We Gunners

Sarvatra Izzat - O - Iqbal



Regiment of Artillery History

The Regiment of Artillery constitutes a formidable operational arm

 of Indian Army. Historically it takes its lineage from Moghul

Emperor Babur who is popularly credited with introduction

of Artillery in India, in the Battle of Panipat in 1526. 

However evidence of earlier use of gun by Bahmani Kings

 in the Battle of Adoni in 1368 and King Mohammed

Shah of Gujrat in fifteenth century have been recorded.

Regiment of Artillery in India was raised on 28 September

1827 with the raising of Bombay Artillery which was

later renamed as 5 Bombay Mountain Battery.  This day is

celebrated by the Regiment of Artillery as the “Gunners Day”. 

 The first Indian War of Independence was sparked off at

Meerut on 10 May 1857, primarily by native artillery of Bengal

Army.  This resulted in total ban on Indian artillery units except

 mountain artillery batteries till British Government later relented

 on this order and thus on 15 January 1935, `A’ Field Brigade

was formed, which later became 1st Indian Field Regiment.

 The advent of the First World War gave Indian Artillery an

opportunity to show their real mettle.  Fighting as far apart

as East Africa, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Palestine,

 Indian gunners acquitted themselves with rare courage and

enterprise.  The Second World War saw Indian Gunners in action

in East and North Africa, Middle East when Havildar Umrao

 Singh took on Japanese soldiers with his gun rammer in an

effort to save his gun.   Individual honours apart, it was the

collective valour and dedication of Indian gunners that caused

Sir Winston Churchil to rise from his seat in the House of Commons

 to pay tribute to them for their decisive role in the Battle of

Bir Hachiem against Rommel’s Panzer Army.  By the end of

Second World War Indian gunners had won one Victoria Cross,

One George Medal, 15 Military Crosses, two IOMs, 22 IDSMs,

 18 Military Medals, five OBEs, One MBE, three BEMs, 13 Burma

 Gallantry Medals and 467 “Jangi Inams”.  In acknowledgement

 of their contribution Indian Artillery earned the covert title of `Royal’

 in 1945.  Indian Artillery during independence consisted of Field,

 Air Defence, Counter Bombardment, Coastal, Air Observation

Post branches and was allotted eighteen and half all types of

artillery regiments while remaining nine and half units went to Pakistan.

Participation of Indian Artillery in Jammu and Kashmir operations

 during 1947-48 commenced with the first flights of civil and Royal

 Indian Air Force Dakotas, which transported 1 SIKH Battalion to

Srinagar on the morning of 27 October 1947. Personnel of 2 Field

 Regiment (SP) and 13 Field Regiment donned uniform of

1 SIKH and proceeded as a composite company of the battalion

 under Capt RL Chauhan of 13 Field Regiment.  It operated as infantry

till first week of November 1947 when four 3.7 inch howitzer

reached the area.  Thereafter they took over the guns and

assisted the infantry to drive out the infiltrators along Srinagar -

 Baramula road.  Later artillery proved to be battle winning factor

in defence of Srinagar airfield and subsequent route of  Pakistani

tribesmen in Jammu region and Kashmir Valley.  Artillery played

a dominant role in recapture of Poonch, Rajauri, Thangdar, Tithwal,

 Dras and Kargil during 1947-48.

Chinese Army attacked Indian positions on 10 October 1962 in

general area of Tawang in Kameng Frontier Division.  Support of

artillery was immediately called for and Indian Gunners responded

with gusto - notwithstanding the fact that the guns had the daunting

task of reaching upto Bum La Pass in high altitude to give cover to

Tawang town.  On 23 October Chinese came through Bum La

Pass and attacked 1 SIKH position.  They were immediately engaged

 by the guns of 7 (Bengal) Mountain Battery directed by Capt Gosal

 which broke the attack. Artillery kept supporting the infantry till Tawang

 was abandoned.  Subsequently guns of 116 Mortar Battery, 34 Heavy

 Mortar Battery, 5 Field Regiment, 22 Mountain Regiment and

6 Field Regiment provided covering fire to the infantry units of

4 Mountain Division to extricate themselves and launch

counterattacks.  Similar support were provided by guns of

17 Para Field Regiment and 71 Heavy Mortar Battery in Walong

sector.  In Ladakh Sector too artillery of 13 Field Regiment and

38 Field Battery played significant role to hold the enemy and defend

 Chushul heights.

