Tiger Hill, Kargil

Tiger Hill traditionally known as GangzLa (also called Point 5062[1][2]) is a mountain in the Drass-Kargil area of Ladakh, India. It is one of the highest peaks in the area and was the subject of a battle during the 1999 India-Pakistan Kargil War. Its recapture was one of the most important objectives for Indian forces during the Kargil War.[4]

Tiger Hill
GangzLa
The Tiger Hill (3976856895).jpg
Tiger hill (highest mountain seen in the background) as seen from the River Drass in Kargil.
Highest point
Elevation5,062 m (16,608 ft) [1][2]
Coordinates34°29′03.8″N 75°39′30.2″E / 34.484389°N 75.658389°E / 34.484389; 75.658389Coordinates: 34°29′03.8″N 75°39′30.2″E / 34.484389°N 75.658389°E / 34.484389; 75.658389[3]
Geography
LocationDrass, Ladakh, India
Parent rangeThe Himalayas

Strategic importanceEdit

Since Tiger Hill is the highest peak in the sector, the Pakistani and terrorists, who held the peak could easily see the military headquarters of the 56 Brigade, the main Indian force in charge of the area. Tiger Hill overlooks the National Highway 1D (India), a strategic route to Siachen Glacier and connects Srinagar to Kargil in Ladakh which enabled the Pakistanis to watch the Srinagar-Kargi Highway, the main supply route of the Kargil Sector, and relay information of troop and supply movements to their superiors. They can easily direct fire on a 25 km stretch of the national highway.

India could not allow this, since with this information, Pakistan and terrorists could accurately and easily shell the Indian positions. Furthermore, the Pakistanis and terrorists had infiltrated farther into the Kargil Sector, and India needed a good surveillance point to root out and destroy these posts.

BattleEdit

Indian artillery started shelling Tiger Hill to force the enemy to keep their head down, while 18 Grenadiers, 2 Naga, and 8 Sikh of the Indian Army got ready to attack Tiger Hill. The main tactic was the most difficult ever employed on an open battlefield. An Indian contingent of 200 soldiers were to climb a steep cliff with a height of 1000 feet and attack the Pakistani forces, which were then engaged in shelling with Indian artillery, and stage a surprise attack.

The assault team had 200 men, with some 2000 troops providing rear support. While the Alpha, Charlie, and Ghatak companies of the Grenadiers attacked from the rear, the Nagas were on the left flank, and the Sikhs on the right. The assault began at 5:15 pm on 3 July, with India shelling the Pakistani positions.


Infantry battalions advanced on unexpected, and therefore difficult, avenues of approach, supported by overwhelming artillery fire. Multi-directional attacks produced the element of surprise. Daring nighttime maneuver over steep terrain, in coordination with massive firepower, broke NLI defenses in all areas. 8 Sikh had attempted to scale the heights of Tiger Hill in late May, only to be repulsed by small arms fire. Poorly coordinated assaults initiated without adequate artillery support failed under heavy fire from an entrenched enemy. Unable to press the attack, the soldiers dug in and surrounded the hill. 192 Mountain Brigade assumed command of the operations at Tiger Hill in late June, and received 18 Grenadiers, fresh from participating in the victory at Tololing. 18 Grenadiers picked up the assault, supported by the concentrated fire of twenty-two artillery batteries and 8 Sikh. In freezing rain on the night of 3 July, 18 Grenadiers launched an assault on the 16,700-foot (5,062 m) Tiger Top that began with a twelve-hour, vertical climb using fixed ropes. 18 Grenadiers achieved surprise and made initial gains, yet the assault stalled near the top under heavy resistance. Sensing the loss of initiative, Major Ravinder Singh of 8 Sikh launched a daring attack. He and a detachment of 200 soldiers climbed up the side of the adjoining Western Ridge, splitting the Pakistani defense on the night of 5 July. The group held off several counterattacks. Most of the Sikh soldiers attacked without cold weather gear, and many of the wounded died from exposure. After three more days of heavy fighting, the bold plan paid off, and 18 Grenadiers resumed the attack on the invaders from two directions. 18 Grenadiers seized Tiger Hill Top on the morning of 8th of July.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Puri, Mohinder (2015). Kargil: Turning the Tide. Lancer Publishers LLC. p. 107. ISBN 9781940988238.
  2. ^ a b Singh, Amarinder (2001). A Ridge Too Far: War in the Kargil Heights 1999. Motibagh Palace. p. 86. ISBN 9788193107416.
  3. ^ "Tiger Hill". Tiger Hill.
  4. ^ "Troops re-capture Tiger hill after 3 pronged attack". Jammu-Kashmir.com. 4 July 1999. Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  5. ^ "{title}" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.