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Studies on fortification in India

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Jean Deloche

VI. Gunpowder Artillery in South India (15th-18th century)*

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • * This chapter is based on the appendix 2 of my article, ‘Etudes sur les fortifications de l’Inde. I (...)

1We know that the impact of gunpowder artillery on the architecture of the forts in Europe turned out to be of far-reaching significance. Profound changes in the art of static defence took place from the 15th century onwards. High walls and towers vulnerable to shot and mining were built at ground level, behind a deep ditch, in such a way that their masonry, invisible from outside, was well protected from shots by a glacis, in front of the counterscarp, sloping gently towards the open country.

2In India, on the contrary, as we have seen in chapter III, a striking feature of the fortifications is that tall and massive enclosures were being built until the end of the 18th century. With the progress of artillery, military engineers never considered lowering the curtain walls and the towers to reduce the surface exposed to missiles and to minimize their impact, as was done in the West, where the defence works consisted mainly of trenches and low extended parapets.

3It is not easy to find an explanation for this option. Engineers could choose between two solutions: they could either reduce or increase the command of the defensive works. In the first instance, the result would have been the reduction of the extent of view over the assailant, who could get closer to the fortification; in the second instance, the consequence would have been to increase the distance of visibility over the assailant and prevent him from making approaches, but this would have made the fortification vulnerable to artillery shots. Still they opted for the principle of the high command.

4It is not because of tradition (high structures have always been symbols of strength and domination) that they adopted this defence system. If they continued building high curtain walls and towers, it is probably because they thought that the thickness of their masonry was sufficiently strong to resist siege engines. But the natural implication of this assumption would be that the destructive capacity of the guns used in the different kingdoms of India was inadequate, a remark which raises the big issue of the nature of gunpowder artillery in the subcontinent. This problem deserves a thorough analysis. We will here confine ourselves to a few observations made during our fieldwork while studying South Indian forts.

Gunpowder Artillery in South India

  • 1 I.A. Khan, Gun Powder and Firearms, Warfare in Medieval India, pp. 1-127.

5Before starting a careful examination of the weapons, we have to recollect what we know about gunpowder artillery in South India and keep in mind some points of reference. According to Iqtidar Alam Khan, in his masterly presentation of gunpowder and firearms in Medieval India, just published,1 gunpowder appears to have come to India from China during the second half of the 13th century; a type of rocket was then adopted in Hindustan and north of the Deccan during the second half of the 14th century; the use of gunpowder artillery increased from the middle of the 15th century and, after the arrival of the Portuguese in 1498 and Babur’s invasion (1526), guns started playing a very significant role in military operations. Regarding the Deccan kingdoms, it should be stated that, besides European or North Indian influence, the impact of West Asia gunnery, especially Ottoman technology, has been of far reaching significance as noticed in the conclusion of chapter III.

6What were the types of weapons manufactured in India. The descriptions given by experts, based on literary sources, Persian or European are summary and do not permit to define their features. And yet many of these engines have been preserved and may be observed in the numerous Indian forts, some of them bearing inscriptions giving the date of their manufacture.

Guns Preserved in the Fortifications

7Thus, inside the forts of the Deccan, scattered on the ramparts, there are hundreds of guns that can be examined. In all the sites visited by us, except in Solapur, where the cannons rest on masonry supports in the garden of the fort, and in Naladurga, where some pieces are found at the entrance, guns are seen, lying in bushes or still in position on the platforms, some on their pivot.

  • 2 J. Dcloche, Senji, pp. 131-132 & 225-229.

8The reason why they are still there is that they have not been removed after the Deccan forts were taken by the Mughals, because the fortified sites, having still a strategic value, were maintained by the new rulers and were provided with a garrison. On the contrary, in strongholds taken by European armies during the Anglo-French conflict, indigenous cannons are usually not found because they were taken away and dismantled. At Senji (Gingee), for example, in 1751, all the guns in the fort were pulled down from the hills by the French and convoyed to Pondicherry.2

9Now these guns found in the old Deccan kingdoms did not attract the attention of scholars. It is indeed strange to note that there is no mention of them in all the learned articles written on warfare in Medieval India. Obviously, except for the few pieces bearing inscriptions (published by H. Cousens and G. Yazdani), experts on firearms are not aware of their existence. It is therefore urgent to consider them.

