In news- The Indian Army recently held a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Asal Uttar and honour Company Quarter Master Havildar (CQMH) Abdul Hamid, Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous) of 4 Grenadiers, at his grave and war memorial in Punjab.
About the Battle of Asal Uttar-
- The war memorial to the Battle of Asal Uttar is located at the outskirts of Chima Village in Tarn Taran district of Punjab.
- The Battle of Asal Uttar was one of the largest tank battles fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
- It is compared with the Battle of Kursk in the Second World War for how it changed the course of the Indo-Pak war of 1965 in India’s favour.
- This was the area in which the Pakistan Army had launched an offensive with an armoured division and made an attempt to capture Indian towns of Raya and Beas and thus cause a major chunk of Indian Punjab to be cut off from the rest of the country by securing the bridge over the River Beas.
- The Battle took place from September 8 to 10, 1965 with the result being the decimation of the Pakistani attack and total rout till Khemkaran.
- However, the town itself remained under Pakistani occupation till after ceasefire and it was exchanged back for Indian-occupied areas in Pakistan.
- The Indian battle strategy was the brainchild of Brigadier Thomas K. Theogaraj.
- Pervez Musharraf, later Army Chief of Staff and former President of Pakistan, participated in this battle as a lieutenant of artillery in the 16 (SP) Field Regiment, 1st Armoured Division Artillery.
- This battle led to the creation of Patton Nagar (or “Patton City”) at the site of the battle because a large number of Patton tanks fielded by the Pakistani forces were either captured or destroyed at the scene.
- The battle also witnessed the personal bravery of an Indian soldier, Abdul Hamid, who was honoured with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military award, for knocking out seven enemy tanks with a recoilless gun.
- His grave is maintained by the 7 Infantry Division of the Army and every year a function is held to honour him.