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Boltonian
28 Jun 06,, 18:40
Our fallen heroes avenged






By TOM NEWTON-DUNN
Defence Editor

TROOPS avenged the killing of two British comrades yesterday with a ferocious counter-attack that left up to THIRTY Afghan rebels dead.

Warplanes, attack helicopters and artillery spearheaded the blitz after the bloodthirsty fanatics ambushed a special forces patrol.

Dozens of Taliban were wounded during the huge 90-minute night battle — in which one of their senior commanders was killed.

Others were wiped out as they fled — pursued by British troops, Apache gunships and RAF Harrier jets.

One of the two Britons who died in the ambush was a member of the Special Boat Service. The other was from the newly-formed Special Forces Support Group.


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41581000/jpg/_41581778_insignia203203.jpg
Insignia ... Special Forces Support Group



They were in a 30-strong patrol taking four captured Taliban bombers to base in southern Afghanistan when all hell broke loose.

Up to 75 heavily-armed fanatics were lying in wait as the convoy approached a valley in rebel-held mountains. One of the dead soldiers is feared to have been shot by a sniper.

The troops called for back-up as the rebels pinned them down with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

A platoon of 30 Gurkhas raced to their rescue — but one of their Land Rovers was immediately hit by an RPG. That left no option but to call in the heavy mob. Paras shelled the enemy with artillery as warplanes screamed overhead.

A huge US B1 bomber was also scrambled. The battle was one of the most intense so far in a mission by 3,500 troops launched six weeks ago to bring security to lawless Helmand province.


http://www.himalayan-imports.com/BritTraining3.jpg
30 British Army Gurkhas took part in the attack, along with RAF Apache gunships and Harrier Jets.



A commando injured in the ambush near the hotspot town of Sangin was evacuated to a field hospital at the British desert HQ Camp Bastion. Claims that the convoy was vulnerable because it was using open-topped vehicles were rubbished last night.

Senior military sources said Special Forces preferred their speed and manoeuvrability to slower armoured vehicles.

Last night the names of the troops killed were being withheld until their families had been informed. Defence Secretary Des Browne offered his “deepest sympathy” to the men’s loved ones as he attended a Veterans’ Day event in London.

AN SAS hero forced to quit after suffering terrible head injuries from a mortar explosion during an exercise launched a court battle with the MoD for £4million compensation yesterday.


thesun.co.uk

Confed999
28 Jun 06,, 21:39
Chew 'em up guys!

Tronic
28 Jun 06,, 22:46
Gurkhas are dangerous!!! During the Falkland wars, at one instance didn't the Argentinians surrender simply upon hearing that the British forces had brought in the Gurkhas???

pdf27
28 Jun 06,, 23:25
Gurkhas are dangerous!!! During the Falkland wars, at one instance didn't the Argentinians surrender simply upon hearing that the British forces had brought in the Gurkhas???
Yup. However, that had a lot to do with Argentine propaganda that sought to portray them as bloodthirsty mercenaries and quite probably cannibals to boot in an effort to hurt the UK internationally. That didn't seem to have much of an effect, but it apparently did terrify their own conscripts into surrendering very early on when the Gurkhas finally got into action.
It's worth pointing out at this point however that the war was virtually over by the time the Gurkhas got into the action - IIRC stanley surrendered the same day.

Confed999
29 Jun 06,, 00:42
Yup. However, that had a lot to do with Argentine propaganda that sought to portray them as bloodthirsty mercenaries and quite probably cannibals to boot in an effort to hurt the UK internationally.
Funny, that would make me not want to surrender. ;)

Parihaka
29 Jun 06,, 13:23
Funny, that would make me not want to surrender. ;)
Yep, that was funny :biggrin:

Repatriated Canuck
29 Jun 06,, 17:26
Our fallen heroes avenged







http://www.himalayan-imports.com/BritTraining3.jpg
30 British Army Gurkhas took part in the attack, along with RAF Apache gunships and Harrier Jets.





thesun.co.uk


Now that's a war face!

