During the Gorkha War of 1814-1816, the British were so impressed by the martial spirit of their Nepalese enemies that they hired them as soon as the ink was dry on the peace treaty. The local Gurkhas, as they came to be known, got an education and an adventure and money to send to their families. They also, frequently, got a soldier’s grave somewhere along the edges of the British Empire.
The British got the better of the bargain. For almost 200 years, they’ve gotten soldiers like Tuljung Gurung, shown here.
The Gurkha’s indigenous combat knife, the Kukri, has been at their side the entire time. Just two years ago in a notorious incident of bare-handed badassedness, a Gurkha rifleman beheaded a dead Taliban commander and brought the severed head back to base to prove he’d killed him.
There were unfortunately no Taliban beheaded Last March 22nd, when Gurung was standing guard in a 10-foot tall watchtower at his operating base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. But he spotted two Taliban running toward the base in the predawn darkness, and when he ordered them to stop they attacked him with rifles and grenades.
One of the Taliban shot him directly in the helmet with an AK-47, stunning him. The other tossed a grenade directly into the watchtower, and Gurung threw it back a split-second before it exploded and knocked Gurung down. While he was dazed, one of the Taliban climbed into the tower. Gurung couldn’t maneuver his rifle, but ‘no gun’ is ‘no problem’ for a Gurkha. Gurung drew his 18-inch Kukri and attacked.
During the knife fight both Gurung and the Taliban fell out of the tower, and Gurung came back up swinging and stabbing until the attackers had fled. For his actions, Gurung was recently awarded the Military Cross, Britain’s third-highest military medal for valor.
Well earned, sir. Well earned.
Full story at the Daily Mail.