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The Baloch Regiment
Brbadge5199068.jpg
The Balochi Badge
Active 1956–Present
Country Pakistan Pakistan
Branch Army
Type Line Infantry
Size 50 battalions
Regimental Centre Abbottabad
Motto Kai Kai Baloch
Insignia
Regimental Insignia Balochregt5198569.jpg
Tartan Fitzgerald

The Baloch Regiment is an infantry regiment of the modern Pakistan Army. It was established in April 1956 from existing units: the 10th Baluch Regiment, merged with the 8th Punjab Regiment and the Bahawalpur Regiment. Newly raised additional units brought the strength of the Regiment to nearly 50 battalions.

The Baloch Regiment is one of three "large" regiments in the modern Pakistan Army descended from the infantry of the old British Indian Army. The Present Baloch Regiment has its origin in the former Bombay and Madras Armies, as well as in the State Forces of Bahawalpur (southern Punjab).

Contents

Origins

Under British rule the British Indian Army included the 124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan (raised 1820), the 126th Baluchistan Infantry (raised 1825), the 127th Baluch Light Infantry (raised 1844 as the Scinde Baluchi Corps), the 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis (raised 1846 as the 2nd Baluch Battalion) and the 130th Baluchis (raised 1858 as Jacob's Rifles). Following World War I all five units were merged into a single large regiment: the 10th Baluch Regiment, which became part of the Pakistan Army in 1947. The Baluch regiments earned battle honours for service in Afghanistan, East Africa, China, Persia, Aden, Central India, Abyssinia, Hyderabad and Burma. Until 1914 their full dress uniforms included red trousers worn with rifle green or drab tunics and turbans.

Early history of Baloch regiments

This regiment was earlier called the Baluch Regiment, after the Pakistan province of Baluchistan. This spelling and pronunciation were, however, inherited from colonial days. The Pakistani pronunciation of the Baluch is Baloch, with the ch as in change. The Baloch regiment is second in seniority after the Punjab Regiment in the Pakistan Army. Its oldest battalion was raised more than two hundred years ago, in 1798 AD at Masulipattam, as the Macleod Ki Paltan [Macleod’s Platoon], now the 1st Baloch. After raising, it later became the 89th Punjabis and was followed by 90th Punjabis, 91st Punjabis and 93rd Burma Infantry. These regiments were collectively designated as Madras Native Infantry.

Origins in Madras Army

‘It was the Madras Army’ says the regimental historian, ‘that was responsible for ousting the French from India. The battalions fought valiantly in expeditions that resulted in the unification of the territories which now make up India and modern Burma’. Regiments of the Madras Army also distinguished themselves during the conquest of Burma and became known as the ‘Burma’ battalions. As a distinction these battalions were presented with an image of the mythical Burmese god Chinthe which was incorporated in their cap badges. It was from these units that the modern Baloch Regiment is descended.

The Baloch Regiment owed its origins to the old Madras Army due to amalgamation of 8 Punjab in 1956 after re-organization of all Pakistan Infantry regiments. The 29th Madras Infantry was mustered out on 15 October 1893 and was reconstituted the next day at Meiktila in Central Burma as the 29th (7th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry, made up of Punjabis and Sikhs. Similarly, the 30th Madras Infantry became the 30th (5th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry, the 31st became the 31st (6th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry, the 32nd became the 32nd (4th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry and the 33rd the 33rd (3rd Burma Bn) Madras Infantry. In 1901, all these titles were simplified by removal of all mention of Madras and the five regiments were styled 29th Burma Infantry, 30th Burma Infantry, 31st Burma Light Infantry, 32nd Burma Infantry and 33rd Burma Infantry. A distinction shared by no other regiment was a spell in Japan by the 29th in 1864. They were summoned from Shanghai to Yokohama in September to protect Queen Victoria's British and Indian subjects. The British force remained in Japan until September the following year.

