The Indian Army - Always Glorious

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by A.V., Feb 28, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Command, Staff and Organization

    In the beginning, local military command was vested in the body of the President himself. At no stage thereafter was military command to reach beyond that of a unified theatre in modern parlance.

    By 1748, a Commander-in-Chief was given to the Governors for coordination of military activities. Major Stringer Lawrence, assisted by a Commander Royal Artillery, filled this post with great verve. This was the first (of many) attempts to integrate the military assets of the three Presidencies.


    When Warren Hastings as Governor-General got his resplendent bodyguard, he also deserved it. A regulating act that year gave him authority over Madras and Bombay in peace as well as war. In 1784-85 full military


    powers were retained by the Board of Control (Directors), which meant the British Government, including the power to appoint the Commander-in-Chief. For the Governor-General, a formal Army Headquarters was created with the Commander-in-Chief as head, two Principal Staff Officers being assigned to assist him, namely the Quartermaster General and the Adjutant General. At this point in time (1790), the total strength of the British-Indian Army was 90,000.

    A Military Department was created in 1786, the forerunner to the Ministry of Defence. By 1834, a military member became an advisor to the Governor-General in Council. His nearest equivalent today would be the Raksha Mantri (Minister of Defence).
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  2.  
  3. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Reorganizations

    After the Great Bengal Army Insurrection, i.e. our First War of Independence in 1857, Her Majesty, Queen Victoria was no longer amused with the Company's loss of control, and India came directly under the Crown along with her Army. In the interim and after, a number of commissions and committees recommended changes and reforms, of which the Peel (1858) and the Eden (1879) commissions are worthy of note. The latter suggested immediate amalgamation of all Presidency Armies.

    In 1895, the Army was thoroughly reorganized, burying the Presidency Armies at long last except for traditions that lingered. In line with contemporary military thinking, four regional commands were created, each under a Lieutenant General: Punjab-West of the Yamuna river, commanding the Frontier Force as well; a truncated Bengal command; Madras (with Burma); and Bombay with Sind, Quetta and an extension in Aden.

    The Frontier Force and the general North-Western orientation of the Punjab and Bombay Commands was a fallout of European imperial rivalry. As early as 1840, Britain was firmly resolved to check the expansion of Imperial Russia into South-Central Asia.

    In 1902-03 Kitchener commenced streamlining every inch of the system, which finally resulted in the reforms of 1908-09. He had also managed to shake off the Military Member interposed between the Commander-in-Chief and the Political Executive on the ground of unity of advice and therefore unity of purpose. What emerged from this decade-long turmoil was an expanded Army Headquarters, with a dedicated General Staff Branch and a Director-General Ordnance Branch being added to the existing Adjutant General and Quartermaster General Branches. Two territorial commands were created - the Northern and Southern, and the Field Army was subdivided into a Field Force and Internal Security Troops totalling 152,000 (nine Divisions and eight Cavalry brigades) and 82,000 respectively.

    Immediately after the First World War, a Military Council was formed, with the Secretary of Army Department and the Financial Adviser as members. Once again, four regional Commands were set up with the Field Force getting an additional element - that of covering troops for the North-West Frontier.

    The Command system served for both empire building and external imperial policing (Egypt, Burma, China, Mesopotamia). In protracted expeditionary wars it had a tendency to fray, but that was more due to flaws in logistics and, administrative practices.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  4. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Tradition of Arms

    Tradition fights. The Indian Army Sepoy (from the Hindustani word sipahi) and now Jawan (young man) or Sawar (rider) and his leaders formed a cohesive collective. They lived to serve the Unit, they were willing to die for it. Nothing must happen which would tarnish its honour, its izzat. The word in Urdu is a distillation hard to explain, encapsulating in itself the code of ethics given by Dharma (faith) and Namak (literally, salt). Unflinching loyalty was to a concept and not to a transient personality or cause. Always and everywhere, the Unit came first. Everything followed from it - the Regiment, the Flag, and the Country. This was the greatest battle-winning factor bequeathed by history to the Indian Army. The men were there, ready and willing to serve a flag, with honour, glory and mutual respect. Quick to appreciate these traits, successive British governments brought in more regional groupings into the Army. A fierce undying loyalty to the Unit was evinced by the British Officer Corps, and the Indian junior leaders and men reciprocated it. The greatest ambition of a British Officer was to command his Regiment.

