The Indian Army - Always Glorious

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

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  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    History of Army Ordnance Corps

    Army Ordnance Corps, the materials manager of the Indian Army, has a glorious heritage spanning over two centuries dating back to 1775 AD.


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    1. The history of the Army Ordnance Corps can be traced back to the Board of Ordnance, which originated in the 15th century and existed till 1855.

    2. In 1886, the Board of Ordnance was transferred to Secretary of State for War.

    3. In 1896, on reorganization, Ordnance State department and Corps was organized into the Army Ordnance Department and Corps for officers and men.

    4. In 1918, in recognition of the Corps having acquitted itself with distinction during the First World War, King George V granted the prefix "Royal". The new title was "Royal Army Ordnance Corps".

    5. In 1922 the prefix Indian was added and the Corps was named "Royal Indian Army Ordnance Corps".

    6. In 1950 the prefix Royal was dropped and the Corps was named Army Ordnance Corps, which is the name today.




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    Corps Motto


    The original corps motto of the Ordnance corps was "Usa Tela Tananti" found in the arms of the board of Ordnance. This was translated to mean "To the thunder his arms".

    On 23 Jan 1978 the motto "Shastra se Shakti" (Strength though arms) in Hindi written in Devengiri script was approved by the President of India as the motto of the Army Ordnance Corps.


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    Corps Flag

    The AOC Regimental Flag (Corps Flag) is Navy blue with a horizontal saxe blue band between two broader maroon bands across the middle. These were the colours of King George IV and were first used by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.


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    Corps Song


    The corps song titled "Ayudh Corps Mahan" was introduced for the first time in 4th reunion of the Army Ordnance Corps. In the order of merit, the Corps Song is played first during functions in the Ordnance Units such as visit of DGOS, Colonel Commandant and other senior Ordnance Officer. The song is to be played or sung "within unit lines only", during purely Regimental functions.




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    Corps Objective
    Pursuit of professional perfection.


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    Evolution of AOC Crests.

    1414 - The Insignia of British Board of Ordnance.

    1898 - The Ordnance Department Crest adopted after amalgamation Of the three presidencies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay.

    1918 - The prefix "Royal" was adopted For meritorious service during The Ist World War.

    1922 - Formation of Indian Army Ordnance Corps.

    1954 - The present crest. The motto "Shastra Se Shakti" was adopted in Feb 78. In 1989 Hindi lettering of "Shastra se Shakti" was adopted.
     
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  2. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Kangala Tongbi War Memorial

    The Kangla Tongbi war memorial was erected near a village named Kangla Tongbi at Mile 8 on the Imphal - Dimapur road in the memory of personnel of 221 Advance Base Depot who laid down their lives to repulse several waves of Japanese attacks and succeeded in safe evacuation of Ordnance stores to an alternate site on 5-7 Apr 1944.

    Erected by DOS India and Members of RAOC/IAOC to the memory of the officers and men who gave their lives in the Imphal Dimapur are as during the years 1942-1945 of the second world war.

    Triumphant over flesh and pain they died our day of peace to Cain.

    The original memorial was erected on 15 Apr 1946 from local stone and the main epitaph displayed above is of black Naga stone. The memorial was shifted to Jabalpur on 27 Dec 1976 and shifted to its present location i.e., College of Materials Management Jabalpur on 20 Feb 1982.




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    Role and Functions of AOC


    The logistics function of the Army Ordnance Corps involves the mechanics of provisioning and procuring of all stores required to raise and maintain an efficient and effective fighting Army. The aim is to make available all kinds of stores to all units of the Army at the right time, in right quantity, at the right place and right cost.

    The Inventory range covers every conceivable requirement of the soldier from clothing to weapons, from a needle to a tank and also all munitions except fuel, fodder and medicines.

    The Inventory Management functions involve Provisioning, Procurement, Receipt, Accounting, Storage, Issue, Transportation and Disposal of all Clothing/Equipment /Weapons/Vehicles and Ammunition.


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    Ammunition Management


    Ordnance is also responsible for Ammunition Management for the complete range of Munitions from a pistol bullet to a Bofors Shell and all Missiles. In addition Ordnance is also responsible for the following :-

    IED- Improvised Explosive Device neutralising and training in handling IEDs.
    Major/Minor repair of all Munitions and Missiles.
    Static and Dynamic proof of Ammunition and Explosives.
    Disposal and Demolition of unserviceable/dangerous munitions and explosives.
     
  3. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Major operations of the i.a.

    Introduction

    A UNIQUE, TYPICALLY Indian struggle wrested freedom for the country from the British Crown at midnight on 14/15 August 1947. With freedom, came also the partition of the country and the birth of Pakistan. Britain withdrew from the subcontinent with some grace, but in haste.


    At the moment of independence, the old Indian Army stood divided between the Dominions of Pakistan and India. In the meantime, demobilization had commenced with vigour, and by June 1947 the active strength of the Army stood at some 500,000. Finally, 400,000 men, and countrywide movable and immovable assets were shared under a complicated scheme supervised by a British presence in the form of a Supreme Headquarters.

    All this was done under heart-rending conditions of turmoil and strife in the Punjab and Bengal. The level of violence had reached civil war proportions and had to be contained rapidly. The Punjab Boundary Force came into being for this thankless task. It had elements of the Armies of both Dominions spread thinly on the ground and was hard put to contain the increasing levels of violence. This was to be the last time that the old Indian Army deployed as one body.
     
