Gurkha Rifleman Tuljun Gurung Proves The Kukri Is Not Just For Show

Image: Daily Mail UKDuring 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.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

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.


  1. jwm says:

    The Gurkhas are legends. And they’ve earned the title.

  2. JaredFromTampa says:

    Tough buggers those. The stuff of legends indeed. He gets my vote for badass of the year.

  3. Sam L. says:

    A smiling little guy with a big knife is more dangerous that a big guy with a little knife.

  4. AW1Ed says:

    There’s a pic out there that shows a Gurkha in a green uniform, holding up his HUGE freakin’ Kukri, sporting a jaunty grin. The caption reads, “Because a big guy with a small knife isn’t as scary as a small man with a big knife and a smile.”

    1. Sam L. says:

      That’s the one! I found my copy, but the URL is incomplete and the first part comes up Error 404.

      1. Sam L. says:


        Have tried to post this 3 times; keeps disappearing.

        1. Chris Dumm says:

          Sorry Sam! The spam filter was a little hyper-vigilant. Thanks for the link!

  5. Hanover Fist says:

    My grandfather served in the 14th Air Force in the CBI theater in WWII and had some stories about the Gurkhas. Apparently they guarded some of the airbases there and were some fierce fighters.

    He told me of a time that one of their airbases in southern China came under attack. The Gurkhas would advance on the enemy and when at close range would throw their kukri knives almost like boomerangs at the enemy. Papa said you could see arms and legs flying off the Japanese by the time the Gurkhas closed and finished the job.

    Painted quite the picture for this young lad…

  6. Sam L. says:

    That reminds me of a story I read in T. R. Fehrenbach’s book on Korean War: This Kind Of War. Some troops were told to make sure they kept their helmets on that night. Gurkhas were making a raid. One guy said he was out there, helmet on, and was surprised to feel a hand on his helmet. And really glad he had it on.

    1. 2hotel9 says:

      SLA Marshall has good things to say about Gurkhas in Pork Chop Hill. Has praise for the Royal Ethiopian troops, too.

  7. 2hotel9 says:

    The exception to the rule. Sometimes you DO take a knife to a gunfight!

    I met some Gurkhas while in a longrange patrol course and their fieldcraft was impeccable. They embody the saying”No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy”.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gurkha Rifleman Tuljun Gurung Proves The Kukri Is Not Just For Show

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email