The regiment was raised in 1849 at Mooltan by Capt Robert Fitzgerald of the 12th Bombay Native Infantry. Their duties in the early days involved dealing with cattle thieves. The sowars of the 5th proved themselves as bold and successful at retrieving the cattle as they were at stealing them before they joined the regiment.
In the Indian Mutiny they were part of the besieging army at Delhi and helped relieve Cawnpore. A squadron of the 5th fought at Bareilly where two of the Indian officers won the Order of British India and 9 other ranks received the Order of Merit.
On March 18th 1860 Risaldar Saadat Khan led 150 men of the 5th, along with 37 mounted police, against 3,000 Mahsud Waziris at a place called Tank. Their boldness and determination paid off because they managed to kill 300 enemy warriors and the rest fled.
And on 6th Jan 1867 a similar act of bravery was performed by Jemadar Imam Khan of the 5th, but with only 27 sowars. They charged at 1,000 raiders, killing 150 and capturing the remainder.
At Charasiah, during the Afghan War of 1878-80, the 5th fought alongside the 9th Lancers of the British Army and earned the admiration of Lord Roberts who gave the two regiments the honour of escorting him into Kabul.
There was still fighting to be done by the Kabul Field Force, and at the storming of the Asmai Heights on Dec 1879, in one of the sorties around Kabul, Captain William Vousden won the VC for exceptional bravery in making repeated charges with a small body of the 5th against overwhelming numbers of Kohistanis, passing through their ranks again and again until they were completely put to rout. The 10 survivors of the group received the Order of Merit.