Christopher Trevelyan © 2003-2014 |

The Indian Army on campaign 1900-1939

Arms Trade on the N.W.Frontier 1890-1914

by Dr. Tim Moreman

         The North-West Frontier of India represented by far the most strategically sensitive frontier of the British Empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, combining an external threat from imperial Russia and Afghanistan along with a local and insistent problem of tribal control.* Indeed, the defence of British India from a Russian advance into Afghanistan and onwards towards the subcontinent dominated British policy on the North-West Frontier and brought imperial troops into close contact with the trans-border Pathan tribes. The warlike proclivities of these fiercely independent inhabitants of a belt of mountainous terrain tribal territory lying between India and Afghanistan, capable of fielding an estimated 213,961 heavily armed fighting men used to handling weapons as part of everyday life, profoundly concerned the Indian Army during the 1880s and 1890s. Indeed, the spectre of Russian invasion following the Pendjeh incident transformed a hitherto local problem of border defence against raiding (which had existed since the occupation of the Punjab in 1849) into one that had wider imperial significance.[i] As a result British policy on the North-West Frontier during the 1890s was dominated by efforts to extend of British influence across the administrative border into tribal territory, opening the lines of communication to the ‘scientific frontier’ in Afghanistan and converting the area into a bulwark of Indian defence.[ii] Instead of fostering good relations The ‘forward policy’ in the Pathan borderland, however, provoked growing resistance from the trans-border tribes during a succession of ‘burn and scuttle’ or ‘butcher and bolt’ punitive expeditions.  

         Unfortunately British advances into tribal territory coincided, moreover, with the steady acquisition of large quantities of modern rifles and ammunition by the trans-border Pathan tribes. The procurement of such ‘arms of precision’ enabled trans-border Pathan lashkars (war parties) to resist British encroachment and to maintain their autonomy by redressing the disparity in relative firepower and thereby reducing the impact of superior European firearms and technology as a decisive ‘tool of penetration.’[iii] The qualitative and quantitative improvement of the Pathan arsenal, moreover, had important implications for the successive plans of campaign developed by the Indian Army for potential operations against Russia , Afghanistan and the practical conduct of the punitive expeditions fought along the border of the Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). However, despite the obvious military significance of the arms trade to the development of British policy on the North-West Frontier the few existing studies have examined the subject in passing or have had restricted access to archival material.[iv] In comparison, the diffusion and impact of firearms in Africa has received close attention by academics and this material provides a useful source of comparative information relating to the impact of rifles on colonial warfare and indigenous societies in general.[v] The source of supply of modern arms to the trans-border Pathan tribes represented a constant cause of concern to both the Indian military and political authorities. Modern small bore rifle proved ideally suited to guerrilla warfare in the border hills and provided an effective means of resistance for small Pathan lashkars against organised, disciplined and technologically superior Indian punitive columns. Indeed, the use of rifled ‘arms of precision’ against imperial troops during the 1897-98 campaigns gave the Indian Army serious cause for concern and was the critical factor in explaining the development of a specific tactical and operational doctrine for colonial warfare employed by the Army in India during the early twentieth century.[vi] The high prices and constant demand for modern rifles on the North-West Frontier during the 1880s and 1890s ultimately caused the development of a highly lucrative arms traffic on the North-West Frontier with rifles and ammunition obtained from sources within India , Afghanistan , the Persian Gulf and the growth of a domestic arms industry within tribal territory. The scale of this arms trade escalated dramatically, moreover, during the first decade of the twentieth century and became a subject of pressing concern to the Government of India as the numerical and qualitative improvement in tribal armament threatened the stability of the NWFP. In addition it complicated relations with Afghanistan and aroused fears that modern weapons would find their way across the administrative border and into the hands of insurgents within India . This article examines tribal motivations for acquiring small arms, the sources of tribal armament in the 1890s, the arms traffic through the Persian Gulf with the trans-border Pathans and concludes with a brief discussion of the military implications of the arms trade on the North-West Frontier.

1. The Arms Trade and Pathan Society

          The primary motivation for the acquisition of modern rifles by trans-border Pathan tribes during the nineteenth century lay in the basis of tribal society on the North-West Frontier. These disparate tribes existed in a state of perpetual internal conflict or ‘ordered anarchy’ that dominated the development of tribal society. Unlike their Pathan kinsmen inhabiting the settled lowland areas inside the administrative border of India , who were disarmed and directly administered by the local political authorities, the tribal areas were largely isolated from British influence and the tribes were able to maintain their distinct culture and societal values based around the Pathan code of honour of Pukhtunwali.[vii] The Afridis, Mohmands, Mahsuds, Wazirs and smaller trans-border tribes were intensely egalitarian and acknowledged no central authority beyond the loose control exerted by headmen and vigorously maintained their right to settle individual, sectional and tribal disputes by force of arms. Indeed, the insistent demands of Pukhtunwali resulted in almost continual intra-tribal warfare and endemic feuding between individual tribesmen, families and sections along the ‘bloody border’ of the Punjab and NWFP from 1901 and created a constant demand for new weapons, especially those that would confer a major relative advantage over their kinsmen. A rifle quickly became a symbol of individual prestige and conferred the means to effectively prosecute blood feuds and engage in tribal warfare. The qualitative superiority of small bore, breech-loading rifles over other locally produced weapons gave individual Pathans a decisive advantage over others still equipped with knives, swords, pistols and locally manufactured matchlock Jezails (a form of rifled musket). In addition, a rifle provided the means for the trans-border tribes to raid the settled districts of the Punjab and NWFP, as well as to resist the increasing number of imperial expeditions into the Indian borderlands. In 1901 the Commissioner of the Derajat Division, W.R Merk, neatly summed up the basic motivation for the acquisition of rifles:

          Now as to rifles: with some notable exceptions a rifle to a hill Pathan is literally the breath of life, if for instance I have a breech-loader and my enemy with whom I am at a blood feud has none he must get it or go under. There are no two ways about it. This is the chief and most common motive for the acquisition of breech-loaders, the fierce struggle for existence which is ever being waged in the hills. A subsidiary reason is not doubt also the feeling that the more rifles a tribe has, the better it can hold its own if its independence is threatened. But the primary cause remains the instinct of individual, or family, or sub-section or even clan preservation.[viii]

          The high prices commanded by modern small arms and ammunition acted as a dead weight on tribal political and economic development and ironically absorbed the majority of allowances given them by the British for the peaceful development of Pathan society. The code of Pukhtunwali produced local arms races, moreover, which were independent of the British encroachment into tribal territory.[ix] Writing in 1900 F.D. Cunningham observed: ‘As among the great Powers of the world, so with the petty communities of Yaghistan there can be no standing still. To be as well armed as their neighbours is a condition of their political existence and of the security of the individual.’[x]

          The experience gained at the receiving end of punitive military expeditions and enlistment in the ranks of the Indian Army and Punjab Frontier Force during the nineteenth century also made the trans-border tribes quickly appreciate the value of successive generations of modern European rifles. Indeed, the relative ineffectiveness of the existing tribal arsenal of knives, swords, shields and a number of jezails was made increasingly apparent following the Jowaki Expedition in 1877-78, when Indian troops were equipped for the first time with breech-loading Snider rifles capable of accurate fire to ranges of up to 1,000 yards. These weapons were a major advance over the earlier muzzle-loading Enfield rifle that had been roughly comparable with tribal Jezails and had not conferred upon the Punjab Frontier Force any decisive advantage in mountain warfare. The increasing disparity in firepower between Indian troops and the indigenous population after 1878 mirrored colonial confrontations in Africa, but the terrain and tribal tactics limited the impact of such weapons on the North-West Frontier while the absence of any direct official interest in the administration of the Indian borderland prevented the occupation of tribal territory. The successive generations of breech-loading rifles used by the British and Indian armies during the late nineteenth century; Sniders, Martini-Henrys and Lee-Metfords, represented a distinct qualitative improvement over their predecessors, with progressively increasing accuracy, range, and rate of fire. The Martini-Henry breech-loading falling block rifle became the primary weapon used by Indian troops when it was rearmed between 1891-93 that was capable of a rapid rate of fire with an effective range of up to 1200 yards. During the early 1890s British regiments in India were armed with the .303 Lee-Metford rifle which had an effective range of up to 2,000 yards, used smokeless ammunition (improving accuracy) and was capable of a vastly improved rate of fire due to the addition of an internal magazine. These new generations of rifles were eagerly sought after by the inhabitants of tribal territory, but during the 1880s the Pathans only obtained a relatively small number of such weapons which had little impact on the conduct of frontier warfare.[xi]