Design Features of the Guns

10During our fieldwork we photographed and measured some of them, but not systematically. For the use of scholars, we have collected here whatever information has been published on the guns, particularly those bearing inscriptions, at Bidar, Bijapur, Golkonda, Parenda and Basava Kalyana, in the form of a table, mentioning the characteristics of the different weapons. We have also reproduced photographs of some of the guns illustrating the ancient monographs, because they were taken when the site was not yet cluttered with fences and other obstructions (grass, bushes, etc.). Basically two types of cannons are found in these forts (see table, infra):

  • the first type is the cast-bronze cannon;
  • the second is the wrought-iron cannon composed of iron bars hooped together by iron rings.

Pl. 1.

Pl. 1.

1. Bijapur, Malik-i-Maidan (H. Cousens, Bijapur, pl. IV).

2. Bijapur, Lambcharri gun (H. Cousens, op.cit., pl. IV).

3. Bijapur, Landa Qassab gun (H. Cousens, op.cit., pl. IV).

Pl. II.

Pl. II.

4. Bidar, Ali Barid or “Large gun” (G. Yazdani, Bidar, pl. XLVII).

5. Bidar, “Long gun” (G. Yazdani, op.cit., pl. XLVI).

6. Bidar, gun on the Munda Burj (G. Yazdani, op.cit., pl. XLIX).

Pl. III.

Pl. III.

7. Bidar, Ali Barid (Kala Burj).

8. Bidar, Fath Lashkar.

9. Parenda, Azhdaha Paikar.

10. Parenda, cannon.

  • 3 Detailed description in H. Cousens, Bijapur, pp. 29-30.

11The most famous in the first category is the Malik-i-Maidan or “Monarch of the field”, at Bijapur (photo 1), produced by a Turkish expert in the middle of the 16th century, made of an alloy of copper and tin, weighing 55 tons.3

  • 4 Ibid., pp. 31-33.

12Among the notorious cannons of the second type, also at Bijapur, there are the Lambcharri or “Far–flier” (photo 2) (9.32 m in length) and the Landa Qassab gun (photo 3) (weighing about 47 tons), both made “of wrought-iron bars of square section, laid horizontally about a core, and square section rings slipped on over these, one at a time, each being welded with the last while white hot”4

  • 5 G. Yazdani, Bidar, p. 36.

13As regards the guns of Bidar (photos 4-6), G. Yazdani5, while describing them in detail, does not mention the metal used for their fabrication, he just says that the “large gun” in Mandu Gate (photo 4) “has a highly polished surface and is built of bars of laminated metal, bound with hoops which have been welded together beautifully”.

  • 6 K.M. Ahmad, Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica, 1937-38, pp. 47-49 and G. Yazdani, ibid., 1913-14, pp. 51-5 (...)
  • 7 R. Balasubramaniam & al., Indian Journal of History of Science 40/3, pp. 269-293, 321-335, 337-348 (...)

14The guns of Golkonda fort are described by M.A. Khwaja and G. Yazdani,6 The first author says that the Qila Kusha and Atish Bar guns are “of bronze”; the second states that the Fath Raibar and Azhdaha Paikar guns are “made of laminated bars welded together and clasped with iron hoops”. R. Balasubrahmaniam who studied Azhdaha Paikar in great detail found that this is a bronze cannon, not an iron one, the inner bore being only lined with iron strips. It is therefore imperative that specialists in metallurgical engineering look into the matter seriously: this is not the job of epigraphists and archaeologists! The Indian Journal of History of Science recently published a welcome thematic issue on Forge welded cannons of Medieval India, in which R. Balasubramaniam describes four cannons of Golkonda fort: two forge-welded at Bada Burj and Fateh Burj, one composite iron-bronze at Musa Burj and one massive bronze at Petla Burj.7

  • 8 I.A. Khan, op.cit., pp. 88, 111 & 113.

