Archive for April, 2020

Yom Kippur War – Israeli Tank Hero …

Posted on April 30, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Im Tirtzu - Zvika Greengold - One of the Yom Kippur War's ...
This is how the one-man 'Zvika Force' stopped an entire tank corps ...
With just one tank, Captain Zvika Greengold withstood the might of ...
צביקה גרינגולד.JPG
 He first spotted Syrian tanks which had broken through and were advancing unopposed — Greengold’s two tanks engaged the T-55s and destroyed six.

Then he spotted another advancing Tank Battalion and engaged it in darkness, moving constantly to fool the Syrians into thinking the opposition was stronger and destroyed or damaged ten armoured vehicles before the confused Syrians withdrew, believing they were facing a sizable force.

Even Greengold’s superiors were deceived; as the fighting wore on and he did not dare report how weak he actually was over the radio for fear it would be intercepted. 

He could only hint “the situation isn’t good”.

At the time when Zvika Force consisted of only one tank, Colonel Yitzhak Ben-Shoham, the brigade commander, assumed it to be “of at least company strength”.

For the next 20 hours, he fought, sometimes alone, sometimes in conjunction with other tanks, displaying an uncanny knack for showing up again and again at the critical moment to tip the scales of a skirmish. 

At 2230, he was joined by eight or ten tanks under Lieutenant Colonel Uzi Mor. After being briefed by Greengold, Mor ordered an advance. Most of his tanks were knocked out by a Syrian force and Mor was seriously wounded, Greengold’s driver was killed, and Greengold’s uniform caught fire.

Greengold took charge of one undamaged tank, while the other two carried away the wounded.  He had to change vehicles “half a dozen times” as his tanks were knocked out.

Greengold recalled in a 2015 Jerusalem Post article that at sunrise, he was part of a force of 14 tanks that engaged an entire Syrian armored division, “made up of some 100 tanks and 40 armored personnel carriers.”

When Nafekh itself came under attack from a fresh force of T 62s he and others rushed over to bolster the defense.

In a lull in the fighting, an exhausted Greengold got out of his latest tank and dropped to the ground, murmuring, “I can’t anymore.”

Afterward, he claimed 20 enemy tanks destroyed – A conservative Israeli estimate put his tally at 60.

WWII – Jun ’44

Michael Wittmann destroyd 15 Tanks. 14 Personnel Carriers n Two Atk Guns of a British Division in an Ambush lasting 15 minutes

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1983-108-29, Michael Wittmann.jpg



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Irrfan Khan – Fare Thee Well …

Posted on April 29, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

For as Long as We Can Watch Films, We Will Remember Irrfan Khan

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Matches Bill Slim’s Tales of ‘Unofficial History’ …

Posted on April 29, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Chetwode Hall Dehradun | Military academy
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Book Review – Waiting for the Barbarians …

Posted on April 28, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Rough Edges: Reading about Collaboration in Captivity

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Van Gogh Museum Tour …

Posted on April 28, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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1965 War – CHAWINDA – Pak Version …

Posted on April 28, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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A Rise … Fall Story …

Posted on April 28, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |


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Ceremonial …

Posted on April 28, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

India Celebrates 71st Republic Day with Pride, All Over – India ...
The Mongolian Armed Forces Ceremonial Band marches during the ...
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Gen Prem Bhagat – Gen Bhimaya Writes …

Posted on April 28, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Lt Gen K J Singh on Twitter: "Tribute to real role model. Victoria ...

It was heartwarming to learn that Gen Bhagat was with the 3/18 RGR in Gallabat.

So was the centenarian Col Inder Singh Rawat, who happened to be in the leading assault section. Col Rawat used to narrate with much gusto about how the assaulting section was held up by the wire obstacles until  Dalbir Sarki, the cobbler, skillfully used his wire cutter to make a gaping hole, through which, the Riflemen rushed forward.

Regimental History Volume 2  gives further details about this battle at Gallabat, a Sudanese village, located near Sudan’s border with Eritrea.

