Previous Part

0900 Hours
29 October 2012
LMU News Broadcast

A bearded news reader was reading the news report, “Already strained relations between India and Pakistan worsened after Pakistani army started unprovoked firing on Indian positions on LoC in J&K; yesterday. Additionally, Pakistani soldiers also attempted to wrest control of three Indian posts in Poonch and Kargil. Although they were beaten back with heavy losses, Indian army too suffered some causalities. Although officials declined to specify the exact number, according to sources Pakistan suffered 97 dead or seriously wounded while 17 Indian soldiers lost their lives. These skirmishes between the two nuclear armed neighbours couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Pakistan is on verge of breakdown after a senior army general attempted a coup against serving army chief General Beg minutes after he had assumed Presidential powers. This came after a series of bombings all over Pakistan, one of which injured Pakistani President Naqvi and killed his son.

Ruling PPP to which Mr. Naqvi belongs however strongly protested General Beg’s attempt to dismiss the civilian government. In a press conference, senior leaders strongly condemned General Beg’s actions and vowed to launch a country wide protests against any move to undermine civilian rule. Former Prime Minister Wasim Akhtar, a bitter rival of Mr. Naqvi vowed to support PPP in it’s campaign against General Beg, much to surprise of political pundits. Though most people seem to think that he is doing it to avoid anybody linking him to attack on Mr. Naqvi. General Beg on the other hand, has not appeared in public after a near fatal kidnapping attempt. All attempts to contact him have proved futile, although sources close to him assure that he is alive and well.

Governments from all over the world have urged both nuclear armed neighbours to act with restraint but their pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears, at least in Pakistan where nobody is clear about who is calling the shots. There seems to be a power vacuum at the present with too many people fighting amongst themselves to decide who wears the crown. To make matters even worse, various Islamist organisations, many of them linked to Al Qaida and Taliban have taken over control of numerous places including areas near Durand line and even small towns adjoining Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. An alliance of Baloch nationalist parties and militia has declared a virtual war by laying siege to 2 army bases in Balochistan province and taking more than 900 Pakistani soldiers hostage. Lines outside airports and embassies of western countries like Canada, US are much longer and crowded than usual as more and more people are looking for a visa and the way out of this mess. At such a time these unprovoked attacks on India by Pakistani army seem nothing more than a ploy to distract the attention from real issues plaguing the country.

A press release from Pakistan home ministry however claimed that everything is in control and blamed India for adding oil to the fire of Pakistani troubles by first supporting insurgent movements inside Pakistan and then trying to grab Pakistani territory. Issuing a strong statement Pakistani officials claimed that the Pakistani citizens will defend the sovereignty of their country to the last of their breaths and will not bend over due to external pressure. They also appealed to concerned countries to help Pakistan in it’s hour of need.
The release further added that all of Pakistani nuclear weapons and delivery platforms are in safe custody and accounted for. But many analysts fear that jihadis might already have taken control of a few nukes.

Indian defence minister in a press conference held last evening expressed the same apprehension and called for concerned people in Pakistan to find a peaceful way out of their predicament. He claimed that India will offer any amount of help in order to help Pakistan extricate out of this messy situation. He also denied that India was trying to take advantage of turmoil in Pakistan.

Even as we speak scale of firing has come down considerably. But small arms fire is still going on in 2-3 places.
Now we show you a video shot yesterday morning in Uri, Jammu where Pakistani army fired mortar and machine guns on an Indian army team which was trying to repair a breach in the fence. A well known TV journalist was right there shooting a documentary when the firing started. We have obtained the full length tape and will be showing it in entirety.”

He then added with only a slight hint of an ironic smile, “Viewers are warned that this video contains graphic language. Uhh and violence too. Some people might find it disturbing.”

Then they started running uncut video recorded by cameraman Sidhesh last morning at Point 711, Uri. Unlike the edited version shown on UNDE TV, LMU version showed everything starting from Varsha Butt’s confused face as first mortar landed to her tantrums when Sub. Gurung was trying to stop her from killing herself. Lakhs of people saw it on TV and many more on YouTube and other online sources.

