Object Title

Gun - 6-pounder, Indian Field Gun, Limber and Carriage

Gun - 6-pounder, Indian Field Gun, Limber and Carriage

Date

1831-1870

Object Number

XIX.329

Provenance

Used in the 1st Sikh War (1845-46)

Physical Description

The barrel is a six pounder smooth-bore muzzle-loader. The plain bronze barrel bears simple mouldings; the cascable has a pierced lug for the attachment of the elevating screw. The button has a mid-point fillet. On the muzzle side of the base ring is an ogee and to the rear of the vent patch there is a tangent hindsight marked with an elevation scale 10 degrees by half degrees, secured with a locking screw. The vent field is bounded by a vent field astragal and fillets, thence a first reinforce, first reinforce ring, a second reinforce holding the trunnions, a second reinforce ring and ogee, chase, muzzle astragal and fillets and a muzzle swell with a moulding on the muzzle face.The piece is engraved with a figure '2' behind the muzzle swell and on the muzzle face. This is no dispart patch or foresight. The hardwood carriage is of block trail type based on General Sir William Congreve's 1792 design for British service. However, it is heavily decorated with brass inlay; the trail lifting handles are formed as double headed creatures. Unlike a British carriage, the trail lifting lever is a 'T' headed iron lever (mounting broken) attached to the trail. The trail is equipped with a portfire holder and cutter (the latter a modern replacement) and an axe. The axle tree seats have decorated arms, back and foot rests, the wheels have carved spokes and ornamental brass tiger head hubs while the drag rope hooks terminate in birds heads. Noticeably the upper cheeks of the carriage are embellished with bronze figures such as a warrior, a sleeping horse, two oxen, a warrior wielding a weapon and two other hoofed animals. The limber hook is in the form of an elephants head and the trunk forms the main body of the hook. The head is surmounted by a small mahout. In broad terms, the Limber comprises 2 wheels, and an axletree with a hook. A wood T-piece from the axletree supports three abutted wood shelves themselves supporting a rectangular wooden case. The axletree supports two other taller but more square wood cases. All the cases are inlaid with bronze.

Techniques

Cast

Materials

Dimensions

BarrelBore90 mm
BarrelLength1645 mm
BarrelWeight300 kg
CarriageLength3500 mm
CarriageWidth1330 mm

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number None visible

Calibre

90 mm

Associations

Places India

Bibliographic References

Thom Richardson, An introduction to Indian arms and armour, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2007: 27

Notes

This gun constructed very much in the style of a British Napoleonic 6-pounder but without any formal inscriptions was captured by British East India Company forces along with the carriage in action around the Sutlej River during the First Sikh War (1845-1846). Upon the death of Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the Sikh kingdom of Punjab in 1839, it almost immediately fell into disorder. The British whose frontier between the Punjab and British ruled India was marked by the Sutlej River becasme very concerned about a power struggle in the post-Ranjit years between the Sikh's and the Hindu's. The British East India Company establish a military cantonment right on the frontier where in a series of actions they conquered and annexed Sindh. Was this deliberate British belligerence as an excuse to increase its sphere of influence in the Punjab or genuine concern about great unrest so close to their border - perhaps both!