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 !!

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