SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH - NAVY DAY 2021
Navy Day is celebrated in many countries to recognize their Navy. 04 Dec is India’s Navy Day, the Day 50 years ago, when 3 Vidyut class missile boats and 2 Arnala class corvets silently crept into Pak waters and created mayhem for the enemy ships and setting ablaze the Port of Karachi. This year has pompously been celebrated as the “Swarnim Vijay Varsh” or the Golden Jubilee year, honouring our War Veterans of the 1971 War.
Lets flash back in Time, 50 yrs ago, the Day our Fine Indian navy inflicted heavy casualities on Pakistan, who initiated the 1971 war on the previous day....It was the Day, 3 Vidyut class Missile boats escorted by 2 Arnala class Corvettes dared to enter Pak territorial waters to fire Styx SSMs (first time in the Region) to create havok for the Enemy on the midnight of 04/ 05 Dec....
INS Nirghat sank the cruise destroyer PNS Khaibar, loitering NW of Karachi with 222 sailors on board by firing 2 styx missiles.
INS Nipat fired its missiles on MV Venus Challenger and its escort PNS Shah Jahan (former HMS Charity), a C-class destroyer. Venus Challenger carrying ammunition for the Pakistani forces, immediately exploded as the missile hit, and eventually sunk 40 km south of Karachi. The other missile targeted for Shah Jahan damaged the ship very badly. INS Nipat continued towards Karachi, and targeted the Kemari oil storage tanks, placing itself 14 nmi (26 km; 16 mi) south of the Karachi harbour. Of the two missiles fired, one misfired, and the other hit the oil tanks. The tanks got burnt and destroyed completely, causing heavy loss to the Pakistan Navy.
INS Veer targeted PNS Muhafiz, an Adjutant-class minesweeper sinking it with 33 sailors on board.
After the mahem, the flotilla returned victorious ....A number of Indian Navy personnel were honoured with gallantry awards for the operation.
‘Operation Python’, a follow-up to Operation Trident, was the code name of a naval attack launched 4 days later on the night of *8/9 December* 1971. A strike group consisting of one missile boat INS Vinash and two frigates INS Talwar and Trishul attacked the group of ships off the coast of Karachi. While India suffered no losses, Pakistani fleet tanker PNS Dacca was damaged beyond repair, and the Kemari Oil Storage facility was lost. Two other foreign ships stationed in Karachi were also sunk during the attack.
While the Navy on Western Coast wrecked havoc on Karachi and the ships employed to guard it, another Chapter was being written by INS Vikrant and it's flotilla on the Eastern Front. Vikrant was deployed towards Chittagong at the outbreak of hostilities. On 4 December, the ship's Sea Hawks struck shipping in Chittagong and Cox's Bazar harbours, sinking or incapacitating most of the ships present. Later strikes targeted Khulna and the Port of Mongla, which continued until 10 December, while other operations were flown to support a naval blockade of East Pakistan. On 14 December, the Sea Hawks attacked the cantonment area in Chittagong, destroying several Pakistani army barracks. Simultaneous attacks by Alizés continued on Cox's Bazar. Waves after waves of daring Top Guns of Sea Hawks and Alizes bombed Dacca, Mongla, Khulna and Cox-Bazar to choke the enemy there*, ultimately forcing the 93,000 strong enemy to surrender for want of any help from West Pakistan.The crew of INS Vikrant earned two Maha Vir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras
We all are so proud of our valiant veteran brothers who bravely served onboard the ships and made this possible....Today some of them are living Legends in their late 70s, 80s and 90s ....List of MVCs and VCs is placed below.