  4. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Kashmir

    Consolidation

    There were bound to be difficulties in consolidating the loosely federated Indian Provinces, Princely States, etc., into one homogeneous whole. The 575-odd Princely States except three, merged without fuss. Junagadh (now in Gujarat), Hyderabad (now in Andhra Pradesh), and Kashmir proved troublesome.

    The Army had to be employed in Junagadh and Hyderabad to consolidate these states in the Indian Union whereas Kashmir after initial dithering acceded to India voluntarily and by popular consent when


    Pakistani raiders entered the Kashmir Valley in October 1947. In Junagadh it was a simple brigade-level confidence-building measure and the state acceded to the Union. Hyderabad dallied for one year attempting to declare independence outside the Indian Union. In September 1948, a short 100-hour engagement was forced on the Army (at that time heavily engaged in Kashmir). 1 Armoured Division, commanded by Major General IN Chaudhuri one of the few formations available, along with some infantry units attached to it, entered the state and settled matters with minimal force.




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    The provincial subdivision of Kashmir followed geographical compulsions. To the south-west of the lofty Pir Panjal range lies Jammu. Enclosed by this range and the Great Himalayan Range lies the Kashmir Valley. Beyond, to the North, between the Main Karakorams and the Himalayan Range lies Gilgit, Hunza, Baltistan with Ladakh to the East. The rest of India was linked to the Valley by a fair-weather road from Pathankot across the 2,700 metres high Banihal Pass to Srinagar. A trade route, a mountain path actually, existed between Manali (in present-day Himachal) and Leh, the district headquarters of Ladakh. The major routes of communication into the Valley, as well as to the Northern areas, lie through what is now Pakistan.

    These facts on the ground prompted Pakistan's bid to annex the state of Kashmir through Operation Gulmarg. The strategy employed was ingenious. It included, inter alla:

    Delink the northern territories by an outright takeover, under the garb of a popular uprising against the Maharaja, Sri Hari Singh, who would be able to do nothing about it.

    Enter the Kashmir Valley (and to make matters easier, Jammu province) with a mixed grouping of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) tribals, bolstered by Pakistani soldiers 'on leave', masquerading as tribesmen, thus drawing out the small state forces to garrison the borders in penny packets to begin with.

    Back the tribal Lashkars (formations), equip them with mortars and machine guns, and assist them in liberating their 'kinsmen', whom they had never seen before, with a regular army formation following up to restore normalcy, and coerce the Maharaja into acceding the state to Pakistan.

    It was expected that before India reacted, possession would constitute law.In this, Pakistan came within a whisker of success. The Northern Territories were swallowed up by 30 July 1947, the formality of raising the flag being done in November. By 26 October, the main tribal column, raping and looting along the way, was at Baramulla, 50 kilometres from Srinagar, when the Maharaja signed the instrument of accession with India. The Indian Armed Forces could react only after this act of accession.

    An impromptu airlanded operation was put together. Time was of the essence. If the dirt strip masquerading as a runway at Srinagar airfield failed to take the weight of unprecedented DC-3 Dakota transport traffic, the tribals, stripping Baramulla and putting it to the torch would get on with their 'liberating' act with impunity. In the event, the Indian Army was very lucky. An adhoc brigade group on light scales managed to first hold and thereafter beat down the tribal main body. Thereafter, they were hounded out of the Valley by a series of minor engagements. An adhoc Headquarters functioning with an adhoc airlift organization oversaw command and logistics. The tenuous, fair weather road to Srinagar brought in convoys of supplies and limited reinforcements.

    The Maharaja had dilly dallied too long before his hands were forced by the Pakistani intruders. The tribal Pakistani 'volunteer' groupings had by then overrun large tracts of Jammu province which shared a porous border with Pakistan. It was some time before the fact sank in that we were actually engaging Pakistani regular forces. Ridding the main portions of Jammu province of Pakistani presence took more than a year and the entire operation ultimately took up more than 80,000 troops.

    Great acts of personal gallantry and collective bravery were shown in the Kashmir operations. Major Som Nath Sharma was awarded the PVC, India's highest decoration for valour, and Brigadier Usman commanding the 50th Parachute Brigade was awarded the MVC, both posthumously.

    Commencing February 1948, Pakistan launched through the Northern Territories Operation Sledge, a subsidiary (but complementary) offensive. The operation envisaged an advance up the Indus river by a mixed lot of local levies or irregulars and tribals. This force had to simply plod on at a pace of its own choosing to take over virgin territory.

    A weak state forces battalion barred its path at the town of Skardu. The invading force split here, one group investing the town, the main body continuing to advance to Kargil, and yet another spreading into the Shyok river valley, a northern tributary of the Indus.


    Extreme winter conditions made it impossible for the Indian Army to contest this action beyond the Great Himalayan Range. What was practicable, and indeed politically imperative, was to clean up Jammu province where the invading force was subjecting the local population to extremes of brutality. In the first few winter months of 1948, the Indian Army reinforced Leh with a reinforced platoon of hillmen drawn from a regular battalion. Surprisingly, as a first step, it sufficed to save Leh.

    Advancing to Muzaffarabad, the Indian Army came up against Pakistani regular troops as a body by May 1948, especially West of Uri and Tithwal. Till then the Pakistanis had committed their regulars intermixed with Azad (free) Kashmir battalions and tribal groups. On 1 November 1948, an Indian brigade group supported by the 7th Cavalry (Stuart tanks) broke through the Great Himalayan Range at Zojila to drive out the invaders from Ladakh district. At approximately 3,500 metres, this was the highest point in the history of warfare that tanks had operated.

