Indian Army During World War II - Background

Background

In 1939 the Indian Army was an experienced force, having fought in the Third Afghan War and two major campaigns in Waziristan, during 1919–1920 and 1936–1939 and in smaller disputes on the North West Frontier since the First World War. There was no shortage of manpower to call upon, but the army did suffer from a shortage of skilled technical personnel. The conversion of the cavalry force into a mechanized tank force had only just began and was hampered by the inability to supply adequate numbers of tanks and armoured vehicles.

In 1939, British officials had no plan for expansion and training of Indian forces, which comprised about 130,000 men (In addition there were 44,000 men in British units in India in 1939.). Their mission was internal security and defense against a possible Russian threat through Afghanistan. As the war progressed, the size and role of the Indian Army expanded dramatically, and troops were sent to battle fronts as soon as possible. The most serious problem was lack of equipment.

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