Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Honored Allies Wednesday: Namdeo Jadhav (India)

"In Italy, on the evening of the 9th April, 1945, a Company of the 5th Mahratta Light Infantry assaulted the east flood bank of the Senio river, north of San Polito.  Three minutes afterwards another Company was to pass through and assault the west flood bank.  In this sector the Senio river is about 15 feet broad, 4 to 5 feet deep and flows between precipitous flood banks 30 to 35 feet high.  Both flood banks were honeycombed with an intricate system of German dugouts and defense posts, with a mine belt on the inner face of the east flood bank above the dugout entrances.  Sepoy Namdeo Jadhav was a Company runner and when his Company crossed the river he was with his Company Commander close behind one of the leading sections.  When wading the river and emerging on the west bank the party came under heavy fire from at least three German posts on the inner face of the east bank.  The Company commander and two men were wounded and the rest, with the exception of Sepoy Namdeo Jadhav, were killed.  This gallant Sepoy immediately carried one of the wounded men through the deep water and up the precipitous slope of the bank through the mine belt to safety.  He then made a second trip to bring back the other wounded man.  Both times he was under heavy mortar and machine gun fire.  He then determined to eliminate the machine gun posts, which had pinned down the Companies, and to avenge his dead comrades, so, crossing the exposed east bank a third time; he dashed at the nearest enemy post and silenced it with his Tommy Gun.  He was, however, wounded in the hand and, being unable to fire his gun any further, threw it away and resorted to grenades.  With these he successively charged and wiped out two more enemy posts, at one time crawling to the top of the bank to replenish his stock of grenades from his comrades on the reverse slope.  Having silenced all machine gun fire from the east bank, he then climbed on to the top of it and, in spite of heavy mortar fire, stood in the open shouting the Mahratta war cry and waving the remainder of the Companies across the river.  This Sepoy not only saved the lives of his comrades, but his outstanding gallantry and personal bravery enabled the two Companies to hold the river banks firmly, and eventually the Battalion to secure a deeper bridgehead, which in turn ultimately led to the collapse of all German resistance in the area." 

From Sepoy Jadhav's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on 15 June 1945.
May you be at peace,
Brian & Mel
Bust of Jadhav at the Aundh military station in Pune.

Memorial upon the Senio River eastern bank in the vicinity of San Potito.

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