THE TURNING POINT OF THE FIRST ANGLO-SIKH WAR COMES AT ALIWAL; AS SIR HARRY SMITH FIGHTS THE PERFECT BATTLE, AND THE 16th LANCERS RIDE TO GLORY.
Following humiliation in the First Afghan War (1839 to 1842), British prestige was badly eroded. In the Punjab, the independent and well-armed Sikhs were looking to take advantage of perceived British weakness to expand their kingdom into the Bengal. At the close of 1845, the growing instability of the Sikh government and tensions between they and the British East India Company led to the outbreak of war between Britain and the Sikh Kingdom (the First Anglo-Sikh War).
The Khalsa, the semi-independent professional army of the Sikh Kingdom (arguably the most “modern” and disciplined non-western army in the world at the time), began hostilities on December 10, 1845 by crossing the Sutlej River into British territory. The British forces near the frontier, under…
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