PubFather
29 Jun 06,, 20:51
Yep, that was funny :biggrin:
The Gurkhas have always had such a place in British military and popular imagination - I remember from GW1 (I wasnt all that old) watching an article on the news how the Gurkhas had their own rations, including goat...

Given the manpower probs in the British army, I'd start recruiting lots more of them, they'd be quite at home in the mountains of Afghanistan...

pdf27
29 Jun 06,, 21:58
The Gurkhas have always had such a place in British military and popular imagination - I remember from GW1 (I wasnt all that old) watching an article on the news how the Gurkhas had their own rations, including goat...

Given the manpower probs in the British army, I'd start recruiting lots more of them, they'd be quite at home in the mountains of Afghanistan...
Not tried it myself, but apparently if you ever find yourself doubting the courage of the Gurkhas just try eating one of their goat curries...
Couple of mates of mine were down at Shorncliffe for a course on tuesday. Apparently it's curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner :eek:

PubFather
29 Jun 06,, 22:01
Ouch.. has logistical implications for toilet roll.... :eek: :redface:

ChrisF202
30 Jun 06,, 00:02
Do they actually carry those knives into combat? Does anyone know when they were last used in a combat situation? WW2 or Korea maybe?

platinum786
30 Jun 06,, 00:20
more innocent men will be killed for our country unless real acion is tkaen to stablize Afghanistan.

Tronic
30 Jun 06,, 01:53
Do they actually carry those knives into combat? Does anyone know when they were last used in a combat situation? WW2 or Korea maybe?
most recently... Kargil... and yes they carry those knives into combat.. they're called the "Khukris"

dalem
30 Jun 06,, 03:31
How come the Brits are allowed "revenge" for (no offense) a couple of guys and we were urged restraint for 3,000 on 9/11?

The world, the press, and all of the bullsh!t hypocrites and hand-wringers can eat my a$$. Time for some killin'.

-dale

pdf27
30 Jun 06,, 07:56
How come the Brits are allowed "revenge" for (no offense) a couple of guys and we were urged restraint for 3,000 on 9/11?

The world, the press, and all of the bullsh!t hypocrites and hand-wringers can eat my a$$. Time for some killin'.

-dale
We have a better PR system (we have after all had a few more centuries to get it right). Watch and learn :tongue:

OK, seriously for a change this is an article in the Sun. It's definately part of the gutter press so will always exaggerate everything - see for instance the way they wrote up the "bayonet charge" in Al-Amarah a couple of years ago. Everyone is always a "hero", "villain", etc.

Archer
03 Jul 06,, 10:41
more innocent men will be killed for our country unless real acion is tkaen to stablize Afghanistan.

Yup, lets roll over for the ISI and install their puppets in.

Archer
03 Jul 06,, 10:47
Do they actually carry those knives into combat? Does anyone know when they were last used in a combat situation? WW2 or Korea maybe?


Kargil.

This is a first hand account by Col Lalit Rai, so I have posted it as is. Not PC or tame at parts, but hats off to these brave men from far away Nepal & their Indian counterparts (Gurkha reg recruits from Indian Gurkhas as well) for safeguarding the Indian republic.

http://www.cottonians70-71.com/lalitrai-1.htm

I take the liberty of posting the entire excerpt since the link may be down at times (its up now)

Col. Lalit Rai (Vir Chakra) 1964-1971 Pope House
Undiluted Heroism


I am third generation in the army and that too in the same Regiment. After I was commissioned, I joined 11 GORKHA RIFLES, the Regiment that my grandfather and father belonged to - it's like a tradition. I got commissioned into 7/11 GORKHA RIFLES. This incidentally, was not the battalion that I led into battle. The battalion I was destined to lead, into a fierce series of battles during 'OP VIJAY' was 1/11 GORKHA RIFLES, the one my father had been commissioned into about 42 years ago…
I had been posted to various places, served in every type of terrain conceivable - from deserts, mountains, jungles, ravines, plains, high altitudes, super-high altitudes - you name it. And after various instructional and staff appointments, took over the command of the 17 RASHTRIYA RIFLES( MARATHA LI ), a newly raised battalion in J&K, designed to combat insurgency and militancy. Command of a RASHTRIYA RIFLES Battalion is considered a very tough and a challenging assignment. I had promptly agreed to the offer for the command of 17 RR. I took it as a big challenge, firstly, because the troops were from the MARATHA Regiment, mostly hailing from in and around Pune, quite different from the troops I had been commanding throughout my career till then, and secondly, commanding a battalion in a militant infested area has its fair share of risks and tensions. However it did not take me long to realise that the Gorkha and the Maratha troops were so much like each other in so many ways, as events and achievements of the battalion would unfold later and substantiate my claim. I enjoyed and loved every moment of my command tenure with my MARATHA boys and we hit it off like a house on fire.