2. The Government of India and the Arms Trade

          The presence of growing numbers of modern rifles and ammunition in the hands of the trans-border Pathan lashkars was first observed during the 1890s, ironically just as imperial troops began establishing new roads and cantonments in tribal territory as part of the new forward policy.[xii] During the Hunza-Naga campaign in 1891, for example, imperial troops were opposed by a mixed assortment of Berdan, Winchester and Snider rifles during the attack on Nilt Fort.[xiii] However, the vast majority of the frontier tribes were ill-equipped and reliant on close quarter tactics which often played directly into the hands of Indian troops armed with breech-loading rifles. The Intelligence Department estimated that the Mahsud-Waziri tribe in 1894, for example, had only 2,500 matchlocks and a mass of swords, pistols and shields, but these weapons could still be effective against unprepared troops. During the attack on the Waziristan Delimitation Escort at Wana the same year the Mahsuds and Wazirs demonstrated their reliance still on close quarter combat when the tribesmen overran the perimeter camp.[xiv] The Chitral campaign in 1895 was instrumental in alerting the Government of India to the fact that the northern frontier tribes had amassed significant numbers of modern ‘arms of precision.’ The garrison of Fort Chitral and those making up the Chitral Relief Force were opposed by hostile tribesmen armed with a mixture of Enfield, Snider and Martini-Henry rifles, as well as plentiful amounts of ammunition. Indeed, for the first time since the early 1850s the tribesmen were qualitatively better armed than some of the troops comprising the beleaguered garrison at Chitral and the relieving Imperial Service Troops advancing from Kashmir.[xv] During the course of the fighting careful enquiries were mounted in order to discover the origins of Umra Khan’s arsenal after accusations were leveled in the House of Commons that the rifles had been supplied by Afghan troops encamped across the nearby border. An examination of the weapons and ammunition captured at Dir Fort, however, revealed that the great majority were Sniders of British manufacture, which had been presented to the Mehtar of Chitral by British missions, or Martini-Henrys which had been captured from British troops during the campaign.[xvi] It was also discovered that out of the arms given in 1886 and 1889 to the Mehtar only 100 remained in his possession, while the rest had been sold or distributed to the local population and traded along the North-West Frontier in the aftermath of the fighting.[xvii] The Khan of Dir, moreover, confirmed the existence of a lucrative trade in stolen military rifles and components organised by Afridi tribesmen and for the first time a number of tribally made rifles were discovered, some of which incorporated parts from service rifles. However, the high price of Martini-Henry rifles, Rs. 450 or approximately £27, indicated that modern rifles were still scarce and difficult to obtain in tribal territory, but the fighting provided indications that the tribes were attempting to acquire ‘arms of precision’ from a number of unidentified sources. The scale of the tribal arsenal was difficult to gauge, but evidence found in Chitral suggested that the traffic in arms was growing and the involvement of a Bombay based British company suggested that outside agencies were arming independent territory. The trade in arms soon resumed in the aftermath of the Chitral campaign after only a brief interruption, but failed to arouse much further interest among the political and military officers responsible for tribal administration.[xviii]

          The extensive military operations conducted during the frontier risings of 1897-8 provided dramatic confirmation that the trans-border tribes had at last acquired sufficient numbers of modern rifles and ammunition to alter the nature of frontier warfare. The presence of tribesmen at the Malakand and Chakdara armed with British service rifles initially focused official attention on the number of weapons that had been lost or stolen from British and Indian troops during the 1890s, but while fighting was in progress little more could be done to examine other possible sources of supply.[xix] Writing in October the Secretary of State for India, Lord George Hamilton, observed ‘When this fighting is over, we must give our attention to here and how the great supplies of ammunition and arms are got into this border country.’[xx] The hard-fought Tirah Campaign added much further impetus to determine the sources of the Pathan arsenal after large numbers of Martini-Henrys and Sniders were used by the Afridis with devastating effect against the Tirah Expeditionary Force. Imperial troops suffered unprecedented casualties during the hardest fought operation of the 1897-98 campaigns; 287 killed and 853 wounded, and initial estimates suggested that perhaps 20 per cent of the Afridis were armed with a mixture of Lee-Metfords, Martini-Henry and Snider rifles.[xxi] The appearance of breech-loading rifles greatly complicated the conduct of mountain warfare and made the Tirah campaign strikingly different from all earlier frontier operations, with tribesmen altering their tactics for the first time to take into account their new weapons and plentiful supplies of ammunition. In particular, throughout the fighting the Afridis had relied heavily on long-range rifle fire against British and Indian troops and both inflicted heavy casualties and delayed every phase of the fighting.[xxii] As Major A.C. Yate observed: ‘The invention of the breechloader and magazine rifle has furnished our Frontier foes with a weapon with which they can use with only too fatal effect, as the past year has shown, against our troops.’[xxiii] A wide diversity of opinion about the source of these arms was revealed in discussions held in India and England. As the correspondent of the “Times” observed.

         Some think they are imported from Birmingham or Belgium, and thence find their way via the Persian Gulf to the Indian frontier; some imagine that they are obtained from the Amir's workshop in Cabul; and some believe they are stolen in India, and sold for fancy prices across the border. Probably from each of these sources the supply is maintained; but, whencesoever they get them, it is certain that the Afridis now possess Martinis in large numbers, and have besides an apparently unlimited stocks of ammunition. They have too, a good many Sniders, the bullets of which inflict frightful shattering wounds; and in the recent operations they obtained forty or fifty Lee-Metfords, and made uncommon good use of them.[xxiv)

          Whether a source of arms and ammunition existed in Afghanistan particularly concerned British officials in both Britain and India, mindful of the often strained political relations between the two countries.[xxv] For the first time, the disarmament of tribal territory was discussed in the aftermath of the Tirah campaign given the seriousness of the fighting and wider implications for frontier policy.[xxvi]

        The capture of arms and ammunition by the Indian Army during the course of the 1897-98 campaigns and the surrender of large numbers of rifles to the political authorities as part of the final peace settlement gave the Government of India an opportunity to analyse the changing origin and composition of the tribal arsenal. An initial inspection carried out by officers serving with the Field Forces quickly caused consternation and alarm before the weapons were shipped back to India for disposal.[xxvii] A total of 1379 rifles were forwarded to Rawalpindi arsenal by the end of July 1898 where a detailed investigation of the origin of the arms revealed that 340 had been stolen or captured from British troops, 1019 were constructed from components of condemned government service rifles, 79 had originated from Afghanistan while the balance were composed of a mixed assortment of sporting and military rifles derived from sources as far distant as Central Asia.[xxviii] This miscellany of weapons were sent to England where the War Office quickly confirmed the results of the Rawalpindi enquiry and made an alarming tentative conclusion that the arms and ammunition employed by the trans-border tribes arms were derived from sources within British India. The poor quality of the weapons (the breech of one rifle exploded under test while firing service ammunition) however, prompted doubts as to whether the tribesmen had surrendered any of their serviceable small arms in a deliberate attempt to preserve the secrecy of their Afghan supply.[xxix] The results of the Rawalpindi and War Office enquiries, the large numbers of unaccounted British service rifles and the total number of recovered weapons apparently derived from Indian sources alarmed the India Office and Government of India sufficiently to undertake further enquiries. Lord George Hamilton observed in January 1898:

         Her Majesty's Government are alive to the importance of the facts disclosed by the recent military operations - that the tribes have access to large quantities of arms of precision and ammunition. To control this traffic in arms and munitions of war is an object of the first importance, and I consider that a systematic enquiry as to the sources of supply, whether from your arsenals and factories or by means of illicit importation into India, should be instituted.[xxx]

          he civil and military officers directly concerned with the political administration of the frontier tribes were more immediately concerned with the full implications of the changing tribal arsenal and pressed for the immediate imposition of measures to stop the further import of arms into tribal territory.[xxxi] Other means were also suggested to destroy these weapons. The heavy casualties suffered by the 2nd Division during its withdrawal down the Bara Valley from Zakka Khel riflemen using captured Lee-Metfords prompted General Sir William Lockhart to suggest manufacturing dummy ammunition packed with high explosive, that would be allowed to fall into tribal hands with the objective of destroying their weapons when it was used. Such indiscriminate means of destroying tribal rifles, however, was opposed by the Viceroy who sought other more legitimate methods.[xxxii] The absence of conclusive evidence regarding the arms trade persuaded the Government of India to appoint a small committee, composed of Major-General L.H.E. Tucker and Colonel W. Hill, during the summer of 1898 to enquire into the scale of tribal armament and the illicit trade in arms and ammunition within India, as well as to suggest any alterations required in the Indian Arms Act and Army Regulations to ensure that in future the flow of arms to the North-West Frontier would be curtailed.[xxxiii]

          The North-West Frontier Arms Trade Committee conducted an exhaustive enquiry along the length of the administrative border during the autumn of 1898 that provided the Government of India with the first detailed appreciation of the number of modern ‘arms of precision’ in tribal hands and identified a range of various sources of supply. Major-General Tucker estimated that the trans-border tribes possessed approximately 48,000 firearms, a figure which included 7,700 breech-loading rifles taking government ammunition, 7,300 muzzle-loading Enfield rifles, 3,000 assorted arms of European patterns judged useless for military purposes and a further 30,000 locally manufactured jezails. This figure meant that out of an estimated fighting strength of 250-260,000 men, only one in five tribesmen were armed with a modern firearm, though the relatively affluent Afridis owned a higher proportion of expensive rifles and ammunition. The 7,700 breech-loading rifles included; 286 .303 Lee-Metfords, 4,335 .450 Martini-Henry rifles of the same pattern used by the Indian Army as well as 3,079 older muzzle loading .577 Sniders. The conclusive evidence established by the Committee revealed that the greatest source of modern rifles, over 90 per cent, were arriving from sources within British India. The total number of breech-loading rifles included 1,400 weapons lost or stolen from the Indian Army, 3,000 constructed from materials obtained illicitly from arsenals, 2,500 given as gifts by the Government of India to allies and frontier villages on the North-West Frontier, including Kabul, which had since been lost, stolen or given away, 250 manufactured in Kabul, 150 obtained from trade through India and some 400 derived from trade through Afghanistan from Russia or the Persian Gulf.[xxxiv]

