11 Gorkhas
A Metaphor for Victory

The bravest of the braves belongs to 11 Gorkha Rifles, the only Gorkha regiment raised after independence. Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC, Maj Man Bahadur, Ashok Chakra and Second Lieutenant (2Lt) Puneet Nath Datt, Ashok Chakra (posthumous) - the list is endless. Raised at Palampur on January 1, 1948 this regiment celebrates diamond jubilee this year. The Regimental Centre, after having moved from Palampur to Clement Town then to Gungora and to Darjeeling, finally settled at Lucknow in June 1983.
The motto of the regiment: we the metaphor for victory is no phoney line. Jai Mahakali Ayo Gorkhali - the warcry sends the chill down the spine of enemy soldiers. Blazing khukris of 'Kirantis' have created such stuff which legends are made of. Here we present the profiles of some of such legends.
Maj Jai Bhagwan Singh Yadava, during the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971, displayed great determination, grit, courage, presence of mind and steadfastness and refused evacuation.
Maj Jai Bhagwan Yadava infiltrated behind enemy lines by fording the Ichhamati River, captured the Commanding Officer, Adjutant Regimental Medical Officer and one Other Rank of 32 Baluch and forced the surrender of officers, eighty Junior Commissioned Officers and 145 Other Ranks of 8 Baluch and, thus, opened the axis for further advance of the Brigade and Division.
The true grit, valour and determination of the Rais and Limbus was revealed once again. Under the dynamic and inspiring command of Lt Col FT Dais (Dick), the boys of the Fifth Battalion closed in with the enemy and fierce fighting raged from bunker to bunker using grenades and khukris with menacing fury. The battles fought at Goraghat, Gobindganj, Saulakandi and Bogra are some of the finest infantry actions ever. In spite of fierce close-quarter actions, casualties were not very heavy. The battalion received the battle honour, Dogra and theatre honour, East Pakistan.
Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey led his platoon with rare courage during operation Vijay. On the night of 2/3 July, 1999 in Kargil Sector, 1/11 GR's progress, on to its final objective, was halted by a determined enemy. Capt Pandey, sizing up the situation, led his platoon along a narrow ridge and in a display of rare courage charged at the enemy through a hail of bullets. Wounded in the shoulder and leg he pressed on his solitary charge with determination till he closed in and, in a ferocious hand-to-hand combat, cleared the first bunker. Inspired by his spontaneous valour, the troops charged at the balance enemy and fell upon them. Unmindful of his grievous wounds, Capt Pandey rushed from bunker to bunker to clear them. He succumbed to his injuries but not before the last of the enemy had been annihilated.
Hav Gyan Bahadur Tamang was part of the CO's column of attack on the night during operation Vijay in 1999. The hair-raising story of his exploits during the attack is exemplary.
Hav Gyan Bahadur was ordered to move behind an enemy position to cut them off from their reinforcements. The enemy spotted the movement and in the fire-fight that ensued, Hav Gyan Bahadur and his buddy were separated from others. In the exchange of fire, both were hit. While his colleague made the supreme sacrifice, Gyan Bahadur fell backwards and rolled downhill some twenty metres before he passed out with blood oozing from his neck. A light drizzle revived him the next morning and he came to his senses with the sound of automatic weapons and artillery shells landing all around him. He was soon spotted and eight Pakistani soldiers began to fire on him with their AK-47 assault rifles while he dashed around from one boulder to another. Displaying remarkable shooting skills under extreme pressure and with utmost fire discipline, Hav Gyan Bahadur shot dead three Pakistanis.
Soon dense fog enveloped the area. Taking advantage of poor visibility, Hav Gyan Bahadur made good his escape to rejoin the battalion. Bleeding profusely, low on ammunition, his rifle severely damaged, thirsty and hungry, he tore his vest and tied it around his neck to reduce the loss of blood. He wandered around in the fog till he fell asleep exhausted. The next morning, he woke up with a start startling two Pakistani soldiers who quickly turned on him and asked him to surrender at gunpoint. Displaying remarkable presence of mind, he employed the oldest ruse in the world by yelling and waving at an imaginary point behind the Pakistanis. As they turned around, he pulled out his khukri and slit their throat with two deft swishes.
However, the commotion brought out more Pakistanis and Hav Gyan Bahadur was fired upon for over half an hour from several directions. He dived into a small depression and waited with baited breath for the firing to end. After some time, two Pakistanis including a JCO cautiously approached him. Pretending to be dead, Gyan Bahadur lay absolutely still, his khukri hidden under his body. As one of the Pakistanis kicked him to see if he was dead, he sprang at them with Jai Mahakali Ayo Gorkhali and, before the petrified Pakistanis could react, he hacked them to death, ran, rolled, jumped and rolled downhill as bullets whizzed around him. At night, he crept under a bush, chewed its tender leaves for energy before he fell asleep, completely exhausted.
Suffering from acute loss of blood, dehydration, high fever and complete exhaustion, Hav Gyan Bahadur woke up the next morning unsure of his bearings. Lacking the strength to make another attempt to rejoin his battalion on Khalubar, he half walked, half stumbled downhill. He spotted two burly Pakistanis walking towards him carrying grenades and ammunition and chatting. There was nowhere to run. He hid behind a boulder close to the track and, with a superhuman effort, once again shouting the battlecry pounced on them with his ever-ready khukri. Startled, the Pakistanis dropped their loads and ran . Tired and on the verge of despair, Hav Gyan Bahadur continued his rather eventful journey downhill till he finally stumbled into the battalion's rear near Yaldor village.
The soldiers of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles while mopping up, found the bodies of all the seven Pakistani soldiers who fell to Hav Gyan Bahadur Tamang's khukri.

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In end September 1967, the Seventh Battalion had temporarily relieved 10 JAK Rifles in Chola Sector to enable them to celebrate their Raising Day on October 1, 1967.
A day earlier, there had been a minor scuffle between the Sikh sentries of the JAK Rifles and their Chinese counterparts on the flat patch of icy land of about five metres on the unmarked boundary. It had a boulder about 30 metres high in the centre of the narrow crest, which marked the dividing line, according to the watershed principle. Three Indians and an equal number of Chinese sentries were positioned on either side of the boulder at a distance of about two metres from each other, more or less eye-ball to eye-ball. During the fisticuffs, the Chinese sentry was roughed up and lost a button of his tunic. The Chinese were, therefore, smarting under the temporary reverse. To quote from The Path of Glory:
"Naib Subedar Gyan Bahadur Limbu was having a heated argument with his counterpart on the sentry post during which he rested his right foot on the boulder under dispute. Gyan Bahadur put his foot back and challenged them. Events moved at a fast pace. By this time, the Chinese had taken up positions, presumably because their Post Commander had already made up his mind to escalate the incident and one of them bayoneted the Junior Commissioned Officer wounding him in the arm. Thereafter, the Kirantis retaliated in a befitting manner. The arms of the Chinese soldier who had dared hit the Junior Commissioned Officer were chopped off with a khukri. This led to the commencement of firing. Rifleman Krishna Bahadur led a charge. His body was later returned with full military honours by the Chinese (the Commander himself accompanied his last remains), who commanded his bravery stating that he had fought like a tiger. Rifleman Debi Prasad Limbu, dexterously wielding his khukri in close-quarter battle, did five Chinese soldiers to death before being mortally wounded. Lt RS Rathore, Company Officer though wounded, continued to inspire his men refusing to give in, got up to lead his men when he was again hit in the chest and died; Lt Col KB Joshi, the Commanding Officer and Hav Tinjong Lama, the RCL detachment Commander were outstanding amongst others".

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