Thursday, 25 July 2013

THE STORY OF KARGIL WAR: PART 7

BALWAN SINGH

                          Balwan Singh Panghal was born in Sasrauli village in Jhajjar District of Haryana.
                           Lt. Balwan Singh, an alumnus of Sainik School Kunjpura, was commissioned from the OTA on 06 March 1999 into 18 Grenediers. The Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) was awarded to him for his acts of bravery in Kargil war.

                            Lieutenant Balwan Singh and his Ghataks were tasked to assault Tiger Hill Top on 03 July 1999 as part of multi-pronged attack from the North East direction.
                           The route to the objective was untrodden, interspersed with pointed rocks and thick snow at a height of 16,500 feet. The officer executed his task with courage and determination.
                           The team led and exhorted by him moved over twelve hours under intense artillery shelling to reach the designated spur. This move took the enemy totally by surprise as his team used cliff assault mountaineering equipment to reach the Tiger Hill Top stealthily.
                         On seeing the Ghataks, the enemy reacted in panic with intense automatic fire causing serious injury to the officer and his team.
                        He refused to be evacuated and unmindful of his injury and grave condition, moved swiftly to encircle the intruders. His adversaries had no choice but to flee from the fury of accurate fire of the Ghataks.
                        The officer’s unparalleled courage under enemy fire and determination led to capturing Tiger Hill, the most important objective of our troops in Operation Vijay.
                         LOC Kargil by JP Dutta is based on the same story, Akshay Khanna played him in the film. Dutta met with Balwan for the details of the encounter in Mumbai.
                         Two years after the historic triumph, Balwan Singh married Yamuna, the daughter of an advocate in Jhajjar.

PADMAPANI ACHARYA

                         Major Padmapani Acharya MVC was an officer in the Indian army. He was awarded the Indian military honour, Maha Vir Chakra for his actions during the Kargil War on 28th Jun 1999.

KARGIL WAR:

                           On 28 June 1999, in the battalion attack on the Tololing feature by the 2nd Rajputana Rifles, Major Padmapani Acharya as a Company Commander, was assigned the formidable task of capturing an enemy position which was heavily fortified and strongly held with mine fields and sweeping machine gun and artillery fire. Success of the battalion and brigade operation hinged on the early capture of this position. However the company attack almost faltered at the very beginning, when the enemy's artillery fire came down squarely on the leading platoon, inflicting large numbers of casualties. With utter disregard to his personal safety, Major Padmapani Acharya took the reserve platoon and led it through raining artillery shells.
                      Even as his men were falling to enemy fire, he continued to encourage his men and charged at the enemy with the reserve platoon up the steep rock face. Unmindful of the hail of bullets from the enemy's bunker, Major Padmapani Acharya crawled up to the bunker and lobbed grenades. Severely injured and unable to move, he ordered his men to leave him and charge at the enemy while he continued to fire. The bunker was finally over-run and the objective was captured.
                      After completion of the mission, Major Acharya succumbed to his injuries. A few days before the capture of Tololing Top, Major Acharya wrote a letter to his father in which he added a quote from the Bhagvad Gita which stated, hato va prapsyasi svargam jitva va bhoksyase mahim tasmad uttistha kaunteya yuddhaya krta niscayah [Bg. 2.37]
                       "Die, and you will win heaven; conquer, and you enjoy sovereignty of the earth; therefore, stand up, Arjuna, determined to fight." For conspicuous gallantry and supreme sacrifice, Major Padmapani Acharya was honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously.
                        Maj. Acharya was originally from Orissa and was a resident of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

SANJAY KUMAR

                            Rifleman Sanjay Kumar , PVC of 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, is a recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military award. He was the leading Scout of a team tasked to capturing Area Flat Top on July 4, 1999 during the Kargil war. The area was held by Pakistan military. Having scaled the cliff, the team was pinned down by machine gun fire from an enemy bunker, about 150 meters away.
                              Kumar, realizing the magnitude of the problem and the detrimental effect this bunker would have in the capture of Area Flat Top, crawled alone up the ledge, along a flank, and charged towards the enemy bunker through a hail of automatic fire. Almost instantly he took two bullets in his chest and forearm that left him bleeding profusely.
                              Though bleeding from the bullet wounds, he continued the charge towards the bunker. In hand-to-hand fighting, he killed three enemy soldiers. He then picked up an enemy machine gun and crept towards the second enemy bunker. The enemy soldiers, taken completely by surprise, were killed by him as they fled their post. Inspired by his act the rest of the platoon charged, assaulted the feature and captured Area Flat Top.

