Tag Archive for 'FSMO'

The story of a pre-dawn raid

We , the cadets in the Indian Military Academy [ IMA] were out on a tactical exercise for a week in the Sivalik hills near Dehra Dun , India . Lack of sleep and fatigue  had set in already due to the continuous movements on FSMO [ Field Service Marching Order] carrying a rifle and 70 pound of weight on back pack  . Day light ambush , patrolling , digging at night and sentry duties in turn took the toll and we were all really exhausted . All of us were hoping for the final phase followed by the camp fire before returning to the barracks .

The last item was a pre-dawn raid on an imaginary enemy post and our platoon of 30 cadets were given the task which included the capture of the enemy commander . We were to start walking at midnight for about 10 miles in jungle track and complete the mission by 4 .30 AM . Once , we do that and report success , the follow up echelons were to clear up the remaining opposition at the enemy post .

At about 3 AM en route , our platoon commander wanted to stop for a minute as he had to attend to a nature’s call . When he went off the track into the bushes , he ordered us to  take lying position on the side of the road and keep touching each other physically so that we do not miss the signal to start when he comes back .  I was holding on to the left hand of my colleague in front and fell asleep.

I opened my eyes and to my consternation ,  found that there was no one ahead of my colleague [ there were at least 10 cadets ahead of him when we started] and he was still fast asleep . It was 7 AM and soon we found the raiding party returning with the prisoner !

Needless to state , all of us , 20 cadets who slept on the track and missed the action got REAL field punishment on the spot ! I cannot forget this hilarious incident during my training days even after 46 years !!

The Lost Bayonet – a page from my cadet training days

As officer cadets  in the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun way back in 1965  , we have scaled the Sivalik hills and jungles many times practicing  jungle warfare ,  raids and  night operations  .  I still remember a very funny incident  on one such occasions  involving my friend  Rao  , a cadet belonging to the Education Stream .  He was a lecturer in a college in Guntur ,  Andhra Pradesh  ,  before getting selected for the Army Education Corps and did not have the necessary  ” cadet acumen ” normally found in those selected through military schools etc .

We were on a night patrol exercise starting at 9 pm and were walking for almost 7 hours  through inhospitable jungle terrain with one or two halts in between  wearing full FSMO  [ field service marching order ] with weapons and bayonets strapped to the waist belt  . When  we reported at the RV [rendezvous] point at 4 am  to the Instructor on completion of the mission ,  the instructor asked for a report that all is clear and there are no injuries to any one or losses of  any personal items issued for the training .  At this stage ,  Rao found out that his bayonet is missing from the strap attached to his waist belt  .

The instructor shouted at Rao and pulled him up along with the patrol leader cadet  who should have checked this before leaving any location where the team rested en route .  Seeing the mood of the instructor ,  Rao innocently  suggested   ”  Don’t worry sir about the loss , I will pay for it !! ”  .  The instructor just exploded and answered ” You idiot and clown ,  like hell you will pay for it !! go back on your haunches along with your buddy , the patrol leader on the route you came and find the bayonet and bring it before day break ! OK  ,  is that clear ? ”

Rao brought the bayonet  by day break as ordered and we  all sighed in great relief !! . I met Rao as a colonel  in the Army HQ  after 20 years where he was   a staff officer in the Army Training Directorate   and we spoke about the above incident over a cup of hot coffee with a lot of nostalgia .