12th Cavalry (Frontier Force)

The 12th Cavalry (Frontier Force) is an armoured regiment of Pakistan Army. It was formed in the British Indian army in 1922 by the amalgamation of 22nd Sam Browne's Cavalry (Frontier Force) and 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force).[2]

12th Cavalry (Frontier Force)
12th Cavalry (FF) badge
Active1849 - 1937; 1955 - Present
CountryBritish Raj British India
Pakistan Pakistan
TypeArmoured Regiment
Nickname(s)Sam Browne's Cavalry
EngagementsNorth West Frontier of India
Indian Mutiny of 1857
Second Afghan War 1878-80
First World War 1914-18
Third Afghan War 1919
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Battle honoursDelhi 1857, Lucknow, Charasiah, Kabul 1879, Ahmad Khel, Afghanistan 1878-80, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1916-18, North West Frontier, India 1914-15, East Africa 1917, Afghanistan 1919, Khem Karan 1965.[1]
Sam Browne
Dighton Probyn
William Vousden
Guy Melfort Baldwin

22nd Sam Browne's Cavalry (Frontier Force)

The 22nd Sam Browne's Cavalry (Frontier Force) was raised in 1849 at Lahore by Lieutenant Samuel J. Browne as the 2nd Punjab Irregular Cavalry. It was one of five regiments of Punjab Cavalry raised to guard the North West Frontier of India, which soon became famous as part of the legendary Punjab Frontier Force or the "Piffers". Over the next decades, the regiment saw extensive service on the Frontier.[3] During the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the regiment was engaged in the Siege of Delhi, Relief of Lucknow, the Battle of Agra and the Campaign in Rohilkhand. In one of the actions, their commandant, Captain Sam Browne was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation reads:

In an engagement with the rebels, Captain Browne, whilst advancing upon the enemy's position, pushed on with one orderly sowar upon a 9-pounder gun and attacked the gunners, preventing them from re-loading and attacking the infantry who were advancing to the attack. In the conflict which ensued, Captain Browne received two sword cuts, one on the left knee and one which severed his left arm at the shoulder, but not before he had cut down one of his assailants. The gun was eventually captured and the gunner killed.

It was the loss of his arm that caused Browne to invent the famous Sam Browne belt, still in the use of many of today's armies. The original belt is on display in the India Room at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Meanwhile, Captain Dighton Probyn was also awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry, while serving with the 2nd Punjab Cavalry. His citation reads:

On many occasions during the period 1857-1858 in India, Captain Probyn performed gallant and daring acts. On one occasion, at the Battle of Agra, when his squadron charged the rebel infantry, he was sometimes separated from his men and surrounded by five or six sepoys. He defended himself and, before his own men had joined him, had cut down two of his assailants.
2nd Punjab Cavalry, 1880 Gordon Hayward
Officers of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry, 1880.
2nd Punjab Cavalry, 1880 Gordon Hayward
Officers of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry, 1880.

During the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, the 2nd Punjab Cavalry was with the Kandahar Field Force, and fought at the Battle of Ahmad Khel in April 1880. During the First World War, the regiment served in the Mesopotamia Campaign.[2][3]

Name changes

  • 1849 2nd Punjab Irregular Cavalry
  • 1851 2nd Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1861 2nd Regiment of Punjab Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force
  • 1901 2nd Punjab Cavalry
  • 1903 22nd Cavalry (Frontier Force)
  • 1904 22nd Sam Browne's Cavalry (Frontier Force)

25th Cavalry (Frontier Force)

