Brigade of The Guards

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Brigade of The Guards
Brigade of the Guards Insignia.gif
Regimental Insignia of the Brigade of The Guards
Active1949 - Present
CountryIndia India
AllegianceIndian Army
TypeFoot Guards
RoleMechanized Infantry
Size22 Battalions
Regimental CentreKamptee, Maharashtra.
Motto(s)Pahla Hamesha Pahla (First Always First)
War CryGarud Ka Hun Bol Pyare (I am the son of Garuda, Say O my friend)
Theatre HonoursJammu & Kashmir - 1947-48, Rajasthan - 1965, Punjab - 1965, East Pakistan - 1971 and Jammu & Kashmir - 1971
Decorations2 Param Vir Chakras, 2 Ashoka Chakras, 1 Padma Bhushan, 8 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 6 Maha Vir Chakras, 4 Kirti Chakras, 46 Vir Chakras, 18 Shaurya Chakras, 77 Sena Medals, 10 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 3 Yudh Seva Medals, 16 Vishisht Seva Medals, 45 Mention-in-Despatches, 151 COAS's Commendation Cards and 79 GOC-in-C's Commendation Cards
Battle honoursAkhaura, Burki, Gadra Road, Hilli, Naushera, Gurais, Shingo River Valley, Sylhet and Ganga Sagar
Regimental InsigniaGaruda - A mythological eagle king.
HackleRed over Yellow

The Brigade of The Guards (Hindi:ब्रिगेड ऑफ़ द गार्ड्स/गार्ड ब्रिगेड (Pahla Hamesha Pahla)) is a mechanised infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It was raised as the first "all India", "all class" infantry regiment of the Army where troops from all parts of India serve together, as opposed to other regiments that recruit from specific regions, ethnic groups or religions.

The Brigade of The Guards distinguished itself by being awarded the most number of battle honours after Indian independence. The regiment was the brain-child of Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa, who was the first Indian commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army. He raised the Brigade of the Guards and coined the phrase; "The Guards, The Elite".

The President of India is the Honorary Colonel-in-Chief and the Chief of Army Staff is the Colonel-in-Chief of The Guards. The Guards Regimental Centre is at Kamptee in Maharashtra. The Brigade of The Guards was the senior most line infantry regiment of the Indian Army before its selection and conversion to the mechanised infantry role. It now holds the title of the senior most infantry regiment in an honorary/ceremonial capacity. Together with the Mechanised Infantry Regiment, they form part of the 'Mechanised Infantry' arm, part of the Mechanised Forces (along with the Armoured Corps).

History and raising[edit]

The Brigade of Guards was raised in 1949 on the lines of the elite Guards units of the world, particularly, the Coldstream Guards of the British Army's Guards Division. The regiment was raised to implement the government's policy of encouraging Army recruitment from classes and regions which had been under-represented in the forces. Raised as The Guards Brigade, the old system of class composition was replaced with recruitment open to all regions, castes, creeds, and sections of society.

Prior to the raising of the Guards, Indian Army infantry regiments derived their name and troop composition from region, religion or sub-caste. There was a message with its formation that the country comes before everything else, including religion and caste. The regiment was formed as the first mixed class Indian regiment to be raised after Indian independence by Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE. Three of the Army's oldest and most distinguished battalions were converted as Guards battalions in 1949:

A year later, they were joined by the 1st Battalion, Rajput Regiment as the 4th Battalion. It was the only regiment of foot guards in the Indian Army. Though the Brigade of The Guards is only 70 years old, its constituent battalions go back as far as 225 years and between them share 93 battle honours earned around the globe.[1]

Currently the Brigade of the Guards consists of 19 regular battalions and 2 territorial battalions and 1 RR (rashtriye rifle) battalion. In the 1980s, the Indian Army began to increase the number of mechanized infantry battalions on its order of battle. As part of this program, the battalions of the Brigade of Guards were eventually converted to mechanized infantry.


1962 Indo-China War[edit]

1965 Indo-Pakistan War[edit]

1971 Liberation War[edit]

In the 1971 war, the Brigade of the Guards participated in actions on both the Eastern and the Western fronts. The 14th Guards earned their first PVC ( Param Vir Chakra) through L/Nk Albert Ekka of Bravo Company, for heroism in the Gangasagar theatre: he single-handedly turned the tide against Pakistani defenders firing downrange with LMG's and MMG's from the top of a fortified structure, putting the entire operation in jeopardy.

