Gun­ners Cel­e­brate 190th Rais­ing Day

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THE DATE SEPTEM­BER 28TH has a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance in the an­nals of the his­tory of the Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery as the first In­dian Ar­tillery Unit, 5 (Bom­bay) Moun­tain Bat­tery equipped with 2.5 inch RML gun, was raised on this mo­men­tous day in 1827. The Reg­i­ment cel­e­brates the oc­cas­sion ev­ery year as Gun­ners Day.

Ar­tillery was first used in In­dia in the 14th Cen­tury by the Bah­mani Kings dur­ing the Dec­can War against Vi­jay­na­gar King­dom. Guns were also em­ployed on the In­dian sub con­ti­nent by Babur dur­ing the Bat­tle of Pa­ni­pat in 1526. A force mul­ti­plier through­out the Mughal Pe­riod, and later dur­ing the reign of the Marathas, Hy­der Ali, Tipu Sul­tan and the Sikhs un­der Ma­haraja Ran­jit Singh, ar­tillery has eter­nally been an arm to reckon with.

The East In­dia Com­pany raised the first reg­u­lar com­pany of Ar­tillery in 1748, with a small per­cent­age of In­dian Gun­ners called Gun Lashkars, Tin­dals and Serangs. Bom­bay Ar­tillery was raised on Septem­ber 28, 1827, and was later on re­named 5 Bom­bay Moun­tain Bat­tery. Thus Septem­ber 28 is cel­e­brated as the ‘Gun­ners Day’. Since then gun­ners have taken part in all op­er­a­tions in­clud­ing the First and the Sec­ond World War. The In­dian Gun­ners per­formed with val­our and ded­i­ca­tion and by the end of World War II, In­dian gun­ners had won one Vic­to­ria Cross, one Ge­orge Medal, 15 Mil­i­tary Crosses, two IOMs, 22 IDSMs, 18 Mil­i­tary Medals, five OBEs, one MBE, three Bri­tish Em­pire Medals, 13 Burma Gal­lantry Medals and 467 ‘Jangi Inams’.

With In­de­pen­dence came greater chal­lenges and the Reg­i­ment proved its met­tle dur­ing the op­er­a­tions of 1947-48, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999. After the Kargil con­flict, Ar­tillery has ac­quired fur­ther promi­nence with its vast ar­ray of weapons. In ad­di­tion, since the mid 1980s, gun­ners have been fight­ing shoul­der to shoul­der with the in­fantry in Counter In­sur­gency op­er­a­tions in Pun­jab, Jammu and Kash­mir and the North Eastern States.

Amongst the present in­ven­tory of the Ar­tillery are the 120mm mor­tars, the in­dige­nously man­u­fac­tured 105mm In­dian Field Gun (IFG) and its lighter ver­sion for em­ploy­ment in moun­tains called Light Field Gun (LFG). The 155mm FH 77B Bo­fors, which cre­ated havoc dur­ing the Kargil War, and the 130mm Medium Gun of Rus­sian ori­gin are two of the most ver­sa­tile and ef­fec­tive gun sys­tems em­ployed in all types of ter­rain and cli­matic con­di­tions, rang­ing from the Si­achen Glacier to the deserts of Ra­jasthan. Over the ages, Ar­tillery has proven to be the arm of de­ci­sion, a bat­tle win­ing fac­tor and will con­tinue to be a piv­otal arm in all fu­ture Bat­tles. The Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery to­day has em­barked it­self on a path of mod­erni­sa­tion, both in terms of equip­ment and sup­port sys­tems un­der “Make in In­dia” ini­tia­tive of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia.

Mod­erni­sa­tion of Fire­power

The In­dian Ar­tillery is mod­ernising rapidly with ac­qui­si­tion of 155 mm cal­i­bre gun sys­tems in the towed, self-pro­pelled and air por­ta­ble ver­sions. New mul­ti­ple rocket launch­ers, with very high TNT con­tent, hav­ing ranges longer than 60-70 kms have been ac­quired to achieve greater lethal­ity. In or­der to ad­dress de­struc­tion of full ar­ray of tar­gets in the bat­tle­field, ad­vanced am­mu­ni­tion sys­tems such ter­mi­nally guided mu­ni­tions, sen­sor fuzed am­mu­ni­tion, pre­ci­sion guided mu­ni­tions and a va­ri­ety of cargo am­mu­ni­tions are be­ing in­tro­duced into the Ar­tillery. The in­tro­duc­tion of long range weapon lo­cat­ing and sur­veil­lance radars, and UAVs have in­creased the reach and en­hanced the am­bit of bat­tle field trans­parency. The BrahMos is a su­per­sonic land cruising mis­sile ca­pa­ble of de­stroy­ing pin point tar­gets deep in­side the en­emy ter­ri­tory. The ef­forts of all gen­er­a­tions of il­lus­tri­ous gun­ners and the in­tro­duc­tion of new gen­er­a­tion mis­siles, rock­ets, sur­veil­lance equip­ment and am­mu­ni­tion are paving the way for the Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery to be the arm of the fu­ture that can de­stroy tar­gets with greater lethal­ity than ever be­fore. Till date the Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery has won the fol­low­ing Gal­lantry Awards: Ashok Chakra 1 Ma­havir Chakra 7 Kirti Chakra 8 Vir Chakra 92 Yudh Sewa Medal 3 Shau­rya Chakra 56 Sena Medal (Gal­lantry) 441 The Reg­i­ment has also been awarded 40 Honour Ti­tles.

