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Latest Military Art Releases

 The Inniskilling Dragoons capturing a German railway gun at Harbonnieres during the battle of Amiens, 1918.

Inniskilling Dragoons at Amiens by Jason Askew. (PC)


The Charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo - Sgt Ewart Captures the French Eagle by Jason Askew. (PC)


The Inniskillings at Waterloo by Jason Askew. (PC)
 The Battle of Aliwal was fought on 28th January 1846 between the British and the Sikhs.  The British were led by Sir Harry Smith, while the Sikhs were led by Ranjodh Singh Majithia.  The British won a victory which is sometimes regarded as the turning point of the First Anglo-Sikh War.  The Sikhs had occupied a position 4 miles (6.4 km) long, which ran along a ridge between the villages of Aliwal, on the Sutlej, and Bhundri.  The Sutlej ran close to their rear for the entire length of their line, making it difficult for them to manoeuvre and also potentially disastrous if they were forced to retreat.  After the initial artillery salvoes, Smith determined that Aliwal was the Sikh weak point.  He sent two of his four infantry brigades to capture the village, from where they could enfilade the Sikh centre.  They seized the village, and began pressing forwards to threaten the fords across the Sutlej.  As the Sikhs tried to swing back their left, pivoting on Bhundri, some of their cavalry tried to threaten the open British left flank.  A British and Indian cavalry brigade, led by the 16th Lancers, charged and dispersed them.  The 16th Lancers then attacked a large body of Sikh infantry.  These were battalions organised and trained in contemporary European fashion by Neapolitan mercenary, Paolo Di Avitabile.  They formed square to receive cavalry, as most European armies did.  Nevertheless, the 16th Lancers broke them, with heavy casualties.  The infantry in the Sikh centre tried to defend a nullah (dry stream bed), but were enfiladed and forced into the open by a Bengal infantry regiment, and then cut down by fire from Smith's batteries of Bengal Horse Artillery.  Unlike most of the battles of both Anglo-Sikh Wars, when the Sikhs at Aliwal began to retreat, the retreat quickly turned into a disorderly rout across the fords.  Most of the Sikh guns were abandoned, either on the river bank or in the fords, along with all baggage, tents and supplies.  They lost 2,000 men and 67 guns. <i><br><br>Comment from the artist, Jason Askew.</i><br><br>This painting shows the extremely violent and brutal clash between British cavalry (16th Lancers) and Sikh infantry at the battle of Aliwal.  The Sikh infantry formed 2 triangles, a version of the famous Allied/British squares used at Waterloo, but the Sikhs, after firing a ragged volley at the attacking horsemen, dropped their muskets and assaulted the cavalry with their traditional Tulwars (sabres) and dhal shields.  These shields are also used offensively, to punch, and to slice with the edge.  Although the British horsemen claimed a victory as they felt they successfully dispersed the Sikh triangles, and forced the Sikh infantry to retreat to the nullah (dry stream bed) in the Sikh rear, this opinion is open to debate.  The Sikhs traditionally fought in loose formations, with tulwar and shield-taking full advantage of their abilities as swordsmen, blades being weapons with which the Sikhs are particularly skilled in the use of.  The Sikhs actually inflicted more casualties on the 16th Lancers than the lancers inflicted on the Sikh infantry.  British eye witnesses spoke of the sight of the grotesquely swollen and distorted dead bodies of men and horses of the Her Majesty's 16th Lancers, stinking in the sun and littering the ground at Aliwal - testimony to the progress of their charge.  The regiment lost 27% of effectives out of a total strength of over 400 effectives.  The lancers were dreadfully hacked about, many being cruelly maimed for life, losing hands and limbs to the slashing strokes of the Sikh blades.  The Sikhs had no compassion for the cavalry horses either - many of the poor animals (over 100 by some accounts) had to be shot, due to having their legs hacked clean off, or being literally disemboweled by Sikh Tulwars.  In the painting, the central figure with the wizard-shaped Turban, is in fact an Akali - a sect of extremely religious Sikhs, who disdained the use of armour, and often fought to the death with a fanatical and suicidal devotion.

The Battle of Aliwal by Jason Askew. (PC)

 The Battle at Rorke's Drift, also known as the Defence of Rorke's Drift, was an action in the Anglo-Zulu War.  The defence of the mission station of Rorke's Drift, under the command of Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers, immediately followed the British Army's defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879, and continued into the following day, 23rd January.  150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an intense assault by approximately 2000 Zulu warriors.  The intense and noisy Zulu attacks on Rorke's Drift came very close to defeating the tiny garrison, but were ultimately repelled by blasts of Martini-Henry rifle fire-and some smart bayonet work-with  some guts behind the bayonet thrusts!  Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, along with a number of other decorations and honours.  Of particular note in the painting is the dog 'Pip' - he survived Isandlwhana by retreating along the fugitive's trail to Rorke's Drift.  During the Zulu attacks on Rorke's drift, Pip did his part in the defence - by jumping on the mealie bag parapets and barking at Zulus- who were hiding in the long grass and sneaking up to the defences, then biting any Zulu who came within range.  Unfortunately Pip was not officially recognised for his part in the action.  He was not awarded a VC, on the basis that he was a volunteer canine that accompanied an officer, rather than a War Office issued canine.  Conversely, if Pip had been killed, then he would not have been officially listed as a casualty, as he accompanied the army in a strictly private capacity.  British army horses were in a different category as they were War Office issue, therefore the loss of a horse in action, or to disease, carried a financial liability for the War Office.

The Defence of Rorke's Drift by Jason Askew. (PC)
  The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 was the first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom.  Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 10,000-12,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops and perhaps 400 civilians.  The Zulus were equipped mainly with the traditional Assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields, but also had a number of muskets and old rifles though they were not formally trained in their use.  The British and colonial troops were armed with the state-of-the-art Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle and two 7 pounder artillery pieces as well as a rocket battery.  Despite a vast disadvantage in weapons technology, the numerically superior Zulus ultimately overwhelmed the poorly led and badly deployed British, killing over 1,300 troops, including all those out on the forward firing line.  The Zulu army suffered around 350 killed, and up to several hundred wounded.  The battle was a crushing victory for the Zulus and caused the abandonment of the first British invasion of Zululand.

The Battle of Isandlwana by Jason Askew. (PC)
 The painting depicts the climax of the Zulu attacks at the defence of Rorkes Drift. The Zulus were unable to effectively penetrate the mealie bag defenses at Rorkes Drift, even though they succeeded in burning down the hospital, and peppering the storehouse with bullet holes. The confined space available to the British garrison caused a certain degree of physical compression, but this in fact worked against the Zulus, as it drove the defenders closer together with the result being that the volley fire from the defenders was concentrated and subsequently very effective at close range, as opposed to the spread out skirmish line type formation used at Isandlwhana. The Zulu attacks also became uncoordinated, being driven forward by charismatic individuals, but lacking the support of the necessary numbers needed to overwhelm the desperate defenders, who now appreciated that they were literally fighting for their lives.

Rorkes Drift by Jason Askew. (PC)
 The fierce attack by the French infantry on Hougoumont Farm during the battle of Waterloo.

French Attack on Hougoumont Farm at the Battle of Waterloo by Jason Askew. (PC)

 


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