15From inscriptions we know that the manufacture of four Mughal cannons (i.e. Qila Kusha or “Fort Opener” in 1666, Fath Raihbar or “Guide to Victory”, in 1672, Azhdaha Paikar or “Dragon-Body” in 1674, and Atish Bar or “Raining Fire” in 1679) was supervised by the same man, Muhammad Ali Arab; it is also worth noting that two cannons found in Parenda fort, i.e. Azhdaha Paikar and Malik-i-Maidan, were fabricated, respectively in 1660 and 1663, by his father Muhammad Husain Arab. The engineering ability of Muhammad Ali Arab must be appreciated as he was skilled in casting massive bronze cannons as well as composite cannons. R. Balasubramaniam thinks that the latter fabrication has evolved to a fairly sophisticated level by the end of the 17th century.8 Research should be conducted on the cannons made by these masters in the different sites mentioned below.

16G. Yazdani and H. Cousens described some of them and translated their inscriptions. In the following table we mention their main characteristics.

Dimensions of a few cannons with names, date, type and places

Dimensions of a few cannons with names, date, type and places

References:
- Bijapur: H. Cousens, Bijapur, pp. 29-33 and pls. III et IV.
- Bidar: G. Yazdani, Bidar, pp. 35-36, 38-39, 42-43, 85 and pls. XVII & XVIX.- Golkonda: G. Yazdani, ‘Inscriptions in Golconda Fort’, Epigraphia Indica, Arabic and Persian Supplement, 1913-14, pp. 55-56; ‘Inscription on a gun at Golconda’, Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica, 1935-36, p. 23; A.Μ. Khwaja, ‘Some New Inscriptions from the Golconda Fort’, Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica., 1937-38, pp. 47-49; R. Balasubramaniam R. & al., ‘The Forge-welded Iron Cannon at Bada Burj of Golconda Fort Rampart’, Indian Journal of History of Science 40/3; pp. 321-335;-‘The Forge-welded Iron Cannon at Fateh Burj of Golconda Fort Rampart’, ibid. pp. 337-348; ‘Azdaha Paikar–The Composite Iron-Bronze Cannon at Petla Burj of Golconda Fort’, ibid., pp. 389-408; ‘Fath Raihbar-The Massive Bronze cannon at Petla Burj of Golconda Fort’, ibid., pp. 409-429.
- Parenda: G. Yazdani, ‘Parenda: an Historical Fort’, Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of His Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1921-24, pp. 19-20 & 24-25.
- Basava Kalyana: our own measurements.
(In the inscriptions the weight unit is jahāngirī and shāhjahānī. They have been converted into kilograms and grams, following the equivalences given by Habib I., in The Agrarian System of Mughal India, pp. 366-369).

Cannonballs

  • 9 K. Rötzer visited recently the Museum of Bidar fort and found 3 iron cannonballs, 2 being 10 cm in (...)

17In all the sites, only spherical stone balls are found. At Parenda in a storeroom they are nearly 300 in number. At Basava Kalyana we measured one of them having a diameter of 45 cms! Nowhere are metallic balls met with. Perhaps, these projectiles have been taken by the local inhabitants for their own use. Some specimens are preserved in Museums.9 Orderly investigations should be carried out in order to catalogue and analyse the finds.

  • 10 I. A. Khan, op. cit., p. 42) suggests that the weight of a projectile used at Herat in 1443 was 20 (...)

18I.A. Khan10 specifies that the earliest reference to metallic cannonballs (cast-brass shots weighing from 1.2 kg to 12.6 kg) in Mughal sources dates back to 1540, that the earliest allusion to the use of lead for making shots dates back to 1572; he adds that a large-scale switching from stone to metallic balls took place in the 17th century, but that finally the Mughals continued to use stone balls on a large scale in their cannons, because it was much cheaper.

19In the inscriptions carved on the guns, the weight of the shots as well as that of the powder is usually mentioned.

  • 11 G. Yazdani, Bidar, pp. 35-36, 42-43.

20At Bidar, in the large guns such as the two Ali Barid (dated 1569 and 1572), we find 136 kg for the shot and 27.2 kg for the powder, but we cannot say whether the projectile was a stone ball or a metallic object.11

  • 12 H. Cousens, Bijapur, p. 29.

21At Bijapur, the huge Malik-i-Maidan probably discharged shots of more than 200 kg. H. Cousens12 writes that what was fired from this cannon was “rather grape-shot or slugs, in the shape often of bags of dumpy copper coins, when nothing else was available.”

