Blooding of Phor Thud Gorkha Rifles May 1965
This is a true account of the raid carried out by Lt. Nawang’s battalion in May 1965 across the Cease Fire line into enemy territory.
The below account has been provided by Lt P Gangte who was the support group commander. The picture have been provided by Sam Sharma.
Background from Sam’s Article “The Fourth Battalion, The Third Gorkha Rifles (4/3 GR) was holding a part of the Cease Fire Line (now Line of Control) in the Naoshera Sector of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in May 1965. At night the piquets could see the lights of the Mangla Dam on the Jhelum River in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).
From end 1964, the area had become very active; taking pot shots at each other was commonplace and enemy ambushes were frequent. After last light, tracer rounds from heavy automatics criss-crossed the Valley. The area was a veritable a cauldron of daily spats between the Pakistanis and the Indians. Raids were the order of the day and the general policy was that the raiding of an Indian post had to be replied by a counter raid in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.”
As we creepily neared the objective, my party which was supposed to be in an advance position to give covering fire to the main attacking party led by Sam, but was given away by some oaf with his torch light! And when my party approached the site selected by Maj Jayant Chanda, we were under terrific automatic fire, and as we scrambled, my torch light flipped out of my pouch with light on as if it was giving guidance to the night firing! Before I jumped and covered the damned thing and put it back where it belonged, I said to myself, “Ek din paida honewala do din nahin marte” and jumped!! I grabbed the LMG from the LMG 1 and started giving covering fire, and the bombardment that you have amassed of the 2″ motars did wonderful fire works for the night and Sam’s party.
Within minutes the whole thing seemed to be over, and as I gave last covering fire for the Johnnies I was left out in the cold! While I was wondering for the next move, I heard a voice, the sweetest of all voices I ever heard and I can never forget it all my life! ” Gangte where are you?” was the voice of my Commander, and the immediate response was, “Sir, I am OK, give me covering fire”.And what a terrifying covering fire it was! Phew.
As I rejoined Sam’s report of the missing Hav pricked us and particularly Sam and I. I remember how in the going on heat of the battle , we were begging Major Chanda to give us some time to go in and to find out the man. It was a damned difficult choice made and that too a brave one considering the risk of the safety of the whole company because of these two little mouses showing their guts when Maj Chanda gave green signal because of the hell-bent trust in them! I remember how much pressure both of us put on Maj Chanda begging for sometime that was reduced to 10 minutes!
As we slipped out of the company area I couldn’t walk and asked Sam time to pull out the thorn that got stuck in my left shoe. While I was removing the throne, Sam told me, “Thank you Paoche for the Book!” What a time to be thanked for! I had lended him a book called Men Against Fire by Gen SLA Marshall of the US Army.Yes, this book had helped me to behave as if I was a veteran in the battle field, and I know it made Sam too!
Before I could tie up my shoes Sam vanished and I was calling him in a hush voice but no answer and as I was approaching towards the bunker, he came back saying, “Paoche let’s get back and I got a rifle, our chap appeared done for!” I was thinking to myself and admiring how much of bravery this little one has knowing as I do how he used to go around clumsily earlier in my piquet while crossing into the Cease Fire Line, which we used to do whenever he came over to mine as a visiting IO! In one incident, the BMG across the Pakis nearly got us pinned down!
Before we went into action, the tough talking Adjt bade us farewell saying, “Hi chaps, I hope none of you come back!”- courtesy Wee Wee Worma! I guess he was disappointed in giving us the tightest embrace I ever had after we came back!