Battle of Rezang La: When handful Indian soldiers annihilated Chinese

Discussion in 'Military History' started by bsn4u1985, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. bsn4u1985

    bsn4u1985 Regular Member

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    13 Kumaon at Rezang La: 1962

    Lest We Forgot: The Battle of Rezang La


    On this day, November 18, exactly forty-seven years ago in 1962, 114 brave men of the 13th Kumaon Regiment’s Charlie company made the supreme sacrifice fighting the invading Chinese at Rezang La pass at 16000 feet near Chushul. This epic battle called the ‘last stand’ when every soldier fought to his last breath was led by the legendary Major Shaitan Singh Bhati (IC 7990) of Jodhpur Rajasthan, who was later awarded the Param Veer Chakra, India’s highest gallantry award for conspicuous bravery or self sacrifice in the face of the enemy.

    Charlie Company of 13 Kumaon was tasked with the defence of Rezang La, situated on the South East approach to the valley, town and airfield of Chushul in Ladakh. The Company area was defended by three platoon positions but the surrounding terrain isolated it from the rest of the Regiment. Their defensive positions were ‘crested’ for Indian artillery, meaning, thereby that these troops could not hope for artillery fire support if and when needed as the artillery was behind a hill feature and could not train its guns on the target. The Chinese suffered no such disadvantage and brought on heavy artillery fire on the 13 Kumaon’s Charlie Company.

    It was a cold winter morning at 16000 feet with icy winds howling through Rezang La … biting and benumbing.” The expected Chinese attack came through a ‘Nullah’, a dry river bed, but was repulsed with heavy machine gun fire by the brave Ahirs of Charlie Company. The enemy regrouped and attacked again and again with ever more reinforcements and finally managed to overrun the position. 109 of the 123 Jawans (soldiers) were killed. Of the 14 survivors, nine were seriously wounded. Almost everyone had fought to the last round and killed many more enemy soldiers. One estimate of Chinese casualties is close to 500 killed and wounded.

    Unmindful of own safety, Major Shaitan Singh, the Company Commander, went from post to post raising the morale of his men and continued to fight even after being seriously wounded. “While he was being evacuated by two of his comrades, the Chinese brought heavy machine gun fire on them. Major Shaitan Singh sensed danger to their lives and ordered them to leave him to his fate.” They placed him behind a boulder on the slopes of a hill, where he breathed his last and this is where he was found some days after the battle.

    Maj. Gen. Ian Cardozo, himself a Vir Chakra winner, writes in his Param Vir Chakra, Our heroes in Battle, that “When Rezang La was later revisited dead Jawans were found in the trenches still holding on to their weapons ... every single man of this company was found dead in his trench with several bullet or splinter wounds. The 2-inch mortar man died with a bomb still in his hand. The medical orderly had a syringe and bandage in his hands when the Chinese bullet hit him... Of the thousand mortar bombs with the defenders all but seven had been fired and the rest were ready to be fired when the (mortar) section was overrun".

    Major Shaitan Singh was the second winner of the Param Veer Chakra; the first being Major Som Nath Sharma who had died on November 3, 1947 defending Srinagar airport when Pakistan invaded Jammu & Kashmir in October 1947. Both Singh and Sharma belonged to the Kumaon Regiment.

    Other heroes defending Rezang La who were awarded Veer Chakras were Naik Hukum Chand (posthumous), Naik Gulab Singh Yadav, Lance Naik Ram Singh (posthumous), Subedar Ram Kumar and Subedar Ram Chander. All hailed from the Revari district of Haryana where in Gudiani village stands a memorial for these brave sons of India.

    Two of the most celebrated soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, General K.S. Thimayya and General T.N. Raina who served as Chiefs of the Indian Army, have lauded this singular achievement. Thimayya noted: "I had said many years ago that the Army must have an Ahir Regiment. The supreme sacrifice of the Charlie Company has fulfilled my expectations. I hope a suitable memorial will be built in Ahirwal in their memory so that the generations to come may seek inspiration from the immense courage and valour of their forefathers.” For his part, observed: “You rarely come across such example in the annals of world military history when braving such heavy odds, the men fought till the last bullet and the last man .Certainly the Battle of Rezang La is such a shining example."

