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+ Panipat Battles


The first battle of Panipat took place in northern India , and marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire . This was one of the earliest battles involving gunpowder firearms and field artillery .

In 1526 , the forces of Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur , the ruler of Kabul and of Timurid descent, defeated the much larger army of Ibrahim Lodhi , the ruler of the large North Indian Delhi Sultanate .

The battle was fought on April 21 near the small village of Panipat , in the present day Indian state of Haryana , an area that has been the site of a number of decisive battles for the control of Northern India since the twelfth century.

It is estimated that Babur's forces numbered about 15,000 men and he had between 15 to 20 pieces of field artillery , however Lodhi had around 100,000 men, though that number included camp followers, while the fighting force was around 30,000 to 40,000 men in total, along with at least 100 war elephants . Babur's guns proved decisive in battle, firstly because Ibrahim Lodhi lacked any field artillery but also because elephants are scared of guns. Babur could use the guns to scare the elephents away, causing them to trample Lodhi's own men. Babur was an inspirational leader of men and commanded a well disciplined army.

Ibrahim Lodhi died on the field of battle, abandoned by his feudatories and generals (many of whom were mercenaries ), most of whom would change their allegiance to the new master of Delhi.

The battle marked the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India. The word Mughal means Mongol and alludes to the Turkic and Mongol origins of Babur and his officers, though the majority of his troops were of Pathan , Indian and mixed Central Asian descent.

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The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the Hindu forces of Samrat Hem Chander Vikramaditya , popularly called Hemu , and the forces of Akbar, on November 5 , 1556 . Samrat Hemu Vikramaditya had his coronation on October 7 , 1556 ,after winning 22 battles continuously spanning the entire North India, at Purana Quila in Delhi . Akbar , along with Bairam Khan , was stationed about 8 miles away from the war zone and had not participated in the war up to that point.

On January 24 , 1556 , Mughal ruler Humayun slipped while climbing down the steps of his library and fell to his death. His son, Akbar, was only thirteen years old when he ascended the throne. At the time of Akbar's accession to the throne, the Mughal rule was confined to Kabul , Kandhahar , and parts of Punjab and Delhi . Akbar was then campaigning in Punjab with his guardian, Bairam Khan. On February 14 , 1556 , in a garden at Kalanaur in Punjab, Akbar was enthroned as king.

Hem Chander was a military chief of the Afghan monarch Adil Shah Suri , who had established himself at Chunar and was seeking to expel the Mughals from India. Taking advantage of the death of Humayun in December 1555, Hem Chander, who had just then defeated and killed the ruler of Bengal, decided to capture Delhi for himself. Hemu marched to Agra . The commander of Akbar's forces in Agra fled, leaving the town without a fight.Large area of Itawa,Kalpi,Bayana came under Hemu's rule. Hem Chander then moved towards Delhi and stationed his forces outside the city at Tuglakabad . On October 6 , 1556 , Hem Chandar's army encountered Mughal resistance; however, they were ousted, and Tardi Baig , the commander of the Mughal forces, retreated, allowing Hem Chander to capture Delhi without much difficulty. He had his coronation at Purana Quila on October 7 , 1556 , and was bestowed the title of Vikramaditya .

To counter their previous loss, Bairam Khan marched towards Delhi. On November 5 , both armies met at the historic battlefield of Panipat , where, thirty years earlier, Babur had defeated Ibrahim Lodi and laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire .From 1540 to 1553 Afghans ruled North India as Humanyun was defeated and forced to retreat to Kabul by Sher Shah Suri. Vikramaditya's army, 1,500 strong including war elephants , had initial success; however, Vikramaditya was struck by an arrow in the eye. The loss of Vikramaditya caused panic among the troops and turned the tide of the battle. Shah Quli Khan captured the unconcious, almost dead Hemu and took him directly to Akbar.

Some historians claim that Akbar did not kill Hemu himself, but just touched his head with his sword and his associates finished Vikramaditya off. This battle resulted in establishment of the Mughal Empire in India.

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The Third Battle of Panipa t took place on January 14 , 1761 at Panipat (Haryana State, India ), situated at 29.39 N 76.97 E about 80 miles (130 km) north of Delhi . The battle pitted the French -supplied and trained artillery of the Marathas against the light cavalry of the Afghans led by Ahmad Shah Abdali , a Durrani Pashtun , better known as 'Durrani'.

The decline of the Mughal Empire had led to territorial gains for the Maratha Confederacy. Ahmad Shah Abdali, amongst others, was unwilling to allow the Marathas' gains to go unchecked. In 1759, he raised an army from the Pashtun tribes with help from the Baloch people and made several gains against the smaller garrisons. The Marathas, under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau , responded by gathering an army of 100,000 people with which they ransacked the Mughal capital of Delhi. There followed a series of skirmishes along the banks of the river Yamuna at Karnal and Kunjpura 29.42.57 N 77.4.49 E which eventually turned into a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas.

The specific site of the battle itself is disputed by historians but most consider it to have occurred somewhere near modern day Kaalaa Aamb and Sanauli Road. The battle lasted for several days and involved over 125,000 men. Protracted skirmishes occurred, with losses and gains on both sides. The force led by Ahmad Shah Durrani came out victorious after destroying several Maratha flanks. The extent of the losses on both sides is heavily disputed by historians, but it is believed that between 60,000-70,000 were killed in fighting, while numbers of the injured and prisoners taken vary considerably. The victorious army led by Durrani oversaw the cremation of the bodies of Vishwas Rao and the Bhau. Many Maratha generals were subsequently tortured and executed by the victorious army. The overriding legacy of the battle was the halting of the Maratha advances in the North.

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