Rama Raghoba Rane
Ram Raghoba Rane
|Born||June 26, 1918
Chendia, Karwar, Karnataka
|Died||11 July 1994 (aged 76)|
|Allegiance||Republic of India|
|Years of service||1947-1968|
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistani War of 1947|
|Awards||Param Vir Chakra|
Major Ram Raghoba Rane, PVC (Konkani: राम राघोबा राणे), was born on 26 June 1918 at Chendia, Karwar, Karnataka, India and died July 11, 1994 at Southern command Hospital in Pune. He comes from Konkan Kshatriya Maratha community of Karwar. The naval warship museum in Karwar houses his statue. He was commissioned in the Bombay Sappers regiment of the Corps of Engineers on 15 December 1947. He retired as a Major from the Indian Army in 1968. During his 21 years’ service with the Army, he earned five M-in-D (Mentioned-in-Despatches). He served with distinction during the 1947-48 Jammu and Kashmir operations. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his courage and gallantry during the war against Pakistan.
On 18 March 1948, the Army recaptured Jhangar, which had been lost to the enemy in December 1947. Before reaching Rajauri the troops of Major Aatmsingh had captured Zangad village and had driven away the Pakistani troops from there. The Pakistani troops had destroyed the National Highway between Rajauri and Punj.
The Indian troops then planned an advance from Naushahra to Rajauri to protect the natives from atrocities of the raiders. Half-way lay the Chingas, on the old Mughal route to Kashmir. The 4 Dogra commenced the advance to Rajauri on 8 April 1948. It attacked the Barwali ridge, 11 km north of Naushahra and captured it after driving out the enemy from well-prepared positions. But beyond Barwali, the increasing number of road-blocks and minefields obstructed the progress of the battalion. Even armour could not cross over these obstacles.
During this critical phase, 2nd Lieutenant Rane and his section of 37 Assault Field Company, attached to 4 Dogra, performed yeoman service. As the section started clearing a mine-field on 8 April, two sappers were killed and five others including Rane were injured by enemy mortar fire. However, Rane and his men completed the work by the evening and enabled the tanks to push forward. But the enemy had not been cleared from the area and the road ahead was still unsafe for the advance.
2nd Lieutenant Rane worked during the night to prepare a safe lane for the tanks. On 9 April his men worked continuously for twelve hours to clear mines and remove road-blocks. Where the road was found un-negotiable he made a diversion for the column to pass through. 2nd Lieutenant Rane continued this work in the face of enemy artillery and mortar fire.
On 10 April he woke up early to resume work on the road-block, which could not be cleared the previous night. He cleared this huge road-block of 5 big pine trees, surrounded by mines and covered by intensive machine-gun fire, within two hours.
The Army advanced another 13 km on this day before they encountered another major road-block. The enemy pickets perched on the adjoining hills were guarding all approaches to this road-block. 2nd Lieutenant Rane drove to the road block in a tank and crouching under it, blasted the block with mines. He thus opened the road before the end of the night.
On 11 April he worked for 17 hours to open the road to Chingas and beyond. 2nd Lieutenant Rane made a substantial contribution in facilitating the Indian advance on Rajauri. It cost the enemy about 500 dead and many more wounded. It also helped in saving many innocent lives in Chingas and Rajauri. But for the grim determination and tireless diligence of 2nd Lieutenant Rane, who worked ceaselessly, our column could not have reached Chingas – an important feature which secured for us a vantage position to advance further
The efforts made by 2nd Lieutenant Ram Raghoba Rane during the advance to Rajauri earned him the highest war-time gallantry medal, Param Vir Chakra.
SECOND LIEUTENANT RAM RAGHOBA RANE
BOMBAY ENGINEER (SS-14246)On 8 April 1948, Second Lieutenant Ram Raghoba Rane, Bombay Engineers, was ordered to be in charge of the mine and roadblock clearing party at Mile 26 on the Naushera-Rajouri road which passes through very hilly country.
At 1100 hours, on that date near Nadpur South, just as Second Lieutenant Rane and his party were waiting near the tanks to start the work of clearing the mines ahead, the enemy started heavy mortaring of the area, with the result that two men of the mine-clearing party were killed and five others including Second Lieutenant Rane were wounded. The officer at once reorganized his party and started work for the tanks to go on to their position. Throughout the day he was near the tanks under heavy enemy machine-gun and mortar fire.
After the capture of Barwali Ridge at about 1630 hours, although knowing that the enemy had not been completely cleared of the area, Second Lieutenant Rane took his party ahead and started making a diversion for the tanks to proceed. He worked on till 2200 hours that night in full view of the enemy and under heavy machine-gun fire.
On 9 April he again started work at 0600 hours and worked on till 1500hrs when the diversion was ready for the tanks to proceed. As the armoured column advanced, he got into the leading carrier and proceeded ahead. After proceeding about half a mile he came across a roadblock made of pine trees. He at once dismounted and blasted the trees away. The advance continued. Another 300 yards and the same story was repeated. By this time it was getting on to 1700 hours. The road was curving round the hill like a snake. The next roadblock was a demolished culvert. Second Lieutenant Rane again got on with the job. Before he could start work, the enemy opened up with their machine-guns, but with super courage and leadership he made a diversion and the column proceeded ahead. The roadblocks were becoming numerous but he blasted his way through. It was now 1815 hours, and light was fading fast. The carrier came across a formidable roadblock of five big pine trees surrounded by mines and covered by machine-gun fire. He started removing the mines and was determined to clear the roadblock but the armoured column commander appreciating the situation got the column into a harbour area.
On 10 April 1948 at 0445 hours, Second Lieutenant Rane again started work on the roadblock in spite of machine-gun fire with the support of one troops of tanks. With sheer will power he cleared this roadblock by 0630hours. The next thousand yards was a mass of roadblocks and blasted embankments. That was not all. The enemy had the whole area covered with machine-gun fire but with superhuman efforts, in spite of having been wounded, with cool courage and exemplary leadership and complete disregard for personal life, he cleared the road by 1030 hours.
The armoured column proceeded ahead and got off the road into the riverbed of the Tawi but Second Lieutenant Rane continued clearing the road for the administrative column. The tanks reached Chingas by 1400 hours. Second Lieutenant Rane appreciating that the opening of the road was most vital, continued working without rest or food till 2100 hours that night.
On 11 April 1948, he again started work at 0600 hours and opened the road to Chingas by 1100 hours. He worked on that night till 2200 hours clearing the road ahead.
The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI), a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of Ministry of Shipping named fifteen of her Crude Oil Tankers in honour of the Param Vir Chakra recipients. The crude oil tanker named MT “Lt. Ram Raghoba Rane, PVC” was delivered to SCI on 08.08.1984. Due to MARPOL Convention on single hull tankers, SCI phased out all her fifteen PVC series crude tankers on completion of their economic age of 25 years.
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