4th Battalion - The Frontier Force Rifles (4 FF Rifs) (now 9 FF)

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Mar 5, 2010
At the start of the Kashmir War, 1948 the battalion was in Rawalpindi under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Mian Ghulam Jilani but he left in April, 1948 for another appointment at Gilgit and Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Siddique Raja, M.C., took over command of 4 FF Rifs. However one company of the battalion had moved already to Poonch on Februarv 1st, 1948 but it was not until April that 4 FF Rifs were sent to Mirpur.

D Company, the company that had left for Poonch in February, now rejoined the battalion at Jhangar Daramsala. It was time for the battalion to take part in an operation called 'Alamgir' and for this they were affiliated with 1 / 16 Punjab Regiment B less two companies , 3rd Mahsud Lashkars, Sudhan Brigade troops and 10 Azad Kashmir Battalion.

The Indians had approximately a brigade strength in well-prepared positions and had plenty of time to lay mines, booby traps, barbed wire and other 'nastinesses'. H Hour was fixed at 0200 hours on May 10th, 1948 and the plan, in general, was to attack the Indians from as many directions as possible with all the forces available. The assault completely confused the enemy as to the direction of the main attack and surprise, initially, was achieved since the enemy artillery did not open up until nearly half-an-hour after our assault had started.

However, the Indian defenses were well prepared and broke the momentum of 4 FF Rifs' attack. The mines, booby traps and wire all took their toll. Individuals and groups kept going by personal bravery and a number of outlying positions were captured. By the time the main defenses were reached it was almost light. At this stage enemy tanks came into the position and 4 FF Rifs had to engage these tanks as well.

It was obvious now that nothing more could be gained by the attack and a withdrawal was ordered to Keri Hills. The Indian artillery and aircraft became very active and losses were suffered. Our casualties in the assault were 36 killed and 51 wounded. Many of these could not be recovered, unfortunately.

The Indians in turn counter-attacked 4 FF Rifs' position on Keri Hills at 1130 hours, supported by tanks, aircraft and artillery. But since the tanks could not climb the steep sides of Keri feature no damage was done and the attack by the Indians was beaten off. The morale of our troops remained very high since they felt that they had the measure of the enemy and all that was lacking was adequate fire support.

4 FF Rifs stayed for a few more days at Keri Hills and reorganized themselves. They evacuated their dead and wounded and back-loaded their inessential stores to Mirpur by May 15th, 1048. They moved back to Rawalpindi on May 29th and hardly had they started to settle down when they were ordered on June 1st, 1948 to move again to Uri.

Here they were located at Nanga Tak, some 10,500 feet above sea level. Their role was to prevent the Indians in their attempt to link up Pandu with Titwal through Resham Gali. Although the Indian infiltration had started a day earlier, 4 FF Rifs quickly placed 'blocks' on the routes and prevented any further infiltration. After this the infiltrators were mopped up in various small actions in which casualties were sustained on both sides.

However, June 20th, 1948 saw the battalion back in Rawalpindi and on August 4th Brigadier M. Hayaud Din (formerly 6 FF) officiating commander 7th Division, gave several awards to the battalion at an investiture.

The very next day a company from the battalion was ordered to move to apprehend 50 dacoits who had escaped a police party and were moving towards Mandra. The dacoits walked into an ambush; eight were killed, nine wounded and the majority of the remainder surrendered along with the stolen property, including arms. The company suffered five casualties, including one killed.

October 1st, 1948 saw- the battalion moving again to Tandar to face the Indians. Later they moved to Khambah Fort on October 4th, where they were attacked by Indian aircraft, but no losses were sustained.

The cease fire took place on January 1st, 1949 and at the end of January the opposing commanders met and discussed the necessary arrangements for the cease fire. The Indian General, Atma Singh, commented on the performance of 4 FF Rifs and said;

"4/13 Frontier Force Rifles were elusive. They were on the Jhangar front, on the Uri front, in Rawalpindi and at Mirpur all at the same time!"

This was not a double-edged compliment but showed the various quick movements that the battalion had carried out and the effect it had on the Indian intelligence system.

On March 21st, 1949 the battalion was warned to move to Kashmir area again and on June 18th it relieved 2 FF Rifs (now 8 FF) near Poonch. The battalion remained on border defense duties until September 25th. 1949 when it returned to Rawalpindi.

During their stay on border defense duties, in addition to a Sitara-i-Jurat awarded to Captain G.H. Niazi the first S.J. awarded since the inception of Pakistan for bravery during the Alamgir operation mentioned earlier, many commendation certificates were won by the battalion.