Indian Army History Thread

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby anupmisra » 18 Mar 2014 07:55

By Neville Maxwell

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby SSridhar » 18 Mar 2014 10:39

Earlier Bid to Make Henderson-Brooks Report Public was Blocked: Maxwell - Ananth Krishnan, The Hindu
The still-classified Henderson Brooks Report, a large section of which has been made public, does not include the second volume and annexures, which contain damning correspondence between army commands and Delhi. The mandate of the report itself was limited to an operational review, and not political decision-making.

The report details a comprehensive operational review of India’s military debacle in 1962.

The Indian government’s reluctance to declassify parts of the report even 50 years after the war has been criticised by many scholars, who say the move has prevented a transparent and comprehensive understanding of what led to the 1962 conflict, beyond the narrative of a “surprise betrayal” that was subsequently entrenched by the Nehru government, ignoring India's failures.

“Ultimately the buck stops always at the Prime Minister's office,” said Zorawar Daulet Singh, a scholar at King's College London who has written on the war and has read through the volume released by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell on his website.

He said the report revealed that the Army “could have put its foot down and prevented the execution of a militarily unsound policy”. He also said he did not believe the report in any way had “operational value” or endangered national security — the official reason for keeping the report classified — and pointed out most Western countries, including even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, declassified documents after a period of three or more decades.

The four chapters show there were many assessments from commanders on the ground to Delhi, which, if considered by the Nehru government, would have led to a revision of the Forward Policy and averted the catastrophic military debacle.

Mr. Maxwell said his attempts to make public the report had been blocked on a number of occasions, starting with an attempt to donate his copy to Oxford’s Bodleian library. He said he had also offered it to several Indian editors, who declined.

“Although surprised by this reaction, unusual in the age of WikiLeaks, I could not argue with their reasoning,” he said. “So my dilemma continued — although with the albatross hung, so to speak, on Indian necks as well as my own. As I see it now I have no option but, rather than leave the dilemma to my heirs, to put the Report on the internet myself.”

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Paul » 18 Mar 2014 10:45

I was expecting the Pakis to publish the Henderson report in retaliation for TOI publishing the Hamoodur Rehman report.

Why they never did that is beyond my comprehension.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Sid » 18 Mar 2014 11:25

Wasn't Neville Maxwell account of Indo-China war already in public? In all those chapters as well he clearly stated Nehru's role in India's defeat.

His view of India can be summarized in a short statement.. "India's self-delusion and aggressive posturing on the border" which forced China to take action.

Can someone please post the link where he published this classified report?

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Sanku » 18 Mar 2014 11:29

Classified 1962 India-China war report posted online, blocked

A classified Indian army report that analyses the causes of India's military defeat in the 1962 border war with China was blocked hours after it was posted on the internet.
A large section of the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report was recently posted by Australian journalist and author Neville Maxwell on his website .

Attempts to access his website appeared futile. The blockage set off Twitter speculation of the hidden hand of Indian government censors. The report is still highly classified and the Indian government has resisted making it public.

"Based on an internal study by the Indian Army, the contents (of the report) are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value,'' Defence Minister A.K. Antony told Lok Sabha in a written reply on April 2010.

Only two type-written copies of the report, prepared by two Indian army generals, Henderson Brooks and Prem Bhagat in 1963, are believed to exist.

One is the office of the defence secretary, the other in the Indian Army's Military Operations directorate, both located on the first floor of the South Block in New Delhi.

Maxwell's revelation admits to the possibility of a third copy of the report.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Sanku » 18 Mar 2014 11:30

Rakshak's in Ozzie-land. You know what to do.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Yogi_G » 18 Mar 2014 13:17

Coincides with pre-election time. Does anyone smell anything? Not that I am against the Nehru family being exposed and the INC pulverized.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby vaibhav.n » 18 Mar 2014 14:41

The report is already out and is available at the IDR Link.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Chandragupta » 18 Mar 2014 15:28

Why did the ABV government not release this report?

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Sanku » 18 Mar 2014 21:19

Read the report -- in one line - it calls Nehru all but murderer of Indian army men -- will try and add more views later.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby ramana » 18 Mar 2014 23:25

gandharva wrote:.....
Here is new and faster link ... ments2.pdf

Rohitvats, Please read and comment.

Thanks, ramana

PS: If only two copies of H-B report exist then which one is this!!!

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby rohitvats » 18 Mar 2014 23:40

^^^Will do so in some time. Year end closure pressure, you see!
Coming to the copy part, it has been long believed that a minister in GOI shared a copy with Neville; and the man true to his form, used the content thereof to paint negative picture of the situation proclaiming India as the aggressor. In fact, if you read up the Wikipedia entry on the man, you'll see that he fell into the category which considered India to be a basket case and as correspondent of a western daily in India, he sent reports akin to the drain inspector report category.

so, the slant in his narrative is not a surprise. what is surpr4is the details in the book which could only from an insider; his is not exactly a very well referenced book. and he was writing on a subject on which GOI would not cooperate openy.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby ramana » 18 Mar 2014 23:44

Thanks. I do know about Mawell's bias. What I want is a review of H-B report when you can. I am reading it too.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby chetak » 19 Mar 2014 00:36

Chandragupta wrote:Why did the ABV government not release this report?

Gentleman and brajesh patel were busy protecting the ranee and papu onlee

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby manjgu » 19 Mar 2014 04:38

if ABV didnt release the report, shame on him. I was disappointed with G Parthesarthy for being wishy washy abt the time of release of the report. Chinese must be having 100000000 copies of the report surely !! what happened prior to 1962 is happening right today in 2014 .

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Jagan » 19 Mar 2014 05:11

The Actual HB report is of multiple thickly bound volumes. What was leaked was the summary.

R D Pradhan writes about the physical description of the report in his book on Y B Chavan. Pradhan was one of the fews to 'handle' the report.. he had to deliver it to the president S radhakrishnan when he asserted his right to read it.

The other copy is supposedly locked and kept with the Army DMO

On a different note
kmkraoind wrote:Hope it is not posted here before. Its a 300-page, nearly 5 MB PDF file.


PDF Link

Thanks for that fantastic link. I had downloaded it a couple of days ago and its a great read.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby manjgu » 19 Mar 2014 07:08

Gen VP Malik said on the TV show that senior army officers regularly read the HB report.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby wig » 03 Apr 2014 09:19

A write up on General Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw , Indian Army. Today 03 April 2014 is the 100th Birth Anniversary of this distinguished soldier

The author of this article, Lt Gen Depinder Singh (Retd) was Military Assistant to Sam Manekshaw during his tenure as Chief of the Army Staff

TO Sam Manekshaw fame and power came naturally, the reward of a hugely successful career and the validation of great professional competence, impeccable personal character and indomitable courage. The admiration, affection and confidence he evoked were unparalleled in the history of our armed forces leadership. He was appointed Chief of Army Staff in May 1969 and his Special Order of the Day on assuming command was a model of brevity: "I have today taken over as Chief of the Army Staff. I expect everyone to do his duty."
Sam Manekshaw did not take kindly to ‘passengers’, saying, "Everyone is paid and everyone has to do his job 100 per cent.”
Sam Manekshaw did not take kindly to ‘passengers’, saying, "Everyone is paid and everyone has to do his job 100 per cent.”

The period up to March 1971 saw a rapidly increasing tempo. Commands would be grilled over their daily situation reports which he saw first thing every morning, directors and principal staff officers at Army Headquarters got to see his phenomenal memory when he would quote assurances given and not yet fulfilled, if he did not understand some subject or was dissatisfied with a draft, he would pick up the file and march at this customary 140 paces to the minute to the officer concerned who would get a shock seeing the Chief entering his office and sitting down opposite him to question and advise. The bureaucracy was cautioned that a case under the Chief's signature would bear notings by the Defence Secretary only. Concurrently, re-organisation and re-equipment of the Army was taken up. A massive construction programme was launched to overcome the huge deficiencies of accommodation. Orders were issued that allotted funds must be expended in full and in time, cautioning that the time honoured practice of saving allotted funds and then expecting a pat on the back would, instead, get a rap on the knuckles. A widely welcome change in the retirement age of personnel was that it would be by age replacing the existing ad-hoc tenure system wherein no one knew when the retirement axe would fall.