    A 'Regiment' in some armies merely means a robotic military formation the size of a brigade. No sense of the past attaches to the word. In the Indian Army, the word can mean either of two things - battalion-sized units of arms like the Armoured Corps, Artillery, Engineers, and Signals, or a particular combination of Infantry battalions. The Artillery employs the term more comprehensively and calls the complete Artillery mass in the order of battle as the Regiment of Artillery. Others stick to Corps and even groups.

    To begin with, the Presidencies recruited their soldiers from their increasing territorial holdings. By 1802, however, recruitment by class or ethnic lines had begun. The British penchant for recruitment in terms of 'martial and non-martial' classes is difficult to explain, but this legacy persisted for sometime even after independence, to be finally buried in the cauldron of 1962.

    Certainly, there were some outlying 'tribes" who were not considered for regular employment mainly on the score that they did not take well to rigid military discipline. These bodies were converted into irregular local levies, scouts, and frontier corps and did better in their frontier habitats.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  5. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Cavalry

    Indian cavaliers had the sweep of a whole subcontinent before them like their equivalents - the Cossacks of Russia or the Light Dragoons of the United States. This arm came up through a mixture of raising methods: directly recruited cavaliers were grouped into 'regular' units; yeomen of means who bought themselves in with mounts and essentials, formed Irregular units, under the silladar system. Very 'irregular' Cavalry raised by gentlemen of fortune and in the employ of local powers were also welcomed to join the growing Cavalry arm.

    Local state forces which had demonstrated their prowess on the battlefield were also invited to join the Britishers. Among these were the Arcot Cavalry and some from Hyderabad; Maratha Cavalry raider forces (including the highly irregular Risalas of Gardner and Skinner). The last to join the irregulars were of the Army of the Khalsa, Hodsons Horse being the best 'known among them. This formidable Cavalry arm, largely named after the Presidencies, e.g., the Bengal Cavalry, caught the romance of those times. Units were given to calling themselves 'Horse', 'Cavalry', 'Light Cavalry' or 'Lancers'. Some time after independence, the equine connotation died out and newly raised regiments now call themselves 'Armoured Regiments:
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  6. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Gunners

    British policy was clear in the matter of handling of artillery by Indian troops. Guns, the main firepower component of a field army, were to be shielded from them. In the waxing and waning of Indian-served artillery, the start was auspicious. Thereafter, by the beginning of the nineteenth century there was much 'retrenchment'. A few mountain battery trains flourished and kept the Indian component alive as part of the Royal artillery. Recently, it has been established that 8 Company Bombay Artillery survived axing and is now 5 (Bombay) Mountain Battery. It was raised on 28 September 182 7, which is now celebrated as the Raising Day of the Regiment of Artillery.

    Legends abound about the screwgun-equipped Mountain Batteries of Derajat, Bengal, and Hazara serving in the North West frontier. No flag or pennant is needed by the Artillery as colours for rallying. Without fail, gunners rallied round their guns and defended them to the last.

    It was in January 1935 that 'A' Field Brigade (actually a four-battery 'regiment') was raised with Indian troops. As late as that, it was horse-drawn artillery on the lines of the older Royal Horsed Artillery. The tradition of a quick gallop into battle and on deployment serving the gun to the end was strongly established right from the beginning.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  7. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Sappers and Miners

    The need for accurate survey arose before combat engineering. Vast holdings had to be carefully delineated and mapped out, to plan the correct form of commercial extraction. By 1780, serious attention began to be given to the art of sapping and mining.

    Forts abound in the subcontinent, and to the forts the main defences withdrew for a protracted stand. On being invested, the siege (heavy) artillery including trench mortars or bombards went at it. The real work, not for the faint-hearted, went to the sappers who had to do the 'sapping' or mining. Sapping is the technique of accurately digging trenches, usually covered or zigzag, to cover one's approach to the point of assault.



    Mining involves boring through and placing very large demolition charges for making a breach in the walls of the fort and/or placing the charges under key areas in the fort. The sapping technique has been used to great advantage on modern battlefields as well,

    Dien Bien Phu (March-April 1954) and Khe-San (1967-68) in Vietnam being notable examples. Of necessity, a sapper must be tough, tenacious, unflappable, and skilled at his job.


