Raj to mark 43 anniv of Nagi Sand Dune battle
This was yet another ludicrous foray of the Pakistan army. That too, soon after a decisive victory notched up by the Indian army, which not only halved Pakistan’s territory (larger, in terms of population) but also ninety-three thousand of Pakistan’s soldiers were interred as prisoners’ of war (POW) in Indian army locations.
They intruded into Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district, into an area called Nagi, where the sand dunes were high and unapproachable. On the night of 27/28 at approximately 2:00 PM in the afternoon, the commander of 4 Para Brig VK Berry, was ordered to vacate the sand dunes. The opposing force was Pakistan’s crack 36 battalion of the Frontier Force. But Berry and the men did not know that till the end.
He was leading the ‘C” company of the 4 Paras when he was told he had to head the operation to be launched at 14:00 hrs.
Soon after he launched the operation, his men were cut down extremely accurate artillery fire and subsequently, medium machine guns. Eventually his men were reduced to about 25 men when the real battle began. In Brig Berry’s own words written in the Salute magazine, “By the time we had reached midway we had approx 25 more casualties and there by reducing my attacking strength to a mere 20 (my third platoon having got lost). By about 0520 hours we managed to get across the mine field when we crossed the single strand of wire. By now our strength was a bare 11 to 12 men.”
A press brief by the X Corps headquarters based in Bhatinda, adjoining Sri Ganganagar, said: “This is exactly what the Pakistan Army did and selected the Nagi Sand Dune as it knew that any military action by the Indian Army to evict this intrusion would be near impossible task. This was because from atop the Nagi Sand Dune, Pakistani troops could easily pick up the movement of any attacking forces from a long distance giving them the required time to measures to defeat any attack even before it could be launched.”