22We may assume that the balls used in the lighter guns, manufactured during Aurangzeb’s reign in Parenda and Golkonda, were metallic: the weight of their shots varies from 10.2 to 33.4 kg and that of the powder used for discharging, from 3.8 to 11.2 kg.

  • 13 I.A. Khan, op.cit., p. 113.

23But it is probable that, until the end of the 17th century when military operations in the Deccan intensified under the reign of Aurangzeb, stone balls were mostly used. In a document dated to 1671, it is mentioned that “military commanders in the field began to insist on only wrought-iron shots, which was bound to accelerate the process of gradual discarding of stone balls.”13

Mode of Mounting Guns

24In Europe, during the same period, after some experiments in the mounting of guns, such as barrels solidly held to large baulks of timber laid on the ground, military engineers built wooden gun-carriages upon which the barrel was permanently mounted and, towards the end of the 15th century, trunnions were cast upon the gun-barrel, upon which it would pivot for adjustment in elevation.

25In South India, a different system was adopted. Among the various improvements carried out to strengthen the defence, we have seen, in chapter III, that, on most of the towers and at certain points above or behind the curtain walls, cavaliers were raised, providing the maximum of flanking fire. This was perhaps the most conspicuous innovation.

Circular Gun Platforms

26Upon these structures there are large paved stone platforms in the centre of which there are circular sockets to hold the pivot of the gun upon which the carriage revolved (photo 17), and, at a distance from it, corresponding to the length of the gun, there is a channelled ring, cut into the pavement, in which the wheels of the carriage travelled; towards the back of the gun is a heavy segmental recoil wall, built back at a very short distance from the weapon, in order to counteract the recoil of the gun and prevent strain upon the pivot when firing. In some places there are several platforms of this type on the same tower, facing different directions: at Bijapur, on the Sherza Burj, and at Gulbarga, on the top of Bala Hisar, they are three in number (see in chapter III, photos 57-60, 68, p. 105 & 108).

27The cannons are generally provided with projecting circular bands fixed at regular intervals along the length of the cannon, through which handling rings are inserted.

28Most of them are fitted with trunnions (supporting cylindrical projections on the sides of the barrel) resting on forks (photos 13 & 14) provided with a pivot, allowing the barrel to turn round (inside the socket mentioned above) on a horizontal and vertical plane (photos 15-17).

  • 14 Ibid., pp. 107-108.
  • 15 I.A. Khan, op. cit., pp. 109-110.
  • 16 H. Cousens, Bijapur, p. 28.

29I.A. Khan14 mentions the extensive use in North India of light cannons resting on some kind of swivels fired from the back of camels, and, for the Deccan,15 following Cousens,16 refers only to light cannons (jinjals) working on swivels seen in the Firingi Burj at Bijapur, adding that “these could be relics of Mughal times since the fort was taken over by the Mughals in 1686”.

30This mounting of guns cannot be considered a vestige of North Indian influence, because it was widely distributed all over the Deccan much before the arrival of the Mughals: it is found in all the sites, whether the guns are large or small, long or short. At Naldurga, above the enormous stone cylinder built by Ali Adil Shah I in 1558, on the two circular stone platforms, there are two cannons of this type.

  • 17 R. Balasubramaniam, op.cit., p. 330.

31Some of the cannons, whether cast-bronze or wrought-iron, are bare of trunions, The barrels of this type of engine were possibly held to large balks of timber laid on the ground. The heavy pieces of ordnance, such as the huge Malik-i-Maidan and Lambcharri gun in Bijapur, the two Ali Barid in Bidar (photos, 1, 4, 7), are moreover fitted with massive metal projections, obviously used, along with the rings, for moving these enormous engines from place to place. Long iron rods or wooden beams inserted through these clamp rings would have aided positioning of the cannon during its use and supports for moving the cannon around must have been constructed out of wood.17

Pl. IV

Pl. IV

11. Parenda.

13. Gulbarga, “Long gun”, mounted on an iron pivot.

14. Basavana Kalyana, cannon, mounted on an iron pivot.

Pl. V.

Pl. V.

