Bhutan and Sikkim?

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mihu
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Bhutan and Sikkim?

Post by mihu » 19 Mar 2020 19:49

I am aware of Nepal's contribution to the Allied war effort (e.g. Gurkha troops), but what about Bhutan and Sikkim? Both were also vassals of the British Empire, and yet I haven't seen much mention of them being involved in WW2, even through something like a symbolic declaration of war. Did either state participate in any manner in the Second World War, either directly or indirectly? Or did they essentially remain neutral throughout?

mihu
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Re: Bhutan and Sikkim?

Post by mihu » 20 Mar 2020 21:50

This is the only info I've managed to find. No idea how true it is, considering it's wikipedia:

"Although Bhutan was under British suzerainty, it remained independent; and under the reign of Jigme Wangchuck the kingdom continued to maintain almost complete isolation from the outside world with only limited relations with the British Raj in India. Despite his policy of neutrality, upon the outbreak of the war the king sent the government of India a gift of 100,000 rupees as a gesture of friendship."
World War II by country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War ... try#Bhutan

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Manchukuo_1940
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Re: Bhutan and Sikkim?

Post by Manchukuo_1940 » 18 Apr 2020 11:49

Bhutan didn't really have a notable role in any war except for when it fought against the british and humiliated them at multiple battles before finally giving up, sikkim though may have had a small contingent of indian forces that served. The only relevant thing about Bhutan is that if japan ever occupied it they would probably act the same as they did to the manchus, which is good.
Ugyen

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Bhutan and Sikkim?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Apr 2020 20:12

Hi Manchukuo-1940,

Please, do tell us more about how Bhutan "fought against the British and humiliated them at multiple battles.....".

Cheers,

Sid.

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Herculaneum
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Re: Bhutan and Sikkim?

Post by Herculaneum » 17 Apr 2022 14:24

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Apr 2020 20:12
Hi Manchukuo-1940,

Please, do tell us more about how Bhutan "fought against the British and humiliated them at multiple battles.....".

Cheers,

Sid.
Hello,
It should be sometime between 1772-1864. The British were first aware of Bhutan when an Indian city state called Koeh Behar was invaded by Bhutanese in 1772. It was during that nearly 90 year period of time when British quite likely made contacts with Northern Bengal, including Bhutanese country via East Asia Company. It is possible that the Britsh were expelled by Bhutanese several times prior to the Duaer War.

Useful information for Anglo-Bhutanese relations: https://www.jstor.org/stable/29754621

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Loïc
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Re: Bhutan Military History

Post by Loïc » 17 Apr 2022 17:00

Interesting and very exotic obscure 'gap'-topic

Military speaking all I find is the first British detachement under Captain Jones and Colonel Cummings in 1772, then missions/embassies trying to establish treaties and contact, attempts to negociate peace between Chinese Tibet Buthanese and Nepalese
for battles that is an other story

main troubles came after the 1st Anglo-Burmese War 1824-1826 and conquest of Assam leading to boundaries disputes and skirmishes with Bhutanese raids provoking military reprisals and annexation of territories by the British

A further attempt to negotiate a treaty was done by sending a small detachment of 35 men of Assam Seebundy Corps headed by Lieutenant Blake and Captain Pemberton, "first european having crossed the country from the east to west"

in 1839, the Bhutanese again launched their incursions on the frontier, pillaged several villages, having no other results than losses/annexations by the British to secure the border
From 1837 to 1864, the British noted thus thirty cases of pillage, the kidnapping of 18 elephants and 25 of their native subjects taken into slavery, while in Kuch-Bihar 69 inhabitants and a value of 20,000 rupees were kidnapped in about fifty incursions.