    On 23 November 1948, the besieged garrison of Punch was relieved, a full year after its siege. This meant that a firm grip had been established all the way from Pathankot, on the major portions of this province.

    On 1 January 1949, a cease fire came into effect. Under UN supervision, a negotiated Cease Fire Line was drawn up on an actual holding basis pending future settlements. This meandering, and at places militarily illogical line, ran some 700 kilometres from Chhamb in the South to a map reference point NJ 9842 in Ladakh in the North. The latter unnamed point lay beyond the Shyok valley and rested on the lower slopes of the Saltoro range an offshoot of the Karakorams. It was added that the Line thereafter ran North to the glaciers, for which there was a surfeit. Here lay the seeds of a future conflict between India and Pakistan, the battleground being the highest glacier region in the world.

    The Kashmir War and its political fallout holds enormous importance for the Indian Army and the nation. Despite the accession of the state, a part of Kashmir remains under the illegal control of Pakistan (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), and this has continued as a festering sore in subsequent Indo Pak relations.


    The northern borders remained unconsolidated. It meant for the Indian Army, and particularly its infantry, full time manning of a quasi active defensive line. The Kashmir War gave the Indian Army its first experience of high altitude operations amidst snow, ice and extreme cold conditions.
     
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  5. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Goa, Daman and Diu - 1961

    The British (and the French) removed themselves from their colonial possessions in India gracefully. Not so the Portuguese, who hung on to three small pockets on India's western coast in spite of repeated polite diplomatic reminders that the concept of European nations holding overseas colonies was antiquated, to say the least. Embarrassingly, Portugal refused to heed these for a full 14 years.

    With reluctance, the Government of India used minimal force to bring the point home that they were not welcome any more. The Indian Army action in Goa was again more in the nature of a show of force rather than an operation. Either way, this was the last liberation war of consolidation against a non-subcontinental power.

    An unfortunate fallout of this action against a token European presence was that both Indian politicians and the people took it for granted that the Indian Army Was in good shape. The war with china that over took the country shortly thereafter was to rouse them from this illusion.
     
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  6. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    The Wars

    War is a bitter medicine, to be avoided through diplomacy. But when administered, it tests a nation's sinew and its will to survive. It is just as well that China thrust a war on us at the time it did. For who knows if, a nation cocooned in complacency about its security threats, would have fared far worse in a latter-day aggression by an adversary even better prepared!


    India's foreign policy thrust in the 1950s was a consensus policy, well endorsed by all sections. The Army's role was to be 'defence against a second class military power'. It followed that any other threat would be contained at the political diplomatic level. The threat from China did not loom as large as that from Pakistan. Indeed our relations with China were based on ancient cultural and trade ties and both nations were recovering, one from the pangs of imperial colonization and the other from the horrors of the great Patriotic War.

    But alertness has no substitute. Those who had eyes to see could have seen expansionist ambitions catching on in the Chinese establishment. In October 1950, the People's Liberation Army entered Tibet and annexed it. India accepted Chinese suzerainty over Tibet. By 1953, China was considered an incipient world military power. The Chinese then began to bare their fangs against India, and the Dalai Lama's seeking asylum in India made it worse.

    By l959 the threat in the North had become palpable. The Pakistani alliance with the USA became ominous. As part of the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), the Americans rearmed Pakistan with sophisticated weapons.

    The Kashmir bogey remained the cause celebre. In Ladakh, China had clandestinely and in violation of India's territorial integrity built a highway through Aksai Chin and laid claim to a large tract of the Indian territory in the North and North-East. In their international arena, however, it carried on with its propaganda of faith in the principles of Panchsheel; that it was being provoked by the Indian border violations, and hat China, otherwise, was committed to peace.
     
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  7. A.V.

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    1962-Case North

    The short border war with China in October-November 1962 caught the Army unprepared to conduct even defensive operations on the entire Karakoram-Himalayan Line. In Ladakh, having illegally occupied the whole of Aksai Chin, China followed up with intrusions and encroachment of areas even further west all along their Line of Actual control. This forced the Indian Army into non tactical deployments in penny packets, imposing an unbearable strain on the supply lines. In the East in NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh), Chinese actions drew two understrength brigades to the border with virtually non-existent supply lines or fire support. One brigade in Ladakh, inducted at the last moment, did not fritter away its fighting strength but deployed sensibly at the limit of the illegal Chinese claim line.

    This extreme forward posture with no positions in depth put paid to any hope of successful defence in NEFA. Kameng frontier division was the only sector which was reinforced successively by rushing in piecemeal three additional brigades from the plains.


    The Chinese conducted their operations in two phases with a distinct pause in between; in the first, Indian troops deployed on the McMahon Line were attacked and some defences overwhelmed while others were compelled to withdraw. Then after a pause and consolidation, deeper penetrations were made.

    Individual units and formations fought with spirit and determination inflicting in some areas serious well Casualties on the invaders. In Ladakh, the outer perimeter defences were adjusted, but the brigade, well led by Brigadier TN.Raina,MVC (later Chief of the Army Staff) stuck to its position and contained the penetration.

    Among the changes brought about in the post 1962 period were:

    Raising mountain divisions which could operate at heights of up to 6,000 metres with adequate logistic holdings.

    Creation of a better infrastructure for support of defensive operations in the high mountains. A graduated acclimatization programme for troops operating above 2,500 metres was taken up.

