Battle of Rezang La: When handful Indian soldiers annihilated Chinese


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Sep 22, 2012
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The Epic Battle Of Rezang La Where 120 Indian Brave Hearts Killed 1836 Chinese Soldiers In The Last Stand

In the winter of 1962, invading Chinese troops made a bold statement when they decided to venture and capture deep Indian Territory at the height of the Sino-Indian war. With every passing hour, the Chinese aggression on the Indian side was increasing in intensity and something needed to be done to at least put a temporary end to the Chinese advances across the Indian territory. And this is when they decided to attack and capture Rezang La in Ladakh.

Rezang La pass is located at around 16000 feet near Chushul. Commonly also known as Ahir Dham because of the local inhabitants’ Ahirs, the pass was one of the most critical nerves held by the Indian army in Ladakh, one whose cessation to the Chinese would mean total surrender by the Indian army. In that context, when the Chinese troops attacked Rezang La, not only did they attack a major Indian post but also struck a heavy blow on the Indian Army ego.

The Charlie Company of the 13th Kumaon regiments was led by the legendary Major Shaitan Singh Bhati. Stationed at Rezang La with 120 men under him, Shaitan Singh took the bull by its horn and decided to hold ground against hordes of Chinese attacking under heavy artillery fire from the Chinese side. The Indian side, however, couldn’t hope for a defending artillery fire as it was situated behind a hill feature thus leaving the 120 brave men to fend for themselves.

The first attack from the Chinese came from the Nullah, a dry river bed, and was successfully thwarted by the Charlie Company with the help of the machine gun. The Chinese didn’t expect such strong retaliation from the Indian side and regrouped to launch a second attack which almost eclipsed the first one by a ratio of 3:1. This too was well defended by the boys of the Charlie Company.

But Shaitan Singh knew that he couldn’t sustain it for too long because the next Chinese attack would overwhelm his brave men even if they stood their ground in case of a total rout. He moved from one post to another to motivate his squad and asked for their ultimate sacrifice in the name of their motherland. And they did.

On that day, 114 of the 120 odd jawans lost their lives in service to the nation. There have been many estimates as to how many Chinese men were killed which range from 500-2000. When the bodies of the Indian men were fetched, many of them were still holding onto a bomb. A medical help was found with a syringe and bandage in his hands. This meant that the attack was on from the Indian side when many of the posts were overrun by the Chinese, meaning the Indian men didn’t leave their posts till they were physically confronted by the enemy and still died on the field with bombs in their hands.

General K.S Thimayya, one of the most recognized soldiers of the Kumaon regiment who served as the Army chief once said this about the battle of Rezang La: “You rarely come across such example in the annals of world military history when braving such heavy odds, the men fought till the last bullet and the last man. Certainly the Battle of Rezang La is such a shining example."

Major Shaitan Singh, who died motivating his company, became only the second winner of the Param Vir Chakra which was awarded to him posthumously. Other fighters who were awarded the Veer Chakras included Naik Hukum Chand (posthumous), Naik Gulab Singh Yadav, Lance Naik Ram Singh (posthumous), Subedar Ram Kumar and Subedar Ram Chander. In the end, Shaitan Singh and his men proved that no matter what the odds, some battles are just worth dying for.


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Sep 22, 2012
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6 Reasons Why Major Shaitan Singh Was A Remarkable Badass.

In India, where every mother prepares her son to serve the motherland heroically, Major Shaitan Singh does outshine others. Awarded with highest wartime valor, medal Param Vir Chakra, Major Shaitan Singh is and always be remembered as one of the most courageous sons of Mother India.

Born on December 1, 1924 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Singh inherited his father’s gallantry and bravery. The soldier-son from the lands of Maharajas served the Indian Army as a Major of the 13th Battalion the Kumaon Regiment and bravely led the troop during the 1962 Indo-China War.

Let’s turn around a few more pages, and take a look at the reasons why Major Shaitan Singh was a remarkable Badass-

6. Directed the 13th Battalion the Kumaon Regiment, the Oldest Regiment in India
The brave Rajput warrior from Rajasthan was commissioned in the Kumaon Regiment on 1st August 1949 and it was his valiant personality that made him the Major of the Battalion for the 1962 Indo-China War. With a serving period of nearly two hundred years, Kumaon Regiment is one of the oldest regiments of India. Know for their services to the Nizams of Hyderabad, the Battalion has glorious past records; Major Shaitan Singh is among legendry warrior names of the battalion that went on to make the nation proud with their gallantry.

5. Major Shaitan Singh Battled in the World’s Toughest Combat Zones in Rezang La
It was the Indo-China conflict of 1962 when Major Shaitan Singh led the 13thKumaon regiment to the Chushal Sector of the battlefield at Rezang La. Considered as the toughest combat zones in world, Rezang La is situated at a height of 5000 meters above sea level where mere breathing thing can develop as a big challenge. The sector served as central location for the battle and because of an all weather landing strip, the area was protected by three army troops. Among them was the brave Major Shaitan Singh who moved from one troop to another ignoring the intense firing and shelling from the Chinese army.

