Col. Ganesan Satcos-Tamil Web Pages


Ablaze in a Blizzard

Ablaze in a Blizzard - Col.(Retd.) P. Ganesan





The Re-organisation of Engineers



Indo-Pak post war

The corps of engineers role in war and peace was reemphasised as an important one and at the same time getting together different field companies caused some administrative problems. Hence we were ordered to reorganise into Engineer Regiments comprising all units from one group only. The order came sometime in mid1965 and in formations where accidentally we were all from the same group. Hence we immediately reorganised into Regiments.

My 44Field Park Company were ordered to move to 23Mountain Division and form into 4Engineer Regiment. Accordingly an advance party from 44Field Park Company was sent to 23 Mtn. Division in July 1965 and similarly an advance party from 306 Field Park company (23 Mtn. Div.) came to 44Field Park Company. But the War situation came in between and units moved as it was along with advance party.

Immediately after the war the units were ordered to implement the Regimentation order. 23Mtn Div. which was located at Rangiya, Assam also took part in the war and had moved to Ludhiana, Punjab. After the cease fire the units were ordered to go back to their original locations. 44 Field Park Company which was in Pak territory was ordered to move to Changsari, near Rangiya.

I was at Roorki University and was informed about these changes and was ordered to move to Changsari on completion of the course at the University.


Land of Rhinoceros

On completion of the course at Roorki University in April1966 I moved on to a new route "The North East". 23 Mtn. Div. had Engineer units, 56 Field Company, 32 Field Company, 23 Field Company (Bombay sappers), 306 Field Park Company (Bengal sappers). Since this was to be formed into 4Engineer Regiment which would be Madras sapper unit the non MEG units were to be moved out. So 44 Field Park replaced 306 and similarly 13Field Company was to replace 23 Field Company. 44 which was part 6Mtn Div. had taken part in the war and after the war moved to Rangiya.

13 Field Company was one of the oldest field companies of Madras sappers which had taken part in almost all the wars India fought from Second World War to till date. In the 1947-48 war, the partition war of India-Pakistan they had fought in J&K and Sub. Thangavelu was awarded VIR CHAKRA and the company was awarded Battle honour "Jojila" as they fought in jojila pass. In the September 1965 war they were part of 19 Div. and fought at Baramula, J&K. In the reorganisation process they were to move to 23 Mtn. Div., Rangiya. Maj Bawa was commanding the company. During their move Maj Bawa met with an accident and Capt. Pillai along with other officers, Capt K.S.Rao, Lt. Das came to Rangiya.

Lt Col M.K.Basu was the commander engineer along with Maj G.S.Grewal 2i/c Capt D.K Sen.Adjt,capt Bhute,IO,capt C.R Rao TEO. The other officers were as follows.

32 Field Company. Company commander Maj.S.N.Endlay,along with Capt. P.K.Agarwal 2i/c,Lt.zakkuma, Lt. D.R.Johar, Lt S.N Mukerjee.

56 Field Company. Maj D.P.Jairath Company Commander along with Capt. M.S.Venkatraman 2i/c Lt VK Sharma Lt. IRS.Chopra.

44 Field park company. Maj HS Grewal Company Commander along with Capt. Murali Manohar 2i/c Lt Ganesan Lt. AH. Panicker, Lt R.Krishnamurthy.

On an auspicious day 02 JUNE 1966, 4 Engineer Regiment was officially formed and came into existence.

4 Engineer Regiment

Though the Regiment was newly formed the constituent units were very old and had deep pride in maintaining their own identity. So it was taking time to function as a monolithic body. The commanding officer of the Engineer Regiment had to handle the reorganisation process very tactfully.

On reorganisation the number of Captain Vacancies increased and all of a sudden most of the Lieutenants became captains. My company commander was out of station and though I was approved for captain, I was not putting on the rank waiting for my company Commander. There came a formal get together function where all officers were present at that time. Lt. Col. M K. Basu, the Commanding Officer, all of a sudden told Suresh, (Suresh Nath Endley, Company Commander, 32 Field Company), I was improperly dressed. I was shocked and was looking at myself to check what was wrong with me. Col. Basu continued that even though my captaincy had been approved a month before, I was not putting on Captain's rank. Maj. Endlay said that they would punish me now itself. Meanwhile Capt. Venkatraman, 2i/c 56 Fd Coy ran and brought Captain's Appallet (Cotton Cloth Shoulder Cover having 3 stars). Maj. Suresh Endley called me to come near.

I was totally lost as to what was happening. Like walking in the dream, I went ahead and stood in front of Lt. Col. Basu. Basu and Endley on either side changed the shoulder rank from Lt. to Capt. and congratulated me.

The Captain

I was very happy about the developments that had taken place and thanked everyone. It was on 15th Aug 1966. Though I was officially captain since 02nd Jul and shown as Adjutant 4 Engineer Regiment on paper, I never sat in that chair and continued to be in 44Fd Park only. I captained 23 Mtn. Div. Athletic team (Div. troops) and took part in pole vault and triple jump. Sports and games became very important constituent in my daily routine. I wanted to be associated in all troop's games and at the same time played officers games like Badminton, Squash etc. Running a few km daily with or without troops was normal to me.

I had thoroughly understood the soldier's psychology as I was mostly with them and at the same time kept a distance. I was friendly but not familiar with them. I went out of the way to help in training and also solved their personal problems.

In their recreation hall I put up a poster as follows

Below that poster free forces-letters and a pen was kept. A few days later, a Havildar came to see me in my room. I thought it could be some official matter. The Havildar after entering my room stood silently for some time and I noticed that tears were rolling down from his eyes and slowly he started crying loudly. I consoled him and asked him what was the matter?

Havildar replied that he had gone on 2 months annual leave and returned recently. During the leave he had some family problems and fought with his wife. He returned in that mood only and decided not to write to his wife. But after seeing the poster in the recreation room he changed his mind and wrote to his wife .He got a reply from his wife deeply regretting for the events during his leave and expressed unlimited love to him. So he wanted to thank me. I sent him with little more advice.

When I was enjoying my Army life I got shocking news that I had been posted out of Army to a non-military unit. I felt like a fish out of water.

Reflections



The Army units follow strict rules and regulations. In addition to Indian penal code which law is applicable to every citizen of India, Army personnel are also subjected to Army laws and code of conduct. Further the Army units take pride in setting up their own traditions.


The ranks of 2lieutinent and lieutenant are addressed as Mr only in the Army. The first rank to be honoured is Captain.


"Even though we are soldiers and willing to sacrifice our life for the Safety, Honour and Integrity of this country, we too have a family consisting of parents, brother, sister, wife and children. They pray for our wellbeing and eagerly await our return to home. Spend your leave happily with them and return to unit with satisfaction. Write letters regularly to them"