Bravest of the Brave : 4/5 GR in 1971 Indo-Pak War

Story of the brave warriors of 4/5 GR in 1971 Indo-Pak War in words of the then C/o Lt. Col. A.B Harolikar

The moving finger writes..

BRIGADIER (RETD) ARUN HAROLIKAR, MAHAVIR CHAKRA) The moving finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on; nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a line Nor all your tears washout a word of it.                                               (Rubaiyat) The period from 19 Nov to 17 Dec.’71 has ever stood still in my memory. Unfailingly, every year since then, during that period, I am mentally and emotionally transported to the battlefields of Atgram, Gazipur and Sylhet in Bangladesh; there to suffer the pain and agony once again, that I suffered in losing some of my beloved officers, JCOs and men in those three intense battles we fought. To this day I vividly recall the 21st of Nov, ’71, when, after successfully capturing Atgram, in total surrender...

Gorkha Kukris get a Blood bath – Assault on Atgram

The year 1971 will go down as a decisive year in the history of the Indian subcontinent, the winds of war had started blowing since March – April ’71 after Mujibur Rehman’s Awami League won a clear majority in general election held for Pakistan’s National Assembly, and its claims to power were thwarted. I was then serving on the Jammu boarder as the second-in-command of the 3/5 GR (ie Third Battalion the Fifth Gorkha Rifles) our operational roles were well rehearsed during field exercise with troops, in the previous two years of our tenure in that area under the 26 Infantry Division. I had put in a little over 15 years’ service in 3/5 GR and had endeavored (like all officers do) to earn the trust of the men under me. Starting as a fresh 2/LT joining the Battalion...

In the Jaws of Death – Assault on Gazipur

THE KHUKRI ASSAULT ON Atgram had given us (4th Battalion the 5th Gorkha Rifles, 4/5 G for short) a decisive victory. Our khukris were bloodied and our minds hardened. However, in the larger game plan the attack on Atgram was a part of a deception plan of 8 Mountain Division under then Maj-Gen K V K Rao, GOC of the Division. Therefore we handed over captured area to a BSF battalion and moved about 75 to 100 kms further south to a place called Kadamtal. It was about the end of Nov ’71. From Sagarnal the 59 Mountain Brigade (of which we were a part) under Brigadier C A Quinn was to advance on Sagarnal – Gazipur – Kulaura – Sylhet axis (Refer to sketch 2). We found Sagarnal vacated by the Pakistanis without a fight, and we occupied the same on 30 Nov, ’71. But the...

Inside a ‘Chakravyuh’ in Sylhet

Sylhet (now renamed Rajguru Nagar), is at the North-East corner of (now) Bangaldesh. It is an important place from military and geographical point of view. It was the district headquarters and its fall would be sever set back to the enemy, with the potential of international repercussions, as its loss would lead to the loss of a big chunk of its territory. Therefore to defend Sylhet, Pakistan had 202 infantry Brigade (with additional scouts’ battalions) with one artillery regiment of 105 mm guns and one battery of 120 mm mortars. A large segment of the population had been either evaluated or had fled. Keeping with their strategy Sylhet had turned into a ‘Fortress’. It is worth recalling that by this time – 7 Dec,’71 – Dhaka itself was being threatened and as our...

References

Khukri (also spelt as kukri). Gorkhas prefer to use long curved knives called khukris in close combat. The sight of a khukri in the upraised hand of a charging Gorkha is known to have caused panic in the heart of the defender almost twice the size of a khukri-wielding Gorkha ‘Chakravyuh’. This is a military term (there is no English equivalent) taken from the great Indian epic – the Mahabharata. In that war, Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, successfully penetrated the supposedly invincible military formation of Chakravyuh adopted by the Kauravas. A mythological story goes that Abhimanyu learnt the technique of penetrating the Chakravyuh while he was still in the womb of his mother – Subhadra – when Krishna was explaining it to her; he however didn’t know how to come out...

The Battle of Sylhet Fortress, Nov – Dec 1971 By Maj. (Retd.) Mumtaz Hussaini Shah, Pakistan Army. Rejoinder By Brig. A.B. Harolikar, M.V.C (Retd.), Indian Army

THE BATTLE OF SYLHET FORTRESS, NOV – DEC 1971 BY MAJ. (RETD.) MUMTAZ HUSSAIN SHAH, PAKISTAN ARMY. REJOINDER BY BRIG. A.B. HAROLIKAR M.V.C. (RETD.), INDIAN ARMY. Background to Rejoinder 1                   My attention has been drawn to an article titled “The Battle of Sylhet Fortress, Nov-Dec 17”, written by Maj. (Retd.) Mumtaz Hussain Shah of Pakistan Army.  The article has appeared on computer network http://www. Pakdef.com/war 1971/ article/htm, dated 20/05/2000 on the website of India Times.  It has been released by Pak Def.com, Pakistan Military Forum. The article purports to give a first hand account of the Battle of Sylhet.   The author has not made an honest attempt even to correctly state undisputed facts about operations of Pak and Indian Armies in...

Citation- Lt. Col. Arun Bhimrao Harolikar , Mahavir Chakra

Lieutenant Colonel Arun Bhimrao Harolikar who was commanding a Battalion of the 5th Gorkha Rifles was given the task of capturing an enemy position in the Eastern Sector. The enemy held a well fortified position with two companies covering all approaches. When two assaulting companies were held up due to intense enemy fire, Lieutenant Colonel Harolikar led the remaining battalion into assault along a difficult approach, behind the enemy. N the objective, he personally took part in hand to hand fighting and it was mainly due to him that the battalion captured the enemy position, the capture of this position resulted in the liberation of a large part o Pakistan occupied area and facilitated further operations by the brigade group. Later during the operations, he...