The bearded news reader thought with a quite smile, “ Say bye bye to your Pulitzer, Ms. Butt. You won’t have it in this life at least

Previous Part

Lying in the bunker, he nodded off listening to sounds of gunfire and explosions outside. He didn’t knew how much time had passed since he had passed out. All he knew in his confused and drugged mind was that something had changed. Lying on his back as Hariom had left him, he tried to ascertain what had happened. It was not the pain which was nothing more than a throbbing dull ache that started from his injured shoulder and spread like waves through his body. He tried moving his arm but it was still immobile. He tried to sit up but was overcome by giddiness and immediately dropped back. Cursing the Paki soldier that had shot him he lie still for a moment. Then it hit him.
Firing had stopped !
The loud bangs of grenade explosions and bullets was now replaced by and the sounds of distant men talking amongst themselves. He strained his ears to listen but was unable to hear anything intelligible. What had happened while he had passed out ?
Had Indians beaten off the Paki attack ? If so, why no body had come to check on the injured ? He looked around to take stock of his surroundings. Only source of any light was a battery powered light lying on a box in the distant corner. By it’s light he could make up the shapes of other injured soldiers lying besides him. All of them had received painkiller shots and were either unconscious or sleeping. There was nobody else.

What if Pakis had over run the post ? A cold shiver ran through his spine at the thought. That was entirely possible they way they were attacking and would have done so within minutes unless Indian reinforcements arrived. Even without knowing the time, he knew that reinforcements promised by Col. Saha should’ve been there by the time he was shot. Were they too late coming to aid of their comrades ?

His panicked thoughts were interrupted by sounds of footsteps coming towards the bunker. He propped himself on his uninjured arm and strained his ears to listen. By the sounds, he realised there were 3 men walking on the path outside the bunker and would be inside in a minute. A cold sweat broke over him. What if these men were Paki soldiers intent on killing the wounded ? Or worse capturing and then torturing. Pakis are not exactly famous for humane treatment of prisoners of war. Capture was going to be much worse than death. He tried to raise the soldier lying closest to him, but he had suffered a head wound and a broken arm and was administered a generous morphine shot. He didn’t move a bit even when Subhranjan kicked him. By this time, sound of footsteps was even closer.

Swearing under his breath, he abandoned the idea of trying to wake up any other soldier and started looking for a weapon. Using all of his will power he forced himself to get up and walked unsteadily towards the pile of boxes near the light. He still couldn’t move his injured right arm and opened the lid with his other hand. Instead of any weapon, the box contained rock climbing gear. Cursing his luck again, he attempted to open other box when somebody turned the door handle. For a moment Subhranjan froze to the spot, remembering that he had forgotten to lock the door from inside. Now nothing could stop them from getting in. In desperation he lunged to the box he had opened previously and grabbed a small rock climbing hammer lying inside and turned off the light plunging the bunker in complete darkness. He felt the hammer in his hands. It was barely 11 inches in length and weighed a kilogram at most. Now the door was opened and Subhranjan stuck himself to the wall besides it as it opened. A streak of light entered the bunker through open door and 3 men entered inside one by one. His heart wildly beating he raised the puny hammer in his left hand and waited. One of the three men lit a torch and started walking towards the injured Indians while the others stood back. Subhranjan slowly walked out from behind the door, his left hand raised and sneaked up to the backs of two men, intending to knock them down with the hammer. There was no way in hell he could be able to take them all but it was much better to die fighting than being captured alive by Pakis. He reached within an arms length of the the two men and steeled himself to strike. Just then, voice of a puzzled Hariom startled him, “Where the hell is Lt. ? I left him right here !.”

Waves of relief rolled down Subhranjan’s body on hearing the medic’s voice. He wanted to shout with joy, but could only manage a stifled croak, “Hariom ! Is that you? You frigging son of a bitch ! “

A startled Hariom moved the flashlight towards source of the voice and nearly screamed when he saw a wild faced Shubhranjan waving the hammer dangerously behind the other two soldiers. To his credit, he controlled himself and said in a comparatively calmer voice, “ Drop the hammer sir. It’s us. We’ve beaten back the Pakis.”

Subhranjan dropped the hammer and promptly plumped down on his ass, “That I’ve managed to figure out myself.”

