10 Para Special Force: Men Of Steel
Hello Defence Lovers, The Commandos of 10 Para (Special Forces) are second to none in the world. The battalion was raised on June 1, 1967 under Lt Col NS Utthaya. This elite unit of our Army has not only excelled during war but also during peacetime. During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the unit, then designated as ’10 Para Commando’, carried out a daring 80 km-deep raid inside Pakistan’s territory on the Indus Rangers HQ at Chachro (Sindh). The battalion carried out many other vehicle-borne raids during the 1971 war. These raids could only be compared with the raids by the famed British ‘SAS’ in the deserts of North Africa during World War II.
- Special Forces units – one of the most ruthless, dangerous and determined killing machines on the planet earth.
- ‘Men of steel’ whose physical and mental toughness is beyond imagination.
- They are just 4500 selected men out of 1.25 million strong Indian Army.
- Why so less? Because there is no recruitment rally for any of 10 Special Forces battalions, because each one of them (Jawans and officers alike) is a volunteer from other units of the Indian Army, because 90% of the candidates who volunteer for SF fail during probation and those who finally join the SF units are `Men apart, every man an emperor`.
- The unit earned laurels for the country and covered itself with glory in the professional competitions in the international arena, as well.
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- In the Exercise Airborne Africa, an international competition for Special Forces, was held in Botswana in 2002 wherein 28 teams including troops from USA, Britain, France, South Africa, Malaysia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Senegal etc took part.
- The 10 Para (Special Forces) was declared Overall Winners and it also annexed second position.
- The commendable performance of the teams of 10 Para was lauded by the Special Forces fraternity the world over.
- Since 1971, the unit has participated in all the military operations undertaken by the Indian Army including operations Pawan in Sri Lanka, Rakshak in J&K, Meghdoot in Siachen and Orchid in North East.
- The unit earned Theatre Honour Kargil for the gallantry displayed during the operation Vijay in Kargil.
- ‘Mussoorie main honeymoon manane walon ko pata chale ki IMA mein loha ban raha hai’ — This is one of the many punch lines that Drill Instructors of Indian Military Academy (IMA) frequently use to encourage and push Gentleman Cadets, which would become officers of the Indian Army.
- Now this may be very well true and they would be making ‘LOHA’ there.
- But the real steel is casted somewhere else – in the Special Forces battalions of the Indian Army.
Mustaffa Of Desert Warfare :
- 10 Para (SF) are also known as Desert Scorpions. Officers and jawans opting for 10 Para (SF) are trained specially for Desert warfare.
- At the start of the probation, they are given a tent, a bucket, a knife, a rope and a lantern.
- They have to setup their tent in the desert. Rigorous physical training goes day and night with no specific routine as there is no specific training manual.
- They get trained, sometimes, without food for 4 days, 1 litre water for 3 days and without sleep for 7 days. Sleep deprivation sometimes starts the moment probation starts.
- They will always have a 10KG sandbag on their back – this sandbag is affectionately called permanent buddy.
- Objective is to make the candidate realize that he is far more capable than he ever imagined. The moment he shows any weakness, he is out.
- Scorpions are better navigator than modern GPS systems.
- In desert, there are no roads, no landmarks, not much human colonies.
- There are just sand dunes that keep shifting every night. In such vast and clueless place, they are halo/air dropped in the middle of nowhere, with just a compass in their hand. And using that compass and stars, they reach their destination without fail, every time.
- They are taught to survive with literally nothing to eat or drink.
- They collect dew in the wee hours to survive. Just 300 ml of water is good for them to survive for 2 days. Remember it is 50+ degrees in Thar and a normal human needs more than 10 litres a day to survive.
- They are taught to eat anything that moves in the desert area.
- They specially like eating scorpions – `Once you kill and roast it, remove its venom, it is really tasty`.
- They know which grass, which leaf, which shrub to eat to stay alive to complete the mission. Because the battle is not won by dying for your country but to kill the enemy.