For my battalion I had designed a memento using a grenade as my model. A Grenade looks so simple, but if you pull out the pin, you know what happens, right? Simple, but Lethal: that's the motto (which graces the base of the memento) I adopted for my battalion, because that's what it was! This has since become the Motto for the 17 RASHTRIYA RIFLES, whom I'd christened the 'Stormy Seventeen' because we created a virtual storm for the militants, thereby making it extremely difficult for them to survive in our area of responsibility. We'd created some sort of a record there, by eliminating the maximum number of militants, and getting a sizeable number of them to surrender. Since our area of responsibility was very large with hundreds of villages under us, everyday threw up different types of problems and challenges. All these incidents added richly to our experience. This kept me quite engrossed and extremely busy, throughout my tenure there.

OPERATION VIJAY happened in Kargil, while I was busy combating militants elsewhere in the same state. This was somewhere in the first week of May 2001. By the time the actual fighting developed, it was almost the end of May and by now people had realised that the Pak army was fully involved and it wasn't just some militants. 1/11
GORKHA RIFLES had the privilege of being the first battalion to be rushed in for 'OP VIJAY'. At that point of time, my 'Colonel Of The Regiment' (a very senior officer of the Regiment is appointed as the Colonel Of The Regiment, to oversee regimental issues as also do the command planning for the battalions of the Regiment. He is considered to be the father figure of the Regiment) contacted me. He said, `The previous Commanding Officer of 1/11 GR has taken premature retirement and gone, the battalion is presently in the thick of battle,' and asked, 'Would you like to take over the fight and do something about it?' Lt Gen J B S Yadava, AVSM, VrC, VSM, who is presently the Deputy Chief Of Army Staff, was also my commanding officer in 7/11 GR when I was a young officer. I was his adjutant and I had really learnt a lot from this veteran and Vir Chakra award winner of the 1971 Indo-Pak war. He probably had faith in me and was banking on me to do something for the battalion in that difficult hour.

I didn't hesitate; I said, `definitely.' But he also added, 'I know it is unfair on my part to ask you to take up this tough assignment, especially when the Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and the troops are new to you.' (Remember, I was coming back to the Regiment after serving with the Rashtriya Rifles). Even the terrain was absolutely new to me, the information about the enemy at that point of time was not adequate; things were not all that clear. I wasn't exactly in a very enviable situation. I had however convinced myself that I would take a chance. I was anyway combating uncertainty day and night. Earlier, I had this huge guesthouse to myself in Doda district and every night I used to sleep in a different room, as we used to be under rocket and machine-gun attacks regularly. In fact, when days passed by without some firing or some incident, I used to feel that something was missing! All that of course changed later, as they never even dared to venture anywhere near us. We had successfully managed to dominate our area of responsibility fully, after months of relentless and successful operations against the militant groups.

Once I accepted the offer to command 1/11 GR, they moved me by helicopter within 48 hours and dropped me bang in the middle of the battle-zone. Many operations were going on in full swing at various places in the front. The moment I landed at the base, there was heavy shelling by the enemy artillery and my reception party ran helter-skelter for cover. My reception was now complete with the enemy also chipping in with their artillery shelling. All of us, of course had to dive for cover, this gave me an indication of the difficult times that lay ahead of us.

