USE OF MARTINI HENRY RIFLE IN NEPAL

Dr. Prem Singh Basnyat

Background

Nepal was divided into more than 50 principalities before 1743. Historical evidences show that they had some hand made weapons for the personal protection of the kings and their families. Gorkha was one of the tiny principalities and existing king's dynasty begins from Gorkha. So we Nepalese are famous as Gurkha in western world by our insister's bravery in different battles. King Prithivi Narayan Shah the great started unification campaign of Nepal and the evolution of weaponry system too in Nepal from 1743. He bought many rifles for this purpose from India and started manufacture in Nepal too.

Similarly, his younger son Prince Bahadur shah continued the weaponry system for the unification campaign and First and second Wars against Tibet and China in 1791- 92.

On the other hand, Nepal fought about two years wars against then British Indian troops, which is known as "Anglo-Nepal war", 1814-16. At that time Nepal had a big evolution in weaponry system from the assistances of French technicians.

On the next hand, the rise of Rana power in Nepal made a big change in the weaponry history of Nepal because of:-

Personal interests

Participation of Nepalese troops against Sepoy Mutiny- 1857 in India

Then PM's visit to UK

Last Nepal-Tibet War in 1855-56.

Nepalese support to British India in WW I and II

Nepalese support to British India in different counter terrorist operations

Beginning of democracy in 1950 and new political change.


Aim

To brief shortly about the beginning of Martini Henry Rifle in Nepal

The Beginning

Bir Sumser's conspiracy, the murder of then PM Ranodip Singh Rana and concept of new weaponry system for the security of PM and his family.

A training team led by General Gehendra Sumser (son of then PM) was sent to Japan for the study of new weaponry system.

Gen. Gehendra's return to Nepal and some of the Martini Henry Rifles bought from then British India, made in 1875.

Then Gehendra started to manufacture the same weapons in Nepal in his name as GE- RIFLES and other machine guns too.

The ammunitions also manufactured in Chabahil, Kathmandu for those guns.

Later on PM Chandra Sumser also ordered to made same weapons in his name as CHA -RIFLES.

All the rifles were given to Royal Guards only.

About 30 battalions were provided to British India in WW I. While the troops come back Nepal, Nepal was provided some Martini Henry Rifles and 31 pieces of machine guns.

Accordingly, Nepal bought some Short Enfield Rifles from the then British India .

Nepal provided more than 20 battalions troops to British India in WW II. While troops come back home, about 7000 rifles including Martini Henry were provided to Nepal from British Government.

Gradually, Lee Enfield Rifles brought in Nepal and Martini Henry started to be replaced. It was stored in several Silkhanas.

Finally, HMG of Nepal sold 21,407 different old rifles including Martini Henry to the Atlanta Cutlery Company, USA, and last year. Now RNA has about hundred pieces of Martini Henry Rifles for the preservation of its history and military values.

References

  1. Ex. COAS, General Guna Sumser Rana
  2. Ex. COAS, General Arjun Narsingh Rana
  3. Ex. Brig Gen Yangya Bikram Rana
  4. Ex. Brig Gen Shiva Prasad sharma
  5. Ex. Colonel Ghana Shyam Barsingh Thapa
  6. Ex. Lt Col. Hanuman Singh Basnyat
  7. Tu.Mu. Kotkhana, RNA
  8. Nepalko Sainik Itihas- Military History
  9. Sahi Nepali Sena Ra Pradhan Senapatiharu- Military History