“Uh..then why this hammer sir” ? One of the soldiers that had come too close to getting his skull split at the hands of the Lt. Asked with some trepidation.

“Oh, that! I was just playing safe. Just in case.” Subhranjan managed this with a perfectly straight face. “Leave all this. Tell me what happened while I was here.”

“Reinforcements arrived within 5 minutes of me leaving you here. Subedar Major Salathia arrived just in nick of time with 20 men and kicked the hell out of enemy. We had to stop him from chasing fleeing Pakis down the mountain. You should’ve seen it from your own eyes. It was a sight to remember.” Hariom flashed one of his very rare grins.

“Where is he now ?”

“He is still outside, standing guard along with rest of men against a possible counter-attack. But I doubt it’ll happen any time soon. Pakis have suffered too many causalities to mount another attack.”

“Did we lose any more of our men ?” Subhranjan asked with some disquiet.

“Thankfully no. Five more soldiers did suffer shrapnel and bullet wounds but none of them serious. Just the same, a Dhruv will arrive at dawn to evacuate the wounded and the dead. Additionally an UAV will be in air within 20 minutes. You can rest easy now.”

Subhranjan let out a sigh of relief and relaxed. Suddenly he started feeling too tired to even sit up and he lay down on his back thanking his stars.

Previous Part

A group of Paki soldiers escaped the notice of Indian defenders and snuck up through the middle face of the peak.Although one of the machine gun positions on the northern side saw them, they managed to scramble out of it’s arc of fire without taking any causality. A 2 man team broke out from the group and started crawling towards the machine gun bunker from it’s flank, intending to destroy it using grenades. Subhranjan saw one of them when he stood up and tried to throw a grenade. He at once shot the Paki who collapsed after getting hit by a 3 round burst. His companion however managed to throw a grenade towards Subhranjan before being shot himself. It landed just 2 feet from the trench where Subhranjan was and exploded before he could duck completely. Shrapnel from the grenade injured right side of his face and shoulder and the blast nearly deafened him. He collapsed on floor of the trench dazed, bleeding and and ears ringing. HariOm was on his side in an instant and started dressing his wounds.

“You have a nasty wound on your cheek. It’ll need stitches.” He had to shout to make himself heard over the din of gunfire.

“That can wait.” Subhranjan managed to mumble but not without wincing in pain. “Where is my gun? “

Hariom was surprised, “Uh what? You are in no condition to fight. You need to get out of here.”

“Unfortunately these damned Pakis wouldn’t let me. Will do anything you say once I see off these uninvited guests.”

He gingerly touched side of his face and winced with pain again when tried to lift his gun. Hariom looked on with concern, “Do you want a painkiller injection ?”

“Thanks, but I’ll pass. Now go take care of other wounded.” Subhranjan replied as he tried to take stock of the situation again.

The Paki group that had manged to sneak in through the middle had taken cover behind a group of large rocks. One of the soldiers had an Under barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) on his AK-56 and was trying to fire on the machine gun bunker closest to him. Although the bunker had taken a direct hit, soldiers inside it had been unharmed. But their luck wouldn’t hold on in case of another hit. Now, they were trying their best to keep that Paki from firing his UBGL again. Subhranjan realised what was going on and ordered one of his riflemen to move in closer to him. He saw the machine gun firing on the rocks behind which Pakis were hiding. After a few seconds machine gun had to stop firing for a magazine change. Pakis were waiting for just this kind break. As soon as the gun stopped firing, the Paki with UBGL popped out and tried to fire. But he had neglected to watch out for enemy outside the bunkers and paid the price with his life as soldier with Subhranjan shot his head off.

But their relief was short lived as another Paki soldier picked up that UBGL and managed to fire off one grenade on the bunker before being shot dead. Although the concrete bunker was too strong to be destroyed, it was damaged partially causing a blind spot in it’s arc of fire. Surviving Paki soldiers took advantage and charged towards Indian positions on it’s side that happened to be right where Subhranjan was. They charged towards the Indian trenches lobbing grenades and yelling loudly. This attracted attention of rest of the Indian riflemen who at once directed their fire towards the advancing group. In spite of the rain of bullets, two Paki soldiers managed to reach right up to the edge of trenches before being shot dead.

