The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: reconnaissance of Naga fortification at Konoma
medium: reports
person: Nation/ Gen.Nuttall/ Col.Sherriff/ Col.DeRenzy/ Dep. Surgeon Gen.Mansel/ Lt.
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 abundantly evident, however, that the Angamis were by no means cowed by the fall of Konoma, or such punishment as had yet befallen them; and that if any hopes had existed of their making submission, unless compelled thereto by active measures, they must be abandoned. General Nation was also about to lose the services of Colonel Nuttall, C.B., Commanding 44th Sylhet Light Infantry, who was retiring from the service, and as he felt the want of an officer of long standing and experience to fill the position of second in command to himself, he decided on ordering up Colonel Sherriff and the head quarter wing of the 42nd Assam Light Infantry in addition to the wing already on its way to join him.
text: Shillong being in consequence denuded of troops, the wing 10th Native Infantry for some time held in readiness at Dacca was ordered to that place. It left Dacca on the 25th December, and was reinforced at Goalundo by a company from head quarters at Barrackpore.
text: On the 5th December Deputy Surgeon General DeRenzy left the head quarters of the Field Force on his return to Golaghat. Lieutenant Mansel, R.A., was sent on the same day to reconnoitre the Chaka position. His report and sketches are here reproduced (SKETCH - not on videodisc); he says:-
text: "I have the honor to make the following report of a reconnaissance, taken 5th to 6th instant (December) of the Chuckia Fort overlooking Konoma.
text: The only place it seems possible to take guns would be at a distance from the stone fort (marked A in sketch attached), of about 1,800 to 2,000 yards." ( See also sketch opposite page 57.)
text: Although at this range some annoyance might be caused to the enemy, if ranged behind his obstacles and outworks, by the fire of 7-pounder muzzle loading rifled guns, yet I consider that their fire against the stone fort A would have no effect whatever.
text: There are three causes for the above, viz., (1st) the distance from the Basmma Hill is considerably above the effective range of the gun; (2nd) the material of which the fort is built, the 7- pounder being able to make but little impression on such, even at close quarters; (3rd) the fact that the fort falls away in prolongation of the range, and this makes it out of the question to employ curved fire.
text: With regard to openness of position to assault (market on sketch F.G. A.R.) I have the honor to remark the following:-
text: The highest work E, ( 'F' p ) the nature and material of which I could not observe, is apparently backed completely by precipices and ravines impassable to Infantry.
text: G is a strong stone fort on the top of a very steep conical hill; it has abatis ans pangies placed round it, and its fire could sweep the narrow ridge bellow, and probably the terreplein of A.
text: A section of the ridge on which A and obstacles are placed is shown in conjuction with the sketch. Taking this from north to south, F is a long line of post and rails; g, a very heavy brushwood obstacle. Between f and g is a deep ditch: h is a post and rails running with the ridge to i,- a light loopholed stone wall: j,j,j, are three rows of high pallisades leading across counterscarp of the deep ditch shown. The only road to k,m, observed, is the one shown in sketch, which is very steep and covered by a flank of stone wall k; k is covered by stone wall m; n,n,n,n, are huts; no visible obstacles being placed among them: o is a pallisade running with the ridge. A is a strong carefully built stone fort.
text: To right and left of n,n,n,n, the hill seems too steep, and the jungle too thick, for troops to advance, except perhaps by some mountain road in single file.
text: (44) An advance in this direction would apparently be the only way in which the position from f to n could be turned.
text: The gradient at the back of the hill cold not be observed, but its slope would be searched by the fire from G, taking a storming party in reserve.
text: The garrison at Konoma report that only two main roads have been observed, one leading towards Jotsoma, at the back of the Basoma ridge; the other to Mozima, round the basin to south of Konoma."
text: "The enemy apparently has to go some distance in an eastern direction for their water, heavy jungle rendering it impossible to fix the exact spot."
text: " The whole position about A is heavily pangied."
text: This reconnaissance showed that an open attack on the Chaka position would be a hazardous exploit even for a much larger force than any the General could hope to bring against it.