S. P. P. Thorat
Shankarrao Pandurang Patil Thorat
|Born||12 August 1906|
Vadgaon, Kolhapur State, British India
|Died||10 August 1992(aged 85)|
|Allegiance|| British India|
|Service/|| British Indian Army|
|Commands held||Eastern Command|
|Battles/wars||Burma Campaign, World War II |
Thorat was born on 12 August 1906, in Vadgaon village, Kolhapur State, British India. He studied at S P College, Pune and then at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, from where he commissioned into the British Indian Army.
World War IIEdit
By World War II, Thorat was a lieutenant colonel and commanded battalions during the Burma campaign against Japan. He attended Staff College, Quetta in 1941 and after a brief posting to the army HQ, Thorat joined the 4th battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment, which, as part of the 114th Indian Infantry Brigade under the 7th Indian Infantry Division, played a role in clearing Japanese forces from the Naga Hills. He participated in small actions with 4/14th Punjab and after a short stay, transferred to the 9th battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment under the 20th Indian Infantry Division, which was engaged in fighting on the Imphal plains. The commanding officer of 9/14th Punjab went down with dysentery and Thorat temporarily took command of the battalion. Since it was his first time commanding a battalion, he accompanied his troops on a long reconnaissance patrol, which his brigade commander didn't approve of. In November 1944 Thorat received his first official battalion command, and took command of the 2nd battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment under the 51st Indian Infantry Brigade. This brigade became known as the "Indian Brigade" because unlike other British Indian Army brigades which were composed of 2 Indian battalions and 1 British battalion, the 51st Brigade had 3 Indian battalions. Additionally, all 3 battalions in the brigade had Indian commanding officers - K.S. Thimayya, L.P. Sen, and Thorat. These 3 were among the few Indian officers above the rank of major who saw intense action during the war.
Battle of KangawEdit
In January 1945 2/2nd Punjab participated in the battle of Kangaw. The 51st Brigade had been assigned the task of clearing strongly fortified Japanese rearguard positions, and Thorat coordinated his battalion's attack with artillery and air support. However, the battalion still took heavy casualties as they advanced through rice paddies to close with the Japanese. At one point Thorat engaged in hand-to-hand combat, during which he killed a young Japanese officer and seized his sword. After his initial attack had succeeded, Thorat limited his battalion's advance and consolidated their position of half of the hill feature. He was fully aware of the Japanese tactic of evacuating a position under attack and then swiftly counterattacking to retake it, thus inflicting maximum casualties on their enemy. When the counterattack came, it was repelled by prepared battalion defences and air strikes.
Dates of rankEdit
|Insignia||Rank||Component||Date of rank|
|Second Lieutenant||British Indian Army||30 August 1926|
|Lieutenant||British Indian Army||30 November 1928|
|Captain||British Indian Army||30 August 1935|
|Major||British Indian Army||1940 (acting)|
18 November 1940 (temporary)
30 August 1943 (substantive)
|Lieutenant-Colonel||British Indian Army||1 April 1946 (war-substantive)|
|Colonel||British Indian Army||1 April 1946 (acting)|
|Brigadier||British Indian Army||13 June 1946 (acting)|
|Major||Indian Army||15 August 1947[note 1]|
|Major-General||Indian Army||30 August 1949 (acting)|
1 January 1950 (substantive, with seniority from 30 August 1949)
|Major-General||Indian Army||26 January 1950 (recommissioning and change in insignia)|
|Lieutenant-General||Indian Army||1 June 1955 (local)|
1 February 1957 (substantive)
- Upon independence in 1947, India became a Dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations. As a result, the rank insignia of the British Army, incorporating the Tudor Crown and four-pointed Bath Star ("pip"), was retained, as George VI remained Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. After 26 January 1950, when India became a republic, the President of India became Commander-in-Chief, and the Ashoka Lion replaced the crown, with a five-pointed star being substituted for the "pip."
- Sawant, Gaurav C. (18 October 2012). "Lt-General Thorat's 1962 China warning fell on deaf ears". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
- Barua, Pradeep (2003). Gentlemen of the Raj: The Indian Army Officer Corps. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-27597-999-7.
- "No. 33198". The London Gazette. 3 September 1926. p. 5766.
- "No. 33458". The London Gazette. 18 January 1929. p. 467.
- "No. 34204". The London Gazette. 4 October 1935. p. 6219.
- Indian Army List for October 1945 (Part I). Government of India Press. 1945. p. 149.
- "No. 36290". The London Gazette. 17 December 1943. p. 5497.
- The Quarterly Army List: December 1946 (Part I). HM Stationery Office. 1946. pp. 220v–x.
- "New Designs of Crests and Badges in the Services" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 August 2017.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 24 June 1950. p. 70.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 11 February 1950. p. 227.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 2 July 1955. p. 130.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 March 1957. p. 59.