Major restructure of Indian Artillery took place after the Chinese

Aggression of 1962.  This included fresh raising and induction

of newer equipment.  In 1964 Coastal Artillery was handed over

 to Indian Navy.  Prior to Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 Indian Artillery

was called upon to thwart Pakistani designs in the Rann of Kutch. 

During this operation 11 Field Regiment, 17 Para Field Regiment

and Air Observation Post did the Regiment proud.  These actions

 were followed by artillery actions to prevent large scale Pakistani

infiltrators during August 1965. Haji Pir Pass in Kashmir was

considered to be strategically and tactically vital feature.

This pass was captured after heavy fighting due to support

of 164 Field Regiment, a battery from 7 Field Regiment, a

medium and a mountain battery. Thereafter gunners excelled in all

operations from the frozen deserts of Ladakh to Gujrat to the

 west. Air defence artillery, locators and air observation post all

rose to the occasion whenever they were called to support.

1971 Indo-Pakistan War was more challenging for the Regiment

 of Artillery than ever before. It was for the first time that Indian

 Army was fighting full fledged war on two fronts. In the Eastern

 Sector, artillery had to improvise extensively to get guns

ammunition and vehicles across various major and minor rivers.

 It ensured that not once did infantry or armour had to look

over their shoulders for artillery support. During these operations

 49 Para Field Battery took part in para drop with 2 Para Battalion

to capture Pongli bridge on Lohaganj river near Tangail which

expedited surrender by Pakistani Army in East Pakistan. 2 Para

was first to enter Dacca around 11.30 AM on 16 December 71

followed by 851 Light Battery. Soon 563 Mountain Battery also

 entered Dacca. With this a new nation was born. In the Western

sector artillery played major role in capture of important Pakistani

piquets in Ladakh, Kashmir, Rajauri, Jammu, Punjab and Rajasthan.

 It was also instrumental in defeating Pakistani designs to capture

 large Indian territories in the Western Sector to subsequently use

 it for negotiations, specially in the areas of Poonch and Chamb in

Jammu and Kashmir, Hussainiwala and Fazilka in Punjab and

Laungwala in Rajasthan.

Presently the Regiment of Artillery is in the forefront of fighting in

 Siachen - the highest battlefield in the world. The guns for the

sector were initially dismantled and air dropped in 1983-84.

Medium and field guns are providing close support to infantry

in Siachen while artillery observation post officers are manning

 the piquet along with infantry. Here too the gunners have

distinguished themselves and won many laurels including Mahavir

Chakra. In its peace time duties the Regiment is undertaking i

nfantry type tasks in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North Eastern

States of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland. Air Observation Post and Air

 Defence branches bifurcated in 1986 and 1994 respectively and

formed new arms of Indian Army.









Regimental Crest

The crest of the Regiment of Artillery is largely a legacy of the Royal Artillery.  Their crest depicted a gun with a crown above it, separated by the world UBIQUE (Latin for everywhere).  Below the gun was emblazoned the motto; Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducant; "where right and glory lead".  In the Royal Indian Artillery, the crown was replaced by a star - representing the Star of India and instead of UBIQUE the crest carried the world India to distinguish the Royal Indian Artillery from the Royal Artillery.  The motto below was also changed to IZZAT-O-IQBAL.  After independence, the word INDIA was dropped from the regimental crest and replaced with SARVATRA.

Regimental Motto

The motto, Izzat-o-Iqbal, was retained but not without controversy.  In 1954, as part of the process of Indianisation of the armed forces, the government ordered that regimental mottos be changed to Hindi or Sanskrit.  The final decision was, however, left with the then Chief of the Army Staff, General Rajendra Sinhji.  The Regiment of Artillery made a forceful case for retaining its motto as it was felt the most suitable in content and meaning.  It was finally decided to retain the motto though it was in Persian.

Regimental Flag

A distinctive red and navy blue background the official colours of the Artillery flag forms an ideal setting for the golden gun (the Gunner crest) which forms the centerpiece of the flag.  Gunner folklore had it, that the red and blue represents the flash and the smoke of the gun, though this is not quite true.  Red has been traditionally common to all combat arms - Infantry, Armour and Artillery.  The blue in the Artillery flag was taken from the ribbon of the 'Star of India' which had been incorporated into the Artillery crest.  The original colour was light blue but since a similar shade was adopted by the Crops of Signals, it was changed to navy blue to avoid confusion.


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