Three incidents

Three incidents from this hectic period deserve mention. One, while returning from Palam one evening he noticed that the exterior upkeep of Sardar Patel Officers Quarters was shoddy. The next morning the Quarter Master General and the Engineer-in-Chief were directed to visit the site and report back within two hours with a corrective plan. Two, while inspecting new construction coming up in Jaipur, he expressed annoyance over the lack of attention to detail. The accompanying garrison engineer (a Major) bore the brunt of his criticism but retained his cool and pointed out that plans emanated from Delhi and he was not empowered to make any changes. Some months after this visit, promotion board proceedings were put up to the Chief for approval. When the proceedings came out there was a remark in red ink against the same Major who had not been cleared by the board. "Clear him. He had guts to stand up to me," Sam remarked. Three, visiting a battalion of the Garhwal Rifles he asked the Commanding Officer what action was taken against a soldier who contacted a venereal disease. "We get this head shaved off," said the officer, who did not know where to look when the Chief retorted, "But Sweetie, he did not do it with this head." Busy as he was with this hectic schedule, he still found time to notice that the civilian staff of his secretariat warmed their lunch boxes on the stove. They get a hot box.

Sam enjoyed excellent rapport with the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Following the Kamraj Plan re-shuffle, she was a bit apprehensive of some senior ministers ganging up against her. Her solution: Get the Army Chief to visit her office, have a one to one meeting after which he would leave with everyone trying to guess what the two had discussed. In one such meeting she remarked that there were reports that he was planning a coup. With a smile he said, "You do your job and let me do mine.' While on the subject, another incident comes to mind. In an interview, Abu Abraham, the famous cartoonist, asked, "Can the Army stage a coup?" The answer was, "The question is grammatically incorrect. Can implies capability and of course the Army can, but it never will." Despite the rapport with the PM, Sam was constantly emphasising the need for correctness while dealing with civilians. "We serve, but we are not sycophants." This was highlighted in a dramatic manner one day. The Defence Secretary was chairing a meeting in the Ministry's conference room. It was a warm day and as the Secretary entered, he shouted at an officer sitting next to a closed window, "You there, open that window." Before the officer could react came another command, "Please sit." This was from the chief who had entered through another door. He then turned to the Secretary and said, "You will never address an officer of mine as 'you there'. A very useful lesson was learnt by all that day.

We come now to March 25, 1971, and his crowning achievement. That day the Pakistan Army cracked down in what was then East Pakistan. Later in the evening, the Prime Minister was briefed by the Chief. She heard him out in silence and then asked if we could do something to help. The Chief replied that he had not been allowed to recruit 'Badmashes' (crooks). if he had some of these, they could have been sent in. The PM gave her enigmatic smile and with a "Thank you," departed. During the next few days pressure mounted, demanding military intervention culminating in a meeting of the Cabinet where the Chief, also Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee by now, was invited. Every minister was for immediate military intervention and finally the PM asked the Chief for his views.

Advice to Indira Gandhi

Then followed a brilliant oration counseling delay citing valid reasons. The Army was widely dispersed overseeing elections in Assam and Bengal; it would take time to concentrate. The monsoon was due shortly and the flooded terrain would make movement very difficult for the attacker. The Himalayan passes were opening and Chinese intervention was a distinct possibility. Public opinion, both domestic and foreign needed to be moulded to understand and accept our concerns because otherwise, the world viewed the uprising as an internal affair of Pakistan. Addressing the ministers concerned, he pointed out that despite the services asking for more funds for modernisation and the urgency of making up glaring deficiencies and creation of infrastructure, the allotted funds fell far short of demand. Time was required to make up deficiencies by increasing domestic production and imports. He concluded with the words that immediate intervention would invite defeat. Given time, he could guarantee success. The PM, the statesman as she was, saw the merit in this argument, closed the meeting and directed the Chief to have his way. The next few months saw an incredible increase in activity where his leadership qualities came to the fore --guiding, checking, correcting and ever impatient with delay and indecisiveness. He selected his subordinates, discussed operational plans in detail and made certain every commander knew what resources he would have and what his job was.

He visited all formations and spoke to the officers and men, exhorting them to win as ours was a just cause. This was when two famous quotes were created -- "If anyone says he is not afraid, he is either a liar or is a Gorkha," and "There will be no molesting women. If the urge strikes, put your hands in your pockets and think of me." Infrastructure in Tripura was improved to permit opening another front. A critical decision whether to employ the Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters) along the border or in the hinterland was discussed. It was decided to adopt the former and when the war came, this resulted in Pakistani forces being widely dispersed.

On December 3, 1971, Pakistan attacked and the war was on. The Chief’s re-action, when news came in, was, "The moment we were looking forward to has arrived. Now let us get them." After some time he went home, changed and took a drive in his private car up to Palam, got back, changed again and was off to a party. That is confidence. A typical day during the war would be: Office at 8 am to peruse a synopsis of the preceding day’s events, a chat with the Director, Military Operations and then off to brief the PM. During the day the Defence Minister would be briefed followed by a meeting of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Here, after reviewing the past activities, plans would be fanalised for the next 24 hours. Then a call to all the Army Commanders with advice, encouragement and sometimes, a rebuke.

The strategic vision of Sam Manekshaw, the meticulous planning, full support of the PM and professionalism of the services ensured that except for a couple of inevitable hiccups, everything went according to plan. On December 16, 1971, Pakistan sought and was granted a ceasefire. Over 90,000 combatants surrendered making this, after Chandragupta Maurya's victory over Selecus in 303 BC, the next truly great Indian victory. The PM was keen that Sam proceed to Dacca to take the surrender. Gracious as ever, he declined stating that it was Lt Gen JS Aurora's victory and he should get the honour. This act will give the lie to the canard that the two did not get along.

The Simla Agreement unwittingly provided another feather in the over-laden cap of Sam Manekshaw. Though both countries agreed to vacate all territory occupied during the war, Pakistan refused to return a 14 square kilometer enclave, Thako Chak near Jammu. When all efforts failed the PM asked the Chief to proceed to Lahore and resolve the issue. The visit ended in a stalemate. After a few days the PM met the Chief and directed that he go again and, if need be, hand over Thako Chak to Pakistan. On his query why the Foreign Minister could not do this, he was told that handing over by a politician would be indefensible in Parliament. The same act by the Chief would be acceptable. This visit was a huge success as Pakistan agreed to vacate the enclave.

In April 1972 Sam was completing his age of superannuation and was keen to retire. The PM, on the other hand, was adamant that he continue. In one heated argument, she remarked that she was so angry she felt like slapping him. The reply that if she did, he would still love her, brought the temperature down. She had her way, however, and an announcement was made that Sam Manekshaw would continue to serve at the President's pleasure. Apart from the Padama Vibhushan he was awarded, the PM was keen to promote him to Field Marshal. The first effort in early 1972 was aborted by the bureaucracy by the simple expedient of citing avoidable inter-service friction. Towards the end of 1972 she had her way. He was promoted and she asked him to remain in Delhi after relinquishing office on January 15, 1973, as she wanted to appoint him as Member Defence in the Planning Commission with cabinet rank. This will answer the allegations that surfaced later that he was hankering for a job. However, before this could fructify, the politician-bureaucrat nexus spread the canard questioning his loyalty and Indianess. Hurt that the PM did not defend him in parliament, he quietly packed his bags and left for Coonor. The totally unfounded apprehension that his shining too bright and burning too hot would consign the politician to his shadow deprived the country of his continued services.

Professional competence

What can we learn from the man? The first quality we see is professional competence. He did not take kindly to 'passengers', saying, "Everyone is paid and everyone has to do his job 100 per cent." Before a meeting, he would insist on detailed briefings so that he was fully prepared. I once asked him about this and was told that, as Director, Military Operations, he had seen generals of the calibre of Thimayya being outwitted by bureaucrats who were better prepared. "No one is going to make a monkey out of me," he would say.

