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Remembered Today:

Kashmir Imperial Service Mountain Battery/Batteries

Helen Bachaus

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Hi Folks, I need a little assistance in trying to find the mountain gun used by the Kashmir Imperial Service Mountain Battery and how many batteries there were. The reason for this is as follows:

In the Book "General Smuts' Campaign in East Africa" by Crowe on page 228 he mentions two Kashmirs Imperial Service Mountain Batteries being expected to arrive around December 1916.

"Indian Army in East Africa" by SD Pradhan mentions on page 132 two batteries of Kashmir mountain batteries arriving as reinforcements. The two batteries of the Kashmir Imperial Service Mountain batteries he mentions are the 22nd and the 24th. He goes on to say that the 1st Kashmir Mountain Artillery had joined a few days earlier.

He cites Crowes' book as the source and on page 135 under Force Reserve (Beves) the Kashmir Mountain Battery (4 Guns) is mentioned, but it seems only one battery. There is no mention of what battery name/number this is.

Okay, so I'm a little confused. Are the 22nd and 24th Kashmir mountain batteries? and if not then are they Imperial Service Mountain Batteries as oppose to the 1st Kashmir Imperial Mountain Battery that seems to have its own name!?!

I was reading the "Historical Record of 22nd Derajat Pack Battery Frontier Force" published by Naval & Military Press saying that they arrived in country around the 17th of December 1916. Originally provided with 10 pdrs, Received new 2.75 in on the 28th August 1917. Between 1st and 9 th of March the battery received two new 3.7 in How and then had to hand back two 2.75 in which then gave the battery two of the new 3.7 in howitzer and two 2.75 in. The name frontier force can mean alot of things and it seemed that this battery is regular Indian Army.

Any assistance would be lovely and assist in clarity.

Oh, incidently, in Ross Anderson's book "The Forgotten Front The East African Campaign" there is a photo (from his private collection) of a Kashmir Mountain Gun in action. This gun being a 2.75inch!

Best Wishes


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I can quote bits of "The History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: The Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base 1914-1918" by Farndale.

Order of Battle 01/02/16

4th Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade (under Lieut.-Col C.E. Forestier-Walker) Consisted of

27th Indian Mountain Battery (Major A J T Farfan). Arrived at Mombasa 27/08/14. Embarked for India 02/01/18. Battle Honours "East Africa 1916-18", "Kilimanjaro", "Narungombe" and "Nyangao".

28th Indian Mountain Battery (Major A M Colville). Arrived Mombasa about 30/10/14. Involved at Tanga with guns in action lashed on deck of Transport Bharata. Returned to India in December 1916. Battle Honours "East Africa 1914-18" & "Kilimanjaro".

Both batteries equipped with 6 x 10-pdrs with mule transport, although some MT was used in Tsetse fly areas. New gun shields made of specially hardened steel were fitted at Nairobi.

Two fresh mountain batteries arrived from India.

1st Kashmir Mountain Battery on 05/12/16 (Major Dharam Singh Bahadur, Maj A F Cole as Special Service Officer) Embarked for India 02/02/18. Battle Honour "East Africa 1916-18"

22nd (Derajat) Indian Mountain Battery FF on 18/12/16 (Major S Perry) (FF = Fronter Force, which I would suggest is the North West Frontier Force) Used new 3.7 inch howitzers for the first time on 11/04/18 at Medo. Left for India 11/18. Battle Honours "East Africa 1916-18" and "Narungombe".

24th (Hazara) Indian Mountain Battery left Nowshera 07/03/17. Smallpox broke out on the voyage & delayed disembarkation until 26/04/17. The Battery left Dar-es-Salaam by train 05/05/17. 06/05/17 bridge gave way & part of train plunged into river below. 16 men died.

They took in 28 men, 6 guns, 34 mules 1 British WO and 33 followers from the 28th Indian Mountain Battery [presumably left behind when 28th went back to India in Dec 1916].

Left for India 11/18. Battle Honour "East Africa 1917-18"

2.75 inch guns - Both 1st Kashmir and one section of 27th Indian MB reported in action at Nyangao 16-17/10/17 with this equipment. However reading a little further on, the conclusion to the chapter has "whether the ubiquitous 10-pounders (2.75 inch), the 2.95 inch guns of the West Africans, or the new 3.7 inch....."!!

