20 Lancers (India)

20th Lancers is an armoured regiment in the Armoured Corps of the Indian Army.[1] The regiment distinguished itself in operations with its defence of Chhamb in Jammu and Kashmir during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War winning one Maha Vir Chakra.[2]

20th Lancers
Active1956 – present
Country India
BranchIndian Army
Colonel of
the Regiment
Maj Gen G.S. Malhi, VSM

The regiment has provided three Army Commanders including one Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Gurbachan Singh 'Buch', Gen Shankar Roychowdhury, ADC (Retd) and Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, ADC (Retd).[3][4]


The regiment was formed in 1921 by amalgamating 14th Murray's Jat Lancers, raised in 1857 with 15th Lancers (Cureton's Multanis) raised in 1858. The regiment served till 1937, when it was removed from the order of battle and deactivated. It was converted into a training regiment, eventually forming part of the Indian Armoured Corps Corps Training Centre at Lucknow. Following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the regiment was allotted to India. The centre moved in 1948 to Ahmednagar and merged with other establishments to become the Armoured Corps Centre and School.[1]

The regiment was re-raised by the Indian Army on 10 July 1956 at Jodhpur, Rajasthan.[1] The first Commanding Officer of the re-raised regiment was Lieutenant Colonel Umrao Singh.[1] The regiment was equipped with AMX-13 tanks.[1] When the regiment was re-raised, the Officer's Mess Silver of the old 20th Lancers was handed over to it. The troops on raising were from the Sikhs of the 6th DCO Lancers which were transferred to 8th Light Cavalry and half of the squadron of the Jodhpur Lancers which were transferred to the 7th Light Cavalry.[1]

The Pakistan Army raised an armoured regiment called 20th Lancers on 20 June 1956, which it considers to be the successor of the old 20th Lancers of the British Indian Army.[5]


The regiment saw action in 1962 during Indo-China War in Leh then during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War in Chhamb-Jaurian in Jammu & Kashmir. 20 Lancers was under command 10 Infantry Division during the 1965 operations. Pakistan's surprise attack on 1 September, Operation Grand Slam, fell on 191 Infantry Brigade which was supported by 'C' Squadron of the regiment, under Maj Bhaskar Roy. The armoured attack comprised two regiments of medium tanks, M-48 Pattons and M-36 Sherman B-2 tank destroyers.[6] The attack began at 0805 hours and was strongly resisted. During the initial phases of the attack, Roy destroyed 6 Pattons, 3 recoil-less guns and captured a jeep. A second attack was launched by Pakistani armour at 1100 hours and contested by the AMX-13s of 20 Lancers, which despite being outgunned and outnumbered, destroyed a total 13 tanks that day and prevented the encirclement of 191 Infantry Brigade.[2] The regiment later fought in the defence of Jaurian under 41 Infantry Brigade.[7] For the defense of Chhamb-Jaurian, the regiment was awarded a theatre honour and Maj Bhaskar Roy was awarded Maha Vir Chakra for his leadership in this action.[2]

Battle honours

The battle honours of the regiment are:[8]

Pre-World War I[nb 1]

Charasiah - Kabul 1879 - Afghanistan 1878-80

World War I

Neuve Chapelle - France and Flanders 1914-15 - Kut al Amara 1917 - Sharqat - Mesopotamia 1916-18 - Persia 1916-19 - NW Frontier India - 1915

Indo-Pak Conflict 1965[nb 2][nb 3]

Jammu and Kashmir 1965

  1. Pre-World War I and World War I battle honours awarded to the 14th Murray's Jat Lancers and 15th Lancers (Cureton's Multanis) and inherited by the unit.
  2. Awarded to the regiment after re-raising.
  3. Theatre honours are shown in italics.


  1. Nath, Ashok (2009). Izzat: historical records and iconography of Indian cavalry regiments, 1750-2007. Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, United Service Institution of India. pp. 581–583. ISBN 978-81-902097-7-9.
  2. Chakravorty, B. (1995). Stories of Heroism: PVC & MVC Winners. Allied Publishers. p. 114. ISBN 978-81-7023-516-3.
  3. Abidi, S. Sartaj Alam; Sharma, Satinder (1 January 2007). Services Chiefs of India. Northern Book Centre. p. 83. ISBN 978-81-7211-162-5.
  4. "Lt Gen Khanna to relinquish command today". The Indian Express. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  5. Nath (2009), pp 731-732.
  6. Singh, Jogindar (1993). Behind the Scene: An Analysis of India's Military Operations, 1947-1971. Lancer Publishers. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-897829-20-2.
  7. Bajwa, Kuldip Singh (2008). India's National Security: Military Challenges and Responses. Har-Anand Publications. pp. 225–235. ISBN 978-81-241-1389-9.
  8. Singh, Sarbans (1993). Battle Honours of the Indian Army 1757 - 1971. New Delhi: Vision Books. pp. 261, 262, 309. ISBN 8170941156.

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