The next quality that stood out was character. Recall how he stood up to the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet for what he saw was correct. Isaiah Berlin, the philosopher once remarked that one should never underestimate the role of shame and humiliation in human affairs. A Court of Inquiry ordered against him in 1962 on frivolous grounds, with the more serious and devious motive of removing him from the scene to clear the path for the appointment of Lt Gen BM Kaul as Army Chief, saw 3-4 officers giving evidence against him. The inquiry eventually exonerated him. A normal man would have remembered and taken revenge when he was in a position to do so. Sam did not victimise or harass anyone. When someone who has been shamed and humiliated, refuses to inflict his pain and anguish on others, we witness moral greatness and the creation of an aura that endures. There is of course, much more -- Strategic vision, loyalty, trust and so. I cannot miss his bubbling sense of humour exemplified by the following incident.

What a man!

* In contrast to the scams and delays one hears about these days in acquiring new equipment, a simple expedient was resorted to. He would walk into a meeting of secretaries and announce, "Gentlemen, I have obtained the PM's approval to import/acquire so and so in so much quantity by so and so date. I now leave you to work out the details and I will check with you next week." There were no delays and no scams; perhaps there is a lesson in this somewhere!

* The PMO sent an anonymous complaint alleging nepotism in the Army, citing the appointment of Maj Gen Das as Director, Weapons and Equipment. No reply was called for, but he responded, saying, "The Oxford Dictionary defines nepotism as undue favourtism to relatives. Das is a high caste Hindu and I am an equally high caste Parsi. So there is no religious relationship. The General is 52 years of age whereas I am 58. Though I was always a precocious child, I could not have sired him. Therefore, there is no family relationship." There was no reply from the PMO

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby wig » 03 Apr 2014 10:11

a beautiful tribute to FM Sam Manekshaw on his birth centenary
April 3, 2014, will mark the birth centenary of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, one of India's greatest Generals.

And Ministry of Defence's Wing Commander Tarun Kumar Singha, chief public relations officer, Kolkata, recollects Sam's life after speaking to people who knew him. Times of India got access to his article authored from Kolkata, and it reads:

Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw remains one of the most enigmatic personas of our times.

Popularly known as Sam Bahadur, a name purportedly uttered by a Gorkha soldier after failing to recall his tongue-twister Parsi name, literally means - Sam, the fearless; and remains his most easily remembered name till date.

Sam cheated death on a few occasions, both in a battlefield and away from it. He, however, lived on to be nonagenarian. Sam wanted to be a doctor much like his military-doctor father but ended being a field marshal.

As a young Captain, while posted in Burma and fighting a war with the Japanese in 1942, he was critically wounded with as many as nine bullets lodged in his body. While battling for life, his valiant Sikh orderly Sepoy Sher Singh came to his rescue and saved him from certain death.

The valiant Sikh soldiers of his platoon had proclaimed: "Captain Manekshaw is the crown of our head and has to be rescued at any cost". Sam's orderly, Sher Singh, carried him on his back a good distance to the medical aid post where the army doctors were forced to treat him on priority.

Sam Manekshaw was decorated with a Military Cross (MC) for his exemplary courage during this period as it was feared he might die. MC, it may be known, was not awarded posthumously until 1979. Sam not only survived the ordeal but lived on to be 94. Sam would eventually leave all his admirers on June 27, 2008, peacefully in his sleep in his Conoor home - Stavka - in the Nilgiris hills, surrounded by family members and well-wishers.

Towards the latter years of his life, Sam Manekshaw, who otherwise enjoyed robust health despite his grave injuries early in life, needed medical help to overcome some respiratory problems that began surfacing.

That was when an army doctor, Colonel BNBM Prasad, a pulmonary specialist, who is now a senior General himself, was assigned to attend to the field marshal.

The two would eventually share a bond beyond the usual doctor-patient relationship that lasted till the end, and curiously enough even beyond his death.

Gen Prasad who was until recently Commandant, Eastern Command Hospital at Kolkata was with the field marshal until his passing away. He offers rare insight of the gritty Sam, the fearless, even moments before passing away.

Sam Manekshaw would often relate many tales from his life to his doctor as they spent considerable time together during recuperation. He often spoke fondly of his darling wife Silloo, who preceded him on February 13, 2001, after a brief illness. He would also speak of his doting daughters Sherry and Maja, son-in-laws Dinky Batliwala and Dhun Daruwalla, and grandchildren who also called him 'Sam' lovingly.

Above all, the field marshal's favourite talk would invariably revolve around his dear Gorkha soldiers who were more than just a family to him. Such was his endearment with them that the household and the pristine elegance at Stavka are preserved as Sam would have loved it by the trusted Gorkha families residing at his quarters.

Dr. Prasad easily reminisces 1971, the year when he was a student at Mysore Medical College as a period charged with patriotic fervor. India had defeated Pakistan decisively and a new country Bangladesh was created. Gen SHFJ Manekshaw, then Army Chief, was the toast of the nation.

"Many like me were motivated during our formative years to join the armed forces instead of seeking a lucrative career elsewhere," alluding to the enigmatic Sam Bahadur aura. "Though I joined army as a doctor in 1977, I got the first opportunity to see him in person and listen to him in early nineties during the passing out parade at Indian Military Academy in Dehradun when he was invited to address the young officers," states Prasad.

He would eventually be appointed personal physician to the field marshal.

It would, however, take Col Prasad a whole decade more before meeting up his all-time hero. The year was 2003, when the field marshal first visited Army Hospital (Research and Referral) in New Delhi for his respiratory ailment.

"What impressed me the most on my first personal meeting with him was his magnetic charm. He was a star attraction as he slowly walked in the corridors of the hospital. People in the vicinity used to look at him with bated breath and admire silently despite his age and ill health," recalls Gen Prasad.

"As a doctor serving in the Indian Armed forces for past three decades, I have come across all types of patients. Some of them are very demanding while some are very humble who readily follow my advice without any murmur. The field marshal was an exception."

A gritty fighter till the end.

A year later while staying in a Mumbai hotel, the field marshal developed acute chest infection due to exposure to chill from the air conditioner. He was air dashed to Delhi and was brought to Army Hospital (R&R).

"When I examined him on his arrival, I found him quite sick and weak, barely able to walk."

Despite his illness he politely declined to sit on a wheel chair and walked all the way to the radiology department for a chest x-ray. He was found to be suffering from a severe chest infection and required immediate hospitalization.

"As he was not inclined for an immediate hospitalization, I took the risk of treating him at his younger daughter's residence in Delhi after convincing hospital authorities to permit domiciliary care" recalls Gen Prasad.

To his doctor, Sam Manekshaw would recount his father Dr. Hormusji Manekshaw's concern for his health and of the letter his father wrote asking him to give up smoking and drinking with a stern warning "Son, if you drink and smoke any more you will be dead soon."

Sam joked: "Doctor, had I listened to my father and stopped drinking and smoking as I did initially while I was in the hospital, I would have died long time back." He would never let his illness come in the way of humouring all those who looked after him.

Both advancing age and weak lungs by now began to progressively decline his health. He wished to spend last part of his life in his favorite house - Stavka - in Connoor.

He was relatively at ease in his own surroundings amidst Gorkha orderlies, pets, garden and local people. Final days with his doctor

"The last time I saw him was on an emergency visit from Delhi at Military Hospital Wellington, Nilgiris following sudden deterioration of his condition on June 22, 2008."

This time I found a pale self of the ageing field marshal. He was gasping for breath and was bedridden and was barely able to open his eye lids.

"My long experience of dealing such cases, who have chronic lung disease complicated by a deadly broncho-pneumonia which the frail and 94-years old field marshal was suffering from, made me sound alarm bells and alert all concerned expecting an inevitable in next few hours," recalls Gen Prasad.

Given his condition, Dr. Prasad feared that their most illustrious patient would not possibly survive the next 24 hours. Killer pneumonia was getting the better of the gritty warrior.

Grandson Jehan and son-in-law Dhun Daruwala had lost hopes and were praying at his bedside for a miracle. His daughters, Sherry and Maja were on their way from Chennai and Delhi.

All were fervently praying and hoping he held on till their arrival. Defying odds as he did in the past, the wily field marshal held his own against the deadly infection for the next few days till his affectionate daughters were at his side before end came.

When his daughters came, he recognized them and spoke to them for the last time. He timed his death like his famous military operations at his will, and emerged triumphant in both - his life and in death.

Moments before the end, those present around him would witness an amazing happening.

Sam Manekshaw's younger daughter, Maja Daruwala, while trying to control her emotions, spoke about the life and times of her illustrious father to her near comatose father, acknowledging her love for him.