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1 KASHMIR Mountain Battery

This was the only Imperial Service Mountain Battery in the East African theatre and was equipped with four 10-pounders (2.75-inch). (See pages 338 and 339 of “The Forgotten Fronts” by Maj-Gen Sir Martin Farndale.)

“1 Kashmir Pack Battery was despatched to East Africa in November 1916 under the command of Major Dharam Singh. The battery gave support to the forces operating in the Rufigi River area and, in February 1917, at Mikalinso. The battery was in constant action from March to November 1917 and suffered heavily from malaria and dysentery. Almost all the mules were lost due to illness. The battery returned to Jammu in March 1918.” (From page 107 of “Jammu and Kashmir Arms” by Maj-Gen D.K. Palit.)

“The Kashmir Mountain Battery (which started with 198 rank and file and 172 mules) went with Brigadier-General Beves’ 2nd South African Infantry Brigade . . . Extract from the Battery history: During the time the battery was in Africa, owing to malaria and other sickness, a very large proportion of the personnel had to be replaced from India, most coming from No 2 Kashmir Mountain Battery. Of the animals taken out by the battery only one survived to the end of 1917, all the rest having succumbed to the tsetse fly and horse-sickness. The battery had 24 casualties, all except three being deaths from sickness.” (From “The History of The Indian Mountain Artillery” By Brig-Gen C.A.L. Graham.)

22nd (Derajat) and 24th (Hazara) Mountain Batteries

S.D. Pradhan on page 132 of “Indian Army in East Africa” incorrectly relates these two batteries to Jammu and Kashmir. Both were Indian Army Mountain Batteries.

The 22nd (Derajat) Mountain Battery (Frontier Force) landed at Kilwa on 18th December 1916. It was deployed as a four gun (initially all 10-pounders) unit. At Ankuabe in early 1918 two 3.7-inch howitzers were issued in exchange for 2.75-inch Breech Loading guns (10-pounders). The howitzers were in action for the first time at the capture of Medo Fort , 11th April 1918. (Reference Graham and Farndale.)

The 24th (Hazara) Mountain Battery (Frontier Force) disembarked at Dar-es-Salaam on 26th April 1917. During a rail journey to Morogoro on 6th May the train ran off the line whilst crossing a bridge that gave way, killing or drowning 16 men, including the Salutri (farrier or horse-doctor). Most of the dead were in a goods wagon which was stuck in the mud and water and could not be recovered for five days. A great number of men were hurled into the water and carried downstream into the trees below the bridge and were rescued by swimmers. The Battery took over the six 10-pounder guns previously used by 28th (Lahore) Mountain Battery but initially only one section of guns were operational. (Reference Graham and Farndale.)

Unfortunately Pradhan has confused the issue, and also gunners in their histories often use the post-Great War battery titles (eg: 2nd (Derajat) Mountain Battery (F.F.) instead of the actual 22nd (Derajat)Mountain Battery (F.F.) used in the war. Also the word “Pack” can be used instead of “Mountain”. But you can wind your way through the maze!

If you come across Graham’s book then buy a copy – it covers many interesting campaigns and is a scarce history. Farndale consolidates Official History material.

Good Luck


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Hello Gentlemen,

Thankyou for your comprehensive replies. The information provided has provided the necessary information to complete the area of doubt.

Harry, there is always seems to be confusion with 10 pdrs as oppose to 2.75 in. I believe the historical records (as a true an accurate account of significant events) of the 22 nd (Derajat) having obtained in country the new 2.75 in.

As you know doubt aware there is a difference between 10 pdrs and 2.75 in guns. The former a 1901 BL and the latter BL 2.75 in being adopted in 1911 and entering service in 1914. The 2.75 in was modernised by removing the trunnions from the barrel, discarding the old carriage and substituting an eloborate new one with a pole trail, recuperator, shield seats, and a cranked axle. The weight of the shell was also increased for the additional range of the gun. Hence we see units recieving this modernised gun in the latter part of the conflict and not just in Africa.

