Bravest of the Brave : 4/5 Gurkha Rifles

This is the story of the gallant soldiers of 4/5 GR in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 in the words of the then Commanding Officer Lt. Col Arun Bhimrao Harolikar, Maha Vir Chakra

Citation for Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) awarded to Lt. Col Arun Bhimrao Harolikar

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 captured another enemy position. On the 7th December, 1971 after the landing by helicopters of this battalion in Sylhet, his defensive position was subjected to a series of well-coordinated counter attacks by the enemy. He repu

The moving finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on...

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 21 st  of Nov, ’71, when, after successfully capturing Atgram, in total surrender of myself, I fell at the feet of Durgamata, oblivious of the universe around me and tears flowing freely and unabashedly, breaking through an emotional dam in homage to Capt, Johri, Lt Hawa Singh, Subedar Bhobi

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 (3/5 GR), I was put to the test within first three months; of service in Nagaland. There, while leading a Commando Platoon attack against a strongly held Naga hostiles position I was wounded in action. (It was in this action

In the Jaws of Death : Assault on Gazipur

THE KHUKRI ASSAULT ON Atgram had given us (4 th  Battalion the 5 th  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 Pakistanis had vacated Sagarnal only to strengthen Gazipur which was an important defended locality on Gazipur – Kulaura – Sylhet axis. Gazipur was also the last of the defended localities before the hilly area gave way to

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 forces were closing on to Dhaka, the Pakistani forces were fighting and withdrawing towards it to defend it. It was around this time (6/7 Dec,’71) that our Eastern Command Headquarters in Calcutta intercepted a Pakista