    The number of troops were to be doubled to man an expanded Army. This expansion was oriented to the mountains and covered two to three of India's five-year defence plans.

    Wiser from the war, the Indian Army in the post- 1962 years adjusted its defensive positions in a manner so that territory would not be lost without great loss being suffered by the aggressor and that should occasion arise, the war could even be taken into aggressor territory. India's mountain divisions today stand guard on the high Himalayan ranges from the Ladakh-Uttar Pradesh-Tibet Tri-junction to Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh borders with China.
     
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  8. A.V.

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    1965-Case West

    The 1965 War with Pakistan was a reminder once again of the latter's obduracy about annexing Kashmir by force. In embarking on this misadventure, Pakistan must have reckoned that the Indian Army, humbled in the Indo-China war of 1962, was still licking its wounds. Operation Gibraltar was as ambitious as Operation Gulmarg of 1947. It was directed at Kashmir in an 'attack by infiltration' by a specially raised irregular force of some 40,000 men, highly motivated, well armed and trained. This force, subdivided into columns code named Sallauddin, Ghaznavi etc., was of varying strengths. Beginning from early August 1965, it was expected that some specially trained columns, after having infiltrated across the Cease.Fire Line, would mix with the crowds assembled for a Kashmiri festival in Srinagar and thereafter incite a revolt and take over the city, while other columns would keep the Indian Army occupied on the Cease-Fire Line. A heavily reinforced Divisional level attack would back up this massive influx and aim at isolating Jammu and Kashmir state by cutting the lines of communication through Akhnoor-Jammu.

    A foreboding of coming events had been given earlier in April 1965 when Pakistan began border violations and provocations. Before committment, Pakistan tested the waters as it were in two widely separated areas of operations. In Kutch it launched its 8th Infantry Division supported by two regiments of M47/48 Pattons. Operation 'Desert Hawk' was launched to draw away reserves from other vulnerable areas, and possibly to test India's resolve. The Indian Army did not rise to the bait. The second feeler came along a particularly sensitive section of the Cease-Fire Line which overlooked the Srinagar-Leh road at Kargil. The Indian Army had to capture picquets at heights of 4,000 metres to put a stop to direct interference by fire on this section of an important Line of communication. Both these tests, not too sanguine for Pakistan, ended in pious cease-fire agreements.

    When 9 August did not bring the expected result at Srinagar, Pakistan had two choices. Withdraw from the scene, restricting its actions to areas along the Cease-Fire Line or persist with the complete plan which now included a suitable breakthrough by one or both of its mobile Corps level reserves into the Punjab. Pakistan chose to persist while the Indian Army Corps on the Cease-Fire Line got down to neutralizing the Gibraltar Force. As a first step, main infiltration routes were blocked, and Pakistan was forced out of the Haji Fir bulge (known to them as Bedori). On 1 September Pakistan launched Operation 'Grand Slam' through Chhamb aimed at Akhnoor-Jammu. The best part of the deal here was that the break-in could be effected by concentrating strike forces in Pakistani territory, thereby placing the Indian troops facing them in a militarily precarious situation. (The cease-fire agreement limited deployment of large formations in Jammu and Kashmir.)

    Tactically, 'Grand Slam' was an instant success, but was to cost Pakistan dear at the strategic level.
     
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  9. A.V.

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    Rejoinder by the Indian Army

    Once the scale and scope of Operation 'Gibraltar' became clear, formations of the Indian Army deployed on the Cease-Fire Line, reinforced by a few units brought in from the Punjab, commenced mopping up operations in the Valley and Jammu.

    In Chhamb, the initial Pakistani successes were spectacular, but the offensive kept grinding forward at an increasingly slower pace, due to the effective intervention of the Indian Air Force from day one.

    India's politico-strategic aim was modest. There was to be no counter-offensive in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The military means available after ensuring security of the northern border with Tibet added up to only an offensive-defence capability on the Western Front, the level of forces on both sides being somewhat equal. Therefore a strategic holding operation was put into effect, with tactical-level offensives aimed at denying capture of home territory and bringing Pakistani reserves to battle to cause crippling attrition which they could ill afford as the war progressed.

    To this end, India's 11 Corps mounted a three-axis attack, each with a division, over a 70 kilometre front, to gain the line of Pakistan's primary defence works - the Ichhogil (or BRB) canal in the Lahore zone of operations on 5-6 September. Two days later, on 8 September, 1 Corps commenced an advance over a narrow 35 kilometre front, spearheaded by 1 Armoured Division, aimed at the centre of Pakistan 1 Corps - Chawinda.

    The effect on the Pakistani Chhamb offensive was simmediate. She withdrew her main force,armour which originally belonged to the newly raised 6 Armoured Division. This component of Pakistan's mobile reserves formed the core of Pakistan's defence in the Sialkot zone of operations.

    On 8 September itself Pakistan commenced its drive into the Indian Punjab, using its 1 Armoured Division. The aim was to foreclose India's options north of the Beas-Sutlej river line. After foiling the southernmost divisional attack mounted by 4 Mountain Division, Pakistan felt that it had achieved a simultaneous break in, with the Indian formation withdrawing.

    4 Mountain Division had been given the task of gaining the Line of the Ichchogil (BRB) Canal East of the town of Kasur. It attacked with its two available mountain brigades supported by strong artillery and a single Sherman-equipped armoured regiment. It now formed a defended sector reinforced by the Indian Army's only reserve armoured formation, 2 Independent Armoured Brigade. The latter was a mixed equipment grouping comprising one Centurion Regiment as its core.