By this time another group of 9 Paki soldiers from the northern side had managed to avoid the bullets of Indian defenders and had take cover right where the earlier group had. Much to the surprise of Indians, this group too broke cover and started another charge at the Indian position. Even with the hail of bullets being fired on them, 3 of the charging Pakis survived and jumped in to the trench trying to engage the defenders in hand to hand fight inside. Two of them died without making any mark but one managed to fire off a burst from his AK-56 before being shot dead. One of the bullets hit Subhranjan in the right shoulder. He lost hold of the rifle and fell down writhing in pain. One Indian soldier immediately moved closer to him and put a bandage on his wound trying to stop the blood loss. Somebody had shouted for the medic and Hariom was there within moments. He took out a quick clot kit from his bag and poured the granular powder on the wound. Much to everybody’s relief bleeding stopped within seconds and Hariom covered the wound with a bandage. Along with another soldier he started moving an almost unconscious Subhranjan to comparative safety of a bunker in the back.

As they gently set him down in the bunker along with other seriously wounded, Subhranjan regained consciousness and attempted to get up. Hariom stopped him and gently shook his head.
“What happened to you ? You’re covered with blood !” Subhranjan exclaimed on seeing him.

“Well, it’s not mine.” Hariom replied, trying to avoid looking him in the eyes.

“What ?”

“We lost 2 more men in last ten minutes. It’s their blood.”

“Bloody hell! These mad Pakis will pay for this.” Subhranjan shouted with rage and tried to get up. But he stumbled and would have assuredly fallen on his face if Hariom had not caught him.

“ Do you want to kill yourself ? That bullet has shattered your collar bone and probably nicked a major artery. I’ve given you a painkiller, that’s why you can’t feel the pain. And after that shot, you’re in no condition to fire a gun either.“ Hariom shouted sternly.

Feeling weak and delirious due to blood loss Subhranjan could do nothing but to let Hariom set him down. “But my men need me there” He whispered weakly.

“Sure they do, but they need you alive. You can go out to fight as soon as I feel you can. Till then, please lie down and try not to kill yourself. For your soldiers sake if not your own. Now, I have to go outside and see if anybody else needs my assistance. Don’t move till I come back.” With this Hariom gathered up his medical kit and ran out of bunker towards the fighting line, leaving Subhranjan lying on his back with three other wounded men besides him.

Part XX

Subhranjan took the radio again and inquired about ammunition status. As he had guessed, there were only 2 mortar rounds left. He ordered all except one mortar crew to abandon their positions and take up defensive positions with rifles around the perimeter.

“What are we going to do sir ?” Joginder asked tentatively. He was impressed by the intelligence and bravery shown by the young, inexperienced Lt and his respect for him had grown manifold in the last hour.

“Well, we wait here as long it’s needed.” Subhranjan replied scanning the slope in front of him.
“I wonder how long that’ll be.” Joginder thought to himself but kept quiet.

As if guessing his question, Subhranjan added, “As soon as our reinforcements arrive or it becomes too dangerous for us to stay here.”

Lying prone on their stomachs, they waited for enemy to come again. By this time, artillery fire from Paki side had reduced considerably. Indian counter-artillery fire had crippled many of their guns and the surviving guns had to be moved around to prevent them from meeting the same fate. Still an odd shell continued to streak in, but without much accuracy.

Both men waiting on the slope prayed to be spared of a lucky strike. They were both lying almost in open with little to protect them if a shell landed anywhere near them. So far they had been lucky. They had been waiting for 20 minutes when Joginder thought that he saw some movement. He zoomed in as much as the sights allowed and sure enough there was a large formation of Paki soldiers moving towards their position. They had learnt from their mistakes and were spread over a large distance. He cursed them under his breath and handed over the night vision goggles to Subhranjan.
Although the enemy was out of range of Indian mortars, they could still be targeted by 155mm guns. He contacted Base 1 and asked for artillery fire. He knew he had to use up as much as support as possible before Paki soldiers came too close to be targeted by the big guns. Artillery crew took 2 minutes to adjust their targets and fired air-burst shells over coordinates provided by Subhranjan. Instead of taking cover or retreating, paki soldiers this time ran towards source of fire.
“I guess they know for sure that our big guns can’t fire if they come closer.” Joginder remarked .

