Army Celebrates 74th Armour Day
Army Statement: Armour Day is celebrated on May 1 every year to commemorate the commencement of mechanisation of the Indian avalry regiments. On this date in 1938, the Scinde Horse became the first regiment to shed their horses and to be equipped with tanks. The first such equipment comprised Vickers light tanks and Chevrolet armoured cars.
The Indian Armoured Corps was equipped with comparatively modern Sherman tanks (M4) of American origin in 1943. Regiments so equipped formed the spearhead of the 14th Army during its pursuit of the defeated Japanese in the liberation of Burma. Post-independence, Indian armour lost one third of its units and training establishments to Pakistan with the Indian share being only twelve regiments. It was these regiments which nurtured the Corps and helped expand to the force that it has evolved into today.
Expansion and modernisation of the Armoured Corps was initiated post independence with Centurions Mark VII and AMX-13 light tanks. Since then, the Armoured Corps has operated the indigenous Vijayanta tanks, the Russian T-54 and T-55, T-72 and T-90 tanks and indigenous MBT Arjun.
An ideal man-machine interface led to a sterling performance in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 when the sophisticated Pakistani Patton tanks were decimated by own Centurian tanks to form the famous ‘Patton Graveyard, near Khemkaran in Punjab. Lt Col AB Tarapore of ‘The Poona Horse’ was posthumously honoured with the Param Vir Chakra for his gallant action in the Shakargarh Bulge. The Corps proved its mettle yet again gloriously in the 1971 war with Pakistan wherein tanks were at the forefront of action in the plains sector on the Western and Eastern fronts. 2nd Lt Arun Khetrapal fought gallantly and made the supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Basantar River earning for his regiment ‘The Poona Horse’, yet another Param Vir Chakra. The core ethos of displaying exemplary courage in the face of fearful odds is amply demonstrated by the award of two Param Vir Chakras, 15 Maha Vir Chakras and 60 Vir Chakras amongst a large number of gallantry and distinguished service awards bestowed upon officers and men of the Armoured Corps.
The Corps contributes substantially to the counter insurgency operations at all times. This includes service with the Rashtriya Rifles, Assam Rifles and other PMF. The Corps is also making its contribution in its share for world peace by deploying a contingent to the UN peace keeping mission in Lebanon, apart from individual representations.