The moment she mentioned the name of her mother Silloo, he responded despite his state. The monitor which showed his oxygen saturation precipitously low and falling, suddenly shot up briefly while his breathing and pulse remained stable.

He passed away during wee hours peacefully on June 27, 2008, while his daughters held his hand and prayed.

He perhaps had the premonition of his death. He told an attending doctor few days before his death pointing at a skin rash on his forearm that he will be dead once the rash disappears. Sure enough the rash disappeared, and so did the iconic legend. Despite debilitating illness, the field marshal had once asked: "Doctor, why can't you have a scotch in my name? My sincere apologies that I just can't give you company for the reasons better known to you."

A week after he passed away, Col Prasad would have a surprise visitor. The field marshal's grandson, Jehan, dropped by his office in Delhi to deliver a small gift - a bottle of scotch under instructions from his grandfather with the following note: "Col Prasad, FM sent his apologies that he could not drink this with you..." ... 127066.cms

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby wig » 03 Jun 2014 21:09

Saga of grit, guts and valour at Gallipoli, There is no dearth of stories of bravery by the Sikhs in war but the guts and bravery shown by 14 Sikh (Ferozepur) during attack on Turkish well prepared trenches at Gallipoli on June 4, 1915, remains unique.
an article by Major General Kulwant Singh (retd)

In the year when we are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of World War I, we need to pay a tribute to valiant 14 Sikh sacrifice, which is the only one of its kind. Before the attack, the Battalion strength was I5 British officers and 574 men and after the attack, there were only three officers and 134 men left.

At the end of October, Turkey entered the war on the side of Germany. The Turkish Empire stretched from the Balkans in the North to Mesopotamia in the South. The Allied strategy was to push through the Gallipoli Peninsula, the narrow strip of sea that joins the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, which separates Asia from Europe. This way they would be able to link up with the Russians and strike a blow that could drive Turkey out of the war. This also met the requirement of Russians since it enabled them to open a diversionary front against Turks to relieve pressure on them.

Tough terrain

Gen Sir Ian Hamilton was to command the forces responsible for the new front. Gen Hamilton’s assessment was that their strength was inferior and the terrain also favoured the Turks, who were well dug in on dominating ground. 14 Sikh, part of 29 Indian Brigade, formed part of Hamilton’s expeditionary force.

Up to the end of May, the process of inching forward by night and digging in was continued, until the British front line lay about 200 yards from Turks. The Brigade covered a frontage of approximately 800 yards; Sikhs trench line lay astride the Gully Ravine. The task of Sikhs was to capture two Turkish trench lines called J-10 and J-11, both on dominating positions. The ground between the opposing forces was mined, strengthened with wire obstacles; the enemy had dug several small trenches and the possibility of crossfire of machine guns was not ruled out.

For plan and actual battle we go to the authentic account by Second-Lieutenant R.A Savory (who later retired as Lt Gen in 1947). “On June 3, we received orders for general assault all along the line next day. The orders were short and clear. At 11 am on June 4, all the guns were to bombard the enemy’s frontline trenches for 20 minutes. Then for 10 minutes they were to stop while the infantry were to cheer and wave their bayonets. The object of this was to persuade the enemy to man their parapets. Then the bombardment was to come down again. At noon we were to advance. It all sounded simple enough. The 14 Sikh were to attack astride the Gully Ravine. June 4 was a beautiful summer day. Our guns started registering at 8 am and even before the bombardment began, it must have been clear to the enemy that something was to happen. It was now 11.30 am and time for cheering to start; but the noise was so great that we could hardly hear it even in our trench. And then — twelve noon — blow the whistle — and we were away. From that moment I lost all control of the fighting. The roar of musketry drowned every other sound, except that of guns. To try to give an order was useless. The nearest man was only a yard or two away but I could not see him. Soon I found myself running alone, except for my little bugler, a young handsome boy, just out of his teens, who came paddling along behind me to act as a runner. Poor little chap.”

“At 12 o’clock the first wave of 14 Sikh dashed forward to attack along with other two battalions of the Indian Brigade. To attack during day on well-coordinated defences lacks explanation, except for over reliance on artillery fire which was suppose to neutralise the Turk defences.

“Unfortunately, the artillery fire had little effect on the enemy in his strong defences with overhead cover. That did not deter the Sikhs; they did what they are best at — charged at the Turks with their bayonets. Despite many of them wounded, they continued to fight till they dropped dead.

“During the first few minutes, I was knocked down, lying on the parapet with two Turks using my body as a rest. Over which to shoot at our second line coming forward. When I fully recovered consciousness, the Turks had gone. I looked around and saw my little bugler lying dead, brutally mutilated. I could see no one else, stumbled back as best as I could, my head was bleeding and I was dazed and then, Udai Singh, a great burly Sikh with a fair beard who was one of our battalion wrestlers, came out of the reserve trenches, picked me up, slung me over his shoulder, and brought me to safety; and all the time we were being shot at.”

In this battle, 14 Sikh lost 371 officers and men killed or wounded. Out of 15 British officers, only three were left unwounded. The next day, the Battalion was ordered to pull back due to excessive causalities. The situation was so acute that Second Lieutenant Savory was the only officer not seriously wounded; he took over the command of the battalion, when Commanding Officer Colonel Palin was moved out to command a brigade.

General Hamilton wrote to the Commander-in-Chief in India paying noble tribute to the heroism of soldiers of 14 Sikh: “In the highest sense of the word extreme gallantry has been shown by this fine battalion….In spite of the tremendous losses there was not a sign of wavering all day. Not an inch of ground was given up and not a single straggler came back. The ends of the enemy’s trenches were found to be blocked with the bodies of Sikhs and of the enemy who died fighting a close quarters, and the glacis slopes was thickly dotted with the bodies of these fine soldiers all lying on their faces as they fell in their steady advance on the enemy.”

Glowing tributes

Later in 1945 Martial India F. Yeats-Brown, paid glowing tributes to 14 Sikh — “The history of Sikhs affords many instances of their value as soldiers, but it may be safely asserted that nothing finer than the grim valour and steady discipline displayed by them on the June 4 has ever been done by soldiers of the Khalsa.Their devotion to duty and their splendid loyalty to their orders and to their leaders make a record their nation should look back upon with pride for many generations. Yet another passage from Yeats-Brown.... “Put them (Sikhs) in a hot corner, and they live up to their title of Singh, which means lion. In Mesopotamia in the last war, The Arabs called them Black Lions.” What inspired Sikhs to fight so doggedly and willingness to die at alien land for the British Empire? Whether it is Gallipoli or Saragarhi, when in the battlefield, Sikh soldiers follow the Gurus’ edict: “Sura So Pehchaniye, Jo Lare Din Ke Het; Purza Purza Kat Mare, Kabhun Na Chhade Khet.”

Profile in courage
•Sikhs (under the British Indian Army) fought alongside the Anzacs at Gallipoli
•At least 10 Sikhs fought for the Australian Imperial Force in World War I
•In World War I and II, 83,005 Sikhs were killed with 109,045 wounded fighting for the allied forces.
•Approximately 1 million Indian troops went to World War I (the largest volunteer army ever raised) with approximately a third of these being Sikh troops

Factfile Gallipoli
•In the Battle of Gallipoli, British Commonwealth and French troops struggled to take the peninsula between February 19, 1915 and January 9, 1916.
•The British were commanded by Gen Sir Ian Hamilton, Admiral Sir John de Robeck. There were 5 divisions, building to 16.
•The Turks were commanded by Lt Gen Otto Liman von Sanders and Mustafa Kemal Pasha. There were 6 divisions building to 16.

The aftermath of the campaign
•The Gallipoli Campaign cost the Allies 141,113 killed and wounded and the Turks 195,000. Gallipoli proved to be the Turks' greatest victory of the war.
•The campaign's failure led to the demotion of Winston Churchill and contributed to the collapse of Prime Minister H. H. Asquith's government. The fighting at Gallipoli proved a galvanising national experience for Australia and New Zealand, which had not previously fought in a major conflict.
•The anniversary of the landings, April 25, is celebrated as ANZAC Day and is both nations' most significant day of military remembrance.