In a month's time through vigorous effort, I improved and consolidated my battalions posture against the enemy. I got to know the boys, visited every piquet and reconnoitered the complete area of responsibility. By end June I had learnt a lot about the enemy and his capabilities…and was now adequately prepared, given the situation. In the Batalik sector where my battalion was now located, the terrain was really tough and unforgiving, compounded with the most inhospitable weather. After due deliberation and reconnaissance everyone, right upto the highest commander, had more or less assessed that if the formidable and dominating enemy position at Khalubar was to be captured, the complete area would become more or less untenable by the enemy. But the problem was that Khalubar was located at an altitude of 17500 metres above mean sea level, with the enemy sitting well entrenched, with lethal and sophisticated weapons in a dominating position, it was also located deep in the heart of the enemy defences. This implied that the attacker would be under enemy fire right from the word go. The attack would also have to be made uphill under accurate and intense enemy fire. The next logical question was 'who is going to capture it and how? When I volunteered for this seemingly impossible task, people thought I had gone bonkers!

To cut the story short, I led my battalion to battle from the front, into one of the fiercest battles of 'OP VIJAY'. As a commanding officer you are expected to be sufficiently forward with the troops, but not actually lead the assault like I did. The main role of the Commanding Officer is to plan and coordinate well and provide good leadership at all times. Being new I really had no choice but to lead physically from the front on that fateful day of July 1999.

It took us 14 hours of extremely torturous and dangerous marching with heavy loads of arms, ammunition, winter clothing, and other special equipment for negotiating the steep snow covered slopes, rations, etc. to reach the objective. Throughout the move we came under heavy enemy small arms fire and artillery shelling. The intensity and the accuracy of the enemy's fire grew even as we laboriously plodded our way up through snow and sharp jagged rocks at steep inclines. The prevalent temperature at this time was about minus 29 degrees Celsius. A real marrow chilling temperature, which numbs your whole body and deadens the senses.

We had started the attack with a few hundred people. We had closed in to about 600 yards of the enemy position, when the firing became very intense and effective and it seemed impossible to proceed further against this curtain of lead and fire from the tracer bullets. You could see the bullets and rockets hurtling towards us with fearsome intensity and sound. My heart still shudders when I remember the heart wrenching screams and cries of my boys who fell under this wilting fire from the enemy's heavy machine gun as also from his Air Defence gun. The sight of my boys battered, torn and ripped apart by machine gun fire, bleeding profusely, still haunts me, and I often wake up sweating and gasping for air from such nightmares. It was a real test for me, egging the boys on, towards almost certain death, from effective and intensive enemy fire. To close in with the enemy and finish him off before he finished us off. At this point of time I focused myself totally to the immediate task ahead of me - to capture the objective and nothing else. All thought of the family and home was totally blocked out, to rule out even one percent chance of any weakening in my resolve. We pushed ahead despite heavy casualties with approximately 30 - 40 soldiers whom I could muster. The others were either injured or pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Maximum casualties were being caused by fire coming from Khalubar top while the other was from a flank, which, we later named 'Bunker Area'. I decided to capture the top, with the 40 men I could muster, and sent Capt Manoj Pandey to capture and silence Bunker Area with approximately 30 men. We charged up towards the enemy position, chopping enemy heads enroute, and succeeded in capturing the top. When I took a quick head count on top, there were only eight of us left, who were fit enough to fight.


It was literally an uphill task, almost like a scene straight out of Charge of the Light Brigade! The gradients we had to negotiate were between 75° and 80°! It was snowing and extremely cold. The rock that we were climbing was of the jagged variety that chops you to the quick if you make one false move! To top this worst-case scenario possible, there was that enemy fire coming on us right from the top! The enemy could see our every move from the top!

But my Gorkha boys really proved their worth in gold and were unstoppable; I have to doff my hat to my boys! Where normal guys would have had a tough time even walking in those altitudes, my boys sprinted! They charged up and when we were at close quarters with the enemy, my boys did what they had been dying to do for so long, they removed their khukris and started chopping enemy heads. As we charged up, I could see the heads rolling down. When the ***** saw that - they couldn't hold themselves any longer. They just got up and started running away. It was a sight to behold! 5 ft tall Gorkhas jumping up and chopping off the heads of these strapping, 6 ft tall Pathans, who were fleeing in sheer terror.

