard Manning is representative of all Brits?
    Posting a documentary? I'm not indian if you think that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a_very_ex_STAB View Post
    And your point is? Bernard Manning is representative of all Brits?

    A bit of context would be helpful too. Yes the Indian Army in WW2 was the largest all volunteer army but the vast majority of those 2.5 million men were deployed on internal security duties in India (although Indian units did see active service in the Western Desert, Italy, Ethiopia, Middle East, Malaya and Burma).

    The post independence Indian government has to take its fair share of responsibility for their efforts being 'forgotten' as they have bigged up renegades like Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA who sided with the Japs in their efforts to turn India into a Jap colony at the precise time that the Brits were on their way out, while neglecting the efforts of the actual Indian Army!
    Hey STAB, do you have a link to the source which talks about the vast majority of British Indian Army being deployed for Internal security.

    As for the documentary I am still at work but saw about 5 mins of it and in fact it has a huge glaring mistake in the beginning where it says the beating the retreat is about celebrating the independence to the british crown..... This is completely wrong. India gained independence in 1947 but became a constitutional republic in 1950. The republic day celebrates the adoption of the constitution and beating the retreat In India officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities, where units from all armed services have come out from their barracks.
    So.... take this with a pinch of salt. India post independence has had to face famine, food shortages, power shortage, wars and all the goodies that come with being independent. Among all that, focusing on WWII was not a priority. Moreover the armed forces were never media savy till about 10years ago so their sacrifices were more word to mouth than anything.
    Also do note that India is one of the very few colonial countries which has never seen a coup d'tat that was because we in India were taught that the republic and the constitution comes first and then comes the defence forces.

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    Senior Member dredger14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_very_ex_STAB View Post
    And your point is? Bernard Manning is representative of all Brits?

    A bit of context would be helpful too. Yes the Indian Army in WW2 was the largest all volunteer army but the vast majority of those 2.5 million men were deployed on internal security duties in India (although Indian units did see active service in the Western Desert, Italy, Ethiopia, Middle East, Malaya and Burma).

    The post independence Indian government has to take its fair share of responsibility for their efforts being 'forgotten' as they have bigged up renegades like Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA who sided with the Japs in their efforts to turn India into a Jap colony at the precise time that the Brits were on their way out, while neglecting the efforts of the actual Indian Army!
    Please leave it to Indians to decide who the ACTUAL INDIAN ARMY is?? Low pay, pathetically low rates of entries into the ranks of the officers, living and dying like cockroaches and rats, being treated like degenerate imbeciles despite fighting for an alien monarch, and finally yes being ordered around by pompous farts like Churchill and Monty who aren't worth a fraction of the credit they are afforded---> YES THIS WAS THE REAL INDIAN ARMY(poor bastards)

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    Quote Originally Posted by a_very_ex_STAB View Post
    And your point is? Bernard Manning is representative of all Brits?

    The post independence Indian government has to take its fair share of responsibility for their efforts being 'forgotten' as they have bigged up renegades like Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA who sided with the Japs in their efforts to turn India into a Jap colony at the precise time that the Brits were on their way out, while neglecting the efforts of the actual Indian Army!
    The Indian Army never forgot those who fought in WW2 , many regiments still celebrate the Battle honours of WW1 and WW2.As for Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA ,they have never been honoured or remembered in the Indian Army. I am not aware of any officer who switched over to the INA being reinstated in the Indian Army after the war. Where as many who refused to join the INA rose to be Generals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dredger14 View Post
    Please leave it to Indians to decide who the ACTUAL INDIAN ARMY is?? Low pay, pathetically low rates of entries into the ranks of the officers, living and dying like cockroaches and rats, being treated like degenerate imbeciles despite fighting for an alien monarch, and finally yes being ordered around by pompous farts like Churchill and Monty who aren't worth a fraction of the credit they are afforded---> YES THIS WAS THE REAL INDIAN ARMY(poor bastards)
    Do you think it was any different for British troops? That is a soldier's lot in any army/society - unfortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheroo View Post
    Hey STAB, do you have a link to the source which talks about the vast majority of British Indian Army being deployed for Internal security.

