Sitrep | A commander who led from the front | punjab$regional takes | Hindustan Times
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Sitrep | A commander who led from the front

Melville de Mellow in his famous broadcast on the Chhamb battle described him as ‘A Sikh officer with enough josh (spirit) to set the (River) Tawi on fire’. Jasbir Pal Singh Randhawa was commanding 8 Jammu and Kashmir Militia (now Light Infantry) tasked with defending the hilly areas on the right flank of the Chhamb sector in December 1971. On the night of the 3rd, the enemy’s 2 POK Battalion and Zhob Militia attacked Picquet 707 held by Randhawa’s Alfa Company after an intense artillery bombardment.

punjab Updated: Mar 26, 2017 10:10 IST
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Brigadier Jasbir Pal Singh Randhawa (extreme right) as a young captain in the fifties posted as ADC to the GOC, 25 Division at Rajauri.
Brigadier Jasbir Pal Singh Randhawa (extreme right) as a young captain in the fifties posted as ADC to the GOC, 25 Division at Rajauri.(CREDIT: COLONEL PS RANDHAWA)

Melville de Mellow in his famous broadcast on the Chhamb battle described him as ‘A Sikh officer with enough josh (spirit) to set the (River) Tawi on fire’. Jasbir Pal Singh Randhawa was commanding 8 Jammu and Kashmir Militia (now Light Infantry) tasked with defending the hilly areas on the right flank of the Chhamb sector in December 1971. On the night of the 3rd, the enemy’s 2 POK Battalion and Zhob Militia attacked Picquet 707 held by Randhawa’s Alfa Company after an intense artillery bombardment.

The Militia were beaten off but the POK wrested a foothold in the forward trenches. At one time, the situation was so desperate that the company commander called for Red over Red (artillery fire on one’s own position). Randhawa seized the initiative, reached the defended locality with his commando platoon and personally led the counter-attack which cleared the enemy from the post. Probes launched against all three company localities the next day were also beaten back. Two infiltration attempts on December 5 by 6 POK Battalion were detected and repulsed.

Again, on the night of the 6th/7th, very heavy artillery fire preceded a major attack by 2 AK Battalion on Charlie Company holding the Laleali feature. Emboldened by the successful beating back of successive enemy assaults and inspired by their live-wire commanding officer’s example, the men took a heavy toll on the enemy while repelling them. Delta Company holding Dewa fell back to the depth locality the next day, but not before inflicting heavy casualties. Randhawa was awarded the Vir Chakra with his battalion n being awarded battle honours for both Picquet 707 and Laleali.

Randhawa belonged to the Isapur military family and was a direct descendant of Baba Buddha, a venerated figure in Sikhism. Commissioned in 5/8 Gorkha Rifles, he retired as a Brigadier. A charismatic commander, the age factor prevented him from advancing to what would’ve been his true level. RIP.

GENERAL RK ANAND

General Rakesh Anand, a Signals officer, recently took over as commander of Dakshin Bharat Area. An MTech from IIT, Delhi, in his last appointment as ADG, Signals Staff, he implemented the project for complete online documentation for JCOs and ORs and e-learning and online examinations as part of the Army’s ongoing thrust towards complete computerisation. Headquartered in Chennai, Dakshin Bharat Area supervises the largest military region of the country comprising most of the peninsular India.

AIR MARSHAL AMIT TIWARI

The new Commandant of the Air Force Academy, Dundigal is Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, a 1982-commissioned fighter pilot. The Air Marshal’s flying experience encompasses 3,500 hours including flying on Ajeet (Gnat) interceptors and Mig-27 variable-geometry ground-attack aircraft.

He has been the team leader of the Suryakirans, the formation aerobatics team of the IAF. Tiwari has also served as the country’s Air Attaché in Afghanistan.

MILITARY TRANSPORT HERITAGE PARK

Envisaged as an acknowledgment of the vital role and yeoman service provided by the mechanical warriors of the Army’s transport fleet, a Military Transport Heritage Park has been inaugurated at the ASC Centre and College, Bengaluru.

At the moment, all kinds of vehicles operated by the Army and more specifically the ASC since Independence have been showcased in the park. A welcome move, the Army is showing greater interest in preserving its legacy.