          By far the most important source of the trans-border Pathan tribes’ arsenal of modern breech-loading rifles and ammunition was from the British Army, Indian Army, Imperial Service Troops and Volunteer regiments stationed throughout India and the local militias and levies serving on the North-West Frontier. These weapons had been obtained from the military by a variety of means; capture during the course of field operations, theft, desertion and via an illicit trade in rifles uncovered between troops and arms dealers in cantonments throughout India. The Committee estimated that approximately 1,405 rifles had been lost or stolen from the army since 1883, many of which were presumed to have gravitated into tribal hands across the administrative border. This figure included 600 missing rifles, 600 rifles lost in action and taken across the border, in addition to a further 105 that had been lost through desertion. The loss of arms from Indian Army sources had jumped during the 1897-98 operations when 198 breech-loading rifles were lost in action and a further 121 were lost or stolen from regiments serving along the frontier. These figures included 134 modern Lee-Metford magazine rifles from British regiments that were qualitatively far superior to the armament of Indian regiments, militias and levies. The loss of rifles in field operations was perhaps inevitable given the nature of frontier warfare and the desperate endeavours of the tribesmen to seize weapons off the bodies of dead and wounded. The total number of rifles acquired by the trans-border tribes during the course of military operations was undoubtedly an overestimate since large numbers were usually recovered as part of the final political settlement, but a proportion remained in tribal hands where they represented the most prized addition to tribal arsenals due to their greater range, accuracy, longevity and ease of ammunition supply.[xxxv]

          The primary peacetime source of military pattern small arms for the trans-border tribes were those stolen by professional rifle thieves operating in the Punjab and throughout India. Units of the Indian Army were regularly preyed upon by gangs of Ut Khel, Mohmand and Afridi rifle thieves which had established themselves in tribal territory from during the 1880s and 1890s. The high demand and prices of service rifles among the frontier tribes made the inherent risks of stealing rifles and ammunition from the military worthwhile. The Zakha Khel Afridis earned the reputation of being the premier rifle thieves on the frontier and were deliberately excluded from service in Punjab Frontier Force regiments due to the high incidence of desertion with rifles and equipment.[xxxvi] The depredations of professional rifle thieves - known as ‘loose-wallahs’ to generations of British Other Ranks - became a feature of frontier ‘myth’ and succeeded in securing notable coups against both British and Indian regiments.[xxxvii] Military sentries proved a profitable source of arms and many cases were reported of thieves deliberately attacking men on guard duty to seize rifles and ammunition.[xxxviii] The theft of a service rifle was regarded as a court martial offence and a grievous slur on the reputation of a regiment, but despite careful precautions arms were continually lost to Pathan rifle thieves during the late nineteenth century. During the Tirah Expedition gangs of thieves were active against the troops left in Peshawar District and succeeded in securing 121 rifles from men on sentry duty despite the high state of military readiness.[xxxix] Arms and ammunition were regularly stolen from sentries, guardrooms and from men on duty in frontier stations and increasingly from the less well prepared cantonments within India unaccustomed to the stratagems employed by the rifle thieves. The steady supply of rifles, bolts and military equipment were smuggled across the border for sale within tribal territory at high prices to tribesmen or to arms factories where military rifles were cannibalised to provide parts for tribal weapons. The ruses and stratagems developed to smuggle stolen weapons across the administrative border were extremely effective and most weapons reached tribal territory without detection.[xl]

          The existence of an illicit trade in arms between Indian sepoys, British Other Ranks and government officials and the tribal thieves in cantonments throughout India came as a particularly unwelcome surprise to the military authorities. The sale of arms to Pathans accounted for the loss of complete rifles and serviceable component parts that were smuggled out of bases and across the border into tribal territory. It was calculated that between 1883 and 1887 approximately 1723 weapons had gone missing in military units serving in the Bengal Presidency, out of which 277 were not recovered and were presumed to have found their way onto the North-West Frontier. In 1895 sepoys returning from Hong Kong were discovered bringing arms into India for sale across the administrative border under the cover of arms passes issued by their commanding officers.[xli] The continued existence of this trade was confirmed by the Tucker Committee following the 1897-98 campaigns despite attempts to tighten regulations safeguarding military weapons in armouries. In September 1898 a Corporal of the Iniskilling Fusiliers offered for sale a Lee-Metford rifle to a trans-border Pathan for Rs. 300, and later unlocked the arms racks in his barracks leading to the loss of a further twelve weapons. The financial rewards were sufficient to risk the severe punishment meted out to offenders and could net a soldier £25 for a complete Martini-Henry. For example, Private Gilchrest of the Royal Scots Fusiliers was sentenced to two years hard labour and dismissed from the army in 1898 after he inadvertently offered for sale a rifle-bolt to a Border Military Police informant.[xlii]

          The majority of the tribal weapons captured or surrendered during the military operations in 1897-98 were composed of parts of new or condemned government military rifles. The supply of such components provided the most serious source of rifles for the trans-border tribes, though many were of variable quality and in some cases were more of a danger to their owner than the Indian Army. The existence of an illicit trade in new rifle bolts, barrels and springs had been initially discovered in December 1892 at Ferozepore arsenal, following a police raid on a local company, which uncovered 139 barrels and 107 locks derived from both Snider and Martini-Henry carbines. This trade in parts had begun on a small scale in 1886 and components had been smuggled out of the arsenal to Pathan dealers at Nowshera and Peshawar who conveyed them onwards to tribal territory. The supply of part-worn components from condemned government muzzle-loading Enfields and Snider rifles was of far greater importance than the comparatively limited supply of new parts. Indeed, the potential supply of worn component parts for tribal arms derived from discarded government rifles was vast; over 84,903 rifles had been destroyed, or ‘converted,’ in Indian arsenals since 1893, by cutting the barrels into sections, removing locks and other parts which had then been sold for their scrap value. Such ‘scrap’ iron had been purchased by enterprising Indian and Pathan merchants on the open market during the 1890s and had then been smuggled - quite literally lock, stock and barrel - across the border to tribal rifle factories operated by the Adam Khel Afridis that had been established during the late 1880s in the Kohat Pass. The components were reassembled by tribal smiths, mostly ex-armourers trained in the ranks of the Punjab Frontier Force or Indian Army, into serviceable rifles by brazing and riveting the parts to form a new weapon. Such dismantled parts were prized by tribal smiths, who were unable to manufacture rifled barrels, locks or other machined parts from hardened steel, creating a constant demand for further components that could be incorporated into new tribal rifles. The introduction of mechanical steam hammers into Indian arsenals to crush discarded arms in 1898 had already reduced losses from this source, but such measures had proved initially ineffective and the Tucker Committee identified various procedural errors that still allowed a large leakage of component parts which had found their way to the Kohat Pass.[xliii]

          The North-West Frontier Arms Trade Committee concluded that two thirds of the breech-loading arms in tribal territory were derived from weapons given to the independent frontier states, cis-border villages, trans-border tribes and Afghanistan by the Government of India as an instrument of frontier policy. Major-General Tucker observed: ‘All along our border, we have sown arms broadcast; our Political officers give rifles to their pet maliks; our Deputy Commissioners issue rifles to their border villagers.’ The military dangers inherent in this policy had first been revealed when the Afghans employed large numbers of modern rifles against British troops during the Second Afghan War and rifles from this source reached the Afridi tribes in 1878 when large numbers of Enfields and Sniders were given as badragga to Afridi tribesmen by Afghan troops following the capture of Fort Ali Musjid. During the 1880s and 1890s modern rifles were distributed to the northern states on the frontier and Chitrali rifles were used against British troops in 1895. The weapons similarly given to the Nawab of Dir resurfaced in part payment of the punitive fines imposed after the close of military operations in 1897-98. During the 1880s modern arms and muskets had also been distributed to cis-border villages and to friendly trans-border maliks, without any form of registration or control, for self protection against raids from tribal territory. For example, in the Kohat district alone Tucker estimated that 2,706 government rifles were in the hands of the villages. Many of these weapons were sold across the border by the villagers for financial gain and augmented the growing tribal arsenal. The large numbers gained by the tribes from these sources were of less importance than the service rifles from the military, since most weapons were of obsolete pattern; muskets, Enfields and a few Sniders discarded by the Indian Army. However, they still were superior to the bulk of tribal jezails that had constituted the vast majority of Pathan firearms before the 1890s and many remained in use during throughout the twentieth century.[xliv]

          The rifles and ammunition imported into India by British civilians and Indian Army officers for sporting purposes was the final source of arms identified by the Tucker Report. Although the Committee concluded that this source yielded relatively few weapons of military value, it accounted for a large number of weapons in circulation in India. It estimated that 2,135 sporting rifles were imported into India during 1897 which included an increasing number taking government ammunition of both .303 and .450 calibre. Many of these weapons and ammunition eventually drifted into the hands of Indian dealers and were suspected to have been sold across the border in tribal territory. The inspection of the records and stock of arms dealers in Dera Ismail Khan, Edwardesbad and Kohat revealed the existence of a lucrative trade in powder, cartridges, and percussion caps, as well as the sale of a few rifles bought from British officers which local regulations failed to prevent from being resold across the border.[xlv]

