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Bravery Beyond comparison-Hony Capt Bana Singh

Discussion in 'Kashmir War' started by third eye, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. third eye

    third eye ELITE MEMBER

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    Excerpts from an article I read, worth sharing..[/B]


    Bravery Beyond comparison -Hony Capt Bana Singh,

    The true, heart warming story of the capture against impossible odds of the Pakistani post, Quaid, the worlds highest battlefield post at 22143 feet (6749 metres) above sea level, from personnel of its elite commando force; the Special Services Group (SSG) by Naib Subedar (later Honorary Captain) Bana Singh, PVC, of 8 JAK LI and his brave hearts

    The name Siachen, in Balti, refers to a land abundant with black roses. Siachen glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram Range of the Himalayas, near the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. India controls the whole Siachen glacier complex. The main glacier is sandwiched between the Saltoro Ridge to its west, (occupied by India) and the main Karakoram Range to its east.

    The Terrain:

    The Siachen glacier is 76 km long, with its width varying from 1000-2500 metres. It falls from an altitude of 18,875 ft (5,753 m) at its head at Indira Col, down to 11,875 ft (3,620 m) at its terminus. The average winter snowfall is 35 feet, with temperatures in the upper reaches ranging from minus 30 degrees to minus 80 degrees centigrade. The crest of the dominating Saltoro Ridge which the Indian Army holds, and where Bana won his PVC, ranges in height from 17,880 to 25,330 feet (5,450 to 7,720 m). The major passes on this ridge are Sia La, Bilafond La and Gyong La. The Indian Army pickets are reachable only after a murderous climb and then a suicidal frontal assault, a near-hopeless task in such rarified, oxygen depleted air.

    Bana Singh was born on 6 January 1949 into a Punjabi Sikh family, at Kadyal, a border village located in RS Pura, the famous Basmati rice growing belt outside Jammu. He enrolled in the Indian Army on 6 January 1969 into 8 JAK LI. He was considered a keen and enterprising, intelligent soldier by his officers, handling diverse responsibilities such as being company clerk and handling quarter master duties as an NCO normally tenable a senior JCO . He had also been trained in mountain warfare by the High Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg and Sonamarg and was eminently combat fit; in other words he was, at a young age an all round combat soldier whom his officers and peers respected; the peers and immediate seniors albeit with some form of competitive envy.

    On 20 April, 1987, Bana’s battalion was deployed, after due acclimatization, in the Siachen area. In a interview with the famous author and Tibetologist, Claude Arpi, Bana stated that Quaid Post was already under occupation of the Pakistanis when the battalion arrived in the glacier. Named after Mohamed Ali Jinnah, the father of Pakistan, it was the most important and highest post in the area; one of the few occupied by Pakistan during its all out assault in 1987 on Saltoro Ridge under the command of then Brig Pervez Musharraf (later President of Pakistan), before being beaten back.

    From Quaid Post, as the Indians would later find out, one could see 80 km around; indeed, almost the entire Saltoro range including Indian posts like Amar and Sonam, which could only be supplied by helicopter. The Pakistanis could therefore prevent the supply of these posts as well as interdict any movement by accurate fire. In fact on 18 April, 1987, firing from Quaid resulted in the death of a JCO and five soldiers at Sonam.

    It thus became necessary to capture this post for the safety of our men and supporting helicopters.

    The CO of 8 JAK LI, Col DS Rawat, proactively decided to send a patrol to find out the strength and disposition of the Pakistanis. On May 29, a 10 man patrol under 2/ Lt Rajiv Pande departed. Facing this gutsy young officer was a 90 degree climb on slippery ice walls that were 1500 feet in height which had to be negotiated to reach Quaid Post. On top of that, the weather was abysmal and visibility more so. Unfortunately, nearing Quaid, they were detected by the SSG commandos and eight, including Lt Pande and his JCO killed. The officer was posthumously awarded a Vir Chakra.

