Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid – the ‘Tank Destroyer
Not all have the courage to take bullets on the chest, but some are the lone fighter who don’t accept defeat and aren’t scared of bullets. So, today we are going to talk about one of the heroes from INDIAN ARMY, who not only took bullets but destroyed enemy tanks and he is popularly known as ‘TANK DESTROYER’ . Once a soldier said ‘I won’t die in an accident or die of any disease. I will go down in glory. Honour to our Army’. This was clearly dignified by our soldier QUARTER MASTER HAVILDAR ABDUL HAMID.
Who was Havildar Abdul Hamid?
Abdul Hamid was born on July 1, 1993 in Dhamupur village, in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district, to Sakina Begum and Mohammad Usman. His father was a tailor and mother was a housewife. Havildar Abdul Hamid in his childhood days, used to assist his father in day to day work. During his childhood days Havildar Abdul Hamid was clear about getting enrolled into army and serve the nation with all his heart and dedication. His, dedication and love toward the country was extreme and which resulted him getting, recruited in army in Varanasi when he was just 20 years of age in the year 1954. He was trained at the Grenadiers Regimental Centre at Nasirabad, after which he was posted in 1955 to the 4 Grenadiers regiment, according to a report in The Better India.
Why he was called as ‘TANK DESTROYER’
He joined the army in 1954, and was part of a battalion that fought China in 1962.
Glory was his when the 1965 Indo-Pak war was at its prime. He got martyrdom and was awarded the PARAM VEER CHAKRA (India’s highest gallantry medal) for the indomitable valour he put on display while destroying Pakistani tanks.
Abdul Hamid – after martyrdom, he was given also the title of “Tank-Destroyer”. After five years of service in the anti-tank section Abdul Hamid had recently been promoted and given charge of quartermaster stores of his company. As he was the best 106mm recoilless rifle shot in the battalion, he was reverted to his former charge as NCO commanding the battalion’s recoilless rifle platoon. In the Lahore sector of operations, 4 Mountain Division of India, having been rebuffed in its advance to the Ichhogil by the Pakistani counter-offensive, fell back to the Khem Kharan area. In the new defence plan of the Division, 4 Grenadiers, along with three other battalions of the division formed a defence line between Assal Uttar and Chima villages on the Khem Karan-Bhikhiwind-Amritsar road and the Patti axis. 4 Grenadiers was on the northern flank in general area of Chima village while other battalions were to the south ending with its sister battalion, 7 Grenadiers, in Asal Uttar village itself. Earlier the battalion had captured its objective on the Ichhogil canal but being outflanked by the Pakistani counter-offensive was ordered back to new positions. It had already been in combat for more than 24 hours when it began digging trenches and weapon pits in its defensive positions. The battalion defended area was covered with cotton and sugarcane fields and the battalion was able to camouflage its location, using ploughed fields for field of fire. The 106mm recoilless guns were deployed along the Khem Karan-Amritsar road. On 8 September, the enemy made repeated probing attacks on the 4th Grenadiers position. The battalion’s recoilless weapons and automatics were effectively sited by Hamid’s company officers, Lt H. R. Jahnu and 2Lt V. K. Vaid. That afternoon Abdul Hamid destroyed two Patton tanks, the commander of one of which asked Hamid for directions just before Hamid destroyed the tank. On 10 September 1965 at 0800 hours, a battalion of Pakistani armour supported by Patton tanks attacked the 4th Grenadier positions but was unable to locate the battalion’s defences. The attack preceded by intense artillery bombardment to soften the target and to garner a heavy fire in an attempt to draw Indian response. By 0900 hours, the enemy tanks had penetrated the forward company positions. In the melee, Hamid saw a group of Patton’s heading towards his battalion defences. Seeing the gravity of the situation, he moved out to a flank with his gun mounted on a jeep. Intense enemy shelling and tank fire did not deter him. He fired continuously knocking out three Patton’s one after another but was killed by tank fire from the fourth before he could engage it. Successful actions by Indian armour, artillery and infantry anti-tank actions, such as those of Abdul Hamid, tarnished the reputation of the M48 Patton and after the 1965 war, the M48 was largely replaced by M60 India set up a war memorial named “Patton Nagar” (“Patton Town”) in Khemkaran District, where the captured Pakistani Patton tanks are displayed. His complete disregard for personal safety and his sustained acts of bravery in the face of fierce enemy fire inspired his fellow soldiers and, the enemy’s advance was halted. In his memory, a mausoleum was constructed on his grave by the 4th Grenadiers at Asal Uttar and each year a “mela” is organised on the date of his martyrdom. The residents of Asal Uttar have named and operate a dispensary, library and school in the village. In his honour, the Army Postal Service issued a special cover on 10 September 1979.