“Yes. I hope that our artillery takes out most of them before they pass that point.”

“Me too. Though fat chance of that happening”

Although they took some causalities, Paki soldiers sprinted fast enough to pass the kill zone with 5 minutes. Now defence of peak lay solely on shoulders of Indians manning the peak.

“What now sir ? Mortars ?” Joginder asked in a worried voice as he observed Pakis running up the slope from both faces. This time they were using cover much more effectively, dodging and sprinting between rocks and ledges making them a difficult target

“We don’t have any other option left. I’ll direct those last mortars on Pakis coming from east. Take positions towards towards left of this group and pick off as many of them as you can with your rifle. I’ll do the same from here. Retreat to our post if they come too close or if they have a fix on your position.”

“What about the other group on the north ?”

“I guess we’ll have to deal with them later. Now hurry.”

Joginder nodded and crawled towards the place pointed out by Subhranjan. He took cover behind a group of rocks and waited. Subhranjan ordered his mortar crew to standby and be ready to fire on his mark. He too took up a firing position and waited till the Paki group came right where he wanted. When they reached there, he carefully took aim and fired. Although he missed hitting anyone, sound of the shot caused everyone in the group to duck and take cover. As soon as it happened he ordered his mortar crew to fire off last of their mortars which they did with deadly accuracy. Even with most of them hiding behind rocks and ledges, 2 high explosive mortar rounds killed 2 and injured another 3. Realising their folly, Pakis immediately got up and resumed their ascent again. Both Subharanjan and Joginder opened fire as soon as they got up causing much confusion in Paki ranks. At first no one realised where the fire was coming from and they started firing blindly but they soon got a fix on the position and started to return fire. But it was not before before they had lost another 3 men. At this time, Joginder noted another group of Paki soldiers moving coming towards their direction and he relayed the information to Subhranjan.

Both men stopped firing and started running back towards the relative safety of their post followed by Paki invaders almost snapping at their heels. They took cover inside a trench lined by sandbags and started updating rest of the defenders with whatever intelligence they had gathered about the attackers. Subhranjan ordered every man to take good cover and put his eyes on the gun sights. Nobody was to fire until the enemy was well within the range and devoid of any benefit of cover. Indian soldiers checked their weapons for one last time and braced for the attack.

Machine gun post on the east was first one to report a visual on approaching Pakis, but they were still too far to be targeted accurately. Just a minute later, another soldier who had taken cover besides the damaged bunker in north reported visual contact on his side. Pakistanis were trying to sneak up by hiding their approach with smoke grenades and were almost successful except for the fact that there were fair number of night vision devices with the defenders. Another proof of how close the enemy was came when one of the Paki soldiers fired a rifle grenade in general direction of the Indian post. The projectile fell well short of Indian position and exploded harmlessly. Although jittery and highly strung, Indian soldiers kept their nerve and held fire.

“Sneaky bas***** want a fix on our positions and arc of fire before committing to an attack. Pretty clever for a bunch of Pakis.” Joginder instructed rest of soldiers through the comm radio, “let them come closer. Hit them with all you’ve got when you can see their eyes. Don’t Pakis bringing up the rear escape either.”

Another rifle grenade was fired which again failed to reach anywhere near the post. “Steady. Steady. Don’t let these monkeys bother you like that.” he hissed again, waiting for Pakis to come closer. Fingers on triggers twitched nervously as the soldiers on both sides waited. Indian defenders had the advantage of higher positions and better cover while Pakistanis had numerical superiority. Both sides were trying to make the best of what they had and neither wanted to reveal it’s cards too early. For Pakis, firing rifle grenades was a way to get a fix on Indian positions and once found then find a path to either bypass those positions or to neutralise them. But Indians had refused to oblige and now Pakistanis had no choice except an all out frontal attack.Causalities will be high but that was unavoidable anyway.

