The last Charge of the Deccan Horse at High Wood ( World War I)

M G Singh By M G Singh, 15th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The Deccan Horse was a cavalry regiment of the Indian army and was used for the last time at High Gate in 1915 during World War I with disastrous results


The cavalry had been the main stay of the British Indian army and one of the most famous was the Deccan Horse. Originally raised in Hyderabad by the Nizam who was an ally of the British, the regiment became an integral part of the British Indian army.

the Nizam of Hyderabad spent lot of time and money in raising the regiment, which was taken over by the British and incorporated in the Indian army

The Deccan Horse

The Deccan horse had the best horses and was officered solely by Britishers. As good horses were not available in India the horses were imported from far off places like America and Australia. The Deccan horse was in India at the outbreak of the war in 1914. With the Central powers led by Germany launching a ferocious assault, it was imperative to shore up the Allied defence. The Deccan horse was thus shipped to England from there they were transported to France.

The battle at High Wood

Most Military theorists had come around to the view that a cavalry charge was an outdated war tactic, but some die hard generals still believed in the efficacy of an cavalry charge on horseback. These old fashioned officers thoughts prevailed and the horse regiment was ordered into battle against the German guns.

The Deccan horse was thrown into battle at High Wood on 14 July 1916 in a phase of the battle of the Somme. This till today remains one of the legendary exploits of the regiment and is celebrated as an act of great courage against heavy odds.

The Charge

The order to charge was received in the morning and the Deccan Horse moved in formation towards the German machine guns. This was the last charge by a cavalry unit as after the heavy causalities the General staff learnt its lesson and the cavalry with the horse as a component was not used again.
The charge itself is a saga in bravery as with machine guns flying all around the soldiers of the Deccan horse pressed forward. The regiment in the initial salvo lost 50 men and 72 horses, but a brave group reached the German gunners and cut them up. It was an act of great bravery and we today must be proud of this achievement of the Indian army.
An inquiry was held later , but it could not be pinpointed as to who gave the fateful order

Last Word

The Deccan horse was not used for any more charges in Europe till it was equipped with tanks. This charge on 16 July is remembered as an act of dare devilry not surpassed by anyone else.


Cavalry, Charge, Deccan Horse, High Gate, Indian Army

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author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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author avatar Trillionaire
19th Jul 2013 (#)

Thanks for sharing a very interesting article.

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author avatar M G Singh
20th Jul 2013 (#)

Nice comment

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