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Battle of Panipat, 1526

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Babur versus Ibrahim Lodi: An Afghan army under Ibrahim attacks a Mughal army under Babur, which is protected by a line of wagons and two safe flanks. Babur has something Ibrahim does not, namely cannons, but they are just a taste of the Mughal firepower; will Babur’s firepower be enough to defeat Ibrahim? Click on images below to view PowerPoint presentation. | Legend |
 
 
Babur’s victory laid the foundations of an empire that would eventually unite most of India. This battle should be significant to Western historians because it makes it abundantly clear that India had a rich culture and military history before any European arrived, that history does not begin when Europeans arrive to record a story.
 
The use of wagons in battle is always intriguing especially when used successfully. Babur used his wagons offensively, not defensively: “Men do not leave wide gaps in a wall intended to protect them from attack . . . Even as his objective was to provoke combat so his wagon-line was a device to destroy the enemy” (Williams quoted by Sandhu, 2003: 440). Babur’s wagons were just as necessary in actively destroying the enemy as his heavy cavalry, which were combined with his artillery and firepower. Sarkar notes that Babur perfected the art of fire-and-movement 300 years before the general Napoleon and the theorist Jomini (1984: 219).
 
 
This battle was requested by someone in the early development of this website all the way back in 2008. When beginning such a project, encouragement is crucial to continuing it, so Sameer, if you’re still following the site: thanks for the support and sorry for the wait.
 
I anticipate that this will be another animation that stirs controversy over my choice of numbers for each side. I chose to rely upon Sandhu’s A Military History of Medieval India because it provides the most detail regarding the composition of each army. Most sources place the size of the Mughal army at 8-15,000 but they rely upon Babur’s own estimates of having 12,000 cavalry and a few thousand infantry. Babur’s estimate only includes his 12,000 Turkish cavalry which he felt he could rely upon (Sandhu, 2003: 435). As a historian writing centuries later, I cannot set a precedent for counting only forces the commander felt most confident in.
 
- Jonathan Webb
 
Works Consulted

Babur. Memoirs of Babur. Translated by Annette Susannah Beveridge. Delhi: Low Price, 1989.
 
Davis, Paul K. 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
 
Dupuy, Trevor N. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, Fourth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
 
Hasan, Mohibbul. Babur: Founder of the Mughal Empire in India. New Delhi: Manohar, 1985.
 
Sandhu, Gurcharn Sing. A Military History of Medieval India. New Delhi: Vision, 2003.
 
Sarkar, Jagadish Narayan. The Art of War in Medieval India. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharal, 1984.
 
Williams, Rushbrook. An Empire Builder of the Sixteenth Century: A Summary of the Political Career of Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad Surnamed Babur. London: Longmans & Green, 1918.

Images

Afghan cavalry: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_83b_figure_1.htm
 
Afghan infantry: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_83b_figure_1.htm
 
Afghan war elephant: http://www.dbaol.com/armies/army_83b_figure_1.htm
 
Babur: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babur
 
Ibrahim Lodi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_Lodi
 
Mughal artillery: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=399079&page=6
 
Mughal cavalry: httphttp://greatestbattles.iblogger.org/MysoreWars/ArmiesOfTheWarsInIndia_byPaulDStevenson.htm
 
Mughal infantry: http://greatestbattles.iblogger.org/MysoreWars/ArmiesOfTheWarsInIndia_byPaulDStevenson.htm

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  1. 10 Comments to “Battle of Panipat, 1526”

  2. An impeccable presentation as usual. A minor typo - In last slide - Rana Sanfram is Rana Sangram. Hope you could make a presentation of the Battle of Talikota 1565.

    By Sunil on Aug 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

  3. good animation . is it possible to include more indian subcontinent wars by marathas and other kings?
    thnx

    By apand on Oct 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  4. A good presentation. Is it possible to add more battles Battle of panipat 2 and 3 and also battles by the Marathas and also
    include sieges. Since many good sieges seen in Indian history .

    By abhi on Oct 26, 2011 at 2:42 pm

  5. There will certainly be more Indian battles in the future, I can tell you that!

    By Jonathan Webb on Nov 4, 2011 at 12:46 am

  6. Beautifully portrayed.Thanks

    By Nitin on Apr 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  7. What a great presentation. Thank you for the site and the variety of battles.

    By Sean T on May 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

  8. Babur had modern for that time guns.

    By botirali on Sep 5, 2013 at 2:53 am

  9. Good definition

    By Anjoy Engti on Sep 28, 2014 at 5:13 am

  10. jai Rajputana jai hindutva

    By rahul on Nov 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm

  11. maharana sangram Singh could have destroyed mughuls if he could hav learned a bit from 1st battle of panipat…

    By rahul on Nov 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

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