13 Assam Rifles was raised on 15 February 1958 at Gaya (Bihar) under the able leadership of Lieutenant Colonel NS Aulakh of the Kumaon Regiment. After a period of extensive training at Ghaspani and Dimapur (Nagaland), the battalion finally settled down in Mon District of Nagaland with the Battalion Headquarter at Naginimora and its Company Operating Bases in Mon, Wangti, Lungwa, Champong, Aboi and Phomching on 06 December 1961.
The battalion had a dual tasking of border guarding of the Indo-Myanmar border and operation against the Naga Insurgents outfit principally the NSCN. Many historic operations were carried out by the battalion during the tenure at Nagaland and one of such brave stories is being shared in succeeding paras.
Displaying the spirit of 13 Assam Rifles
During the year of 1981, a platoon of ‘B’ Company of 13 Assam Rifles was deployed near Indo-Myanmar Border Pillar-152. The Company Headquarter was located at Phomching Post and the company was tasked to stop the ingress/egress of insurgents from Indo-Myanmar Border areas. Phomching Post was at Mon District, Nagaland and Subedar Dharam Singh Kandari was the post commander during June 1981.
On 22 Jun 1981 at about 0645 hours, Phomching Post came under heavy attack from about 130 insurgents, who opened up a heavy volume of fire on the post using rifles, light machine guns (LMGs) and rocket launchers (RL). As soon as the firing started, Subedar Dharam Singh Kandari immediately established communication with battalion headquarters and after apprising them of the situation, went about controlling his troops at the Company Operating Base (COB).
The defending troops returned the fire in a coordinated manner, which shook the confidence of the attackers. Subedar Kandari also brought to bear on the insurgent groups, effective Medium Machine Gun fire as also mortar fire, which continued for some time. The insurgents soon lost the will to progress the operation. Their attack broke up and they started withdrawing from the site, in groups.
The Post Commander, Subedar D. S. Kandari was not content to simply see the attack breaking up. He now went after the withdrawing insurgents. He immediately organised small teams and sent them to act as stops, to block all routes of withdrawal by insurgents. He personally led one such group and after a hot chase, caught up with a group of insurgents fleeing near village Nyahnyu. During the fire fight with insurgents, Riflemen Thaman Bahadur and Riflemen Rup Narain of 13 Assam Rifles sustained bullet injuries.
Defending their post
With the limited troops at his disposal, Subedar Kandari continued to impose pressure on the fleeing insurgents, and finally apprehended 03 x hardcore insurgents with 02 x Rocket launchers and 02 x Rifles on 22 June 1981. After taking control of the situation, the injured troops were given first aid and were evacuated to the nearest hospital.
Even after an attack by a humongous strength of insurgents, the troops under Subedar D S Kandari gave a befitting and commendable response to them. Subedar D S Kandari and Rifleman D B Gurung were conferred with ‘Shaurya Chakra’ for their bold and gallant action against heavy odds. Thereafter, no such incidence was repeated by insurgents because of the domination and excellent combat techniques showcased by the troops of 13 Assam Rifles.
The battalion carried out many aggressive operations during its tenure at Mon District, Nagaland from 06 December 1961 to 20 November 2003. Not only did the battalion conduct many successful operations but also carried out civic action projects in far flung villages of Nagaland to maintain peace.