Heroism in the face of death

In the Gallipoli campaign, the 14 Sikh regiment was virtually wiped out, losing 379 officers and men in one day’s fighting on June 4, 1915. Writing of the Third Battle of Krithia during the campaign, General Sir Ian Hamilton paid noble tribute to the heroism of all ranks of the 14 Sikhs.

During this battle, the 14 Sikh (as part of the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade), composed entirely of seasoned Sikh soldiers from the Punjab, launched repeated attacks, in the face of murderous machine gun fire, against the Turkish positions astride Gully Ravine. Held up by the barbed wire that was unaffected by the allied artillery bombardment, a section of men leapt the barbed wire and charged the Turks with their bayonets. However, human valour was unavailing against modern weapons of war, and on that day the battalion’s casualties amounted to 82 per cent of the men actually engaged in the battle. Only three British officers were left unwounded.

How the campaign began

British Commonwealth and French troops struggled to take the peninsula between Feb 19, 1915 & Jan 9, 1916.

Following the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill developed a plan for attacking the Dardanelles. Using ships of the Royal Navy, Churchill believed that the straits could be used for a direct assault on Constantinople.

Operations against the Dardanelles began on February 19, 1915, with British ships under Admiral Sir Sackville Carden bombarding Turkish defences with little effect.

A second attack on February 25 forced the Turks to fall back to their second line of defence. Entering the straits, British warships engaged the Turks again on March 1, however their minesweepers were prevented from clearing the channel due to heavy fire. Another attempt to remove the mines failed on March 13. With the failure of the naval campaign, it became clear to Allied leaders that a ground force was going to be needed to eliminate the Turkish artillery on the Gallipoli Peninsula which commanded the straits. This mission was delegated to General Sir Ian Hamilton and the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. This command included the newly formed Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), the 29th Division.

Beginning on December 7, troop levels were drawn down with those at Sulva Bay and Anzac Cove departing first. The last Allied forces departed Gallipoli on January 9, 1916, when the final troops embarked at Helles.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby gunjur » 10 Jun 2014 19:57

Hopefully the right thread.

Princely Mysore and WW I
The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, as Viceroy of India, signed a declaration of war by India, against Germany and Austria.

However, the move remained unpopular with Indians, who saw it as an additional burden during the period of political vacuum.

As observed by Jawaharlal Nehru, “The war was far-off and did not at first affect the life of Indians much, and though, (during the course of the war) there prevailed no love for Germany, this produced the desire among Indians to see their own rulers humbled.”

Within six months of the outbreak of the war, seven divisions of infantry, two divisions and two brigades of cavalry were sent overseas from India.

In addition to these, 20 batteries of artillery and 32 battalions of British infantry, 1000 strong and more, were sent to England.

In all, 80,000 British officers and troops and 2,10,000 Indians were sent to war.

Monetary help

What was more alarming was the monetary contribution made by Princely Mysore towards the war.

Nearly Rs 33 lakh from the State fund was made towards the war loan fund.

By the end of September 1917, the total contribution of Mysore towards the war, including the Civil and Military Station of Bangalore, stood at around Rs 75 lakh.

By the end of January 1918, the State alone had contributed close to Rs 60 lakh.

By October 1918, the offering made by the Maharaja was Rs 50 lakh.

And as much as 1 crore and 30 lakh was subscribed to the war fund under different categories like free gift, relief fund, war loan and treasury bills (Both British and Indian).

The process of recruitment of soldiers began soon after the commencement of the war. Though the process was simple, it was done on a war footing.

To recruit the soldiers, the princely state began printing and publishing the “Mysore Recruitment Bulletin” on a regular basis.

This publicity was carried out by the office of “Mysore Recruitment and Publicity Board”, located in Bangalore.

In his message, which was carried in one of the issues, the Maharaja said that it was the duty of all his subjects to help the war, to ensure victory to Great Britain and her allies.

He also observed: “With regard to pecuniary help, I have from time to time placed at the disposal of His Excellency, the Viceroy, a request to meet the cost of the war, all the money that I could spare from the revenues of the State; and my Government and my people have also subscribed a considerable sum to the first Indian war loan. We have now another opportunity to help by subscribing to the second loan, the terms of which have just been announced by the Government of India.”

“I have directed my Government to invest a sum of 30 lakh in this loan; and I have every confidence that my people will render substantial assistance to the Empire by generously subscribing to it and thus providing a practical proof of the spirit of loyalty, which has always animated them in the past.”

The chief patron of the Recruitment Committee was the Maharaja himself and the Dewan, its chairperson. Such committees were constituted in every district and taluk headquarter towns.

A person who was much respected and commanding was made chairperson at the taluk level.

To attract recruits, these committees announced bonanzas like salaries between Rs 10 and Rs 50 for new recruits.

They even offered lands, measuring anywhere between eight and 45 acres in case of wet land, and three and 20 acres in case of dry land, on the basis of the grade in the army.

Recruiting agents

In order to speed up recruitment, the Committee appointed agents, who, in turn, recruited soldiers.

Apart from perquisites, these agents were paid between Rs 5 and Rs 25 per soldier.

Along with the soldiers, cobblers, barbers, masons, cooks, blacksmiths, washermen and horseshoe makers were also recruited.

Their pay ranged between Rs 10 and Rs 50. These professionals were to serve in the army till the end of the war.

But out of these 1300 recruits, 403 were found physically unfit, and were asked to return to their homes.

As the war progressed, the agents also became more assertive and powerful. Some of them made huge profits.

One agent by the name Sayyid Ahmed, who was a pensioned sepoy, provided 112 recruits from March 30, 1918 to June 15, 1918, earning Rs 25 as commission per recruit.

Another agent, Budain Miyya, recruited 40 soldiers.

Those who were already serving in the army and at the same time, as agents, were offered the post of Jamadar for bringing in 100 recruits, Havaldar for 50 and Naik for 30 recruits.

They were also offered additional gifts after the termination of war, like a sword, a wrist watch (which cost at Rs 300 at the time) a rifle, or preferably, a double barrel gun.

From September 1, 1918 to October 5, 1918, 502 members were recruited from all districts. Among them, 36 were Christians, 83 Muslims, 12 Lingayats, seven Brahmins, five Rajputs, 36 Marathas, 13 Panchamas, 38 Vokkaliggas and the remaining 272 were from other Hindu castes and communities.

As the war reached its climax in Europe and Africa, the support from Princely Mysore also multiplied. Nearly Rs 97 lakh had been collected.

In his address delivered during the Dasara session of the Mysore Representative Assembly session of October 1919, the Dewan spoke at length about the contributions made by Mysore and its people under diverse interests.

He added that the total amount contributed or made available by the Government and the people of Mysore towards winning the war, amounted to about two crore.

As the war came to an end, the soldiers who had been enlisted from Mysore returned. Some of them were honoured with gallantry awards. Many, as promised earlier, were donated lands.

The conclusion of the war also saw the onset of the influenza epidemic, which took several tolls, not only in Bangalore but also in many mofussil and small towns.

The second significant impact of the war was the rise in the prices of essential commodities, particularly food items.

On July 18, 1919, Chamarajendra was born.

He later succeeded Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. In commemoration of the victory of Great Britain in the war, the word jaya (victory) was added as a prefix to his name.

Hence, he became Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, taking reins of the administration in 1940.
Incidentally, this was during the time of World War II.

So for supporting by means of men and money, we were gifted back with epidemics and price rise. Britishers were truly the civilizing force they were claiming themselves to be.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby ramana » 19 Jun 2014 00:27

The author is wrong. if the course he suggest were taken both J&K and Hyderabad would have been lost. But for Patel's decisive action Nizam would have been the ruler in South India. Delhi would have two daggers pointed at top and in middle.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby ShauryaT » 19 Jun 2014 06:19

ramana wrote:

The author is wrong. if the course he suggest were taken both J&K and Hyderabad would have been lost. But for Patel's decisive action Nizam would have been the ruler in South India. Delhi would have two daggers pointed at top and in middle.
The author has a point. It points to the scheming role the British Generals and politicians played, to help Pakistan retain PoK/NA primarily through misguiding our leadership and non-use/misuse of our forces. Read in light of the works of Mahendra Singh Sairila, who details similar games played for the J&K campaign, its questions seems a valid one. (in hindsight et al).

