One of the three highest decorated Indian Naval
officers, he was the first Indian Navy Officer
to be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) in 1972
for his actions of bravery and gallantry in the
War. He was also the first Indian Navy officer
to be granted the MVC, which is the countrys
second highest gallantry award, and given for
acts of gallantry in the face of enemy, whether
on land, at sea or in the air.
Commodore Yadav died after a brief illness. Being
a bachelor, he was looked after by his nephew
Dr Rahul Yadav.
The highest medal in India is the Param Vir Chakra
(PVC) which has been awarded to only 17 recipients,
many posthumously in the Indian Army, and only
one posthumously in the Indian Air Force.
In 1971, Cmde Yadav was the Squadron Commander
of the 25th missile squadron based at Bombay.
He had recently returned from Vladivostok in the
erstwhile Soviet Union after 11 months of extensive
training to command an Osa Class missile squadron.
The Osa boats were armed with four surface-to-surface
Styx missiles with a maximum range of 40 nautical
miles and the firing system linked with the long
range Rangout radars, with Russian technology
that used large power output in bursts, to obtain
large ranges. However due to low free board the
VHF communications of the boats was limited.
It is axiomatic that the Russians trained the
Indian Navy to employ the Osa class SS-N-2B Styx
equipped missiles for coastal defence but the
Indian Navy ingeniously employed the boats as
far as 300nm away by towing them to 130 km off
Karachi in the 1971 war on two occasion that heralded
the beginning of missile warfare at sea, which
even took the Soviets by surprise.
In fact, Soviet Admiral of the Fleet Sergie Gorshkov
personally congratulated the Indian Navy. Much
credit goes to the then Indian Navy chief Admiral
SM Nanda for the bold planning and Commodore Yadav
for the execution.
In preparation for the impending war, Commodore
Yadav had worked up his squadron in dummy attacks
simulated against a port and on 2nd December took
command of the three Missile Boat Task Force and
embarked INS Nipat (Lt Cdr BN Kavina Vir Chakra)
with INS Nirghat (Lt Cdr IJ Sharma, AVSM, Vir
Chakra), and INS Veer (Lt Cdr OP Mehta, Vir Chakra).
In the opening bell of that war, the missile
boats daringly attacked Karachi on 4th December,
1971 like a pack of wolves. The Killer Osa
Class Boats, as they came to be called,
sank three Pakistani ships, the frigate PNS Khaibar
(ex-HMS Cadiz), Minesweeper PNS Muhafiz and merchant
man Venus Challenger. One missile was fired shorewards.
Commodore Yadavs citation reads that he
displayed great leadership in that offensive sweep
on the enemy coast off Karachi, deep into the
enemy harbour where he encountered two groups
of large enemy warships, despite the threat of
air, surface and submarine attack. The mission
was code named Operation Trident.
This won him the Mahavir Chakra, the first for
the Indian Navy.
It is said luck favours the brave and in Admiral
S N Kohli's words, "Our missile boats were
lucky to have got away without any air attacks
by shore-based aircraft from Pakistani territory
during their retreat. In fact the Chief
of Naval Staff of Pakistan Admiral Ahsan from
Karachi phoned the Air Chief in Rawalpindi requesting
for a dawn air strike to cripple the retreating
missile boats. The reply he got was, Sorry
Old Chap I cannot spare my planes I am busy on
the Eastern front and all is fair in love and
BB, as Cmde Yadav was known to friends, became
Commodore Yadav was born on 14th September 1928
in the village of Bharawas in the British district
of Rewari near Delhi which is now in the state
of Haryana. His father, late Major Bhagwan Singh
Yadav was awarded the MBE and had taken part in
both the World Wars.
In fact, he used to tell shipmates of his familys
service history and claimed the familys
lineage in the military, harked back to the Mughal
period. His elder brother MS Yadav, served as
a Colonel in the Indian Army.
Babru Bhan Yadav passed his Intermediate examination
from the famous Banaras Hindu University and obtained
his Bachelor of Science degree from the prestigious
St Stephen's College, Delhi in 1947. He excelled
in swimming as a student, but like most Indians
from the North, he had never seen the seas till
he was aged 20. At the age of 22 he applied to
join the Navy under the Direct Entry Graduate
scheme when the Indian Navy was recruiting direct
officers to fill the increased billets for the
new acquisitions from UK.
In 1948, Vice Admiral Sir Edward Parry succeeded
Rear Admiral Hall as Commander in Chief and Chief
of the Naval Staff of the Royal Indian Navy. He,
along with Lord Louis Mountbatten, was able to
convince the British Admiralty that India's leadership
did not want the Indian Navy to be just an adjunct
of the British Navy, but be a Navy, capable of
carrying out major naval warfare operations if
A plan for a 69 ship Navy was proposed with the
hurried transfer of three Hunt class frigates
INS Godavari, Ganga and Gomati, and three R Class
destroyers INS Rajput, Rana and Ranjit and the
HMS Achilles commissioned as INS Delhi from the
Royal Navy, under the war reimbursement agreement
between the Government of Britain and India.
In 1949 Yadav was selected by the naval selection
board and was sent to Dartmouth to join the 1949
class of the famous Benbow division in September
of that year, along with his British counterparts.
He served his sea time on board HMS Devonshire
in two training cruises as a Midshipman and was
commissioned in to the Indian Navy on 1st January
1951 and served at sea in various billets.
He went back to UK in 1954 and joined HMS Vernon
to specialise in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).
He served as the squadron TAS officer in INS Brahmaputra,
and in the 1960s was the Fleet TAS officer of
the Western Fleet. Lt Cdr BB Yadav underwent the
Staff College at Wellington from May 1963 to November
1963 as it was truncated after the 1962 India-China
War to beef up the strength of the Indian Armed
Forces. Babru also did a stint in Naval Headquarters.
Commander Yadav was promoted Captain and then
Commodore and served in the National Cadet Corps
as the state Director of National Cadet Corps
(NCC) in Chandigarh for Punjab, Himachal Pradesh
and Haryana, the state of his birth, before retiring
from the Navy in 1982.
After leaving service he served briefly in the