A Tiger Loose on an Ice Flow

A Tiger Loose on an Ice Flow

The Ferozepore Brigade on the Western Front, 1914-1915

David Snape

A study of the Indian Ferozepore Brigade on the Western Front. Part of the Indian Corps, the Brigade went into action to support the BEF in holding back the German advance to the sea. The Indian sepoys fought with great loss in an unfamiliar theater.
Date Published :
November 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
20-30 b/w ills, 6 maps, 2 diagrams
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915113696
Pages : 180
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Many accounts of the Indian Corps as a whole have been published in recent years but few have concentrated on the experiences of a single individual Brigade. The Ferozepore Brigade, part of the Lahore Division, had been created in 1904 during the Kitchener reforms of the Indian Army and like all Indian Army Brigades consisted of three Indian Battalions, the 9th Bhopal Infantry, the 57th (Wilde’s) Rifles (Frontier Force), and the 129th The Duke of Connaught’s Own Baluchis. In addition the Brigade had one British regular Army Battalion; 1st Battalion Connaught Rangers.

The Indian Corps was mobilized very efficiently in August 1914 and embarked in France in the following month after a long sea voyage. Such was the haste of the Brigade’s mobilization and the differences which had been allowed to exist in its organization and equipment that the Brigade’s composition, it had to be reorganized during the voyage from India and reequipped with unfamiliar weaponry on its arrival in France.

Once in Europe, the problems of feeding, equipping, caring and commanding the Brigade all taxed the administration of the BEF. The differencing dietary requirements which the various racial and religious groups, the lack of modern equipment such as trench mortars and the various medical needs also challenged the British Officers attached to the Brigade’s Battalions, most of whom were equally unused to the European conditions as their men even though many had served in numerous campaigns at home. The paternal relationship between Officers and men in the Indian Battalions was a great strength but was to prove a weakness when British officers, who were familiar and understood their men, became casualties and had to be replaced with substitutes who struggled to fill the gap. It was assumed that the Indians could not fight efficiently without British Officers in command, but the book discuss how true this assumption really was and uses example where sepoys fought gallantly after their British Commanders have been killed or wounded.

The Indian Corps had arrived in ‘ the nick of time’. The BEF was exhausted and was hanging on having been engaged along the entire length of its sector. Consequently, Indian Brigades went straight to the front where they fought with great gallantly in very unfamiliar surroundings. This book attempts to explain how one Brigade coped with the task they had been given while relating it to the struggle of The Indian Corps as a whole to adjust its strategy and tactics in a European War. Like a Tiger on an Ice Flow, Ferozepore Brigade had to learn to survive in a completely alien environment.

About The Author

David Snape spent almost 40 years in Education during which he occupied a number of senior posts. He was a Head Teacher of two secondary schools, a Chief Examiner, a School Adviser and worked for a Local Education Authority. On his retirement he pursued his lifelong interest in Military History at a more formal level by taking two M.A. degrees at the University of Wolverhampton. In 2017, he was awarded the prize for best performing postgraduate student in History, Politics and War Studies for his work on the Indian Army in the First World War. A regular contributor to the Victorian Military History Society’s magazine, Soldiers of the Queen he was awarded the Society’s Howard Browne Medal in 2019 for an assessment of Kitchener’s Indian Army reforms. David is a keen Freemason and currently Chair of Governors of a local primary school. He belongs to a small group of Helion’s writers with a shared interests in the Indian Army which is known as the ‘Curry Club’. He and his wife live in Northamptonshire and he has a daughter and granddaughter; all of whom have supported his interest in research.

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