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Kashmir Singh Katoch (born 15 July 1915) is an Indian army officer and a former military adviser to the Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, officiating as the Chief of Staff of the State Forces during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Katoch was born in 1915 in Sri Nagar to Janak Singh, a former Prime Minister of the state of Kashmir, and did his military training at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, to complete the course in 1936. After commissioning he was attached for a year to the 1st battalion, East Surrey Regiment. He was posted to the 6th battalion Frontier Force Rifles(FFR, now the first Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistan) on 10 August 1937.On 19 April 1942 he was attached to the 10th (training) battalion Frontier Force Rifles and by October 1942 held the rank of Lieutenant, war substantive Captain and temporary Major.
He fought in World War II, commanding the Dogra Company of 6th battalion Frontier Force Rifles. The battalion served in Italy and fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino. When the Pathan company got severely mauled, the Dogra company cleared many of the machine gun nests. Katoch awarded the Military Cross.
Katoch became a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Indian Army at the age of 31.
After General Henry Lawrence Scott, the Chief of Staff of Kashmir State Forces decided to relinquish his post at the end of September 1947, the Maharaja requested the Government of India for the secondment of an officer head the State Forces. Colonel Kashmir Singh Katoch was chosen for the job. However, Katoch felt that he was too junior to serve as the Chief of Staff and advised the Maharaja to appoint a senior officer like Brigadier Rajinder Singh. Katoch was then appointed as a ‘military adviser’ to the Maharaja.However, Brigadier Rajinder Singh was killed in action within the first few days of the Pakistani tribal invasion, With the accession of the State to the Indian Union on 26–27 October 1947, the State Forces came under the command of the Indian Army. Colonel Katoch officiated as the commanding officer of the State Forces
Katoch rose to become a Lieutenant General in the Indian Army, commanding the XV Corps in the Kashmir Valley. It was the main force that fought against Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.