Kargil Vijay Diwas: Recounting The Battle For Tiger Hill - The Turning Point Of The 1999 Kargil War

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Ahead of the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas, here's a look at the Battle of Tiger Hill - the turning point in the Kargil War, which led to the success of Operation Vijay thus pushing back all infiltration attempts by Pakistan.

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
Photo: Indian Army

Ahead of the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas, here's a look at the Battle of Tiger Hill - the turning point in the Kargil War, which led to the success of Operation Vijay thus pushing back all infiltration attempts by Pakistan.

Tiger Hill:

Known as Point 4660, Tiger Hill stands at an elevation of 5307 meters, north of Dras in the Kargil region of Kashmir.

Background and preparation for capture:

After the failed first attempt to capture of the hill in the early stages of the war in May 1999 by the 8th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment, the Indian Army had concentrated on dislodging the infiltrators from Tololing peak. Once that was achieved, the expedition to recapture Tiger Hill was planned by June end 1999.

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The expedition (July 3 and July 4):

The capture of Tiger Hill was a three-pronged all-out attack by the Airforce and Indian Army.

July 3: 

Airforce and Ground Attack

The Indian Air Force deployed its Mirage-2000s carrying the Paveway Laser Guided Bombs to undertake a continuous bombing of hardened bunkers of the Pakistan Army. This was the highest altitude at which the Indian Army had ever undertaken an attack.

At 19:00 hours, the Indian ground forces continuously fired at the Pakistan Army with its artillery along with  Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers tearing into the enemies' defenses.

Tiger Hill journey

The on-foot approach to the summit was bifurcated into three routes by the 18 Grenadiers regiment and the 8 Sikh regiments.

The 18 Grenadiers was to attack from two directions and capture the hill, scaling the vertical cliff face with the enemy already at a higher elevation, thus a dominant position. Meanwhile, their compatriots - the 8 Sikh regiment was to take the more 'obvious' routes for deceiving the Pakistan troops.

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July 4:

Tiger hill capture

Surprising the Pakistan troops, the ‘Ghatak Platoon’  successfully scaled the most treacherous route using ropes at 04:00 hrs. During the climb, Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav who had volunteered to fix the rope to aid his team was hit by bullets in the shoulder and groin. Three army men including the company commander were killed by the enemy's response fire.

Despite the injury, Yadav continued his journey crawling up the terrain to the enemy position and lobbed in a grenade, killing four Pakistanis in the process.  Inspired by his gallant act, the remaining platoon charged the other positions and dislodged the enemy.  For this act of bravery, Yadav was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Thus, Tiger Hill was recaptured by the Indian Army and the Divisional Commander confirmed this to the Chief of Army Staff General V P Malik. Immediately the next day, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif announced the pull-out of Pakistani troops from Kargil, thus ending the 2-month Kargil War.  
 

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