Founded in 1950, the Indian Army has had 71 years of active service. The Indian Armed Forces enjoy the distinguishment of being the second-largest military force in the world and have the world’s largest volunteer army. On Army Day, here’s a look at the many times the Indian Army has shown exceptional courage in some of its most iconic battles. 

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Fortress calling 

In the Battle of Longewala, 120 Indian soldiers with a single jeep mounted M40 rifle, defended a fort against Pakistani soldiers, who attacked with a mobile infantry brigade and tanks. 

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Massively outnumbered and outgunned, the Indian Army held fast through the night till aerial support from the Indian Air Force arrived in the morning. 

Impossible odds and a great escape 

The Battle of Rezang La remains one of the toughest encounters in the history of the Indian army as 120 men of the 13 Kumaon’s Charlie Company, fought viciously at 16,400 ft, killing around 1,700 Chinese soldiers. 

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Going strong till the last man, 114 gave their lives, five were captured, only to escape later, while one was sent to fetch reinforcements. 

Run to the hills 

Capturing the Tololing peak changed the course of the Kargil War but this was no easy feat. The Army’s 18 Grenadiers and 2nd Rajputana Rifle took three weeks to achieve it since a frontal assault was the only way, and it was suicidal with troops running straight into enemy fire. 

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To make the impossible vertical climb, Indian soldiers swapped their food rations for more ammunition. However, the strategic import of this victory was such that within six days of capturing this outpost, they captured five more. 

No quarter given 

China and India have long had border skirmishes and during the battle of Nathu La and Cho La, the Chinese opened fire at both these passes. The Indian army repelled the attack for weeks, which claimed the lives of 65 soldiers, but the Chinese faced heavier casualties with 300 dead. 

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Bridge over troubled waters 

Indian army carried out a stealthy move in Bangladesh, by airlifting around 700 soldiers across the Meghna river, once the Pakistani army had destroyed the only bridge. This gave Indian troops a chance to bypass Pakistani defence and capture unprotected areas en route to Dhaka, eventually resulting in an Indian victory.