a "zamindar" from Guma was captured by the Bhutanese, which this time forced the government of Bengal to send a regiment to the frontier
the British commissioner, as a precautionary measure, proposed to definitively annex the districts of Ambari-Falakota and Jalpaich, where detachments of infantry and cavalry were quartered for this purpose


with the Great Mutiny in 1858 Bhutan took the opportunity to raise its voice. Border incidents flared up again, and two troops of Bhutanese even advanced to attack Rampour and Darjiling; it was necessary to detach 2 companies at the border to force them to disperse

the sixth failed embassy was sent right in the middle of the winter 1863/1864 crossing until an altitude of 3000 meters with 15 Sikhs and 10 Sappers from the Seebundy Corps with only one European named Eden, badly received this last attempt caused the war the following year


Les royaumes des neiges : États himalayens
Charles-Eudes Bonin
Last edited by Loïc on 17 Apr 2022 19:14, edited 3 times in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Bhutan and Sikkim?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Apr 2022 17:03

Hi Loic,

Thanks for a substantive update.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Loïc
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Re: Bhutan Military History

Post by Loïc » 19 Apr 2022 23:00

De nada

having piqued my curiosity, the only military 'humiliation' affair found, given the very low intensity of British India-Bhutanese relationships and military history prior to 1864 - or we have to rewrite the History and describe border pillage, kidnapping of civilians and elephants as if these last ones represented multiples battles and the six british diplomatical missions escorting sometimes by few soldiers as large-scale majors invasions in a country remaining forbidden to European - seems to take place with the withdrawal of Dewangiri and loss of two small mountain 12pdr howitzers of the Eurasian Artillery company during the only real large-scale five-months Anglo-Buthanese War of 1864-1865 since the war of 1772-1773 when the garrison of Dewangiri was evacuated in extreme disorder and sort of panic the 5th february 1865 by the 43rd Assam Light Infantry, unable to carry them, the howitzer were abandoned in a ravine to hide them but were found by the Bhutanese,

from this episode result sentences such as
The British suffered a series of reverses, and at Dewangiri they suffered a humiliating defeat
Bhutan Society and Polity
Ramakant, ‎Ramesh Chandra Misra · 1996


that seems all the military humiliation inflicted at the face of the British Empire by Buthan in 93 years

Source
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 7/mode/2up
Bhotan and the story of the Dooar War
David Field Rennie
M.D. Surgeon 80th Regiment
London 1866


Appendix B page 384 details the relations with the Bhutanese between 1828 and 1861
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 7/mode/2up

(thanks to Surgeon Rennie I learned a new english word, the Recommencement of hostilities)


both howitzers were recovered after the war where Bhutan lost more than 2 small guns
and Dewangiri, annexed, returned to Bhutan after the Independance of India
BHOUTAN.jpg
Bhoutanbis.PNG
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coming back to the period of the thread

a major problem for Bhutan was the rising population of Nepali immigrants which numbered about 50 000 by 1928. Subsequent British political officers also reported the issue of uncontrolled growth of Nepali Settlers
It was perhaps with the foresight of such threat to national security that King Jigme Wangchuck started to build modern armed forces.
Fifteen young men were sent to be trained under Gurkhas Rifles in Shillong around 1932 and upon their return they recruited and trained about a hundred men who formed the first modern Bhutanese army.
By 1940 over a hundred men had been trained under the Gurkhas and there was a sizeable platoon of soldiers and some 1900 rifles

The History of Bhutan
Karma Phuntsho 2014



First approach was made in 1917-1918 to permit recruitment of the Bhutanese Nepalis to the Indian Army which was turned down and renewed more than once in 1920' but denied (...)
14 Bhutanese were recruited in Shillong with 2/10th Gurkhas Rifles in 1930. Captain C.J. Morris came to south-central Bhutan to assess the possiblity of recruitment to Gurkhas regiments and surveyed the area extensively for the purpose. He found that the Nepalis constitued about 20% of the total 300 000 Bhutanese in 1932. Even this survey didn't convince the Bhutanese to let the Nepalis join the Indian Army but a small number of trained soldiers from the Indian Army ultimately provided the nucleus of the palace guards when such a unit was raised in Bhutan

Nepali Diaspora in a Globalized Era
A.C. Sinha


Regards
Loïc
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