The Kumaon Regiment is known for its extreme level of courage and is one of the most decorated regiments of the Indian Army. It is mainly composed of Kumaonis from Uttarakhand and Ahirs from the plains of Haryana. Their bravery is known to have seen on every occasion including at Rezang La in 1962. Given below are some amazing Kumaon Regiment facts.
Kumaon Regiment Facts
1. The Kumaon Regiment is named after the region of Uttarakhand. It is one of the two regiments that are named after the regions of Uttarakhand. The other one is Garhwal Rifles.
2. It was one of the first troops to be raised in the 19th century. To be precise, it was raised in 1813.
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3. The name ‘Kumaon’ did not come up at the beginning but it was known as the19th Hyderabad Regiment till 1945 after which it got changed.
4. The men of the regiment also belonged to the Russell Brigade of the Hyderabad Nizam. They were known for their valor.
5. The regiment was distinguished by this sign of a demi-rampant lion holding a cross. This same sign was also badged to the coats of arms of the Russell family.
Source – IDR
6. Kumaonis also served in the famous Berar Infantry of the Nizam’s forces.
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7. The Russell Brigade and the Berar Infantry were maintained as British forces but were paid for by the Nizam.
8. The Brigade under Nizam came to be known as the Hyderabad Contingent in1853. It also became a part of the British Indian Army after 1857.
9. More number of Kumaonis entered the composition of the Russell Brigade and the Berar Infantry between 1854 and 1917.
10. During World War I, the first all-Kumaon battalion was formed in Ranikhet on October 23, 1917. It was known as 4/39th Kumaon Rifles and was redesignated as 1st Battalion, 50th Kumaon Rifles in 1918.
11. The 19 was added to the Kumaon badge in 1924 when the Kumaon battalions became part of the Hyderabad Contingent.
12. The prefix of 19 was attached to the Hyderabad Regiment on October 27, 1945, after Independence.
13. The motto of the Kumaon Regiment was ‘Parakramo Vijayate’ meaning Valour Triumphs. They also have three war cries namely, Kalika Mata Ki Jai (Victory to the Great Goddess Kali), Bajrang Bali Ki Jai (Victory to Bajrang Bali), and Dada Kishan Ki Jai (Victory to Dada Kishan – a form of Krishna).
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14. During World War II, the 19th Hyderabad Regiment fought very bravely in the regions of Hong Kong, eastern theatre in Burma, Malay Peninsula, and Iran.
15. Kumaon Regiment fought the very first battle of independent India. Two battalions of Kumaon Regiment fought valiantly at the Indo-Pak war of 1947-48.
16. Major Somnath Sharma of 4th battalion Kumaon Regiment was the first soldier to be honoured with the Param Vir Chakra for fighting bravely against the Pakistanis in the Battle of Budgam even though his left hand was plastered.
17. The Kumaon Regiment attacked Chinese defenses in the Battle of Walong of 1962 and captured them. It is believed that this was the first time that India attacked the forces instead of being defensive.
18. The 13 Kumaon fought the Battle of Rezang La in which 120 Indian soldiers stood strong against 1300 Chinese soldiers. It was one of the greatest last stands in the history of human warfare.
19. Major Shaitan Singh of 13 Kumaon was honoured with PVC for his commendable courage in Battle of Rezand La in which he went from post to post inspiring his men to stand strong against the Chinese soldiers.
20. Ladakh Scouts along with the Kumaon Regiment were able to achieve a decisive edge over Pakistan in the region of Siachen Glacier which they captured during Operation Meghdoot in 1984.
21. Besides the Kumaon Scouts, the regiment has 19 battalions, three of which are of Naga Regiment.
22. The Regiment was awarded India’s highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra and not only one but four Ashok Chakras, three of which went to 15 Kumaon and one to 13 Kumaon.
23. The Regiment has produced the highest number of Army chiefs by any infantry regiment -General S.M. Shrinagesh, General K.S. Thimayya, and General T.N. Raina. The picture given below is of Gen Thimayya.