They do mentioned they underwent training on this gun as they did when they received the new 3.7 in How. Yes, the 22nd did have initially received in country additional 10 pdrs with shields on arrival from the 27 th Mountain battery on the 24 th December 1916. Because on the previous occurrence of the records from the 21 st to 26 th: "Halted. Battery reorganised as a 4 gun unit the centre section made into an ammunition column."

Thanks for also providing detain on the 1st Kashmir Mountain battery as this is important for what I'm studying.

Thanks for the tips on the book ad I'll look at this in the future.

Harry, there are two books on the Jammu and Kashmir rifles by different authors. Can you please offer which one would be more suitable for my study?

Best Wishes to you both.


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Thank you for making me get into this subject and study Graham's book in depth.

All the guns used were 2.75-inch but the first ones in theatre were the 10-pounders that had been issued by 1903. Here's Graham's description of them:

"The drawbacks of the 2.5-inch R.M.L. gun had long been known in India, but its failure in South Africa led to a hasty rearmament of all mountain batteries. A 10-pr. jointed B.L. gun was in the experimental stage and its trials were hurried on so that all batteries were rearmed by the end of 1903; but, although far superior to the 2.5-inch gun, it was still behind the times. By this time field artillery carriages had a top cradle to take up the recoil so that the carriage remained steady when the gun was fired; the 10-pr. carriage differed little from that of the 2.5-inch and the recoil was controlled by a similar "check rope" round the trail. The two portions of the gun could be united without noise with a wrench. The breech portion was wire wound.

Weights, etc., of the 10-pr. gun: Weight, 404 lb.; calibre, 2.75 in.; length, 6 ft. 4.5 in.; grooves, 16; wheel track, 2 ft. 10 in.; maximum elevation, 25 degrees; maximum depression, 15 degrees; muzzle velocity, 1,289 f.s.; charge, 6 oz. 14 drs. cordite; ammunition mules, 6 per gun; Range, 6,000 yards, but sights engraved to 4,200 yards only.

The gun was provided with shrapnel and star shell; case shot was originally issued but soon withdrawn; the use of cordite and the breech-loading system made for a more rapid rate of fire than could be got out of the R.M.L. gun, and the range was half as long again. Common shell was provided later."

But another 2.75-inch with a 12.5-pound shell was issued once the Great War started. As Graham says:

"In the ensuing years during the First World War batteries were rearmed, as occasion permitted, with the 2.75-inch B.L. gun. This was the 10-pr. without trunnions, recoiling through a cradle, after firing, to the extent allowed by the piston of a hydraulic buffer, and forced back to the firing position by the energy of springs compressed during the recoil. This equipment was called 2.75-inch converted, Mark I. A later pattern was called 2.75-inch B.L. Mark I: this had a breech ring.

A long trail which made two loads for transport was provided, and a reversible axle which could be used in "high" or "low" position. A steel shield made in four parts hinged together protected the detachment; it weighed 78 lb. and was carried on the same mule as the rear end of the trail. The gun itself was a few pounds lighter than the 10-pr. Other differences were:

Wheel track, 3 feet.

Maximum range, 5,500 yards. Full charge, 7 oz. 12 dr. ballistite, M.V. 1,300 f.s.; Half charge, M.V., 775 f.s.

Height of axis of gun:

High position, 43.5 inches elevation 22°, depression 8°.

Low position, 32.5 inches elevation 15°, depression 15°.

Sighting was up to date, i.e., independent line of sight and a No.7 dialsight were provided.

Projectiles: Shrapnel, weight 12.5 lb.; H.E., weight 12.5 lb.; Star, weight 12.5 lb.

This equipment was approved for issue in 1911, but Indian batteries did not receive it until several years later. Its transport took an extra mule and relief mule.

Each ammunition box weighed 25 lb. more than the 10-pr. box, and the battery carried 714 shrapnel, 42 H.E. and 24 star shell.