    Pakistan's 1 Armoured Division's 'breakout' was opposed by the reinforced 4 Mountain Division at the hamlet of Asal Uttar. 1 Armoured Division committed two M47/48 Patton-equipped armoured brigades - the 4th and 5th. They were badly mauled between 8 and 11 September in a hard-fought combined-arms battle noteworthy for its primeval ferocity. In the outcome of the battle, 1 Armoured Division ceased to be an effective strike force by 10 September, capable only of limited defensive action.

    Either way, a massive armoured battle had been joined by 10 September on the approaches to Chawinda up north. Here was an unprecedented state of affairs. The defenders were fielding more numbers of armoured units than the attacker! A fine covering force action by 25 Cavalry, one of Pakistanis young armoured regiments, gave sufficient time for its 6 Armoured Division to unscramble itself. It was here that Pakistani artillery spoke with power and precision.

    From the Indian side matters were clinched by three Centurion Mark 7-equipped armoured regiments of great antiquity. 17 (Poona) Horse, 4 (Hodsons) Horse and 16 Cavalry took on, initially, 6 Armoured Division. By 11/12 September reverted armour from Chhamb and thereafter a reconstituted 4 Armoured Brigade from the battered Pakistani 1 Armoured Division down South, reinforced this sector.

    Experts have commented adversely on these head-on tank vs tank jousts punctuating the 22-day war. The thrusts and counter-thrusts seen here, they say, do not speak of adherence to the principles of concentration of effort, flexibility and surprise. These armchair strategists forget the strategic matrix of the battle for both sides. There really was no hope for a decisive break-out and an enveloping theatre-level engagement taking place-given the type of resistance based on a series of artificial obstacles. Above all, it was a matter of force levels and logistical depth. The contenders were too evenly matched.

    Casualties in material began to tell after the first ten days. By then, Pakistan was losing a regiment's worth of armoured fighting vehicles a day. This attrition rate could not be sustained.

    Peace feelers put out by the United Nations were Initially rebuffed by Pakistan. However, its precarious material position by the end of the second week found it more yielding. On the other side, India had nothing to gain by dragging out the conflict. The Indian Army had secured the Kashmir Valley and the only object left was to clean out the remnants of the Gibraltar Force. While the cease-fire came into effect on 23 September, minor operations against these forces went on into November.

    Pakistan celebrates 6 September as 'Defence of Pakistan Day', choosing to forget that she mounted her largest offensive operation to date in August itself. In the 1965 operations, old cavalry regiments of the Presidency armies dashed as opponents for the first time. Infantry and artillery colleagues of pre-independence days had already clashed in the first Kashmir War.

    Field Marshal Ayub Khan and General Musa overestimated the potential of infiltrating Mujahids and commandos (SSG) into the Valley and later into the Punjab - with the hope of winning the war. Neither did the Kashmiris of the Valley rise up in rebellion, nor did the Punjabi peasant allow Pakistani commandos to operate in the Punjab (most were either captured or killed). Operation Gibraltar, therefore' became an unmitigated disaster.

    The war was extended due to operational necessity into the Pakistan plains. Besides losing sizeable tracts of Pakistan, Ayub and Musa lost their credibility and jobs. Political considerations finally brought the war to an end. A cease-fire was agreed upon and, with Russia acting the broker, the Tashkent Agreement was signed. The Indian Army fell back to its own side of the border, giving up certain strategic areas. In any event, Pakistan trying to snap up what did not belong to her had been administered a sharp rap on the knuckles. Pakistan's allies did their bit to pull her out of a sticky situation. The Chinese carried out some moves to forward positions and unleashed a propaganda campaign. The Americans provided some moral and equipment support. That was all.
     
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  10. A.V.

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    1971:The Creation of Bangladesh

    Shaken to the core by the overwhelming election victory of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League in late 1970, the Pakistan Army let loose a reign of terror in East Pakistan. An unprecedented exodus of Bengali refugees commenced as a result, and millions crossed the border and flooded the Indian states of Tripura, Assam and Bengal. Not only was our economy affected but so was the demographic balance. Attempts at reconciliation, negotiations, and international pressures of diplomacy were repeatedly tried but came to nought. By October 1971, war seemed inevitable.

    In 1965, much of the usable strength of the Indian Army had been tied down by bellicose Chinese mutterings of intent. It was realized then, that in any future conflict with Pakistan, the Chinese angle had to be neutralized. In 1971, therefore, as the war clouds between India and Pakistan built up, India realized that, should a war situation in the East become unavoidable, a defensive front had to be maintained against China in the north. The weather could also be made an ally if the operations were planned for winter, when the high Himalayan passes between India and China become snow-bound. Combat formations could then be selectively withdrawn from the north for operations elsewhere. This was case North.




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    Case East

    In October 1971, when war with Pakistan seemed inevitable, a choice had to be made on how to use the strategic infantry reserve formations. The mountain divisions committed to counter-insurgency in the north-east of the country became natural choices to reinforce reserve formations for the Eastern theatre. Two other divisions held centrally had now to be allocated to either the Eastern or the Western theatres.

    Pakistan had frequently reiterated that the defence of East Pakistan (separated by 1,600 kilometres of Indian territory) lay in the West - any gains by the Indian Army in the East would be offset by purposeful gains by Pakistan in the West, after which negotiations would restore the status quo. As a sensible and pragmatic strategy this could not be faulted.

    But the missing element in this strategy in the current state of affairs, was that the people of East Pakistan no longer wanted the status quo to be re-established. On this fact alone, as in 1965, Pakistan once more stood defeated.