          The North-West Frontier Arms Trade Committee included a detailed examination. undertaken by Colonel Hill, of the source of supply of ammunition to the trans-border tribes. Cartridges used by the Pathans were obtained from sources within the Indian Army in much the same manner as supplies of rifles. The leakage of ammunition from the Indian Army was estimated at a figure of one million Lee-Metford and two and a half million Martini-Henry cartridges a year. A large trade existed in the unaccounted rounds within the military cantonments in India from where the ammunition was transported to the North-West Frontier by a variety of means. Additional supplies of cartridges were obtained from Afghanistan and it was suggested that ammunition might possibly originate from the Gulf, but these sources accounted for only a small proportion of the amount obtained from the Indian Army. The cartridges for both the Snider and Martini-Henry rifles could be reloaded using locally procurable black powder, bullet moulds and percussion caps by utilising the estimated two and a half million empty cases left by the Indian Army on the battlefield during the Chitral campaign and the 1897-98 operations. During the Tirah expedition re-capping and re-sizing machines had been found in villages at Maidan which clearly indicated that the tribesmen were making extensive use of expended cases to manufacture complete new rounds. The source of lead required for manufacturing bullets also came from within India, where it was collected from regimental rifle butts, live firing areas and Royal Artillery ranges on which 730 tons of lead were expended annually during the course of training. A small proportion of this total amount was collected by local villagers and transported back to the North-West Frontier by traders. Colonel Hill concluded: ‘the most important supply of ammunition to the frontier tribes is that derived from our own regiments, and that there is reason to believe that the leakage from this source is not only very considerable, but that under existing regulations it might become enormous.’[xlvi]

           The scale and quality of the tribal arsenal on the North-West Frontier and the extent of the illicit arms traffic in rifles and ammunition from within British India caused consternation and alarm among the political and military authorities. In particular, the revelation that the Indian Army and the Government of India had inadvertently provided the majority of the small arms and ammunition employed by the trans-border tribes prompted immediate attention being paid to the the disarmament of tribal territory and the recovery of the weapons in Pathan hands. It quickly became apparent that disarmament, however, was simply beyond the power of the Indian authorities. As Hamilton observed: ‘Disarmament is apparently a more complicated question than I first believed, for it does involve, under certain conditions, protection against those left armed. Unless we can associate disarmament with a stoppage of supplies, we shall do little good, and the constant and periodic re-armament of the great European armies with fresh weapons, and the sale of the old, puts an enormous amount of life-destroying instruments upon the general market at absurd prices.’[xlvii] It was also immediately apparent that it would be impossible to recover government rifles except as punitive fines in the wake of military operations, since in the opinion of the tribes the weapons had been secured by legitimate means. As a result the Government of India was forced to acquiesce in the existence of the current tribal arsenal and to accept that action could only be taken when thieves or tribesmen with recently stolen weapons were identified. In such cases the only redress that could be secured was through the enforcement of collective responsibility against the tribe concerned or large punitive fines were the only means available to secure the return of stolen firearms. W.R. Merk suggested that restrictions were required to prevent any further increases in tribal armament:

          The proper measures to adopt relative to rifles cis-Indus are firstly, to shut the door before the horse goes, to have an efficient system for the prevention of thefts or sales of government arms; secondly, an effective police supervision over bad characters and gangs of trans and cis frontier vagrants and vagabonds who are suspected or believed to be concerned in the illicit arms trade; and thirdly, the free interchange of information and full direction of operations throughout India regarding such persons by means of a central bureau, such as the Thaggi and Dacoity Department.[xlviii]

          The Government of India took immediate action to prevent further losses to the trans-border tribes during 1899-1900. The Foreign Department tightened the Arms Act and existing arms regulations and introduced new measures in order to curtail the flow of arms and ammunition into independent territory. The gift of arms and ammunition to trans-border Maliks had been prohibited in 1898 and further controls were placed on the weapons in the hands of the civil population of the NWFP. The number of arms in circulation in the administered areas was restricted by curtailing the number of licenses issued to carry arms, the introduction of a comprehensive system of registration for rifles issued to frontier villages and the limited disarmament of Peshawar District. Existing regulations governing the commercial trade in arms in India were more strictly enforced and the importation and trade in firearms taking ammunition of service pattern was banned to prevent weapons being openly sold across the border. These measures immediately deprived the trans-border tribes of further supplies of the low quality weapons which had been supplied by the Government of India during the 1890s, but curtailing losses from military sources was to prove a more difficult proposition.

          The scale of the leakage of arms and ammunition from the British Army, Indian Army, Volunteers Corps and Militias throughout India was particularly embarrassing to the Indian military authorities and prompted alterations in Army Regulations and the introduction of new measures to exercise greater care of arms and ammunition both in the field and in barracks. The ownership and use of private rifles by Indian officers and soldiers on leave was sharply restricted and greater care was exercised in the guarding of arms at units throughout India. Both British and Indian regiments rearmed sentries on guard duty with relatively worthless smoothbore Sniders firing buckshot of little value to the trans-border tribes removing the incentive for some of the most daring attacks by thieves.[xlix] The introduction of careful accounting systems for tracking the location of weapons, arms racks securing both rifles and their bolts, and constant guards mounted to protect weapons at night proved effective in deterring thefts both from barracks and in the field. Regular Indian and British Army regiments serving on the North-West Frontier adopted methods pioneered by the Punjab Frontier Force for the security the arms in the field. These included physically securing rifles to their waist with metal chains, sleeping with their weapons rolled inside their blankets at night, and keeping the valuable rifle bolt hidden separately inside clothing.[l] Strict checks were imposed on the recruitment of trans-border Pathans into the Civil Armed Forces and Indian Army in order to prevent men deserting with or stealing rifles and ammunition. New recruits had to have their village, section and tribe verified by political officers, provide financial security for their arms, equipment and ammunition and were only enlisted when given strong personal recommendations by Indian Officers.[li] The supply of ammunition was also strictly controlled with exacting accounting regulations in regiments, arsenals and magazines, with stipulations that 90 per cent of cartridges expended in training must be returned before further ammunition would be issued. Rifle ranges and exercise areas were carefully picked over to recover both lead and empty cases and the loss of a live round became a serious offence.[lii] During field operations on the North-West Frontier some British and Indian regiments went as far to collect expended cases off the battlefield in order to deny the tribesmen further supplies of ammunition. The new regulations and direct action against arms dealers in the North-West Frontier Province achieved immediate success and the price of ammunition increased throughout tribal territory. Finally, the supply of rifle components used by the tribal factories was cut at source in Indian arsenals by tightening the procedure for the conversion of arms and the use of mechanical steam hammers to crush unserviceable rifles. The resulting scrap metal was no longer placed on sale at auction denying the tribal arms factories of the components that had sustained a growing industry during the 1890s.[liii]

          The effectiveness of these restrictions imposed on the illicit arms traffic on the North-West Frontier were carefully monitored by the Indian Army and Foreign Department during the early 1900s. A marked increase in the current prices of arms and ammunition in tribal territory was the first indicator that the measures suggested by Tucker and Hill had resulted in the more careful custody of weapons and cartridges in India.[liv] The success of restrictive measures could be gauged by the revitalization, moreover, of the tribal arms factories, which started manufacturing complete home made rifles. By 1901 the standard of craftsmanship had improved, moreover, with factories producing copies of Martini-Henry Rifles that were almost indistinguishable from originals to the casual observer down to the makers-marks, serial and regimental numbers. New factories were set up in Tirah and Dir staffed by armourers trained in India and Kabul, but all the weapons they had produced had shorter life spans than service rifles since the barrels and breechblocks were composed of unhardened steel.[lv] However, during the 1900s leakages of arms, component parts and ammunition continued to occur within India and the NWFP on a reduced scale. For example, during 1903 evidence was found suggesting that arms were being smuggled from across India into tribal territory, with the seizure of arms intended for the North-West Frontier at Rangoon and revolvers made in Hong Kong were found in the Tochi Valley. The activity of Pathan rifle thieves operating in the NWFP and India was more difficult to control. A new Arms Section of the Criminal Investigation Department was formed to identify and counter the activities of gangs working in close co-operation with the provincial police, Railway Police and District Officers. During 1901 30 military rifles were stolen and another 80 in 1902, but the number of weapons subsequently recovered in transit across the NWFP increased as the civil police exercised far greater care in the detection of thieves and arms smugglers. The Welsh Fusiliers, for example, lost nine rifles during the Delhi Durbar on 30th December 1902, but seven of the weapons were later recovered in transit across the NWFP.[lvi] During the 1900s the Arms Branch succeeded in tracing known gangs of thieves, restricting their movements and hence aided in the capture of known criminals throughout India. Losses of rifles and ammunition from both military and civil sources declined in military cantonments in the NWFP and throughout India. The Arms Branch recovered 171 rifles out of 274 lost in India and Burma during 1905 and succeeded in identifying rifle thieves and arms smugglers in Aljmer, Calcutta, Rawalpindi and Attock.[lvii] The measures introduced to restrict the flow of arms to the trans-border Pathan tribes in the wake of the Tucker Report sharply reduced the large and embarrassing amount of arms and ammunition supplied from sources within British India, but never succeeded in completely eliminating the leakage of modern arms, ammunition and component parts from military sources. Throughout the twentieth century the Indian Army continued to lose rifles and ammunition by capture, theft and illicit trade between soldiers and trans-border Pathans, despite the strict enforcement of various political and military regulations implemented after 1898 to check the flow of arms.[lviii] For example, in 1911 an inspection of the 112th Infantry’s weapons by a Civil Master Armourer at Kohat revealed that its armourer had substituted Pass made barrels on several rifles and smuggled the originals across the administrative border for sale in tribal territory to finance his imminent retirement.[lix] Pathan rifle thieves continued to achieve success against new and unwary British and Indian regiments serving on the North-West Frontier during the First World War and the 1920s. Writing in 1919 the Political Agent for the Khyber wryly observed: ‘a sepoy with a rifle is not looked on as a soldier as he used to be, but as a coolie with a bag of Rs. 1000/- on his head.’[lx] Although supply of arms from India had been reduced in the wake of the North-West Frontier Arms Trade Committee, it was perhaps ironic that just at the time that domestic sources of arms from India were drying up that the arms trade through the Persian Gulf to independent tribal territory began to assume such alarming proportions and made all other sources of arms for the trans-border tribes relatively insignificant.

