The Gorkha Rifles regiment is famed to be one of the oldest, hardiest and fiercest battalions in the Indian Army. And on October 22, it made the country proud by fetching a gold medal at the world’s toughest annual military patrol exercise, held in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales by the British Army.
The eight-member team of 8 Gorkha Rifles’ second battalion covered the 50 kilometre course on foot through the rugged mountainous terrain in less than 48 hours.
The aim of the exercise is to test leadership, self-discipline, courage, physical endurance, and determination.
During the mission and task-oriented exercise, every participating team must carry a full personal kit and equipment while completing the tasks assigned to them. If any of the items from the kit go missing, they are replaced by dead weight and points are deducted.
According to reports they are assessed on various factors like obstacle crossing drills; first aid procedures; recognition of aircraft; vehicles and equipment; IED and minefield clearance drills; patrol techniques, prisoner of war (PoW) handling; helicopter drills; media handling; radio communications skills; and artillery target indication procedures, among others.
The exercise is not considered a competition and many teams that enter do not complete it. The teams that do finish earn one of the three distinctions – Gold (75%), Silver (65-74%) and Bronze (55-64%) medals on the basis of the number of points earned. Passing certificates are handed out to those teams that finish with points lower than 55%.
The British Army also tweeted a video of the ceremony where the brave Indian soldiers were awarded the medals. They wrote, “Congratulations to 2nd Btn 8 Gorkha Rifles on their gold medal at #CambrianPatrol. Consistently superb.”
— The Army in Wales (@ArmyInWales) October 21, 2016
The Indian Army team also gave a khukri – an inwardly curved Nepalese knife – to their British counterparts as a memento. This is not surprising since the khukri is the dominant element of the Gorkha Rifles’ insignia.
To know more about the exercise, click here.