Senior Tigers is the nickname of the 1st Battalion, The East Bengal Regiment of the Bangladesh Army.
This is the oldest battalion of the East Bengal Regiment (the first of the two infantry regiments in the Bangladeshi Army, the other being the Bangladesh Infantry Regiment). The unit was raised in 1948 at Kurmitola in Dhaka in what was then East Pakistan from two Bengal Muslim Pioneer Companies (1256 and 1407)of Indian Pioneer Corps,the war raised auxiliary force created to support the war effort in engineering and infantry role. These two companies were mainly composed of Bengali Muslims who had fought bravely in the Burma sector during the Second World War and as such had been retained by the British Government with the mainstream of the British-Indian Army. These two companies immediately after the partition of India in August 1947 moved from Jalna the Indian Pioneer Corps Centre initially to Pelkhana then to Kurmitola which is now Dhaka Cantonment.
The first commanding officer (C.O.) of the Senior Tigers was a British Officer named Lieutenant Colonel V J E Patterson and first Officer Commanding (O.C.) was a Bengali officer, Major Abdul Waheed Choudhury.
The unit took part in the 1965 Pakistan - India war, the war of 1967, the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh, the 1990 Kuwait war and has served in various peacekeeping roles. The unit is a proud recipient of red piping — a decoration for their gallant contribution in the liberation war of Bangladesh. This imitates the red piping worn on the collar by officers and men of three old regiments; the QVO Corps of Guides FF (today the 10 Guides Cavalry FF and 2 FF Guides Infantry of the Pakistan Army), the 60th Rifles (later the Royal Green Jackets) and the 2nd Gurkhas FF, both of the British Army, who had won their right to wear the red piping fighting together in Delhi during the war of 1857.
It includes a Bir Shreshtho (The highest gallantry award of Bangladesh) amongst its numbers and many other gallantry award recipients. The raising day of the unit, 15 February, is also known as 'Tigers Day' in the Bangladeshi Army.
The unit has been commanded by some of the most renowned officers of the Bangladeshi Army. It is also unique in that it has been headed by an Air force Officer for a very brief period during the war of liberation in 1971. The Commander-in-Chief of the Bangladeshi Forces during the liberation war, General M AG Osmani, was the commanding officer (CO) in 1950 at Jessore. Colonel A T K Haq, Major General Sadeque, Major General Abdul Wadud, Brigadier General Hossain Mohd Sadeq, Brigadier General Shah Md Sultan Uddin Iqbal Bir Protik, Major General Ehteshamul Haque and Colonel Mohabbat have all left their mark on the unit. In addition, Major General Quazi Golam Dastgir, KAAO, psc was commissioned in the First Bengal Regiment and as a Lieutenant Colonel served as the Commanding Officer from 1969-70 while the battalion was posted in Jessore.
The unit has probably served in all the divisional formations of the Bangladesh Army. At present it is in the Order of Battle (ORBAT) of the 9th Infantry Division. The unit's former CO General Dastgir served as the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War and was instrumental in the selection of the Senior Tigers as Bangladesh's contingent under the United Nations command during Operation Desert Storm—and this pioneered the way for Bangladeshi troops participating in future UN forces. The unit had been reorganized temporarily to serve the UN Mission as BANBAT 17 (Bangladeshi Battalion 17). The previous CO of 1st Bengal, Lt Col Shakil, has been transferred to SI&T while Lt Col Motlub Ahmed, afwc, psc has taken command of BANBAT 17. The Battalion is now being commanded by Lt Col Salauddin whose father was also the CO of the same Battalion, and who also commanded this Battalion in CHT. A remarkable event indeed for Lt COl Salauddin.
The unit was deployed to Liberia for its UN mission. Its first flight landed on 17 April, its arrival in Liberia was complete on 4 May 2009. The unit, after completing its tour of duty in Liberia, returned to Bangladesh and reorganized as a regular infantry battalion under the ORBAT of 9 Infantry Division. At present the Battalion is deployed in CHT under 24 Infantry Division.