The Battle of Tiger Hill: Part 1-The victory that won the war!

By the early morning hours of 3rd July, all artillery guns had taken position. The Para-commandos were deployed on national borders to observe enemy’s mortar and artillery positions. 18 Grenadiers, 8 Sikh and 2 Naga were deployed to execute the operation. Company commanders had briefed the boys and also gave them a pep talk to fire them up. The operation required intense motivation but, without getting overwhelmed- the execution of the plan had to be perfect. The build up to the H hour was covered by journalists and the whole nation prayed for the victory.

The Planned and Surprised Attack-

The H hour was 17:15pm. The Bofors Guns, that had proved to be vital in capturing many peaks, were set to start pounding the hill at H hour. 2 Naga and 8 Sikh were deployed on the left and the right flanks respectively. Their objective was to outflank the enemy and limits its fire power. The main target was the post on Tiger Hill top which was the main strength of the entire feature. To isolate this post, it was necessary to capture it. The Ghatak platoon of 18 Grenadiers were given this task.
The plan was to attack the enemy from the North-East side of the peak. This was the toughest objective given to any platoon. A sheer cliff of 1000 feet had to be scaled by the Ghataks to reach the top. This cliff was right behind the enemy and it was believed that only a surprise attack from the rear could assist in its recapture. With a mere prayer on the lips of Indian jawans as cover, the troops were ready to go.

Kargil War

The battle ground in Tiger Hill

The Final Attack-

At 17:15pm Bofors guns started pounding the hill as planned. This was not a mere shelling of a certain area, but a planned procedure that would keep the enemy engaged while the land forces complete their arduous climb. As the Indian troops reached at a considerable height, artillery shelling from the Pakistani side started that immediately halt their march. But, the commendable work of Para-commandos in locating artillery positions worked wonders for the troops. Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRL) were introduced to counter enemy Battery fire and that proved to be vital. Pakistani artillery positions were attacked so they had to relocate, buying time for the troops to go up.
By 10pm, 2 Naga and 8 Sikh had advanced further up the flanks by capturing multiple bunkers. By this time, the Ghataks had reached the point from where they had to change direction and climb the rock cliff. Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav led the Ghatak platoon and though the climb looked impossible to scale, Yadav and his men looked determined to achieve the objective. Midway through the height of the peak, the enemy fire power intensified as reinforcements arrived from the western spur. Lt. Balwan Singh’s Charlie Company and Lt. Sachin Nimbalkar Delta Company had recaptured the Collar point on Tiger Hill which was 400m below the pinnacle.

Yogender Singh’s gallantry-

 

Yogender Singh

The man whose bravery knew no bounds!

Yogender Singh Yadav’s platoon came under rocket fire while they scaled the wall; they lost two men in the process but decided to keep moving. Nobody from the enemy expected that the cliff could be climbed in such horrible weather, but the Ghataks had achieved the objective. 40m below the pinnacle was a bunker that the remaining 8 men had discovered. Fierce gun battle led to the capturing of the bunker but, Indian army lost 7 out of 8 men. Yogender Singh Yadav was the last man alive, but bleeding incessantly with two bullet wounds.
Pakistani assistance arrived at the bunker where they felt that all Indian soldiers had died. Multiple bullets were fired on the Indian soldier’s bodies, including Singh’s, in case if someone had a last gasp left. Singh did not die miraculously. With all the strength he had, he noticed a grenade in his pocket and hurled it at the enemy. The blast killed four immediately. The Pakistani force assumed that an Indian attack had commenced. Whilst the confusion, Yogender Singh picked up a Peeka Rifle laying 5 meters beside him and started firing at the confused enemy. This attack killed 6 more men. As the numbers diminished, Pakistani’s decided to evacuate the Tiger Hill top and counter attack later with reinforcements.
Singh already had 14-16 bullets drilled in his body. Blood had flown out like a bubble burst. With the faintest of consciousness, he knew that a counter attack was imminent and he had to reach the point below the top which was already occupied by Delta and Charlie companies. Unable to stand on his feet, Singh decided to jump off a ‘nallah’ that went downwards hoping that he meets some of his men. Luck had favored Singh in his most gallant times. The ‘nallah’ led him straight away to Lt. Balwan Singh’s platoon that was ready for attack. Once the information of the counter attack was received, another plan was charted out and the enemy was kicked back.

The victory and aftermath-

At 6:50am, 4th July, Tiger Hill was won. The Pakistanis kept counter attacking from the western spur but, it was propelled in suicidal attacks by the Indian troops. 8 Sikh was responsible for showing no fear and facing the enemy at knife edge ridges. 2 Naga held the remaining posts and allowed the reinforcements to take over. Once Tiger Hill was recaptured, the war was won. Though many peaks still had infiltrators on them, Tiger Hill’s victory had demolished Pakistani morale. Soon, all the remaining peaks were reoccupied and Pakistan surrendered.
The daredevil act of Yogender Singh Yadav earned him India’s highest Gallantry award, Param Veer Chakra. The victories at Tololing complex and Tiger Hill were the most decisive of the war. While the victory at Tololing reignited the faith that the war could be won, Tiger Hill’s victory destroyed Pakistani faith as their best protected post had fallen within 7 hours. The victory of Tiger Hill deservedly gained popularity because it was the place where the Indian soldiers showed real mettle and patriotic grit for the nation.

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