    Though the death of 2/Lt Rajiv and his men was tragic, the CO was now even more determined to succeed. With the approval of Brig Nugyal, “Operation Rajiv” was thus launched. A total of 62 people participated to the final operation; two officers, three JCO’s and 57 jawans. The operation was conducted in three phases on 23, 25 and 26 June, 1987. The platoon sent on 23 June under Major Varinder Singh, Bana’s company commander, had to unfortunately come back half way, losing two soldiers in the bargain. Lt Pande had managed to fix ropes, but due to heavy snow fall, the ropes were not traceable. The ropes had therefore to be fixed all over again. The second platoon led by Subedar Sansar Singh with 10 jawans, made an attempt on 25 June. This time, there was no problem with the ropes, but due to a communication gap with the controlling headquarters; the mission had to be aborted. Col Rawat, determined to succeed at all costs, had conveyed his determination to his command: “I don’t care what sacrifices we have to pay, but Quaid will be captured. Naib Subedar Bana Singh, hand picked by his CO for the challenging assignment, led the last attack, along with Riflemen Chunni Lal, Laxman Das, Om Raj and Kashmir Chand. It was exactly at eleven minutes after noon on 26 June 1987, when this final phase of “Operation Rajiv” was launched in heavily snowing conditions and gathering darkness


    Another incident he recalled was his much loved company commander, Maj (later Brig) Varinder Singh, who had been shot through the chest in the earlier phase of the operation (he was awarded the Vir Chakra), advising him to capture the Pakistanis alive when Quaid was attacked. Bana vehemently disagreed, saying in choice Punjabi, “Sir, eh… (edited) meri maasi de putt thori na haege! (Sir, these… [edited] chaps are hardly my blessed aunt’s children!). Bana recalled that Virender’s face broke into a broad smile, in spite of all the prevailing tension.

    All the starting signs of the final portion of “Operation Vijay” were of grim portent. It was literally darkness at noon, Bana recalled. The heavy, persistent snow fall and the poor ambient light conditions made you wonder if it was day or night. On top of that, the Pakistanis knew something was going on because of the artillery shelling that we had started from the gun areas in the base camp to make them put their head down and also to divert their attention. Quaid, as Bana and his men well knew, was an impregnable glacier fortress with ice walls 1500 feet high on two sides. Naib Subedar Bana Singh led his men through an extremely difficult and hazardous route, climbing in near darkness through a snowstorm. He inspired them by his indomitable courage and leadership.

    There was a single, deep bunker on the top, Bana recalled. The Pakistanis must have become complacent because of the foul weather; the heavy snowfall; their success in warding the previous two efforts by the Indians to capture the post, and, not the least that the Pakistani soldiers, particularly the SSG under their boastful Brigade commander had come to believe that they were ten feet tall. He and his five men were therefore able to close up to the bunker. Bana opened the entrance door, threw his grenades inside and closed the doors… His men set up their Light Machine Gun on single shot. In that extreme climate, the automatic weapon could fire only single shot… After the short but intense close quarter battle that took place, a total of six Pakistanis were killed, with two or three having been bayoneted. Perhaps there were more SSG personnel who may have fallen to their deaths in their effort to escape the Indians bullets, grenades and bayonets. Too much was happening for anyone to have a clear recall. What Bana recalled with a personal sense of loss still readable on his face 21 years after the operation was that the Pakistanis, on realizing that the post was lost, started shelling it with their viciously effective air-burst ammunition. One of Bana’s brave hearts, Sepoy Om Raj had his hand blown off; surgically amputated. In spite of Bana’s best efforts to save his life, bad weather and visibility as well as the intense shelling colluded. Sepoy Om Raj passed away, being awarded a Vir Chakra posthumously. Bana recalls that, following the protocol and ethos of the Indian Army towards the dead, the bodies of the six SSG personnel were brought back by him and later handed over to Pakistan during a flag meeting at Kargil.

    On the morning of 27 June 1987, the Brigade Commander, Brig CS Nugyal who had intimately been involved with the planning and execution of the operation, arrived by helicopter at the battalions launch base. Fiercely hugging Bana and his soldiers, he announced that hereafter, the 22143 feet (6749 metres) above sea level post so brazenly taken away from Pakistan by Naib Subedar Bana Singh and his men, would be called Bana Top in his honour; a decision that a grateful nation and a very proud Army indeed, have accepted for posterity.

    Naib Subedar Bana Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry medal in India, for conspicuous bravery and leadership under most adverse conditions. “Operation Rajiv” overall resulted in award of one MVC (for Subedar Sansar Singh), seven Vir Chakra’s and one Sena Medal, besides the PVC. 8 JAK LI had reason to be proud; very proud indeed, for their stupendous skill at arms in the toughest high altitude terrain the world has ever known so far.

