Every time I look away from the Indian Army for a moment to look for a badass, another soldier’s story will grab my eyes in a death grip that I just can’t ignore. This is a totally cracked, balls out tale from the history of warfare, when an Indian soldier laid waste to a small Japanese platoon, pretty much by himself.
Let’s take you back to World War II when the Japanese forces planned an overwhelming assault on Imphal.
Somehow sneaking in a gargantuan troop of about 90,000 infantry men, the Japanese forces managed to cut off the city from the British Indian Army. With a plan being hatched to attack Bengal head on, on April 6, 1944, Indian reconnaissance troops reported a Japanese commando troop that had captured a vital position overlooking the only jungle road that led into Imphal from the north.
By the time Jemadar Rao Abdul Hafiz Khan’s platoon reached the location, the commando unit had turned into a whole military encampment.
With the least amount of shit given, Abdul Hafiz – a Jemadar in the 9th Jat Regiment, British Indian Army, and native of Kalanaur in Punjab – ordered his 40-strong platoon to pretty much charge up a hill that had no cover, facing down the barrels of entrenched machine guns, with a bigger platoon reinforced right behind them. A definite suicide mission! Lord knows what Abdul Hafiz said to his men, because they charged in like this was their last day on Earth.
Nearly half of the platoon Hafiz commanded were cut down by wave after wave of machine gun fire, and Abdul Hafiz took a bullet to his leg.
Soon enough our soldiers realised that they’d been dealt an unwinnable hand. But, like I said, Hafiz had run out of any fucks to give. He berserked his way up, tossing grenades, and laying down fire, till he got all the way to the trenches with a machine gun in his face. And, the shot he received to his leg didn’t do much either
In one swift motion, Hafiz parried the red hot barrel out of his way and proceeded to unsheathe his knife. With that, the apparently super pissed soldier wiped out the whole machine gun nest with his bare hands.
When the enemy began retreating, Abdul Hafiz chased them down.
Taking on a machine gun nest, another half dozen entrenched soldiers and two Japanese officers, Abdul Hafiz just kept running across open fields with an automatic gun on his hip, laying down the law. When the surviving enemy soldiers decided this was too much, Hafiz chased after them till a backup machine gun nest shot him through the chest.
A gun shot to the chest was just not enough to stop this man.
Realising that this was the wound that would take his life, Hafiz lay on his stomach, propped up the Bren machine gun and started pressing fire in the direction of the machine gun nest.
His last words to the surviving platoon members was, “Re-organize on the defensive positions! I will give covering fire!”
Jemadar Rao Abdul Hafiz Khan was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest military honour to be bestowed to anyone in the British and Commonwealth forces. Today the VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.