    They have emerged on today's battlefield as the 'Engineers'. In India, the Engineers were spawned in three groups - the Madras Sappers followed by the Bengal Sappers and finally the Bombay Sappers. They were formed into field companies (a sub-unit organization that exists to this day) grouped into regiments. Till 1911, the Sappers also had the onerous charge of passing battlefield messages. Between 1911 and 1920, they handed this burgeoning task to a batch of their own kinsmen who then formed the Corps of Signals.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  8. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Corps and Services

    Logistics back-up to the fighting forces has specialized over the decades and centuries, splitting when expedient to form specialist corps, and merging where necessary. The Supply and Transport departments merged to form the Royal Indian Army Service Corps in 1884; Remount and Veterinary Services merged to form the Remount and Veterinary Corps. The Boards of Ordnance merged and formed the Indian Army Ordnance Corps, out of which emerged the Corps of Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1943.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Officering

    Resistance to providing Indian leadership for the Indian Army persisted for quite a while. Roberts, a long-standing Commander-in-Chief of the Army was of the view that no Indian officer could have serving under him a British officer, or even a British NCO. The most an Indian could aspire for was an Indian commission, with 'Subedar Major' being the highest rank. The first major change came in l919-20, in response to the then Indian political leadership's strident demands for 'Indianization' of the Army, in that ten vacancies were reserved for suitable' Indians at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

    Indian political demands also impelled the British to set up the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Debra Dun on 1 October 1932. The training was for a period of two and a half years. The IMA was formally inaugurated by the Commander-in-Chief in India, FM Sir Philip Chetwode, on 10 December 1932. In his inaugural address to the trainees, he enunciated three principles which were to guide the future officers of the Indian Army:

    The safety, honour, and welfare of your country comes first, always and everytime.

    The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.

    Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and everytime.

    The first batch of Gentleman Cadets who passed out of the IMA were commissioned in December 1934. This batch was to produce India's first Field Marshal, SAM Manekshaw MC of the 8th Gorkha Rifles. On independence, Indian officers, junior in service and experience to their British mentors (the highest rank holders were Brigadiers Cariappa and Thimayya), were able to step into their elevated ranks and responsibilities, with confidence.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  9. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The First World War

    The Indian Army combat arms strength at the beginning of the First World War was 155,423. It ended the war with 573,484, accepting, like all major combatant nations, an enormous percentage of casualties. It served in some of the most horrendous theatres of war under senior military leadership of questionable competence, with singular resolve and devotion to duty.

    Nk Darwan Singh (Garhwal Rifles) leads round a traverse at the point of the bayonet and was awarded the VC : France First World War


    Like all other great cavalries, the Indian horsed Cavalry units fought in the quagmires and unending obstacle systems of the Western Front'. Serving as Infantry, they took appalling casualties. Their last hurrah was in Palestine, where in free country, led by the brilliant Allenby, they drove the Turks before them from the Sinai to Lebanon and into Syria, demonstrating once again, their unyielding spirit.



    Imperial Germany did complain about the use of 'colonial troops' in the main European theatre. Indian troops were proving to be dogged and unrelenting in resistance. Higher command failed them in the tough conditions of Mons and Flanders, and the Dardanelles. In Mesopotamia, the logistic system repeatedly failed and abysmal reinforcement methods became glaring. Yet through it all, the Indian Army put on a sterling performance, and the many theatre and battle honours that adorn the 'colours' of its regiments bear proud witness to this.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  10. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Second World War

    When the Second World War broke out, not a single unit of the Indian Army was mechanized to respectable standards. Motorization was selective, and scales of weaponry extremely sparse. But the number of men that India gave to the Allied Cause has never been equalled since. In 1939, the Army had 189,000 in its ranks -rising to 2,644,323 at peak strength in 1945.

    In the Western Desert, in Eritrea and Italy, Indian Divisions engaged the Germans and-ltalians. The 4th, 5th, and 8th Divisions distinguished themselves in a series of hard-fought campaigns. A time came when the British 8th Army depended on the 4th Division to crack up Axis formations in their long (and final) retreat. At Cassino, the best that the German Parachute Regiment had were slowly reduced by equally motivated Indian troops of all shades. German breakthroughs in the Desert saw Indian Gunners standing to their guns, despite being cut off, and fighting heroically. The 3rd (Indian) Motor Brigade badgered the Africa Corps using trucks and machine guns.

    In Malaya, Singapore, and Burma the Indian Army initially gave ground to what at first seemed an unstoppable Imperial Japanese drive through South-East Asia to the very gates of India. None was there to stop them - not the Chinese, nor the Americans, nor British or Indian Army formations. 17 Indian Division's agonizing withdrawal in 1942, over vast stretches in Burma, was the longest in British military history. The Division was to subsequently extract terrible retribution from the Japanese Army when Field Marshal 'Bill' Slim's 14th Army went on the counter-offensive, sweeping the Japanese out of Burma and South-East Asia. Out of one million men of the Allied Armies in South-East Asia, 700,000 were Indians.