    While recalling the 1962 conflict we often refer to India’s ‘humiliating defeat’ at Chinese hands and forget that the Jawan of the Indian Army invariably fought with exceptional bravery and valour in the most trying conditions often without winter clothing and in some cases even without adequate ammunition.

    let's salute them....let's remember them..humare jawan amar rahe...:india:

    Lest We Forgot: The Battle of Rezang La | Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
     
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  3. Koovie

    Koovie Regular Member

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    Please post more infos, pictures or videos on this heroic last stand. We cant forgot this act of heroism!
     
  4. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    BSN, while it is important to honour our heroes, it is even more important to remember the humiliation brought by Nehru and his short sighted and impractical policies. Victories should be celebrated but defeats must be studied deeply.
     
  5. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    well we indian are good at forgetting our history because we tend to mug our history books in lower classes so how can we remember our brave soliders:frusty::frusty::frusty:
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I dislike the song 'Ai Mere Waton ke Logon' with all my heart.

    It reminds me of the Sham patriotism that is displayed by the Nation and more so, the Establishment!
     
  7. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    13 Kumaon at Rezang La : 1962

    The courage of 13 Kumaon

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    Rest In Peace..
     
  8. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Amar JAWAN AMAR RAHE............
     
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  9. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Jai Jawan

    Jai kisSan

    Jai Balouchistan

    to kya kare ga pakistan:lol::lol::lol:
     
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  10. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    From the Chinese field dressing packets counted by own troops three months later, it is roughly estimated that the PLA suffered between 600 - 1000 casulties that day. Since the Chinese have not declared their war records the truth may be known only when we have access to them.

    The tragedy was that 'C' Comapny, 13 Kumaon, did not have arty support, as our guns did not have the required range.

    Just like the Kumaons', the exploits of 7 Brigade (4 Grenadiers, 9 Punjab, 2 Rajput, 1/9 GR) in Namka Chu are just as poignant.
     
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  11. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Rezang La and 13 Kumaon

    The courage of 13th Battalion of the Kumaon Regiment and The Battle of Rezang La

    The courage of 13 Kumaon

    Inder Malhotra Posted online: Mon Feb 20 2012, 02:29 hrs

    Amid the army’s ignominy in 1962, there were stories of incredible bravery — like the battle of Rezang La
    So painful, indeed traumatic, is the story of the 1962 border war with China that while winding it up, the spotlight needs to be turned on whatever little did go right amidst the overwhelming disaster when almost everything else went unbelievably wrong. Sadly, the Indian army did disgrace itself. But it was the incompetence of the army high command, consisting largely of amiable frauds or flatterers who had flourished until then, which drove the army to its nadir, not the rank and file or young officers.

    The lowest depth was reached, of course, in the Kameng division of the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), now Arunachal Pradesh, when the general officer commanding (GOC) of Fourth Division, the once heavily decorated Major-General A. S. Pathania, losing his nerve, ordered the division to withdraw. He had tried to get his decision endorsed by the Corps Commander, Lieutenant-General B.M. Kaul, who was, as usual, flying around and therefore unavailable. The army chief, General P. N. Thapar, and the GOC in charge of the Eastern Army Command, Lieutenant-General L. P. Sen, who were present at the Corps headquarters didn’t want to interfere with the politically influential Kaul’s command. The avoidable retreat degenerated into rout and the rout into the nation’s shame.

    Even so, Brigadier Hoshiar Singh, commanding his men atop Sela, refused to withdraw. He argued he was adequately equipped and fully prepared to take on the Chinese. He was forced to leave on pain of being court-martialled, and was ambushed and killed by the Chinese.

    It must also be reported that while A. S. Pathania was guilty of what can only be called cowardice, his cousin, Major-General M. S. Pathania, fought gallantly at the Walong front in an adjoining division though he had eventually to yield ground to the advancing Chinese. There were many other similar instances of heavily outnumbered and outgunned Indian soldiers living up to the army’s glorious traditions of valour.

    The brightest of the bright spots in the pervasive darkness of 1962, however, was the Battle of Rezang La at the other end of the high Himalayas in Ladakh. The place is a massive 16,000-feet-high feature in the narrow gap between the even higher mountains surrounding the strategic village of Chushul and the Spanggur Lake that stretches across both Indian and Chinese territories. Rezang La is therefore, vital for the defence of the crucially important Chushul. Any invader reaching there would have had a free run to Leh, the capital of the Ladakh province of J&K.