So like I mentioned earlier, we were just eight of us, bang in the middle of an enemy position. It became imperative that we hold on to it. It was equally critical for the enemy to push us out because we were not only dominating their replenishment route i.e. for additional arms and ammunition, rations and things like that, but we were also cutting off their route of retreat. So they launched counter attack after counter attack and there I was, with eight chaps holding on resolutely and repulsing attack after attack.

It was almost an impossible task. The enemy would muster up about a platoon (about 30 to 40 troops) and start creeping up slowly and attack us! And with just eight guys, you can imagine just how thin my defense was! Any direction of attack would have only met with one or two rifle fire, however I had all eight guys facing every counter attack. And that was only possible because on a parallel mountain spur, a few kilometers away, I had my troops holding defences against the enemy. So the company commander, whose company was on the other mountain spur, was watching our desperate stand through a pair of binoculars and he became my eyes from that side.

He would tell me, 'Sir, there are now 40 chaps to your left coming at you through the big boulder…' and we would shoot those guys down. And I'm pretty sure that the ***** haven't yet figured out as to how we managed to know their exact route up. I'm sure they must have thought that we were almost a company atop this position. Quite a few of us were already injured; I had got a bullet in my leg and splinters in my calf and had begun to bleed profusely. Towards the end, a situation arose where I had only two bullets left with me in my rifle - and that rifle belonged to my dead radio operator. In my hurry and concern for my boys and the task, I had literally taken off in my full uniform and I had even forgotten to remove my red collar dogs. I realized my folly much, much later…when I was in the thick of battle. So when I found out that I was down to the last two bullets, I made a quick resolve, one bullet for myself when it comes to that. As for the other one, I decided to take one **** chap with me before I went.

My boys were also quite tensed up, when they all realised that our moment of reckoning was finally staring us in the eye. I mean, when you realize that your death is arriving within a few minutes time, it becomes that much more agonising and difficult. On the other hand when you don't know, and death comes to you suddenly, it is okay and is probably a part of life. But here it was approaching us in another few minutes…. so I quickly bid a mental goodbye to everyone I held dear to me. I was suddenly woken up from my reverie by the crackle of my radio set. It was my officer from the other mountain position, with a frantic message, 'Sir, I can see about 35 ***** moving up for another counter attack…" I thought to myself, 'Boy! This is it; the moment has finally come to say 'adieu'

My boys also looked at me for some reaction, I could feel the palpable tension in the air. I have always believed: a dash of humour can really relieve a lot of tension in your life. I had to alleviate their tension quickly and firm their resolve to fight to the end. The ***** - were cursing and using the choicest of abuses even as they advanced, I gave it back to them in equal measure, with all the Punjabi that I knew. I turned to my boys and said, ' Dushman tumhare commanding officer Saab ko gaali de rahe hain aur tum log chup-chaap baithe ho?!' Now funny thing is that a Gorkha Johnny doesn't know how to give gaalis, and as far as discipline and obedience goes, he is unmatchable.

So they looked at each other and I could read the look in their eyes, it said, 'Saab ne hukum diya hai toh gaali dena hi padega. They looked around and wondered, who could perform this difficult task, and finally nominated one amongst them to give the gaalis. He got up and bellowed seriously, Pakistani kutta, tum idhar aayega toh tumhara mundi kaat degaa! I turned around and told him, 'The ***** will surely die…but they will die laughing that Gyan Bahadur can't even give proper gaalis !' They all broke into laughter and that kind of revved them up and got their josh back up again…and they all said, 'Abo tah kukri nikalera taeslai thik paarchhu… (We will take out our khukris now and sort him out) we'll fight…'