3. The Gulf Arms Trade and the North-West Frontier

          A connection between the trade in arms already established in the Persian Gulf and the supply of modern rifles and ammunition reaching the North-West Frontier was widely discussed in the Indian press during the 1897-8 campaigns.[lxi] Although a few weapons and ammunition of European manufacture were reported in Tirah during the course of the operations, none of the rifles captured or surrendered examined had originated from the centre for the arms trade at Muscat. An initial official belief in a link through Afghanistan had to be abandoned as evidence accumulated that arms were obtained from sources within India.[lxii] A further investigation of this suspected traffic in arms was carried out by the Tucker Committee during 1898, but it failed to establish any conclusive connection between the Persian Gulf and the North-West Frontier beyond the discovery of some cartridges stamped with British and Belgian trade marks in Tirah. The appearance in small numbers of European trade Martini-Henry carbines in the Kurram Valley and Waziristan and ammunition also in tiny quantities, however, later the same year first alerted the Government of India to the presence of rifles from the Persian Gulf in Pathan hands.[lxiii] Writing in December 1898 Colonel W. Hill observed: ‘It is evident that the traffic in arms in the Persian Gulf is an increasing source of supply of arms to the North-West Frontier tribes and that it is sufficiently serious to fully justify any action the Government may take to prevent rifles and carbines being sold in the Persian Gulf.’[lxiv]

          The political officers working nearby tribal territory mounted a series of enquiries during 1899, 1900 and 1902 to monitor the availability of Gulf arms, during which evidence slowly accumulated that small quantities of European firearms were reaching the NWFP.[lxv] Captain George Roos-Keppel, Officer on Special Duty in the Kurram Valley, for example, purchased two carbines in 1899 made respectively in London and Birmingham from a tribesman who claimed he could obtain any number of similar weapons in the future. The first conclusive evidence of the existence of larger amounts of European arms originating from the Persian Gulf, however, was obtained during the Mahsud blockade in 1902, when the Political Agent reported the appearance of numbers of breech-loading small arms and ammunition stamped with both English and Belgian makers marks in Waziristan. Later the same year Ghilzais tribesmen migrating into India from Afghanistan deposited European Martini-Henry rifles in police stations along the administrative border and openly began to trade similar weapons with British tribesmen. The full extent of the arms traffic on the North-West Frontier and its point of origin remained largely conjectural, however, precluding any direct action being taken to suppress the traffic beyond securing agreements with the Persian Government, and identifying landing and trans-shipment points on the Gulf coast of Persia. Even so by 1903 the Government of India warned the British government that of the weapons sold in the Persian Gulf ‘a proportion reach the tribes on the North-West Frontier of India, with results that constitute a grave menace to the peace of the border.’[lxvi]

          The flow of arms from the Persian Gulf to the North-West Frontier quickly increased during the early 1900s and rapidly outstripped the sources of supply within India after the local markets in countries surrounding the Persian Gulf became saturated with modern rifles. Indeed, the price of rifles and ammunition on the North-West Frontier allowed lucrative profits to be made by commercial arms dealers able to purchase weapons for as little as Rs. 25-40 at Muscat which could be sold to tribesmen for ten times that amount. A short Lee-Enfield costing £6, for example, would sell for approximately £60-£80 in tribal territory. It quickly became apparent that large quantities of arms and ammunition sold by European dealers at Muscat were being transhipped aboard dhows across the Gulf to waiting caravans on the Mekran and Persian coasts for transit northwards to Afghanistan and onwards to the eager markets on the North-West Frontier. The quality of the trade rifles were far superior to locally produced weapons and satisfied the demand created by the earlier restrictions imposed on the illicit trade from within India. The arrival of a large consignment of cheap Martini-Henry rifles was reported in the Khyber during January 1906, which had been sold to British tribesmen in Afghan markets in Ningrahar and Birmal. Such weapons were eagerly purchased by tribesmen during the summer of 1906 at prices ranging between Rs. 150-220 in Tirah, Kurram and Waziristan as costs dropped to 50 per cent of the year before.[lxvii] Demand for modern rifles soon outstripped supply despite the large quantity of weapons shipped into tribal territory and the regular arrival of arms caravans. With huge profits to be made the British arms dealers at Muscat, moreover, were supplanted by other European traders who sold German, French, and Belgian rifles and copies of British weapons specifically manufactured for the North-West Frontier after Hamburg American steamers started operating in the Gulf in 1906. Indeed, the market at Muscat, the principal arms emporium in the Gulf, was soon dominated by French companies that distributed arms throughout the Middle East and oversaw the traffic across the Persian Gulf to arms caravans waiting on the Mekran coast. The presence of French merchants was a severe blow since it severely complicated British diplomatic efforts to curb the trade which was dominated by powerful commercial interests rather than any external country with whom the Government of India could deal.

          By 1907 the scale of the arms traffic to independent territory had grown to such an alarming level to make the Government of India deeply apprehensive about its impact on the long-term security of the North-West Frontier. It was estimated that no less than 94,000 breech-loading Martini-Henry rifles had reached Pathan hands and arms caravans were still regularly arriving in Afghanistan from the Gulf where rifles were sold, with the open consent of the Amir, at Kabul, Ghazni and in Ningrahar, to trans-border tribesmen.[lxviii] In a particular cause celebre, a large quantity of Martini-Henry rifles sold by the Government of New South Wales on the international arms market after the Second Boer War were discovered in trans-border Pathan hands in 1907 still clearly stamped with the New South Wales mark on the butt. These Bandari rifles were especially prized by the Pathans and were rapidly snapped up since they were of the same pattern utilised by the Indian Army and therefore easier to supply with ammunition.[lxix] Estimates by the Intelligence Department indicated that 30,000 rifles and 3,000,000 rounds of ammunition were being imported annually into Afghanistan and tribal territory by 1908, as more European companies took advantage of the enormous profits to be made. The Adam Khel Afridis became directly involved in the trade in Persian Gulf rifles after the local market in Kohat Pass weapons had been undermined by Bandari rifles. In September 1908 they invested Rs. 16,000 in arms and ammunition, and small parties proceeded via Karachi to Muscat and later returned with rifles and ammunition via Afghanistan to the North-West Frontier from where new ventures were planned.[lxx] The limited measures introduced by the Persian and Indian governments to check the flow of arms were simply overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the traffic on land and seas and both for some time could do little more than monitor the arms trade which continued to grow in size.[lxxi] The first systematic detailed appreciation of numbers in independent tribal territory during early 1910 estimated that a total 63,564 breech-loaders were in now in Pathan hands and henceforth the armament and fighting strength of the trans-border tribes was carefully monitored by the military and political authorities in India.[lxxii]

          The dramatically escalating scale of the arms traffic and the inability of the Foreign Office to concert international action to curb it at the Brussels Arms Conference in 1908 forced the Government of India to take direct measures for its suppression. Indeed, the military position on the North-West Frontier in relation to both Afghanistan and the trans-border Pathan tribes had been transformed and the size and quality of the tribal arsenal was perceived to threaten the stability of India and the North-West Frontier. In a despatch sent to London in September 1909 the Government of India observed:

            In short, a political and military situation has, in our opinion, arisen in Afghanistan and on our North-West Frontier which has upset the balance of power and constitutes a serious menace to the maintenance of peace. The gravity of the position is such as, in our judgement, to call for immediate and effective action, and we can no longer safely afford to await the uncertain issues of diplomacy. We are strongly of the opinion that any reasonable means and expenditure having for their aim the suppression of the traffic will not only prove economical in the end, but are imperatively demanded to avert a danger which, if permitted to increase, may seriously embarrass our position in India.[lxxiii]

           In addition, the danger of modern arms reaching dissidents within India sufficiently alarmed the political authorities to take direct action to suppress the arms trade while fitful political negotiations dragged on with France to cut the source of arms at Muscat. A naval blockade was imposed along the Mekran Coast during 1909 that employed five Royal Navy warships, four armed launches and the Royal Indian Marine Ship ‘Minto’ under the control of the Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station. It immediately achieved some success with the seizure of consignments aboard dhows crossing the Persian Gulf, but failed during 1909-10 to sufficiently interdict the flow of arms northwards through Persia and Afghanistan.[lxxiv] A small military garrison located at Robat, intelligence officers at Maskat and Jask equipped with wireless installations and patrols mounted along Indo-European telegraph line by armed guards supplemented these naval operations. The Indian Police in the NWFP implemented restrictions to prevent direct trade by Ghilzais and Adam Khel Afridis, moreover, with their suppliers in the Persian Gulf. The trans-border Pathan tribes were informed in 1909 that restrictions had been placed on the arms trade, and the steamers from Karachi to the Gulf were closely watched for known arms traders and the identity of pilgrims to Mecca and Kerbala were carefully checked to prevent dealers reaching Muscat. Agents were also sent into Afghanistan by the Intelligence Department to report on the arms trade and the information gained regarding arms caravans and gun-runners was passed to the navy and troops in the Persian Gulf who met with increasing success. Indeed, the growing effectiveness of the blockade precipitated a minor crisis on the frontier during 1910 as Adam Khel Afridi gunrunners, who had speculated on the Gulf trade, lost heavily and faced financial ruin. The tribesmen reacted by increasing the number of raids mounted across the administrative border and demanded recompense from the Government of India for the losses they had sustained in what was still regarded as a legitimate trade, but the Afridis demands met a firm rebuff from the authorities.[lxxv] The naval blockade was complemented by amphibious operations on the Persian and Mekran coasts against traders and caravans awaiting fresh shipments of arms after 1910. During the winter of 1910-11 a force of 3,000 Afghans and Pathans were located in Mekran and on 10th April 1911 a force composed of the 104th Outram’s Rifles, two Sections of mountain artillery, Sappers and a Field Ambulance was landed on the coast by R.I.M.S. ‘Northbrook’ and ‘Hardinge’. The initial landing dispersed the Afghans northwards away from the coast, seized consignments of weapons awaiting collection and a small engagement was fought with heavily armed gunrunners at Pushk.[lxxvi]

