Saturday, October 20, 2012

50 Years Since The 1962 India-China War

It was on this day 50 years ago that the first Chinese mortars fell -- in the Eastern sector at Namka Chu, and in the North, at Aksai Chin's Chipchap Valley. The war would end in just over a month.

To me, and I suspect to many, the most arresting story of the 1962 border war between India and China was the Battle of Rezang La in Ladakh on Nov 18. The painting here is an impression of the scene, though there were no sun-dappled ridge-lines or meadows -- just terrible cold and howling wind. It was here that the 13 Kumaon regiment's Charlie company, led by Major Shaitan Singh, fought off unending waves of Chinese forces. 114 of the 118 men died fighting, managing to kill many times more Chinese troops, who were better armed, greater in number, and who arrived with full-fledged artillery support. Major Shaitan Singh, who was killed in the battle, was awarded India's highest war-time gallantry decoration, the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for his action. The war ended only days later with a unilateral ceasefire by the Chinese. But the Battle of Rezang La remains, to this day, one of the most astonishing feats of bravery against impossible, suicidal odds.

A day of remembrance of those who were lost in the 1962 war. If we remember them at no other time.

23 comments:

shiva.gopal.reddy said...

Salute to the brave soldiers.

Anonymous said...

Battle of Thermopylae... of modern Republic of India...

Anonymous said...

one of the highest example for the act of bravery.

Int64 said...

RIP and salute to those brave souls

Anonymous said...

Jai Hind and My Salute To The Brave Soldiers

Anonymous said...

@Harsh you are way right...actually in Chusul sector where Rezang La is situated your mother was getting gang banged by the Chinese...you might have a problem in identifying your father...thats why you favored chinese so that they'll let u know whoz ur daddy is ...

R said...

Shiv, yeh Harsh @ 7:47 ko zaraa laat maar ke nikaalna yahaan se. Shiv, why do you allow such crap to be posted on your posts?????? Yeh saala Pakistani MC pataa nahi kahaan se aa gaya hai! Ch*t*ya s*al*!

pankaj said...

china is world's unbelievable country & it want 1650 ac map of china and want whole chines language area r chines land

Anup said...

RIP and salute to those brave soldiers

Fauji said...

@Harsh-घर में बैठकर लिखना बहुत आसान है और गोली झेलना बहुत मुश्किल.
धिक्कार है! जिन्होंने जान दे दी उनकी शहादत को ऐसे कम कर आँक रहे हो.
जिस दिन एक भी दुश्मन सैनिक को मार गिराना उस दिन इस तरह की बात करना. जब सामने से शैल आकर गिरता है तो होश ठिकाने आ जाते हैं.

Anonymous said...

Shiv, Thank you very much for writing this post. Most of this generation does know of the great sacrifice that the Indian Army made in the most challenging of circumstances (internal/government & external/China).

Anonymous said...

@harsh 7:47 am, I have read somewhere that after this battle the chinese announced on their radio about heavy casualties. I think anon @ 7:50 am is trying to point you in that direction.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget CQMH Abdul Hamid PVC, the hero of Khem Karan 1965, fought earlier in 1962 at Namka Chu as well.

www.bharatgaurav.com said...

@Harish He has no idea what a battle is even today the ridge is with us and by the way dead people don't count any body's dead Major Shaitan Singh PVC was martyred = Saheed (for people like you died fighting)and where is it written that the odds were x 10 (a sad and a bad comment just for the heck of it in case you are an Indian)

Anonymous said...

Soldiers shed blood while politicians suck blood. Salute to thebarave hearts who gave up their precious life for others. How many rebirths we may take it is not possible to repay their sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

Chinese Casualties and losses

16 Killed
55 Wounded

They did a post-battle clean up.

Mr. RA said...

RIP and salute to the brave Sons of India.

India must have learnt abundant of lessons from their defeat in China war and hope those lessons will be applied judiciously in the next wars. Active and direct use of the Air Force is obviously and primarily one of them.

Ram said...

@ Harsh. The counts given there are the Indian knights who dies fighting. I dont think the commentary has given any count of Chinese deaths except for saying "many times more". THis is possible since the chinese arrived as human waves. I am sure the numbers is X10 as your ridiculous statement.

