Battle of Palasi

Article

July 5, 2022

Battle of Palasi - An armed clash that took place on June 23, 1757 in Bengal, near the small village of Palasi, located between Calcutta and Murschidabad. The troops of the British East India Company and the Indians led by Nawab Bengal Siraja Ud Daulach took part in the battle.

Before the battle

The reason for the clash was the attack and conquest of Calcutta by the Nawab, who opposed the new British fortifications and meddled in trade affairs between the British and the Indians. The British army was clearly quantitatively inferior to the enemy. It had only 800 Europeans and 2,200 allied Indians. The Nawab, on the other hand, commanded a force of 50,000 men and 53 guns. The power imbalance was so great that on June 21, General Robert Clive called a council of war, where he discussed ways to avoid fighting. Clive was skeptical, but he was persuaded by the arguments of Major Eyre Coote, who commanded the 39th regiment of British troops. In addition, he was assured by the Hindus led by Mir Jafar, who, in return for help in taking the throne, intended to go to the British side. On June 22, Clive's troops crossed the river near Fort Katwa. That same evening, the British took up positions in the mangrove forest on the left bank of the Bhagirathi River. In the early morning of June 23, the Nawab's army left their positions, lining up in line with the British right wing.

Battle

Meanwhile, Clive had left his position in the woods. Its left wing took up positions around Plassey House, a building surrounded by a stone wall. The British line was divided into six branches. The Europeans in the center consisted of 4 divisions, Major Kilpatrick commanded the Bengali infantry, Major Grant and Eyre Coote the 39th infantry regiment, while the Madras infantry, led by Captain Gaupp, occupied the nearby hills in the strength of two divisions. The artillery force of three 6-pounder guns on each side was commanded by Captain William Jennings. Clive's forces, additionally equipped with two 6-pounders, took up positions between the two stone walls, about 200 yards from the left wing. The entire British line was about 1,000 yards wide. The Nawab's forces arranged their cavalry and infantry columns quite densely, among them artillery batteries of various weights. Clive's troops struck the enemy in a narrow area, but supported by artillery batteries from both wings. The attack resulted in significant losses for the British, and Clive withdrew to the shelter of the forest. Meanwhile, British guns continued firing the Nawab's forces. Hindu troops crowded in a small area suffered great losses. Clive intended to keep firing at the enemy all day, and to attack the weakened Nawab again in the evening. During the fight there was an hour-long monsoon rain, which completely soaked the soldiers of both sides. The Indian artillery was not able to fire as many shots as at the beginning of the battle - the gunpowder completely silenced. At this point, the Indian cavalry began the attack, hoping that the British guns were also unable to fire further. The gunpowder of British artillery, however, as a result of 9 years of experience in India was adequately protected against moisture and now all the guns again began a violent cannonade. The Nawab's cavalry was smashed with three volleys from each wing. Seeing the progress of the fighting, Mir Jafar's forces left the left Indian wing as announced. The main line of the Hindus dispersed. The whole fight lasted only a few hours.

After the battle

In fact, the outcome of the fight had been decided in advance. Clive bribed Mir Jafar, a relative and commanding most of the forces (including artillery). This one from the beginning claimed the right to the throne and wanted to