Most historians credit the Battle of Plassey, fought on June 23, 1757, as the decisive event that brought about ultimate British rule over India. But was it really? A case can be made that the true turning point for control of the subcontinent was the victory of British forces under Eyre Coote over a French force led by Comte Thomas Arthur de Lally at Wandiwash on January 22, 1760.
Robert Clive, the victor at Plassey, amazingly had only 900 European troops and 2,100 native sepoys with him to engage about 50,000 natives, including 15,000 horsemen. He managed to rout this horde, but bribery and treachery played a role in the outcome. At Wandiwash, on the other hand, it was a stand-up fight between two tiny European armies, each led by a brave and capable general–a pair of Irishmen at that.