The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - Chapter III 'Detailed Report on the Naga Hills Expedition of 1878-80', Capt. P.J. Maitland

caption: defences at Konoma
medium: reports
location: Khonoma (Konoma)
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: It was soon apparent that the strength of the defences was much greater than had been supposed. Immense labour had been expended on them, and it is said that no less than four hundred houses, out of the six hundred in Konoma, had been destroyed to clear the ground and perfect the entrenchments. These consisted principally of a series of terraces, their scarps revetted with stone, and topped by walls or stockades, perfectly bulletproof and admirably loopholed. Each terrace formed a separate fortification defensible from either side. The whole place was a mass of redoubts, and retrenchments within retrenchments, so that an entrance gained at any point only gave possession of a small area, and as the hill rose towards the centre, the inner entrenchments successively commanded those below them. Outside, the ground visible from the walls had been carefully cleared of jungle and covered with obstacles in the shape of "pangies " ( strong, sharp pointed stakes, driven deep into the ground) and bamboo entanglement. These were also set in front of the inner defences. The only defects in the whole elaborate system were: first, a deficiency of flanking fire; and, secondly, that each portion of the entrenchment being adapted for all round defence, would afford, when taken, some shelter to the assailants. ( A report, by Lieutenant Raban, R.E., on the defences of Konoma is attached as Appendix G.)