Indians defenders watched nervously as attackers rapidly started converging within their sights. Though owing to distance and low light they were nothing more than dark ghost like figures approaching silently. Within minutes they had moved in so close that their eyeballs would’ve been visible if there was light. Subhranjan decided it was time and he ordered his men to open fire. Within a moment the almost silent peak was covered with flashes and explosions of the gun fire. Pakistani soldiers in the lead had no chance to either duck or take cover and were cut down without even firing a single shot. Survivors immediately dropped to the ground and started firing back. Quite a lot of them who had neglected to take cover behind a rock or ledge were killed in the next volley. Even those defenders without night vision devices had no difficulty in getting a fix on position of the attackers due to their muzzle flashes and they were showing no mercy. They were firing on exposed attackers and lobbing grenades on those who had taken cover. But there were too many Pakis and too large an area for handful of defenders to cover.Even as the defenders concentrated on the east and northern ingress routes, a party of attackers started advancing through the middle.

Previous Part

All of them were saddened by loss of 4 of their friends but the hammering they had handed out to Pakis had helped their emotions somewhat. He called medic Havildar Hariom and asked him to assemble a team to collect bodies of the dead. He inquired about the injured soldier and came to know that his condition was stable but required more expert medical attention. He at first considered sending him down carried by 2 or more of his men on a stretcher but then decided against it. Path was too dangerous and weather too bad. Additionally he needed every hand to defend the post against further Paki attacks. He set out on another tour of his post to rearrange his defences. He moved the mortar teams to more covered nests and away from each other in order to protect them against artillery fire. He positioned 4 of his riflemen near the machine gun bunkers on western side from where 1st wave of Paki infantry had tried to break in. His artillery crew was now idle due to lack of ammunition and he ordered them to dig up additional trenches and place sandbags to provide additional cover for riflemen and mortar crews.

His men were still placing the sandbags when shelling from Pakistani side started again sending the men scurrying for cover. This time firing was much more intense and shells were landing all over the place. All out of ammunition, Indian artillery men on peak could only watch helplessly as they saw their comrades huddled in trenches and bunkers.

Subhranjan immediately grabbed the radio handset and requested fire support. By this time, Indians had managed to setup the fire locating radar and were analysing the flight path of shells to plot the exact location of Paki guns. “ Three minutes for fire support. Stand by.” came the answer on radio.
“We don’t have three minutes. Hurry up ! Hurry up!” Subhranjan thought with quiet desperation as one shell landed very close to one machine gun bunker on northern side, damaging one of it’s walls, but thankfully nobody was injured.
It seemed like hours but finally he heard the rumble of Indian guns as they fired after tracing Paki gun positions. Indian soldiers on hearing it cheered loudly in spite of being under fire themselves. But much to their disappointment and puzzlement, this time Pakis didn’t stop their shelling, neither did they change their target. Another of Paki shells this time landed close to another bunker on eastern side, collapsing part of it’s walls and roof, injuring the two soldiers inside. Havildar Hariom at once jumped out of his cover and started administering first aid to the wounded soldiers. Two other soldiers came to help and carried their wounded comrades to comparative safety away from the damaged bunker.

By this time, Indian guns were starting to find their mark and Pakis were forced to halt their fire and move their guns after suffering a few causalities themselves. This earned a few minutes of respite for beleaguered defenders, but they could nothing except shaking their heads to stop the buzzing in their ears. Indian artillery guns too stopped firing as they had no way of locating new position of Paki guns untill they started firing again.

“What’s going on down there with Pakis ? Any luck ?” Subhranjan asked one of the soldiers keeping watch against Paki infantry attacks. Tearing his eyes off the night vision device he shook his head, “Can’t see any movement. I’m not sure that they’ll dare to launch another attack again after the beating they got. Can’t see far enough anyway “

“I wouldn’t count on that. Keep looking and don’t let your guard down.” Subhranjan said and went off to check on wounded.

He found them lying in the bunker on almost other side of the peak which usually served as storage. Havildar Hariom was still bandaging one of them when he entered. “They are out of danger but none of them is in condition to fire a gun. Although I’ve done the best I could, they’ll need to be evacuated soon.”

Subhranjan nodded, “ I understand. Reinforcements are on their way. They’ll be here soon and we can evacuate them then.”

“They better hurry sir. I don’t know whether we’ll be able to survive another attack.”

