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Armoured Corps History

Journey of Armoured Corps centre from Ahmednagar to Nowshera commenced with the announcement of independence of Pakistan as made by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. On the same day, the Pakistan Armoured Corps was born. At that time, there was no Armoured Corps training institution in any area. All such training institutions were located at four different places in India. These were

  • Armoured Corps Officers Training School at Ahmednagar
  • Armoured Corps Training Centre No. 1 at Lucknow
  • Armoured Corps Training Centre No. 2 at Ferozepur
  • Armoured Corps Training Centre No. 3 at Babina

Under the Independence Act, it was decided that the Indian Army, including the Armoured Corps, will be divided at the ratio of 2:1 between India and Pakistan. The Armoured Corps School at Ahmednagar had to stay with India, and the Muslim instructors were allowed to opt for the newly born state of Pakistan. In addition, the training equipment at the school was also to be distributed as per the decided ratio. To carry out this colossal task of distribution, a board composed of British, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu officers was constituted under the chairmanship of Brigadier Gimson, who was the Commandant of the Armour School at that time. On similar lines, other boards were constituted, for all other training centres.

Armoured Corps 01

After the arrival of Mountbatten, as Viceroy of India, the partition date was announced. Time was precariously short. The C-in-C, Field Marshall Sir Claude Auchinleck and his staff produced the plan for the division of the Army. The division of the Indian Armoured Corps was based upon the principle that regiments with ethnic majorities would be allotted to their respective ethnicities. Pakistan’s share was 6 regiments, (5 H, 6 L, 11 C, 13 L, 19 Land Scinde Horse). Since Guides had one Dogra and one Sikh squadron, it was allotted to India. Scinde Horse with one KK (Khaim Khani) and one Pathan squadron was earmarked for Pakistan. Because of the Guide’s association of over 90 years with Mardan, the CO requested for it to be allocated to Pakistan. The C- in- C refused, however, a miraculous freak changed our fate. The KK squadron of Scinde Horse decided to remain in India as their homes in Rajputana were now part of India. This happy decision of the KK squadron brought the Guides to Pakistan. It received the Pathan squadron from Scinde Horse and the PM squadron from Hodson’s Horse, giving its Sikh squadron to Hodson’s Horse and its Dogra squadron to Scinde Horse.

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“On Partition, the Indian Army retained what was the Centre and School of the Indian Armoured Corps along with a majority of the officer cadre, most of whom were non-Muslims, in accordance with the British policy. Consequently, with very few officers in Armoured Corps, all below the rank of lieutenant colonel, and with the GHQ placing emphasis mostly on the Corps of Infantry, the organization of the Armoured Corps was adversely affected in the initial period preceding Partition. The overall situation was so pathetic that there was no existence of even a Directorate for the Armoured Corps, which is so vital for regulating the affairs and solving the evolutionary problems of the Corps, there being just a Grade-2 staff officer who was a British officer named Major Ritter.

The Armoured Corps Directorate was established at a much later stage when Brigadier Idrees, Commander 3rd Armoured Brigade was appointed Director Armoured Corps and was later replaced with the rank of a Major General. The Armourtd Corps Centre and School were established at Nowshera. Matters at these institutions progressed slowly till Colonel Ihsanullah Babar took over as Commandant, after which things began to improve considerably at a quicker pace as procedures, drills and training policies were streamlined.

Armoured Corps In 1947-1948

Also Read: Epilogue: Pakistan-India War 1947-1948

Pakistan-India War 1947-48

After taking over some share of stores, equipment and funds, assets were moved to Pakistan. Nowshera was selected for the Armoured Corps Centre and School. The advance party arrived at Nowshera in November 1947 and the main body followed a month later. The Sikh Regimental Training Centre and British Military Hospital lines were taken over. Considerable difficulties were experienced both in India and on arrival here, but due to the sheer hard work, initiative and dedication displayed by the officers, junior commissioned officers and soldiers, all difficulties were overcome and the Armoured Corps Centre and School was established at Nowshera Cantonment. In April 1948, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah visited this establishment and addressed a Durbar which is an honour for the Armoured Corps. In April 1948, the first attestation parade was held for the first batch of recruits to pass out and since then a steady flow has been maintained.

