Last week, on History’s Badasses, we covered King Naresuan, the Black Prince of Thailand, who liberated Thailand from the might of the Burmese Empire, outlasted five sieges, and won independence by fencing the king of Burma from the back of an elephant.
This week, we’re covering Fazal Din, an Indian man who was a member of the 10th Baluch Regiment in World War II, who singlehandedly blew up a bunker, sustained a fatal blow from a katana, and led his squadron on to victory against the Japanese in the surrounding area despite being wounded.
Not much is known about Fazal Din himself. He was a pretty ordinary man. He was born on July 1st, 1921, in Hoshiarpur Punjab, a province that sat right in between modern-day India and Pakistan. We do know he never finished beyond a primary-level education. He served in the 10th Baluch Regiment of the Indian Army fighting with the Allies in Burma.
The Assault on the War BunkerRight around late 1944 to early 1945, the Japanese Army had punched through Southeast Asia and were preparing a full-force assault on British India. The Imperial Forces had been driven back, but by March of 1945, the Allies were finally preparing a counterattack.
It was a humid day, March 2nd, 1945, when Corporal Fazal Din and the rest of the 10th Baluch Regiment were ordered to charge and attack two heavily-fortified Japanese bunkers at the top of a hill just outside the Burmese city of Mektila. The men hesitated, understandably. The Japanese were heavily armed with automatic weapons, and the Indian soldiers would be right in the line of fire.
Fazal Din, however, wasn’t about to give up and disobey orders. So, he jumped out of cover, rifle in hand, yelled a battle-cry, and ran up the hill. His squad wasn’t about to let him do it alone, so they, too, came up hot on his heels.
He tossed a few grenades and fired some rounds into one bunker, completely obliterating the Japanese soldiers inside. After that, he turned tail and headed for the second bunker. The Japanese had had time to collect themselves and form an assault, and so this time, Fazal Din was met with six Japanese soldiers coming straight for him, two of which were commanders armed with katanas.
The men of the 10th Baluch Regiment quickly ran for cover, but not Fazal. He stood his ground and, in a burst of insane courage, took a swing at one of the commanding officers with the butt of his rifle. The Japanese commander met him stroke for stroke, swung around, and stabbed Fazal Din in the back.
You’d think our hero would be dead, but the story doesn’t end there.
It was crazy, absolutely insane, like something out of a movie, but Fazal Din, on sheer adrenaline, spun around, snatched the hilt of the katana, and wrenched it out of the other man’s hands and killed him in one swing.
The story goes that Fazal Din then went into a sort of killing frenzy, stabbing the other commanding officer in the face and slashing another soldier right in half. The Japanese were so startled and afraid, watching this man who should be dead go into a blood rage, fell into confusion, broke ranks, and ran. Finally, Fazal’s men rushed in to join the fight.
Death and Posthumous Award
After that, amazingly, Fazal Din wasn’t done yet. Still bleeding out from his wound, he rushed over to assist a fellow soldier who was pinned down with another Japanese soldier and killed the Japanese soldier with the katana. After that, he screamed for the other men to press the attack and staggered back to Platoon Headquarters.
Everyone in the regiment had seen his actions. They were so amped up after watching such a crazy display of bravery that the entire regiment pressed the brief advantage they had against the Japanese, who were thrown into confusion at the loss of their commanders. The regiment managed to completely annihilate the Japanese in the area and take over the bunker.
When Fazal Din reached headquarters, he gave his report and then promptly fell over and died.
For his supreme devotion to duty, clarity of mind, and incredible, reckless courage, even when so badly wounded, he was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.