The equipment for draught weighed 75 lb. The two-man mekometer was still issued. A fuze indicator was provided with a corrector scale. Fuze T. and P. No. 80 was issued for shrapnel and D.A. No. 44 for H.E. The shrapnel was exceptionally powerful and won good opinions everywhere. There was little difference in the rate of fire compared with the 10-pr. as a single motion breech mechanism was not provided, but this gun had the great merit of not overturning when fired from bad ground.

The handbook was published in 1914."

Thus I interpret the 22nd Derajat Pack Battery entry for 28th August 1917 to mean that four 2.75-inch converted, Mark I (or 2.75-inch B.L. Mark I) guns were issued. To reinforce this interpretation the 29th September 1917 entry reads:

"Orders received to reduce the 10 Pr. Section. Battery to consist of 4 2.75" guns only."



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You may be interested in this information, extracted from Graham's book:


Here is 1 JAK Mountain Battery's establishment for East Africa:

Strength: 5 officers, 198 rank and file, 38 followers, 3 private followers, and 172 mules.

Guns: Four 10-pounder B.L. guns


A six-gun 10-pr. bty. (1913)

1 tindal (Head Follower)

6 cooks

3 syces (Grooms)

1 head smith

3 smiths

1 head carpenter

2 carpenters

1 head saddler

4 saddlers

1munshi (Clerk)

3 sweepers (Cleaners)

1 mutsuddy (Accountantant

1 bhisti (Water Carrier, traditionally using a goatskin bag)

3 hand bhistis (Water distributors, using pakhals which are canvas containers)

Some followers were attested as combatants, some as non-combatants, and others only enrolled.

One mule carried the kits of six fighting men or eight followers.

Followers were important as they made a unit self-sufficient. In the early 1970s when I was operating with Baluch soldiers in the Omani mountains I had followers, principally cooks and a tailor, on my company establishment and working in our firm bases on the hill tops. The tailor was extremely useful in keeping our combat clothes from falling to pieces.

Jammu and Kashmir Forces Books

I'll come up with a few suggestions.


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Hi Harry, Many thanks for your input into this topic. I'm very much indebted to you all for your time and I do appreciate this very much.

Best Wishes


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Please let me add my thanks, Harry. I am researching the ONLY Mountain Brigade that was not Indian Army, but was a TF Brigade from Scotland. As they were TF, the got the new guns last, or so I thought. It seems they received the 2.75 in. guns in Egypt very early in 1916 after they had lost most of their guns on Gallipoli (including their replacement guns) to wear and counter-battery and the odd breech explosion. Of course, they didn't receive the 3.7 in. Mountain Guns until after the war and reversion to TF status, but at least the 2.75 in. guns had a recoil mechanism!

It was very interesting to see the notes about the Indian Mountain Brigades.

Mike Morrison

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You are researching a very interesting unit, & I hope that a publication or long website posting materialises one day.

Good Luck.



"The Indian State Forces - their lineage and insignia" by H.H. The Maharaja of Jaipur (Leo Cooper 1967) is a good if brief introduction to all the Princely States and their forces. Badges are included.

"Jammu and Kashmir Arms - History of the J and K Rifles" by Major-General D.K. Palit (Palit and Dutt, India 1972) goes into depth on the J & K Rifles.

The two World Wars are just about adequately covered but the meat in the book is about operations in India.

"The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery" by Brigadier-General C.A.L. Graham (Gale & Polden 1957) has excellent six-page Appendix notes on the Jammu & Kashmir Mountain Batteries (as well as the other Princely State batteries).

"The Armies of the Indian Princely States" by Richard Head & Tony McLenaghan (Military Press) 1998 is uninspiring to look at, being printed A4 sheets enclosed in card, and is expensive. However the information provided is excellent.

Volume 1 "An Historical Overview" is a necessary introductory buy. After that choose the Volumes that interest you. The Jammu & Kashmir Volume has not appeared yet, but I'll buy it when it is published.

I hope that more interest in the Imperial Service troops can be generated on GWF, as apart from the colour that they bring to historical accounts, they also did useful work in a variety of places during thr Great War.


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Thanks very much Harry for the list on book suggestions.

Best Wishes


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Thank you, Helen.

I have photos of each of the guns. If you'd like to see them, PM me your email address and I will send them off.

Mike Morrison.

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