First Patiala (now 15 Punjab Patiala) regiment, the 310-year-old veteran battalion, commemorated the famous battle of Zojila on Saturday in the presence of war veterans who graced the occasion at Ferozepur.
During the 1947-48 Indo-Pak conflict, First Patiala, under the then Commanding Officer Lt Col Sukhdev Singh, was inducted into the state of Jammu & Kashmir where it heroically fought successive battles in Chhamb, Naushera and Jhangar.
On May 11, 1948, the unit was flown from Jammu to Srinagar to secure the 11,000-feet-high Zojila Pass over which ran the strategic highway linking Srinagar to Leh.
The Sikh troops took on the challenge despite lack of proper equipment and training in high-altitude warfare and gave tough competition to the raiders.
Due to weather, rugged terrain and heavy snow, 7 Cavalary could not advance beyond Machoi defile and the air force also could not support the operation due to poor visibility.
The unstoppable 'Mobile Patialas' as they were called, took on the challenge and launched another attack on the enemy at Machoi.
Naib Subedar Lal Singh, who had captured the enemies with his platoon, maintained his position on the captured area despite being hit several times. He later earned the Maha Vir Chakra for his role in the battle.
Such stories of valour earned the battalion a Maha Vir Chakra, awarded to porter Mohammad Ismail, and 18 Vir Chakras. Patiala forces not only evicted the Pakistani army from the pass but also cleared the looming threat to the valley. Further, it continued its advance up to Kargil and linked up with Indian troops arriving from Leh, thus saving Ladakh.