In the 1988 Television serial PARAM VEER CHAKRA by Chetan Anand, Abdul Hamid is played by actor Naseeruddin Shah.
A pictorial postage stamp of value Rs 3 was issued by India Post on 28 January 2000 as part of a set of five postage stamps on gallantry award winners. The stamp had Abdul Hamid’s bust on it along with an illustration of a jeep with recoilless rifle. Hamid’s widow, Rasoolan Bibi had met President of India Pratibha Patil in Lucknow in 2008 with a number of requests including creation of a military recruitment centre in his village, converting Hamid’s home in Dullapur into a memorial, observing the day of his martyrdom as an occasion at the national level and help for her grandchildren to get government employment. A memorial to Abdul Hamid was constructed in his home village of Dhamupur but later fell into neglect. The memorial was renovated in 2011 by the Flags of Honour Foundation on Hamid’s 46th death anniversary. The renovation included the installation of a new statue of him, repair and painting of gates and boundary and improvement of the garden. Indian Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar, founder of Flags of Honour, spoke on the occasion.
CITATION COMPANY QUARTERMASTER HAVILDAR ABDUL HAMID
4 GRANADIERS (N0 2639985)
At 0800 hours on 10 September 1965 Pakistan forces launched an attack with a regiment of Patton tanks on a vital area ahead of village Cheema on the Bhikkiwind road in the Khem Karan Sector. Intense artillery shelling preceded the attack. The enemy tanks penetrated the forward position by 0900 hours. Realising the grave situation, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid who was commander of a RCL gun detachment moved out to a flanking position with his gun mounted on a jeep, under intense enemy shelling and tank fire. Taking an advantageous position, he knocked out the leading enemy tank and then swiftly changing his position, he sent another tank up in flames. By this time the enemy tanks in the area spotted him and brought his jeep under concentrated machine-gun and high explosive fire. Undeterred, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid kept on firing on yet another enemy tank with his recoilless gun. While doing so, he was mortally wounded by an enemy high explosive shell.
Havildar Abdul Hamid’s brave action inspired his comrades to put up a gallant fight and to beat back the heavy tank assault by the enemy. His complete disregard for his personal safety during the operation and his sustained acts of bravery in the face of constant enemy fire were a shining example not only to his unit but also to the whole division and were in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
The award was announced on 16 September 1965, less than a week after the battle that cost his life. The award was presented to his spouse, Rasoolan Bibi by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, then President of India during the 1966 Republic Day Parade.
How Many Tanks Did He Destroyed?
The most common version of Hamid’s heroics states that he destroyed seven tanks — four on 9 September and three on 10 September. However, the official citation of the PARAM VEER CHAKRA noted only two tanks.
“At 0800 hours on 10 September 1965 Pakistan forces launched an attack with a regiment of Patton tanks on a vital area ahead of village Cheema on the Bhikkiwind road in the Khem Karan Sector. Intense artillery shelling preceded the attack. The enemy tanks penetrated the forward position by 0900 hours,” it stated.
“Realising the grave situation, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid who was commander of a RCL gun detachment moved out to a flanking position with his gun mounted on a jeep, under intense enemy shelling and tank fire. Taking an advantageous position, he knocked out the leading enemy tank and then swiftly changing his position, he sent another tank up in flames.