          As the naval blockade successfully interdicted the flow of weapons after 1912 across the Persian Gulf and caches of rifles and ammunition were seized on the Mekran coast the traffic in arms through Afghanistan to the North-West Frontier tribes sharply declined. Although accumulated stocks of arms and ammunition in Persia and Baluchistan maintained supplies to the North-West Frontier for a short period, Afghan arms traders soon began returning empty handed and out of pocket to Kabul. The profits enjoyed by European traders at Muscat also slumped and by the end of 1911 all but one French company had closed down.[lxxvii] The agreement of the Arms Warehouse Regulations with the Sultan of Oman forced the closure of the French firm of Gogueyer in December 1912 at long last effectively bringing an end to the arms trade between Muscat and the North-West Frontier. The success of the blockade was marked by an increase in the price of rifles and ammunition on the North-West Frontier after 1910 as the supply from the Gulf dried up and news of the naval blockade reached independent territory, forcing recourse to thefts from the Indian Army and the domestic arms factories.[lxxviii] However, the trans-border Pathan tribes had already amassed large quantities of arms and ammunition sufficient to satisfy local requirements for several years to come and which had transformed the defence on the North-West Frontier.

4. The implications of the Arms Trade

          The military position on the North-West Frontier of India had clearly been revolutionised by the dissemination of large numbers of modern rifles to the trans-border Pathan tribes during the ten-year period of relative peace following the 1897-98 operations. Although General Sir William Lockhart and others had warned during the Tirah Campaign of the growing impact of Pathan armament on military intervention in Afghanistan or defence against a Russian advance towards India, the Government of India had failed to act to prevent the growth of the tribal arsenal.[lxxix]

          The presence of over 200,000 now heavily armed Pathan tribesmen on the lines of communication to Afghanistan was a source of alarm to successive Commanders-in-Chief and civil administrators in the N.W.F.P. and led to calls for the progressive assimilation and administration of tribal territory.[lxxx] Lord Roberts, giving evidence to the Committee of Imperial Defence in 1907, observed that 80,000 troops would have to be left to guard the lines of communication from tribal attack in event of war with Russia while 85,000 men would be required to fight a frontier campaign on the same scale as the 1897-98 operations.[lxxxi] Similarly the Viceroy, Lord Minto, wrote in April 1910: ‘One cannot shut one's eyes to the seriousness of the position. The conditions we should have to face now in a frontier war on a big scale would be entirely different from those of past years.’[lxxxii] The tactical and operational conduct of punitive campaigns against the trans-border tribes, moreover, was greatly complicated by the appearance of large numbers of breech-loading ‘arms of prevision.’ The Tirah campaign had provided a graphic illustration of the implications of operations against comparatively badly armed tribesmen in the border hills, but since 1898 the tribes had acquired such large amounts of arms and ammunition that the conduct of frontier warfare in the future became a completely different proposition, with the Pathan tribes now capable of inflicting heavy casualties and dramatically slowing the pace of operations in tribal territory. However, the Indian Army was spared a major frontier campaign before the First World War except for the short-lived Mohmand and Zakha Khel punitive expeditions in 1908.[lxxxiii] The insistent duties of watch and ward of the administrative border caused more immediate problems during the 1900s with an increase in the scale of raiding into the settled areas. The Civil Armed Forces were outgunned by raiding parties which were able to operate with virtual impunity and strike deep into the NWFP and the Punjab. The militia and levies were rearmed with .303 calibre service rifles in 1909 in an endeavour to place them on equal terms with tribal lashkars and the policy adopted in 1900 to restrict arms in civil hands was reversed when arms were issued to border villages to provide for their self defence, although a careful system of registration and indemnities was introduced.[lxxxiv]


          The acquisition of large quantities of modern breech-loading rifles and ammunition by the trans-border Pathan tribes during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had transformed the strategical position on the North-West Frontier of India by 1914. Although the demand for rifles on the North-West Frontier had much in common with many frontier areas throughout the British Empire where indigenous populations sought to acquire European weapons by a variety of means, it had a far greater significance due of the gravity of the external threat from imperial Russia. Indeed, the increasing size of the military commitment on the North-West Frontier in the aftermath of the 1897-98 frontier risings as a result of improving tribal fighting capability helped convince the Committee of Imperial Defence that some form of rapprochement was necessary with Russia since imperial resources were clearly incapable of mounting operations in Afghanistan, while at the same time containing the heavily armed trans-border tribes. The successive plans of campaign for military operations on the North-West Frontier had now to take into account the vastly increased fighting capability of the independent tribes, whose control assumed a growing importance in the minds of the General Staff in India in the event of war. Improving tribal armament, moreover, profoundly affected the tactical conduct of military operations in tribal territory, moreover, since the new rifles enabled tribal lashkars to offer effective resistance to imperial troops during guerilla warfare in the hills. Indeed, it ensured that the tribes were able to impose such significant costs in blood and expense on the Indian Army so as to preclude the complete occupation of tribal territory up to Afghan frontier. The Waziristan Campaign during the winter of 1919-20 provided a dramatic illustration of the implications of the improvement in tribal armament when the Derajat Column narrowly avoided defeat in the Tank Zam Valley and suffered the heaviest casualties ever experienced by the Indian Army in frontier warfare. Henceforward the conduct of punitive campaigns in tribal territory became increasingly indecisive due to the impact of .303 rifles in tribal hands that largely paralysed movement restricted to the valley floors. The armament of the trans-border Pathans was acknowledged by Political Officers as the basis of the tribal problem during the inter-war period, but despite repeated pleas for its adoption disarmament was never in the realm of practical politics because the Government of India was unwilling to countenance the large-scale military operations and direct administration of tribal territory which were a prerequisite of such a policy. The Indian Army was unable to restore the distinct qualitative superiority in armament over the independent tribes which it had enjoyed in the mid nineteenth century during the inter-war period despite the increasing use of airpower, armoured cars, light tanks and other modern military technology in frontier warfare. The armament of the tribesmen and the mountainous terrain placed instead a premium on highly trained manpower, the development and dissemination of a unique tactical doctrine for frontier warfare and the implementation of a distinctive ‘hearts and mind policy’ after the First World War in order to pacify the border using a combination of military, political and economic means.

*  My thanks to Professor B. Bond, Dr A. Lambert and Dr B. Holden Reid for their comments on versions of this article and the staff at the India Office Library and Records for their assistance during the research. All references to documents are from this source unless otherwise stated in the text.

[i] Lt.-Col. W. H. Paget and Lt. A. H. Mason, Expeditions versus the North West Frontier Tribes, (London, 1884), 4-5. See A Dictionary of the Pathan Tribes on the North West Frontier of India, (Calcutta, 1899).

[ii] J. Harris,‘A Scientific Frontier for India: Background to the Forward Policy of the Nineties’, Canadian Journal of History, 1, (1966), 46-71.

[iii] D.R. Headrick, Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century, (New York, 1981), 83-126.

[iv] Capt. C.C. Davies, The Problem of the North West Frontier 1890-1908, (Cambridge, 1932), 189-78, L. Baha, N.-W.F. Administration under British Rule 1901-1919, (Islamabad, 1978), 77-78, and R.O. Christiansen, Conflict and Change Among the Khyber Afridis a study of British policy and Tribal Society on the North-West Frontier 1839-1947, (University of Leicester, Ph.D., 1987), 285-300.

[v] For example; S. Miers, ‘Notes on the Arms Trade and Government Policy in Southern Africa between 1870 and 1890’, Journal of African History, (J.A.H.) 12, 4, (1971), 571-7, and J. Guy,‘A note on firearms in the Zulu Kingdom with special reference to the Anglo-Zulu War, 1879’, J.A.H., 12, 4, (1971), 557-70.

[vi] T.R. Moreman, ‘The British and Indian Armies and North-West Frontier Warfare’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History  20, 1, (1992), 35-64.

[vii] See O. Caroe, The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957, (London, 1958), and A.S. Ahmed, Pukhtun economy and society, (London, 1980).

[viii] W.R. Merk to the Chief Secretary to Govt. Punjab, Shekh Budin, 12th June 1901, L/P&S/7/136.

[ix] A.S. Ahmed, Pukhtun economy and society, (London, 1980), 6, and Christiansen, op cit, 285.

[x] Hon F.D. Cunningham Offg. Chief Secretary to Govt. Punjab. No. 538 Camp 17th Nov. 1900 in Government of Punjab Foreign Dept. Proceedings (Frontier). Jan. 1901, 70-4. P.6079.