15. Daulatabad, Qilah Shikan, trunion and pivot.

16. Basava Kalyana, cannon, trunion and pivot.

17. Daulatabad, circular socket for holding a pivot.

  • 18 Quoted by W. Irvine, The Army of the Indian Moghuls, p. 123.

32Gunners firing light cannons from the ramparts were using these contrivances. According to the French traveller de la Flotte, who was in South India in 1758-60,18 guns, when used in fortresses, “are put on the very embrasure, or they are supported by two great movable timbers”.

  • 19 Ibid., pp. 102, 104-106.
  • 20 I.A. Khan, op.cit., pp. 68 & 111.

33In Mughal miniatures drawn at Akbar’s ateliers (1600), on the rampart of the North Indian strongholds, we see light guns put within the crenels of the parapet or resting on two-or threelegged supports, as well as large cannons extending beyond the rampart through rectangular window-shaped loopholes, apparently without any stand.19 In these documents are also shown besiegers’ guns mounted on two-or four-wheeled carriages having a platform with wooden planks on the sides and drawn by bullocks.20

34In South India, we have no evidence of this device, since no war scene is represented in Deccan paintings and no wooden structure of that period has been preserved. Wooden guncarriages upon which the barrel was permanently mounted were apparently not used in the Deccani forts for defence. As regards field artillery we do not know how it was raised into position in siege operations against strongholds. Were the guns dragged unmounted along the ground towards the fort or mounted on wheeled carriages, as in Hindustan? It is probable that this last solution was adopted, at least during Aurangzeb’s campaigns.

Effectiveness of Artillery

  • 21 Quoted by H. Cousens, Bijapur, p. 30.

35Whatever their shots, the damage caused by the large guns of the 16th century found at Bijapur and Bidar is difficult to assess. They must have impressed the troops more by the noise they were making than by the strength of their projectiles. Pietro Della Valle, the Italian traveller who was in South India in 1623, noticed that this type of cannon “is useless for war and serves only for vain pomp”.21 Moreover, we have to take into account a major problem: the lack of mobility of these pieces at the operational level. First, on the battlefield: how to position such heavy cannons (55 or 47 tons!) so that, on firing, the discharged projectile will hit the target? Second, over long distances: even dragged by hundred pairs of oxen with several elephants to push behind, it must have taken months to convey such loads to their destination.

  • 22 W. Irvine, op.cit., p. 123.

36As regards fieldpieces of the 17th century, particularly those used during Aurangzeb’s reign in his long campaign in the Deccan, they must have been effective on the battlefield, especially if metallic balls were used, but, in siege operations against forts, cannons were less successful in breaching stone curtain walls and towers if, as noticed by de la Flotte,22 in the middle of the 18th century, the balls were of stone: these projectiles could only bounce off the walls without making any opening in the masonry.

  • 23 J.L. Gommans & Dirk H.A. Kolff, Warfare and Weaponry in South Asia, p. 36.

37Cannons have, in any case, never been the determining factor in the sieges laid by the Mughals in South India. As we know, the fate of most of the fortifications in the Deccan (and in India), was usually not decided by artillery, but by diplomacy or bribery.23

  • 24 The Indian system was based on the accumulation and the great size of the obstacles opposed to ass (...)

38We are now in a position to answer the question asked in the introduction. Actually, Indian military engineers opted for the principle of the high command, they raised curtain walls and towers and did not bother to reduce the surface exposed to projectiles because they knew that guns could not cause great damage to stone walls. This means that fortifications could withstand the siege technology of the day.24 However it does not imply that the impact of gunpowder artillery on military architecture was negligible. As seen in chapter III, the examination of the fortified works points out that, with the development of firearms, various improvements were carried out on curtain walls, towers, parapets and gateways, but this is a different aspect of our subject.

Conclusion: Researches to be carried out

39Finally to conclude, we would like to emphasize the need for a physical examination of firearms in India in order to find out what was exactly the existing state of metal-working and gun-making during the Medieval Period. Almost all the books and articles written on artillery are based on literary sources, which are always difficult to interpret.

  • 25 Metallurgical industries were still wholly empirical and governed to a large extent by traditional (...)

