Battle of Lamdola
Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Many Arunachali veterans and old-timers recall the 1962 Indo-Chinese Conflict with fear and anger. It is a known fact that the Chinese forces entered deep into Arunachal Pradesh along many axes. The main axes of penetration by the Chinese forces were the Tawang-Bomdila-Rupa Axis, the Taksing-Limeking Axis, the Mechuka/Manigong-Tato Axis, the Gelling-Tuting Axis, and the Kibithoo-Walong Axis. Though the Chinese forces penetrated without major opposition in most axes, many fierce battles were fought by a few units and small groups of soldiers; sometimes supported by local population. Many readers in Arunachal Pradesh and in our country are not aware of these fierce battles fought by our brave soldiers; many of these brave soldiers remain unknown and unsung. In a series of articles about these localized battles of the 1962 Indo-China Conflict, the attempt is to showcase these brave soldiers and their exploits.
Lamdola Post was located about 30 km north of Manigong in present West Siang district. The post was defended by only five soldiers, led by Lance Naik Hasta Bahadur, of the 11 Assam Rifles. The enemy forces penetrated through Shoka La and Nayu La passes and attacked Lamdola post in overwhelming numbers on 24 October, 1962.
In the first wave of the attack, our soldier manning the light machine gun (LMG) post was killed. Lance Naik Hasta Bahadur took over the LMG post and repulsed the enemy attack. Under his leadership, the section fought fiercely and halted the enemy’s advance. The enemy forces renewed their attack on the post with larger numbers. He kept firing the LMG till he ran out of bullets. Being outnumbered, finally the post was captured by the enemy forces. Lance Naik Hasta Bahadur was also captured by the enemy forces.
Although Lance Naik Hasta Bahadur was physically wounded and captured, he did not give up. With his guile and alertness, he managed to escape from captivity. He survived the harsh weather and avoided detection by the enemy. He was assisted by the local population in this escape and, miraculously, he succeeded in rejoining his unit.
For displaying outstanding physical and mental courage, and determination with complete disregard for own safety, Lance Naik Hasta Bahadur was decorated with the Vir Chakra, the third highest gallantry award of the nation.
The Battle of Lamdola has found its mention in the golden pages of history for repulsing four enemy attacks during the 1962 Indo-China Conflict. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)