Service No : IC-21418

Date of Birth : December 8, 1938

Place of birth : Sri Ganganagar (Raj)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Major

Unit : 14 Grenadiers

Arm/Regt : The Grenadiers

Martyrdom : December 14, 1971

Major HS Chahal

Major Harbans Singh Chahal hailed from Mohanpura village of Sri Ganganagar district in Rajasthan and was born on 08 December 1938. Son of Sardar Avtar Singh, he did his schooling at SGN  Khalsa Sr Sec SchoolSri Ganganagar, and later completed his graduation from Birla Mahavidyalaya, Pilani, Rajasthan.  Subsequently, he obtained an M.A., LLB (Pre) from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. He was an excellent sportsman in his student life and was an elected member of the student cabinet of Aligarh University.  Inspired by the service of the country during the Indo-China war of 1962, he joined the Army in 1963.


He was commissioned into 14 Grenadiers of the Grenadiers Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its brave soldiers with a rich history of various battle honours. He was posted on the China border during the Indo-Pak war of 1965. In 1971, Maj HS Chahal got involved in the thick of operations as his unit got deployed on the western border when the war with Pakistan became imminent. 


"Battle of Daruchhian" (Indo-Pak War): 13/14 Dec 1971


During the Indo-Pak 1971 War, Major HS Chahal’s unit 14 Grenadiers was deployed on the western front. In December 1971, India had to go to war with Pakistan as the genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani army in their erstwhile eastern part of the country had resulted in an unprecedented influx of millions of refugees into India. Though the war was concentrated on the eastern front, Pakistan launched operations on the western front too. When the war was declared on 03 Dec 1971, 14 Grenadiers Bn under the command of Lt Col Inderjit Singh was functioning under the operational control of 25 Div and was spread all over the Div AOR (Area of Responsibility) from Naushera to Poonch. By the second week of Dec 1971, India had almost achieved victory on the eastern front but the border skirmishes were still going on, on the western front. Major HS Chahal's unit 14 Grenadiers was involved in operations in the "Battle of Daruchhian" during that period. 


After the failure of the Pakistani divisional attack on Poonch, the Indian Army decided to carry out local and limited actions all along the ceasefire line to improve its defensive posture. One such attack was launched by an infantry battalion in the area opposite Madarpur on the night of 10/11 December, and having captured Nangi Tekri, Jungle Tekri, Bump and other features denied the use of the Kotli-Madarpur-Hajira road to the enemy. As a follow-up to these operations, it was decided to secure Daruchhian, a feature blocking the Balnoi neck of the Kotli-Balnoi road between the Poonch River and the ceasefire line. Daruchhian was a conical feature, narrow and rugged at the top and with steep projections. It was forested on all sides except the southwest spur and was reportedly held by less than one Pakistani company of regular troops and some Mujahids as part of the main picquet line. 14 Grenadiers battalion under the command of Lt Col Inderjit Singh was tasked to launch an attack on Daruchhian and it was allotted an additional company and artillery support of four to six fire units. Major HS Chahal was functioning as a Company Commander of "B" Company at that time.


The capture of Daruchhian was planned to be carried out by 0800 hrs on 14 Dec in three phases. It was a multi-pronged attack involving primarily B, C, and D companies of 14 Grenadiers and elements of other outside resources. As per the plan, in Phase-I 'B' Company was to capture OP (Observation Post); in Phase-II 'C' Company was to capture West Spur and in Phase-III 'D' Company was to capture South West Spur. Besides the commanding officer Lt Col Inderjit Singh, Maj HS Chahal ('B' Company Commander), Maj MH Khan ('D' Company Commander), and Capt Hamir Singh('C' Company Commander) as company commanders were involved in planning and executing the operational plan. 'A' Company under the command of Maj SR Dogra was responsible for marking the FUP(Forming up Point) for Pase-I and then acting as a reserve for Phase II. The attack was launched on the night of 13/14 Dec 1971 in three phases with three assault groups attacking from different directions.


In Phase-I of the battle, Major HS Chahal's 'B' Company was given the task of capturing the OP position on Daruchhian along the eastern approach over the neck spur. 'B' Company led by Major HS Chahal crossed the start line at 2335 hrs and moved swiftly towards the given objective. The troops charged through the mines and reached within 50 yards of the objective. Thereafter the advance was halted owing to a steep cliff and stiff enemy resistance. Undeterred and showing disregard for his own safety, Major HS Chahal moved to the nearest platoon and took them along to charge through the last 50 yards to the objective. While doing so, Major HS Chahal stepped on a mine and blew up his foot. However, he refused to be evacuated and continued to direct his troops to engage the enemy. Meanwhile as "C" Company's advance was getting delayed, "B" Company was ordered to keep the enemy engaged. While "C" Company tried to reach the objective from the rear, Major HS Chahal along with his platoon commander 2nd Lt GP Bahukhandi and other troops kept engaging the enemy from their direction. At around 0400 hrs, Major HS Chahal with his injured foot decided to charge at the OP position along with his troops. While doing so, he got seriouly injured due to enemy shelling. Soon he succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. The enemy gave a very stiff resistance and the battle for Daruchhian continued for over 12 hours. Maj HS Chahal as the Company Commander of 'B' Company fought valiantly and led his men to give a befitting reply to the enemy firepower. In the fierce exchange of fire, during the battle, a total of eight officers, seven JCOs, and one hundred and forty-five other ranks were martyred, wounded, or missing in action.


Besides Major Maj HS Chahal, the other martyred brave hearts included five officers (Maj MH Khan, Maj SR Dogra, Capt OP Dalal, Capt Bakshish Singh, and 2nd Lt GP Bahukhandi), 4 JCOs ( Sub Jai Singh, Sub Taj Mohd Khan, Nb Sub Hasam Khan and Nb Sub Ram Sarup Singh) and 44 ORs. The martyred ORs included CHM Mustaq Ali, CQMH Tej Singh, L/Hav Mahmed Hanif, Nk Baghe Khan, Nk Daulat Khan, Nk Shamsad Ali, L/Nk Kutubudin Khan, L/Nk Ajim Khan, L/Nk Arjun Singh, L/Nk Mubin Khan, L/Nk Inayat Khan, Gdr Keshar Khan, Gdr Aladin Khan, Gdr Ast Ali Khan, Gdr Sawai Khan, Gdr Raghbir Singh, Gdr Bhagwant Singh, Gdr Ranjit Singh, Gdr Paras Ram Singh, Gdr Khursed Ali Khan, Gdr Badri Singh, Gdr Hari Ram, Gdr Shamsher Khan, Gdr Mannu Khan, Gdr Umed Khan, Gdr Adittaya Prakash, Gdr Ibrahim Khan, Gdr Haskar Khan, Gdr Mukarab Khan, Gdr Janbed Singh, Gdr Chhotu Khan, Gdr Ata Mohammad, Gdr Kishore Singh, Gdr Tej Singh, Gdr Nibh Singh, Gdr Bhanwru Khan, Gdr Mahphul Khan, Gdr Randhir Singh, Gdr Jai Singh, Gdr Rajendra Singh, Gdr Jor Singh, Gdr Kishan Singh, Gdr Pep Singh and Gdr Agar Singh.


Major Harbans Singh Chahal was a committed soldier and a fine officer, who at the age of 33 years made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.  Major HS Chahal is survived by his wife Smt Baljit Kaur Chahal.

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1 Comment
  • Col V B Singh

    2021 at 7:54 pm Reply

    Very noble effort
    Best wishes

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