    It was the Indian Army units, who in the words of 'Bill' Slim, were the 'best in the world' that merited recognition as superb fighting machines. Identical sentiments were echoed by Bernard Montgomery (Monty) in the West; Rommel, the 'Desert Fox', had the 'healthiest regard' for the Indians.

    The war in Burma sprouted some of our outstanding middle-level and junior leaders such as Brigadier KS Thimayya DSO, Major Srikant Korla DSO, MC, Major NC Rawlley MC and Major Rajwade, to name but a few. The Victoria Cross (VC) - the first award of it's kind to an Indian Commissioned Officer was awarded to Second Lieutenant Premindra Singh Bhagat of the Bombay Sappers for an act of unparalleled bravery and inspiring leadership, on the night of 31 January/1 February 1941, when commanding a detachment of 21 Field company of the Bombay Sappers on the road to Gondar, in Abyssinia.


    "Ayo Gorkhali" (The Gorkhas have come)

    The Indian Army by the end of the War was thus rated as among the best in the world whose Officers and men displayed the highest levels of motivation and gallantry on the field of battle.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  11. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Command and Control

    The 1947-48 Kashmir War was fought with an evolving Indian higher command set-up. The ad hoc Delhi and East Punjab command, created to control the widespread communal disturbances and tackle the refugee migration problem, soon gave way to a resurrected Headquarters Western Command.

    Indian Army Headquarters began its life in the Red Fort - Delhi. Imposing edifice that it is, it was hardly suitable to house a complex entity such as this. Supreme Headquarters at that time retained its seat in South Block and refused to share space. Mercifully, it was wound up in short order. Today Army Headquarters occupies portions of South Block along with a gigantic, architecturally modern Sena Bhavan adjacent.


    Some portions are still housed in barracks of Second World War vintage. By 14 January 1949, the Army had its first Indian Commander-in-Chief (in 1956 designated as Chief of the Army Staff) - General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa.

    The short 1962 Border War with China dictated that no matter what the state of electronic communications, higher directive control should be exercised from geographical proximity. Headquarter Eastern Command had tried this from Lucknow, some 1,100 kilometres distant from Walong. Wiser after the war experience, Headquarter Eastern Command went back to Fort William, Calcutta. Lucknow was taken over by the newly formed Headquarter Central Command.

    The 1965 and 1971 Wars demonstrated that the area under General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command was too vast for effective command. Accordingly, in 1971, duplicate headquarters with duplicated staff were set up at Shimla and Bhatinda. After 1971, Headquarter Northern Command was established at Udhampur, taking over responsibility for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Sihmla was considered unsuitable for Headquarters Western Command and so was moved to Chandigarh with Punjab and Northern Rajasthan under its jurisdiction.

    In the Indian context, Command Headquarter can be likened to a Field Army or even an Army Group Headquarter with a General Officer Commanding-in-Chief presiding over matters in the rank of a (three-star) Lieutenant General. Next the line are the Corps Headquarters, which are Field Army Headquarters elsewhere. The Indian Army's combat formations are now grouped and tailored under many such Corps Headquarters (with some forces being retained under static Area Commands).

    The static Areas, Sub Areas, or Independent Sub Areas span the length and breadth of the country. These look after infrastructural (and lines of communications) assets, relieving field formations from the tedium of administering a multiplicity.of support installations located in an area. Area' boundaries conform to state (or a group of states) administrative boundaries. All Headquarters are tasked also to maintain full civil-military liaison. Static Areas (or even field formations in some cases) set up Station Headquarters whose area of responsibility usually coincides with a district or a group of districts. Field formations located in Areas are always contingently tasked to assist the civil administration through these static Headquarters. Strangely enough, this system works.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  12. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Staffs

    The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) wears multiple hats. To the entire army, now some 1.1 million men and women strong, he is the Chief. A number of Staff Officers assist him, such as Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), Heads of Arms and Services, etc. It would take a book of considerable length to even set down their designations and functions.

    Until the 1960s, staff coordination was a one-man affair in the form of a three-star General Officer designated the Chief of the General Staff, with direct access to the Chief available to 'some' - the PSOs. Today a Vice Chief and two Deputy Chiefs of Army Staff handle coordination. The command channel is absolutely one to one between the Chief and his Army Commanders -with no one - but no one authorized even to say hold the line'.