These Burma battalions were created to police the new territories acquired in the Third Burma War. In 1903, when all Madras regiments had sixty added to their numbers, the 29th and 30th became 89th and 90th Punjabis, the 31st became the 91st Punjabis (Light Infantry), the 32nd became the 92nd Punjabis whilst the 33rd only performed a half-change, entering the new Line as the 93rd Burma Infantry. It may be said that it was the Afghan Campaign of 1878–80 which set the seal on the future of the Madras soldier. The 30th Madras Native Infantry served in the Khyber Pass but suffered so much from extremes of cold that it put into doubt the suitability of the Southern soldier for service in what was clearly to be a recurring trouble spot.

Origins in Bombay Army

Part of the Baluch Regiment’s origin is from the old Bombay Army raised in early nineteenth century , the senior battalion originated in the 2nd (Marine) Bn of the 12th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry raised in 1820. In 1838, as the 24th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry, they stormed Aden (Yemen), bringing that hotbed of pirates under the British flag. The 26th Bombay Native Infantry was raised in 1825 as the 2nd Extra Bn of Bombay Native Infantry, changing its name a year later. Sir Charles Napier raised two regiments in Karachi - the 1st and 2nd Baloch Regiments - for local service within Sind in 1844 and 1846 respectively.

The term 'local' was interpreted fairly loosely when it became necessary to send the 2nd Baloch to the Persian War in 1856-57, a campaign frequently overshadowed by the events of the Independence War of Indian People (Great Mutiny by British) in 1857. The 1st was in Karachi when the news of the insurrection reached the Commissioner. Sir Bartle Frere dispatched them with all haste, on foot across the Sindh desert in May to join the siege artillery train on its way to Delhi, the only Bombay unit to join the Delhi Field Force. The regiment was brought into the regular line for its services in Central India and it became the 27th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in the post-Mutiny realignment.

The 2nd Baloch, in the meantime, had qualified for a similar change in status for their work on the NW Frontier and became the 29th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry. In 1858, Major John Jacob raised a local battalion, soon to be known as Jacob's Rifles and they made such a reputation in and around Jacobabad that they, too, were accorded regular status, becoming the 30th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry or Jacob's Rifles in 1861. In the years which followed, the subsidiary title lapsed and does not appear to have been officially revived until 1910, by which time, the 24th, the 26th, the 27th, the 29th, and the 30th had all had one hundred added to their numbers in 1903, emerging as the 124th, the 126th, the 127th, the 129th and the 130th

Baloch regimets in World War I

One of the battalions raised in the first half of 19th century so distinguished itself on the battlefields of Europe and Palestine; it earned the name of the ‘Bombay Toughs’. Another, the 124th, raised in 1905, became popularly known as the ‘War Babies’- for their youth and the courage they displayed in Palestine in 1918. Many awards for bravery were won by the Balochis in the First World War and subsequently in campaigns across South Asia and in World War II.These included the first Victoria Cross ever awarded to an Indian soldier: Lance Naik Khudad Dad Khan of the old 4th Baloch, now 11th Baloch. For their distinguished service in WWI, the British Government in India created a monument in the gardens of Frere Hall, Karachi commemorating the officers, JCOs and men of the 10th Baloch Regiment who fell in battle. This still stands.

The service record of the present Baloch Regiment’s units in World War I is as follows: 124th Duchess of Connaught's Baluchistan Infantry - India, Mesopotamia, Persia. 2/124th (formed in 1916)- Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India. 3/124th (formed in 1917)- India, Persia, Mesopotamia. 126th Baluchistan Infantry - India, Egypt, Muscat, Aden, Mosopotamia. 2/126th (formed in 1918) - India. 127th Queen Mary's Own Baluch Light Infantry - India, East Africa, Persia. 2/127th (formed in 1918) - India, Egypt. 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis - India, France, East Africa. 2/129th (formed in 1917) - India, Mesopotamia. 130th King George's Own Baluchis (Jacob's Rifles) - India, East Africa. 2/130th (formed in 1918) - India.

