|Active 1798 – Present|
Type Line Infantry
|Branch Pakistan Army|
Size 57 Battalions
|Country Company Rule 1798-1858
British India 1858-1947
Role Standard Infantry with 2 Light Commando, 2 Mechanized and 8 Light Anti Tank Battalions
The Baloch Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Pakistan Army. The modern regiment was formed in May 1956 by the merger of 8th Punjab and Bahawalpur Regiments with the Baluch Regiment. Since then, further raisings have brought the strength of the Regiment to more than fifty battalions. The Baloch Regiment is descended from the infantry of the old British Indian Army and is named after the Pakistani province of Balochistan (formerly Baluchistan). Before 1991, it was called the Baluch Regiment but the spelling was changed to 'Baloch' to better reflect the correct pronunciation.
- Early history of the Baloch Regiment
- The Madras Army
- The Bombay Army
- The Bahawalpur State Forces
- 10th Baluch Regiment
- 8th Punjab Regiment
- The Bahawalpur Infantry
- Post First World War history
- The Bahawalpur Regiment
- Post amalgamation history
- Battle honours
- Bahawalpur Regiment
- Post amalgamation Baloch Regiment
- Colonels Commandant
- Famous soldiers of the regiment
- Affiliations and alliances
The Baloch Regiment is second in seniority after the Punjab Regiment. Its senior-most battalion was raised more than two hundred years ago, in 1798. The regiment has a distinguished record of military service both before and after the independence of Pakistan. It has won numerous gallantry awards including six Victoria Cross, one George Cross and seven Hilal-i-Jurat. The Regiment’s long list of battle honours dates from the Battle of Cochin in 1809 to the Battle of Qaisar-i-Hind in 1971.
Early history of the Baloch Regiment
The Baloch Regiment has its origin in the former Bombay and Madras Armies, as well as the State Forces of Bahawalpur.
The Madras Army
In the 18th century, British possessions in India were divided into the 'Presidencies' of Madras, Bengal and Bombay. Each presidency maintained its own army, and it was not until the end of the 19th century that a unified command was established for the British Indian Army. For more than fifty years, the Madras Army was engaged in the struggle for control of South India and was largely responsible for the British defeat of Tipu Sultan and the French. It also took an active part in the wars against the Mahrattas, dispatched a number of overseas expeditions and played a major role in the conquest and pacification of Burma. The Baloch Regiment's Madrassi origins are derived from the five battalions it inherited from 8th Punjab Regiment in 1956. The 1st Battalion was raised in 1798 at Masulipatam, as 3rd Extra Battalion of Madras Native Infantry and was known as MacLeod ki Paltan (MacLeod’s Battalion) after the officer, who raised it. It was designated as 1st Battalion 15th Regiment in 1800, and 29th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1824. The battalion was dispatched to Ceylon to suppress a rebellion of the Sinhalese in 1818. In 1832, it was stationed at Malacca, Malaya, when it was again engaged in suppressing a revolt in the State of Naning. 2, 3, 4 & 5 Baloch were also raised as battalions of Madras Infantry in 1799-1800. In 1824, they were designated as the 30th, 31st, 32nd & 33rd Madras Native Infantry respectively. The 30th & 32nd Regiments took part in the First Burma War, while the 30th, 31st & 33rd fought in the Third Anglo-Mahratta War of 1817. The 31st Regiment, then known as 1st Battalion 16th Regiment (or Trichinopoly Light Infantry), greatly distinguished itself at the Battle of Mahidpur. It was styled as Light Infantry in 1811, as reward for a 25-mile forced march in support of a retreating force; when it arrived just in time to turn the tables in a minor engagement near Mysore. The 33rd Regiment first made its name in the Travancore War in 1809, when the battalion repulsed a force of 3000 rebels at Cochin. All four battalions saw considerable action in Central India against the Marathas during the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857-58.
Between 1890 and 1893, the five battalions were moved to Burma and reconstituted with Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and other North Indians. Their designations were changed to 29th (7th Burma Battalion), 30th (5th Burma Battalion), 31st (6th Burma Battalion), 32nd (4th Burma Battalion) and 33rd (3rd Burma Battalion) Regiments of Madras Infantry. In 1901, these cumbersome titles were simplified by removing all mention of Madras and the five regiments were styled as the 29th and 30th Burma Infantry, 31st Burma Light Infantry, 32nd and 33rd Burma Infantry. These Burma Battalions were created to police the new territories acquired in the Third Burma War and pacify the rebellious hill tribes inhabiting the frontier regions of Burma. In 1903, all Madras regiments had sixty added to their numbers, requiring another change in designation to 89th and 90th Punjabis, 91st Punjabis (Light Infantry), 92nd Punjabis and 93rd Burma Infantry. After the First World War, the five Burma Battalions were grouped together to form the 8th Punjab Regiment in 1922. These frontier battalions had adopted uniforms of drab colour (a pinkish shade of khaki) when they moved to Burma and the 8th Punjab Regiment retained drab as its regimental colour with blue facings.
