Grit to Glory
Military Hardcover English214 Pages
‘Raising a regiment is like riding bareback. The struggle is harder; the sweat, toil and tears unending. The reward is confidence in our own abilities, an understanding and respect for the esprit de corps of the cavalry, and regimental pride.’
From the annals of Indian military history comes the glorious tale of the raising of 13 Armoured Regiment — India’s only armoured regiment raised with a unique class composition of Sikh, Rajput and South Indian Classes. Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, a veteran of the 1971 war, was reverted from RAW by General A.S. Vaidya, then Chief of Army Staff, to raise 13 AR. The regiment was raised in December 1984, in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, a time of national turmoil and security concerns in India. Through an engaging narrative, this book weaves together the many personal and professional challenges undertaken by the unit’s officers and its first commandant, Brigadier B.S. Mehta, for the unit to be declared fit for war and assigned to an infantry division. In January 1987 while two of its squadrons participated in the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi and Allahabad, 13 AR was mobilized at short notice and inducted into a Strike RAPID Formation deployed in the desert for Exercise Brasstacks under General Hanut Singh. Pakistan’s nervous response led to President Zia-ul-Haq deploying his Army Reserves opposite Punjab, creating a warlike situation that led to a moment of truth for the leadership in politics, diplomacy and the armed forces of both nations.
Grit to Glory: Raising the 13 Armoured reflects the tradition, culture and professionalism of our Armed Forces, which the regiment imbibed during the period of its raising.
The muteness of a graveyard now enveloped the battlefield, broken now and then by a salvo fired by the guns to remind us that war was still on.
Thus, 13 Armoured Regiment became the first armoured regiment to be raised after 13 years with a unique class composition of SIC, Sikhs and Rajputs.
Soldiering is not a world cup match where you shake hands or tear shirts. The soldier returns from the battlefield to his home and hearth, unhonoured and unsung, to start again at the beginning, without breathing a word about his loss.
My experience of war and reading of military history had taught me that in the Army what the general proposes, fate disposes.