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby shiv » 19 Jun 2014 07:48

What I find odd about the article is that he blames Op Polo for failure to retake PoK. Up until now I thought PoK would have been retaken anyway if Nehru had not gone to the UN and ordered a cease fire.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby ShauryaT » 19 Jun 2014 11:53

shiv wrote:What I find odd about the article is that he blames Op Polo for failure to retake PoK. Up until now I thought PoK would have been retaken anyway if Nehru had not gone to the UN and ordered a cease fire.
The way I read it is he uses Op. Polo to demonstrate how the disbursement of assets at a crucial time period between Op. Duck, Polo and misdiagnosed threat assessments (deliberate or otherwise) in Rajputana, Kathiawar, Assam and Bengal led to the non-availability of enough fire and man power in the more strategic J&K area.

The perfidies of the then British embedded in our diplomatic, military and bureaucratic corps is something to be noted and the lasting effects at a strategic level of partition based on the Wavell plan and the further strengthening of Pakistan's strategic land borders with the "betrayal" of British officers in NA coupled with actions of the British in New Delhi should not be forgotten.

Operations in J&K could happen only in summer and armor could not move up beyond Zoji La until a road was built in August 1948. The summer of 1948 was a crucial time. In April, Pakistani regular forces had joined the war and they were on the offensive and even threatening Leh. By the time, Indian forces could recapture Dras/Kargil, strengthen Leh and clear the Indus, winter had set in. Our dear PM, on the advice of Mountbatten approached the UN, with a cease fire line. Only after this British mission of castrating Indian power was accomplished, did they hand over the reins to Gen. Cariappa in Jan 1949. Timing and lack of focus cost us dearly.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby harbans » 22 Jun 2014 02:30

Something most of us here knew, but this is from NYT ... world&_r=0

KOHIMA, India — Soldiers died by the dozens, by the hundreds and then by the thousands in a battle here 70 years ago. Two bloody weeks of fighting came down to just a few yards across an asphalt tennis court.

Night after night, Japanese troops charged across the court’s white lines, only to be killed by almost continuous firing from British and Indian machine guns. The Battle of Kohima and Imphal was the bloodiest of World War II in India, and it cost Japan much of its best army in Burma.

Now, as India loosens its security grip on this region and a fragile peace blossoms among the many combatants here, historians are hoping that this year’s anniversary reminds the world of one of the most extraordinary fights of the Second World War. The battle was voted last year as the winner of a contest by Britain’s National Army Museum, beating out Waterloo and D-Day as Britain’s greatest battle, though it was overshadowed at the time by the Normandy landings.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Ankit Desai » 27 Jun 2014 06:15

UK Honours First World War Indian Heroes

The VC is Britain's highest award for gallantry in the battlefield and the six Indians honoured include Risaldar Badlu Singh, Sepoy Chatta Singh, Naik Darwan Singh Negi, Rifleman Gabar Singh Negi, Lance-Daffadar Gobind Singh and Lance-Naik Lala.

"These extraordinary men were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for valour for their actions during the war. We shall honour them by engraving their names on bronze memorial plaques, to be presented to their home countries, sending out a powerful message that people of all backgrounds and faiths can unite in the name of a common cause,"
said Sayeeda Warsi, senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister, at a special unveiling ceremony in London.

She singled out Gobind Singh, who is recorded to have saved hundreds of lives in 1917 by offering to deliver messages back and forth in the midst of battle fire.


There are a total of 11 VCs that were awarded to soldiers from undivided India and of them three trace their origins to present day Pakistan and two to Nepal,"
explained Brigadier Sandeepan Handa, defence and military adviser of India in the UK.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Ankit Desai » 27 Jun 2014 06:23

The Rajput At Versailles - The Maharajah of Bikaner, consummate soldier and Peace Treaty signatory

On August 4, 1914, the British empire declared war on Ger­m­any. The young maharajah of this desert kingdom in Raj­asthan saw this as a glorious opportunity to emulate his ancestors, the Bika Rath­ores, of whom 17 out of 21 had led their own troops in warfare. He instantly sent a cable to the king-emperor, George V, that was couched in terms of medieval chivalry: “I have the great honour and privilege of having served Your Imperial Majesty as Aide-de-Camp longer than any other Indian Chief. I implore Your Imperial Majesty most ear­nestly, if the Empire is involved, to give me an opportunity for that personal military service which is the highest amb­ition of a Rathore Rajput Chief....I am ready to go anywhere in any capacity for the privilege of serving my Emperor.... This is the opportunity of a life-time....”

On the outbreak of the ww-ii in 1939, Ganga Singh, now a full general in the British Indian army, off­­ered to fight. When told that age stood in his way he replied: “No Rajput is too old to fight at the age of 60.” In 1941, he and his grandson, Karni Singh, went on active service to the Middle East. He returned within a year suffering from terminal cancer and died in February 1943, aged 62. He was a sta­tesman and ruler, but soldier to the last.


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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Rony » 17 Jul 2014 08:49

Apologies if posted before

Why Indians need their Anzac moment

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Rony » 24 Jul 2014 18:11

Ankit Desai
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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Ankit Desai » 28 Jul 2014 21:00

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Ajit.C » 11 Aug 2014 13:36

Japanese ate Indian PoWs, used them as live targets in WWII
From Times of India
NEW DELHI: On April 2, 1946, the Reuters correspondent in Melbourne, Australia, cabled a short message, which was carried by all newspapers a day later, including The Times of India. It read: "The Japanese Lieutenant Hisata Tomiyasu found guilty of the murder of 14 Indian soldiers and of cannibalism at Wewak (New Guinea) in 1944 has been sentenced to death by hanging, it is learned from Rabaul."

The nationalist narrative has long projected the Second World War as a clash between the patriots of the Indian National Army (INA), supported by the Japanese Empire, and the evil British Empire. The soldiers of the Indian Army who fought for the British are immediately dismissed as stooges of the Raj. But the refusal of many who were taken prisoner to renege on their oaths of loyalty in the face of extreme torture also showed remarkable bravery.

After the fall of Singapore on February 15, 1942, 40,000 men of the Indian Army became prisoners of war (PoWs). Some 30,000 of them joined the INA. But those who refused were destined for torture in the Japanese concentration camps. They were first sent to transit camps in Batavia (now Djakarta) and Surabaya from where they were packed off to New Guinea, New Britain, and Bougainvillea.

At the camps, they made no distinction between Indian officers and men. Officers would be slapped across the face or beaten up with sticks for the slightest error made by their men —error in this case being a tired soldier taking a moment's rest while on double fatigue duty, or a sick soldier failing to salute a Japanese officer. Very often, work parties of haggard men would be taken away from the camps to the shooting range where they would be used as live targets for new Japanese infantry recruits to improve their marksmanship. Soldiers who were not killed in the firing but wounded were bayoneted to death.

Indian Army PoWs made live targets for new Japanese infantry recruits

It was a never-ending horror for those who were shipped out to the Pacific islands. "On the ship that took them to the Admiralties, two thousand were herded below deck like cattle, were allowed on the hatchways only once a day..." The Times of India reported on May 16, 1944. On another ship, a certain Captain Pillay, an Army doctor, was told by the Japanese that "water and air was not for the prisoners". With "just two cups of water in 24 hours", the men were forced to drink the saline seawater. Many didn't survive the journey.

On November 14, 1945, Lieutenant C M Nigam of 2/17 Dogras, who was among the 1,300 rescued Indian PoWs brought to Bombay, told The Times of India how he and others had refused to join the INA and were "packed like sardines on a hell ship, the Matsui Maru", which took 56 days to reach Rabaul. "Conditions on board were really horrible. In an extremely narrow space, only one-eighth of the whole party were able to lie down and sleep, while the other seven eights had to stand. The food supply dwindled on the voyage. After the first ten days, we were given rice and salt and occasionally we were issued with seaweed for cooking purposes. This was quite uneatable," Lieutenant Nigam had said.

That TOI report went on to detail the privations of the Indian prisoners in the camps: "At Rabaul, their normal working day was from 10 to 12 hours, but on days when heavy bombing raids were put in by the Americans, they would work from 12 to 14 hours. Towards the end, their diet consisted of sweet potatoes and tapioca. It was only by stealing livestock and small quantities of rice that the men were able to exist. Men caught or even suspected of stealing food were shot."