*MAHA VIR CHAKRAS (8)*
1. Vice Adm Swaraj Parkash (retd)(CO Vikrant)
2. Rear Adm Santosh Kumar Gupta (retd)
3. Cmde Babru Bahan Yadav (retd) (Trident)
4. Cmde Kasargod Patnashetti Gopal Rao (retd)(Mine sweeping off Karachi)
5. Capt Mohan Narayan Rao Samant (Operation X)
6. P/O Chiman Singh (retd)(Operation X)
7. Cdr Joseph Pius Alfred Noronha (retd)(Panvel)
8. Capt MN Mulla (Khukri)
*VIR CHAKRAS (43)*
1. Adm Laxminarayan Ramdas
2. Adm Vijai Singh Shekhawat
3. Adm Arun Prakash (P)
4. Vice Adm Manohar Pralhad Awati
5. Vice Adm Benoy Roy Chowdhury (EO Vikrant)
6. Vice Adm Rustom Khushro Shapoorjee Ghandhi
7. Rear Adm Sourirajullu Ramsagar
8. Rear Adm Rishi Raj Sood
9. Rear Adm Subir Paul
10. Cmde IJ Sharma (Nirghat)
11. Cdr Bahadur Nariman Kavina(Nipat)
12. LtCdr OP Mehta(Veer)
13. Capt KMV Nair(Trishul)
14. Capt SS Kumar (Talwar)
15. Lt Cdr Vijai Jerath(Vinash)
16. Cmde Padavupurackal Chandy Andrews
17. Cmde Suresh Kumar Sabhlok
18. Cmde Bipinchandra Bhaskar Bhagwat (P)
19. Capt Ashwani Kumar Mehra (P)
20. Capt RD Dhir (P)
21. Cdr Keshar Singh Panwar (P)
22. Lt Cdr Sankar Prasad Ghosh (P)
23. Lt Cdr Raminder Singh Sodhi (P)
24. Lt Cdr Ashok Roy(P)
25. Lt (X) Prem Kumar (P)
26. Cdr Rajinder Singh Grewal (Cdr Air Vikrant)
27. Cdr (X) Roy Joseph Millan
28. Cmde Jagdish Chandra Puri
29. Cdr TS Ashok Kumar
30. Cdr Vijai Prakash Kapil
31. Cdr George Martis
32. Lt Cdr (X) Jayanta Kumar Roy Choudhury
33. LtCdr (X) Joginder Krishan Suri (XO Khukri)
34. Cdr Ommen Mukadavil Ommen (EO Khukri)
35. Lt Cdr (X) Rajat Kumar Sen (Logo Khukri)
36. Surg Lt Sudhansu Sekhar Panda (MO Khukri)
37. Lt Cdr Inder Singh
38. Lt (X) Suresh Kumar Mitter
39. MN Sangal,MCPO (Nirghat)
40. Mughilissery Ouseph Thomachan, CPO
41. Kapallisai Raju, LEMP
42. Ravinder Nath Sharma, POR (Tel).
43. Lt VK Dutta (P)
Even as we are continued to be restrained by the Pandemic this year too ; We pay our tributes to the Warriors who Won the 1971 War and have made all of us Proud. We owe our Navy Day to them.
BEATING RETREAT & TATTOO CEREMONY-2021
Like all previous years, the Veteran couples, Veer naris & spectators for BRTC were courteously ushered in and seated in front of the spacious arena of the gateway of India, by the immaculate uniformed provost staff and young officers from Shikra and Angre. The BRTC-2021 commentators from INS Shikra brought out the genesis of the ‘Beating Retreat’, when the drum was the principal means of sending out signals to troops engaged in battle. Of the many signals that were conveyed by drum beats, one that was most pleasant for the troops was the ‘Retreat’ that signaled the troops to disengage from combat at Sunset as day light faded. The troops then withdrew to their barracks to tend to their wounds. The present ceremony of having the Band play the ‘Retreat’ is a modern innovation to stir pride amongst our citizens through a spectacular display of our war waging capability with great pomp and show.
While the ‘Retreat’ recalled the troops from the battle area, the ‘Tattoo’ was beating of drums in the billeting areas and ordered troops to proceed to their quarters. Over the years Tattoo has been enriched by folk and contemporary sounds of merriment into its folds.
Team NFMC had forwarded the list of 50 Veteran couples (Each Day) for 3rd & 4th Dec who had volunteered to witness the Beating Retreat and Tattoo Ceremony at the Gateway of India. While 900 spectators had been part of celebrations previous years earlier, albeit due to the Pandemic the event had been given a pass last year and 50% strength catered for this year.
