On This Day : December 4 1915 | Longewala Battle
Guns firing, tanks blowing up, and soldiers crying out in pain is a classic depiction of chaotic army battles. Alongside physical pain, soldiers experience massive tension and psychological torture at the battlefield. If army men couple their brave hearts with a sturdy mindset, then the odds of victory land in their favor. One such exemplary mix of valor and intelligence was portrayed at the Battle of Longewala, 1971—when Kuldip Singh Chandpuri led a battalion of 120 A-class soldiers against the massive army of 2000 Pakistani soldiers
The place of interest
Longewala is a border town in Thar desert near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The army of Lt. Kuldip Singh was commanding this small post because on the other side Pakistani forces were awaiting an opportunity to attack and takeover Jaisalmer.
On the night of December 4, 1971, Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri and 120 men were stationed behind a sand dune in Longewala, Indian Pakistan Border.
They had rifles, eight machine guns, four 81mm mortars, one jeep, and one recoilless rifle. The Indian army observed noises across the border that suggested a heavy platoon approach. As it was dark, the moon was the only source of light that lit the scene. When sources confirmed that Pakistan indeed was approaching, Lt. Kuldeep Singh contacted the headquarters and asked for reinforcements. He was informed that it would take six hours for backup to be available and was advised to retreat to a nearby town, Ramgarh.They were subjected to a heavy Pakistani artillery bombardment, and then they were attacked by an infantry battalion with 2000 soldiers and 45 main battle tanks.
Under artillery bombardment and in the dark, the Indians laid a minefield.Then they waited until the Pakistanis were only 100 feet away.The Indians had several PIAT anti tank-missile launchers. From their position on top of the sand dune, the Indians were able to hit the tanks on the TOP of the turret, where the armor is thinnest.With their PIATS and the recoilless rifle, the Indians rapidly destroyed twelve main battle tanks.They had also laid barbed wire to FOOL the Pakistanis into thinking there was a minefield in front of them.The Pakistanis stopped for two hours while engineers searched for mines.Finding none, the Pakistanis then marched confidently into the REAL minefield.Burning vehicles provided enough light for Major Chandpuri to direct Indian artillery fire.When the sun came up, the Indian air force showed up and began bombing. By noon, the Pakistanis had called off the attack.They'd lost over 100 vehicles, including half of their tanks.
Aftermath of the battle
120 soldiers against 2000, sounds daunting. But what’s surprising is that India only lost 2 soldiers and 1 tank while Pakistan lost 200 soldiers and 36 tanks, in the battle. Kuldeep Singh was applauded for his strategic win and was conferred with the Mahavir Chakra for showing great courage.
Tribute to the inspirational valor & courage of Brig. Kuldip Singh Chandpuri MVC, VSM and the soldiers of Punjab 26 regiment. Brig. Chandpuri will always be remembered for his exemplary leadership in the fierce Battle of Longewala during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War. Longewala hosted a fray that speaks of sheer fearlessness and heroism of Indian soldiers. It’s a perfect example of how a fight can be smoothly won if you club your fires with a little strategy.This battle was one of a kind and deservingly fixed a spot in Indian history.
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