‘Ghost Regiment’ marks diamond jubilee with vintage machines

Amritsar, March 13 (IANS) The 63 Cavalry, which earned the epithet of ‘Ghost Regiment’ from the enemy, celebrated its diamond jubilee here on Sunday with a special ‘Heritage Review’ of battle machines.

Counted among the elite armoured regiments of the Indian Army, the regiment won laurels in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

“The appearance of ‘Tresath’ (63) tanks from four cardinal directions coupled with the shock and awe it unleashed, earned the unit the epithet of ‘Ghost Regiment’ from the enemy.

“Tresath tanks were the only armoured column that reached capital Dacca (now Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh). It was bestowed with the battle honour of Bogra and Theatre Honour of East Pakistan and earned eight gallantry awards,” a defence spokesman said.

Lovers of vintage war machines were in for a rich fare as the army tanks — from the late 1950s to the latest ones — were displayed on the occasion. These presented a saga of valour exhibited by the 63 Cavalry during the past six decades.

The momentous parade was set alive by the vintage tanks and armoured cars paraded in running condition, the same forgotten by many and consigned to junkyards.

These included the World War II vintage American Cadillac tank ‘Stuart-VI’, the British Humber armoured car and Daimler armoured car popularly known as ‘Dingo’.

The showstopper of the event was the American M-113 Bradley which caught every eye as the equipment steered across the parade ground, being the first of its kind to do so on Indian soil.

The regiment was also the first to use this equipment before the Americans inducted it in their inventory of armour, the spokesman said.

The tanks that won laurels for the regiment during the 1971 war in the Eastern Theatre, namely Ferret scout car, PT-76 and T-55 were also showcased in fully serviceable condition.

The parade was reviewed by Lt. Gen. K.J. Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, who is the colonel of the regiment.

Established in 1957, the regiment has excelled in times of war and peace.

“It exhibited gallantry in the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo during 1961-62. It was honoured with Guidon in 1982.

“The unit contributed a lot towards providing succour to the flood victims of Punjab in 1992 and earthquake victims of Gujarat in 2001. It also made a commendable contribution in counter-insurgency operations in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir as also in the northeastern states,” the spokesman added.

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