Only the 2nd Bn of the 124th of the wartime raisings was retained after the post-war reforms.

The 129th in the 3rd (Lahore) Division, was the only battalion of the regiment to serve on the Western Front and the first Indian regiment to attack the Germans. It was also the first Indian regiment to lose a British officer and to earn a Victoria Cross: this by Sepoy Khudadad Khan at Hollebeke. Wounded, he recovered to enjoy the distinction of being the first Indian soldier to receive the King Emperor's highest decoration for courage. Prior to 1911 Indian soldiers had not been eligible to receive the Victoria Cross.

Regimental awards

Another regimental distinction was the receipt of the George Cross, Britain’s peacetime equivalent of the Victoria Cross, which was awarded to Captain Durrani of the 1st Bahawalpur Regiment, now the 8th Baloch. Altogether in its first 150 year, the regiment gathered a distinguished record for bravery, including fourteen Victoria Crosses, one George Cross, one CMC, 36 DSOs, 158 MCs, Service medals and civil honors and more than 350 mentions in dispatches.

Post World War I

After the First World War, a major re-organization of British Indian Army took place. Most of the wartime units were disbanded while the regular regiments became battalions of new "large regiments". A new Regiment in the name of 10 Baloch was formed in 1922–23. It was based at Rajkot (Rajasthan) and was made up of Punjabi Muslims, Pashtuns, Baluchis and Brahuis. The Baluchis and Brahuis were the two major, tribal origin, peoples of Balochistan province (now in Pakistan). Baluchis are also constituted a major part of the population of Sindh Province (also in Pakistan). The Pashtuns are a warrior people from the NWFP and West Punjab (both also in modern Pakistan).

The badge chosen for the 10th Baluch Regiment in 1923 was a Roman 'Ten' within a crescent moon, a crown above and title scroll below.

The line-up of battalions for the new regiment was as under: 124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan Infantry redesignated as1st Bn. 126th Baluchistan Infantry - redesignated as 2nd Bn; 127th Queen Mary's Own Baluch Light Infantry - redesignated as 3rd Bn (Queen Mary's Own); 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis - redesignated as 4th Bn (Duke of Connaught's Own); 130th King George's Own Baluchis - redesignated as 5th Bn (King George's Own) (Jacobs Rifles); 2/124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan Infantry - redesignated as 10th Bn.

There was no Territorial battalion but the 5/10th was selected for Indianisation. It was not among the initial six infantry battalions nominated in 1923, but it featured in a supplementary list in 1933.

8 Punjab (now part of Baloch regiment) was also formed by the union of the following Punjabi regiments: 89th Punjabis redesignated as 1st Bn 8th Punjab Regiment 90th Punjabis redesignated as 2nd Bn 8th Punjab Regiment 91st Punjabis (Light Infantry) redesignated as 3rd Bn 8th Punjab Regiment 92nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Punjabis redesignated as 4th Bn 8th Punjab Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) 93rd Burma Infantry redesignated as 5th Bn 8th Punjab Regiment (Burma) 2/89th Punjabis redesignated as 10th Bn 8th Punjab Regiment The 92nd had been made 'Prince of Wales's Own' in 1921 for their services during the war.

The 5th Bn of the new regiment was nominated in the early 1930s as one of the battalions chosen for Indianisation.

There was no Territorial battalion raised for the 8th Punjab Regiment

The badge chosen for the 8th Punjab Regiment on its creation in 1923 was probably one of the most interesting and heraldically appealing of those created for the new "large regiments" of the Indian Army. In the light of the former history of the constituent regiments, it was appropriate that the new regiment should adopt the Chinthe: the mythical lion-dragon and the guardian of Buddhist pagodas, above the numerical '8' and the title scroll.

