The Charge at Aliwal 28th January 1846

The Charge at Aliwal 28th January 1846

The 40,000 Sikh infantry massed against Smith's 10,000 men at Aliwal covered a frontage of about two miles connecting the villages of Aliwal and Bundri. They were supported by 37 pieces of artillery and flanked by cavalry. In the initial stages of the battle Smith's forces advanced and took Aliwal. The capture of Aliwal meant the loss of the Sikhs' best ford across the Sutlej, they therefore had to recapture it and attempted to do so with a body of 1000 cavalry.  Of all the Battle Honours gained by the 16th Lancers it was the battle of Aliwal that they chose to commemorate each year. A regimental tradition deriving from this is that lance pennons are starched and crimped 16 times; this commemorates the fact that after the battle they were so encrusted in blood that they stood upright and stiff. Today Aliwal is still remembered and The Royal Lancers still crimp their lance pennons to this day.

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