Also Read: 6 Classic Examples Of Sikh Bravery At The Battlefront

4. Major Shaitan Singh’s Strong Show against the Chinese Troops
The morning of 18th November 1962 witnessed one of the most blood-spattering conflicts as the Chinese Army trapped the Indian troops in their preplanned areas. However, the daring troops led by the gallantry Major Shaitan Singh declined to surrender and preferred advancing against the rain of rifles, light machine guns, grenades and mortars. Being attacked from both the ends by Chinese army, Major directed the troops to fight like brave soldiers of India and slaughter the enemies like demons. With his classy directions and encouragements, the Indian troops outnumbered the flowing Chinese army and stood out the severe bombardment for hours.

3. Major Fearlessly Served the Nation To The Last Breath –
“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”, is a beautiful phrase that personifies the courageous leadership of Major Shaitan Singh rightly. Standing tall and brave, Major led the troops marvelously and neglected his personal safety so that the regiment stood strong against the Chinese attack. However, in his moves from one troop to another, Major got seriously wounded by the Chinese spinners, but he didn’t stop until he could barely move a creep. Major was then evacuated to safety by two of his companions, but the Chinese noticed the aid and showered bullets from machine gun on them. Sensing the danger from the gun fires, major ordered the comrades to leave him and fight out there for their lives.

2. He Dreamt to Die Serving the Nation And He Did So
Die serving the mother land – a dream that every cadet dreams. Sahid, is what the Indians call the brave soldiers who serve their lives to protect their motherland from enemies and Major Shaitan Singh was one of them. Similar to every soldier in Indian Army, Major too dreamt about serving his nation until his very last breath. When the comrades safely positioned wounded Major behind a boulder on the slopes of a hill, he breathed his last with weapons in his hands and made his dream a joyful reality.

Also Read: Top 10 Reasons Why India Lost the 1962 War against China

1. Honored with highest wartime valor medal Param Vir Chakra
Among the 109 Kumaoni shahids, Major Shaitan Singh’s body was recovered from the same place his fellowmen had positioned him. The body was then cremated with full military honors in his home town Jodhpur. Major was later awarded with the highest wartime gallantry medal Param Vir Chakra for his exceptional leadership and patriotism. The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him narrators how Major commanded the regiment in an isolated sector at a height of about 17,000 feet against the heavy attacks from the enemy. However, major showed his dominance and moved at great personal risk and sustaining the morale of his hard-pressed platoon posts. Even when Major Shaitan Singh fell disabled, it was his leadership and commendable devotion that inspired the troop to fight almost to the last man.



Senior Member
Sep 22, 2012
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Heroes of the lost war: Veterans of the 1962 conflict tell their own stories

The 48 brigade was in Ambala, training for an operational role in Punjab when in October, maybe 22nd or 23rd, we were ordered to proceed with two battalions to Tezpur.

We reached in about 2-3 days on October 26 and reported to the Corps HQ and were asked to proceed to Bomdi La with whatever transport we could lay our hands on.

At Bomdi La, 1st Madras was already in position and the rest of the area devoid of troops.

Indian troops being inspected before leaving their posts in the Ladakh border region during the war between India and China, 1962-63

So after a recce, I deployed the 1 Sikh LI on the left flack with their 4 companies and retained the 5 Guards in a depth position.

Battalion parties went to prepare camps for company localities.

The troops arrived and moved into the areas, all moving on foot and carrying a rifle and just 50 rounds of 1st line ammunition.

We had no heavy stuff like 3" mortars, no digging tools, barbed wire, mines, or even machetes to clear the jungle.

Three days later, on orders of the Div HQ, I sent one of my four companies of 1 Sikh LI to guard the road to Bhutan and 1 Madras was asked to provide one company to the Div HQ in Dirang Dzong and the Guards were told to move one company to Poshing La (to the north) and marry up with an Assam Rifles unit posted there.

Gurbux Singh Age: 94 Then rank: Brigadier Saw action in: Bomdi La

So the brigade has just 9 companies left for a defence area that required 16. I asked for another battalion (4 companies), this was accepted, but only in principle.

Two or three days later on November 12, the first movement of the Chinese on the Poshing La was seen, so I was ordered to send all of 5 Guards.

I remonstrated and said there will be no Brigade depth position left, I was told that Bomdi La had no tactical importance as envisaged then.

But before it could reach, the Chinese struck and the Guards and Assam Rifles were overwhelmed at Poshing La, and when the bulk of the Guards reached Thembang in the evening of November 16, they came under attack the following day and within hours, ran out of ammunition and requested to withdraw, I permitted them to do so.

