The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: transport and supplies
caption: transport and supply of Duffla Expedition, 1874-75
medium: reports
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: Transport and Supply of the Duffla Expedition of 1874-75.
text: The expedition against the Dufflas in 1874-75 is believed to have been the best organised and equipped that has ever been put into the field on the Assam Frontier. It is therefore thought that a few notes on the transport and supply of the force may be useful for future reference.
text: Active operations against the Dufflas were decided on in June 1874, and as the expedition could not take place till the ensuing cold weather, there was ample time for preparation.
text: The force detailed by the Commander-in-Chief consisted of detachments from four battalions of Native infantry, aggregating-
text: _to_which_were_added-
____________________2 Mountain guns.
text: The latter were manned by 36 Native artillerymen, under a European officer, from the Punjab Frontier Force.
text: The total rank and file of the expedition was therefore 1,000 men. ( 25 Frontier Police were also attached to the force.)
text: The officers and establishments were as under:-
.... ....
text: (10)(a) The Staff and departmental officers were-
text: (These - Commissariat officers - were to accompany the troops. There were to be in addition one Commissariat officer at Pichola Mukh ( the landing place on the Brahmaputra) and one at the intermediate base, or starting point of the expedition. A Native postmaster was also to be supplied to each of these places.)
text: (b) Regimental officers include two medical officers.
text: (c) Native officers were about 18.
text: (d) The postmaster was to be an experienced Native official, working under the orders of the Assistant Quarter Master General.
text: The expedition was to be assembled at the depot on the Dikrung river on the 1st December 1874.
text: It was considered essential that none but healthy men should be allowed to proceed on this service.
text: Water carriage was to be made available to the furthest possible point.
text: Of the 900 Infantry, 280 were required to hold frontier posts. In calculating requirements, therefore, the force was assumed to be 720 soldiers + 224 followers + 29 European officers.
______5 months' supplies were to be stored at the base of operations.
text: The ration for British officers and soldiers was as under-
text: ____________________________________Weekly.
text: __The_ration_for_Native_soldiers_was-
__Salt_2/3_oz._____________________:_Huldee_1/6 oz.
text: Rations were issued free to soldiers, and on payment to officers and their servants.
text: The meat was driven ( in the shape of live stock). Grazing of some sort being always procurable, this was more economical than carrying tinned meat.
text: To each Native corps a flock of sheep or goats was made over, and they drove and killed their own meat under regimental arrangement. When meat was issued to Natives the ration of atta or rice was reduced one half.
text: The Commissariat carried tea, sugar, rum,tobacco and opium. These were issued free to Native soldiers and public followers under certain conditions.
text: (1) 2 oz. sugar and 1 1/2 oz. tea daily to each sick and wounded man, and to others on special occasions when recommended by the medical officer.
text: (2) 1 dram of rum daily on special occasions when considered necessary by the commanding officer.
text: (3) 1 dram of rum and 1 oz. of tobacco daily to any man on payment.
text: Officers obtained the above allowances for their servants on payment indent.
text: All articles of food were ordered to be put up in packages weighing not more than 20 seers each, that being the proper load for a coolie. This was to be done at the place from which the stores were despatched, as it was impossible to manage it in the field. Great inconvenience and loss had been occasioned in the Lushai expedition by the neglect of this precaution. The weight and contents of each package were to be clearly marked on the outside.
text: (11) Coolies were considered preferable to elephants as carriage for the guns ( 7-pr. M.L.R. Mountain guns weighing 150 lbs. each).
text: _______________________________________________Coolies.
text: (a) One bamboo and two straps were required for each gun, carriage, pair of wheels, and ammunition box; also for the anvil. Total 15 bamboos and 30 straps. The latter were provided by the Calcutta arsenal. They were of double leather, buffalo hide, 7 feet long, with buckles; spare straps were also sent. Bamboos were procured locally.
text: (b) This weight was slightly increased by the introduction of the implement box between the trail cheeks, the grease box being removed. The carriage is an awkward load and must be kept light.
text: (c) Ammunition boxes were of leather, not wood, and held 10 rounds each.
text: The ammunition carried with the troops was as under:-
text: In addition to the above a reserve of 80 rounds per sapper and 100 rounds per infantry sepoy were placed in store at the base.
text: The detachment Sappers and Miners brought their own field equipment from Roorkee, but heavy ropes and bridging material were considered unnecessary.
text: The Infantry were provided with-
______________________Total - 46 maunds 17 seers.
text: On the above details the transport to accompany the force was calculated as under, each coolie carrying half a maund ( 20 seers).
text: _______________Baggage.
text: _28_Officers'(Not_known_why_28_officers
text: (12) About 1,200 coolies were therefore required for and advance of eight days, without making any allowance for the coolies' own food. This item and unforeseen casualties were provided for by the addition of 40 elephants. ( According to Assam Administration Report for 1874-75 and 1875-76, 59 elephants and 88 boats were employed in the Duffla expedition.) It was calculated that each elephant would be able to carry continuously a load of eight maunds in the hilly and jungly country to be traversed by the expedition, provided they were properly cared for, and that a fair road was made. One officer and one European sergeant were detailed to take charge of the elephants and their attendants.
text: The organisation of the coolie corps, terms of enlistment, &c., were substantially the same as those proposed by the Commander-in-Chief for the Naga expedition cooly corps ( see page 3). Five officers and one medical officer were appointed to the corps.
text: It was ordered that districts near the scene of operations were not to be indented on for coolies in the first instance, so that additional labour might be obtained without difficulty, if required , after the advance into the hills had commenced.
text: Warm clothing for soldiers and followers was the same as sanctioned for the Naga expedition; the scale has already been given.
text: The above is taken from Proceedings for August 1874, Military Department, Government of India. Propasals for sending an armed expedition into the Duffla Hills.
text: Table 1, showing the strength of the Naga Hills Field Force, including all troops from Golaghat upwards, together with the amount of transport on the road during the Expedition.
text: (OMITTED.)
text: Table 2, showing weekly expenditure of ammunition in the Naga Hills expedition of 1879-80, with an approximate estimate of the losses incurred by the enemy. ( OMITTED.)