Armoured Corps In 1965 War

Also Read : Epilogue of Pakistan-India War of 1965

13 Lancers: The regiment acted as the spearhead of the advance in Akhnur Sector of occupied Kashmir and penetrated 23 miles into enemy territory. Fourteen soldiers were martyred, including three officers, while twenty eight were wounded. For these actions the regiment was awarded the battle honour Dewa – Chumb and Jaurian 1965 and was also awarded the title of The Spearhead Regiment.

Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force): The regiment, as part of 6 Armoured Division, fought the Battle of Chawinda along Charwa axis. It was ordered to hold and repulse the advancing elements of the Indian 1st Armoured Division on approach Charwa-Phillaura-Chawinda. Later the unit put in a regimental attack on 8 September. As a result, the Indian 16 Cavalry lost 16 tanks and 8 tanks were captured, while the unit lost 4 tanks. In this attack 3 officers of the unit embraced Shahadat. These officers were awarded Sitara-i-Jurat for their gallantry.

06 Lancers: During this war the regiment operated in the Khem Karan Sector under command 11 Division. It was 6 Lancers that stepped first into Indian territory and under its brave Commanding Officer, Lt Col Sahib Zad Gul, captured Khem Karan, amongst the first Indian towns to be captured by Pakistan. During this war, 2 officers, 11 Non-Commissioned Officers and 7 sowars of the regiment embraced Shahadat, including the Commanding Officer.

20 Lancers: During this war, the regiment was under 15 Division in the Sialkot sector. The regiment took part in the defence of Sialkot Cantonment and Dallowali Railway Station. Numerous enemy tanks, and other munition were destroyed. Fifteen soldiers of the regiment embraced Shahadat.

Pakistan Army 1965 War

4 Cavalry: The regiment less reconnaissance troop participated in Indo-Pak War as part of 6 Armoured Brigade ex 1 Armoured Division in Khem Karan Sector. After suffering heavy casualties the regiment captured its objective. The regiment also celebrates 10 September to recall those memories and rejuvenate the sprit that is FOURTH CAVALRY. The reconnaissance troop of the regiment was placed under command 8 Baloch Regiment, and went into action in Chhamb Sector. During this war, 2 Junior ommissioned Officers, 4 Non-Commissioned Officerss and 11 sowars embraced Shahdat. Two officers of the regiment were awarded Sitara-i-Jurats along with Tamgha-i-Jurats to other soldiers of the regiment.

22 Cavalry: The regiment saw active field service in Sialkot Sector. It was given the mission of holding the railway line from Gunna Khurd to Rakh Baba Bhureshah, and preventing enemy penetration across the “Black Line” as it was operationally called. The regiment, along with affiliated forces successfully repelled repeated enemy attacks.

23 Cavalry (Frontier Force): The regiment was in the Lahore Sector. On 8-9 September 1965, it took part in the 22 Brigade counter attack across BRBL Canal, from over the North Syphon so as to destroy the enemy and secure the area up to the Grand Trunk Road at Mile 13-14. During the counter attack near Pul Kanjri Distributry, a jeep along with pennon, briefcase and diary of Major General Naranjan Purshad, GOC 15 Indian Division was also captured. During this action, 2 officers, 1 Junior Commissioned Officer and 5 sowars of the regiment embraced Shahadat.

24 Cavalry (Frontier Force): Rann of Kutch April 1965 While stationed at Lahore under Headquarters 10 Division, the regiment detached A Squadron for deployment under Headquarters 8 Division in Chhor Sector. Later, A Squadron along with 2 FF, under command 6 Brigade, attacked and captured Biar Bet. Khem Karan September 1965 The unit was under command 1 Armoured Division at Raiwind. As part of 5 Armoured Brigade, it took part in operations across Rohi Nullah in Kasur Sector. In this operation by significant personal gallantry, Major Khadim Hussain destroyed three enemy tanks with an abandoned recoilless rifle.