The Battalion was commanded by Skipworth Edward Tayler, who had all along served with  2/18 RGR, and who, while serving on staff at Peshawar, had played a useful role in defusing the situation, when two platoons of A Coy from 2/18 had “mutinied”.

3/18 followed its victory march to Asmara, and Barentu. Unfortunately, Col Tayler was fatally wounded on the eve of the Battle of Keren. The 3/18 lost another commanding officer due to an unexplained grenade accident at a Bara Khana in Italy.

Officers from other Regiments had no problem in bonding with the Garhwalis.

How the former COAS Gen Kumaramangalam, along with one of our men from the 3/18,made a bold but unsuccessful attempt to escape from the German custody is another saga worth cherishing.

During most of his service, Gen Kumaramangalam had Garhwali orderlies, and sometimes, Garhwali cooks, too. It was a contrived coincidence!

General Bhagat was one of the two Indian Commissioned Officers who won the highest award for gallantry: the Victoria Cross. Guess, who was the other one?

The other one was Lt Karamjit Singh Jhaj of the Punjab Regiment, who single handedly braved withering fire to assault and capture two Japanese bunkers during the advance in Burma. Alas, this officer was killed in this action and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Readers will please correct me if there were any other VC awardees among the ICOs.

Gen Bhagat was unforgiving in training, and magnanimous in dealing with the “nitty-gritty” problems in peace.

I did not have the good fortune of training under him but heard unbelievable stories about his practical wisdom. He raised HQ Northern Command just after the 1971 war. I will give two episodes: one, a credible hearsay, and the other, a personal experience.

Dealing with war losses is never a pleasant experience. After each depressing stock taking that follows every war, one of the units truthfully reported holding some surplus of “controlled items.

The staff officers went into action, elicited explanation from the lower formations, and put it up to the Army Commander for his orders. It came back with a jocular remark in red: “ When I was commanding a Fd Engr Coy, we had a surplus power plant. Why do you make such a big issue of this?” — a typical example of how Gen Bhagat dealt with such cases.

Contrary to the orders that were in force, I had permitted a driver, in addition to an orderly, to a war widow. This driver was a rotten apple that could spoil any barrel. He wrote an anonymous letter to the Army Commander, with copies to all intermediate formations. After listing his grievances against me, he went on to complain, that apart from being very harsh with my troops, I was violating orders by allowing separated families to have orderlies and  drivers.

A spate of enquires followed, as usual. I was confident about my moral stand, even if it was legally indefensible.

A few days later, Col Bob Muthanna, the Army Commander’s AMS, called me. I was a bit taken aback by the serious and somber tone of his opening remarks: “What have you done?” he blurted out. “You have committed a serious offense.”

After a pause, the tone suddenly changed into a light-hearted banter that defined Bob’s usual manner and deportment. He chuckled and said, “You know what the Army Commander wrote on the complaint? He dismissed it with three words: “No further action.”

That the bureaucrats successfully colluded and finessed his unceremonious exit, even when he was rightfully expected to be the next COAS, is yet another  dismal milestone in our patchy canvas of civil-military relations.

These setbacks do not detract from the reputation and glory of such noble heroes as Gen P.S. Bhagat, PVSM, VC.

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A Poem …

Posted on April 27, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

My stealthy shadows
prancing in closed walls
soaking up light
swaying wind blows
through the window
waking me up to the

of the rhythm
of a beating heart
swirling hair
a smile knowing I am beautiful
the way I am
the joy of abhinay

the pain of body and soul
vanishing in the twirl of
my body upright
leaving behind
crooked spine
launching me
to reach the sky I love
prancing to tunes of jazz

memory dancing
back and forth to the
stage that was once lit
promise of another chance
to shine outside and within
be the old me
carefree, joyous
all the while
eyes twinkling in
my stealthy shadows
prancing within closed walls.

Latika Sehajpal is an administrator in Himachal Pradesh civil services, who has been passing her time painting and writing because of her spine injury.

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