The truth about the claim can be found in the proceedings of the Gozawa case (No. 235/813) of the Singapore war crimes trials conducted by the British. This was, in fact, the first case that was tried from January 21 to February 1, 1946 and had 10 accused, four of them officers of the Imperial Japanese Army. They were accused of ill-treatment of Indian PoWs on way to and at Bebelthuap Palau, causing death to many by imposing severe hardships and beatings, and also executing Sepoy Mohammed Shafi of the Indian Army by beheading for allegedly trying to escape; eight others were beaten to death for allegedly stealing sugar from the stores.

At Wewak in New Guinea too, Indian PoWs were treated worse than beasts of burden. They were made to work 12-14 hours and were left exposed to Allied air raids. The senior-most Japanese officer here was one Colonel Takano, who even flogged men sick with beri beri for "working slowly". The Indian officers of these so-called working parties demanded better conditions and fair treatment as PoWs under international law (Geneva Convention).

According to Australian historian Professor Peter Stanley, the Indian officers gave a written petition in English to Takano in July, 1943. The Japanese colonel was so angry to see it that he paraded all of them before him and told them that they had no rights as they had surrendered unconditionally. He also called them "traitors of Asia and India". Harsher conditions were imposed on the men.

Then in one Allied strafing raid, five Indian PoWs were killed and 13 others injured. Takano didn't let their wounds be treated. Instead, he threw sand at the men crying in pain and told them to shut up as it was their "Churchill and Roosevelt who did this" to them. All the men died later of infection.

The PoWs gave another petition, this time drafted by Captain Nirpal Chand of 6th battalion, 14 Punjab Regiment. When the Japanese refused again, this KCIO (King's Commissioned Indian Officer — such officers could also command European troops) organized a hunger strike. Despite Japanese threats, the men refused to eat until their demands were met. The Japanese eventually relented, but not for long. Captain Chand was executed on April 22, 1944, for "inciting his men to rebel". The Japanese officers later tried for Chand's death by Australians told the court that the Indian officer was given the opportunity to change his mind, but he had refused, so he was executed in a "lawful and honourable" way. It took two strikes with the gunto to sever Chand's head.

Jemadar Chint Singh, a VCO who testified against the Japanese, told Australian daily The Age in an interview dated June 7, 1947, Captain Chand's last words to his men: "Don't worry. If I am killed, some of you will see the good times which are ahead and tell your tales. The Japs cannot finish the whole lot. If I die for your rightful demands, I shall consider it a great honour and credit to me."

A similar "gallant tale" was reported by The Times of India on September 10, 1945, from Manila, Philippines. Some of the 330 rescued Indians on board the medical ship Oxfordshire told about Captain Mateen Ahmed Ansari of 5th battalion, 7th Rajput Regiment. He was a KCIO and the nephew of the Nizam of Hyderabad. They called him "one of the greatest heroes of the prison camps at Hong Kong".

Ansari was arrested on April 1, 1943, on suspicion of participating in a group attempt to escape. The Japanese soon found out about Ansari's royal lineage and pressured him to convince Indian troops to switch their loyalty to the Japanese. Ansari refused to break his Indian Army oath. "The Japanese tortured him with beatings, the water cure, and by plunging an electric plug into his bare back. These tortures failed to break the Indian's spirit. So the Japanese began a systematic reduction of his rations, beginning with six ounces of rice a day. Finally, they told him that he had his choice of being beheaded or shot. The Indian replied that 'beheading is a barbarous method, but as you are barbarians at heart, you will have to decide'. The Japanese then beheaded him," TOI reported. Captain Ansari was awarded the George Cross for the "most conspicuous gallantry".

An emaciated Indian PoW from Hong Kong onboard the medical ship Oxfordshire (Getty Images)

The TOI report of May 16, 1944, also mentioned that the Indian soldiers "were victims of 'indescribable indignities' at the hands of their captors". The chapter Indian POWs in the Pacific, 1941-45 by G J Douds, which is part of the 2007 book, Forgotten Captives in Japanese-Occupied Asia, edited by Kevin Blackburn and Karl Hack, elaborates on these indignities. "At Hansa Bay in New Guinea, Hindu prisoners were also severely beaten for their refusal to touch beef...the Japanese tried to prevent Muslims from fasting during Ramzan. Extra fatigues were imposed in a bid to enforce eating. The Muslims held out and the fast was eventually permitted; but in general no toleration was shown in religious matters," reads a passage.

The Sikhs were particularly insulted for their long hair and beards. In February, 1944, eight rescued Sikh PoWs narrated their tales of suffering and about the indignities heaped on them. "We were locked in a room for a night and a day without water. Next day, when our mouths were very dry, they took us out and made a sport of plucking our beards. For food we were given dry bread, but before we could eat it our hands were tied behind our backs. We writhed in pain to get at the bread, which was placed in our laps. One Indian commissioned officer who asked for water was hit on the head and shot. Another was forced to drink large quantities, and when he had finished the Japanese jumped on his stomach until the water poured from his mouth, ears, nose, and eyes," one of the men was quoted in the Canberra Times dated February 4, 1944.

The men further detailed how a Viceroy's Commissioned Officer (VCO) was hung upside down alive and bayoneted by the Japanese who also pulled his heart out.

But the most spine-chilling of all Japanese atrocities was their practice of cannibalism. One of the first to level charges of cannibalism against the Japanese was Jemadar Abdul Latif of 4/9 Jat Regiment of the Indian Army, a VCO who was rescued by the Australians at Sepik Bay in 1945. He alleged that not just Indian PoWs but even locals in New Guinea were killed and eaten by the Japanese. "At the village of Suaid, a Japanese medical officer periodically visited the Indian compound and selected each time the healthiest men. These men were taken away ostensibly for carrying out duties, but they never reappeared," the Melbourne correspondent of The Times, London, cabled this version of Jemadar Latif on November 5, 1946.

Jemadar Abdul Latif of 4/9 Jat Regiment who was among the first to allege that the Japanese killed Indians and fed on them

Latif's charges were buttressed by Captain R U Pirzai and Subedar Dr Gurcharan Singh. "Of 300 men who went to Wewak with me, only 50 got out. Nineteen were eaten. A Jap doctor —Lieutenant Tumisa, formed a party of three or four men and would send an Indian outside the camp for something. The Japs immediately would kill him and eat the flesh from his body. The liver, muscles from the buttocks, thighs, legs, and arms would be cut off and cooked," Captain Pirzai told Australian daily The Courier-Mail in a report dated August 25, 1945.

Then there were more similar testimonies by PoWs interned in other camps, such as Havildar Changdi Ram and Lance Naik Hatam Ali, who also gave details of cannibalism practised in their camps. John Baptist Crasta of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, also a PoW at Rabaul, wrote in his memoir (Eaten by the Japanese: The Memoir of an Unknown Indian Prisoner of War) about Japanese eating Indian soldiers. He was made part of the Allied investigation into Japanese war crimes later.

All these soldiers gave sworn testimonies to the war crimes investigation commissions set up by the Allies, based on which several Japanese officers and men were tried. The senior-most Japanese officer found guilty of cannibalism and hanged was Lieutenant General Yoshio Tachibana.

The Japanese, though, were always dismissive of these charges. Then in 1992, a Japanese historian named Toshiyuki Tanaka found incontrovertible evidence of Japanese atrocities, including cannibalism, on Indians and other Allied prisoners. His initial findings were printed by The Japan Times. In 1997, Tanaka came out with his book, Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes In World War II. There, he refuted the Allies' conclusion that the Japanese resorted to cannibalism when their supplies dwindled. Tanaka said this was done under the supervision of senior officers and was perceived as a power projection tool.

UK-based military historian Amarpal Sidhu recalls his grandparents, who lived in Singapore during WWII, telling him about the fear psychosis among the Indian community in Singapore regarding Japanese cannibalism. "The issue of cannibalism and other atrocities committed against Indian POWs by the Japanese although widely known and talked about still remains one of the least researched and documented aspects of the last great war. As the last veterans of the World War die out, many first-hand accounts of these events are vanishing fast without being recorded," Sidhu told TOI.

