On 3rd August 1749, the Battle of Ambur took place. It was the first major battle of the Second Carnatic War.

Battle of Ambur – Major Battle of 2nd Carnatic War

On 3rd August 1749, the Battle of Ambur took place. It was the first major battle of the Second Carnatic War. It was initiated by Muzaffar Jung, supported by Joseph Fran├žois Dupleix, and led by Chanda Sahib. They sought to overthrow Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, the Nawab of the Carnatic, for supporting the Nasir Jung claim for the Nizam of Hyderabad.

French forces were decisive in giving the allies victory. Chanda Sahib seized control of the Carnatic and Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan was killed in the battle.

Background

From the beginning of the Second Carnatic War, Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan warned the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah of the power struggle in the Carnatic. He wanted his interest to be legitimized by Nizam-ul-Mulk, the Nizam of Hyderabad, who had nominated him in the first place.

In 1748, Nizam-ul-Mulk died and was succeeded by his grandson Muzaffar Jung. Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur confirmed it but was rejected by Nasir Jung, Nizam-ul-Mulk’s son, who captured the city of Hyderabad after a coup.

Muzaffar Jung fled Hyderabad and tried to gain new allies. The French Governor-General Joseph Fran├žois Dupleix supported him and helped to release Chanda Sahib, the son-in-law of Dost Ali Khan, who was imprisoned after being invaded by the Marathas and after his father-in-law was killed in the fray. 

Chanda Sahib sought the investiture of the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur by declaring himself Nawab of Tinnevelly and gathered his army of 3500 men and even received 400 French infantry from Dupleix. Muzaffar Jung being a chosen successor of Nizam-ul-Mulk, his loyalists exceed 30,000. Together they marched towards Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, and sought to eliminate Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, who supported Nasir Jung’s claim to the Hyderabadi throne.

Instead of entrenching himself in Arcot, Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan decided to advance toward the allied forces with his own 20,000 battle-strong armies.

Battle

On 3 August 1749, the allied forces of Dupleix, Chanda Sahib, and Muzaffar Jung met those of Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan at Ambur. Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan’s forces managed to create a tough stance by gathering around their howdahs despite being outnumbered 3 to 1, but it was the disciplined French infantry forces led by De Bussy that completely reversed the course of the battle against Khan.

Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan was shot and killed in a fierce confrontation while commanding his forces from a howdah. The next day Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib victoriously entered Arcot and Chanda Sahib became the next Nawab of the Carnatic. 

Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah, son of Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, fled south to Trichinopoly, where he hid and sought the help of the British.

Aftermath

The Battle of Ambur demonstrated the power of European arms and methods of discipline and infantry warfare.

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