Lt Kanad Bhattacharya, Sena Medal, Subedar Nirmal Singh, Vir Chakra, Subedar Joginder Singh, Sena Medal, Nb Subedar Karnail Singh, Vir Chakra, Nb Subedar Ravail Singh, Sena Medal and 30 other ranks of 8 SIKH made supreme sacrifice while throwing the enemy from this strategically important features on the Western spur of Tiger Hill and later successfully defending it against fierce counter attack by the enemy during the Operation Vijay in the year 1999.
On 04th July, the unit was tasked to gain a foothold on the Western Spur of Tiger Hill with a view to cut off Top, and provide firm base for its subsequent capture. Western Spur extends approximately 1.5 to 02 km in length comprising of features Rhino Horn, Rocky Knob, Helmet and India Gate. The feature was heavily held by the enemy and was totally dominated by Tiger Hill Top, Trig Height and Charlie Feature. The approach was steep with gradient of 75 to 80 degrees. It was under total enemy domination. It was not only a very formidable objective to capture, but even more difficult to hold with limited space available, and enemy occupying the heights on both sides. The plan was to capture the "India Gate" and "Helmet" through Western approach with surprise as the vital ingredient.
Accordingly on night 04/05 July, the company under Major Ravindra Singh traversed the difficult terrain amidst enemy shelling and automatic fire to the base of the objective. An extremely bad weather, fog and rains came as a boon.
The company negotiated the steep slopes undetected with mountaineering skills. The company established firebase behind a rock approximately 200 m away from the objective. Three teams under three JCOs, namely Sub Nirmal Singh, Nb Sub Karnail singh and Nb Sub Ravail Singh under overall coordination of Lieutenant RK Seharawat probed towards the objective. The enemy was totally surprised with sudden assault of SIKHS on "India Gate" and "Helmet". Enemy opened up with two automatics. SIKHS retaliated with RL fire and forced the enemy to flee. India Gate and Helmet were captured at 0400 hrs on 05 July and tiger Hill Top was completely cut off. However due to heavy enemy fire, fire base personnel were able to reach the objective with MMGs and AGL only after last light at 2000 h. Braves of 8 Sikh cut off enemy telephone communication towards the Top. One Company took defiance on the objective in an area of approximately amidst enemy fire from three directions.
In fact, two major attacks were repulsed in which Major Iqbal of SSG and Capt Kamal Sher of 12 NLI were killed along with 30 others. Three JCOs - Sub Nirmal Singh and Karnail Singh and Naib Subedar Rawail Singh - and 18 ORs made the supreme sacrifice. The wounded included Major Ravinder Singh and Lieutenant Sherawat besides 18 ORs. The capture and defence of the Western Spur facilitated the capture of Tiger Hill top on July 7.
Enemy was desperate to keep the western route of maintenance open for survival at Tiger Hill Top, and mustered all its resources to recapture it. Heavy artillery shelling, RPG fire along with incessant automatic fire punded on SIKHS on 06 July. Enemy launched counterattack at 0615 h initially with about 20 personnel from Rocky Knob. Heavy and accurate fire from own troops dissipated the assault. It was followed by a desperate and fierce counterattack by about 40 to 45 personnel at approximately 0700 h from two different directions. The gallant Sikhs held on to the objective and repulsed the two counterattacks by 0930 hrs inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The enemy suffered more than 30 killed including two officers. The left behind the dead bodies of there soldiers including officers, and fled. A large number of weapons radio sets and documents were recovered from the dead bodies. The documents revealed the Major Iqbal of SSG and Captain karnail Sher of 12 NI.I were leading the counterattack and were killed. It also established that SSG men were also included in the counter attack. However, during this epic battle, three JCOs and 14 OR of 8 SIKH made the supreme sacrifice fighting the enemy. Two officers and 18 OR were wounded. It was their resolute defiance of all odds. Exceptional devotion to these gallant actions and the great sacrifices of the Khalsas paved the way for subsequent capture of Tiger Hill Top on 07 July. It was indeed the saga of valour and sacrifices in the glorious tradition of Saragarhi.
For the gallant action for capture of India Gate and Helmet and later defence of the same against fierce enemy counter attacks the unit was awarded with Instant Unit Citation by the Chief of the Army Staff, a unique citation by the Punjab Government, three Vir Chakras, eleven Sena Medals, twelve Mention-in Despatchs, four Chief of Army Staff Commendation Cards and seven GOC-in-C (Northern Command) Commendation Cards.