The Bombay Army
The senior battalion of what became the 10th Baluch Regiment in 1922, was raised in 1820, as the 2nd (Marine) Battalion 12th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry. In 1838, as the 24th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry, it stormed and captured the city of Aden (Yemen) as part of a punitive expedition sent to rid the area of pirates. The 26th Bombay Native Infantry was raised in 1825, as the 2nd Extra Battalion of Bombay Native Infantry, changing its name a year later. In 1843, the British conquered Sindh after defeating the ruling confederacy of Baloch chieftains. General Sir Charles Napier, the British commander, was much impressed by the ferocious courage of his Balochi opponents and decided to recruit them for local service within Sindh. As a result, two irregular battalions of Bombay Army, the 1st and 2nd Belooch (old spelling of Baluch) Battalions were raised in 1844 and 1846 at Karachi. In 1856, the 2nd Belooch Battalion was dispatched to fight in the Persian War in 1856-57, a campaign frequently overshadowed by the events of the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857. Meanwhile, the 1st Belooch Battalion was dispatched on foot across the Sindh desert in May, to join the siege artillery train on its way to Delhi; the only Bombay unit to join the Delhi Field Force. The battalion was brought into line in 1861, for its services in North India and it became the 27th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in the post-Mutiny realignment. 2nd Belooch, in the meantime, had qualified for a similar change in status and became the 29th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry.
In 1858, Major John Jacob raised two local 'silladar' infantry battalions known as the Jacob's Rifles; the only silladar infantry to have existed in the Indian Army. These battalions soon earned a formidable reputation in and around Jacobabad for keeping the peace on the Sindh frontier. In 1861, the first of these was accorded regular status, becoming the 30th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry or Jacob's Rifles, while the second was disbanded. In 1862, the 2nd Beloochees went to China to suppress the Taiping Rebellion. Two years later, they became the first foreign troops to be stationed in Japan, when two companies were sent to Yokohama to guard the British legation. Meanwhile, the 1st Beloochees greatly distinguished themselves in the long and arduous Abyssinian Campaign of 1868 and were made Light Infantry as a reward. All Baloch battalions took part in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, where the Jacob's Rifles suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Maiwand. The 1st Belooch Regiment again distinguished itself in 1885-87 during the Third Burma War. In 1891, the 24th and 26th Bombay Infantry also became 'Balochi', when they were reconstituted with Pathans, Balochis and Hazaras, and localized in Baluchistan; becoming the 24th and 26th (Baluchistan) Regiments of Bombay Infantry. The 24th and 27th Regiments saw active service in British East Africa in 1896-99, while the 26th and Jacob's Rifles went to China in 1900 to suppress the Boxer Rebellion. In 1903, the 24th, 26th, 27th, 29th, and 30th had one hundred added to their numbers as part of Lord Kitchener's reforms, emerging as the 124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan Infantry, 126th Baluchistan Infantry, 127th Baluch Light Infantry, 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis and 130th Jacob’s Baluchis. Following World War I, the five battalions were merged to form the 10th Baluch Regiment.
The pre-1914 full dress uniforms of all five Baluchi infantry regiments included dark red trousers; with rifle green tunics and dark green turbans for the 127th, 129th and 130th Baluchis. The 124th and 126th Baluchistan Infantry also wore red trousers but with drab-coloured tunics and turbans. On the formation of the 10th Baluch Regiment, rifle green and red uniform was adopted by the whole regiment. The 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica commented that "The remarkable Baluchi uniforms (green and drab with baggy red trousers) are unique in the British Empire".
The Bahawalpur State Forces
The two senior battalions of Bahawalpur Regiment trace their origin to 1827, when the Nawab of Bahawalpur first organized his forces. These forces were engaged in support of the British during the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1848-49 and the Great Rebellion of 1857. In 1889, a small force from Bahawalpur was accepted as Imperial Service Troops, placing them at the disposal of the British for use in emergencies. However, it was not until the 20th century that these units began training on modern lines. In 1901, Bahawalpur State raised a camel baggage train with an escort of mounted infantry, called the Bahawalpur Imperial Service Mounted Rifles and Camel Transport Corps, which would go on to become the 1st Bahawalpur Sadiq Battalion in 1924. In 1912, the colour of their uniform was khaki with green facings.
10th Baluch Regiment
Only 2/124th Baluchistan Infantry of the wartime raisings was retained after the post-war reforms.
