Sobraon, Battle of

Sobraon, Battle of
   The final showdown of the First Sikh War fought on February 10, 1846, near the village of Sobraon. The Sikhs had constructed 3,000 yards of entrenchments in a semicircle, with each end touching the Sutlej River. Construction was shoddy, especially on the right side, as the Sikh generals practically wanted defeat. General Sire Hugh Gough, with his 15,000 troops, rightly wanted to launch the main assault against the Sikh right flank and then attack the center and left. The battle began at dawn with artillery fire for two to three hours, but the British quickly ran low of ammunition. Gough ordered an infantry charge, which was initially repulsed, but finally succeeded in pushing back the Sikh army. Because Tej Singh had removed much of the pontoon bridge that went across the Sutlej, many Sikh soldiers were forced to retreat into the river, which quickly became clogged with dead and dying men. British casualties amounted to nearly 2,300, of whom 300 were killed. The Sikhs had upwards of 8,000 casualties. The British victory at Sobraon broke the Khalsa, and fighting in the First Sikh War came to an end.
   See also <>; <>.
    Bruce, George. Six Battles for India: The Anglo-Sikh Wars, 1845–6, 1848–9. London: Arthur Barker, 1969;
    Cook, Hugh. The Sikh Wars: The British Army in the Punjab, 1845–1849. London: Leo Cooper, 1975;
    Crawford, E. R. “The Sikh Wars, 1845–9.” In Brian Bond, ed. Victorian Military Campaigns. New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1967;
    Farwell, Byron. Queen Victoria ’ s Little Wars. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1972.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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