40Systematic technical studies and chemical analyses on the weapons have to be carried out in different parts of India, so as to determine the nature of metal used in the fabrication of the guns (cast-bronze, wrought-iron, etc.), the workmanship of their barrel (straight and smooth, of constant internal diameter), their capacity to withstand the explosion of the charge without cracking, the nature of the projectiles (stone, iron, cast-iron balls), of the powder, and thus reveal the measure of the gunsmiths’ skill.25

  • 26 To evaluate gunpowder weaponry in India, European engineering should not be taken as the yardstick (...)

41Investigations should also be made on the ballistic characteristics of the cannons, in order to give an estimate of their accuracy and range and, thus, show (what is most important for historians) their destructive capacity.26

42Experts are exhorted to go and see on site the guns.

  1. A careful examination of the cannons, still on their pivots at Gulbarga and Basava Kalyana, is likely to throw light on the accuracy of aim of these weapons (at Gulbarga, to the north of the village, children come and play with a gun which they call jhūlā top, because the pivot is so sensitive that they can have a swing!). We would like to know whether the mounting of guns on fork and pivot was efficient, whether the angle of elevation could be easily adjusted and finally whether the wall, built a short distance behind the weapon, was able to counteract successfully the recoil of the gun and prevent strain upon the pivot when firing.
  2. As regards the range of the guns, I.A. Khan,27 depending on Persian chronicles, asserts that the heavy mortars in the 15th century were very effective (which is doubtful), that a mortar made at Agra in 1527 had a range of 1,600 paces (1.21 km), and another one, used in 1540, a range of a farsak (about 5.5 km), a figure obviously exaggerated. Now, in the inscriptions found on the guns, the actual charge of the projectile is mentioned. Experts, by considering the length of the barrel, the diameter of the bore, the weight of the ball and the quantity of powder used for projecting them, should be able to estimate the range and effectiveness of the cannons.
  3. Lastly, we wonder whether the guns were normally aimed point-blank or a little above the horizontal. When it was necessary to use a high trajectory with an elevation of 45° or more in order to bombard hidden targets, did the engineers use mortars with a projectile containing a charge of powder exploded by a fuse? Literary sources keep us guessing,

Additional Note: Maratha Artillery in 1803

  • 28 R.G.S. Cooper, The Anglo-Maratha Campaigns and the Contest for India, pp. 19, 49 & 20.

43A recently published book on the Marathas by R.G.S. Cooper,28 almost entirely based on British sources, contributes some new facts about Maratha artillery.

  • 29 “The capture of small casting centres with one or two furnaces and two to four casting pits, durin (...)

44The author considers that South Asian artillery was superior to that of the Europeans in quality and volume of fire power, that indigenous “casting techniques were well in advance of the Europeans”, and that, particularly “Indians had perfected cast-iron cannon barrels that far exceeded their western counterparts”. He also thinks that, in India, “the manufacturing of quality artillery was more than just a cottage industry on a regional scale”,29 that “the coming together of Hindu metallurgy and mathematics with Arab as well as Persian contributions represent the type of military science that South Asians were never given credit for in western texts”.

  • 30 Ibid., pp. 296-297.

45As an example, he quotes the remarks made by Major George Constable who, in 1803 inventoried captured Maratha guns30 and found that, with laminated iron and brass barrels, these engines were far superior to anything Britain possessed:

  • because of their interior hexagonal bore cylinder being constructed from longitudinally welded iron or steel bars, iron gun tubes were subject to much less internal damage or wear and tear during firing owing to the harshness of iron compared to brass;
  • the laminated barrel, consisting of such a cylinder with a brass sleeve cast over it, was thus a major design improvement.

46The English leading expert therefore thought that these specialized cannon barrels represented advance weapons technology possessing a key advantage over European ordnance and that they should be copied by Britain.

47This appraisal of Maratha artillery in the beginning of the 19th century, based on an incredible amount of documents, should be taken into consideration by modem specialists. It calls for a revision of the traditional picture of the “well-oiled and finely tuned European military force”, shown in British accounts!

48But, this imagery should not be run down systematically The assumption of military superiority based only on the possession of specialized cannons is not convincing because it does not address ballistic-relevant issues such as velocity, range or projectile energy on impact, which are determinant in the outcome of an armed conflict.

