L/Naik Karam SinghSlideShow | Thumbnails
Lance Naik Karam Singh was born on 15 September 1915, in Barnala, Punjab. He was enrolled in 1 Sikh on 15 September 1941. He had earned a Military Medal in World War II. During the Jammu & Kashmir operations in the summer of 1948 the Indian Army made substantial gains in the Tithwal sector. This led to the capture of Tithwal of 23 May 1948. The enemy fled in utter confusion across the Kishanganga after dumping their arms and equipment in the river. But the enemy quickly recovered from this shock. They re-organised their forces and mounted a strong counter-attack to recover the lost ground. As a result, the Indian Army could not withstand the enemy pressure and withdrew from their positions across the Kishanganga River. Finally, they settled on the Tithwal ride to take on the enemy. The battle of Tithwal went on for months. The enemy could not, however, make a dent on the Indian defences. On October 13th, they launched a desperate attack in brigade strength to evict the Indian Army from their strongly held positions. The objective was to recapture Richhmar Gali to the south of Tithwal and to outflank the Indian Army by marching on to Nastachur Pass to the east of Tithwal. Both attempts failed. During this attack, some bitter fighting took place in the Richhmar Gali area on the night of October 13th. The attack commenced with heavy shelling of guns and mortar. The fire was so devastating that nearly all bunkers in the platoon area were damaged. In this action the 1 Sikh played a very important role in beating back the enemy onslaught. Lance Naik Karam Singh was commanding a forward outpost when the enemy launched the attack. The enemy in vastly superior strength attacked his post. The outpost was attacked eight times and the Sikhs repulsed the enemy every time. When ammunition ran short, Lance Naik Karam Singh joined the main company position, knowing fully well that due to the heavy enemy shelling no help would be forthcoming. Although wounded, he brought back two injured comrades with the help of a third mate. Ringed by enemy fire, it was almost impossible for them to break out. Ignoring all dangers, he crawled from place to place encouraging his men to keep up the fight. Often he beat back the enemy with grenades. Twice wounded, he refused evacuation and continued to hold on to the first-line trenches. The fifth enemy attack was very intense. Two enemy soldiers came so close to his position that he could not engage them without hitting his men. Lance Naik Karam Singh, jumped out of his trench and bayoneted the two intruders to death. This bold action so demoralised the enemy that they broke off the attack. Lance Naik Karam Singh and his men also repulsed three more enemy attacks, which followed. Lance Naik Karam Singh was an inspiration to his comrades and a threat to the enemy. He was honoured with the highest wartime gallantry medal, Param Vir Chakra, for his outstanding role in the battle of Tithwal. Tithwal in Jammu and Kashmir was captured on 23 May 1948. After that date, the enemy made numerous attempts to recapture Richmar Gali, and thence Tithwal. On 13 October 1948, coinciding with Id, the enemy decided to launch a brigade attack to retake Richmar Gali, and bypassing Tithwal, advance into the Srinagar Valley. Lance Naik Karam Singh was commanding a section at Richmar Gali. The enemy commenced its attack with heavy shelling of guns and mortars. The fire was so accurate that not a single bunker in the platoon locality was left unscathed. Communication trenches caved in. Bravely, Lance Naik karam Singh went from bunker to bunker, giving succor to the wounded and urging the men to fight. The enemy launched eight separate attacks that day. In one such attack, the enemy managed to obtain a foothold in the platoon locality. Immediately, Lance Naik Karam Singh, who was severely wounded by then, with a few men, hurled himself in a counter-attack and evicted the enemy after a close quarter encounter which accounted for many enemy dead, having been dispatched by the bayonet. Lance Naik Karam Singh proved himself to be a dauntless leader of men in crisis. Nothing could subdue him and no amount of fire or hardship could break his spirit.