TWO WORLD WARS AND WEAPONRY MANAGEMENT IN THE NEPALESE ARMY

Dr. Prem Singh Basnyat

World War I (1914-18)

  1. King : Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah

  2. Prime Minister : Chandra Samsher Rana

  3. Commander - In - Chief : Bhim Shamsher Rana

  4. Details

    1. Nepal had made a proposal to provide 8000 troops to then British India on 3rd August 1914 at the British Residency in Nepal. Mr Myanars Smith was then the Resident.
    2. Additional 6000 troops were on standby. The total allocated troops were 14000 in number.


  5. Tasks: The impending tasks given to the Nepalese army were :-
    1. Stretcher Bearer
    2. Military Police
    3. Sentry Duty
    4. Artillery crew


  6. Training: Training aids were provided by the then British India while the training was conducted by Nepalese instructors.

  7. Agreements (Major Points)
    1. Nepalese troops would be used in garrison duties, but not on battle fronts.
    2. Due to religious reasons Nepalese troops would not cross the Ocean .
    3. Estimated troops for the war would be 14,000 (Approx 15,000).
    4. British India would only provide allowances to the Nepalese troops.
    5. All the weapons would be provided by British India.
    6. All the logistic support should be provided by British India.
    7. While in India Nepalese military law would be applicable for Nepalese soldiers in disciplinary cases.


  8. Name of the Battalions : RIFLE, KALIBOX, PURANO GORAKH, DEVI DUTTA, KALI BAHADUR, BARDA BAHADUR, SUMSER DAL, JABAR JUNG, PASUPATI PRASAD, RAMDAL, SHER, SINMHANATH, MAHENDRADAL, NAYAN GORAKH, SABUJ AND BARAKH. (First move : 3rd March 1915 and Last Move : 2nd week of Feb, 1916.)

  9. Reinforcement : The first move was on 16 Dec 1915 and the last was on 2nd week of Jan 1918. Total numbers of the troops were 2522.

  10. Advantage to Nepal : Nepal had not fought any conventional war after the Nepal-Tibet war of 1855-56. So, Nepalese troops got an opportunity to become a experience battle. Moreover, Nepal received many weapons for cooperating with British India. The weapons received were as followings: -

    1. Martini Henry Rifle - 21,000
    2. Lee Enfield Rifle - 5,000
    3. Stan Gun, Brain Gun, Luis Gun, and Vicars etc -some pieces.



World war II (1939-45)


  1. King : Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah

  2. Prime Minister : Juddha Samsher Rana

  3. Commander - In - Chief : Padma Samsher Rana

  4. Troops: Initially 8000 i.e. 2 Brigades and 8 Battalions, 4 Battalions made a Brigade. there were 16 battalions in total :-
    KALIBOX, SURYADAL, NAYA GORAKH, BARDA BAHADUR, KALI BAHADUR, MAHENDRA DAL, SECOND RIFLE, BHAIRUNG, SRINATH, JABARJUNG, SUMSERDAL, SHER, DEVIDUTTA, BHAIRABNATH , JUNGANATH and PURANO GORAKH.

  5. Logistic Support : All the logistic support were provided by the then British India.

  6. Advantages to Nepal :

    1. Nepal fought in the Burmese battle front.
    2. Had the opportunity to be battle experienced.
    3. 7000 rifles i.e. Martini Henry and Lee Enfield were provided to Nepal as military assistance.



EVOLUTION OF THE WEAPONRY SYSTEM IN NEPAL


Background

  1. It is from this town Gorkha and the pivotal role that it played in the wars leading to the unification of the Kingdom of Nepal that the Nepalese people are identified as Gorkhas because of the bravery and valour in battle. Nepal was divided into more than 50 principalities before 1743. Historical evidences show some hand made weapons existed for the personal protection of the kings and their families. Gorkha was one of the many tiny principalities and from where the existing king's dynasty started. The unification campaign of Nepal and the evolution of weaponry system in Nepal both were started by King Prithivi Narayan Shah in the year 1743. He bought many rifles for this purpose from India and started making them in Nepal also.

  2. Similarly, his younger son Prince Bahadur shah continued the weaponry system for the unification campaign and wars against Tibet and China in 1791 to 1856.

  3. Nepal fought two years' wars against the British Indian troops. The war was also known as "Nepal Company war or Anglo-Nepal war", 1814-16. At that time Nepal made great strides in the development weaponry system due to from French technicians too.

  4. The coming in to power of the Rana family had a profound effect on the development of weaponry system in Nepal because of :

    1. Personal interests
    2. Participation of Nepalese troops in quelling the Sepoy Mutiny- 1857 in India.
    3. The Prime Minister's (PM) visit to UK
    4. The Last Nepal-Tibet War in 1855-56.
    5. Nepalese support to British India in WW I and II
    6. Nepalese support to British India in different counter terrorist operations.
    7. Advent of democracy in Nepal in 1950 and the political changes that has taken place till now.


  5. The history of western Weapons in RNA

    1. Bir Shamsher conspiracy, then the murder of then PM Ranodip Singh Rana and the necessity of new weaponry system for the security of PM and their families.
    2. A training team led by General Gehendra Shamsher (son of then PM) was sent to Japan for the study of new weaponry system.
    3. Gen. Gehendra's return to Nepal and some of the Martini Henry Rifles bought from then British India, the rifles were made in 1875.
    4. Gehendra started the manufacture the of Martini Henry rifles in Nepal in his name as GE- RIFLES. He also started work on ammunition for the guns too.
    5. The ammunitions manufactured in Chabahil, Kathmandu.
    6. Later on PM Chandra Sumser also ordered the some rifles to be made in his name as CHA -RIFLES.
    7. The rifles were given to Royal Guards only.
    8. When the 30 battalions of troops provide to British India in WW I, Nepal was provided thousands of Martini Henry Rifles and 31 pieces of machine guns by then British India.
    9. Nepal bought some Short Enfield Rifles too.
    10. Nepal provided more than 16 battalions troops to British India in WW II. While troops came back home, about 7000 rifles including Martini Henry were provided to Nepal by the British Government.
    11. Gradually, the Lee Enfield Rifles brought to Nepal was replaced by new weapon and Martini Henry to. It was stored in several Silkhanas (Weapons Storage house).


  6. Only last year HMG of Nepal had sold 21,407 an assortment of old rifles including Martini Henry to the Atlanta Cutlery Company, USA. Now RNA has about hundred pieces of Martini Henry Rifles left as reminder of its history.