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August 18, 1923|
Mumbai, Bombay Presidency, British India
|Died||16 September 1965
|Allegiance|| Hyderabad State
Republic of India
|Service/branch|| Hyderabad Army
|Years of service||1940-1951(Hyderabad Army)
Poona Horse (17 Horse)
|Battles/wars||Battle of Chawinda
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
|Awards||Param Vir Chakra|
Ardeshir belonged to the family of General Ratanjiba, who had led the army of Shivaji and was awarded 100 villages of which Tarapore was the main village, from which comes the family name. Later, Ardeshir's grandfather relocated to Hyderabad and started working in the Excise Department of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
When Ardeshir was quite young he saved his sister, Yadgar, from the family cow that had broken loose. When he was seven years old he was sent to the Sardar Dastur Boys' Boarding School in Pune. He completed his matriculation in 1940. After school he applied to the army and was selected. He did his initial training in the Officers' Training School Golconda and on completion was sent to Bangalore. He was commissioned in the 7th Hyderabad Infantry as a Second Lieutenant.
Hyderabad State Force
Popularly known as "Adi", Ardeshir Tarapore was unhappy joining the infantry, as he wanted to join an armored regiment. One day, his battalion was inspected by Major General El Edroos, the Commander-in-Chief of the Hyderabad state forces. At the grenade throwing range, due to an accident, a live grenade fell into the bay area. Adi was quick to pick it up and throw it. However, the grenade exploded which left him injured when flying shrapnel hit his chest. Major General Edroos was a witness to this event, and, impressed by the exemplary courage displayed, summoned Ardeshir to his office and congratulated him for his efforts. Ardeshir took the opportunity to request a transfer to an armored regiment, and the general agreed. Ardeshir was transferred to the 1st Hyderabad Imperial Service Lancers, which fought The Poona Horse, Ardeshir's later unit, in Operation Polo. He saw active service in West Asia during World War II during this part of his career.
Hyderabad later merged with the Union of India, and its forces eventually amalgamated with the Indian Army. Ardeshir was shifted to The Poona Horse with commission date of 1 April 1951. He rose to become Commanding Officer (CO) in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. While leading his regiment in securing a major objective in Pakistan, Lieutenant Colonel Tarapore was mortally wounded. He was awarded Param Vir Chakra for his action in the battle.
On 11 September 1965, the The Poona Horse regiment launched attack on Phillora in the Sialkot sector during the Battle of Chawinda. The southern thrust of the attack, commanded by Tarapore, advanced on the right flank. Between Phillora and Chawinda, the attack met with the Pakistani Army's heavy armour charge from Wazirwali. Tarapore held his ground and attacked Phillora under continuous enemy tank and artillery fire. When wounded, he refused to be evacuated. He led his regiment to capture Wazirwali on 13 September, and Jassoran and Butur-Dograndi on 16 September 1965.
Though his own tank was hit several times, he maintained his pivots at both these places, supporting the infantry attacking Chawinda. Inspired by his leadership, the regiment attacked the enemy armor and destroyed approximately sixty Pakistani Army tanks, suffering only nine tank casualties. However, Tarapore was killed when his tank was hit and was enveloped in flames. Legend holds that the Pakistani tanks held their fire during his cremation.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL A.B TARAPOREPOONA HORSE (17 HORSE) (IC-5565)
On 11 September 1965, the Poona Horse Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Burzarji Tarapore was assigned the task of delivering the main armored thrust for capturing Phillora in the Sialkot Sector in Pakistan. As a preliminary to making a surprise attack on Phillora from the rear, the regiment was thrusting between Phillora and Chawinda when it was suddenly counter attacked by the enemy’s heavy Armour from Wazirali. Lieutenant Colonel A. B. Tarapore who was then at the head of his regiment, defied the enemy’s charge, held his ground and gallantly attacked Philloira with one of his squadrons supported by an infantry battalion. Though under continuous enemy tank and artillery fire, Lieutenant Colonel A B Tarapore remained unperturbed throughout this action and when wounded refused to be evacuated.
Inspired by his leadership, the regiment fiercely attacked the enemy heavy armor destroying approximately 60 enemy tanks at a cost of only 9 tank casualties, and when Lieutenant Colonel A. B Tarapore was mortally wounded the regiment continue to defy the enemy.
On 11 September 1965, the 17 Horse regiment launched attack on Phillora in the Sialkot sector at the Battle of Chawinda. The southern thrust of the attack, commanded by Lt. Col. Tarapore advanced on the right flank. Between Phillora and Chawinda, the attack met with the Pakistani Army‘s heavy armour charge from Wazirwali. Lt. Col. Tarapore held his ground and gallantly attacked Phillora under continuous enemy tank and artillery fire. When wounded, he refused to be evacuated. He led his regiment to capture Wazirwali on 14 September, and Jassoran and Butur-Dograndi on 16 September 1965. Though his own tank was hit several times, he maintained his pivots at both these places and thereby helped the supporting infantry attacking Chawinda. Inspired by his leadership, the regiment fiercely attacked the enemy armor and destroyed approximately sixty Pakistani Army tanks, suffering only nine tank casualties. However, Lt. Colonel Tarapore’s tank was hit and was enveloped in flames and he died a hero’s death.
The valor displayed by Lieutenant Colonel A.B. Tarapore in this heroic action, which lasted six days, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
- The Param Vir Chakra Winners, Official website of the Indian Army, indianarmy.gov.in
- Chhibber, Anuraag (Fall 2015). "Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore, PVC, The Poona Horse" (PDF). CLAWS Scholar Warrior. Centre for Land Warfare Studies. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Sinha, Arunav (2 October 2015). "'Pak tanks stopped shelling as mark of respect to my father'". The Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- The Param Vir Chakra Winners (PVC), Official Website of the Indian Army, retrieved 28 August 2014 "Profile" and "Citation" tabs.