Poona Horse and Men of Steel

“I was 16. The Poona Horse had won an inter regimental tournament and there was a celebratory party in the Officer’s Mess That night they were given orders to load and leave (for #SeptemberWar)

Next morning on the train station, just as the whistle blew, my father gave my mother a salute. And all the soldiers saluted us. That’s my last memory. I never saw him again.” tells us Mrs. Zarine M Boyce, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel A B Tarapore CO 17th Poona Horse

“Attack at Buttar Dogran was successful Lt Col Tarapore at Jassoran dismounted for a cup of tea with other members of his headquarters At around 1730 hrs a medium artillery shell landed next to Adjutant’s tank killing him on the spot 17th Poona Horse lost a fine battle commandant

Lt Col Adi Tarapore was awarded Param Veer Chakra for the courage in leading his regiment through several battles” ‘The Monsoon War’ narrates these lines and this brings us to our next episode on Tank Battles of Chawinda

17th Poona Horse was a formidable punch in 1 Armoured Brigade’s arsenal On 11 Sep 1965, the unit dashed along Libbay – Philoura road and gave a tough fight to 10 Guides Cavalry and 11 Cavalry In a 45 minutes stiff fight Lt Col Tarapore leading from front secured two tank hits

It was here between Gill and Khanawali that B Sqn of 10 Guides Cavalry ran into 17 Horse Squadron Commander Maj Zia Uddin Abbasi was swift to act and met C Sqn of 17 Horse head on The officer was killed in action and awarded Sitara e Jurrat

17 Horse played a phenomenal role in 16 Sep attack on Buttar Dogran C Sqn with 2 Coys of 8 Garhwal Rifles Crossed the Start Line at 1130 hrs 8 Garhwal lost their CO Lt Col Jihrad to artillery shelling Sqn Commander’ tank also got a direct hit but attack on to objective continued

Lt Col Tarapore wirelessed his Adjutant “Hullo 25, let’s join them” and he was with A Sqn in assault on Buttar Dogran Later his tank would be hit but he would switch to stay in battle The brave officer lost his life but not before winning Buttar Dogran He earned Param Veer Chakra

Lt Col Nisar’s Men of Steel

25 Cavalry raised in 1962 went to war in 3 years time It was the leadership of CO and cohesiveness of all ranks that turned this new unit into a formidable fighting machine For initial two days 25 Cav squared with Indian 1st Armoured Division

Battlefield of Chawinda saw the finest of Men of Steel in closely contested tank battles They battled the finest 16 Cavalry & 17 Horse Their quarter guard parades a prized possession, the Khushab, Commandant’s tank of 17th Poona Horse It was captured in Battle of Buttar Dogran

As part of 24 Brigade they would turn Chawinda into a far fetched dream for the military might of Indian 1 Armoured Division Their valiant son Naib Risaldar Muhammad Khaliq will go all out and earn glory The soldier embraced martyrdom on 16 Sep and was awarded Sitara e Jurrat

25 Cav earned the title of ‘Men of Steel’ from General Musa The regiment earned 5 Sitara-e-Jurrats, 10 Tamgha-e-Jurrat and other gallantry awards Regiment’s Sitara-e-Jurrats included Naib Risladar Khaliq Shaheed, Lt Colonel Nisar, Major Ahmed, Major Raza and Risladar Riazul Hasan

General Musa decorating Lieutenant Colonel Nisar with Sitara e Jurrat

For a better orientation of the places and details of regimental actions we talked about in this snippet, here is a custom built map for my readers:

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