10 Baloch and 8 Punjab Regiments in World War II

10 Baloch

1st Battalion - India, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt. 2nd Battalion - India, Malaya. Captured in Singapore in February 1942. Reformed in April 1946 from cadre of 9/10 Baluch. 3rd Battalion - India, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Sicily, Italy. On return to India, the battalion was nominated for conversion to a parachute role to join 2 Indian Airborne Division. 4th Battalion - India, East Africa, Egypt, Cyprus, Italy. 5th Battalion - India, Burma. 6th Battalion - raised in Karachi on 1 January 1940. India. Disbanded 1 February 1947. 7th Battalion - raised in Benares on 10 October 1940. India. Burma. 8th Battalion - raised in Karachi on 1 February 1941. India, Burma. Disbanded 22 December 1946. 9th Battalion - raised in Nasirabad on 1 February 1941. India. Disbanded 25 April 1946 but almost 500 men went to reform the regular 2nd Bn. 14th Battalion - raised in Karachi on 1 February 1941. India, Burma, Malaya, Siam. Disbanded 15 September 1946. 16th Battalion - raised in Karachi on 15 October 1941. India, Burma, Malaya. Disbanded March 1946. 17th Battalion - raised November 1942 by conversion of 53 Regt IAC, India, Iraq, Palestine, Greece, Libya. 18th Battalion - raised originally as 25 Garrison Bn, it became an active battalion and was redesignated 18/10th. India. Disbanded May 1944. 25th Garrison Battalion - raised in Karachi in July 1941. On conversion to active status, it was redesignated the 18/10th. 26th Garrison Battalion - raised in Karachi in March 1942. India. Disbanded 1946. Machine Gun Battalion - raised in Karachi on 15 April 1942. Converted to 53 Regt IAC August 1942. Redesignated 17/10 November 1942. In common with many other Indian Infantry regiments, the 10th Baluch Regiment lost its number and, at the end of 1945, became The Baluch Regiment. With co.jpg 17 10TH.jpg

8 Punjab

1st Battalion - India, Malaya. Captured on Singapore Island in February 1942. Reformed in 1946 by redesignation of 9/8 Punjab. 2nd Battalion - India, Burma. 3rd Battalion - India, Persia, Egypt, Italy. 4th Battalion - India, Iraq, Iran. 5th Battalion - India, Burma, Malaya, Dutch East Indies. 6th Battalion (Machine Gun) - raised in August 1940. India, Burma, Malaya, Dutch East Indies. 7th Battalion - raised in August 1940. India, Malaya. Captured on Singapore Island in February 1942. 8th Battalion - raised in May 1941. India, Burma. 9th Battalion - raised in May 1941. Joined 6/15 Punjab and 6/16 Punjab in 39 Indian Infantry Brigade, the only all-Punjab brigade in the Indian Army. India, Ceylon, Cyprus. Redesignated 1/8 Punjab in 1946. 14th Battalion - redesignated 9th (Punjab) HAA Regt Indian Artillery in June 1942. 15th Battalion - Raised in January 1942. India. Became a training battalion for VCOs and NCOs. 16th Battalion - Raised in August 1943. India. 25th Garrison Battalion - raised in April 1941. India. 26th Garrison Battalion - raised in March 1942. India.