During the First World War, the 129th DCO Baluchis served on the Western Front in France and Belgium, where they became the first Indian regiment to attack the Germans and the only Indian regiment to fight in both the First & Second Battles of Ypres. At Hollebeke, during the First Ypres, Sepoy Khudadad Khan became the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross; Britain's highest decoration for valour. Prior to 1911 Indian soldiers had not been eligible for the Victoria Cross. The battalion would go on to serve with distinction in German East Africa alongside the 127th QMO Baluch Light Infantry and 130th KGO Baluchis. Meanwhile, the 1st and 3rd Battalions of 124th DCO Baluchistan Infantry served in Persia, while the 2nd distinguished itself in Mesopotamia and Palestine.
8th Punjab Regiment
Only 2/89th Punjabis of the new raisings was retained after the war.
The 8th Punjabis also have a most distinguished record of service during the First World War. Their long list of honours and awards includes the Victoria Cross awarded to Naik Shahmed Khan of 89th Punjabis in 1916. The 89th Punjabis had the unique distinction of serving in more theatres of war than any other unit of the British Empire. These included Aden, where they carried out the first opposed sea-borne assault landing in modern warfare, Egypt, Gallipoli, France, Mesopotamia, North-West Frontier of India, Salonika and Russian Transcaucasia. All battalions served in Mesopotamia, while the 93rd Burma Infantry also served in France. The 92nd Punjabis were made 'Prince of Wales's Own' in 1921 for their gallantry and sacrifices during the war.
The Bahawalpur Infantry
A detachment of Bahawalpur Mounted Rifles served in Egypt and Palestine, while the Bahawalpur Camel Corps saw action in Baluchistan and Waziristan.
Post First World War history
After the First World War, a major reorganization was undertaken in the British Indian Army leading to the formation of large infantry groups of four to six battalions in 1922. Among these were the 8th Punjab and 10th Baluch Regiments.
The line-up of battalions for the 10th Baluch Regiment was:
The regiment was based at Karachi and initially retained its traditional class composition of Punjabi Muslims, Pathans, Balochis and Brahuis. The Balochis and Brahuis are two of the main ethnic groups of Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Balochis also constitute a major part of the population of Sindh Province and Southern Punjab. However, in 1925, Balochis and Brahuis were replaced with Hindu Dogras because of the difficulty encountered in their recruitment during the war. During the inter-war period, the regiment saw continuous employment on the North West Frontier of India, keeping it in fighting trim for the great test ahead.
The distinctive rifle green and red uniform of the old Baluch battalions was adopted by the entire regiment. The officers wore a red boss surmounted by a silver 'X' on field and forage caps, while the old battalion badges were worn on pagris and helmets by the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions. It was not until 1945 that a single cap badge was adopted by the regiment on introduction of berets during the Second World War. It consisted of the Roman numeral 'X' within a crescent moon, a Tudor crown above and the title scroll below, all in white metal. The badges of rank were in black metal with red cloth edging, while the lanyard was of rifle green cord with two red runners. Another distinctive feature of Baluchi uniforms were plain silver ball buttons worn on service and mess dresses.
The line-up of battalions for the 8th Punjab Regiment was:
The regiment was based at Lahore and its class composition was 50% Punjabi Muslims, 25% Sikhs and 25% Hindu Gujjars. 8th Punjab Regiment also remained engaged on the North West Frontier, taking part in numerous actions and engagements during a period of constant trouble in the region. In light of the association of the constituent regiments with Burma, it was appropriate that the new regiment should adopt Chinthe - the mythical Burmese lion-dragon guardian of Buddhist pagodas, as its emblem in 1927. The cap badge was in white metal with blue backing, while the badges of rank were in gilding metal. The uniform was of drab colour with blue facings. The lanyard was also of drab colour.
In 1917, Bahawalpur State raised the Imperial Service Double Company, which was designated as 2nd Bahawalpur Household Infantry in 1922 and redesignated as 2nd Bahawalpur Haroon Infantry a year later. In 1921, Bahawalpur joined the Indian State Forces Scheme, placing its two infantry battalions at the disposal of the Government of India. The Bahawalpur Infantry was mostly composed of Punjabi Muslims. Their uniforms underwent numerous changes, until settling for grey colour in 1930. Ceremonial headdress included the distinctive 'fez', which was unique to the Bahawalpur State Forces. The badges of Bahawalpur Infantry also underwent numerous changes but usually included the pelican as their central theme.
10th Baluch Regiment
During the Second World War, the 10th Baluch regiment raised ten new battalions. The regiment fought in all the major theatres of war, and its record of service was once again most impressive. It suffered 6572 casualties and won numerous gallantry awards including two Victoria Crosses to Naik Fazal Din and Sepoy Bhandari Ram. At the end of 1945, the 10th Baluch Regiment lost its number and became The Baluch Regiment.
