This is the second ‘tribute’ of the series pertaining to the Param Vir Charka awardees in the Indo-Pak war of 1965. Lt. Colonel Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore, the Commandant of 17 Horse (Poona Horse), led his regiment in what was the biggest and one of the most fiercely fought tank battles of the 1965 war. His personal bravery which resulted in Lt. Col. Tarapore laying down his life, is a shinning example of courage and leadership in military action.
Here’s the story….
The Battle of ‘Chawinda’ was the scene of intense action, as the capture of this town was important in the overall design of 1 Corps in its operations in the Sialkot sector.
The area of Chawinda was held by two regiments of Pakistani armour and infantry. 17 horse, commanded by Lt. Col. Tarapore was part of the 1 Armoured brigade and was advancing towards Chawinda, when it was counter attacked by the enemy’s heavy armour. Lt. Col. Tarapore defied the enemy charge, held on to his position, and attacked another town “Phillora’ with just one of his squadrons, supported by an infantry battalion. In the heavy continuous fire, Lt. Col. Tarapore was wounded, but refused to be evacuated.
On September 14, 1965, though wounded, Col. Tarapore led his regiment to capture another town – Waziralli. This was followed by the capture of Jasoran and Butur – Dograndi. This happened on 16th September. Despite his tank being hit several times, and he himself being wounded, he played the role of a ‘pivot’ between these areas. This enabled the supporting infantry to attack Chawinda.
Lt. Col. Tarapore was mortally wounded in the tank battle. 17 Horse, inspired by the leadership and grit displayed by its Commandant, fought with renewed ferocity, and destroyed 60 enemy tanks against the loss of 9 of its own.
For his brave and gallant action and leadership displayed, despite being wounded, Lt. Col. Tarapore was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
(Source : Gazette of India notification – 112 – Press 65)