Military Digest: With the 72nd Punjabis to Victory

Written by Mandeep Singh Bajwa

Published: July 3, 2020 10:06:35 am

The band of 3/2 Punjab Regiment playing while marching through the Khyber Pass, c1935.

3rd Battalion the Punjab Regiment has been in the news recently with their Ghatak (Commando) Platoon reinforcing 16th Bihar in the Galwan Valley. In the clashes that followed with Chinese soldiers, the Punjabis took a heavy toll of the intruders. Three bravehearts of the battalion – Sepoys Ankush, Gurbinder Singh and Gurtej Singh – made the supreme sacrifice in this clash. The young, handsome Gurtej Singh in particular has caught the fancy of social media-users with many posts lauding his sacrifice and courage in the line of duty.

One of the oldest units of the Army, 3 Punjab came into existence as 16th Battalion, Coast Sepoys in 1767. It served the British well in wars in South India including the campaigns against the formidable ruler-generals Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. They made their mark in the 1st and 3rd Burma Wars of the 19th Century sailing to that country and breaking age-old taboos. The regiment was also part of a punitive expedition to Manipur in 1890. From that year they started recruiting Punjabis instead of men from South India. The final break from their roots came in 1903 when they…

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