|Regimental Centre||Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh|
|Motto(s)||Sarvada Shaktishali (Ever Powerful)|
|Engagements||Second Anglo-Afghan War|
1999 Kargil War
|Battle honours||Post Independence Gurez, Assal Uttar, Jarpal and Chakra|
|Lt. Gen. Rajeev Sirohi, UYSM, AVSM, VSM|
|Regimental Insignia||A brass grenade bearing the White Horse of Hanover. The insignia is worn on the uniform with a white hackle.|
The Grenadiers is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army, formerly part of the Bombay Army and later the pre-independence British Indian Army, when the regiment was known as the 4th Bombay Grenadiers. It has distinguished itself during the two world wars and also since the Independence of India. The regiment has won many battle honours and gallantry awards, and is considered to be one of India's most decorated regiments with three Param Vir Chakra awardees in three different conflicts.
The oldest grenadier regiment of the armies in the Commonwealth belongs to the Indian Army. The concept of 'Grenadiers' evolved from the practice of selecting the bravest and strongest men for the most dangerous tasks in combat. The Grenadiers have the longest unbroken record of existence in the Indian Army.
The history of the Indian Grenadiers is linked to the troops recruited for the army of the Bombay Presidency. The very first mention of a grenadier company hails back to 1684, when a little army of English troops, which had taken possession of the island of Bombay and comprising three companies of Europeans and local Christians, had a grenadier company, but nothing was heard about this unit subsequently. In 1710, the Bombay Army consisted of five companies of "Europeans, topasses (Indian Christians), and coffrees (Kaffirs or African slaves)" of which the first company was a European grenadier company. This company was merged into the Bombay European Regiment, which was later disbanded. In 1757, Robert Clive had raised the 1st Regiment of the Bengal Native Infantry of which two companies were grenadier companies, however, no regiments of grenadiers were formed from the Bengal Army until a battalion was formed in 1779.
In 1759, as a response to French manoeuvring in South India, the strength of the Bombay Army was enhanced, and the first company of sepoy grenadiers was raised with the best of Bombay sepoys "paying a regard to those having families on the island". It had only native officers and all sepoys wore red coats faced with blue. Later on, an adjutant was appointed to the corps.
Later the Bombay Army comprised a number of sepoy battalions, each having one or two grenadier companies. These were clubbed together as a composite battalion comprising the grenadier companies of the Bombay sepoy battalions, and they won the famous battle of Talegaon in 1778. So impressive was the performance of this composite battalion that the Bombay Presidency ordered the permanent raising of a grenadier battalion which duly took place on 12 March 1779, thirty-six years before the first time that a British battalion was given the honour of calling itself "grenadiers". The Governor General of Bombay made an Order dated 12 November 1779, according to which the grenadier companies of the following regiments combined to form the very first Grenadier Regiment in the world, namely "The Grenadier Battalion, First Regiment of Infantry":
- 1st Sepoy Battalion
- 2nd Sepoy Battalion
- 3rd Sepoy Battalion
- 4th Sepoy Battalion
- 5th Sepoy Battalion
- 6th Sepoy Battalion
- Marine Battalion (two companies of grenadiers)
4th Bombay Grenadiers
|4th Bombay Grenadiers|
The 4th Bombay Grenadiers were an infantry regiment of the pre-independence Indian Army, formed on 1 March 1922 as part of the reforms of the Indian Army that took place after the end of the First World War. Following this, the Regiment spent the next fifteen years serving in the British Somaliland protectorate in present-day Somaliland, as well as in China and on the North-West Frontier. The 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions were all disbanded and the 10th Battalion amalgamated with the 10th Battalion, Jat Regiment to form a Combined Training Centre at Bareilly. Following the Second World War they were one of the regiments allocated to the new Indian Army and renamed The Grenadiers
The regiment consisted of six battalions, all former regiments themselves. These were:
- 1st Battalion - Formerly the 101st Grenadiers.
- 2nd Battalion - Formerly the 102nd King Edward's Own Grenadiers
- 3rd Battalion - Formerly the 108th Infantry
- 4th Battalion - Formerly the 109th Infantry
- 5th Battalion - Formerly the 112th Infantry
- 10th (Training) Battalion - Formerly the 113th Infantry
Second World War
At the beginning of the Second World War there were only two battalions of the Regiment, the 1st and 2nd. This was soon changed, though, as a number of battalions were raised for wartime service, including: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 14th, 25th, 26th and 27th Battalions. The 10th (Training Battalion) was also de-linked from the Jat Regiment. Some of these battalions were to be garrison or rear area troops only, while others went on to serve with distinction in a number of theatres during the war including the Middle East and Burma, notably during the Arakan campaigns and at Kohima.