“Keep faith HariOm.” Subhranjan smiled grimly and went out to check his defences again.

Loss of one bunker each on north and west side had weakened his position considerably against a determined infantry assault. He ordered one INSAS LMG to be taken out of the damaged bunker and placed in the trench covered by sandbags just beside it. He placed two more riflemen around it to prevent flanking attacks. His artillery crew too had picked up INSAS assault rifles and were acting as riflemen now. Indians were just beginning to settle in their defensive positions when Pakis started shelling again, this time from a different position. Indian artillery crews were even more quick this time to start the countering fire. Right about than, Indian guards noticed some movement on both sides of the slope and alerted Subhranjan. He relayed the coordinates of suspected enemy movement Indian artillery crews and they in turn let loose a volley of air-burst shells. These shells burst in mid-air and pepper their target below with red hot shrapnel.

Subhranjan wanted to use as much artillery support as possible before the enemy came too close for Indian artillery to target. By then, they’d come in range of Indian mortars but there was not enough ammunition left. There was another positive sighting of enemy troops, this time on northern side. One of the guns again changed it’s target and this time fired on northern side. Pakistanis by this time had started to fire smoke rounds from their mortars to hide themselves. Even though it was not a foolproof solution against thermal detectors, it still gave them enough breathing space to hide their exact location. Taking cover behind large rocks and ledges Paki infantry started inching towards Indian position for the second time in two hours.
Subhranjan watched the developing situation with increasing concern. His first priority was to stop Paki mortars from coming within firing range. Although Indians had the advantage of increased range due to altitude advantage, there were not enough of them. Indian 155mm didn’t have a good firing solution on the mountain slope. To make conditions worse, the enemy was hiding behind rocks, smoke and fog. Visibility was getting worse with every minute and soon his men would be unable to see anything without NV.

In pure desperation, he picked up his rifle and a binocular with thermal sights and asked Lance Naik Joginder to accompany him with radio. Right in front of his amazed soldiers and in face of artillery shells pounding all around them, the two men got out of the bunker and started running towards the advancing enemy. Using whatever cover they could find, the two men started moving cautiously downwards. Keeping his eyes glued to the thermal sight Subhranjan was in lead while the other man followed him. They advanced 10-12 metres after which they stopped and scanned the area around them for enemy and again repeated the process. They had traveled this way for little less than a km when Subhranjan observed a platoon of enemy soldiers racing upwards almost at the foothills of the mountain. He grabbed hold of the radio and relayed the enemy’s coordinates to his mortar crews. Within seconds they responded with a volley of rounds that killed most of the enemy soldiers who were caught in the open.

Alerted by the attack, another group of enemy soldiers broke their cover behind which they were hiding and turned back. Subhranjan observed them fleeing and was tempted to drop a couple of mortar rounds on them but wisely restrained himself. “There must be more enemy around I should save for.” I told himself. Changing his direction towards another likely enemy approach place, he started scanning the area again. He again found some enemy soldiers advancing, but this time dispersed over a much larger area. He again relayed the coordinates to his mortar crews. Resulting fire was not enough to wipe out whole group. A few survivors took cover behind rocks in comparative safety. Somehow they managed to setup a mortar and started firing back. But the weapon was too short-legged to reach Indian positions.

“Yes. Keep wasting ammo firing at the enemy you can’t even see, let alone reach. Bloody moron.” Subhranjan muttered.

“Good for us. Heh.” Joginer chipped in.

Probably drawn by the sound of their own men firing, the fleeing Paki group had turned back and started towards the lone Paki mortar firing at the Indians. Subhranjan waited for them to reach closer and ordered his men to fire again. This time, all the survivors from 2nd part were wiped out as one Indian mortar round landed right on top of the Paki position. Another round landed very close to their comrades group running towards them. Contrary to common sense, they were running in close to each other and only 2 men survived unhurt. Both of which immediately turned on their heels and ran back again.

“I wonder what will their CO say to that.“ Subhranjan quipped.

“Award a Hila-Le-Bakistan, maybe ? Joginder replied. Subhranjan could see his teeth in dark even without the night vision goggles as he grinned from ear to ea