    The 13th battalion of the Kumaon Regiment was entrusted with the defence of Chushul. Its C Company, consisting of 117 men, commanded by a major with the unusual name, Shaitan Singh, was responsible for holding Rezang La. He had deployed his three platoons across a two-kilometre frontage deftly with a view to protecting Rezang La from whatever side the Chinese might choose to attack. His men were well-entrenched and reasonably well-equipped. But they did not have mines, and the overhead shelter for the command posts was inadequate in sub-zero temperature.

    It was at first light on November 18 that the first Chinese attack came. Two of the three Indian platoons opened relentless rifle, machine gun and mortar fire on the advancing Chinese and repulsed them. The Chinese casualties were heavy. Their immediate reaction was intense artillery firing on Indian positions. Later, they made a second attempt to occupy Rezang La, this time with a four-to-one numerical superiority. The Indian platoon that had previously held its fire confronted them with all the weaponry it had. After many of them had fallen, 20 of the survivors decided to charge the Indian platoon. A dozen Kumaonis jumped out of their trenches to take them on in hand-to-hand combat.

    Having failed in their frontal onslaughts, the Chinese then attacked the Indian positions from the rear while keeping up the artillery and mortar barrage and eventually succeeded in overrunning the platoon shortly before China’s unilateral ceasefire.

    Be it noted that these details, initially sketchy, were given to the battalion headquarters by the three grievously wounded survivors of the C Company who had managed to get there. The real glory and grandeur of the defence of Rezang La became known only three months later when, with the advent of spring, the first Indian party could climb up there. All the 109 soldiers were frozen as they had died with weapons in hand. Five of their comrades had been taken prisoner by the Chinese. Each had fired all the ammunition he had. The C Company had literally fought to the last man and the last bullet. The Chinese casualties had been removed but there was enough evidence to show that these were many.

    It was also discovered that Major Shaitan Singh, who was constantly moving from one platoon to the other, was wounded by the Chinese firing. Two of his comrades tried to carry him to safety but he told them to put him down behind a boulder and go to fight the enemy. He later died on the same spot. His body was flown to his village near Jodhpur to be cremated with full military honours. For his exemplary leadership and extraordinary courage he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra. He was the second army man to win this highest gallantry award. Several other men of the company earned the Vir Chakra, also posthumously.

    As it happened, among the dead there were three members of the same family, two brothers and their brother-in-law (sister’s husband). They were the ones who had given the company early warning of the Chinese assault. A large number of men, though not related to one another, belonged to the same village!

    General K. S. Thimayya, the most celebrated Kumaoni and independent India’s fourth army chief, applauded the defenders of Rezang La in glowing terms, as did his successor more than a decade later, General T. N. Raina, also belonging to the Kumaon Regiment. Wrote Thimayya: “In military history you rarely come across such examples when facing such heavy odds the men fought to the last bullet and the last man”. Indeed, in the annals of war the name of 13 Kumaon deserves to be written in letters of gold.

    The writer is a Delhi-based political commentator

    Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/914107/

    Colour code: (1) protagonists in green and blue, (2) antagonists in red

    Battle of Rezang La

    It was the site of the famous last stand of the Ahirs of 'Charlie' Company of the 13 Kumaon during the Sino-Indian War in 1962. C Company was led by Major Shaitan Singh, who posthumously won a Param Vir Chakra for his actions.

    Rezang La had a very serious drawback from the Indian point of view. It was crested to Indian artillery because of an intervening feature, which meant that the Indian infantry had to make without the protective comfort of the artillery.

    In this action, 114 Ahirs out of a total of 123 were killed. The casualties on the Chinese side have been estimated to be more than 1000. Most of the Indian soldiers came from the Ahirwal region of Haryana (Rewari and Mahendragarh districts). A memorial was constructed near Dharuhera Chowk in Rewari city by 'Rezangla Shaurya Samiti'[1] based at Rewari. Every year, memorial functions are held by the Samiti in collaboration with Distt administration and the Kumaon Regiment. Family members of those who sacrificed their lives at Rezangla are also involved in memorial functions.

    Read more: Rezang La - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Where is Rezang La?