    As for the documentary I am still at work but saw about 5 mins of it and in fact it has a huge glaring mistake in the beginning where it says the beating the retreat is about celebrating the independence to the british crown..... This is completely wrong. India gained independence in 1947 but became a constitutional republic in 1950. The republic day celebrates the adoption of the constitution and beating the retreat In India officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities, where units from all armed services have come out from their barracks.
    So.... take this with a pinch of salt. India post independence has had to face famine, food shortages, power shortage, wars and all the goodies that come with being independent. Among all that, focusing on WWII was not a priority. Moreover the armed forces were never media savy till about 10years ago so their sacrifices were more word to mouth than anything.
    Also do note that India is one of the very few colonial countries which has never seen a coup d'tat that was because we in India were taught that the republic and the constitution comes first and then comes the defence forces.
    Sheroo - in answer to your first question my point was a distillation from years of reading up on WW2. I don't have time to go digging up a specific link to that now but IIRC e.g. about 250,000 Indian soldiers served in the ME theatre (about 10% of the total), Burma and Malaya I can't recall right now. Given that there was a lot of unrest about British rule at the time there was obviously a need to keep a lot of Indian soldiers in India!

    On your second point don't be too surprised if there were inaccuracies in the Timewatch programme shown in the video. It was a BBC documentary which was shown on TV here in the UK a few years ago.

    And your point about the democratic nature of the Indian military is well taken. I'm well aware of the role of the Indian military in society and I certainly realize the difference vis a vis Pakistan and its military. I like India a lot, I visit frequently for family reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysandy View Post
    The Indian Army never forgot those who fought in WW2 , many regiments still celebrate the Battle honours of WW1 and WW2.As for Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA ,they have never been honoured or remembered in the Indian Army. I am not aware of any officer who switched over to the INA being reinstated in the Indian Army after the war. Where as many who refused to join the INA rose to be Generals.
    Well I'm glad to hear that is the case. The WW2 British Indian Army had much to be proud of. I have to say though that with independence following so soon after WW2 I think the emerging Indian political 'establishment' does seem to prefer to celebrate the rather dubious accomplishments of Subhas Chandra Bose instead. For example, my favourite street in Mumbai is now officially known as Subhas Chrandra Bose Road instead of Marine Drive!

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    Quote Originally Posted by a_very_ex_STAB View Post
    Well I'm glad to hear that is the case. The WW2 British Indian Army had much to be proud of. I have to say though that with independence following so soon after WW2 I think the emerging Indian political 'establishment' does seem to prefer to celebrate the rather dubious accomplishments of Subhas Chandra Bose instead. For example, my favourite street in Mumbai is now officially known as Subhas Chrandra Bose Road instead of Marine Drive!
    I think it should be very easy for you, sir to guess why this is so!! Soldiers Fighting for a known evil VS soldiers fighting for an unknown one(Japanese)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dredger14 View Post
    I think it should be very easy for you, sir to guess why this is so!! Soldiers Fighting for a known evil VS soldiers fighting for an unknown one(Japanese)
    At the time of WW2 the Japanese Empire was not an 'unknown evil'. For example, the massive scale of their atrocities in their colonies in China was well known as was their colonial record in Korea.

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    Well i dont know about japs atrocities but i did know that grandfather and material grandfather both fought for brits at burma front against japs[2nd punjab]My mat gar father cought by japs and end up in azaad hind fouj{independent ARMY OF India].I proud on both. but i find rarely any credit give to soldiers by allied.

    IT is just true selfish who used them for own purpose and dumped after that

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    Quote Originally Posted by mirza2003 View Post
    Well i dont know about japs atrocities but i did know that grandfather and material grandfather both fought for brits at burma front against japs[2nd punjab]My mat gar father cought by japs and end up in azaad hind fouj{independent ARMY OF India].I proud on both. but i find rarely any credit give to soldiers by allied.

    IT is just true selfish who used them for own purpose and dumped after that
    Has your maternal grandfather been appreciated by the Japanese for his services to the Empire of the Rising Sun?

    Certain things apply to soldiers everywhere unfortunately.

    Tommy
    Rudyard Kipling

    I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
    The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
    The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
    O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
    But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
    But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
    But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
    The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
    O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

    Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
    An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
    But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
    While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
    But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
    There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
    O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

    You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
    We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
    Last edited by a_very_ex_STAB; 05-14-2009 at 11:05 AM.

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    Strangely appropriate putting Kipling in a thread on the indian army!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemowork View Post
    Strangely appropriate putting Kipling in a thread on the indian army!
    Just wanted to make the point that British soldiers often felt (or still feel) undervalued as well as British Indian Army soldiers.

    In relation to the British 'forgetting' the Indian Army post WW2 its worthwhile remembering a few things though:
    1. The Indians couldn't wait to become independent of Britain from the 1930s onwards - and independence works both ways.
    2. The covenant was that the Indian Army would fight in the Allied cause in WW2 and then India would gain its independence as a reward. India got its reward within 2 years of the war ending.
    3. In the immediate post-war and post-Indian independence period people in Britain had many more urgent and immediate issues to deal with than worrying about former colonies who wanted to be separated from British rule anyway.
    4. India is still a recipient of British aid (more than 1 billion in the last 5 years).

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