Srinagar, July 4: And we conquered Tiger hill…..says Indian Army with pride as on this day, 20 decades ago, our Army unfurled the flag of victory on the Tiger hill which gave a blow of loss to Pakistan. Tiger hill was dominating and difficult and became a war symbol in India. It stands majestically among the mountaintops a few kms North of Dras. Conquering the Tiger Hill was not an easy task as it was an extensive feature which extends about 2200 meters from West to East and about 1000 meters north to south.
The story behind Tiger Hill victory is like this…
After receiving the good news of capturing Tololing from Gen Mohinder Puri, Tiger Hill was the next objective which had to be cleared soon. 18 Grenadiers were tasked to capture Tiger Hill on the night of 3/4 July 1999. They were provided a team of the High Altitude Warfare School, adequate artillery, Engineer and other support. The Air Force too engaged Tiger Hill on 2/3 July 1999.
The assault began at 1900 hours on 3 July 1999 with direct and indirect firing by artillery. It was a multi-directional infantry assault. 8 Sikhs provided the firm base and engaged the enemy from obvious approaches as part of a deception plan. 18 Grenadiers moved towards the objective from the South and North East. The weather assisted the battalions in achieving surprise. Lt. Balwan Singh, now Col, led the Ghatak Platoon of 18 Grenadiers on the most difficult, North-Eastern approach. His Platoon made use of the rope to reach the top of the Tiger Hill at 4.30 AM and totally surprised the enemy that had already suffered due to heavy artillery and air attacks.
In the ensuing hand-to-hand fight, the enemy lost 10-12 men. 18 Grenadiers suffered six fatalities. Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, who was in the lead on the rope, and wounded badly, earned India’s highest gallantry award of Param Vir Chakra. The Ghatak Platoon with some reinforcements firmed in on the Tiger Hilltop, but throughout the day came under enemy fire from the Western Spur. On 4th July GOC 15 Corps rang up Chief at 6 AM to inform him that 18 Grenadiers had reached the Tiger Hilltop and heavy fighting was going on. At 7.30 AM, Gen Mohinder Puri confirmed to the Chief that 18 Grenadiers was in full control and the enemy would not be able to dislodge it from the Tiger Hilltop. This was the greatest victory of the Kargil war. The capture of Tiger Hill was reported across the globe.
4th July 1999 would always remain a golden date in the history of India as neither India nor Pakistan will forget the ‘Kargil War’ of 1999. India will remember victory against neighboring country and martyrs while Pakistan will remember its loss. This day India not only emerged Invictus in Kargil War against Pakistan but also witnessed the sacrifice of many soldiers who selflessly fought for the dignity of the country.