Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Honored Allies Wednesday: Lachhiman Gurung (Nepal)

"At Taungdaw, in Burma, on the west bank of the Irrawaddy, on the night of I2th/I3th May, 1945, Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was manning the most forward post of his platoon.  At 0120 hours at least 200 enemy assaulted his Company position.  The brunt of the attack was borne (by Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung's section and by his own post in particular.  This post dominated a jungle path leading up into his platoon locality.  Before assaulting, the enemy hurled in numerable grenades at the position - from close range.  One grenade fell on the lip of Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung's trench; he at once grasped it and hurled it back at the enemy.  Almost immediately another grenade fell - directly inside the trench.  Again this Rifleman snatched it up and threw it back.  A third grenade then fell just in front of the trench.  He attempted to throw it back, but it exploded in his hand, blowing off his fingers, shattering his right arm arid severely wounding him in the face, body and right leg.  His two comrades were also badly wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the trench.  The enemy, screaming and shouting, now formed up shoulder to shoulder and attempted to rush the position by sheer weight of numbers.  Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung, regardless of his wounds, fired and loaded his rifle with his left hand, maintaining a continuous and steady rate of fire.  Wave after wave of fanatical attacks were thrown in by the enemy and all were repulsed with heavy casualties  .For four hours after being severely wounded Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung remained alone at his post, waiting with perfect calm for each attack, which he met with fire at point-blank range from his rifle, determined not to give one inch of ground.  Of the 87 enemy dead counted in the immediate vicinity of the Company locality, 31 lay in front of this Rifleman's section, the key to the whole position.  "Had the enemy succeeded in over-running and occupying Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung's trench, the whole of the reverse slope position would have been completely dominated and turned.  This Rifleman, by his magnificent example, so inspired his comrades to resist the enemy to the last, that, although surrounded and-cut off for three days and two nights, they held and smashed every attack.  His outstanding gallantry and extreme devotion to duty, in the face of almost overwhelming odds, were the main factors in the defeat of the enemy."
From Rifleman Gurung's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on July 24, 1945.
May you be at peace,

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