The saga of 3 Jat at Dograi
At 11pm on September 21, 1965, the 523 men of 3 Jat, led by their CO, Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Hayde (he had already been awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his inspiring leadership on the first day of the offensive) rose, turned their faces towards their objective, Dograi, and never looked back. Mandeep Singh Bajwa writes.punjab Updated: Sep 22, 2013 10:07 IST
At 11pm on September 21, 1965, the 523 men of 3 Jat, led by their CO, Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Hayde (he had already been awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his inspiring leadership on the first day of the offensive) rose, turned their faces towards their objective, Dograi, and never looked back. The will to win was overwhelming. Establishing a firm base north of the township, they moved to the forming-up place, organised into assault formations and launched their attack at precisely 2am preceded by a thunderous artillery bombardment. Immediately they came under murderous fire from their right flank. Subedar Pale Ram led Charlie Company into their famous charge and took the enemy position.
3 Jat were now on their objective, a large village some 1,000 by 800 metres bristling with pillboxes and defended by the Pakistani 16th Punjab (Pathan) and elements of other battalions supported by tanks of 23 Cavalry and the usual good artillery cover. Hayde had planned for each of his companies to take and hold a corner of Dograi. Now they swarmed into the village. The battle disintegrated into a series of individual and small group encounters. Each house had to be entered into and the enemy winkled out. Stiff resistance was encountered. Many individual acts of great valour were performed by the Jats before ultimately emerging victorious.
At 4:30am, a company of 3 Baluch counter-attacked from the south which was beaten off. Next, the strong enemy position still holding out between Dograi and our own frontline was overwhelmed by a most dashing cavalry charge by Major Jagtar Sangha and his Scinde Horse squadron. 1 Baluch made a strong counter-attack from the north supported by two squadrons of tanks. The Jats repulsed it with great losses. Before the ceasefire the next day, the battalion had to endure two more attacks during the night. 3 Jat lost 63 men, the enemy losses being much higher. It was a saga of guts, grit, valour and determined leadership - a classic infantry battle.
Today is a day to remember Tyagi, Thapa, Arjun Ram, Hari Singh, Net Ram, Randhir Singh and all those for whom Dograi became their final resting place.
Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2013
Twenty-eight specially selected and trained soldiers from that fine battalion, 7 Sikh Light Infantry, a team from the Special Forces and two observers participated in several joint exercises with the Mongolian Army in that country. Codenamed 'Nomadic Elephant 2013', these exercises were held at the Special Forces Training Centre at Khujir Bulan from June 10 to 24. Ninth in a series, the drills focused on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in mountains and forested areas with a view to enhance inter-operability between the Mongolian and Indian armies during peacekeeping operations.
Accept OROP demand
What prevents the government from a final acceptance and due implementation of the remaining provisions of the veterans' demand for One Rank One Pension? Procrastination on this very just, fair demand is not in the best interests of the country. The government cannot hide behind the fig leaves of the past. Cutting through what are commonly perceived as bureaucratic stumbling blocks, there must be a stiffening of political will to give to ex-servicemen what is after all only their due. Well-wishers of the armed forces appeal to our political masters to act and act fast.
First Published: Sep 22, 2013 10:04 IST