(My translation: Expletive, If you come here, I will cut off your head)
I radioed the Artillery Officer attached with us, located on the other mountain spur of 'Kukarthang' and asked him whether he knew where I was, and he replied in the affirmative. I then asked him to use me as a reference and give me several rounds of rapid-fire support. He was shocked! He tentatively wondered whether I really wanted him to direct our own Artillery fire, approximately 100-odd rounds on my head. We are talking about the Bofors round with its devastating effect - its such a powerful gun! I had to take a chance; I preferred to die there by own gunfire, rather than get captured by the enemy. And by now, even the enemy knew that our ammunition was running low…and as the seconds ticked by, the enemy crept closer and closer 40 yards…35 yards…25 yards…and … I yelled at him and said that I didn't have the time and to just do what he was told! He did and I could hear the deadly whistling screech of the shells (usually the fore bearers of death) coming at us, from the Gun position several kilometres behind us. My boys and I took shelter in the cracks of the huge boulders and the 100-odd rounds thundered and crashed all around us with a beautiful but deadly blast of shrapnel and flame. The temperatures suddenly rose due to the burning cordite and for a few seconds, we were engulfed in comfortable warmth, in otherwise the prevalent freezing cold. We could literally see the ***** (who were advancing in the open), being blown to smithereens right in front of us. They didn't know what had hit them. Several times they tried to close in for the kill, since we had no ammunition left, but with the help of our accurate and prompt artillery gunners we sent them reeling back with heavy casualties.

We held on to the position for 36 hours without a wink of sleep or a drop of water to drink. We had not eaten a morsel of food for over 48 hours and were weak because of hunger and the freezing cold. After 36 hours or so, we shifted our position slightly away, as a deceptive measure. Meanwhile my second-in-command moved up with the reinforcements and we finally consolidated our position. KHALUBAR finally was ours. Victory gained after such great sacrifice of my brave boys was perhaps the sweetest thing for me, and nothing, repeat nothing, can ever better that.
As correctly assessed by all of us, once Khalubar fell, the ***** ran from all the adjoining areas! We subsequently routed them from 11 formidable positions and we quickly pushed them across the LOC - line of control. The 'GORKHAS' had created such terror and dread in the minds of the Pakistanis that when one of the Prisoners of war (PWs) was captured; his FIRST request was to see a GORKHA soldier. I asked one of my boys to go to him and pull out his khukri, the moment he saw the ****. It was a funny sight - a huge Pathan cringing in sheer dread when confronted with one of the world's most renowned fighting machines - THE GORKHA SOLDIER.

The nations highest gallantry award, the PARAM VIR CHAKRA was awarded posthumously to young Capt. Manoj Pandey…for his valour and supreme sacrifice in the battle of Khalubar. For its sterling performance, the battalion was awarded a unit citation. We also earned the title of 'THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE' for having won a Param Vir Chakra and an Ashok Chakra (Lt Puneet Dutt had earlier won the AC in J&K in '9. For individual acts of bravery we won a bagful of gallantry awards. The President awarded me the Vir Chakra for inspirational leadership and conspicuous bravery of a very high order.

- Col. Lalit Rai, VrC

pdf27
03 Jul 06,, 18:10
Back on the original topic, an excellent article from an "embedded" reporter with 3 Para can be found here. This was taking place at the same time as the fighting in Sangin when the two guys got killed.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2252723,00.html

Tronic
03 Jul 06,, 18:21
Archer, what other armed forces do the Gurkhas serve (apart from the Indian and the British)???

pdf27
03 Jul 06,, 19:09
Archer, what other armed forces do the Gurkhas serve (apart from the Indian and the British)???
The Singapore Police have a Gurkha unit (acting as police, not infantry :tongue: ) but I think that's it. Assuming you don't count those in the Nepalese army of course...

Tronic
03 Jul 06,, 20:26
The Singapore Police have a Gurkha unit (acting as police, not infantry :tongue: ) but I think that's it. Assuming you don't count those in the Nepalese army of course...

yea, the Gurkhas form the Special Forces branch of the Singapore Police...

Archer
05 Jul 06,, 09:34
Archer, what other armed forces do the Gurkhas serve (apart from the Indian and the British)???

As a proper distinct unit with their own ethnic identity, India, Britain, Nepal, Singapore (police), but there are many Gurkha "private contractors" who work for assorted security firms, and as well as in different armed forces.

Edit: PDF said it