I was left with 6 companies and to top it all, that night I was told to send two companies with the two light tanks I had to Dirang Dzong to connect up with the Div HQ.

The Corps Commander (Kaul) came on the line and told me to move the forces regardless of the consequences.

As anticipated, the column was attacked as it left Bomdi La and the tanks were set on fire. Now I had three companies left in a place that required 16 companies to defend.

The Chinese occupied all the hills on top of Bomdi La and we at the Brigade HQ began coming under fire on November 18. Next day on November 19 about noon, having lost all heights and contacts with any of the battalions and the Div HQ. IGAVE orders to withdraw from Bomdi La.

On the way down, I met the 3 Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry and I told them to turn back and take up positions in the next set of heights at Rupa where I reached at about 10 pm.

Then I heard that some forces had been left behind at Bomdi La, so I went back there and found them sitting there without taking up defensive positions, and I told them to withdraw.

Late at night, the Chinese attacked the Rupa positions and after a short fight, we had to again withdraw, this time to Chaku.

By that time no control was left over the troops and they were more like stragglers moving down to the foothills.

The war saw a failure of military and political leadership of the country.

Our intelligence, too, was not very good... In any case I don't see why we are opening these old wounds. Why are we wallowing in our defeat. It was a bad show, we should forget it and move on.

Balwant Singh Bisht Age: 78 Then rank: Naik (was a PoW in China) Saw action in: Tawang

Balwant Singh Bisht, who lives in the remote Ghesh village of Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, has only one desire these days - to meet his army friend Govind Singh, who lives in a neighbouring village, and reminisce about the 1962 Indo-China war.

Both Bisht and Govind had been prisoners of war (PoW) in 1962.

Naik Balwant Bisht was with the 4th Garhwal Rifles at the time and his Alpha company was stationed in North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and they were posted near Tawang.

On November 17, 1962 the Chinese army launched a massive attack on their positions guarding the Se La pass.

The Garhwalis fought back resolutely, but soon, their ammunition stock had exhausted and they were asked to withdraw.

Thereafter, confused orders led to a collapse of the Indian positions in Se La.

Bisht and four other soldiers lost their way on their return journey. They survived on soft leaves and berries at the time. When they were crossing a snow-covered area on day eight, they were caught by the Chinese army, which took them to Lhasa.

'We were kept in four camps. Though the Chinese provided us a lot of freedom, efforts were made to brainwash the PoW and turn them against India,' Bisht recalled.

'Literature and a map about McMahon Line were distributed to the prisoners. It was compulsory for the PoW to attend the discussion and tell a Chinese officer about the gist of their talk,' he added.

They used to slam Tibetan spiritual guru Dalai Lama and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

'They used to repeat regularly, 'Dalai Lama crossed Indian border with 35 mules, which were carrying boxful of jewels. These jewels were presented by the Tibetan Guru to the Indian PM',' Bisht said.

After receiving no information about his whereabouts for four months, the Bisht family in Ghesh even tried to conduct his last rites.

'My family abandoned the idea on the request of the village priest. Few weeks later, they got my letter and it's an unforgettable day for my family. When I arrived at my village in June-July 1963, I got a rousing welcome. The days I spent in China will never fade away from my memory,' Bisht added.

Maam Chand Age: 72 Then rank: Sepoy (later Hawaldar) Saw action in: Rezang La, Ladakh

DATE: November 18, 1962. Location: Rezang La pass in Ladakh's Chushul valley on the India-China border. Height: around 18,000 feet. Time: around 3 am. Temperature: around 30°C below freezing point.

Major Shaitan Singh is holding the position.

'The intermittent heavy cross firing had been going on since midnight. Tea was prepared. I approached Company Commander Singh, wondering whether he would like to have a tumbler of tea.

'Some time earlier, the first frontal attack by the Chinese was foiled only because Singh was alert. He deserved some tea.

'Holding his Browning machine gun, Major Singh replied: 'Bas thodi si (make it small),' recalled a teary-eyed Hawaldar Maam Chand - then a 22-year-old jawan.

Hardly a few minutes went by when the Chinese renewed their attack on Chushul with the overwhelming fire power of artillery and heavy mortars. The major threat of the Chinese was directed towards Rezang La because of its tactical importance.

'The fight continued till around 8 am. I sustained a shell-splinter injury in the chin while the enemy's bullet could pierce only through the thick coat I was wearing. Most of the troops were riddled with bullets and splinters,' Maam Chand recalled, adding that Major saab took machine gun bullets in his stomach.

'He was not ready to give up and continued to lead us.

'But not for long, his injuries overpowered him. He fell down. Carrying our 303 rifles, we brought him down into the nullah and rested him on a rock. His last words were: 'Leave me here. Regroup with another company to launch counter attack.''

