Madras Regiment, Madras Army - Informative & researched article on Madras Regiment, Madras Army
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Home > Reference > History of India > Modern History of India > British Empire in India > Presidency Armies in British India > Madras Army > Madras Regiment
Madras Regiment, Madras Army
Madras Regiment was one of the earliest regiments that were raised by the Honourable British East India Company, which served from the year 1758 to 1946.
 
 Madras Regiment, Madras ArmyThe Madras Regiment was one of the earliest regiments that were raised by the Honourable British East India Company during the 1750s. The regiment remained in service from the year 1758 to 1946 as a part of the Army of the Madras province, before the beginning of the Sepoy Mutiny, also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857. After the Indian independence it was included in the modern Indian Army. The Madras Army was the armed forces of Madras Presidency and was established with the purpose of protecting the commercial interests of the British East India Company. It was amongst the 3 main Presidency Armies in British India. Subsequently the British Empire took control over the British East India Company and the three Presidency Armies, namely the Bengal Army, the Madras Army and the Bombay Army.

The Madras Regiment was a line infantry regiment that has took part in several campaigns. The army unit included around 19 battalions and the regimental centre was established at Wellington, Tamil Nadu.

History of Madras Regiment
The Madras Regiment was originally developed during the 1660s as the Madras European Regiment by the British East India Company as the 2nd company in British India. Later in 1748, the unit was developed as a battalion and Major Stringer Lawrence acted as the commanding officer. It actively participated in the battles against the armed forces of the French administration in India. Major Lawrence integrated the military unit to incorporate 2 battalions, one Sepoy (Indian) and one European. Both the battalions had almost the same structure and each comprised of 7 companies, with each company consisting of 3 officials in command and 70 common soldiers. The companies also included 3 drummers, 4 sergeants and corporals.

The 9th Battalion, also known as Nair Brigade, was the earliest unit in the Madras Regiment. The battalion was formed as guards for the Maharajah of Travancore state at Padmanabhapuram in the year 1704. The regiment took part in the Battle of Colachel and defeated the Dutch armed forces. The troop comprised of soldiers from Nair warrior tribe, but later non-Nair soldiers were also recruited after the 1940s. On April 1951, the Nair Brigade or the Nayar Army was included into the modern Indian Army. In the year 1748, Major Stringer Lawrence was appointed by the English East India Company to supervise the defence of Cuddalore. He also trained civilians as soldiers but not as part of the regular British Indian Army. The Madras Levies were developed into companies and were later trained to rise as a disciplined fighting force. Lawrence formed the Madras Regiment in the year 1758 and merged the various companies of Madras Levies into 2 battalions. The regiment of 2 Madras was formed as 15 Carnatic Infantry at Thanjavur in 1776.

The army unit served in a number of military campaigns under the British Indian Army as well as the modern army of independent India. The regiment also fought in the Carnatic wars in southern India. The elephant crest represented its courage in the Battle of Assaye under Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington. Eventually the British administration annexed the Indian sub-continent with the support of the troops of the Madras Regiment.

After the Government of India Act 1858 was authorized following the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, the authority of the 3 Presidency Armies was transferred to the British Empire in India from the British East India Company. Consequently the British Empire took charge over the British East India Company and the 3 British Presidency Armies, namely the Madras Army, the Bengal Army and the Bombay Army. The British Government of India restructured the regiments of the British Indian army. Later the recruitment of troops was oriented to the north Indians of Punjab. Thus, the military strength of the Madras Regiment was reduced as the southern regions became comparatively passive.

Later during the Second World War, the regiment was re-established with new recruits and a draft of military personnel from the Madras Sappers. The newly formed Madras Regiment provided significant service during the battle in the campaign of Burma.

Development of Madras Regiment
When the nation achieved independence from the rule of the British Empire in India in the year 1947, the country was divided into the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan with the Partition of India. The British Indian Army was divided among the 2 newly formed countries. The infantry regiments of the Cochin and Mysore State forces and the Travancore Nair Brigade were merged to form the Madras Regiment, which was allocated to the modern Indian Army.

The units of the Madras Regiment took part in the Jammu and Kashmir Operations from 1947 to 1948, the Sino Indian Battle in 1962 and the Indo Pakistan Wars in the years 1965 and 1971. Moreover, almost 7 battalions of the regiment were deployed during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1989. The Madras Regiment also participated in a number of humanitarian aid operations and several UN Peacekeeping missions.

At present, the Madras Regiment includes 20 battalions and the 1st Battalion was renewed into the Mechanised Infantry Regiment. The regiment currently comprises of the following battalions-
* 2nd Battalion (formerly 75th Carnatic Infantry)
* 3rd Battalion (formerly 79th Carnatic Infantry)
* 4th Battalion (formerly 83rd Wallajahabad Light Infantry)
* 5th Battalion
* 6th Battalion
* 7th Battalion (Shandaar Saat Chamkte Rahe)
* 8th Battalion
* 9th Battalion Madras Regiment (formerly State Forces Unit)
* 10th Battalion
* 11th Battalion (formerly Territorial Battalion) - Double First
* 12th Battalion (formerly Territorial Battalion)
* 16th Battalion (formerly State Forces Unit)
* 17th Battalion (formerly State Forces Unit)
* 18th Battalion (formerly Mysore Infantry)
* 19th Battalion
* 20th Battalion
* 25th Battalion (formerly Garrison Battalion)
* 26th Battalion (formerly Garrison Battalion)
* 27th Battalion (formerly Garrison Battalion)
* 28th Battalion (formerly Coastal Defence Battalion)

(Last Updated on : 28/09/2012)
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