    The place is a massive 16,000-feet-high feature in the narrow gap between the even higher mountains surrounding the strategic village of Chushul and the Spanggur Lake that stretches across both Indian and Chinese territories.

    Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/914107/

    Spanggur Lake, with a latitude of 33.53 (33° 31' 60 N) and a longitude of 78.92 (78° 55' 0 E), is a hydrographic (lake) located in India that is a part of Asia.

    The location is situated 1517 kilometers north (7°) of the approximate center of India and 572 kilometers north (16°) of the captial New Delhi.

    A 10 square km area around Spanggur Lake has an average elevation of 4324 meters above the sea.

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    Source: Spanggur Lake, India on world map, coordinates and short facts

    Close-up:

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  12. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'


    I will give you a brief history. Charlie Company of a battalion called 13 Kumaon was divided in several platoons on one ridge of two kilometres, protecting the airfield of Chushul which was vital if India was to hold Ladakh. It was attacked on the morning of November 18 by maybe 5,000-6,000 Chinese with heavy artillery support. A crest behind this ridge prevented Indian artillery from being able to support these jawans. And what did these jawans do?



    All the names of your comrades are written on the memorial here in Rewari. The list here says that 114 jawans killed 1,300 Chinese enemies that day.


    Yadav: I saw that with my own eyes. Bodies were lying all around.


    They fought to last man, last round. That’s an expression you hear in movies and read in war comics, but that is something that actually happened in the battle of Rezang La. Of the 120 men and officers of this Company, 114 died, five were taken prisoners as wounded—they all escaped—and one was sent back to tell the story of the battle to the rest of the world. And who sent him back? This Company’s most remarkable commander, Major Shaitan Singh, who got a Param Vir Chakra for leading this battle. I am today in Rewari, the area from where these jawans came... It was a Kumaon battalion but this was an Ahir Company from Rewari in Haryana. With me are two of those six survivors—in fact, only four remain with us now—Honorary captain Ramchander Yadav and Havaldar Nihal Singh


    So they were saying you were so few people, you could not have killed so many Chinese?

    Yadav: Right. So I said, saab, ek baat hai, aap haalaat ko dekhiye (Sir, please see the circumstances). You come there and I will tell you how we killed so many. I said, you note down these three points: Major saab’s body, his gloves with his blood; in the Company, you will find every jawan with bullet wounds on his chest, you will not get wounds on their backs; nursing assistant Dharam Pal, he put bandages on 32 wounded soldiers, and he died while bandaging his comrades.



    Full article: ‘Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese at Rezang La. Our commander called me crazy and warned that I could be court-martialled’ - Indian Express
     
  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    The action at Balaclava was an example of orders misunderstood rather than foolhardiness. Orders were to re-capture guns taken by Russian infantry, not to attack emplaced guns.

    Battle of Balaclava - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

     
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  14. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    Brave men. :salute:
     
  15. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    parents will see only the result fail or pass not the effort kids made
     
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  16. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    Salute to the brave men of 13 Kumaon. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten and never be squandered away- like the present government is hell bent on doing in Siachen.
     
  17. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    That the brave men of our armed forces have always answered te call of duty is never in doubt. A little support and sense from the political class would have completely changed the result of 62. The Chinese would have have been totally shamed and never dared to look beyond the Himalayas particularly when they continued to be defeated all round including a defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese.

    Salutes to the 13 Kumaon. :facepalm: to the film makers who don't do research and give due credit.
     
  18. bose

    bose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    My respect to the great men in uniform... May GOD bless you and your family...We should include the heroism it as part of our childs school syllabus...
     
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  19. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    Then they are bad parents
     
  20. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    China attacks India. Overruns bare-bone defence on the Indian side of the border. By the time the Indian army regrouped and tried to mount a counter attack on the Chinese with the hope of exacting a revenge, the PLA had already fallen far behind its own line of control before it mounted the attack. China declared that it had defeated India and fallen back as it achieved its objective of teaching India a lesson.

    Something similar happened when China attacked Vietnam. Fortunately, the world had grown wiser by then! :taunt:
     
  21. Ankit Purohit

    Ankit Purohit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: 1962 War 'Nobody believed we had killed so many Chinese'

    Us Me Koi Shak Nahi,Indian Army Born Tigers
     
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