Quartered in sand, silent to remain. When the bugle calls, they shall rise and march again.
Longewala is known as a strategic turning point in India’s scuffle against Pakistan in 1971 and has ended up being immortalized in the ever popular movie called Border (1997). By logic, there is nothing exceptional about the place; Longewala is known for its isolated location without any outside support or the presence of any defensive minefield. However, if by any chance it comes under the thumbs of the enemy, it would have resulted in capture of vast area of Indian territory, almost up to Jaisalmer.
The post of Longewala was manned by a total of 120 men from 23rd Battalion, Punjab Regiment under the command of Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, along with a handful of Indian Border Security Force (BSF Rajputs). On the night of December 4, Major Chandpuri was informed regarding the immediate approach of Pakistani forces, comprising of infantry and tanks. The Major promptly informed his Commanding Officer of the impending attack and requested for urgent armors and reinforcements. Battalion headquarters responded saying that reinforcements wasn’t possible before dawn. Major Chandpuri was left with two options: one, to attempt and hold out until reinforcement arrived, or, two, to command a tactical on-foot retreat of his company to Ramgarh.
The odd was heavily stacked against the unit; Chandpuri and his men only had a section of MMG’s, 2 Recoil-less Gun detachments and 81mm Mortars whereas Brigadier Tariq Mir led army of 2000-3000 Pakistani soldiers were equipped with 50+ Sherman and T-59 China-made tanks. Knowing fully well that he was facing a mobile enemy, Major Kuldip chose to stay and fight and cleverly used the elevated position of the Longewala post in unique battle strategies.
To ensure that the tourists remember our brave soldiers who have sacrificed their life to ensure our safety, a war memorial has been built, which not only honors our fallen souls, but also the war trophies that we earned that represents our hard-earned victory.
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