Written by Maj Gen (retd) Prof G G Dwivedi | New Delhi |
February 15, 2021 1:48:01 am
It was in early October 1962 that Chairman Mao Zedong determined to launch a large-scale invasion to severely punish India. Whereas the principle offensive was to be within the Japanese Sector, coordinated operations within the Western Sector have been to be undertaken to seize areas as much as the 1960 Declare Line in japanese Ladakh, which entailed elimination of 43 Indian posts. Gaining management over total Aksai Chin was important to ensure safety of the Western Freeway, linking Kashgarh in Xinjiang to Lhasa in Tibet.
The Individuals’s Liberation Military (PLA) offensive started on October 20, 1962, concurrently within the Japanese and Western Sectors. The operations in Aksai Chin have been executed in two phases. Throughout Section One (October 20-28, 1962) PLA went on to clear Indian posts at Daulat Beg Oldie, Galwan, astride each banks of Pangong Tso and Dungti-Demchok areas. Section Two was launched after a tactical pause of three weeks on November 18, 1962 to seize the strategically vital Kailash Vary.
Reorganising India’s defences
The Karakoram Vary ends on the northern facet of the Pangong Tso. The Kailash Vary originates from the southern financial institution and runs northwest to southeast for over 60 km. The Kailash Ridge is characterised by rugged, damaged terrain with heights various between 4,000-5,500m, and its key options embody Helmet High, Gurung Hill, Spanggur Hole, Muggar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Rechin La. The Ridge dominates Chushul Bowl; an vital communications centre.
The lull following Section One was utilised by the Indian Military to reorganise its defences. The three Infantry Division was raised at Leh on October 26, 1962 below Main Basic Budh Singh. The HQ of 114 Infantry Brigade was moved to Chushul, the 70 Infantry Brigade took over the duty of Indus Valley Sub Sector, and the I63 Infantry Brigade was inducted for the Defence of Leh.
Deployment at Chushul
The 114 Infantry Brigade chargeable for Chushul space was holding a frontage of round 40 km, and was deployed as below:-
- 1/8 Gorkha Rifles coated the northern facet of Spanggur Hole. Its two firms have been deployed on the Gurung Hill, one other firm was deployed to the North, and a fourth firm was within the Spanggur Hole itself with Battalion HQ together with an ad-hoc firm on the Chushul airfield.
- 13 Kumaon was on the southern facet of the Spanggur Hole with two firms on the Muggar Hill, one firm at Rezang La, and a fourth firm together with Battalion HQ south of it.
- Brigade HQ together with 1 JAT and two troops AMX 13 tanks of 20 Lancers have been positioned at Chushul. 13 Discipline Regiment much less a battery, geared up with 25 Pounder weapons, was in assist.
Chinese language plan of assault
The plan duly permitted by the Central Navy Fee (CMC) envisaged capturing each Rezang La and Gurung Hill concurrently. Troops comprising three battalions of the PLA’s 4 Infantry Division together with supporting items have been concentrated in Retuzong space, about 40 km from the border. All these items had been in motion throughout Section One as properly. As per directions from the CMC, operations have been to be confined to the positions on the ridge line solely. 📣 Categorical Defined is now on Telegram. Click on here to join our channel (@ieexplained) and keep up to date with the most recent
Battle of Rezang La
The C Firm of 13 Kumaon, chargeable for the defence of Rezang La, was deployed two platoons up (Sturdy Factors 7&9 ) with a 3rd platoon and Firm HQ on Level 5150 (Sturdy Level 8) within the centre. In addition to, there have been supporting detachments of 3-inch mortars, heavy machine weapons and rocket launchers.
The Chinese language, having carried out detailed reconnaissance of Rezang La, deliberate to outflank the place at night time and assault concurrently from the northern and southern instructions at first gentle. Accordingly, the attacking troops have been divided into two job forces. One job drive, composed of third Battalion much less firm of eleventh Regiment, was to assault Sturdy Level 9 from the south. The second job drive, composed of two firms (one every from the third Battalions of Tenth & eleventh Regiments), was to assault Sturdy Level 8 from the North. The third Battalion much less firm ex-Tenth Regiment, and third Cavalry much less two firms, have been to behave as reserves.
The 2 job forces began from Retuzong at 8 pm November 17 and have been of their respective agency bases by 6 am on November 18. Following temporary artillery bombardment, the assault commenced from each instructions at 9:15 am. A fierce battle ensued, with the defender beating again successive Chinese language assaults. With communication snapped and the place encircled, leaving no chance of the C Firm being strengthened, it was “do and die” scenario. Main Shaitan Singh, the Firm Commander, even launched an area counterattack. Lastly, by using reserves, the Chinese language did handle to interrupt by means of and Rezang La fell by 10 pm November 18.
