In Part I we met the dramatis personae on the ground in Iraq, or Mesopotamia as it was called by the British: General Sir John Nixon, commanding the overall Mesopotamian font, and General Sir Charles Townshend, commanding the 6th (Poona) Indian Division, and their Ottoman counterpart, Nureddin Pasha, commanding what was called the Iraq Area Command of the Ottoman Sixth Army.
|Field Marshal von der Goltz|
But the British Indian force under Nixon and Townshend faced a far more complicated chain of command in India and in London, divided in counsel, and full of personal and political rivalries, especially in London. Earlier this year, I noted the complicated command chain for the British Intelligence Section in Cairo, but Cairo didn't have to involve the Government of India as well. Today I want to deal with the players in India; tomorrow we will look at the deeply divided counsels in London.
In India: the High Command
Nixon and Townshend were British officers in the Indian Army, and wile ultimately responsible to the War Office in London, their direct chain of command ran directly to the indian Army High Command. Though Delhi was the official capital of the Raj, Indian Governments since Victoria's day had spent the warmer months in the "summer" capital at Simla in the northern mountains just south of Kashmir. Though we are discussing events in October 1915, the exchanges were with Simla.
|The Viceroy, Lord Hardinge|
The overall chief of all the Armed Forces in India, including those deployed in the Middle East and East Africa during World War I, was the Commander-in-Chief, India. In October 1915, this was General Sir Beauchamp Duff, a Scots-born officer who had risen through Indian Army service. When named to the post in 1914 it was unusual as the post usually went to an officer from the Regular British Army rather than the Indian Army, but he had served under Lord Kitchener, which helped his rapid rise. (I'm not certain in his specific case, but the British, in their insistence on pronouncing French any way they please, normally pronounce the old Norman name "Beauchamp" as "Beecham.")
|General Sir Beauchamp Duff|
|Lt.-Gen. Sir Percy Lake|
All of these reported to the India Office in London, to His Majesty's Secretary of State for India, with the War Office, Foreign Office, Admiralty and other Cabinet offices helping (?) to stir the pot in a complicated and difficult coalition government. Those players will be introduced tomorrow. By Wednesday I may actually be able to start telling the story, but you need to know the players first.