“By this time the enemy tanks in the area spotted him and brought his jeep under concentrated machine-gun and high explosive fire. Undeterred, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid kept on firing on yet another enemy tank with his recoilless gun. While doing so, he was mortally wounded by an enemy high explosive shell,” noted the official citation of the PARAM VEER CHAKRA.
“Havildar Abdul Hamid’s brave action inspired his comrades to put up a gallant fight and to beat back the heavy tank assault by the enemy. His complete disregard for his personal safety during the operation and his sustained acts of bravery in the face of constant enemy fire were a shining example not only to his unit but also to the whole division and were in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.”
And yet, the Press Information Bureau put out a video in 2017, saying Hamid destroyed three tanks.
Battalion and regimental accounts claim seven tanks were destroyed, including the three on 10 September. But in a video released on 9 September 2018, the Indian Army said Hamid destroyed eight Pakistani tanks.
“Never in the history of warfare have so many tanks been destroyed by any Infantry man. CQMH Abdul Hamid of 4 Grenadiers destroyed eight Pakistani Patton Tanks with this 106 recoilless (sic) gun before laying down his life for the Nation. He was awarded PARAM VIR CHAKRA posthumously for his daring act. Watch the movie to know about his daredevil story,” it said. But adding to the confusion, the voice-over in the video says Hamid was killed while trying to get his sixth “kill”.
Abdul Hamid did not live to see the next day or share in the joy of victory that came after three days of intense fighting. A citation had been sent on September 9, 1965, crediting him for destroying four tanks but nobody knew that Hamid would again blow up three more tanks the very next day. As the citation was already sent, it gives him credit for destroying four tanks. He had, in fact, destroyed eight. For his selflessness, dogged determination and raw courage in the face of the enemy, Hamid was posthumously awarded independent India’s highest wartime gallantry award, PARAM VEER CHAKRA.
Buried at the battlefield, Hamid lies in a modest grave at Asal Uttar today. A brick-red roadside plaque with the words ‘memorial of CQMH (Company Quarter Master Havildar) Abdul Hamid’ announces its location. Inside a walled-in area of a little over an acre of land, a pathway lined by shrubs and trees leads to the actual memorial that houses his grave. An inscription on a tablet solemnly attests to his having given his life defending his motherland.
And so he lives on — in war trophies that stand in Army cantonments across India, in the sugarcane fields where he beat back intruders, in a memorial park in a village and in the proud reminiscences of a dearly-loved daughter. Interestingly, few people know that the renown social activist Anna Hazare was a comrade of Abdul Hamid during the war. His assignment was to carry firearms and bombs to the border.
Facts About Havildar Abdul Hamid
1. Havildar Abdul Hamid’s father, Mohammed Usman was a tailor by profession. Hamid used to assist his father in his day to day work before finally deciding to enlist with the Indian Army.
2. He was recruited at the Varanasi centre and underwent training at the Grenadiers Regimental Centre at Nasirabad. In his initial service, Abdul developed an image of being a good shot with 106MM recoilless rifle.
3. On the declaration of 1965 war, Abdul Hamid was called for duty and his battalion was given the task to hold the enemy in the Khem Karan sector in Punjab.
4. The battalion position was pounded at regular intervals but they repulsed the attack every time. A major attack came with US made Patton tanks to which Hamid replied with his 106MM Rifle. He destroyed 2 Pakistani Patton tanks on day 1. Next day, even after being under attack from Pakistani Sabre Jets, he destroyed 2 more tanks.
5. On 10th September, Hamid spotted another squadron of 6 Pakistani tanks headed towards Indian position. Using the tall cotton crops for stealth, Abdul Hamid destroyed 4 more tanks but got mortally wounded in a shell attack.
6. Total of 97 tanks were destroyed in this offensive in the Khem Karan sector which broke the backbone of enemy attack and forced them to retreat.
7. A mausoleum has been constructed on Abdul’s grave by his battalion 4 Grenadiers in Asal Uttar Village. A “Mela” is organized yearly to remember the martyrdom of this revered soldier.