    The Indian Army merely provided the coup de grace to what the people of Bangladesh had commenced-active resistance to the Pakistani Government and its Armed Forces on their soil.

    The Indian Army, therefore, allocated its strategic reserves in infantry to the East with a proviso that a swift campaign was to be mounted after (or even during) which formations would commence a shift to the West, if necessary. The political aim was restricted to the return of a vast refugee population of East Bengalis then residing in India.

    The strategy that was aimed at, and achieved, was principally one of applying the full weight of force against East Pakistan while conducting a holding operation in the West through an offensive-defence strategy. Concurrently, the Chinese were to be immobilized through diplomacy and choice of timing of the operation. That this strategy succeeded speaks volumes for India's political leadership headed by the late Mrs Indira Gandhi, its military leadership headed by General (later Field Marshal) SHFJ Manekshaw and the backing of the Indian masses.

    On 3 December 1971, Pakistan taking the initiative struck at airfields both in the East and the West. While the IAF carried out retaliatory air strikes in the West, and shot the Pakistan Air Force (PAP) out of the skies in


    the first 72 hours in Army mounted a multi-corps, multi-pronged attack on East Pakistan. Isolated by distance, with no hope of reinforcements from the home forces due to an effective Indian naval maritime blockade of East Pakistani ports, and no air support the results were a foregone conclusion!

    The Pakistan Army in the East fought isolated, incoherent battles of survival. Their hope, the only one, of great-power intervention (and that even physically) miscarried. The Chinese moves in the North were brushed aside by the Indian leadership. A task force from the US Seventh Fleet, having sailed into the southern reaches of the Bay of Bengal, quietly moved out to the South Arabian Sea, once surrender of the Pakistani forces under General AAK Niazi seemed inevitable. View video

    The Indian Army's biggest impediment were the many rivers it had to cross to achieve its objectives. River lines were generally well defended. Crossings were effected in captured country craft, ferries, tugs and improvised contraptions. In the dash to Dacca (now Dhakay, 4 Corps lead formations crossed the river Meghna in helicopters. Infantry attacks were designed to present an all-pervading threat in terms of direction and isolation of Pakistani formations holding strong point and nodal point defences. At the tactical level, Pakistani battle groups, and in some cases, formations gave a good account of themselves. The younger lot of officers and men proved to be worthy foes. The higher level leadership was suspect. Case East, and indeed the complete grand strategy behind the operations in 1971, is an example of a political objective obtained by military projection of power. There was no doubt of India's mature and inspiring leadership at the political and military levels. The field forces conducted 'lightning campaigns' which brought in spectacular results with minimum effort. Many of the lessons of 1965, learnt within the fog of modern combat uncertainties, were put to good use.
     
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  11. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Case West

    In the 1971 War, for the firsttime, the Western front was given secondary priority. India's strategy in the West was to conduct a holding operation, with limited offensives on this front. Common wisdom dictated this. In reality, India's overall strategic posture still remained defensive and to that end the West retained its overwhelming strategic priority in the scheme of things.

    This time round Pakistan's outlook towards Kashmir was glazed. Being 'disputed' territory its bargaining value was appreciated as being nowhere near that of Indian territory captured, say, in Jammu, the Punjab or in Rajasthan. As events proved, however, Kashmir was not left out of Pakistan's offensive plans. Pakistan planned four offensive actions across India's north-western borders over a 1,000 kilometre front. Of these, three were launched and one was aborted. Taken together, these did form a pattern of sorts.

    The northernmost attack in division strength came on Punch in Kashmir. Another divisional thrust came in once again at Chhamb, a repeat of its operational plan of 1965. The main offensive to be launched by its 1 Armoured Division supported

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    by 7 Infantry Division was held poised in the middle sector opposite Fazilka-Ganganagar. The southernmost was possibly a spoiling attack, mounted by a brigade group, aimed at Ramgarh in Rajasthan. Unannounced but not unheeded, remained the question of its Northern Reserve strike combination - 6 Armoured and 17 Infantry Divisions.

    Pakistan's relative inaction can perhaps be ascribed to command ambivalence to conserve strength over time -a fallout of their 1965 experience - and to gauge the true Indian intention with regard to the Indian Army's military objectives in the Pakistani heartland.

    It lost an opportunity in mid-October when India's sole uncommitted reserve grouping ( 1 Armoured and 14 Infantry Divisions) had not been allowed 'provocative forward concentration' in the hope that a last-minute worldwide diplomatic effort would allow for a situation to develop in East Pakistan in which the refugee masses could go back in safety and honour.

    Pakistan's overall offensive design has been subjected to great debate - as to which attacks were spoiling in nature, and which diversionary. There was no doubt about the main effort.Indian offensive operational plans were designed to give tactical viability to its main defensive effort.

    General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command's responsibilities were vast. He was responsible for a front extending from Ladakh through Kashmir, Jammu, Punjab and finally ending in Rajasthan from where Southern Command took over operational control. It was a frontage of Approximately 1,600 kilometers, consisting of high-altitude terrain,hills and forests, obstacle-ridden plains and semi-desert and desert areas.

    Intense tactical-level battles developed in Chhamb (once again), in Fazilka, and, in the closing stages of the war, on the approaches to Zafarwal. West of Shakargarh, the Indian 1 Corps had gone into a slow deliberate advance, with a view to keep Pakistani reserve formations on the edge of indecision.