    PSOs at Army Headquarters (and others down the line) have retained their nineteenth-century designations, not having succumbed to new managerial nomenclatures or alpha-numeric designations. The Quartermaster General, Master General of Ordnance, Adjutant General, Military Secretary, Engineer-in-Chief, Signal Officer-in-Chief, therefore, find traditional mention. At the sharp end a brigade-level General Staff Officer and his logistic equivalents are still called Brigade Major, Deputy Assistant Adjutant General and Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General respectively. Quite a mouthful, paper-filling designations when no abbreviations are used.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  13. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Field Formations

    The field force is grouped into Corps. Some of these are defensively oriented and have, over the years, acquired an unofficial - 'Holding'. The others are called reserve or, unofficially again, 'Strike' Corps. The former is really a misnomer since these contain ample offensive potential.

    Corps Headquarters are designed to. handle an all-arms field army- of three to five divisions or their equivalents. Army Headquarters reserves could be mammoth-size or small, but powerful in either case. Heavy-tracked-Corps are an instance of the former, and the three parachute commandos (battalion-size units), which perform special forces duties, of the latter. Airborne, Air Assault or Parachute troops are usually held centralized.


    The mounts', in all cases, are provided by the Indian Air Force.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  14. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Division and Independent Brigade Group

    These are the lowest (or the highest, depending on the viewpoint) individual formations. They integrate in themselves all arms and services for sustained independent operations. There is great flexibility in their force mix, and in 'grouping for tasks'. Brigade (regiment in some armies) size combined-arms groups can be shed or added on at will. (Standard Tables of Organization and Equipment do exist, but these are taken lightly for accounting purposes only.)

    Divisions and independent brigade groups are designated by function, terrain of operation, or by their equipment mix. The Army has in its Order of Battle, mountain divisions, infantry divisions, armoured divisions (in which


    tank units predominate) and mechanized divisions (in which mechanized infantry units predominate). Independent brigade groups, as the name suggests, are vested with limited capability to carry out an independent mission. Independent brigade groups or independent brigade-sized formations may be armoured, mechanized, air defence (missile or gun), parachute, engineer, field artillery, electronic warfare or even standard infantry and mountain. These form 'Corps/Army troops', that is, they are held at Corps and Army levels for balancing out missions and task forces. At these levels, one would find heavy logistic support units in terms of supply, transport, field ordnance depots, and medical facilities.

    Organizationally, the field forces have never been static. Reorganization and creation of new field forces is the norm, prompted by constant rethinking on threats and the emergence of new technology. To put it simply, if our organizations are basically triangular, there is no bar on making them square or pentagonal for a given mission.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  15. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Combined Arms Action

    Piecemeal 'modernisation' is of no use to anyone. All arms have gone through two and a half modernisation cycles since independence. For people with less than the usual quota of a sense of humour it amounts to a three-legged arms race in

    which the Joneses are driving the Javeds ,Joshis and Jiangs to follow suit.

    At least with the Indian Army it is not really so. It is conscious of working out an edge or even proximate ability to see that a catastrophic disadvantage does not undermine operational viability. Even the most articulate and vehement critic would agree that the army is appreciative of what the country has provided to it in material, though it is somewhat hard pressed to do so.

    Equipment modernisation alone is not sufficient. Or else, any banana republic collecting martial objets d'art for gracing the palace gates of the head of state would constitute a formidable foe.

    Modernization of the Indian Army gives rise to paradoxes of time and meaning. It constitutes in its basic form:-

    The Underpinning- the timeless creed of the warriors and their feeling of comradeship in war and pestilence. The individual styles of the arms actually complement each other in combat.

    The pivot- the ability of our field commanders to accept organizational, doctrinal, and equipment changes (not in that order) plus a finer perception of the strategic issues involved. With that, is their ability to mix individual assets into a combined arms and logistics team of very high combat worth.

    Technology and Equipment. It is in this narrow area that modernization is usually talked about. By themselves, 'equipment' may just remain well-produced ironmongery or an intricate series of integrated circuits. But when these are synthesized in a complementary mix, they come to life - and present a threat out of all proportion to their arithmetical aggregate on inventory.

    Overall, the Indian Army is adequately equipped. There certainly remain areas where improvements or 'modernization' is pending, but that does not, in any way, detract from the fact that overall the Army has achieved a dissuasive quality, in which a potential aggressor will go into lip-biting conclave before deciding upon a violent course of action.