It was an epic battle, actually fought to the “final man, final spherical”. Of the full 141 personnel at Rezang La, 135 fought to the end and 5 have been taken prisoners, with one lone survivor. Main Shaitan Singh was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra. The Chinese language suffered 21 killed and 98 wounded.
Battle for Gurung Hill
Gurung Hill was held by two firms of 1/8 GR (Sturdy Factors 16, 5 & 6) positioned northeast at Spanggur Hole. Sturdy Level 16, essentially the most dominating function, was at a top of 5,100 m. It was held by an organization minus a platoon. The defences have been properly coordinated and coated by a protecting minefield. The place was supported by a troop of AMX 13 gentle tanks.
The duty to seize Gurung Hill was assigned to Ali Detachment, the holding formation. A drive of eight sections was mustered and duly strengthened by a platoon every of engineers and flame throwers, one heavy machine gun, one 57 mm recoilless gun and twelve 82mm mortars for fireplace assist. One firm of third Cavalry was to behave as reserve.
The operation to seize Gurung Hill started at 9:22 am November 18, coordinated with the assault on Rezang La. It was preceded by temporary artillery bombardment. Within the face of stiff resistance from Gorkhas with tanks in a direct taking pictures function, the Chinese language suffered heavy casualties and the assault was stalled. On regrouping and reinforcements becoming a member of in, the PLA resumed the offensive at 11 am. After repulsing repeated assaults with no reinforcements coming by, the place was captured by PLA in direction of final gentle on November 18. The depth of combating will be gauged from the casualties — 1/8 GR suffered 50 killed and several other wounded whereas the Chinese language sustained over 80 (killed and wounded). The PLA couldn’t seize the remaining a part of Gurung Hill i.e. Sturdy Factors 5 & 6.
Whereas solely Rezang La and a part of Gurung Hill had been captured, a call was taken on the highest stage to tug again from the Kailash Ridge and redeploy West of Chushul on the night time of December 19. The Chinese language didn’t observe the withdrawing troops or go for Chushul airfield. The PLA had solely division-plus at their disposal for the operations in Aksai Chin, and therefore have been severely constrained to undertake any additional operations. Then again, India’s 3 Infantry Division had the aptitude to launch a restricted counteroffensive. After declaring ceasefire on November 21, Chinese language troops fell again to depth positions as a consequence of logistics constraints.
August 2020: the current
The course of historical past was set to reverse 58 years later when. on August 30, 2020, the Particular Frontier Pressure (SFF) troops secured Kailash Ridge as a pre-emptive operation, taking the PLA unexpectedly. This motion proved a game-changer, neutralising positive aspects made by the Chinese language alongside the northern financial institution of Pangong Tso and rendering PLA positions east of Spanggur Hole-Maldo Garrison completely weak. Why the PLA didn’t go for Kailash Ridge initially as a part of its aggression in Could 2020 may very well be due to two believable causes: first, paucity of infantry as 4 Infantry Division, now motorised, not suited to carry floor, and second, a presumption that Indian Military is not going to enterprise to undertake proactive counteractions.
In 1962, it was on the Kailash Ridge that Indian troopers proved their mettle and made the PLA pay a heavy worth, regardless of being poorly geared up and ill-prepared. At present, given a wealthy expertise in excessive altitude-cum-glacial warfare, coupled with vastly improved gear and infrastructure, the Indian Military is properly positioned to carry the Kailash Vary for good. The Chinese language, then again, are starting to grasp the tough realities of winters on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Conscious of the shortcoming to regain Kailash Ridge with the present drive stage, and with the window for launching main operations already foreclosed because of the onset of winter, the Chinese language could use all ploys to barter the Indian Military’s pull-back from south of Pangong Tso. India needs to be cautious of previous errors and keep away from falling into the Chinese language entice. The PLA’s present aggression, whereby it flouted a collection of agreements signed between the international locations over final three many years to unilaterally alter the established order alongside the LAC, is a working example.
The Kailash Ridge marks a tryst with historical past, a turning level, as it’s the first piece of territory that has been recovered from Chinese language unlawful occupation, however undoubtedly not the final one as India’s declare line is the Johnson Line of 1865. Exterior Affairs S Jaishankar lately stated that India was being examined within the seven-month-long standoff with China in japanese Ladakh. Subsequently, it’s time to convey a stern message to the Chinese language management that India is not going to compromise on its sovereignty.