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Utilisation Of Artillery In Kargil Was Innovative, Unique, Says Maj Gen Alok Deb

A quarter century of the Kargil war is an occasion to remember how tough the task was to evict intruders from Batalik, Dras and Kargil in 1999.

Our team revisits the area with half a dozen veterans to recall the battles, tragedies, and triumphs. In Episode IV of the series, I speak with Maj Gen Alok Deb (Retd), Former CO, Artillery Regiment.

While the Kargil war is remembered mainly for being India’s first Televised war, it actually was also a war that showed how synergy between the Infantry and the Artillery can be a game changer.

The extensive and innovative use of artillery in direct support role for the brave infantry soldiers battling the Pakistani intruders on the jagged, narrow peaks in Dras, Batalik and Mushkoh sectors proved to be a master stroke.

Maj Gen Alok Deb (then commanding a field artillery regiment as a Colonel) recalls in this interaction: All arms and services of the Formation worked together in close cooperation.

In particular, mention must be made of the synergy between infantry and artillery, a noteworthy takeaway from Operation Vijay which was instrumental in achieving success.

While joint planning remained the preserve of the higher headquarters, there was almost minute-to-minute coordination at infantry brigade and artillery regiment level and below.

Joint reconnaissance by infantry and artillery COs of routes and staging areas, coordination of details such as common names for landmarks, objectives and other targets ensured that no confusion arose at any level, culminating in the production of simple and workable outline fire plans to support attacks.

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The battle of Tololing witnessed the ultimate synergy between these two arms, when, on the death of a company commander during the assault, the Observation Post (OP) officer from the direct support field regiment held the company together, pressing home the attack till relieved by the CO of the battalion.

Part I: How Batalik Was Won

Part II: The Tololing, Tiger Hill Turning Points

Part III: Why Pakistan Launched Kargil Ops