6 September 1965. ‘Operation RIDDLE’. Major General Gurbaksh Singh, Major General Rajinder Singh, Major General H K Sibal, Brigadier Khem Karan Singh, Lieutenant Colonel D E Hayde, Lieutenant Colonel N N Khanna & Subedar Ajit Singh were instrumental in delivering a crushing blow to the adversary. Their personal courage, grit and exemplary leadership in the face of enemy, turned the tide of war in favour of IndianArmy. For their outstanding contribution and valour they were awarded the MahaVirChakra.
Major General Gurbaksh Singh:
Major General Gurbaksh Singh, General Officer Commanding of a mountain division, was responsible for operations against PaKistan in the Khem Karan Sector in September 1965. Though short of troops, his formation captured its initial objectives on the first day but was forced to fall back to better tactical positions owing to attacks by an overwhelmingly superior enemy armoured force. An attack was later launched by three enemy armoured groups followed by an infantry division. Although the enemy force was numerically superior, the troops under the command of Major General Gurbaksh Singh not only held their position, but practically eliminated one and a half enemy tank regiments. Early next morning the remnants of this attacking tank force was forced to surrender to our troops. During these operations, Major General Gurbaksh Singh kept moving among his men at all times, facing the same dangers as they did and directing the battle from the ground. By personal example he inspired his troops to face the overwhelming odds successfully and to inflict heavy losses on a well-equipped enemy force.
Major General Rajinder Singh: Major-General Rajinder Singh MVC (3 October 1911 – May 1994) was an Indian Army officer and a two time member of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament. He was nicknamed ‘Sparrow’.
During the 1965 operations against Pakistan, Major General Rajindar Singh led his formation into battle against numerically superior and better-equipped enemy armoured forces in the Sialkot Sector. Inspired by his tactical ability and leadership, his troops inflicted heavy tank casualties on the enemy armoured forces.
By his presence in the thick of the battle in utter disregard of his personal safety, Major General Rajindar Singh inspired our tank crews to engage the enemy forces closely. He commanded the highly complex armoured formation in an outstanding manner and established such moral ascendancy over the enemy that in the later stages of the campaign the enemy tanks avoided battle and had to be sought out to be destroyed. Throughout these operations, Major General Rajindar Singh displayed conspicuous bravery and leadership of a very high order in the best traditions of the Indian Army.
Major General H K Sibal:
From 6 to 22 September 1965, Major General Har Krishen Sibal, General Officer Commanding of an infantry division, was in charge of troops operating against Pakistan along the Khalra axis. Their task as to advance into Pakistan up to the Ichhogil Canal and to inflict maximum attrition on the enemy Under his command the troops carried out this task successfully Crossing the Hudiara drain, they cleared the fortified village of Burki, after fighting from house to house and assaulting concrete emplacements sited along the east bank were repulsed and the east bank of the canal was cleared of the enemy
These operations were conducted personally by Major General Sibal who remained close to the frontline in utter disregard of his personal safety. By his presence among his troops he continued to inspire them to a better effort and contributed materially to the success achieved by our forces in the closely fought engagements. The courage, leadership and devotion to duty displayed by Major General Sibal were in the best traditions of the Indian Army.
Brigadier Khem Karan Singh:
Brigadier Khem Karan Singh, commander of an armoured brigade, led his brigade and some additional armoured units into action during the operations in the Sialkot Sector from 6 to 22 September 1965. He was to cope with enemy tanks which were superior in number and better in technical performance. During the first three days of battle, the force under the command of Brigadier Singh destroyed over 75 enemy tanks at the cost of a small number of our own tanks. This was possible due to Brigadier Singh’s personal example, as he, in his own task, was present at the point of maximum enemy threat. He fought the battle of Phillora for three days and nights, throwing out the enemy from this important communication centre. The enemy’s morale was so much demoralised because of this action that he avoided close combat and engaged our forces only at extreme range.
Lieutenant Colonel D E Hayde:
On 6 September 1965, when the initial attack on the lchhogil Canal in Pakistan was launched, Lieutenant Colonel Hayde, officer commanding of a battalion of Jat Regiment, captured the western bank of the canal against very stiff enemy opposition. It was primarily due to his leadership that not only did his battalion not fall back from the positions which it had occupied, but in fact moved forward in spite of continuous and heavy shelling and frequent air and ground attacks. On 9 September, when the enemy launched an attack with Patton and Sherman tanks, his battalion accounted for five enemy tanks. The performance of this battalion throughout the operations was excellent and this was largely due to the great personal courage and exceptional qualities of leadership shown by Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Hayde.
Lieutenant Colonel N N Khanna:
On 6 September 1965, Lieutenant Colonel N.N. Khanna, Officer Commanding, 2 Sikh, made an assault on Raja picquet with three companies. It was a well-fortified enemy defended locality across the cease-fire line in Jammu & Kashmir. His companies came under heavy automatic and fixed line fire from medium machine guns and Brownings, apart from many other light automatic weapons. Two of assaulting companies were pushed back and pinned down by the heavy fire. Though himself wounded by an enemy grenade, Lieutenant Colonel Khanna inspired the two companies with words of courage and personally led them in another assault which succeeded in capturing the objective.
Whilst leading the final assault, he was mortally wounded by a burst from a Browning and succumbed to his injuries later. But for Lieutenant Colonel Khanna’s courage, determination and inspiring leadership, this enemy stronghold would not have been captured. His act of supreme sacrifice was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Army.
Subedar Ajit Singh:
On 6 September 1965, during the attack on Burki in Pakistan, Subedar Ajit Singh was given the task of destroying a gun emplacement that was holding up the attack. In complete disregard of his safety, he charged the emplacement single-handed, and though wounded in the chest by a burst of medium machine gun fire, he pressed home the attack and destroyed the post by lobbing a grenade through a loophole in the emplacement. This gallant act not only removed the menace of the machine gun post but also inspired his comrades to destroy the enemy position. Subedar Ajit Singh subsequently succumbed to his injuries.