Service No : IC-16409
Place of birth : Mumbai (M'shtra)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Unit : 8 Guards
Arm/Regt : The Brigade of the Guards
Operation : Indo-Pak War 1971
Martyrdom : November 24, 1971
Major HD Manjrekar hailed from Mumbai in Maharashtra. He was commissioned into 8 Guards battalion of the Brigade of Guards, one of the finest and most battle-hardened infantry regiments of the Indian Army. After completing his training, he served in various operational areas and developed into a fine officer with admirable leadership skills. By 1971, he had been promoted to the rank of Major and had gather substantial field experience. As the war clouds with Pakistan were gathering on the horizon, his unit 8 Guards got deployed on the eastern front.
Battle of Hilli (Indo-Pak War) : 24 Nov 1971
During Indo-Pak 1971 war Major HD Manjrekar's unit 8 Guards was deployed in the Eastern Sector. The unit was deployed near Hilli a strategic border town of the erstwhile East Pakistan under the operational control of 202 Mountain Brigade. The Battle of Hilli, was one of the most decisive battles of 1971 and is considered to be one of the most ferocious battles ever fought by a gallant band of soldiers from highly motivated units. 202 Mountain Brigade functioning under operational control of 20 Mountain Division was tasked to capture Hilli in November 1971. The battle of Hilli turned out to be the most savagely fought battle in the Eastern sector. The battle of Hilli was fought over two phases; first from 22 Nov to 24 Nov and second phase from 10 Dec to 11 Dec 1971. Major HD Manjrekar's unit 8 Guards along with 22 MLI and 5 Garhwal were committed by 202 Mtn Bde for this battle with the support of Artillery and armour.
The main objective of the battle was to capture Bogra, thereby cutting off Pakistani forces in the North from the rest of East Pakistan. The best way of reaching Bogra was through Hilli. Pakistan had deployed 4 Frontier Force Regiment of the Pakistan Army along with other elements for the defence of Hilli. As part of the overall attack plan for Hilli, in first phase ‘A’ company of 8 Guards under Major Manjrekar was tasked to capture Morapara. On the night of 23/24 November, Major Manjrekar stealthily led his company toward the assigned target. The area was slush with mud, and at places, the troops had to wade through waist-deep water. The objective was also defended with wire obstacles and mines. While wading through the water, the enemy suddenly opened up a murderous barrage of machine gun fire on the advancing column. The fire from eight machine guns was supplemented by other weapon systems, but that did not stop Major Manjrekar from pressing forward toward the target.
Despite the heavy volume of fire, the troops advanced inch by inch, till they were in sight of the objective. Sheer grit, determination, and raw courage were in ample display on this cold winter night, when Major Manjrekar, was hit by a volley of machine gun fire. Despite severely injured Major Manjrekar did not stop and pressed forward relentlessly. Approaching the enemy machine gun post, he crawled forward and lobbed a grenade inside, silencing the gun. Then Major Manjrekar was hit by another hail of bullets and fell bleeding at the objective. But in one last supreme effort, he shouted over the radio his unit's battle cry “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and then lay still forever. Major HD Manjrekar was was a gallant soldier and a gritty officer, who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty, following the highest traditions of Indian Army.