49As regard 16th and 17th century warfare in the Deccan (the subject of our enquiry), it is still a debatable issue to say that there was an “early South Asian lead in artillery quality and volume of firepower”.

Annexes

List of Plates

Pl. 1.

1. Bijapur, Malik-i-Maidan (H. Cousens, Bijapur, pl. IV).

2. Bijapur, Lambcharri gun (H. Cousens, op. cit., pl. IV).

3. Bijapur, Landa Qassab gun (H. Cousens, op.cit., pl. IV).

Pl. II.

4. Bidar, Ali Barid or “Large gun” (G. Yazdani, Bidar, pl. XLVII).

5. Bidar, “Long gun” (G. Yazdani, op.cit., pl. XLVI).

6. Bidar, gun on the Munda Burj (G. Yazdani, op.cit., pl. XLIX).

Pl. III.

7. Bidar, Ali Barid (Kala Burj).

8. Bidar, Fath Lashkar.

9. Parenda, Azhdaha Paikar.

10. Parenda, cannon.

Pl. IV.

11. Parenda.

12. Gulbarga.

13. Gulbarga, “Long gun”, mounted on an iron pivot.

14. Basavana Kalyana, cannon, mounted on an iron pivot.

Pl. V.

15. Daulatabad, Qilah Shikan, trunion and pivot.

16. Basava Kalyana, cannon, trunion and pivot.

17. Daulatabad, circular socket for holding a pivot.

Notes

1 I.A. Khan, Gun Powder and Firearms, Warfare in Medieval India, pp. 1-127.

2 J. Dcloche, Senji, pp. 131-132 & 225-229.

3 Detailed description in H. Cousens, Bijapur, pp. 29-30.

4 Ibid., pp. 31-33.

5 G. Yazdani, Bidar, p. 36.

6 K.M. Ahmad, Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica, 1937-38, pp. 47-49 and G. Yazdani, ibid., 1913-14, pp. 51-55.

7 R. Balasubramaniam & al., Indian Journal of History of Science 40/3, pp. 269-293, 321-335, 337-348, 389-408 & 409-429.

8 I.A. Khan, op.cit., pp. 88, 111 & 113.

9 K. Rötzer visited recently the Museum of Bidar fort and found 3 iron cannonballs, 2 being 10 cm in diameter and 1 being 20 cm in diameter. Inside the first two there are small metallic balls making noise when they are moved. At Bijapur, in the Gol Gumbaz Museum, he also saw some iron cannonballs.

10 I. A. Khan, op. cit., p. 42) suggests that the weight of a projectile used at Herat in 1443 was 200 man, i.e. 1,200 kg, which appears implausible.

11 G. Yazdani, Bidar, pp. 35-36, 42-43.

12 H. Cousens, Bijapur, p. 29.

13 I.A. Khan, op.cit., p. 113.

14 Ibid., pp. 107-108.

15 I.A. Khan, op. cit., pp. 109-110.

16 H. Cousens, Bijapur, p. 28.

17 R. Balasubramaniam, op.cit., p. 330.

18 Quoted by W. Irvine, The Army of the Indian Moghuls, p. 123.

19 Ibid., pp. 102, 104-106.

20 I.A. Khan, op.cit., pp. 68 & 111.

21 Quoted by H. Cousens, Bijapur, p. 30.

22 W. Irvine, op.cit., p. 123.

23 J.L. Gommans & Dirk H.A. Kolff, Warfare and Weaponry in South Asia, p. 36.

24 The Indian system was based on the accumulation and the great size of the obstacles opposed to assaillants: mud ramparts in which shots buried and lodged themselves without doing any harm and hard stone revetments from which shots were deflected.

25 Metallurgical industries were still wholly empirical and governed to a large extent by traditional craft-knowledge; we wonder whether expert gunners had some mathematical attainments, and, for example, knew how to calculate the charges of powder in proportion to the bore of the piece.

26 To evaluate gunpowder weaponry in India, European engineering should not be taken as the yardstick of Indian development. We cannot be satisfied with the opinion of European observers in the 18th century who do not, as a rule, speak favourably of the Indian artillery, finding the guns “cumbrous, ill-mounted and ill served” (see the examples given by W. Irvine, op.cit., pp. 116-118).

