Some lesser-known sagas of gallantry (Part-I)

Indian people are by nature peaceful. As a result, we generally don't discuss the stories of gallantry involving Indian armed forces. However, in the present day, it is very much necessary to know about our gallant soldiers. In this article, the author discusses two great soldiers of our country who were instrumental to two significant victories in 1965 and 1971.

Many of us know the exploits of 2nd Lt. Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, Major Shoitan Singh, Lt. Col. A.B. Tarapore, 2nd Lt. Arun Khetarpal, Major Hoshiar singh, Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon or Captain Vikram Batra. These gallant soldiers have made Indians very proud. In this article, we are going to discuss the valour and gallantry of some illustrious soldiers of Indian armed forces. May be their exploits, their courage and tenacity are not very well-known, but definitely are not less important. We must know about them.

Naik Sugan Singh (7 Rajputana Rifles)

Sugan Singh was born in March, 1942 at Nagaur in Rajasthan. He was enrolled in 7 Rajputana Rifles on 6th March, 1962. On 9th December, 1971, 7 RajRif was tasked to attack enemy defences at Mainamati (located at 8 km to the west of Komilla town) in the Eastern Sector. Enemy defences consisted of well-prepared concrete bunkers. Well-positioned MMGs covered every possible approach towards Mainamati. Naik Sugan Singh was leading one of the assaulting sections on that eventful day.

Two well-concealed and well-guarded enemy MMGs opened up on the assaulting sections, considerably slowing down the progress. Naik Sugan Singh charged at one of them, took a volley of bullets on his shoulder and started bleeding profusely. But he did not stop, he crawled near the bunker and lobbed a hand grenade killing two men. Without bothering about his grave injuries, he immediately charged at the second MMG position, but could not carry himself far. But lying down, he threw another hand grenade and destroyed this gun position killing three men manning the gun.

Ultimately Mainamati was ours! But Sugan was not there to celebrate this very famous victory. Naik Sugan Singh, a great Rajput warrior of modern times, was awarded Mahavir Chakra posthumously for displaying conspicious courage, gallantry and devotion to duty of the highest order.

Captain Kapil Singh Thapa (3 Jat)

Captain Kapil Singh Thapa was born in November 1937 near Dehradun. His father was a retired Subedar Major of Indian Army. Captain Kapil Singh Thapa was commissioned in the Jat Regiment on 30th June 1963. During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, 3 Jat was in Lahore sector. According to the plan prepared by the Brigade, 3 Jat was tasked to capture Dograi on 21st September last light after 13 Punjab defeated the enemy and destroyed enemy defence east of Dograi. The four companies of 3 Jat were given different targets. The Delta (D) Company was asked to secure a foothold on the north-eastern side of Dograi, a Pakistani village located in a strategic position. The D Company commenced the attack at around 1.30 AM. An enemy platoon, strategically positioned at the east bank of Ichogil canal resisted Indian progress with concentrated MMG fire. The enemy had also deployed artillery and mortars which started shelling the attacking Indian company. The enemy shelling also retarded the progress of Indians. At this crucial stage of the battle, the reserve platoon of D Company under Captain Kapil Singh Thapa charged at the enemy position crossing a mine field. This caused a fierce hand-to-hand fight on the enemy bunkers. Captain Kapil Singh Thapa engaged the enemy with grenades and bayonet. Due to exemplary bravery and leadership of Captain Thapa, the reserve platoon successfully captured the objective. However, Captain Thapa was grievously injured and laid down his life. The Battle of Dograi was ultimately won by 3 Jat. This battle has become famous in the annals of Indian military history.

Captain Kapil Singh Thapa was awarded Mahavir Chakra posthumously for displaying conspicuous gallantry, determination and exemplary leadership quality.

Concluding comments

Indian Army achieved significant victories in the Battle of Mainamati in 1971 and in the Battle of Dograi in 1965 against Pakistan. So, it is felt that the gallantry of Indian soldiers should be told to the countrymen. In future, some more sagas of gallantry of Indian armed forces will be shared.

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