    The mechanized armies in the Western Sector are mobile, balanced groupings of high striking power. The fine synthesization of cutting-edge weaponry into high-value, capital-intensive combat groups is seen at


    it's best here. The T-72, BMP series Infantry Combat Vehicle, Anti-tank Guided Missiles of many varieties, Aviation, fast reconnaissance vehicles, the FH-77/B-02 Medium Gun together with a number of other field pieces indigenously designed and developed, varieties of self-propelled air defence missile and gun systems, 'Black' Electronic Warfare arrays, first-class assault bridging for dry and wet crossings are found together in supportive mixes. Here, all ballyhoo of We are the queens/kings of the battlefield' is easily given a quiet burial.

    In the mountains, it is light infantry and artillery, supported by engineers, signals, helicopters and animals which make for the combined-arms approach. The most visible manifestation of modernization in equipment is in Siachen, which without these assets, can not be garrisoned much less defended. This includes a combative logistical infrastructure to prevail 'AGAINST ALL ODDS'.

    Two things remain to be stated without equivocation

    The Indian Army gives due respect to its adversaries and finds no need to cozen itself with whistling in the dark about 'One of US is equal to ten of them.
    It does not accept being considered second to anyone - anywhere.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  16. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Second Line

    Besides its conventional armed forces, the nation has in the Territorial Army a second line of trained personnel who are able to take on specialist work in time of need. Territorial Army personnel can handle docks and ports, railways, inland waterways, engineering, and keep things functional till their civilian counterparts are able to resume duty. At the college and school levels, the National Cadet Corps' enrolment provides a ready forum for the youth of the country to be exposed to what national security entails. This corps is now more selective and offers to its cadets a very wide spectrum of activities, including adventure and sports.

    The General Public Exposure to the Army comes in the form of resplendent and colourful ceremonial occasions like the Republic Day and Army Day Parades, and the Beating Retreat display.


    This visual impact leaves an understandable impression that our Army marches smartly, to disappear into the eastern horizon on that day and reappear over the western on the next occasion, having taken a breather en route. Not so. There is a wholly different, if circumscribed way of life which does not bear comparison with anything else. The Army is a corporate body in a narrow sense but within it are a great variety both in spirit and form. One has to serve to savour it.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  17. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Basic Materials

    The largest standing volunteer Army in the world has never had to scour the populace for draft or conscription. There are always more men eager to don olive green than the demand at any one time. But this does not reflect a situation where a large unemployed workforce would get into uniform to keep body and soul together. More to the point is the basic attitude of our people to the call of arms, discovered also by the British, some three centuries before. There are very many who join up for long service tenures under the colours, by inclination and choice - also familial habit and honour. If a young man, sound of body and mind, and of Indian origin, is inclined to spend most of his useful working years in the kind of desolation that the country's Field areas' adjoining the borders provide, can he be refused?

    For the purpose of recruitment, the country is divided into recruiting zones. Every zone is allotted a quota for recruitment based on a percentage of its population and ethnic grouping. A legacy, slowly being diluted, is that of combat arm units or regiments recruiting from a particular zone or mixture of ethnic groups.

    Once a man has joined up, it is for keeps. Many fall out at the basic training stage when they find that there is much more to it than getting into a smart uniform. The ones who hear the sound of the trumpet clearly without missing a note, take their oath and for good or bad go into service - not servitude.
     
  18. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Leaders

    The officer corps strength versus commanded strength averages 7 to 8 per cent. After independence there was only one period (1963-65) when a need arose to offer short-term emergency commissions. That was when a pre-1962 planned expansion was compressed in terms of time leading to this call. The main brunt of the fighting in 1965 and 1971 at junior command levels was taken up by this group. Just as in the Second World War, they, along with their regular counterparts, responded with traditional elan. Over the years, a number of Commission streams had merged together. The last of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, graduates retired in 1969. The Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun, graduates, as well as the Short Service/Emergency Commissioned Officers of the Second World War formed the overwhelming bulk filling the fighting command slots in 1947-49; the King's Commission Indian Officers taking over the higher command appointments.

    In 1949 a unique experiment was launched - that of cadet-level training for all the three Services together for three years and thereafter moving on to Service academies for pre-Commission training. This was the Joint Services Wing (Dehra Dun), which in later years became the National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakvasla.

