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Lest We Forget - Book By Amarinder Singh

Publisher: Variety Book Depot
Authors: Amarinder singh
Page: 450
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
Product Code: SHE158
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Foreword To 'Lest We Forget' By Amarinder Singh

It is with great pleasure that I have written the Foreword to this book by Maharaja Amrinder Singh of Patiala. I was happy to do so and welcomed the opportunity, for he served as my ADC and was my close associate in the eventful days of the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965.

I do not think many people know that , at the special request of his father Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, I was responsible for obtaining Captain Amrinder Singh's release from the Army at the end of August 1965. Within days, tension between India and Pakistan had risen to such a peak that hostilities between the two countries had become imminent. In cosequence, Captain Amrinder Singh reported back to me, saying that as war was now likely , it was no time for him to be retiring and asked that he be allowed to rejoin his old unit, the Second Battalion The Sikh Regiment , in which he had served before becoming my ADC.

Knowing that the Battalion was already actively involved in operations against Pakistan in the Akhnur area, I asked him if he had recieved his father's approval, to which he replied 'yes'. When I subsequently spoke to His Highness at Patiala, he said 'I have sent him and he has my approval to rejoin his battalion'. This was a most welcome experience for me as I had been trying to get officers in my Command back from annual leave without much success. Here was someone who was anxious to rejoin the Army and serve with his unit, then actively engaged on operations. However, I firmly refused his request to go back to his battalion and said that I wished him to serve again as my ADC.

To this he agreed with some reluctance. I remained him that it would enable him to see a war from the highest level, an experience. that it should prove invaluable to him later. I believe that this book is a consequence of that experience. True soldier that he is, it was the Author's service during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 that impelled him to research and write about the most important battles fought by the Indian Army in the wars over Kashmir in 1947-48, with China in 1962 and the with Pakistan in 1965. I endorse his choice.

In writing this book, he has covered the whole spectrum of those three wars, going into the smallest details of seven battles and highlighting the bravery and devotion to duty of the Indian Soldier, a characteristic of which, sadly very few people in our country are even aware or appreciate. In his research, the Author will have had often to burn the midnight oil, working extremely hard, as he studied war diaries, interviewed survivors and examined the sketchy existing accounts of those battles which, by my reckoning, are few and far between.

In his detailed descriptions of those actions, he has most carefully included the names of the many officers and men of the Indian Army who made the supreme sacrifice  for their country and for this I admire and congratulate him.

Through my professional involvement with them, I have some personal knowledge of the battles chosen and can say with authority that his accounts are accurate and authentic. I read them all with enthusiasm for they led me to endorse, yet again, my belief in the selflessness, gallantry and singular sense of duty which is the hallmark of the Indian soldier whom I have had the honour to command in battle.

As I look at the state of affairs in our country at this time, and particularly in the Army, I am driven to quote the last paragraph of a book by S.S. Gill, a former Permanent Secretary to the Government of India: Assailed by doubt, peering into the hazy future, with little pride in its achievement, this is hardly the state in which the world's largest democracy should be entering the twenty-first century.

About the Author Of 'Lest we Forget'          

The author, Amarinder Singh, was educated at The Doon School. After graduating from the National Defence Academy at Kharakvasla and the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun, he was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of The Sikh Regiment. During the 1965 war with Pakistan, he was ADC to the GOC-in-C, Western Command, in whose theatre of operations the entire war was fought. Later, as a Member of Parliament, he was a member of the Parliamentary Defence Committee.

He spent two terms in the Punjab Legislature, during which he served as a Minister in the Punjab Government. He is presently President of the Congress Party in the state of Punjab.


From The Backcover Of 'Lest We Forget' By Amarinder Singh

I feel happy about the book as I had been a witness to these wars myself. The book is a fitting tribute to those men and officers who fought for the motherland. Captain Amarinder Singh, former Maharaja of Patiala, friend of Rajiv Gandhi, erstwhile Congress Member of the Lok Sabha, later Akali Agricultural Minister of Punjab and currently Punjab Pradesh congress president , is passionate about things he holds dear. Camera in hand and accompanied by survivors of many historic battles fought in those wastes, Capt Amarinder, who was born into a life of royal luxury, struggled for over four  years to put this monograph together... Thanks to his yeoman effort , forgetting will be a bit difficult even for generations who have read about these wars only in history textbooks.                                                                                                                                                      

Such formidable scholarship and efforts requires time and money and, in the Indian context, 'Connections'. Singh seems to have used all three to good effect. Given the new ground the author has broken, it is difficult to take issue with the analysis of any of the battles. But as he himself acknowledges, additional information could  have come from Chinese and Pakistani sources had they been available...All in all Singh's work has set a benchmark on the writing of Military History, one that other writers will be judged against in the future.                                                                                                          

This is a heavy book but it doesn't weigh you down. If you think Military History is cumbersome, this will change your mind. We are a forgetful people, which is why Lest We Forget should be compulsory reading for all those concerned with national security, even politicians.

Lest We Forget is an account of seven battles from three wars - the conflict in Kashmir of 1947-48, the Indo-China encounter of 1962 and the Indo-Pak offensive of 1965. Its aim has been to record determination, gallantry and leadership amidst disadvantages in term of logistics.