The 4th Grenadiers formed the motorised infantry element of the Indian Armoured and Tank brigades, distinguishing themselves as 'tank escort' infantry protecting tanks against sniper attack in jungle conditions:
- 1/4th Battalion, 252nd Indian Armoured Brigade, 31st Indian Armoured Division
- 2/4th Battalion, 50th Indian Tank Brigade
- 3/4th Battalion, 254th Indian Tank Brigade
- 4/4th Battalion, 255th Indian Tank Brigade
Current battalions of the Indian Grenadiers
- 2nd Battalion (102nd KEO Grenadiers) (second to none)
- 3rd Battalion (108th Infantry) (Param Vir Chakra Paltan)
- 4th Battalion (109th Infantry) (The Fighting Fourth) (Param Vir Chakra Paltan)
- 5th Battalion (finest fifth)
- 6th Battalion (joshila sixth)
- 8th Battalion ( Chakra Bn)
- 9th Battalion (Mewar, ex-State Forces unit)
- 10th (Training) Battalion - (113th Infantry)
- 11th Battalion (ex-Territorial battalion)
- 12th Battalion (Thundering Twelfths)
- 13th Battalion (Ganga risala)
- 14th Battalion
- 15th Battalion (The Dare Devils)
- 16th Battalion (Shola) (Kargil)
- 17th Battalion (desert hawks)
- 18th Battalion (Param Vir Chakra Paltan) (Kargil)
- 19th Battalion(jalim khanzar)
- 20th Battalion (Double Axe)
- 21st Battalion (Awwal Ekkis)
- 22nd Battalion (Bravest of the Brave) (Ashok Chakra Paltan) (Kargil)
- 23rd Battalion
- 24th Battalion
- 25th Battalion (parakrami pacchees)
- 12 Rashtriya Rifles
- 29 Rashtriya Rifles
- 39 Rashtriya Rifles
- 55 Rashtriya Rifles
The Grenadiers including these battalions have 4 battalions in the Rashtriya Rifles and 2 battalions in the territorial army.
- 1st Battalion, The Grenadiers became 2nd Battalion Brigade of the Guards in 1950
- 7th battalion, The Grenadiers became 9th Battalion Mechanised Infantry Regiment
- 118 (TA) Battalion - Bhusaval, Maharashtra
- 123 (TA) Battalion - Jaipur, Rajasthan
Battle Honour (Pre-Independence)
Prior to Indian independence, the Regiment had won many battle honours as part of the British Indian Army. These battle honour include:
Pre-World War I
- Mangalore – 1784
- Mysore – 1786
- Srirangapatnam – 1799
- Egypt – 1802
- Koregaon – 1818
- Beni Boo Alli – 1821
- Kirkee – 1827
- Hyderabad – 1831–43
- Meeane – 1843
- Punjab – 1848
- Central India – 1858
- Abyssinia – 1868
- Afghanistan – 1878–1880
- Kandahar 1880
- Afghanistan 1878–80
- Burma 1885–87
- Somaliland (Dharatol) – 1901–04
World War I
- East Africa 1914–16
- Egypt – 1916–17
- Baghdad – 1917
- Kut-Al-Amara – 1917
- Gaza – 1917
- Battle of Sharqat – 1918
- Nablus – 1918
- Palestine 1917–18
- Mesopotamia – 1915–18
- Aden – 1914–19
- Afghanistan 1919
- Tigris – 1919
World War II
- Kohima – 1944
- Kalewa – 1944
- Naga Village – 1944
- Fort Dufferin, Mandalay – 1945
- Pwabwe – 1945
- Capture of Meiktila – 1945
- Defense of Meiktila – 1945
- Pegu – 1945
- Taungtha – 1945
Battle Honour (Post-Independence)
Since 1947, the Regiment has won the following battle honours as part of the Indian Army:
- Gurais – 1948
- Asal Uttar – 1965
- Jarpal – 1971
- Chakra – 1971
- Tololing & Tiger Hill (Kargil War) – 1999
The Grenadiers have the unique and distinct honour of having the most number of Param Vir Chakras, India's highest medal for gallantry, among all the Indian Army's Infantry Regiments. Of note also, is the fact that prior to independence, British officers serving with The Grenadiers won four Victoria Crosses. Members of the Regiment have also received a number of other decorations prior to independence, including the Indian Order of Merit.
Indian Order of Merit
- Subedar Rahim khan,Palestine (against Turkey), April 1918.
- Naik Shivlal Dalal (1933)
Param Vir Chakra Recipients
- Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid, 4th Grenadiers – 1965.
- Major Hoshiar Singh, 3rd Grenadiers – 1971.
- Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18th Grenadiers – 1999.
Ashok Chakra Recipients
References & notes
- "Gazette of India No 45" (PDF). 7 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Sharma, p. 75
- Sharma, p. 69
- Sharma, p. 73
- Barthorp, Michael; Burn, Jeffrey (1979). Indian infantry regiments 1860–1914. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 0-85045-307-0.
- Rinaldi, Richard A (2008). Order of Battle British Army 1914. Ravi Rikhye. ISBN 0-9776072-8-3.
- Sharma, Gautam (1990). Valour and sacrifice: famous regiments of the Indian Army. Allied Publishers. ISBN 81-7023-140-X.
- Sumner, Ian (2001). The Indian Army 1914–1947. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-196-6.
- Moberly, F.J. (1923). Official History of the War: Mesopotamia Campaign, Imperial War Museum. ISBN 1-870423-30-5
- Singh, Rajendra (1969) History of the Grenadiers
- Singh, Rajendra (1955) Organisation and Administration in the Indian Army