This month’s impression brings together a number of different components we have been looking at over the last couple of months to create a modern Indian Army soldier. I will be honest and say that this is a composite impression made up of what I have available and I cannot be sure that the exact combination of uniform, equipment, weapon and unit are seen together- all are however in service with the Indian Army so it is perfectly serviceable for me.
This soldier belongs to the Indian Artillery and is dressed in the Indian woodland camouflage pattern uniform introduced in 2006. This consists of a pair of trousers, heavily elasticated at the cuff to sit over his high leg combat boots, a loose shirt and a dark blue beret with the Indian Artillery capbadge on a piece of red backing felt. He wears the combined body armour and chest webbing and finishes this off with a Type 56 assault rifle:
Officially the Indian Army uses the INSAS rifle, however such large quantities of AK47 pattern weapons mean that many police, paramilitary and army units are equipped with them, of various origins:
Rob Yuil served an exchange with the Indian Army and explains:
I served on a short exchange with 4/5 Ghurka Rifles, the ‘Piffers’, in 2007. They were stationed on a home station in Udaipur at the time. They had INSAS rifles for duty but trained on AK derivatives for operations once they were warned of to deploy to Kashmir. Same with the 1st Grenadiers whom I visited up in a station where they patrolled the Indo/Pak border in the Thar Desert. Their patrols went out with AK types, but the barrack guard paraded with the INSAS rifle. Both units said that for operations they wouldn’t trust the INSAS, too many faults, too many stopages, too unreliable.
The kit layout shows the components of this simple impression:
- Body armour cover/ assault vest in Indian woodland camouflage
- Type 56 folding stock assault rifle
- Shirt in Indian Woodland Camouflage
- Indian Artillery beret
- Trousers in Indian Woodland Camouflage
- Hi-leg combat boots