    CITATION

    NB SUB BANA SINGH, 8 JAK LI (JC-155825)


    Naib Subedar Bana Singh volunteered to be a member of a task force constituted in June 1987 to clear an intrusion by an adversary in the Siachen Glacier area at an altitude of 21,000 feet. The post was virtually an impregnable glacier fortress with ice walls, 1500 feet high, on both sides. Naib Subedar Bana Singh led his men through an extremely difficult and hazardous route. He inspired them by his indomitable courage and leadership. The brave Naib Subedar and his men crawled and closed in on the adversary. Moving from trench to trench, lobbing hand grenades, and charging with the bayonet, he cleared the post of all intruders. Naib Subedar Bana Singh displayed the most conspicuous gallantry and leadership under the most adverse conditions.

    In March 2008, the son of Honorary Capt Bana Singh, PVC, passed out from the JAK LI Regimental Centre, with his proud father watching.

    Srinagar: Two decades after his inspiring heroism in the shuddering heights of Siachen, Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Bana Singh, Param Vir Chakra (PVC), of the 8th Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) has sent his son to defend the frontiers in Kashmir

    Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Bana Singh was awarded the PVC for his heroism in the recapturing of a post from the Pakistan Army on June 23, 1987, in the Siachen Glacier (Jammu and Kashmir). He was a Naib Subedar at the time of the military operation.



    The post was named after him as Bana Post and now he is his son's idol as the 18-year old, Rajinder Singh, gets ready to defend India's border.



    And Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Bana Singh, PVC, was present at his son's passing out parade at JAKLI Regimental Centre on the outskirts of Srinagar.

    Siachen has taken many a lives of brave soldiers of the Indian Army in this highest battle zone in the world. An inscription on the memorial for the war dead at Siachen Base camp reads:


    “Quartered in snow,

    Silent to remain,

    When the bugle calls,

    They shall rise and march again”…



    India has enough brave hearts like Honorary Captain Bana Singh, PVC, to make sure that,

    whenever the Bugle calls, soldiers like him will indeed rise and march again.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 16
  2. Rahul1563

    Rahul1563 FULL MEMBER

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    4 siachen soilder killed 6 SSG commandos..............proud of them...........
     
  3. NKVD

    NKVD BANNED

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    He is tiger of hind:)
     
  4. Armstrong

    Armstrong RETIRED TTA

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  5. PWFI

    PWFI SENIOR MEMBER

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    No when i saw 1984 type massacres, or rape news every each day in world biggest democracy, and i thank god that we are not living with animals and have our own motherland :)
     
  6. vicky sen

    vicky sen FULL MEMBER

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    Good luck with your motherland. :tup: Lets not derail the thread.
    Peace.
     
  7. JanjaWeed

    JanjaWeed ELITE MEMBER

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    Here it is... Hony, Capt, Bana Singh in his own words!

     
  8. JanjaWeed

    JanjaWeed ELITE MEMBER

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  9. Rahul1563

    Rahul1563 FULL MEMBER

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    pakistan should thank Indian army for keeping safe pak soilder's dead body for 12 years which finally handed over during kargil flag meeting......
     
  10. notorious_eagle

    notorious_eagle PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    More Bollywood than reality. But there is no doubt that there were acts of valour and bravery from soldiers of both sides during the Kargil War.
     
  11. Roybot

    Roybot BANNED

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    The incident is not from Kargil war.
     
  12. notorious_eagle

    notorious_eagle PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    Sorry my bad, i meant Siachen. But i stand by my statement, there was a lot of valour and bravery showed by soldiers from both sides in both Siachen and Kargil.
     
  13. Bombermanx1

    Bombermanx1 FULL MEMBER

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    did you even care to read the article? if you did? then you know whose valor won Siachen!
     
  14. Icarus

    Icarus RETIRED MOD

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    Can't really say, we've got citations and rewards so obviously it happened, however I think it is written a bit too dramatically, the literary prowess takes the focus away from the operation itself. The part about a vertical climb during snow, I will contest because any one who has served in Siachen will know that when nature's dumping snow (because that's literally what happens there, feet upon feet of snow is dumped unto you) it's impossible to walk much rather climb a mountain, a cliff face as being claimed being further difficult. The visibility drops to the point that you could hit yourself square in the face and never see your hand and if you're climbing, the foot holes are covered by loose snow so you have no idea where to step and even when you do step, you have a hard time balancing out because the snow is crushed against buried features and old ice to a new shape which twists the foot in a random direction.
     
  15. third eye

    third eye ELITE MEMBER

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    Yes, the terrain is hostile beyond description.

    The feet turn into lead and it takes a herculean effort to put one foot beyond another.

    What one can vouch for is the veracity of the citation.