    On balance, both armies evened out in tactical honours. The Chhamb attack succeeded in forcing a hard-fought withdrawal of the forward Indian brigade group. In turn, an infantry brigade bridgehead on the Basantar river reinforced by 17 (Poona) Horse, ably assisted by 4 [Hodsons] Horse, brought Pakistan's 8 (Independent) Armoured Brigade to a virtual standstill when it counter-attacked in dire straits.

    The very large mobile reserve formations on both sides waited for a decisive move by the opponent. By 13 December everything became somewhat academic as the Indian 2 Corps and the bulk of 50 (Independent) Parachute Brigade shifted their main weight from the east to the west and took over operational responsibility south of the Sutlej in the Punjab.

    In Southern Command's zone of operations, one divisional advance was 'spoilt! by a Pakistani brigade group (two Armoured Regiments in action), mentioned earlier. The second divisional thrust 250 kilometres further south made headway against desultory opposition till brought up short by reinforcements rushed into the sector, while it was facing considerable logistic difficulties.The great depth of the Thar desert once again imposed its timeless friction.

    In the wake of the Indo-Pak War of 1971, the Indian Army emerged as a force to reckon with. Before that, it was perceived at a level lower than 'dissuasive', especially after 1962. It used to be thought, that it had mass but not a velocity component; that it was turgid and ponderous. It took a swift decisive campaign of movement over unfavourable terrain to bring home to people who watch these things, that the Army had arrived as a first class deterrent conventional combined-arms force.
     
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  12. A.V.

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    awards

    GALLANTRY has always commanded respect and recognition. In primitive societies the leadership of the clan or tribe fell upon the most brave. The origin of the state saw the brave elevated to kingship. Indra, the most distinguished of the brave among the Indo-Aryans, became the King and the Commander.

    The evolution of regular armies, however, demanded elaboration of the system of honours and award. In the Vedic Age this was done by granting a share to soldiers in the booty.




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    EPIC Age

    In the Epic Age, more emphasis came to be laid upon heavenly rewards. This development can possibly be related to the philosophical and religious learnings of the age which was reflected in the attitude of the people. In the Mahabharata, the merit of dying as a martyr in the cause of Dharma is all along appreciated as the easiest way to heaven. In fact, any kind of death on the battlefield was considered glorious. "They that die slaughtered by chance go to the world of gods and kings; they that die with the thought. I will die' join the angels' they that hold out against all odds, these go to the home of Brahma; while even those that have begged from mercy, if they still die with their faces to the foe, go to the Guhyaka world; moreover, those that die anyhow on the field of battle, even if killed by accident, go to the Kurus of the North after death." The epic concept of war is fully endorsed in the later military annals of India.

    This concept, reiterated in literature, later found expression in the institution of Virakals, i.e. memorials to the gallants, widely witnessed in southern India. That such memorials had come into vogue about the 2nd century is indicated in the Sangam literature. When a gallant soldier fell fighting, his compatriots usually marked the spot by raising there a stone bearing the name and fame of the fallen hero.

    The Arthasastra of Kautilya gives an elaborate account of the gallantry awards. It even specifies the awards for various gallant acts. "A hundred thousand (panas) for slaying the king (the enemy); fifty thousands for slaying the commander-in-chief or the heir-apparent; ten thousand for slaying the chief of the infantry; twenty for bringing a head; and twice the pay in addition to whatever is seized."







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    Medieval Period

    GRANTS of titles, fiefs, robe of honour, cash awards and the privilege to use ceremonial music were often made to honour the the gallant in medieval India as well.

    The Sultans of Delhi honoured their distinguished nobles with the title of Khan. The lesser nobles were granted the titles of Malik or Amir. Persons of merit were appointed to high offices with titles of honour, Nobles were also bestowed with other dignities which were designated as 'Maratib'. It signified the privilege to use dresses, sword, dagger, horses and elephants, ensigns and musical instruments of a superior type. Fiefs known as Aqta were also granted in recognition of meritorious service.




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    Modern India (British period)

    The history of present-day Indian medals is traceable to the days of Company rule in India. The Honorable East India Company not only brought in British customs on medals but also introduced some new concept. To illustrate the point, it made departure from the general British custom of restricting the grant of medals officers by making all ranks eligible to them. Some early institutions of company included the Deccan Medal for service during 1778-84, the Mysore Medal (1791-92), and the Seringapatanam Medal (1799).

    About the middle of the 19th century the custom of rewarding individual acts of extraordinary gallantry came into vogue in Britain. The Victoria Cross, the most coveted of all decorations, was institute in 1856 to honour the gallant acts of British soldiery in the Crimean War.




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    Independent India

    British rule over India came to an end on 14 August 1947 and with it also ended the old institution of British honours and awards. The new Indian awards could come into being only with the dawn of the Republic on 26 January 1950.

    But on the basis of proposals already by early May 1948, the new awards, known as Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra, were finally selected in June 1948.

    Thus on becoming a Republic, decorations and medals were introduced to honour the deeds of gallantry and valor by members of Indian defence force. Gradually, with the passage of time the range of awards kept on expanding. A complete break with the past was, however, not possible because members of the Indian armed forces still held British honours and awards thus substituted the British decorations and medals, which could no longer be granted to Indians. A perusal of the British and Indian awards will show that the Param Vir Chakra to the Victoria Cross, the Maha Vir Chakra to the Indian Order of Merit and the Vir Chakra is equivalent to the Military Cross. The other group of awards i.e. the Ashoka Chakra series, meant for gallantry other than in the face of the enemy, was probably meant to replace the George Cross, Albert Medal and George Medal.
     
