By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)
When the Artillery Profile 2027 was written in 2008, it was visualised that the 130 mm Catapult and 160mm Tempella Heavy Mortars would de decommissioned and made obsolete in a couple of years. However that was not to be for many reasons. Finally these guns are being laid to rest with the induction of modern systems like the M777 ULH, K9 Vajra and PINAKA.
Even in 2008 we were struggling to keep these old warhorses going. The equipment was old. it would constantly breakdown. We were short of spares. New stuff was far over the horizon. However we were prepared to fight with what we had and we did. The simple premise was, the equipment could be old, however the Gunner spirit was strong and the ammunition was lethal. After all whether you fire the ammunition from a new or an old gun it was simply as lethal and the enemy would be as dead!
Well as all good things must come to a pass, the time has finally come for these old beauties to be laid to rest and adorn museums and street squares with a sense of old pride.
The old order is passing. We welcome the new order. We wish the new order all the best and hope that it will serve the nation as good as these loyal ones did.
I wonder if you have noticed one thing. These old beauties have gone out spitting fire. After six decades in service they went out in true soldier style- with muzzles still blazing!
It is also a tribute to all Gunners of the Indian Army that they could ensure that these guns could fire long after they were considered to be dead weights.
That is Indian Artillery and Indian Army for you – lethal forever.
Guns do not matter. Gunners do!
What does it tell the enemy?
You can tempt fate and get away.
Do not tempt the Gunners of the Indian Army.
They will get you dead more than alive.
On a personal note I wish all the Gunners of the Indian Army the very best in their future endeavours to keep the Indian Flag flying high. It was matter of honour for me that I had the rare privilege of being the Director General of such a great Arm for which nothing was impossible in defending the nation.
I do hope and pray that ‘Karni Mata’ the patron saint of the fine unit I commanded takes care of all Gunners and blesses them in carrying out their onerous duties with our motto – “Sarvatra Izzat O Iqbal”
Proud of my Guns and Gunners
-The writer was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Department of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda