|The East Bengal Regiment|
Cap badge of the East Bengal Regiment
|Active||15 February 1948-Present|
|Role||Close with and destroy the Enemy|
|Motto(s)||Grace, Strength, Speed|
|Colours||Colour of the Coagulated Blood (BCC 37)|
|March||Chal Chal Chal|
|Engagements||Battle of Chawinda, Defence of Lahore 1965 war, Bangladesh Liberation War|
|General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan.|
|Colonel in Chief||Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh|
|Major-General Muzaffar Ahmed, BB, ndc, psc|
|General M.A.G. Osmani, Major General Khaled Mosharraf, Lieutenant General Ziaur Rahman|
The East Bengal Regiment was formed in 1948 following Pakistan's creation from the Partition of British Raj in South Asia. As part of the agreement, the Muslim population of what was previously known as British Empire in South Asia were given their own state of Pakistan, made up of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (initially East Bengal), which would be separate from the newly independent India. The infantry of the new Pakistan Army was made up exclusively of men from the main, west part of the country. It is said that the formation of East Bengal Regiment was a natural consequence of necessity to raise an infantry unit from The then East Pakistan, but the facts are different and not exposed for the interest of vested quarters. The necessity of forming an infantry regiment out of the population of eastern wing was not a default consequence of the partition but the vision and struggle of an officer from East Bengal who fought the Second World War in Burma front commanding a company of Indian Pioneer Corps, an auxiliary force raised to support the war effort. Companies were attached with different infantry units like the Bihar Regiment of Indian Army a name we come across as we chronicle the history to East Bengal Regiment. After the war these Pioneer company personnel from East Bengal were to be demobilized and gathered in Jalna in Maharashtra. The then Captain A Ghani who was commanding 1256 Pioneer Company was the Adjutant of the Pioneer Center in 1946. He proposed the formation of an Infantry Regiment out of the components the Pioneer Corps soldiers who fought gallantly in the war under him and would be the best material for an Infantry unit which the East Bengal lacks like the other ethnic groups or martial races of India. His idea was appreciated by the Pioneer Center commandant Lt Colonel R R Moriarty of Baluch Regiment and gave new hope to the soldiers waiting to be demobilised. After the partition the then Captain A Ghani moved from India to Dhaka in September 1947 with two Pioneer companies which would form the nucleus of the 1st East Bengal Regiment. Kurmitola presently Dhaka Cantonment was a waste land and Captain Ghani was ordered to convert it to a habitat to arrange for the raising of the flag of the regiment on 15 February 1948. Well for the whole group with the new hope of a glorious future nothing seemed impossible to accomplish. The flag of the 1st East Bengal Regiment was raised on 15 February 1948 with Lt Col V J E Patterson as the first . (C.O.) and Major Abdul Waheed Choudhury as Officer Commanding (O.C.) Training Coy., the 2nd Battalion being formed soon after. Between 1948 and 1965, a total of eight battalions were raised, with the 5th, 6th and 7th in West Pakistan.
In March 1971, in response to a crackdown on locals in East Pakistan, the five battalions of the East Bengal Regiment mutinied and initiated the Bangladesh War of Liberation. The East Bengal Regiment formed the core of the liberation forces, which became known as the Bangladesh Forces. The structure and formation of the Bangladeshi Forces during the Liberation War of 1971 was determined at the Sector Commander's Conference that was held in the week of 11–17 July 1971. This conference was presided over by the Bangladesh interim government in exile, Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed and General M A G Osmani, during which the retired colonel was promoted and reinstated on active duty into the Bangladesh Armed Forces as its senior most official. General Osmani was thereby appointed Commander-in-Chief of all Bangladesh Forces. Lieutenant Colonel M A Rab was appointed as Chief of Army Staff, Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan was assigned to the largest guerilla training camp of the liberation war at Chakulia, Bihar, as the Chief Military Representative of the Bangladesh government in exile, including the decision of formation of three brigades which were formed with East Bengal Regiments. The East Bengal Regiments that participated inn the glorious struggle were as follows:
Z Force, under Major Ziaur Rahman, consisted of 1st, 3rd and 8th East Bengal Regiment. These regiments were formed during the war at Teldhala of Tura, Meghalaya, in 1971 by Major Ziaur Rahman. These three regiments principally constituted Sector 11, later commanded by for a brief stint Major Abu Taher, and subsequently by Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan.
S Force, under Major K M Shafiullah, was created in October 1971 and consisted of 2 and 11 East Bengal. Further units were raised to replace those that remained stranded in West Pakistan. Following the foundation of Bangladesh, these units formed the core of the new army. However, the 7th Battalion was incorporated as 44th Battalion, Frontier Force Regiment in the Pakistan Army, which led to the raising of the 10th Battalion in 1971.
Today, The East Bengal Regiment is made up of around 50 battalions, and it plays a key role in safeguarding the sovereignty of the independent nation of Bangladesh through its traditional role as an infantry force. The Regiment also provides support to the civilian government as part of its 'aid to the civil power' responsibilities when it is called upon to do so.
The East Bengal Regiment is the largest formation of the Bangladesh Army, with battalions in each of the nation's fifteen infantry brigades. Its stated role is to seek out, close with and destroy the enemy, within a traditional infantry combat scenario, however, the regiment also provides aid to the civilian government when called upon and also contributes regularly to Bangladesh's peacekeeping commitments overseas. As a point of note, Bangladesh is one of the largest troop contributing countries to the United Nations and the Bangladesh Army is one of the nation's biggest earners of foreign currency as a result of the funding it receives for these contributions to the UN. The regiment currently provides four battalions to Bangladesh's UN commitments:
- 12th Battalion, The East Bengal Regiment
- 13th Battalion, The East Bengal Regiment
- 14th Battalion, East Bengal Regiment
MONUSCO 15th Battalion, The East Bengal Regiment
- As of Dec 2008, Bangladesh was ranked second behind Pakistan and ahead of India in terms of numbers of troops deployed on UNPKOs. See official UN figures, available at: http://web.archive.org/web/20090117084538/http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/contributors/2008/dec08_2.pdf
- Sirajul Islam, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 2003. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Published by Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 978-984-32-0582-7
- Palit, D.K. 1972. The Lightning Campaign: The Indo-Pakistan War 1971 Published by Compton Press Ltd.
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