Out of the 112, only 14 men survived. Maam Chand accompanied by four other comrades managed to escape and tell the story of the bravery and sacrifice. Major Shaitan Singh was awarded Param Vir Chakra posthumously and his body found frozen where we left it in February 1963.

Amar Singh Khattri Age: 76 Then rank: 2nd Lieutenant (later Lt-Col) Saw action in:Walong, Arunachal Pradesh

It was November 12, 1962. With about two platoons of the 6th Kumaon Regiment and one wireless operator, Second Lieutenant Amar Singh Khattri went on a patrol to Tri-junction near Walong.

'We reached Tri-junction around 5 pm and, to our surprise, found Chinese soldiers there and informed our company commander,' Khattri said, recalling the day.

The Chinese launched an attack around 3 am on Nov. 14. Another group launched a simultaneous attack on the Indian camp in Walong.

The ill-equipped patrol party repulsed the first Chinese attack and the second charge followed soon but that too, failed.

After receiving a wireless message from Khattri on November 13, the C and D companies were dispatched for Tri-junction the same night.

The reinforcements arrived by 8 am on November 14 morning. The arrival of Company Commander B.N. Singh boosted the morale of the soldiers.

Within two hours of the arrival of the reinforcements, the Chinese made another attack at Tri-junction. But this time the intensity was high and Singh was injured and had to be evacuated.

Khattri assumed command. He kept the motivation of the Indian soldiers high. But in the last part of the war, he too sustained serious injury on his right leg and had to be evacuated.

'The Indian positions were overrun and we had to withdraw by 10 am as they had captured Tri-junction,' Khattri said.

Three months after the battle, the Indian Army gave another assignment to Khattri for Walong.

The visit gave the officer an insight into the Chinese ground strategy.

'Besides using modern weapons, they had done detailed planning. They had made fox holes and had the inner and outer lines of defence. They operated in wave formation and never allowed it to break. One dead soldier was replaced by two,' Khattri recalled.

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Project Dharma

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Oct 4, 2016
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4 Sikh Li was also annihilated on the left shoulder of Se La. All the officers of the unit were lost except for one who went on to retire as Brig. Tiwari.

Brig Tiwari was a badass who passed away recently after surviving 1962 war, 1965 war, 1971 war, a heart attack and throat cancer. Unfortunately, the last heartattack got him. RIP sir. You live on in our memories.


After war, the officers were reinducted and the unit was fighting fit for 65 and 71 war with Pakistan.


Regular Member
Nov 15, 2016
battle of rezang la lead to 67 victory over china and annexation of sikkim in 75(ajit doval brain) and arunachal in 87

54 Years Ago, 120 Men Saved Ladakh From China. This Is The Story Of The Greatest Last Stand Ever At Rezang La!
NOVEMBER 18, 2016

India hasn’t lost a lot of wars – which is why 1962 India-China war is essential because it hardened the resolve for India to create an army like no other.

Despite the fact that India lost the war, it made us realise how important it was to modernise our army and weaponry. The only thing that stood out though was the bravado of the Indian soldier - who fought to his last breath without weapons or back up often with his bare hands like in the case of Rezang La.


The attack started at 03:30 in morning and soon Chushul got enveloped by heavy firing from Chinese. But the Indian soldier didn’t give up and kept retaliating with whatever means they had.

Major Shaitan Singh who was later awarded Parma Vir Chakra (PVR) for leading the company and showing valour beyond imagine always knew that they were fighting a lost battle. But he refused to surrender and led his men with unparalleled valour. The company was also awarded five Vir Chakras, and four Sena medals apart from the PVC awarded to the commander.

Honorary Captain Ramchander Yadav who was one of the six who battled with death and survived recalls that Chinese were ferocious in beginning. They kept attacking despite being repulsed twice. Soon the ammunition of Indian Soldiers finished and they decided to take the fight with bare hands.

Yadav recalls how Naik Ram Singh who was wrestler single-handedly killed many Chinese, he didn’t stop till he was shot in the head by the enemy. Yadav reached headquarters on November 19 and on 22 November was taken to an army hospital in Jammu.

Later in 1964, Bollywood came out with Haqeeqat which was loosely based on the battle of Rezang La. Although the movie correctly portrayed the valour of these 120 men, but it had many factual errors. The film’s song Kar Chale Hum Fida still wets our eyes every time we listen to it.

The Jawans came from the Ahirwal region of South Haryana’s Gurgaon, Rewari, Narnaul and Mahendragarh districts.

They fought till the last round and when ammunition forsook them, they fought with bare hands. At least the war memorial in Rewari and Gurgaon claim this, if not the Indian Army, as it bears the names of these 120 heroes of the country.

Yadav believes that he survived only to tell the story of 120 brave men who saved Ladakh from the Chinese. He's fulfilled his destiny in doing this, but it remains to be seen if we remember it and tell the future generations about it.

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