8. A postal stamp was issued by India Post in 2000 to salute the ultimate sacrifice. The stamp portrays
9. Hamid alongside his 106MM Rifle mounted on a jeep.
10. A memorial was also constructed in Dhampur by the administration.
11. The character of Abdul Hamid was portrayed on screen by actor Naseeruddin Shah in the Doordarshan TV series PARAM VEER CHAKRA directed by Chetan Anand.
The Badass Story of Havildar Abdul Hamid During INDO – PAK War
Havildar Abdul Hamid is no obscure character in Indian military history. He is one of the most celebrated and revered soldier our country's forces have forged, and a tactful man at that. His actions during the '65 war are legendary to say the least, and we felt a recounting would do us all some good.
Abdul Hamid was inducted into The Grenadiers infantry regiment in 1954, at the age of 21.
Born on July 1, 1933 in Dhamupur village of district Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, Abdul Hamid came from a family of simple living. By the time he was 20 years old he had enrolled to be trained for the Indian Armed Forces. After his induction into the forces he was posted to a recoilless platoon with whom he fought the '62 war in Thang La. Soon enough Hamid's actions saw him being appointed as Company Quarter Master Havildar of an administration company in Ambala. On September 8, 1965 when Pakistani forces sent an armoured division to the Khem Karan sector in Punjab, Abdul Hamid was put in charge of defence.
The 4th battalion of his regiment was equipped with recoilless rifles to go up against tanks. Were the odds in his platoons favour? Definitely not. But when Havildar Hamid spotted the first tank just ahead of Cheema village, he ordered his men to take aim and fire. The first of the armoured Pakistani division went up in flames, and the two tanks crawling behind them were swiftly abandoned by the forces.
Just two hours later, another armoured battalion made its way in the area, and Hamid and his men ended up shooting another two tanks before the day would end.
Quickly moving out and re-positioning his jeep to dodge incoming attacks by the Pakistani air support and the tanks, Hamid and his men kept dodging round after round of Pakistani shells while laying down some hate-fire. His movements were so strategic and the firing was so intense that a citation to award him the PARAM VEER CHAKRA - the highest military decoration in the forces today - was already sent. By this time, the destruction of four tanks was to his credit - with another three that couldn't be included in the citation by this time.
On September 10, 1965 Hamid went back to business on the oncoming attacks of Pakistan's armoured division. This time he would lay down his life.
Two days after the first attack, Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid followed his strategy of using sugarcane fields to camouflage his jeep, and lay down fire on the enemy tanks with the RCL rifles. In the midst of dodging fire from the enemy Patton tanks and simultaneous shelling from their forces, one Pakistani tank caught sight of Hamid's jeep. Both the Indian platoon and the Pakistani Patton tank took aim at each other and fired simultaneously. Both the forces were critically hit and Hamid and his men lost their lives.
With the citation already sent into place, Havildar Abdul Hamid was awarded the PARAM VEER CHAKRA in posthumous for his brilliance on the field. This would be the first time that an armoured division of tanks would be so heavily damaged by the use of just RCL rifles.
Remembering The Tank Destroyer Havildar Abdul Hamid
Emblazoned on one wing of an army building in the Cantonment area of Bangalore was the name, ‘Abdul Hamid Barracks’. A few years ago, due to renovation perhaps, the placard was removed. Who was Abdul Hamid, I asked myself. He was, it was apparent, a great soldier who had served his country faithfully and well. A little research yielded the moving and inspiring story of a very brave man — a modern-day hero. Intense enemy firing did nothing to deter him. From his new position he knocked out the leading tank with accurate fire. Then changing position, he disabled another. By now the enemy had spotted him and employed machine guns and explosives to bring him down. As he hit another enemy tank, he was mortally wounded by a high explosive shell. Throughout this blistering attack, he had inspired his comrades to put up a gallant fight. The enemy was routed. They never made it past Khem Karan. One can make a note some important developments, though. This decisive win exposed the vulnerability of the M 48 Patton Tanks. They had been supplied by the United States to Pakistan. They were withdrawn completely and replaced with M60 Patton Tanks India set up a War Memorial in Khem Karan, where the captured Patton tanks are displayed. A stamp was issued in Hamid’s honour in 2000. A television serial featuring Naseeruddin Shah was also produced. But by and large, today Hamid is a forgotten hero His spirit fortunately lives on. Very few are probably aware that the intrepid social activist, Anna Hazare, was present and active during this period of valour and glory. A comrade of Abdul Hamid, his assignment was to carry firearms and bombs to the border. In the fierce engagement all his fellow- soldiers became martyrs. He was the only survivor. It was an experience that affected him profoundly, making “Service to the Nation” the moving forces of his.