Cel­e­bra­tions

The main theme of cel­e­bra­tions is to re­mem­ber the mar­tyrs and the glo­ri­ous past of the Gun­ners. All Gun­ners then reded­i­cate their re­solve to fol­low the ex­am­ple of mar­tyrs in the ‘ser­vice of the na­tion’. A Sainik Sam­me­lan is also held for all ranks of the sta­tion/reg­i­ment which is ad­dressed by the se­nior most gun­ner. This is fol­lowed by a get to­gether of the re­tired and serv­ing per­son­nel. Gun­ners Day is cel­e­brated all over In­dia and abroad (on UN mis­sions) by all gun­ners.

Cel­e­bra­tions at some im­por­tant sta­tions Delhi. At the level of Army Head Quar­ters, a wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony was held on the aus­pi­cious oc­ca­sion of 190th Gun­ners’ Day at the Amar Jawan Jy­oti. Wreath was laid by Gen­eral Deepak Kapoor (Retd), for­mer COAS and Lt Gen­eral P.K. Sri­vas­tava, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Ar­tillery and Colonel Com­man­dant Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices of our fallen heroes. A get­to­gether of serv­ing of­fi­cers vet­er­ans was held in the evening.

School of Ar­tillery, Devlali. It is the ‘Alma Mater’ of Gun­ners where the cel­e­bra­tions started by flag­ging off the Cy­cling Ex­pe­di­tion of Gun­ners from Septem­ber 28 to Oc­to­ber 3, by Lt Gen­eral R.S. Salaria, Com­man­dant School of Ar­tillery and Col Com­man­dant Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery. The Cy­cling Ex­pe­di­tion con­sist­ing of two Of­fi­cers and 10 Other Rank cov­ered a dis­tance of ap­prox­i­mately 500 kms over a pe­riod of five days. The route of the ex­pe­di­tion was Devlali-Ye­ola-Au­rangabad-Ahmed­na­gar-Shirdi-Devlali. The Com­man­dant ad­dressed a Sainik Sam­me­lan on the oc­ca­sion, at­tended by all the Gun­ners of the sta­tion. Devlali has a spe­cial his­tor­i­cal value as it was in Septem­ber 1867 that the Bri­tish started func­tion­ing from this lo­ca­tion. This was fol­lowed by a wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony to pay homage to the fallen Gun­ner mar­tyrs. A get to­gether of serv­ing and vet­er­ans of­fi­cers was held in the evening.

Hy­der­abad. The Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery cel­e­brated its 190th Rais­ing Day across the Te­lan­gana and Andhra Sub Area (TASA). Hy­der­abad has spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance as the Ar­tillery Cen­tre is lo­cated at Gol­conda. The se­nior most Gun­ner in the sta­tion Ma­jor Gen­eral N. Srini­vas Rao, Gen­eral Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing (TASA) called upon all the Gun­ners to reded­i­cate them­selves to up­hold the ethos and spirit en­shrined in the motto of the Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery, ‘Ev­ery­where with Honour and Glory’. A wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony was held at Ar­tillery Cen­tre, Gol­conda. The wreath lay­ing was a fit­ting trib­ute to the val­our of all the Gun­ners who have made supreme sacri­fice in the ser­vice of the na­tion. Veer Naris (War Wi­d­ows) were fe­lic­i­tated with fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance on this oc­ca­sion. Fi­nally a get to­gether was or­gan­ised on the oc­ca­sion at­tended by se­nior of­fi­cers from other arms and ser­vices, serv­ing Gun­ner of­fi­cers and vet­er­ans.

(Top) Wreathes laid at Amar Jawan Jy­oti by Gen­eral Deepak Kapoor (Retd) and Lt Gen­eral P.K. Sri­vas­tava, DG Arty on the 190th Gun­ners’ Day; (mid­dle) Gen­eral Deepak Kapoor (Retd) in­ter­act­ing with Gun­ners on the 190th Gun­ners’ Day in New Delhi; (above) Ar­tillery Reg­i­ment cel­e­brated 190 Rais­ing Day across Te­lan­gana and Andhra Sub Area in Se­cun­der­abad Can­ton­ment.

PHO­TO­GRAPHS: In­dian Army, Twit­ter

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