Trisha Shetty (Editor)

11 Gorkha Rifles

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Covid-19
Allegiance  India
Role  Light Infantry
Type  Rifles
11 Gorkha Rifles
Active  1918-1922, 1948 - present
Country  British India 1918-1922 India 1948 – present
Branch  British Indian Army  Indian Army

The 11 Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army comprising Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin that was re-raised after independence. The regiment consists of primarily the Rais, Limbus and Tamang people of Eastern Nepal - mainly from Taplejung, Panchthar, Sankhuwasabha and Dhankuta District and also the Indian Nepalese/Gorkhas and Bhutias from Darjeeling District, West Bengal and Sikkim. Though it is considered to be the youngest of the Gorkha Regiments it has a lineage which is as old as the history of the 7th Gurkhas and 10th Gurkhas.

Contents

First Regiment

The 11 Gurkhas was raised as an ad hoc unit in 1918 with troops and officers being drawn from the various Gurkha Regiments. This regiment saw service in both Palestine and Mesopotamia at the end of the First World War, as well as during the Third Afghan War in 1919, before being disbanded in 1922 and the troops being reverted to their original units. There were no separate insignias authorized for this regiment and the personnel wore the badges of distinction of their parent units, though there have been instances where unofficial badges were made and worn by some personnel.

Second Regiment

Following India's independence in 1947, the Gurkha regiments of the British Indian Army were divided between the new Indian Army and the British Army. A referendum was held among the soldiers of the four regiments (2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th Gurkhas) that would transfer to the British as to whether they wished to join the British Army, as the decision to do so was made entirely voluntary. Of the four regiments one battalion (4/2 GR) opted en masse to join the Indian Army and became part of the 8th Gurkha Rifles as their 5th Battalion and is presently on their strength as 5/8 GR. In the event, large numbers of men from the 7th Gurkha Rifles and the 10th Gurkha Rifles, which recruited predominantly from Eastern Nepal, opted to join the Indian Army as against the British Army to whom their regiments were allotted. So, in order to retain a contingent from this area of Nepal, the Indian Army made the decision to re-raise the 11th Gorkha Rifles. The 11 Gorkha Rifles was officially re-raised on 1 January 1948, with the regimental centres at Palampur and Santa Cruz, Mumbai the regimental centre was subsequently shifted to Jalapahar in Darjeeling, and then moved to Clement Town Dehra Dun for a brief period, and finally to Lucknow where it was firmly established. The regiment was raised predominantly with the manpower from the non-optees of the 7th Gurkha Rifles and the 10th Gurkha Rifles. As the regiment was raised by the Indian Army after independence, it was decided not to retain the honours and traditions of the first 11th Gurkha Rifles of the British Indian Army.

Today, the regiment has a total of six regular and one Territorial Army battalions. The regiment took part in all major military operations India has undertaken since independence including the 1947 India Pakistan War, 1948 Operation Polo, 1965 India Pakistan War, 1971 India Pakistan War, and in the Kargil War.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the 5th battalion was involved in the action to liberate East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), fetching the unit battle honour Bogra and theater honour East Pakistan. In the operations in East Pakistan, the unit had secured the Bogra town as part of 20 Mountain Division. In a daring operation, Lt Teja Bedi had single-handedly captured the headquarters along with the Commanding Officer and RMO of 52 Baluch, the regimental flag of which is still displayed upside down in the officers' mess of the unit as a prized possession.

Soon after the war, General Gopal Gurunath Bewoor of the regiment was appointed Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. He held the post from 15 January 1973 to 31 May 1975.

During the 1999 Kargil Conflict Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey received the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), which is India's highest military award.

The 3rd, 4th and the 5th battalions are the oldest battalions of the Regiment. However the 4th Battalion was disbanded subsequently. The 5th battalion retains the honour of producing the maximum numbers of Lieutenant Generals within the Regiment. The regiment has won a Param Vir Chakra which was won by Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey of the 1st Battalion during the 1999 Kargil Conflict, 3 Ashok Chakras Capt M B Rai, 5th Battalion, Rfn Sal Bahadur and Capt Punit Nath Dutt, 1 Victoria Cross Ganju Lama, the highest gallantry award of the British Army, 6 Military Crosses, 2 Mahavir Chakras, 7 PVSMs, 9 AVSMs, 11 VSMs, 11 Vir Chakras, 5 Shaurya Chakras and 35 Sena Medals.

The units of the regiment have also represented India in a number of UN missions abroad.

The regiment has following battalions:

  • 1st battalion - 1/11 Gorkha Rifles (Batalik)
  • 2nd battalion - 2/11 Gorkha Rifles (Shingo)
  • 3rd battalion - 3/11 Gorkha Rifles
  • 4th battalion - (disbanded)
  • 5th Battalion - 5/11 Gorkha Rifles (Bogra)
  • 6th battalion - 6/11 Gorkha Rifles
  • 7th battalion - 7/11 Gorkha Rifles
  • The 107 Infantry Battalion, Territorial Army is located in Darjeeling, West Bengal.
  • In addition, the Sikkim Scouts regiment, which started forming in 2013, is affiliated with the regiment.

    Battle and theatre honours

    The battle honours of the regiment are Bogra, East Pakistan 1971, Shingo River Valley, Jammu and Kashmir 1971 and Batalik, Op Vijay J&K 1999. Theater honours are East Pakistan 1971 Jammu and Kashmir and Kargil for Operation Vijay 1999.

    Ashok Chakra winners

  • Capt M B Rai of 5th Battalion,
  • Rifleman Sal Bahadur
  • 2nd Lt Puneet Nath Dutt
  • Param Vir Chakra winner

    Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey (posthumous) for operations in Batalik sector during the 1999 Kargil War.

    References

    11 Gorkha Rifles Wikipedia


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