Havildar Abdul Hamid – Real Life Inspiration
How do you feel about Abdul Hamid after reading the story of his bravery? ... Abdul Hamid was a brave soldier of Indian army. He did not fear to see so many powerful enemy tanks coming towards him. For him, his country's security was more important than his own life. The great thing about them is that they’re so easy to digest, and there’s always a moral at the end of the story.
Whether they’re true stories or not is another thing, as many of them are legends supposedly hundreds of years old.
However, the stories that I’m talking about are so powerful and inspirational that many of them really do get you thinking and even leave you speechless at times. Far from home and loved ones, these heroes sacrifice their own lives so the entire nation can sleep in peace. The stories of their courage and passion are larger than life. Read on and be inspired by 10 such army heroes – they are legends whose tales will not just make your chests swell with pride, but whose sacrifices will leave your eyes a little moist.
They are men of steel, standing tall in the harshest of conditions. They disregard freezing cold temperatures and scorching heat to always remain brave, awake and devoted towards us.
They are all heroes, each and every one of them. But there are a few whose stories have become the stuff of legends, stories that deserve to be shared and told over and over again:
They are not mere soldiers of the nation. They are the pride of every Indian soul.
These men in olive green stand tall, displaying tremendous acts of valor in situations unexpected. The gallant sacrifices made on a daily basis by these brave souls of the Indian army can't be compensated in any which way. Away from their families, guarding the nation across various extreme weather and critical ground conditions, we can only salute their spirit.
They are the heroes who inspire the youth of the nation. Their stories of valor, sacrifices, and spirit deserve to be told and shared. This is our humble effort to bring forward these inspiring stories of the Indian Army that reflects their brave characters. Mil jate hai kuch desh premi, jinhe marne se kuch fark nhi pdta.
I remember this dialogue from the film Baby, that does full justice to describe our soldiers in the army. The Indian Army. With so many stories and instances that proved the intrepidity of the brave soldiers, we as citizens should salute and revere them. Just mere words filled with right adjectives can never do full justice as we can never thank them enough for what they do for us, but we can at least take a moment and remember these brave hearts and their contribution towards the country’s tranquillity. And therefore, with this article, let’s take a moment to pay reverence to these brave hearted soldiers. Since listing every milestone in this would be a humongous task, we bring forward some of the remarkable stories by the Indian Army. Though their acts of bravery cannot be limited to this article, but on account of remembering Havildar Abdul Hamid, let’s take a moment to salute these brave soldiers for their esteemed contributions towards the country.
Last but not the least let’s end this article on a poem dedicated to all Indian Soldiers sacrificing their life for the people like me , us and everyone residing in our country INDIA –
Maut se nazrein mila kar , darr ko dilon se bhaga kar
Khade hai sarhad pe seena dikha kar
Na bhookh ki fikar hai na pyaas ki
Dil mein bas bharat ma aka naam jaga kar
Marne se na darte hai khud se pehle desh ki sonchte hai
Yeh koi aur nahi mere desh ke laal hai jo
Haste haste maut ko gale laga jate hai
Thi unki bhi khawaisein aur zarooratein jo ab puri hone se reh gayi
Laut aate hai tirange mein lipte khud ka seena challi kar ke
Khoon paseene se seench kar
Lehrate tiranga pyaara
Wo aur koi nahi hai mere desh ke bharat maa ke laal