‘The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in

front of him, but because he

loves what is behind him.’

–G.K. Chesterton

 

The third battle of Panipat, fought on 14 January 1761 between the Marathas led by Sadashiv rao Bhau and a coalition of the Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Abdali supported by Najibuddaulah, the Rohilla chiefs Hafiz Rehmat and Dunde Khan and the Nawab of Awadh Shujauddaulah, was arguably the largest battle fought anywhere in the world in the eighteenth century. The battle was fought on a large plain near the site now known as Kala Amb near Panipat city with the Yamuna river to the east and the old Shah nahr about six miles to the west at the village of Khukhrana. The city and fort of Panipat was behind the Maratha army and the Afghans stood on the road towards Delhi. In this manner the two armies blocked each other’s paths to their homeland from the end of October 1760 onwards till the decisive battle on 14 January 1761. About six lakh men including camp followers, and several lakh beasts: horses, bullocks and elephants were in this close area for two and a half months utilising all food and firewood in the entire neighbourhood, until the battle began.