The Nepalese Gurkhas

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The Nepalese Gurkhas

The Nepalese Gurkhas have been serving under the British since 1815. They have partaken in every war that Britain has been involved in from the Pindarr War to WWII. The Gurkhas are considered by many to be one of the Worlds finest armed units. The Gurkha corps are definitely the most elite fighting force in the British Army and they have consistently proved their worth in every battle they have fought, whether it was a victory or defeat. The common Gurkha has a diamond-hard will, and indomitable fighting spirit that clearly distinguishes him from his peers. For the Gurkha is no common soldier. He is a warrior to the core, and a not a man to be taken lightly.

The term Gurkha was derived from the Kingdom of Gorkha and was given to it's soldiers. The were already an established martial race but their fighting worth became wider known after they launched a successful invasion of Tibet, though greatly outnumbered (Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies 199). Their fighting merit was plainly seen in Britains first interaction with the Gurkhas.

The boundary between Nepal and the British and East India Company had been ill-defined, and the Gurkhas were using the confusion for their own purposes (Nepal 200). Finally, on May 24, 1814, they attacked three police posts in the Butwai district, killing a score of Indian policemen as well as an Englishman (Brief Historical Background of the Gurkhas 1). In November, war was declared. A force of 20,000 soldiers was divided into four groups and sent in to invade Nepal. The Gurkhas gathered their forces to make a stand at fort Kalunga. When the British arrived they immediately laid siege to the fort. Though the Gurkhas were greatly out numbered, they held o...

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...ed as guides for many of the covert operations (Keegan 356). They served their battalions faithfully and never have they been shamed. In the deserts of North Africa the Gurkhas were pitted against Rommel the "Gray Fox" and his Panzer division and emerged victorious (Reginald 118).

The Gurkhas legendary fighting skills will never be forgotten. Even today they are used by the British Army. Just recently a detachment was sent into Bosnia. It was a wise decision to keep the Gurkhas employed. In view of their illustrious history and heroic deeds, it is understandable why many view them as one of the most dangerous fighting units in the world. The twelve Victoria Crosses speak for themselves, the heroic escapes and daring rescues need no explanation, no analysis. The Gurkhas have been, still are, and always will be the most glorious addition to the British Army.
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