The real value of this book lies in its analysis of whether our nations has learnt the right lessons from the wars we have fought since Independence. George Santayana had cautioned us many decades ago: 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'. Amarinder Singh's Lest we Forget is a timely reminder of the lessons from our recent Military History and ought to spur action for implementation of much-needed and long-pending reforms.                                                                                                         


Table of Contents For 'Lest We Forget' By Amarinder Singh


Foreword xiii
by Lieutenant General Harbakhsh Singh PVB PB VrC  
Acknowledgements xv
Introduction 1
The Two Armies 2
About this Book 5
The seven Battles 6
Part I: The Kashmir War 1947-48  
Prelude 13
The Operational Background 16
Relative Strength 19
Chapter One  
The 1st Battalion the Sikh Regiment in the Srinagar Landings and at Baramula 21
The Srinagar Landings 24
The Battle of Baramula 35
The Next Thirteen Months 51
Epilogue 66
Annexure: List of Gallantry Awards 68
Chapter Two  
The Rajindra Sikhs (The 1st Battalion The Patiala State Forces) at Zojila 69
The Rajindra Sikhs 72
Zojila 76
The Battle to Secure Leh 88
Epilogue 108
Annexure : List of Gallantry Awards 112
Conclusion to Part 1 113
Part II: The Indo-China War 1962  
Prelude 119
The Road to War 121
The Army Deploys  128
Confrontation in the East 129
Chapter Three  
The Second Battalion The Rajput Regiment at the Nam Ka Chu 135
The Battle of Nam Ka Chu 147
The Brigade Battle 164
The Battle of the 2nd Rajputs 182
Epilogue 204
Annexure: List of Gallantry Awards 220
Chapter Four  
The 13th Battalion The Kumaon Regiment at Rezangla 221
The Brigade Battle 18-21 November 230
The Defence of Rezangla 237
Epilogue 267
Annexure: List of Gallantry Awards 276
Conclusion to Part II 277
Part III: The Indo-Pakistan War 1965  
Prelude 285
Western Command 286
Confrontation 289
A Switch to the Offensive 296
Annexure: Comparative Strengths of the Two Armies 302
Chapter Five  
The 2nd Battalion The Sikh Regiment at Raja 303
Operation Faulad: The 93 Brigade Battle 303
The 2 Sikh Attack on Raja - 6 September 1965 311
Epilogue 336
Annexure: List of Gallantry Awards 343
Chapter Six  
The 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Haji Pir 345
The Attack by 1 Para on the Haji Pir Pass 353
Last Clashes 362
Epilogue 366
Annexure: List of Gallantry Awards 370
Chapter Seven  
The 3rd Battalion The Jat Regiment at Dograi 371
Preparatory Measures by Western Command 371
Concentration 11 Corps 376
The 54 Brigade Battle for Dograi 380
2 Jat's Second Battle for Dograi 393
Epilogue 408
Annexure: List of Gallantry Awards 409
Conclusion to Part III 411
I. The Division of the Indian Army on Partition 413
II. Regimental Details of the Seven Battalions 417
III. A Special Acknowledgement 423
IV. Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms 427
V. The Rank Structure of the Indian Army (up to 1965) 431
VI. Indian Awards for Gallantry and Distinguished Service 433
VII. Tactical Symbols Used in Maps and Sketches 435
Bibliography 437
Index 439

List of Maps

Jammu & Kashmir 1947 to 1997(tip-in) 20/21
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh (by Sarabjeet Singh) (tip-in) 20/21
Jammu & Kashmir Area occupied by China and Pakistan upto 1997 (1947/48 - The War Over Kashmir) (tip-in) 20/21
Enemy Adavnce along the Jhelum Valley, 27/29 October 1947 and 1 Sikh Blocks, 27 October-4 November 1947 (tip-in) 28/29
The Battle of Baramula, 27/28 October 1947 (tip-in) 40/41
1 Sikh at Pattan, 28 October-4 November 1947 (tip-in) 46/47
The Battle of Bhatgiran, 12 December 1947 59
Kashmir Campaign -  
               The Northern Front (1947-48) (tip-in) 78/79
Zojila Area - General Map 90
The Breakthrough at Zojila 103
Matian to Dras, 1962 (The Indo-China War) (tip-in) 106/107
Map signed at the Simla Conference (27 April 1914) (tip-in) 122/123
General claim by the Chinese of the Lines of Control (tip-in) 124/125
Claim line - Western and Middle sectors 125
NEFA - The McMahon Line 127
The Nam Ka Chu Valley Pre Induction of 7 Brigade (tip-in) 138/139
7 Brigade Development , 10-20 October 1962 (tip-in) 160/161
The 7 Brigade Battle, 20 October 1962 (tip-in) 172/173
2 Rajput - Bn less 3 Company's Br: 4 185
2 Rajput - C Company Temp: Bridge 191
2 Rajput - B Company Log: Bridge 196
2 Rajput - A Company Bridge 3 200
Chushul area - General Map 227
Deployment 114 Brigade Battle - Chushul, 1962 236
C Company: First contact at 0245 hrs, 18 November 249
 Simultaneous Attacks on 7 and 8 Platoons, 0455 hrs 256
After the Fall of 7 and 8 Platoons, 0745 hrs 260
Major Shaitan Singh's Counter-Attack 263
The Last Moment of the Battle 0915 hrs 266
Progressive Occupation of Ladakh by China 280
Pak Infiltration - Uri-Punch Bulge 299
Link Operations - 93 and 68 Brigades 300
93 Brigade Attack on Raja and Rani 307
93 Brigade Link Operations 310
2 Sikh Attack on Raja: 6 September 1965, 0530 hrs 318
2 Sikh Attack on Raja: 6 September 1965, 0550 hrs 320
2 Sikh Attack on Raja: 6 September 1965, 0710 hrs 331
2 Sikh Attack on Raja: 6 September 1965, 0730 hrs 333
Uri-Punch Link-Up Operation, 1965 350
Battle of Haji Pir Pass 361
Dograi Area - General map (tip-in) 378/379
54 Brigade Attack on Dograi, 6 September 1965 (tip-in) 380/381
3 Jat Attack on Dograi, 22-23 September 1965 (tip-in) 404/405


Author Amarinder Singh
Pages 450
Cover Hardbound
Language English

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