25 Cavalry: The regiment under command 6 Armoured Division in Chawinda Sector remained in action throughout the 17 days of the war. 8 September was the most crucial day when four Indian divisions spear headed by their First Armoured Division (Fakhar-e-Hind) broke out of village Charwa on three axis. With total disregard to enemy strength, 25 Cavalry repulsed enemy advance by inflicting heavy casualties. The day’s action culminated in capture of the vital ground of Gadgor. The badly mauled enemy leaving his destroyed equipment withdrew towards Chobara. On the next day, the enemy made desperate efforts to dislodge the unit from Gadgor, but the regiment held on till 10 September. The C-in-C Pakistan Army General Muhammad Musa came specially to address the regiment at Pasrur, during which he praised the deeds of the regiment and announced the title of “MEN OF STEEL”, which was later approved by General Headquarter in 1976. The regiment was awarded 5 Sitara-i-Jur’at, 10 Tamgha-i-Jur’at. During this action 2 Junior Commissioned Officerss, 5 Non-Commissioned Officers and 9 soldiers of the regiment embraced shahadat.

Armoured Corps In 1971 War

Also Read: Epilogue of Pakistan-India War of 1971

13 Lancers: The regiment as part of 8 Independent Armoured Brigade Group, fought in the Shakargrah area of Sialkot Sector and inspite of heavy losses in men and material during counter attack on the enemy bridgehead on 16 December, it stood firm and in the process forced the enemy to withdraw and yield ground. Twenty four personnel were martyred in this action. The regiment was awarded battle honour ofBara Pind 1971.

Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force): The regiment, as part of 6 Armoured Division, remained dispersed in Sahiwal Jungle for deception, depicting an armoured force with dummy tanks. Later it moved to 33 Division area in Chhor-Umerkot Sector. In this sector 1 Junior Commissioned Officer and 2 Sowars embraced Shahadat due to an enemy air attack.

20 Lancers: The regiment took part in this war under 8 Division from the border in the north to Road Shakargrah-Zafarwal in the south at Shakargrah Zafarwal Sector. The regiment was tasked to delay the enemy onslaught between Deg Nadi on the west and River Bein on the east for 48 hours but the enemy was delayed for 13/14 days. Sowar Muhammad Hussain embraced Shahadat and earned Nishan-i-Haider for his selfless devotion and extreme act of gallantry, the only person in the Armoured Corps to get this award so far. Sixteen men embraced Shahadat, while forty five got wounded.

4 Cavalry: The regiment as part of 11 Division, participated in the war at Hussaini wala sector and captured the given objective, in the Indian territory. The regiment was awarded the battle honourQaisar-i-Hind1971. The regiment was awarded two Tamgha-i-Jur’ats and one Sitara-i-Jurat in this operation. One Junior Commissioned Officer and two soldiers of the regiment embraced Shahadat during this war.

22 Cavalry: Under command 18 Division in Reti-Rahimyar Khan Sector, the regiment was to spearhead the capture of Jaisalmir Sector. At 1530 hours on 3 December 1971, after long marches for concentration and a day of postponement, the operation commenced. On 5 December, an action was fought by a Squadron at Longanewala and with the help of 38 Baloch Regiment, the enemy was cut off. There after relentless enemy air strikes for most part of the day, resulted in the loss of 17 tanks and fifteen Shaheeds, forcing the regiment to fall back into own territory by early next day.

23 Cavalry (Frontier Force): The regiment saw active field service in Zafarwal Sector. Alongwith companies of 20 Baloch, C Squadron took Part in re-capture of villages Sank and Cheena Bedi Chand.

24 Cavalry (Frontier Force): It was on night 16/17 December that the regiment was ordered to move to forward concentration area and finally placed near village Ramke on the MRL Canal approximately 7-8 miles short of Pasrur.

27 Cavalry: During the war the regiment operated in Narowal –Shakargarh/Zafarwal area as part of 8 Independent Armoured Brigade Group. The regiment took part in the famous battle at Bara Pind and Dharam Enclave. The regiment shot down one Indian aircraft during the siege of Dharam enclave.