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  13. A.V.

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    The first batch of decorations introduced on 26 January 1950 was thus made effective with retrospective effect from 15 August 1947. The Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra series became important institutions of this batch.

    The second installment came in March 1953 in the form of the Meritorious Service Medal and Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Territorial Army Decoration and territorial Army Medal. Then followed the highest award of the land-the Bharat Ratna-and Padma series in 1954. On 26 January 1960, some more medals were instituted and these included the Vishisht Seva Medal (in the classes), Sainya Seva Medal, Videsh Seva Medal and Sena, Nao Sena and Vayu Sena Medals.

    As a result of the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965, the Raksha Medal, Samar Seva Star and some others were introduced. Then came the 1971 war and it led to the institution of the Sangram Medal, Poorvi Star and Paschimi Star.

    For the purpose of classification, Indian honours and awards can be divided into two categories :

    (a) Gallantry awards.
    (b) Non-gallantry awards.

    The gallantry awards are again divisible into tow categories:

    (a) Those for gallantry in the face of the enemy.
    (b) Those for gallantry other than in the face of the enemy.

    The first category of the gallantry awards comprises :

    1. Param Vir Chakra
    2. Maha Vir Chakra
    3. Vir Chakra
    4. Sena, Nao Sena and Vayu Sena Medal
    5. Mention in Dispatches
    6. Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card

    The second category of the gallantry awards comprise the following :

    1. Ashoka Chakra *
    2. Kirti Chakra *
    3. Shaurya Chakra *
    * These were originally named Ashoka Chakra Class I, Class II, Class III

    Among non-gallantry awards, the following can be mentioned :

    1. Bharat Ratna
    2. Padma Vibhushan
    3. Padma Bhushan
    4. Param Vishisht Seva Medal
    5. Padma Shri
    6. Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal
    7. Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
    8. Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
    9. Yudh Seva Medal
    10. Vishisht Seva Medal
    11. 30 Years Long Seva Medal
    12. 20 Years Long Service Medal
    13. 9 Years Long Service Medal
    14. Meritorious Service Medal
    15. Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
    16. General Service Medal - 1947
    17. Samar Seva Medal
    18. Sainya Seva Medal
    19. Videsh Seva Medal
    20. Commendation Card
    21. Raksha Medal
    22. Poorvi Star
    23. Paschimi Star
    24. Sangram Medal
    25. Wound Medal
    26. 25th Independence Anniversary Medal

    Attached to a colorful ribbon, a medal, short of the symbol or motif it bears, is a piece of metal. Due thought seems to have been given to this aspect when the gallantry awards were instituted. The superb choice of Vajra (thunderbolt) to serve as the motif for the Param Vir Chakra amply proves this. Great mythology surrounds this mysterious weapon of Vedic origin. It was the Amogha Astra (unfailing weapon) used by Indra to kill vitra, the demon of drought, to release lifegiving waters for the benefit of mankind. In Puranic literature it is said that this Vajra was made out the the Asthis (bones) of Dadhici, a sage of high attainments, for the benefit of the word.

    The choice of star as a symbol for the Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra as also for Vishisht Seva Medal series is again meaningful. The star, a heavenly body known for its firm, steady and fixed position, symbolically denotes everlasting glory. In Indian mythology, Dhruva, the son of King Uttanapada and Queen Suniti, was given a place in northern horizon by Lord Vishnu in appreciation of his firm determination and supreme effort. The polar star is therefore, called Dhruva Tara in Indian mythology.

    Another widely used motif on Indian medals is the Ashoka Chakra. This is a twenty-four-spoked wheel occurring on the National Flag and the Ashoka Chakra series of medals. This wheel generally symbolised a sense of activity and forward movement. In 4th century BC, the Buddhists adopted this symbol in the service of religion, calling it the Dharma Chakra. The preaching of the gospel by Lord Buddha was denoted with the Chakra (wheel) symbol and the act was called Dharma Chakra Parvartana.

    The Ashokan Lions form the obverse or the reverse device in most of the medals. This motif when represented along with the motto 'Satyameva Jayate' represents the National Emblem. Three lions facing the four directions are again Buddhist in significance. They symbolise the universal application of the Dharma comprehending all the four directions i.e. east, west, north and south. In respect of medals, the symbol represents service of a very high order.

    Ribbons are integral to the scheme of medals and decorations. In fact, ribbons when worn on the chest by a soldier adequately convey stories of heroism associated with him. It is notable that all ribbons are intended to convey some motif or symbol by means of colours.

    A ribbon, generally speaking, is a combination of meaningful colour imprinted on silk, Saffron, green, blue, red and white are the most commonly used colours in the Indian ribbons. Of these red stands for courage and bravery, saffron for self-effacement and dedicated service; green for growth and auspiciousness; white for glory and purity and blue for devotion and sacrifice. Occasionally red symbolises the Indian Army, dark blue the Indian Navy and sky blue the Indian Air Force. Stripes on ribbons generally denote the class of the award. The ribbons are worn by the awardees on their left breast in a specified sequence, the position and priority being the centre of the chest.

    In India there also exists the custom of granting 'Battle Honours','Theatre Honours', and 'Honour titles' to various Army units for distinguished performance on the battlefield. In India, the practice came into vogue in the nineteenth century. The recipient regiments display a selected number of battle honours on their colours, standards and kettle drums. These emblazoned battle honours present an epitome of the history of the regiment.




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