‘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.