This is classic example of how an Indian foot soldier has always stood up to his countrys trust bestowed in him. Jai Hind

Ram said...

Battle of Walong

This was the only battle of the war in which an Indian unit attacked the Chinese, rather than defending. On 14 November 1962, 6 Kumaon single-handedly attacked and captured Chinese defenses in the Walong sector, Arunachal Pradesh without any artillery or aerial support.[7]

The Chinese retaliated with wave after wave of human bodies and artillery. The Kumaonis were vastly outnumbered by over 10 to 1, but held the ground and repulsed every attack until all their ammunition was exhausted, without any logistical support. They then engaged in hand-to-hand combat, and fought to the last man and bullet. Five times as many Chinese soldiers died in the battle. The Chinese succeeded in retaking the defences when there was no Kumaoni left standing.

Five Vir Chakras were awarded to 6 Kumaon soldiers for the battle; the Battalion celebrates November 14 as Walong Day.

Ram said...

Major Shaitan Singh citation for PVC for Battle of Rezang La.
Major Shaitan Singh was commanding a company of an infantry battalion deployed at Rezang La in the Chushul sector at a height of about 17,000 feet. The locality was isolated from the main defended sector and consisted of five platoon-defended position. On 18 November 1962, the Chinese forces subjected the company position to heavy artillery, mortar and small arms fire and attacked it in overwhelming strength in several successive waves. Against heavy odds, our troops beat back successive waves of enemy attack. During the action, Major Shaitan Singh dominated the scene of operations and moved at great personal risk from one platoon post to another, sustaining the morale of his hard-pressed platoon posts. While doing so he was seriously wounded but continued to encourage and lead his men who, following his brave example, fought gallantly and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. For every man lost to us, the enemy lost four or five. When Major Shaitan Singh fell disabled by wounds in his arms and abdomen, his men tried to evacuate him but they came under heavy machine-gun fire. Major Shaitan Singh then ordered his men to leave him to his fate in order to save their lives.

Major Shaitan Singh’s supreme courage, leadership and exemplary devotion to duty inspired his company to fight almost to the last man.

Capt. Ajit Vadakayil said...

Hi,
Punch into google search WHY INDIA LOST THE SINO INDIAN WAR OF 1962- VADAKAYIL
There is more to all this than meets the eye.
Know the naked truth. We must NOT make the same mistakes again.
Be shocked!
Capt ajit vadakayil
..

Anonymous said...

Captian Vadakayil, with all due respoect, it's all conspiracy theories based on no facts or proof what so ever. Please be a bit mature in your analysis.

The real sources are Neville Maxwell's 'India's China War' and Colonel Anil Athale's book (official historian of the war). They both have read the Henderson-Brooks-Bhagwat report which is still classified for no reason other than to protect the Nehru family's image.

Parthvader

captainjohann said...

As a person who was at Rezangla in 1964 to recover the bodies of some 8 of our soldiers who were found by me in the sleeping bags inside the bunkers, this account is as usual a bit exaggerated. Our soldiers fought well and I found plenty of empty rounds only in one of the machine gun nests.My assessment was Chinese surprised us as we tend to depend on the OP manned by a single soldier.We were in heigher ground and Chinese were in lower ground at Spamnggur gap post. But the Chinese were well acclimitised to fight at night by climbing surreptiously while we are used to Bukharies and use of OP only which I think still exists.there were no night goggles those days.I think we should learn lessons from this war instead of blaming. It is here publication of the Henderson Brooks report will be an eye opener.May be as the only living person who has visited a forward Chinese border post, they had their OP constructed in such a way that not even a direct 3" mortar will not disable it.Their communication trenches were dug so deep that a sepoyy can walk and some had even a jeep can be driven. All the bunkers and OPs were connected by a land line even in 1960.Our bunkers were made of sand bags and tin sheeets.our trenches a sepoy has to crawl.Instead of balming we should learn lessons for futurre war and strengthen our forces to fight at night without protective gear and climb hills without any oxygen and these require acclimitisation and stamina.Let us learn.Jai hind