Assaye is a small village in the Jalna district of the state of Maharashtra in western India. The village was the location of the Battle of Assaye in 1803, fought between the Maratha Empire and the British East India Company.
It became the first real victory for the young general Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington). Here he commanded a vastly outnumbered combined force of British and Sepoy regiments against a mixed modernised and tribal Maratha army. He always described this as his greatest military victory.
The Assaye battle honour was awarded by the Governor General of British India to all East India Company battalions and British Army regiments that took part of the Battle of Assaye. The battle occurred on 23 September 1803, near the village of Assaye in western India where a small force under the command of Major General Arthur Wellesley defeated a 50,000 strong army of the Maratha Confederacy. The British and native troops (which consisted of Madras Line only) were awarded the battle honour Assaye with the device of Elephant vide General Order of Governor General dated 30 October 1803. The British regiments and Madras battalions involved were also presented with an honorary colour to mark their achievement. The Madras Battalions celebrated the victory for over a century till their disbandment in the 1920s.
Of the sepoy battalions which faced the Maratha line, the only surviving battalion is the 1st Battalion, the Punjab Regiment of the Pakistan Army, the erstwhile 1st/1st Madras Infantry.
In the Indian Army only the Madras Sappers have this unique battle honour now but it counts as repugnant.
The Royal Highland Fusiliers which were formed on 20th Januar 1959 by an amalgamation of The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry, are the descendant of the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot who first became The Highland Light Infantry in 1881, are the only British infantry regiment to still carry the battle honour.
The Light Dragoons, as the descendant of the 19th Light Dragoons, the only British cavalry regiment present, are the only British cavalry regiment to carry the battle honour. They became 19th PWO Hussars and used the Assaye Elephant as their cap badge.
The Assaye was a barque that was lost with all 25 hands on a voyage from London to Wellington, New Zealand in 1890.