The 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force) was raised by Captain Robert Fitzgerald as the 5th Punjab Irregular Cavalry at Multan in 1849, with Risaldar Gurmukh Singh Dhillon of village Bahmaniwala, Sub Division Patti of Amritsar district of Punjab, as the first native Commandant of 5th Punjab Irregular Cavalry. The troops of the Sikh Squadron were mostly taken from the disbanded Khalsa Army which was recently defeated by the British in the Anglo-Sikh War of 1848. During the Indian Mutiny they were part of the besieging army at Delhi and took part in the Relief of Lucknow. The troops of 5th Punjab Irregular Cavalry were now avenging themselves on the mutinous Bengal Army for the defeat of the Khalsa's Sikh Army in the Anglo Sikh Wars. One squadron fought at Bareilly, where two of its Indian officers won the Order of British India and nine other ranks received the Indian Order of Merit. The regiment was involved in a number of small actions on the North West Frontier with the Punjab Frontier Force. In March 1860, 150 men under an Indian officer attacked a 3,000 strong armed force of Mahsuds and Waziris at Tank, killing 300 and dispersing the others. In January 1867, an Indian officer with 27 sowars charged a body of 1,000 tribesmen, killed 150 and captured most of the rest. During the Second Afghan War, the 5th Punjab Cavalry were present at the capture of Charasiah and Frederick Roberts the Commanding General ordered that they and the 9th Lancers should have the honour of escorting him into Kabul. During the attack on the Asmai Heights in December 1879, near Kabul, Captain William John Vousden made repeated charges with a small body of men of the 5th Punjab Cavalry, passing through the ranks of an overwhelming force again and again until the enemy fled. Vousden received a Victoria Cross and his ten surviving men the Indian Order of Merit. For the excellent record in the British reprisal of Indian Mutiny and for valour during the Second Afghan War 5th Punjab Cavalry was among the units that were honoured during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria's Reign at London in June and July 1897. Risaldar Major Kesar Singh Dhillon of Bahmaniwala Dhillons (son of Risaldar Gurmukh Singh Dhillon) represented the 5th Punjab Cavalry as part of Indian Native Cavalry. The same finds a mention in the London Gazette published on 14 March 1898.For the acts of valour during the Indian Mutiny and during the Second Afghan War, the troops of 5th Punjab Cavalry were awarded grants of agricultural land in Lyallpur District in 1904. Most of the Sikh troops of Kanhayia Misl shifted from Amritsar District to Lyallpur on being granted lands there. During the First World War, it served in German East Africa, followed by service in the Third Afghan War of 1919.[2][3]

5th Punjab Cavalry 1910
A Pathan Daffadar of 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force). Watercolour by AC Lovett, 1910.

Name changes

  • 1849 5th Punjab Irregular Cavalry
  • 1851 5th Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1861 5th Regiment of Punjab Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force
  • 1901 5th Punjab Cavalry
  • 1903 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force)

12th Cavalry (Frontier Force)

After the First World War, the number of Indian cavalry regiments was reduced from thirty-nine to twenty-one. However, instead of disbanding the surplus units, it was decided to amalgamate them in pairs. This resulted in renumbering and renaming of the entire cavalry line. The 22nd Sam Browne's Cavalry (Frontier Force) and 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force) were amalgamated in 1921 to form 12th Cavalry. The uniform of 12th Cavalry was scarlet with blue facings. The badge showed a mounted figure within a circle carrying the title 'Sam Browne's Cavalry XII FF' with a crown above. Its class composition was one squadron each of Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Dogras. In 1937, 12th Cavalry became the training regiment of 2nd Indian Cavalry Group at Ferozepur. It was converted into a training centre in 1940 by amalgamating it with 15th Lancers.[2]

On the partition of India in 1947, this training centre was transferred to Pakistan. On 15 January 1955, 12th Cavalry (Frontier Force) was re-raised at Rawalpindi as a Reconnaissance Regiment of Pakistan Armoured Corps. The regiment has a glorious history during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani Wars. During the 1965 War, the regiment fought in four different sectors simultaneously when all four squadrons of the regiment operated independently at Chawinda, Bedian, Khem Karan and Sialkot.[4]

General Sir Sam Browne, VC, GCB, KCSI, 1897.
  • 1921 22nd/25th Cavalry (amalgamation)
  • 1922 12th Cavalry (Frontier Force)
  • 1927 Sam Browne's Cavalry (12th Frontier Force)
  • 1940 1st Indian Armoured Corps Centre
  • 1947 Pakistan Armoured Corps Centre
  • 1955 12th Cavalry (Frontier Force) (re-raised)

Affiliations & Alliances


  1. ^ Rodger, Alexander. (2003). Battle Honours of the British Empire and Commonwealth Land Forces 1662-1991. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press.
  2. ^ a b c d Gaylor, John (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–91. Stroud: Spellmount.
  3. ^ a b c North, REFG. (1934). The Punjab Frontier Force: A Brief Record of Their Services 1846-1924. DI Khan: Commercial Steam Press
  4. ^ The Sabre & Lance: Journal of the Pakistan Armoured Corps. (1997). Nowshera: The School of Armour & Mechanised Warfare.