27 I.A. Khan, op.cit., pp. 48 & 72.

28 R.G.S. Cooper, The Anglo-Maratha Campaigns and the Contest for India, pp. 19, 49 & 20.

29 “The capture of small casting centres with one or two furnaces and two to four casting pits, during the period from 1800 to 1803, deceived some foreign observers... They did not consider that the variety and number of casting centres was far greater than in European countries. The accumulative production level of south Asian foundries became apparent when the five months of campaigning against the Marathas in 1803 resulted in the capture of an estimated 1,000 pieces of artillery” (ibid., p. 292).

30 Ibid., pp. 296-297.

Notes de fin

* This chapter is based on the appendix 2 of my article, ‘Etudes sur les fortifications de l’Inde. IV La fortification musulmane dans le Dekkan méridional (XVe-XVIIIe siècle’, Bulletin de l’Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient 89, pp. 72-75, 105 & 106.

Table des illustrations

Titre Pl. 1.
Légende 1. Bijapur, Malik-i-Maidan (H. Cousens, Bijapur, pl. IV).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 272k
Légende 2. Bijapur, Lambcharri gun (H. Cousens, op.cit., pl. IV).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 228k
Légende 3. Bijapur, Landa Qassab gun (H. Cousens, op.cit., pl. IV).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 245k
Titre Pl. II.
Légende 4. Bidar, Ali Barid or “Large gun” (G. Yazdani, Bidar, pl. XLVII).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 372k
Légende 5. Bidar, “Long gun” (G. Yazdani, op.cit., pl. XLVI).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 276k
Légende 6. Bidar, gun on the Munda Burj (G. Yazdani, op.cit., pl. XLIX).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 270k
Titre Pl. III.
Légende 7. Bidar, Ali Barid (Kala Burj).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 186k
Légende 8. Bidar, Fath Lashkar.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 157k
Légende 9. Parenda, Azhdaha Paikar.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 202k
Légende 10. Parenda, cannon.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Dimensions of a few cannons with names, date, type and places
Légende References:- Bijapur: H. Cousens, Bijapur, pp. 29-33 and pls. III et IV.- Bidar: G. Yazdani, Bidar, pp. 35-36, 38-39, 42-43, 85 and pls. XVII & XVIX.- Golkonda: G. Yazdani, ‘Inscriptions in Golconda Fort’, Epigraphia Indica, Arabic and Persian Supplement, 1913-14, pp. 55-56; ‘Inscription on a gun at Golconda’, Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica, 1935-36, p. 23; A.Μ. Khwaja, ‘Some New Inscriptions from the Golconda Fort’, Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica., 1937-38, pp. 47-49; R. Balasubramaniam R. & al., ‘The Forge-welded Iron Cannon at Bada Burj of Golconda Fort Rampart’, Indian Journal of History of Science 40/3; pp. 321-335;-‘The Forge-welded Iron Cannon at Fateh Burj of Golconda Fort Rampart’, ibid. pp. 337-348; ‘Azdaha Paikar–The Composite Iron-Bronze Cannon at Petla Burj of Golconda Fort’, ibid., pp. 389-408; ‘Fath Raihbar-The Massive Bronze cannon at Petla Burj of Golconda Fort’, ibid., pp. 409-429.- Parenda: G. Yazdani, ‘Parenda: an Historical Fort’, Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of His Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1921-24, pp. 19-20 & 24-25.- Basava Kalyana: our own measurements.(In the inscriptions the weight unit is jahāngirī and shāhjahānī. They have been converted into kilograms and grams, following the equivalences given by Habib I., in The Agrarian System of Mughal India, pp. 366-369).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 409k
Titre Pl. IV
Légende 11. Parenda.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 142k
Légende 12. Gulbarga.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Légende 13. Gulbarga, “Long gun”, mounted on an iron pivot.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 194k
Légende 14. Basavana Kalyana, cannon, mounted on an iron pivot.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 153k
Titre Pl. V.
Légende 15. Daulatabad, Qilah Shikan, trunion and pivot.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 272k
Légende 16. Basava Kalyana, cannon, trunion and pivot.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 224k
Légende 17. Daulatabad, circular socket for holding a pivot.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4029/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 289k

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