18 Years of Kargil; Remembering Tololing: The Battle Which Changed Course of War

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“Sir I am on Tololing Top.” This is the simple message which Col MB Ravindranath gave to the brigade commander on the cold morning of June 13, 1999. Tololing had been captured but in the bargain Col Ravindranath had lost 10 of his brave hearts. Here is the story of that ferocious battle fought on the night of 12/13 June 1999.

18th Grenadiers had laid a siege around Tololing for 22 days without proper food and equipment and had lost many men and brave officers like Maj Rajesh Adhikari and Lt Col Ramakrishnan Vishwanathan. They managed to secure a firm base and the 2nd Rajputana Rifles were tasked to clear the feature.

Col Ravindranath, the CO of 2nd Raj Rif, formed three teams for a multidirectional attack on Tololing. C Company under Maj Vivek Gupta was to attack from south east, D company under Maj Mohit Saxena was to attack from the south west and a commando platoon led by Lieutenant Kenguruse was to block the enemy from the rear. The attack commenced after intense artillery and D company due to the heroics of Havaldar Sultan Singh had managed to secure a foothold on their objective. However the brave Havaldar died after capturing a bunker.

On the other direction progress seemed slow but the young and dynamic Company Commander Vivek Gupta changed the course of the battle. He took his reserve platoon and in a daring assault managed to reach within assaulting distance from the enemy. All this while Naik Digender Kumar gave effective covering fire to his Commander with utter disregard for personal safety.

Major Gupta then assaulted the bunker and managed to kill three of the enemy in close quarter combat but sadly he himself perished while doing so. Then Subedar Bhanwar Lal and Company Havaldar Major Yashvir managed to finish the remaining enemy but lost their lives in the bargain.

It was around 2 am on June 13 when the top was captured but a position called Barbad Bunker still remained with the enemy. At this stage Col Ravindranath released Alpha Company under Major Acharya to assault and capture that position. Lt Vijyant Thapar all of 22 was in the leading platoon and was singing songs from the movie Border to motivate his men.

They assaulted Barbad Bunker and by 5 A.M on June 13 the entire Tololing feature was with India.

This victory at Tololing 18 years ago changed the course of the Kargil war. It shifted the momentum in India’s favour and eliminated a major enemy threat. It was due to the bravery of 2nd Raj Rif and the 18th Grenadiers that Tololing is with us now. We salute all the officers and Jawans who won us Tololing and ensured that we could sleep safely at our home. Maj adhikari and Naik Digender Kumar received Mahavir Chakra, the nation’s second highest gallantry award.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           (Courtesy: O’Re’Fauji)

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