Operation Blue Star[edit]

The 10th battalion under Lt. Col. Ishrar Rahim Khan was located in Jalandhar in 1984 and moved to Amritsar to assist the civil administration when Sikh militants were discovered holed up inside the Golden Temple. Along with 1 Para, 10 Guards moved in from the north entrance to the temple and, though suffering heavy casualties, achieved their objectives. The unit was awarded one Ashok Chakra (Capt. Jasbir Singh Raina), one Kirti Chakra and three Shaurya Chakras. Total casualties suffered by the unit was 19 killed and 50 wounded.

UN operations and counter-insurgency operations[edit]

The Brigade of the Guards has also taken part in UN peace keeping operations in Gaza and Angola. The regiment has also been used in counter-insurgency operations in India.[1]

Regimental Battalions[edit]

The regiment currently consists of a total of 21 battalions.[2] The majority of these operate as mechanized infantry, three operate in the reconnaissance and support role (in support of the border force), one is equipped as an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) battalion and three (including two territorial army battalions) remain as infantry. Today, the regiment is one of three in the Indian Army that is made up of men from the different castes and regions of India.

  • 1st Battalion (former 2nd battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment)
  • 2nd Battalion (former 1st battalion, The Grenadiers)
  • 3rd Battalion (former 1st battalion, 1st Rajputana Rifles)
  • 4th Battalion (former 1st battalion, 1st Rajput Regiment)
  • 5th Battalion (Highlanders) (Reconnaissance & Support)
  • 6th Battalion
  • 7th Battalion
  • 8th Battalion
  • 9th Battalion
  • 10th Battalion
  • 11th Battalion
  • 12th Battalion (Reconnaissance & Support)
  • 13th Battalion (Highlanders)
  • 14th Battalion (Irregulars) (Param Vir Chakra Paltan)
  • 15th Battalion (Reconnaissance & Support)
  • 16th Battalion
  • 17th Battalion
  • 18th Battalion
  • 19th Battalion (Reconnaissance & Support)
  • 20th Battalion
  • 22nd Battalion
  • 117th Battalion (Territorial Army), Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu
  • 125th Battalion (Territorial Army), Secunderabad, Telangana

Gallantry Awards[edit]

2 Param Vir Chakras, 2 Ashoka Chakras, 1 Padma Bhushan, 8 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 6 Maha Vir Chakras, 4 Kirti Chakras, 46 Vir Chakras, 18 Shaurya Chakras, 77 Sena Medals, 10 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 3 Yudh Seva Medals, 16 Vishisht Seva Medals, 45 Mention-in-Despatches, 151 COAS's Commendation Cards and 79 GOC-in-C's Commendation Cards Lance NK Aldert Ekka 14 Guards PVC

Battle honours[edit]


Delhi 1803; Egypt 1876-1917; British East Africa 1878; Afghanistan 1878–80; Kandahar 1880; Burma 1891; China 1900; East Africa 1914-1916; Mesopotamia 1914- 1918, Egypt 1915, Gallipoli 1915, France and Flanders 1915, Kutal Amarah 1915; Palestine 1916-1918; Tigris 1916; Macedonia 1918; Afghanistan 1919; Donbaik 1943; Italy 1943–45; Burma 1945; J&.K 1947-1948; Selinghar; Carnatic; Mysore; Ava; Pegu; Suez Canal; Nels, Krithia; Laos; Aden; Point-551; Kanghaw; Naushera; Mangalore; Hyderabad; Gaza; Megiodo; Nablus; Curais; Seringapatnam; Beurabone; Punjab; Mooltan; Persia; Reshire; Khooshab; Central India; Basra; Shaiba; Ctesiphon; Defence of Kut-Al-Amara; Sidi Barrani; Keren; Cassino; Castele Hill; Leswarree; Deig; Bharatpore; Khelat; Mahrakpore; Chilianwallah; Goojerat and Punjab.[3]


Akhaura, Burki, Gadra Road, Hilli, Naushera, Gurais, Shingo Rivel Valley, Sylhet and Ganga Sagar.[3]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Brigade of the Guards at Bharat Rakshak Archived 2009-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Archived Document". Archived from the original on 2009-08-29. Retrieved 2009-09-08.

External links[edit]