Battle honours before 1947

  • 1820–1914: Aden, Reshire, Bushire, Koosh-ab, Persia. Delhi 1857, Central India, Abyssinia, Kandahar 1880, Cochin, Maheidpore, Ava, Afghanistan 1878–80, Egypt 1882, Tel-el-Kebir, Burma 1885–87, British East Africa 1896, British East Africa 1897–99, China 1900.
  • World War I: Messiness 1914, Armentieres 1914, Ypres 1914–15, Gheluvelt, Festubert 1914, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, St. Julian, Loos, France and Flanders 1915, Egypt 1915, Megiddo, Sharon, Palestine 1918, Aden, Kut-al-Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1916–18, Persia 1915–18, NW Frontier, India 1917, Kilimanjaro, Behobeho, East Africa 1915–18, Afghanistan 1919.Macedonia 1918, Helles, Krithia, Gallipoli 1915, Suez Canal, Egypt 1915, Megiddo, Sharon, Palestine 1918, Tigris 1916, Kut-al-Amara 1917.
  • World War II: North Malaya, Jitra, Gurun, Malaya 1941–42, The Trigno, Perano, The Sangro, Villa Grande, Gustav Line, Monte Grande, The Senio, Italy 1943–45, Gallabat, Barentu, Massawa, The Cauldron, Ruweisat Ridge, El Alamein, North Africa 1940–43, Landing in Sicily, Sicily 1943, Castel Frentano, Orsogna, Arezzo, Monte Cedrone, Citta di Castello, Monte Calvo, Gothic Line, Plan di Castello, Croce, Gemmano Ridge, San Marino, San Paulo-Monte Spacata, Monte Cavallo, Cesena, Savio Bridgehead, Casa Bettini, Idice Bridgehead, Italy 1943 – 45 Donbaik, North Arakan, The Shweli, Myitson, Kama, Burma 1942–45; Athens, Greece 1944–45, North Malaya, Machang, Singapore Island, Malaya 1941–42, Kuzeik, North Arkan, Point 551, Maungdaw, Shwebo, Kyaukmyaung Bridgehead, Mandalay, Capture of Meiktila, Defense of Meiktila, The Irrawaddy, Pegu 1945, Sittang 1945, Burma 1942–45.

After Partition

Following partition in August 1947, 10 Baloch, 8 Punjab, and Bahawalpur State Forces were allotted to Pakistan. The Dogra companies of 10 Baloch remained in India and were transferred to, among other regiments, The Indian Grenadiers. The Regimental center was shifted to Quetta in 1946.

10 Baloch Regimental Center at Quetta had 50% Punjabi Muslims [PMs], 25% Pashtuns and 25% Dogras. After the departure of the Dogras, the new composition was 50% each PMs and Pathans.

On transfer of power, the active battalions were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th.

1 Baloch had 50% Punjabi Muslims (PMs), 25% Pashtuns and 25% Dogras was stationed at Secunderabad , in August 1947 moved to Kasur/Lahore. PMs from 5/6 Rajputana Rifles replaced Dogras. 2 Baloch consisted of 3 companies of PMs and one of Dogras was stationed at Razmak. 3 Baloch 50% PMs, 25% Pashtuns and 25% Dogras was stationed at Quetta. 4 Baloch 50% PMs, 25% Pashtuns and 25% Dogras was stationed at Nowshera. In 1948 it moved to Kashmir. 5 Baloch 50% PMs, 25% Pashtuns and 25% Dogras was stationed in Fort Sandeman (Zhob). In March it moved to Quetta and in December in Sialkot. 7 Baloch 50% PMs, 25% Pashtuns and 25% Dogras was stationed at Kanpur when it received orders to move to Fort Sandeman (Zhob). In July, the unit received orders to move Karachi before 7 August and prepare for ceremonies in connection with Independence of Pakistan.

The Battalion had the distinction of providing the first guard of honor to the Quaid-I-Azam as he stepped on the soil of Pakistan. Major Shukat Ali commanded the guard of honor. On 14 August the Subedar Major [the battalion’s senior warrant officer] unfurled the first flag at the Governor General’s residence. The flag was later presented to 7/10 Baloch by Quaid-I-Azam.

The 8th Punjab Regiment was allocated to Pakistan and the Sikh companies returned to India, principally to replace Punjabi Muslim companies in battalions of The Sikh Regiment and to help in creation of new Sikh battalions.

The regular battalions on transfer of power were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.Bahawalpur Regiment was raised among the Bahawlpur state forces. The Bahawalpur Regiment had two active battalions: 1 Bahawalpur and 3 Bahawalpur. 4 Bahawalpur was raised from the officers and men from 2 Patiala (raised in 1919) in July 1948.