The Japanese also tried to impose their military drill and words of command on the Indian PoWs. It's recorded that Captain Pirzai and other officers refused. The furious Japanese subjected the whole unit to savage treatment, but still, the men didn't yield, saying they were Indian Army officers and men and would only follow the drill of their army.

Another similar incident occurred At Komoriyama in New Britain in 1945. There, men of the 5/11 Sikh Regiment were given 'good conduct' badges to wear. The Indian officers protested, saying that they were men of the Indian Army and they would wear only badges and uniform worn in that army. The men were threatened, but they didn't budge. Then a machinegun was brought forward and the Japanese threatened to shoot down all. The Sikhs still didn't budge. This went on for five days at the end of which the Japanese lost patience and flogged most of the men till they passed out.

Only 5,500 Indians came out of Japanese captivity alive. And despite all the hardships, the men refused to break their Indian Army oath and join the Japanese-sponsored Indian Independence League or INA. What emerges from all these recorded incidents is a picture of amazing fortitude shown by Indian PoWs. ​A kind of professionalism and apolitical behaviour that perhaps still characterises the Indian Army of today.

Soldiers who didn't die in the firing being bayoneted to death

Different historians have come up with different explanations for this. Some say it was because the men, at least the officers, were highly Anglicised Sandhurst-trained men who also came from families that had a history of generations of loyal service to the British. But in the words of Claude Auchinleck, these men didn't have any particular loyalty towards Britain.

The men were loyal to each other, to their regiments, to their officers. It was this loyalty that cemented such a diverse army like the Indian Army together. This loyalty, coupled with a strong sense of Indian identity, which had become stronger due to the ongoing National Movement back home, may have made the men endure all sorts of hardship. And it is this strong sense of Indian identity in the army that would shake up the Raj.

When India became independent in 1947, these same British-trained officers and men inherited a colonial army and transformed it into a national army that became the muse of patriots of all ages almost overnight.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Khalsa » 12 Aug 2014 02:01

Dear Ajit

my heart is weeping after reading the above
amazing what these two axis powers's young and eager youth turned out to be in the midst of war with the threat of civil justice removed
just amazes me the parallel between the two ... divided by million of miles , culture, language the Japanese and German Nazis turned out to be very similar in their approaches to handling prisoners in a camp

My grandfather's younger brother GBS Bhullar was shot down when flying a river reccee mission. They were scouting alleged Japanese bridges in the Eastern sector. He was treated inhumanely and was broken down systematically over weeks of torture.

Now fast forward to our 71 Sweepstake of all the prisoners taken in Dacca, it is told to me that when they were repatriated across the border at Wagha etc, each of them was wearing a pant, shirt and was holding a blanket given to them by yours truly Indian Army.
Upon crossing the border they all in Unison tore the shirts off their backs and stomped on the blanket before marching towards their homes.

We are truly different and hope we continue to be so ...

In the words of Amitabh Bachchan in Lakshya,

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby merlin » 03 Sep 2014 12:05

Gen. Sagat Singh, Mushy, Bangladeshi treasure, SS Buckeye State, CIA and ISI. A veritable soup including the Shimla agreement, Vajpayee's Agra adventure. Fun read.

Who Stole The Bengali Treasure ?

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby wig » 12 Sep 2014 09:02

Gallipoli 1915, a tale of Indian bravery buried in history
At daybreak on August 9, 1915, a young lieutenant of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, British Army, watched in awe as an Indian Army battalion almost ended the stalemate at Gallipoli. Men of the 1/6 Gurkha Rifles rose from their positions and pressed up the Sari Bair ridge, crested the heights between Chunuk Bair and Hill Q, and drove back the Turks after some desperate hand-to-hand fighting. The Gurkhas looked down at the waters of Hellespont—the original objective of the Gallipoli campaign. No Allied unit would repeat the feat ever again.

With no backup coming, the Gurkha commander, Major C G L Allanson, decided to go after the fleeing Turks. But they had hardly moved 200 yards when a murderous artillery barrage broke up the attack. According to Major Allanson, it was the Royal Navy that had shelled them, mistaking them to be Turks. The Gurkhas had to withdraw, but they did so in good order.

The action that day left a lasting impression on that British officer who resolved to get a transfer to the Indian Army. Four years later, his wish came true when he got placed in the same regiment that had impressed him at Gallipoli. He was Field Marshal Viscount William "Bill" Slim whose Fourteenth Army destroyed the Japanese juggernaut in the Second World War.

The Gallipoli campaign was a complete disaster for the allies as much as it was a crowning glory for the Turks who doggedly defended their country. Though Turkey eventually lost the war, Gallipoli became the most defining moment in its history.

On the Allies' side, it were the Australians and New Zealanders who found their national identities on Turkish soil. The term Anzac almost immediately assumed a politico-cultural identity, though militarily Anzacs may not have had the kind of impact that the world thinks today they did.

Nevertheless, Gallipoli is the Mecca of Aussies and Kiwis today. Thousands of them go there every year on Anzac Day. And Turkey, right from Mustafa Kemal's time, has allowed them right of passage. In fact, this war pilgrimage started after Ataturk made that famous speech in 1934 where he said: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours... You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well".

Kemal, with his amazing foresight, ended the bitterness among Turks and Australians/New Zealanders. Yet the same sagacity wasn't shown by leaders of Independent India.

In fact, India, after independence, followed a different policy towards the world wars—that of selective amnesia. As a result, the Indians today have distinguished themselves by not knowing anything about the role played by our troops in Gallipoli or anywhere else. The Indian tourist reacts with disbelief when a Turkish guide shows him Indian graves at the war cemeteries in the peninsula or talks about Indian valour. "Wow! Really? Strange," exclaims the Indian, visibly embarrassed, when his Turkish guide catches him by surprise. With this kind of ignorance, it's only natural that most Indians of today cannot understand the reasons why Indians fought, the conditions they fought in, and the politics that was played on them.

In Gallipoli, the Allied commander-in-chief, General Sir Ian Hamilton, wanted a Gurkha brigade. Hamilton was an old India hand and knew what the Gurkhas were capable of. In the hilly terrain of Gallipoli, Gurkhas could be his trump card, he thought. But what he got was the 29th Indian Infantry brigade with just one Gurkha battalion (1/6 Gurkhas). The other three were the 14th Ferozepur Sikhs, 69th Punjabis and 89th Punjabis—the latter two were predominantly Muslim.

There is no reason to believe that the Muslim soldiers fought any less bravely than others, but the 69th and 89th Punjabis were withdrawn after a while on the grounds that they were Muslims and could have qualms about fighting Muslim troops of the Ottoman Sultan. This was after they had sustained heavy casualties in the campaign. The British, it is said, didn't want a repeat of the Singapore Mutiny of January 1915, and they were acutely aware of Ghadar Party's efforts to foment rebellion among Indian troops stationed abroad.

But it was never explained why the Muslim troops of the 7th Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade were never withdrawn. In hindsight, it seems it was a facade created by Hamilton to get in his favourite Gurkha troops, for the two battalions were replaced by the 1/5 and 2/10 Gurkhas.

The Ferozepur Sikhs, on the other hand, fought true to their reputation. In the Battle of Krithia, they led frenzied charges on Turkish trenches. A Times of India report of 1915 detailed how the Sikhs, despite facing heavy losses in face of heavy machinegun and rifle fire, led a bayonet charge on the Turkish trenches facing them and killed the defenders. But this bravery cost them dear: the battalion lost 82% of its strength and had to be attached to a Gurkha battalion until they were reinforced by Patiala state troops. But the latter troops, also Jat Sikhs like the Ferozepur battalion, never got any recognition. In fact, history goes silent on their role in Gallipoli (Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was apprehensive of his troops being attached to the Ferozepur battalion, fearing the 14th Sikhs would overshadow his men. And that's how it happened).

No less than 15,000 Indians took the field at Gallipoli and 7,000 went into the casualty list. We suffered as badly as the rest; but while others haven't forgotten what their troops did, we have never bothered to find out how ours fought and died. ... 192756.cms?

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby Gerard » 15 Nov 2014 02:43

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby SRoy » 18 Nov 2014 21:05

Bumping this thread; today is the Rezang La day.

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Re: Indian Army History Thread

Postby kancha » 18 Nov 2014 22:45

Trending on Twitter - #RezangLaDay

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