31 Cavalry: In the 1971 war, the regiment saw action in Sialkot sector as part of 8 Independent Armoured Brigade Group. It was part of the action at Bara Pind near Zafarwal that two officers, one Junior Commissioned Officer, one Non-Commissioned Officer and six sowars embraced Shahadat.

28 Cavalry: The regiment, under command 2 Armoured Brigade took a very active part in the capture of Chamb (now Eftikharabad). During the battle, the regiment captured 40 prisoners of war including one major of 9 Jat Battalion, 11 tanks in running condition and vast quantities of arms and ammunition. six Junior Commissioned Officers, two Non-Commissioned Officers and 10 sowars embraced Shahadat.

29 Cavalry: It is the only Armoured Corps regiment which took part in the fighting in 1971 War in East Pakistan. The regiment was dished out even to troop level. Its troops fought in the areas of Rangpur, Pochagrah, Thakargaon, Dinajpur, Mandalpara, Saidpur, Bahadargang, Hilli, Dogra, Kushtia, Naugaon, Dacca and Narainganj. This was very challenging work in the adverse internal security environments against theMukti Bahiniover a prolonged period, and against numerically superior Indian forces. The chivalrous action of LD/Clk Ghulam Sarwar, on 16 December 1971 at Bogra shall always be remembered with great pride. He preferred Shahadat over surrender while fighting against an over whelmingly numerically superior enemy. This day is celebrated by the regiment. The regiment was decorated with 5 Sitara-i-Jur’ats, 2 Tamgha-i-Jur’ats for its splendid performance during 1971 war in the former East Pakistan.

38 Cavalry: The regiment, under command Headquarters 18 Division fought in the Rajasthan Sector. Regiment less one squadron, that was detached to 55 Brigade at Chhor, was part of the advanced towards Jaisalmir. Despite old and unreliable equipment it marched to Masitwari Bhit and later reached 5 kilometers short of Longane Wala, in India, at about 0700 hours on 5 December 1971. Due to intense enemy air attack, move was restricted only to the hours of darkness. On 9 December 1971 the regiment was ordered to withdraw from area Longane Wala (28 kilometers inside Indian territory) to Masitwari Bhit. During this brief action 1one Junior Commissioned Officer, one Non-Commissioned Officer and two sowars of the regiment embraced Shahadat.

51 Lancers: During November 1971 while moving to its operational area in Chishtian Sector the regiment shot down two enemy Hunter aircrafts and captured one of the pilots Flt. Lt Vikrim Singh. During this acting, two sowars of the regiment embraced shahadat. Sitara-i-Jur’at was awarded to Maj Tariq Baig (Commanding Officer Train) and Tamgha-i-Jur’at was awarded to Sowar Ghulam Abbas posthumously. The regiment was also given the title of Silver Eagles.

Honour and Awards (Nishan-e-Haider)

Number 1028148 Sowar Muhammad Hussain Shaheed, Nishan-i-Haider, was born on 18 January 1949 at Dhoke Pir Bakhsh. His father Roze Ali was an agriculturist by profession. Sowar Muhammad Hussain joined the army at the age of seventeen years and got training as a driver in the Armoured Corps Centre, later he joined 20 Lancers on 23 May 1967. During the 1971 War, Sowar Muhammad Hussain embraced Shahadat and was awarded Nishan-i-Haider, the highest gallantry award of Pakistan Army, posthumously, on 17 January 1972. Till now he is the sole recipient of this award in the Armoured Corps.

Sowar Muhammad Hussain Shaheed (NISHAN-E-HAIDER)

Armoured Corps - Sowar Muhamad Hussain Shaheed

Sowar Muhamad Hussain Shaheed (NISHAN-E-HAIDER) Boys Hostel was established in October 1992 to give free education to male children of Shaheed, deceased, war wounded and retired / serving Junior Commissioned Officers / Soldiers of the Armoured Corps on merit. Initially the numbers of students were 40, which was subsequently to 82. Students from class 6th to Intermediate are eligible for admission in the Hostel. All expenses on account of boarding, lodging, medical treatment, books, stationary, school and extra coaching fee etcetera are borne by the Armoured Corps Centre.

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