8th Punjab Regiment
The 8th Punjab Regiment also greatly distinguished itself in the war, suffering more than 4500 casualties. It was awarded two Victoria Crosses to Havildar Parkash Singh and Sepoy Kamal Ram, besides numerous other gallantry awards.
The Bahawalpur Regiment
Captain Mahmood Khan Durrani of 1st Bahawalpur Infantry was awarded the George Cross "for outstanding courage, loyalty and fortitude whilst a Prisoner of War" of the Japanese.
Following the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the 8th Punjab and Baluch Regiments were allotted to Pakistan. Dogra companies of the Baluch Regiment were transferred to the Indian Army. The Regimental Centre shifted to Quetta in 1947, to make room for government offices in the new capital of Pakistan. In July, 7 Baluch (present 15 Baloch) moved to Karachi to prepare for ceremonies in connection with Independence of Pakistan. The battalion has the distinction of providing the first guard of honour to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as he stepped on the soil of Pakistan. On 14 August, the Subedar Major unfurled the first flag at the Governor General’s residence. Officers and men of the Baloch Regiment earned the honoured title of 'Ghazi Balochi' for protecting Muslim refugees fleeing India from maurauding bands of Sikhs and Hindus.
The 8th Punjab Regimental Centre remained at Lahore. Sikh and Gujjar companies were exchanged with Hindustani Muslims from regiments allotted to India.
In 1947, Bahawalpur State acceded to Pakistan and in 1952, Bahawalpur Infantry was integrated into the Pakistan Army as the Bahawalpur Regiment. The regiment was entirely composed of Punjabi Muslims. The Regimental Centre was based at Dera Nawab Sahib. Uniform of the new regiment was of rifle green colour with scarlet facings. Officers' winter mess kit was of French grey cloth with black cuffs and facings, and blue overalls. Cummerband was rifle green. Cap badge of gilding metal consisted of a pelican surmounted by a star and crescent, the whole surrounded by a date palm wreath, with a scroll below, inscribed 'Bahawalpur Regiment'. Backing for the cap badge was of circular maroon cloth. Badges of rank were in gilding metal. The lanyard was of maroon cord. In July 1948, 5th Bahawalpur Light Infantry was raised from Muslim officers and men of 2nd Patiala Infantry, who had opted for Pakistan. It was redesignated as 4 Bahawalpur in 1952.
In 1956, a major re-organization was undertaken in the Pakistan Army and the existing infantry regiments were amalgamated to form larger regiments. The Baluch Regiment was reorganized by merging the Baluch, 8th Punjab and the Bahawalpur Regiments. The new regimental centre was initially set up at Multan; moving to Abbottabad in December 1957. The new line up of the regiment was:
In 1956, Pakistan raised the Special Service Group (SSG) from 19 Baluch (old 17/10th Baluch) at Cherat, a hill station near Peshawar. In 1979-80, the Baluch Regiment transferred ten battalions (13, 17, 18, 44, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52 & 53 Baluch) to the newly formed Sind Regiment, while 61 Baluch was transferred in 1988. Based at Abbottabad since December 1957, the Balochis have fought with distinction in every operation/engagement of the Pakistan Army since independence, winning numerous awards for gallantry. In 1948, 11 Baluch captured the strategic heights of Pandu in Kashmir, while Balochis played a vital role in blunting the Indian offensive against Lahore in 1965. They also fought in the Rann of Kutch, at Chhamb-Jaurian, Sialkot, Chawinda, Kasur and Sulemanki. In 1971, the regiment again performed creditably on both the fronts. The newly raised 41 Baluch captured the Indian fortress of Qaisar-i-Hind, while a platoon of 31 Baluch held up an entire Indian brigade for three weeks in East Pakistan. The regiment has also produced the two most successful field commanders of Pakistan Army, namely, Major General Abrar Husain, Commander of 6 Armoured Division in 1965, who blunted the Indian offensive in Sialkot Sector, and Major General Eftikhar Khan Janjua, who captured the strategic town of Chhamb in 1971. During the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971, the regiment was awarded seven Hilal-i-Jurat and 64 Sitara-i-Jurat, while more than 1500 officers and men sacrificed their lives in defence of Pakistan. Since then, the regiment has continued to uphold its reputation and rendered valuable services in the country's defense; in aid to civil authorities during natural disasters and insurgencies; and as United Nations Peacekeepers.
The present badge of the Baloch Regiment, adopted in 1959, depicts crossed Mughal swords within a crescent, under the Islamic Star of Glory, appearing above a title scroll. All ranks wear a rifle green beret with a cherry coloured backing for the badge. Officers wear a cherry coloured boss surmounted by a silver star on forage caps. Badges of rank are in black metal with cherry edging. Bandsmen wear the traditional rifle green tunic and cherry trousers of the old Baluch battalions. The Regimental Tartan is the Baluch Regiment Tartan.