My background research for the Mysore hill forts article (see Lewis 2012) required that I learn about the early 19th century arms and equipment of the East India Company’s (EIC) army. This work soon broadened to include several of the more common smallarms of the Indian Army, which is the direct descendant of the EIC army (Menezes 1999).
As I studied what the Indian infantryman carried into battle over the past few centuries, two weapons stood out, the India Pattern musket and the .303 Lee-Enfield. Both were in service for a half century or more; both were important British Army weapons and were used by armies elsewhere in the British Empire; and hundreds of thousands of both weapons were issued to Indian soldiers. In short, the India Pattern musket and the .303 Lee-Enfield, more than any other smallarms, played significant roles in recent Indian military history. Continue reading