[xi] Capt. A.H. Mason,‘The Miranzai Expedition of 1891’, J.R.U.S.I., 36, 168, (1892), 109-23.

[xii] Capt. and Brevet. Maj. G.J. Younghusband, Indian Frontier Warfare, (London, 1898), ix, Capt. H.L. Nevill, Campaigns on the North-West Frontier, (London, 1912), 11-12,  and Davies, op cit, 175-8.

[xiii] Foreign Dept. Despatch No. 4 of 1892: Report on the operations in Hunza-Nagar, and the circumstances out of which the resent situation has arisen.’, Fort William, 6th Jan. 1892., Lansdowne Mss., India Office Library and Records (I.O.L.R.) Mss.Eur.D558/34, and Nevill, op cit, 166.

[xiv] Capt. A.H. Mason, Report on the Mahsud-Waziri Tribe, (Simla, 1894), 14. L/P&S/20/B104, and Brig.-Gen. A.H. Turner, Cmdg. Waziristan Delimitation Escort, to Adjutant-General in India. No. 99, Camp Wano, 16th Nov. 1894., L/MIL/7/15362.

[xv] L. James, “With the Chitral Relief Force”, (Calcutta, 1895), 99 and 103, Capt. G.J. Younghusband, and Capt. F.E. Younghusband, The Relief of Chitral, (London, 1895), 94 and 104.

[xvi] Foreign Dept. Despatch 36 of 1897: Illicit trade in ammunition between Afghan soldierly and tribesmen in Bajaur, &c., Fort William, 17th March 1897, L/P&S/7/91, Military Dept. Despatch No. 150 of 1895: General, Simla, 20th Aug. 1895, L/MIL/3/1047, Maj. K.S. Dunsterville to the Chief Staff Officer, Chitral Relief Force  317-O-F-, Camp Gujat, 13th June 1895, L/MIL/3/1047, Maj.-Gen. G. deC Morton to the Secretary to the GOI, Military Dept. 399-E, “Arms”, Simla, 7th July 1895, L/MIL/3/1047.

[xvii] Memorandum of information received during the month of December 1896, regarding affairs beyond the North-West Frontier, Fort William, 6th Jan. 1897, 4-5. L/P&S/20/MM3.

[xviii] Memorandum of information received during the month of August 1896, regarding affairs beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 8th Sept. 1896, 7. L/P&S/20/MM3.

[xix] Military Despatch No. 83 to Right Hon. Governor General of India in Council, London, 4th Nov. 1897, L/MIL/7/12022.

[xx] Hamilton to Elgin, London, 28th Oct. 1897, Hamilton Mss, Mss.Eur.C.125/2.

[xxi] G.G.O. No. 620 1898 Simla 3rd June 1898 Field Operations - Tirah Government General Order publishing numerical and amended nominal returns of killed, wounded, and missing in the Tirah Expeditionary Force from the 12th October 1897 to the 6th April 1898. L/MIL/3/1082.

[xxii] Maj. C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, (London, 1899), 289, and Lt.-Col. R.G. Thomsett, With the Peshawar Column, Tirah Expeditionary Force, (London, 1899), 206.

[xxiii] Maj. A.C. Yate, ‘North-West Frontier Warfare’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, 42, 248, (1898), 1173.

[xxiv] Col. H.D. Hutchinson, The Campaign in Tirah, 1897-1898, (London, 1898), 224-5.

[xxv] Memorandum on Frontier Affairs by Mr W. Lee-Warner, 11th Oct. 1897, 10. L/P&S/18/A130.

[xxvi] Lansdowne to White, War Office, 7th Oct. 1897, White Mss, Mss.Eur.F.108/38, and Maj. G.J. Younghusband,‘The Permanent Pacification of the Indian Frontier’, Nineteenth Century, 43, (1898), 250-55.

[xxvii] Lt. W.L.S. Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force. An Episode of Frontier War, (London, 1898), 155-6.

[xxviii] Foreign Dept. Despatch 78 of 1898: Lists of rifled arms surrendered by certain tribesmen of the North-West Frontier, Simla, 26th May 1898, L/P&S/7/103, Foreign Dept. Despatch 199 of 1898: Returns of rifled arms surrendered by Orakzais and Afridis, Simla, 3rd Nov. 1898, L/P&S/7/108, and Foreign Dept. Despatch 120 of 1899: Returns showing in detail the results of the examination of rifled arms surrendered by tribes on the North-West Frontier, Simla, 22nd June 1898, L/P&S/7/114.

[xxix] Military Despatch 20 to Right Hon. Governor General of India in Council: North-West Frontier: Report of the examination by the War Office of arms surrendered by the tribes, London, 23rd Sept. 1898, L/P&S/7/109

[xxx] Secret Despatch No. 1 of 1898 to Right Hon. Governor General of India in Council, London, 28th Jan. 1898, L/P&S/7/99.

[xxxi] Anon ‘The North-West Frontier: By a Frontier Political Officer’, The Imperial and Asiatic Quarterly Review, 5, 9, (1898), 9.

[xxxii] Hamilton to Elgin, London, 14th Jan. 1898, Elgin Mss, Mss.Eur.F.84/16.

[xxxiii] Cunningham to Tucker, Simla, 5th July 1898, L/P&S/7/129.

[xxxiv] The North-Western Frontier Arms Trade Committee to the Secretary to the Govt. of India Foreign Dept., Simla, 18th April 1899, L/P&S/7/114. [Tucker Committee].

[xxxv] Statement showing the number of arms that have been lost or stolen in the Bengal Presidency (Punjab and Bengal Commands) between 1st January 1883 and 31st December 1887, L/MIL/7/12022, and Statement of Arms Lost - (a) in action, (b) by theft, etc., during recent operations on the North-West Frontier, Simla, 15th June 1898, L/MIL/7/12022.

[xxxvi] F. Richards, Old Soldier Sahib, (London, 1936), 92-107, and T.A. Heathcote, The Indian Army: The Garrison of British Imperial India, (London, 1974), 170.

[xxxvii] Col. Sir R. Warburton, Eighteen Years on the Khyber, 1879-1898, (London, 1900), 41-2, and Lieut.-Gen. R. Baden-Powell, Indian Memories; Recollections of Soldiering, Sport, Etc., (London, 1915), 152-4.

[xxxviii] Punjab Frontier Administration Report for the year 1895-96, (Simla, 1896), 4 V/10/369B

[xxxix] Diary of Hugh Bixby Luard Indian Medical Service 1862 to 1944, Luard Mss, I.O.L.R. Mss.Eur.C.262, 300, and Warburton, 41.

[xl] Lt. W.L.S. Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force. An Episode of Frontier War., (London, 1898), 155.

[xli] Military Dept. Despatch  89 of 1894: Illicit trade in arms carried on by sepoys returning to India on furlough from Hong-Kong, Simla, 5th June 1894, L/MIL/3/149.

[xlii] Commandant S. Waterfield, ‘Report Regarding the Trade in Government Arms, Ammunition and other Property’, Peshawar, 31st March 1899, L/P&S/12/116, and Waterfield to Bailey, Muree, 12th Sept. 1899, L/P&S/7/116

[xliii] Military Dept. Despatch 134 of 1895: Proposals for the disposal of unserviceable small arms in the several arsenals in India., Simla, 30th July 1895, L/MIL/3/150, Military Despatch No. 108, London, 21st Nov. 1895, Military Dept. Despatch  132 of 1896: Disposal of unserviceable arms in the several arsenals in India., Simla, 4th Aug. 1896, L/MIL/3/151, and Tucker Report, op cit, 22-26.

[xliv] Tucker Committee, op cit, 28-9.

[xlv] Ibid, 19-23.

[xlvi] Ibid, 33-53.

[xlvii] Hamilton to Elgin, London, 28th Oct. 1897, Hamilton Mss, I.O.L.R. Mss.Eur.C.125/2.

[xlviii] W.R. Merk to the Chief Secretary to Govt. Punjab., Shekh Budin, 12th June 1901, L/P&S/7/136.

[xlix] Lt-Col. E.A. DeBrath, Deputy Secretary to G.O.I., Military Dept. to Adj.-Gen in India. No. 977-D, Simla 24th March 1899, in Proceedings of the Government of India Military Department for April 1899, (Calcutta, 1899). P/5701.

[l] Lt.-Col. H.S. Vivian, ‘Prevention of Rifle Thefts’, Journal of the United Service Institute of India, 27, 132, (1898), 475-8, Lt.-Col. F.H. Plowden, The Battalion on the Frontier, (Lahore, 1899), 4. and Maj.-Gen. Sir G. Younghusband, Forty Years a Soldier, (London, 1923), 242.

[li] Maj. R.T.I. Ridgeway, Pathans, (Calcutta, 1910), 16 L/MIL/17/5/2165

[lii] Lt.-Col. A. Wilson, Sport and Service in Assam and Elsewhere, (London, 1924), 279-80

[liii] Foreign Dept. Despatch 16 of 1901: Reports by Major-General L.H.E. Tucker and Colonel W. Hill on the possession of arms of precision by tribesmen on the North-West Frontier, Fort William, 24th Jan. 1901, L/P&S/7/129, and Foreign Dept. Despatch  147 of 1901: Measures adopted in view to stopping the illicit trade in arms and ammunition on the North-West Frontier, Simla, 29th Aug. 1901, L/P&S/7/136.

