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How was the Indian Army organised?

As with the British Army it was organised into divisions, brigades, cavalry regiments and infantry battalions and supporting arms and services such as artillery, engineers, medical and veterinary. 

World War I


The Indian Army in 1914 consisted of 9 infantry divisions and three Frontier brigades plus a division in Burma and a brigade in Aden. 

An Indian division consisted of:

Three infantry brigades

One Pioneer Battalion

One cavalry regiment

One British Artillery field brigade of three batteries

One Indian mountain artillery brigade of two batteries

Two field companies of Sappers and Miners

An infantry brigade was usually composed on one British battalion or regiment with two or three Indian battalions/regiments.  An infantry battalion consisted of 13 British officers, 17 Indian officers and 723 other ranks.


A cavalry regiment consisted of four squadrons, each squadron comprising three troops, and had a total strength of 9 British officers, 18 Indian officers and 536 other ranks.


All of the Artillery units were British except for 12 mountain batteries.  These were equipped with six guns and had 5 British officers, 3 Indian officers and 235 other ranks.


Engineers and Sappers & Miners units were Indian with a field company of Sappers & Miners having a strength of 4 British officers, 4 Indian officers and 202 other ranks.  


Many changes were effected during the war, including the creation of Cavalry Divisions and the raising of about 144 additional infantry battalions, though this number is open to interpretation.


World War 2


In terms of Order of Battle, in October 1939 the Indian Army numbered 22 Cavalry and Armoured Regiments, 113 Battalions of Infantry, 4 Artillery Batteries and 28 Companies of Sappers and Miners, a total of 194,373 officers, other ranks and non-combatants but excluding Indian State Forces, Auxiliary Force (India) and irregular units.  By August 1945 it numbered 19 Cavalry and Armoured units including 2 Indian State Force regiments serving under the Crown, 207 Artillery Batteries of all types, 107 Companies of Indian Engineers, including Field Companies, Field Park Companies and Field Squadrons but excluding laundry, pipeline companies etc., and 268 Infantry Battalions, including 32 Indian State Force and 8 Gurkha Battalions serving under the Crown, but excluding Independent and Garrison Companies, a total of 2,065,554 officers, other ranks and non-combatants, including 16,351 Indian State Force personnel, the largest all volunteer army in the world.


    Bisheshwar Prasad, D.LITT (Ed) and Sri Nanad Prasad PhD.  Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in World War 2 1939-45 – Expansion of the Armed Forces and Defence Organisation, 1939-45.  New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2012 reprint.


    F W Perry.  History of the Great War – Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 5B – Indian Army Divisions.  Reprint Newport. Ray Westlake Military Books (1993), Appendix 2


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