All roads of Colaba on both days converged to the Gateway starting 4 pm for the most spectacular Naval display of the year, showcasing the prowess of the Sword Arm of the Indian Navy. A special spectacle that stood out from the previous BRTCs was the display undertaken by the Naval Dockyard of the largest Khadi Indian Tricolour at the Navy House Promenade. The Indian Tricolour made of khadi, measures 225 ft in length and 150 ft wide, weighing a staggering 1.40 tonnes. It was designed and manufactured by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission as part of the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence. (Pics below)
This evening’s pageantry was a unique amalgamation of various elements exemplifying Indian Navy’s ongoing efforts to showcase our maritime traditions. The bonhomie of the Indian styles brought in a sense of Joie de Vivre that defined our collective identity and was visibly evident. The Chief host for the Evening for BRTC 2021 was our new C-in-C VAdm Ajendra Bahadur Singh, AVSM, VSM, who received the Chief Guest HE Shri Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
On arrival of the Governer the National Anthem was sung followed by Beating the Retreat Band performance that was in perfect synchro drill. Two ALHs in formation displayed Op Demo of Dunking Sonars. This was followed by the Op Demo by Seaking 42-C, de-inducting the MARCOS, holding onto the slithering rope and lighting the red signal flares. This was followed by Sunset ceremony performed by our glorious Band and the musician Sailor beating the brass pipes on the composition arranged by AC Green, from atop the good old Taj. At the last beat of the Sunset, the Naval ships anchored in the outer harbour switched on their silhouette lights in synchro.
The ‘Flypast’ by the group of Helos, have a long history and affinity with the parades, are a national pride in Air-shows and imprint themselves on the spectator’s memories. The only Heliport of the Indian Navy, INS Shikra (being commanded by Cmde Dushyant Purohit) is an exclusive abode of Naval Helicopters of the Western Naval Command. Formation of Angels (Chetaks), Harpoons (Seakings), Falcons (Kamov) and the recent induction of ALHs had been an integral part of Flypast over the Gateway of India.
We were then witness to precise maneuvers of the continuity drill performed by a contingent of gunnery sailors of K-22. They performed complex but perfect drills including the exchange of the lit bayonet rifles amongst two rows of sailors facing each other, through which marched their drill GI confidently.
The last glorious event was the Horn pipe dance by the students of the SCC (Sea Cadet Corps). The Sea Cadet Corps was established by Late Hon Cmde GS Ahuja on 13th May 1938 at karachi and relocated to mumbai in 1948. Today SCC is the finest voluntary non-Govt youth organisation of our country. The determination, motivation and drive displayed by these cadets is reflective of our country’s future with renewed hope. Their Boys and Girls band lead the First Veterans Day Parade at Marine Drive on 12 Jan 2020 and was hugely applauded. Bravo Zulu SCC.
After the reassembly the Exit March Jai Bharati was composed and arranged by Dias/ F Rodrigues. After the spectacular event the dignitaries were invited for the At Home in C-in-C’s Lawns for meet and greet and delectable drink and snacks. We had the opportunity to meet the Senior Officers both serving and Veterans (Pics below). Cdr Vijay Vadhera, president NFMC took to stage and introduced Our Senior War Veteran Capt SS Sethi, who was the Navigating Offr on Board IN Betwa during the OP Trident in 1971, while his engagement ceremony was held back home in his absentia. The later presented to our CinC theTrack Chart of the Fleet ships of Western Fleet, including Operations Trident and Python, along with the book ‘War Despatches 1971’ that he and his course-mates of 28th NDA scripted recounting the War anecdotes.
A Sensational Event of the Navy Week with a spectacular display at BRTC-2021 was indicative of the exceptional efforts of officers and men of the Sword Arm of the Indian Navy, particularly HQWNC, INS Shikra, INS Kunjali, INS Angre, Fleet Ships, K-22 and allied units. Bravo Zulu.
Sam No Varunah
PS - Link to the Article with Track Chart by Capt SS Sethi in the blog link below. Click to view 👇