In the Vedic period, a succeeding time in the Middle Ages, art of Indian warfare appears to have consisted of two divisions, the archers and the chariots. During the post-Vedic period the horse and elephant were incorporated within the corps; by the time of the Islamic invasions into India, there were no more chariots remaining in the military status. They had been progressively replaced by horsemen. Another domain of the organisation of the armies was the six-fold division, which comprised the hereditary troops, mercenaries, guild levies, soldiers furnished by feudatory chiefs or allies, troops captured or won over from the enemy and forest tribes. This piece of information in Indian history was derived from inscriptions dated from the 6th to 11th century A.D.
Of the umpteen classes of troops, ancient military opinion seems to have adhered greatest weight to the hereditary troops. The mercenaries came next, then guild levies (drafted units), next the allied troops, while the forest tribes were ranked at the bottom.
Organisation of Army during middle Ages, Indian History: The Middle Ages essentially redefined an era within the period of 8th century to 15th-16th centuries. Akin to world history, Indian history had also undergone enormous metamorphosis in every sphere of humanity: beginning from the royals and ending upon the pauper. The royal households during those times had just started to taste the feeling of European effect upon them, owing to the far-reaching renaissance, a breakaway from darkness. As such, enlightened with sophisticated knowledge, the imperials had turned busy to snatch and seize places to call it their own. In order to perform such acts, the troops and armies needed to be well organised. Consequently, organisation of armies during Middle Ages had kind of become legendary owing to their skilfulness in the sphere.
Size of Armies During Middle Ages, Indian History: Size of armies during Middle Ages was most primarily based upon volume and heftiness, when the royals and imperials were concerned. Middle Ages was all about the sudden awakening of gaudiness and being pompous in one's respective boundary. As such, wars were fought in such a manner which emoted this factor, which perhaps was most prominent in the size of armies. The more the number and competent heads, the more were chances of intimidating the adversary.
Army-Equipments during Middle Ages, Indian History: The Middle Ages witnessed the first ever modernised and sophisticated ways by which one could look towards betterments during combats. Heavy European influence can almost be mentioned in this regard. Beginning from the umpteen armours for the whole body, to the innovative tools and weapons that came into usage, to the hard alloys for building the equipments, army equipments during Middle Ages kept up a humane promise. Keeping in mind the significance of health of the fighters, even emergency medication was included with the army equipments.
Fortification during middle ages, Indian History: With wars and battles increasing each day, men from the Middle Ages felt it sensible to reinforce themselves by building lofty and grand fortresses. And this custom of fortification was mostly viewed atop the hills and mountains, where it was pretty tough for the adversary to reach that smoothly; the moats further aggravated the trouble. Fortification during Middle Ages was an extensive trend, with almost every princely state striving to build a memorable one.
Mode of Fighting on the Battlefield during Middle Ages
In an age of personal valour and high chivalry, the most common method of fighting was naturally hand-to-hand fight. The Naisadhiyacarita states that 'the army of Nala, the repository of many a sword, doth indeed thrive with hand to hand fights'. In fact, chivalry was a key governing factor included in the art of warfare during Middle Ages. The same feature is noticed in the Sisupalavadha the Tilakamanjari, the Kathdsaritsdgara and the Dvaydsraya. The combat of duels and push is found in the Prabanda-cintamani also. Exchange of boastful words on the battlefield was a convention of arrogant chivalry. Under these circumstances, battles were almost turned into duels on a large scale without much consideration for strategy and concerted action.
Personal Loyalty of armies during Middle Ages
Personal loyalty and faithfulness was the first that was counted into the art of warfare during the Middle Ages. In the early period, as is seen in the Arthasashtra, soldiers fought for the state. But with the rise and growth of chivalry, the dominant sentiment of the warriors became the personal loyalty to the overlord or master for the subsistence of honour he received from him. Loyalty to the overlord was considered to be part and parcel of feudal dignity and in the Rajatarangini and the Dvayds'raya, numerous instances of chiefs and soldiers fighting only with this sentiment for their masters can be seen. An impression of a higher ideology of warfare is sensed, i.e. defending the cow, the Brahmana and the tirtha.
Decline of Spy System during Middle Ages
The system of espionage in warfare, which was highly valued in earlier ages, appears to have suffered a decline in the Middle Ages art of warfare. This was quite natural in an age of chivalry, when diplomacy and military tactics were generally disregarded. The Sukranltisdra which can be stated to reflect at some places the atmosphere of the same age, painfully dwells upon the inefficiency of the spy system. A king disregarding espionage is dubbed as mleccha; one given to cheats, prostitutes, musicians, actors, athletes, etc. and unmindful towards spies, is said to be 'inimical to intelligence' and one's 'own destroyer'. Reference to spies communicating false reports to their masters is also witnessed. At the end of the twelfth century when Vastupala had organised an efficient espionage in Gujarat, he is said to have gained a supreme advantage over the neighbouring kings, who in their pride of valour used to neglect it.
At any rate, the decline of espionage was highly essential for information in war. And the knowledge of the enemy and his country, was a factor, without which the situation in which Prithviraja, Jayachandra, and Lakshmanasena of Bengal appear more or less to have been caught unawares by the Turk invaders, cannot be fully comprehended.
Growth of Ostentation and Luxury in the Army during Middle Ages The Middle Ages witnessed much attention paid to elaborate show and grandeur of the army, an integral part in the art of warfare in later periods. The Naisadhiyaairita reveals that even the war-elephants were bedecked with ornamental gems and their faces were covered with coloured spots. The soldiers of Brahmanapala, son of Anandapala employed white swords, blue spears and yellow coats of mail. The swords of the soldiers of Gwalior were coloured in cerulean blue. The kings occupied an eye-catching position on the battlefield. A tradition verifies that king Jayachandra was easily recognised and shot down by a Turkish archer.
Luxury had also increased within the army. Even in ancient times ladies of the harem accompanied the army, a feature which has been dubbed as 'ugly'. It appears to have even escaladed in later times. The Sisupalavadha makes a prominent mention of it. In the Tilakamanjar, an atmosphere of stinking luxury in the camp can be sensed, with the commander busy with his love life, representing a sharp contrast with the camp atmosphere depicted by Bana. It appears that the Rajput armies in the twelfth century had thus become in this respect more or less like the armies of the Mughal empire in its later days.
Neglect of Expediency and Tactics
Kuta-yuddha, or war by intrigues and tactics was allowed and practised in the Medieval Ages. Art of warfare during the Middle Ages took resort to every kind of humanly-possible measure, just to ensure a sweeping victory. But in later periods, with the growth of chivalry and belief in supernatural support, military tactics, expediency and diplomacy were naturally neglected. The idea of the vyuhas persisted in the twelfth century, but they did not constitute an effective strategy even in earlier ages.
It was the tradition of high chivalry which was responsible for Prithviraja's two military blunders consisting in sheer neglect of tactics and stratagem. The first was when he let off the Turk invader lightly after defeating him in the first battle of Tarain (AD 1191); and second when he kept off his guard, when the army of Muhammad Ghori was encamped for the second time on the same battlefield (A.D. 1192). Thus, in spite of his superiority in valour, the Cahamana emperor was worsted at the hands of the Turks.
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