Desmond Hayde - Commander Extraordinary | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Desmond Hayde - Commander Extraordinary

punjab Updated: Oct 06, 2013 00:19 IST

Brigadier Desmond Hayde, Mahavir Chakra (MVC), has gone to the Great Parade Ground in the sky to be reunited with his comrades from 3 Jat, who fell in 1965.

It is worth recounting the inspiring leadership of this extraordinary commander and his methodical approach to battle. On the first day of the offensive, assigned another unit's task he made a characteristic bold dash to the BRB Canal with his battalion. By that time the enemy screen from 3 Baluch and elements of 11 Frontier Force (reconnaissance and support) had materialised in front of Dograi.

Swinging his battalion around he attacked from the flank and rear, clearing enemy resistance. Noting that his position on the canal bank was subject to domination by the Bata Shoe Factory across the canal he decided to probe forward and exploit 3 Jat's gains. He crossed the canal using the remnants of the blown-up bridge. Failure of his superiors to realise the situation and back him up forced Hayde to make a tactical withdrawal.

3 Jat withdrew from Dograi only on higher orders and not due to any failure on their part. Tasked to retake Dograi on the September 22nd, Hayde embarked upon a precise strategy to infuse confidence in his men, achieve dominance over the enemy and force them to close in.

This he accomplished through aggressive patrolling and simulated attacks. Jitter parties were sent out nightly to unnerve the Pakistanis. Patrols moved out in a constant stream unsettling the enemy. Information was steadily built up about enemy defences, locations and capabilities. Persistent feints masked the Indians' real intentions.

Young officers were blooded in leading these operations. Offensive actions warmed up 3 Jat and gave it moral ascendancy. Above all Hayde was everywhere providing a stirring example to his men. The result was that 3 Jat went into battle with supreme confidence.

Hayde has been buried at Bareilly close to the regimental centre of the Jats whom he loved so much. They will always remember him as a strong, fearless, meticulous leader whom they would gladly follow anywhere. A fitting tribute to this exceptional leader would be to institute a competition for unit commanders in his name.

Internal Security Groups

The army's deployments in internal security situations in the 80s and 90s were initially troubled because of a lack of information about the prevalent conditions. To remedy this in the mid-90s the army set up military intelligence units in each command to build-up information on the existing situation as regards internal security, emerging threats and key players.

These internal security groups work through detachments situated at strategic locations within their area of responsibility. While political inputs are inescapable in building up information on apparent dangers these units maintain the army's commitment to its apolitical nature.

Hail to the Chiefs

Old soldiers are famously said to just fade away. However, the eight former army chiefs in issuing a joint statement stressing the army's apolitical nature have done a great service to the services and the country. Their clarification on the funding of development projects undertaken by the Army vis-a-vis alleged pay-offs to politicians is most timely. For these retired generals to take such an extraordinary step shows the concern with which the current situation is viewed in quarters which have the best interests of the army at heart.

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