    At present, the Army officer intake is from four distinct streams, namely the NDA; the graduate direct entry stream (IMA); cadets chosen from the ranks and initially trained at the Army Cadet College - an adjunct of the IMA; and a five-year Short Service Commission stream from the Officers Training Academy, Madras. A few selected Junior Commissioned Officers (a grade existing only in the Indian and Pakistan Armies) are offered Regimental Commissions. The Short Service stream is offered Regular Commissions by choice and reassessment. Officers of the NDA have now reached three-star rank in all three Services. A common indicator of the type of leadership extant in the Army are casualty ratios. In all our wars, officer casualties have been high. This is an internal assessment criterion. Management experts point out that high casualties bespeak of poor command. The point, however, is that Officers of the combat arms lead from the front and do not manage from the rear.

    The sacrificial content of the leadership ethos built up over decades has served the country well. But far more important, the ranks know for certain that there will be no directive commands by electronics or remote control.

    A common perception of the army officer is that of a large, moustachioed, Neanderthal with overhanging brows getting very physical round the clock. Another is that the real creme de la creme of the high school levels would never think of joining up. It never strikes the common observer that neither a gorilla nor a budding CV Raman, nor a future chief executive of, say, an ice cream manufacturing company may necessarily have combat leadership traits. Academic brilliance is just one plus point, and that is all that has been displayed by a teenager prefering to move into the civilian professional life at that point. If a young man cannot translate his manifest intelligence and brilliance into fast life-and-death decision-making in the field - or wishes to preserve his attributes for 'better' occasions when faced with a sticky situation, he is better utilized in an office, college or laboratory than on a battlefield. That is where he naturally belongs.

    The training of the Indian army officer is meant to subsume his persona under a very demanding but explicit code. It is the code given by FM Chetwode cited earlier.

    As the young officer grows in services he obtains professional training which helps to slot him into his increasing responsibilities. These training institutions were created from scratch. At their apex stands the National Defence College. In between are the professional All Arms and Services 'colleges' and special managerial expertise is provided by Corps and Service schools and colleges. Standing at the top here is the College of Defence Management. At the Higher Command levels the leader and the manager merge imperceptibly.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  19. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Teeth and Tail

    The phrase teeth and tail has been hounding the Army ever since a manager with a piquant turn of phrase slotted it into the military lexicon some forty years ago. Someone will have to decide that if the teeth, (meaning the arms) are really to be effective, should not the tail (the logistic corps and services) be more aptly called the gums?

    The underpinning of any force are the support services especially in the context of the terrain that we fight in. it is also an unfortunate fact that the more modern and sophisticated a field force, the logistic back-up rises exponentially to maintain it in reasonable shape. When a 50-tonne tank trundles past a saluting base, having replaced a 40-tonne tank, the general populace are appreciative of this new war machine not realizing that, probably, the logistic support to it has gone up 2.5 times. This needs to be known.

    The Army Medical Corps gives pride of place in protocol and otherwise to the Military Nursing Service. Together with the Army Dental Corps, the medical services provide a composite, wide-spectrum, morale-boosting blanket of comfort. The men of this corps commence work from the forward-most line of contact. Their war record citations and awards bear testimony to their crucial function. 60 (Parachute) Field Ambulance became a favourite not only in the Commonwealth Division but with all formations of the United Nations Army in Korea. They brought home a Presidential Unit Citation.

    The Army Service Corps (ASC) handles all supply and transport aspects while the Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) holds and issues close on half a million items held on inventory. The troika is formed by the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who provide light to factory-level repairs to everything the Army uses. With their forward repair teams based on customized armoured vehicles, they function within a battlefield, recovering equipment casualties from their point of collapse. In Chhamb - 1971, six medium guns became immobile when their lyres burnt out. The enemy was sweeping the area with machine guns, at line of sight; yet working against time and hostile fire the guns were refitted, recovered, given a quick thump on the barrel and put back in action in less than 24 hours. Back at base workshop, they strip and rebuild anything that the Army owns be it fighting vehicles, electronics, or data processing equipment.

    The Red Caps - the military police - are really not providing a service. It is a mix of service and combat visibility, the men being chosen for their presence'. They are the most visible form of military discipline and they do so even-handedly right to brigade levels.

    Another keeper of the Army's morale is the Postal Corps. Today they dispense insurance, and other facilities of a standard post office of the Indian Union at any point where a unit of the Indian Army is sent. Mail and smiles go together.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  20. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    sport

    Adventure and Sports

    A large body of men who take physical activity seriously is bound to throw up athletes of distinction. The Indian Arrny has given to the country world class sports persons in many disciplines.



