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50 Years of 'The Battle of Laungewala'

 


When Pakistan attacked our country in 1971 from many directions, massive strikes occurred in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, when Pakistan surrendered and failed to defend the freedom of Bangladesh. However, among the ongoing conflicts on the East side, Pakistan also tried to barge India from the West end. Pakistan launched a full-scale war against us on 3rd December, assaulting 11 airfields and radar installations in Srinagar, Avantipora, Pathankot, Amritsar, Ambala, Agra, and Jodhpur. 


Amid the War of 1971 between India and Pakistan, a significant battle took place in the Thar desert of Rajasthan. The fight of Longewala, headed by Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, was a well-thought-out attack by the Pakistani army. Had they been successful, Pakistani troops would have easily reached Jaisalmer. Given the Indian unit's artillery strength of only 120 men, two anti-tank guns, and a trained mine-laying crew, Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri's command of Unit 23 Punjab and countering a brigade of 3000 Pakistani forces is incredible. At the time of the attack, Longewala was one of the least deployed troops. Usually, Longewala and Sadewala border are deployed with BSF Soldiers but at the time of war, these units are secured by the Indian army. 


Colonel Dharamveer was on routine patrol duty on December 4, when he heard distant sounds of trembling sand and oncoming tanks, which he reported to Major Chandpuri. The moonlight was clear that day which fostered visual inspection. Dharamveer confirmed to Major that infantry of about 54 Tanks and a well-equipped battalion of about 2000-2500 soldiers are charging at their Unit. Major Chandpuri immediately informed the Sadewala unit and the regional Battalion Station of the situation's density and enemy numbers. At that point, Withdrawal would have been a justified and calculated step, but Major Chandpuri refused to do so since Withdrawal is a technique of war that isn`t taught by the Indian army, during training in the first place. 


The honour, welfare, and safety of the country comes first


The honour welfare and safety of your troop comes second


And the honour, ease, and comfort of oneself comes last” - Indian Army


Major Chandpuri decided to implement the same knowledge on the field too and ordered his soldiers to halt the enemies at least for five hours till morning until they are backed with air support while the Indian brigade from the nearest station can be deployed to counter further invasion. 


Our soldiers had limited ammunition, so direct firing was only possible if they were close enough. In the meantime, Indian troops began laying anti-tank mines and barbed wire along the perimeter of the Longewala post, giving the impression to Pakistani soldiers that the post was heavily guarded by a strong battalion and that they should not approach any further. As the shootings from both sides advanced, Colonel Dharamveer strategically ordered to target tanks and vehicles carrying the fuel barrels in the boot space, in which they succeeded. “Pakistani army brought a coffin for themselves” as colonel Dharamveer said in his interview. To avoid further damage, the Pakistani battalion pulled their tanks off the gravel road and into the deep sands of the Thar desert, jamming their tanks near the Indian post. Major Chandpuri and his regiment took advantage of the situation and began vandalizing their tanks one by one. 


By then, 5 hours had passed, and with the dawn of December 4, Indian aircraft took flight from Jaisalmer along with rockets, Soon the Indian air force turned the battleground into the graveyard of enemy tanks, and by now, 15 tanks of the Pakistan army were destroyed, along with 23 vehicles. 


Airstrikes continued until the 6th of December, destroying 37 enemy tanks and over 100 armoured vehicles, killing 200 Pakistani soldiers, and imprisoning three more. In the four-day struggle, India, on the other side, lost three courageous soldiers and five camels. 


Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was honoured with Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest Indian military decoration, by the Indian government. This article aims to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of our Indian army, to keep us safe and celebrate the victory on the 50th anniversary of the great Battle of Longewala. This occasion will be revived by the Vijay Varsh Bike Rally, which will traverse a distance of 1495 kilometres in seven days from Longewala to Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer.


NOTE: The mementos shared by government and existing regiment spells 'Battle of Laungewala' However Google has mentioned it as 'Battle of Longewala' which is false information.



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