Their Infantry and Guns Will Astonish You'

The Army of Hindustan and European Mercenaries in Maratha service 1780-1803

Andy Copestake

The story of the mercenary army which gave the future Duke of Wellington the hardest fight of his life at the Battle of Assaye in 1803.
Publication date:
July 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
8 colour plates, 25 b/w ills, 2 maps, 6 tables
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781914059773

Dimensions : 248 X 180 mm
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.


• The first study of the Army of Hindustan and its campaigns for 50 years
• Drawing on previously ignored sources from both Indian and British participants and historians in the events the book describes
• Debunks the myth of the 'French State' propaganda put forward by Victorian historians
• Examines the structure of the first regular army raised and trained in the European manner and financed by an Indian Prince

By the middle of the eighteenth century the Mughal Empire in India was in serious decline. The rulers of the various breakaway successor states faced a major military problem. Their armies were being effortlessly scattered by much smaller forces of European led and trained troops. Their immediate answer was to buy in specialist help in the form of European mercenaries to train their own troops in the methods of the victorious British and French.

This led to a number of so called 'Trained Brigades' of regular eighteenth century infantry and formidable artillery being added to the armies of many of the Indian Princes. This book details to most successful of these formations, the Army of Hindustan in the service of the Maratha Prince Madhaji Scindia and his successor Daulat Rao. From an initial force of two battalion raised in 1784 by the Savoyard mercenary Benoit de Boigne, the Army of Hindustan would eventually number over 30,000 men and almost 200 guns. It would be commanded by Europeans of many nationalities including English, Scottish, French, Irish, Italian, German, and Dutch officers. This formidable force's almost unbroken run of victories would only be broken by the Second Maratha War where the future Duke of Wellington would fight what he always considered the hardest battle of his career against a small portion of the Army of Hindustan.