Further reading

  • Regimental Record, 5th Regiment, Punjab Cavalry. (1886). Lahore: W. Ball & Co.
  • Regimental Record, 25th Cavalry (FF), 1886-1912. (1912).
  • Journal of the late General Sir Sam Browne, VC, GCB, KCSI 1849-98. (1937). Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons.
  • Gaylor, John. (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903- 1991. Stroud: Spellmount Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-946771-98-1
  • Dey, RSBN. (1905). A Brief Account of the Late Punjab Frontier Force, From its Organization in 1849 to its Re-distribution on 31st March 1903. Calcutta.
  • North, REFG. (1934). The Punjab Frontier Force: A Brief Record of Their Services 1846-1924. Dera Ismail Khan: Commercial Steam Press, HQ Waziristan District.
  • Hayauddin, Maj Gen M. (1950). One Hundred Glorious Years: A History of the Punjab Frontier Force, 1849-1949. Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press.
  • Kempton, C. (1996). A Register of Titles of the Units of the H.E.I.C. & Indian Armies 1666-1947. Bristol: British Empire & Commonwealth Museum. ISBN 978-0-9530174-0-9
  • Elliott, Maj Gen JG. (1968). The Frontier 1839-1947: The Story of the North-West Frontier of India. London: Cassell.
  • Trench, CC. (1988). The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies, 1900-1947. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Lt.Col Muhammad Asaf Hussain Khan was awarded "Sitara e Jurat" Indo-Pak 1965 War at KhemKaram sector for outstanding gallantry
  • Captain Ahmed Arsalan Asaf & Captain Nadeem Ahmad Raja are the Siachin Warriors of 12th Cavalary FF.Captain Ahmad Arsalan Asaf participated in Operation Naveed Top .22158 in Balafond Sector in April 1989.
  • Capt Mearaj Muhammad of 12th Cavalary FF embraced Martyrdom on 4 June 2009 while fighting with Militants in Buner District. He was Awarded Sitara-e-Basalat by the Government of Pakistan for his Bravery and Sacrifice for his Country.

External links

Risaldar Major Kesar Singh Dhillon 5th Punjab Cavalry from Bahmaniwala village, Patti, Amritsar at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in London June 1897

15th Lancers

The 15th Lancers (Baloch) is an armoured regiment of the Pakistan Army. It was formed in 1922 by the amalgamation of the 17th Cavalry and the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse).

1924 Birthday Honours

The 1924 Birthday Honours were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of The King, and were published in The London Gazette on 3 June 1924.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.


Asamayi is a mountain range located directly to the west of downtown Kabul city, Afghanistan. It is known colloquially as Television Hill due to the large TV mast and antennas at its summit. Today it forms the boundary of Districts 2 and 3. The heights are the site of an ancient fort. In December 1879 during the Second Afghan War the Asmayi Mountain were the site of a prolonged siege and battle where the British forces made up of the 9th Lancers and 5th Punjab Cavalry stormed Afghan tribesmen who had laid up in the fort. The Afghan forces fled and several British soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Frontier Force

Frontier Force usually means any of a Paramilitary type border security or border guard, it can mean any of the following:

Frontier Force Regiment (popularly known as the "Piffers" or the "FF"), one of six Infantry regiments in the Pakistan Army

5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force), part of the British Indian Army (subsequently part of the Indian Army)

10th Queen Victoria's Own Corps Of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force), part of the British Indian Army

11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force), part of the British Indian Army.

12th Cavalry (Frontier Force), part of the British Indian Army.

12th Frontier Force Regiment, part of the British Indian Army

13th Frontier Force Rifles, part of the British Indian Army, formed in 1922 by amalgamation of five existing regiments

Royal West African Frontier Force, a multi-battalion field force, formed by the British Colonial Office in 1900

Special Frontier Force, a paramilitary unit of India

Transjordan Frontier Force

Liberian Frontier Force (LFF), which later became the Armed Forces of Liberia

List of regiments of the Indian Army (1922)

This is a list of regiments of the Indian Army as it was following the reorganisation of the Indian Armed Forces in 1922.

Structure of the Pakistan Army

The Structure of the Pakistan Army can be broken down two ways, administrative, and operational. Operationally the Pakistan Army is divided in 9 Corps and two corps-level formations (commands) having areas of responsibility (AOR) from mountainous regions of northern Pakistan to the desert and coastal regions of the south. Administratively it is divided in different regiments (details below). The General Headquarters (GHQ) of Pakistan Army is located in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in Punjab province. It is planned to be moved to the capital city of Islamabad.

Third Anglo-Afghan War

The Third Anglo-Afghan War (Persian: جنگ سوم افغان-انگلیس‎), also known as the Third Afghan War, the British-Afghan war of 1919 and in Afghanistan as the War of Independence, began on 6 May 1919 when the Emirate of Afghanistan invaded British India and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. The war resulted in the Afghans winning back control of foreign affairs from Britain, and the British recognizing Afghanistan as independent. According to British author Michael Barthorp, it was also a minor strategic victory for the British because the Durand Line was reaffirmed as the political boundary between Afghanistan and the British Raj, and the Afghans agreed not to foment trouble on the British side.

William Archibald Kenneth Fraser

Major General William Archibald Kenneth Fraser, (19 December 1886 – 9 February 1969) was an officer in the British Indian Army during the First and Second World Wars.

Pakistan Pakistan Army Corps and Regiments
Supporting Arms and Services
British Indian Army Cavalry Regiments 1903–1946
Pre 1922 reforms
Post 1922 reforms

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