In 1947, men of Baloch Regiment were assigned the task of escorting the refugees fleeing India, earning the regiment-honored name of Ghazi Balochi. Based at Abbottabad since December 1957, the Baloch fought with distinction in the 1947–48 Kashmir Conflict, and in the two wars with India in 1965 and 1971, winning 279 awards for bravery, including three Hilal-e-Jurats, one of Pakistan’s highest awards for valor and 73 Sitara-e-Jurat.

Amalgamation

In 1957, a major re-organization took place of the infantry regiments of Pakistan. Most of the regiments created by amalgamation in 1922–23 were re-organized and the regimental centers reduced from 11 to 5. The Baloch Regiment was re-organized by merging the 10th Baloch, the 8th Punjab and the Bahawalpur regiments.The new regimental center was set up at Abbottabad in December 1957. The new line up of the regiment was:

X Baloch Regiment

  • 1 Baloch -> 6 Baloch
  • 2 Baloch -> 7 Baloch
  • 3 Baloch -> 10 Baloch
  • 4 Baloch -> 11 Baloch
  • 5 Baloch -> 12 Baloch
  • 6 Baloch -> 14 Baloch
  • 7 Baloch -> 15 Baloch
  • 8 Baloch -> 16 Baloch (SOLAH SALAR)
  • 17 Baloch -> 19 Baloch (Special Service Group)

8 Punjab Regiment

  • 1/8 Punjab -> 1 Baloch
  • 2/8 Punjab -> 2 Baloch
  • 3/8 Punjab -> 3 Baloch
  • 4/8 Punjab -> 4 Baloch
  • 5/8 Punjab -> 5 Baloch
  • 6/8 Punjab -> 13 Baloch
  • 8/8 Punjab -> 17 Baloch
  • 9/8 Punjab -> 18 Baloch

Bahawalpur Regiment

  • 1 Bahawalpur -> 8 Baloch
  • 2 Bahawalpur -> 9 Baloch
  • 3 Bahawalpur -> 20 Baloch
  • 4 Bahawalpur -> 21 Baloch

In 1958 Pakistan raised the Special Service Group (SSG) Commandos from 19 Baluch (old 17/10 Baluch) at Cherat, a hill station not far from Peshawar. Dedicated CIA and US Special Forces personnel trained the SSG as part of US ‘Military Aid to Pakistan’ Programme (US MAP). Pakistani SSG officers traveled to Fort Bragg and/or Fort Benning for advanced training.

Modern Regiment

The Regimental Centre is located in the city of Abbottabad, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan.

The Regiment's 10th Battalion, serving with UNOSOM, took part in the Battle of Mogadishu (1993). The Regiment’s long list of battle honours dates from the battle of Cochin in 1809 to the battle of Qaiser-I-Hind in 1971.

Insignia and uniforms

The badge of the Baluch Regiment depicts crossed swords within a crescent, under a Muslim star, appearing above a title scroll. All ranks wear a rifle green beret with a cherry coloured backing to the badge. Bandsmen wear the traditional rifle green tunic and dark red trousers of the old Bombay Army Baluch regiments, as part of their full dress uniform.

Senior officers

The current Colonel-in-Chief of the Baluch Regiment is General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who is also the Chief of Army Staff. The Colonel Commandant of the regiment is Lt General Khalid Nawaz Khan. Previous colonel commandants have included Ashfaq Kayani,[1], Lt General Shafaatullah Shah, Lt General Syed Parwez Shahid,[2] and Lt General Jamshaid Gulzar Kiani,[3] who were the 15th, 14th, and 13th colonel commandants respectively.

Famous Alumni

References

  1. ^ "Kayani installed as 15th colonel commandant" Daily Dawn, 22 May 2005
  2. ^ "S.P. Shahid new colonel commandant" Daily Times, 21 April 2003
  3. ^ "New colonel commandant" President of Pakistan, 28 April 2003

Bibliography

  • Barthorp, Michael; Jeffrey Burn (1979). Indian Infantry Regiments 1860–1914. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9780850453072. 
  • Gaylor, John (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–91. Spellmount. ISBN 9780946771981. 

See also








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