2nd Battalion – The Frontier Force Regiment (2 FF)

It will be remembered from the account of 12 Cavalry f FF), that the Guides Infantry was part of the force which gallantly attacked and captured Biar Bet in early 1965. From the Rann of Kutch, the Guides moved back to Quetta in July, 1965. From there they moved to the area of Lahore in August, 1965.

On September 6th the Guides, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Fateh Khan, were in the Kasur area for normal training. Indian aggression started. Guides were ordered to establish a bridgehead across the Rohi Nala by 2300 hours on the night of September 6/7.

This was to enable a formation to launch a counter-offensive. The bridgehead was to be established in two phases. In phase one, A and D Companies were to establish a bridgehead in the general area of the custom post to the railway bridge. In the second phase, the bridgehead was to be extended to the general area of milestone 4 on the Kasur-Khem Karan road.

While the battalion was approaching the obstacle the forward elements came under enemy fire but A Company, under Major S.M.H. Bokhari, followed by D Company under Captain Ashiq Hussain, waded through the Nala under enemy fire. Phase one was successfully executed by 2240 hours.

In phase two, C Company under Major Edmund Peters and B Company under Captain Bilal were launched to secure the extension of the bridgehead. This was done by 2300 hours and Guides were firmly established on Indian soil. In this operation some prisoners were captured.

Engineers now constructed a bridge, unhampered by enemy small arms fire. By 1015 hours on September 7th the first tank rolled across the Rohi Nala.

Once the counter-offensive force had moved over the Nala, the Guides took up a defensive position, and here on September 12th they were attacked by a battalion group supported by tanks. The main enemy attack hit D Company and here Lance Havildar Khaki Jan, who was commanding a 106 millimeter recoilless rifle detachment, won his Tamgha-e-Jurat. Khaki Jan allowed the enemy armor to come well within range and then with great determination and courage, he personally knocked out three tanks, one after the other, before he himself was killed.

The battalion was next employed in an attack on Bhura Khuna, a small village located in the north of Khem Karan. The enemy used it to mount several attacks.

A Company under Major Bokhari was selected to carry out this task by 1130 hours on September 17th. When the leading elements were approximately 700 yards short of the objective an enemy machine gun opened up, which was promptly silenced by our own machine gun fire, and the advance continued. After a short while the enemy brought down intense and accurate fire on the company, which took to ground momentarily. No sooner had the company crossed the village from the west when enemy tanks, cunningly concealed in the vicinity, opened up.

Our own troop of tanks was still at some distance in the rear of the company. This enemy tank fire from an unexpected direction was taking a heavy toll but the company commander remained cool, level-headed and kept the situation under control. In the meantime the troop of tanks and the integral 106 millimeter recoilless rifles joined the company.

The company, determined as they were and now with close tank support, moved up but came under enemy small arms fire from a graveyard at very close range. The forward observation officer brought down artillery fire on the enemy, which helped the company to gain some more ground.

The troops were busy consolidating their gains when the enemy launched a counter-attack supported by tanks and artillery. Some enemy tanks were seen moving on the right with a view to encircling the company from the rear. Our tanks engaged them but owing to heavy pressure and superior enemy numbers they had to pull out. The company was constantly under enemy tank and machine gun fire from the north and north-east, but this did not discourage the gallant Guides who, despite all odds against them, continued’ to hold the captured ground.

September 21st found the Guides holding a defensive position to the north of Khem Karan. It was here that the Indians made one of their most determined bids to recapture Khem Karan. The battalion was disposed with three companies forward, but B and C Companies took the brunt of the enemy attack.

D Company, commanded by Captain Bilal Ahmad, was on the extreme left when the enemy opened up on them with a devastating artillery concentration, since B Company was accurately pinpointed. At 2230 hours B Company was attacked by a large force of Gurkhas. The company withheld its fire until the enemy was well within the killing range, and then opened up and killed many of the Gurkhas, who fled back.

Later that same night the Gurkhas tried to infiltrate through the B Company position but again this was foiled. In the morning the area in front of B Company was found littered with dead bodies, including one of the enemy officers. Some prisoners were also taken. The company also claimed to have shot down an enemy Hunter aircraft.

On the same night C Company commanded by Major Peters was attacked at about the same time as B Company by a large force of the Kumoan Regiment. This company also withheld its fire until the enemy was well within range and then opened up. By the morning of September 22nd a portion of C Company had been overrun but by a quick counter-attack the enemy was thrown out of the company area.

A Company Commander of the Kumoan Regiment was captured. The enemy again attacked at approximately 1100 hours on September 22nd and was again repulsed. Within C Company locality, after the battle, there were lying about 43 enemy bodies and much arms and equipment were captured.

The following officers served with the battalion at Khem Karan;

Lieutenant-Colonel Fateh Khan Major Gliaus Mohd Malik Major Edmund Peters Major S.M.H. Bokliari Major Hasan Akbar Beg Captain Ashiq Hussain Captain Said Mohammad Captain Bilal Ahmad Lieutenant Mumtaz Gul Lieutenant Hadi Hussain 2/Lieutenant Aziz Ahmed 2/Lieutenant M.D. Golam Rabbani