[liv] Memorandum of information received for the month of September 1899, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India., Simla, 12th Oct. 1899, 26. L/P&S/20MM4.

[lv] D. Donald, ‘Notes on the Adam Khel Afridis’, Kohat, 6th May 1901, L/P&S/20/46, Memorandum of information received during the month of July 1899, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 3rd Aug. 1899, 9 and 11. L/P&S/20MM4, and Memorandum of information received during the month of March 1902, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India., Simla, 10th April 1902, L/P&S/20/MM5.

[lvi] Foreign Dept. Despatch 12 of 1904: Report on the measures taken to the illicit trade in arms and ammunition on the North-West Frontier, Fort William, 14th Jan. 1904, L/P&S/7/161, Deane to Secretary, GOI, Foreign Dept. 336G, 7th Feb. 1902, L/P&S/7/161, and Deane to Dane, Peshawar, 15th April 1903, L/P&S/7/161,

[lvii] Foreign Dept. Despatch  23 of 1905: Results of the measures taken to check the illicit trade in arms and ammunition on the North-West Frontier during the year 1903, Fort William, 26th Jan. 1905, L/P&S/7/173 and Deane to Dane, Peshawar, 25th April 1904, L/P&S/7/173.

[lviii] Maj. F.G. Marsh,‘The Afridi and Orakzai Country’, Army Review, 7, (1914), 30-1.

[lix] Memorandum of information received during the month of March 1911, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 1st April 1911, L/P&S/20/MM8, Memorandum of information received during the month of April 1911, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 1st May 1911, L/P&S/20/MM8, and Memorandum of information received during the month of June 1911, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 1st July 1911, L/P&S/20/MM8.

[lx] Christiansen Thesis, p.340.

[lxi] For a discussion of the political aspects of the arms trade in the Gulf see B.C. Busch, Britain and the Persian Gulf, 1894-1914, (Berkeley, 1967), 270-94.

[lxii] Elgin to Hamiltin, Simla, 30th June 1898, Elgin Mss, Mss.Eur.F.84/16.

[lxiii] Foreign Dept. Despatch  34 of 1899: Connection between the arms trade in the Persian Gulf and the supply of arms and ammunition to the North-West Frontier, Fort William, 23rd Feb. 1899, L/P&S/7/111, and Col. L.H.E. Tucker to Secretary to Govt. of India, Foreign Department, 5th Feb. 1898, L/P&S/7/111.

[lxiv] Col. W. Hill to Secretary to Govt. of India, Foreign Dept., Meerut, 1st Dec. 1898, L/P&S/7/110,

[lxv] Roos-Keppel to Secretary Govt. of India, Foreign Dept, Parachinar, 15th April 1899, L/P&S/7/113,  Merk to Cunningham, Lahore, 12th July 1900, L/P&S/7/119, and Barton, to Douie, 24th May 1900, L/P&S/7/124.

[lxvi] Foreign Dept. Despatch No. 17 of 1902: Acquisition by tribesmen on the North-West Frontier of arms and ammunition imported into Maskat and the Persian Gulf ports, Fort William, 23rd Jan. 1902, L/P&S/7/141, Curzon to Hamilton, Viceroy's Camp R.I.M.S. Hardinge, 16th Dec. 1901, Curzon Mss, Mss.Eur.F.111/160,  Bowring to Merk, 17th Feb. 1902, L/P&S/7/143, and Foreign Dept. Despatch  112 of 1903: Arms Traffic in the Persian Gulf, Simla, 30th July 1903, L/P&S/7/156.

[lxvii] Deane to Deputy Secretary to Govt. of India  in the Foreign Dept. No. 25-P, Peshawar, 6th Jan. 1906, L/P&S/7/185, Deane to Assistant Secretary to the Govt. of India, Foreign Dept. 644N, Nathiagali, 30th July 1906, L/P&S/10/101, and “The Arms Traffic’, Political Dept, 12th Dec. 1906, L/P&S/18/D181.

[lxviii] Foreign Dept. Despatch 24 of 1907: Arms trade in the Persian Gulf, Fort William, 21st Feb. 1907, L/P&S/7/198, Statement showing cases of smuggling of arms and ammunition from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province, 27th Feb. 1907, L/P&S/7/198, and Memorandum of information received during the month of August 1907, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India., Simla, 1st Sept. 1907, L/P&S/20/MM7.

[lxix] Chief Commissioner N.W.F. to the Secretary to the Govt. of India in the Foreign Dept, Simla. Tel.  44-N., Nathia Gali, 5th July 1907, L/P&S/11/13, Memorandum of information received during the month of July 1907, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India., Simla, 1st Aug. 1907, L/P&S/20/MM7, and Memorandum of information received during the month of September 1907, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India., Simla, 1st Oct. 1907, L/P&S/20/MM7.

[lxx] Roos-Keppel to Secretary Govt. of India in the Foreign Dept. Letter No. 192C, Camp Simla, 3rd Aug. 1909, L/P&S/7/230, and Memorandum of information received during the month of August 1909, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India., Simla, 1st Sept. 1909, L/P&S/20/MM8.

[lxxi] The Illicit Trade in Arms and Ammunition between the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, (Simla, 1908). L/P&S/3/444, and Statistics regarding the Masqat Arms Traffic (Revised) Compiled in the Division of the Chief of the Staff, (Simla, 1909). L/P&S/10/102.

[lxxii] Merk to the Secretary Govt. of India in the Foreign Dept. No. 1909-N, Nathiagali, 30th May 1910, L/P&S/7/242, and Statement of Fighting Strengths and Armament of Independent Tribes on the North-West frontier (Cis-Durand Line). Simla, 27th June 1910, L/P&S/7/242.

[lxxiii] Foreign Dept. Despatch 135 of 1909: Proposed measures for the suppression of the arms traffic in the Persian Gulf, Simla, 2nd Sept. 1909, L/P&S/10/216, and J.E.S., The Arms Traffic in the Persian Gulf, Political Dept., 10th June 1910, L/P&S/10/216.

[lxxiv] Minute on Naval Blockade in the Persian Gulf, Political Dept., 19th Jan. 1910, L/MIL/7/16841, Marine Dept. Despatch No 3 of 1910: Raid on an Afghan arms depot on the Mekran coast, Fort William, 3rd March 1910, L/MIL/7/16841, and Marine Dept. Despatch No 9 of 1910: General Report by His Excellency the Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Squadron, on the operations for the suppression of the Arms Traffic., Simla, 11th Aug. 1910, L/MIL/7/16841.

[lxxv] Hon. A. Keppel, Gun-Running and the Indian North-West Frontier, (London, 1911),  Roos-Keppel to Secretary G.O.I. in the Foreign Dept. No. 192C, Camp Simla, 3rd Aug. 1909, L/P&S/7/230, Memorandum of information received during the month of September 1910, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 1st Oct. 1909, L/P&S/20/MM8.

[lxxvi] Marine Dept. Despatch No. 12 of 1911: Report by Colonel W.S. Delamain on the military operations which were carried out in April-May 1911 in the Mekran and Biyaban Districts for the suppression of the illicit trade in arms., Simla, 28th Sept. 1911., L/MIL/7/16841.

[lxxvii] Report on the Arms Traffic. 1st July 1911 to 30th June 1913. (Including a Note on the Operations of the Makran Field Force in April and May 1911), (Simla, 1913). L/MIL/7/168641, and ‘Arms Traffic in the Persian Gulf’, Political Department, 20th Feb. 1913, L/P&S/18/B196.

[lxxviii] Statement of Fighting Strengths and Armament of Independent Tribes on the North-West Frontier (Cis-Durand Line)., Simla, 8th July 1911, L/P&S/7/251, Statement of Fighting Strengths and Armament of Independent tribes on North-West Frontier (Cis-Durand Line). Corrected to 1st April, 1912, Peshawar, 18th July 1912, L/MIL/7/7175, and Maj. F.G. Marsh, ‘The Afridi and Orakzai Country’, Army Review, 7, (1914), 33-4.

[lxxix] Lockhart to White, Camp Maidan, 2nd Nov. 1897, White Mss, Mss.Eur.F.108/38, and Lockhart to Elgin, 16th Dec. 1897, Camp Manamai, Elgin Mss, Mss.Eur.F.84/71.

[lxxx] H.A. Deane,‘Note on the probable attitude of the Frontier Tribes and of Afghanistan in the event of an attempted invasion of India by Russia and on the Frontier Policy in connection therewith., 13th July 1906, L/P&S/18/A166.

[lxxxi] Report and Minutes of Evidence of a Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence to consider the Military Requirements of Empire as affected by the Defence of India, (London, 1907). Public Record Office, Kew. P.R.O. CAB 16/2, 106.

[lxxxii] Cited in Baha, op cit, 78.

[lxxxiii] Brevet-Maj. W.D. Bird, Some Principles of Frontier Mountain Warfare, (London, 1909), 5, Col. C.E. Callwell, Tirah 1897, (London, 1911), 153-4, and Nevill, op cit, 365-8.

[lxxxiv] Army Dept. Despatch 150 of 1909: Rearmament of the various Militia corps in the North-West Frontier Province and of the Zhob Levy Corps, Fort William, 16th Dec. 1909, L/MIL/3/195, Memorandum of information received during the month of September 1909, regarding affairs on and beyond the North-West Frontier of India, Simla, 1st Oct. 1909, 12. L/P&S/20/MM8, and J.M. Ewart Story of the North-West Frontier Province, (Peshawar, 1930), 35. V/27/50/40