JERRY PREM RAJ

                                    Captain Jerry Prem Raj, VrC, was a commissioned officer in the Indian Army during the Kargil War. He was the officer in charge of India's fight at Tiger Hill (Point 5140) on 9 July 1999, during which he was severely injured. He died later the same day. Because of his effort in the battle, he was declared a war hero. His body was cremated in his native Thiruvananthapuram. He was awarded the Vir Chakra, the third highest military honor of India that is awarded posthumously.

PERSONAL LIFE AND CAREER:

                                  Capt Jerry Prem Raj was born in Venganoor, near the famous tourist place Kovalam in Trivandrum District of Kerala State. His father is Mr Retna Raj (who worked in the Department of Technical Education, Kerala) and his mother is Mrs Chella Thayee (who worked in the Health Department of the government of Kerala). His brother is Rejinald Pavithran, a retired officer of the Indian Air force.
                                Raj was commissioned into the 158 Med Medium Regiment (SP) on 5 September 1997. He was a sincere and upright officer with an eye for detail and a pleasant disposition.

KARGIL WAR:

                                  He answered the call of duty and rejoined the unit in Operation Vijay under operation Rakshak after voluntarily cutting short his honeymoon. On the night of 6/7 July 1999, he was the Forward Observation Post Officer with two Naga during its assault on Twin Bumps in area Point 4875 (Gun Hill) in Dras Sector. During the assault, while directing the artillery fire onto the enemy positions with devastating effect, he was wounded by enemy sniper fire.
                             Undeterred, he continued his mission amidst heavy enemy fire, when he was yet again hit by a volley of enemy machine gun fire. Gravely injured, he refused to be evacuated and continued to direct accurate artillery fire onto the enemy till he succumbed to his injuries. His spontaneous action resulted in inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and in the capture of the objective by assaulting infantry. The exceptional display of raw courage and steely resolve in the face of insurmountable odds earned Captain Jerry the award of a "Vir Chakra" posthumously.

SONAM WANGCHUK

                                  Colonel Sonam Wangchuk, Maha Vir Chakra is an Indian Army officer, serving with the Ladakh Scouts regiment. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India's second highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, for his actions during the Kargil War.

EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION:

                                    Colonel Wangchuk is a native of Khakshal, in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. He was educated at New Delhi's Modern School Barakhamba Road, and took a bachelor's degree in history from Hindu College, University of Delhi.

MILITARY CAREER:

                                  IC-45952M Colonel Songam Wangchuk attended the Officers Training Academy, Chennai and was commissioned into the 4th Battalion, The Assam Regiment. He was later deputed to the Indus Wing of the Ladakh Scouts regiment. Whereas he had initially joined the army as a Short Service officer, intending to remain for only 5 years, he later opted for a permanent commission, and became a regular list officer of the service. In 1999, at the outbreak of the Kargil War, then Major Wangchuk led an operation against Pakistani troops on Chorbat La Top, for which he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra.

MAHA VIR CHAKRA CITATION:

                          Sonam Wangchuk's Maha Vir Chakra citation reads:
                       Mahavir Chakra (MVC) Awardee: Lt Col Sonam Wangchuk, MVC
Gazette Notification: 17 Pres/2000,15.8.99 Operation: Vijay - Kargil Date of Award: 1999

CITATION:

                           On 30 May 1999, Major Sonam Wangchuk was leading a column of The Indus Wing, Ladakh Scouts as a part of ongoing operations in Op VIJAY in the Batalik Sector. The column was tasked to occupy Ridge Line on the Line of Control in a glaciated area at a height of about 5,500 metres. This was essential so as to pre-empt its occupation by the enemy and any subsequent infiltration.

                            While moving towards the Line of Control, the enemy ambushed the column by firing from a vantage position. In the process, one NCO of The Ladakh Scouts was killed. Major Sonam Wangchuk held his column together and in a daring counter ambush, led a raid on the enemy position from a flank, killing two enemy soldiers. The officer also recovered one heavy machine gun and one Universal machine gun, ammunition, controlled stores and three dead bodies of the enemy personnel.

                             Thereafter, the officer took stock of all forces along the Chorbatla axis in the Batalik Sector and cleared the axis up to the Line of Control of all enemy intrusions at great risk to his life.

                              Major Sonam Wangchuk displayed exceptional bravery and gallantry of the highest order in the presence of enemy fire and in extreme climatic conditions in the glaciated area.


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