    Kayaking - a balancing act
    Much of the army remains permanently stationed on the borders. The terrain there, along with the equipment already held by the formations, automatically provide rugged conditions for adventure training and sports. Mountaineering, rock climbing, white water rafting, skiing, parachuting, are some sports activities which also find operational use.


    With very little extra support hang gliding, hot air ballooning, and microlite aircraft flying find enthusiastic volunteers flocking to join up.

    "The Dare Devils" of the Corps of Signals


    Recently a group of adventurous sappers sailed round the world in a small yatch - The Trishna. This courageous and carefree group exemplify the spirit of the Indian Army.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  21. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The Ethos

    The greatest binding force in the Indian Army remains unit cohesion and tradition. Truly heady is this mixture of Unit identification and traditions of sacrificial velour, handed down through centuries. At one point, victory or defeat becomes irrelevant. What matters is - Has the unit measured up?

    Among the warriors, this all-embracing ethos works like a comforting blanket. When all seems (or is) lost, the last string that refuses to snap is, 'I must not let my unit's name be sullied'. An example here, is the living tradition of an old battalion of the Sikh Regiment. Almost a century ago, a handful held off a horde of tribesmen at a bleak spot in the NWFP - to the last man. The place was called Saragarhi. Much later, in 1962, the same battalion, taking fearful losses was told by their Commanding Officer - 'We have not even started touching the levels established by our ancestors' (mentioning that stand); The battalion died where it stood at Walong. Phoenix-like it rose again, to smash Burki in 1965.

    The elite para-commandos and parachute battalions -India's 'Red Devils' as they are affectionately called have an unsurpassed ethos and elan of their own. 2 Para Battalion executed a superb airborne assault operation at Tangail in East Pakistan on 11 December 1971, the first of its kind on the subcontinent.

    The Armoured Corps retains the Cavalry Slouch, and an infuriatingly languid air of not being seen as perturbed in public. The usual reaction to a crisis is a bored, 'Now do you mind lowering the noise level? Who is in trouble now?' This is a necessity and not a posture. The mechanized battlefield is exceptionally lethal and requires enormous reserves of physical, mental and moral stamina to get through the 'noise and dust'. When C Squadron 20th Lancers faced two Patton Regiments at Chhamb, there was this crisp observation -'That all?' Or when just one brewing up Centurion with its hatches jammed stood between a charging troop of M47s and nothing, the tank commander with less than six months service radioed, 'My gun is still firing. I shall get them'. This young lad has gone into the pages of the legendary history of 17 (Poona) Horse. When this unit was hard pressed facing an armoured brigade-level counter-attack on the Basantar in 1971, another languid crowd, this time from 4 (Hodsons) Horse cruised in with the same laconic attitude - 'Now who is in trouble, pray?'

    The Gunners are a breed apart. A phlegmatic bunch of men, they are not given to why, where as, or where fores. When asked politely, 'Can this plan be supported?' The answer is, 'Indeed; can you do it?' - 'Indeed; will it be all right if we change the whole plan?' - 'Indeed'. After that, there really is no point in continuing this monologue.

    The 'literati' in the sword arms are the gentlemen of the Engineers and Signals. The Engineers share a motto with the Gunners - Sarvatra (Ubique in Latin, or 'Everywhere' in common parlance). Both these arms have an engineering degree tucked conspicuously under their armpit. The Sappers do their traditional work of using (or defusing) high explosives with nerveless relish. They equal if not surpass any bunch of villains in setting up infernal devices meant to send people to kingdom-come without their gentlemanliness getting in the way. Before anyone can do (or get) anything or anywhere, the Sappers pave the way. The driving compulsion and attitude here is - 'Get the ruffians to a place from where they can do their bit'.

    The most ungentlemanly lot are the Signal Corps. The moment a world-renowned statesman wrinkled his nose to utter those famous words, 'Gentlemen do not read others' mail', they got about doing exactly that without a twinge of conscience. Their ability to pick out gibberish from an overused electromagnetic spectrum and get to understand it, is legendary. They listen to other people's tete-a-tetes without permission and have been doing so ever since modern conveniences came into being. The fifth dimension of war (space being the sixth), is given over entirely to them for their use -Electronic Warfare. They have long passed the stage when they would worry about providing efficient communications only. That is commonplace for them even if the equipment looked as if it had been exhumed from JC Bose's first laboratory. Today of course-it is a different matter.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page