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Old Thursday, October 20, 2005
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Lightbulb 1965, Series of Articles

Air Battle Over Lahore 20 September, 1965

Wing Comd Shafiq Chughtai gives a fascinating account of an encounter over the historic city of Lahore

Lahore had earned itself a place of distinction the moment the war started in 1965. On the one hand it became target of enemy attacks, boasts, and propaganda claims, and on the other its citizens became both participants in, and spectators to, Pakistan’s counter-offensive in that theatre. One of the unique spectacles they witnessed, was a rare dogfight between 10 fighter aircraft right over the city. Of these, 4 were PAF Sabres, while the others were 4 Hunters and 2 Gnats of the enemy airforce. Interestingly, it was the last dogfight of the war.

It all started on the evening of 20 September, when four fighter-bombers were ordered up into the air by the air defence controller. Squadron Leader Changezi followed by Flight Lieutenant Anwar-ul-Haq Malik, Jilani and Amanullah lifted off in two’s and as they were still climbing, the controller came on the radio: Victor 125, Angels 20, Patrol between Kasur and Lahore. It appears that the enemy mistook this Combat Air Patrol (CAP) for an offensive mission, poised to cross the border, and it started scrambling fighters to intercept our planes over our territory. The ensuing air battle saw the loss of two enemy aircraft, and the number could have been higher, if the enemy had not broken off the engagement, and the Sabres had not been deferred by the fast approaching darkness into giving up their chase of the fleeing enemy.

Maintaining a steady climb, the Sabres set course for Kasur. They levelled off at the planned height and a few minutes later they had reached Kasur-Khemkaran sector. At 20,000 feet with the afternoon haze and glare nothing was visible down below. It was the 14th day of the war and it was long time since our ground forces had captured the important Indian town of Khemkaran, about six miles from Kasur. The fighting was now going on a few miles south of Khemkaran. The Sabres now turned about and headed for Lahore. All was quiet and peaceful, only the steady roar of engines broke the silence. Suddenly Sakesar Radar beamed a warning: “Four bogies climbing well inside enemy territory heading north” Soon the Sabres were over Lahore. They had been circling over the historic city at a lower height with eyes scanning the air above, behind and ahead, seeking to detect the approach of enemy fighters when out of the corner of his eye Amanullah caught some dark specks below. “Two bandits about 5000 feet below, 11 O’clock:” he yelled on the intercom. With a flick of hands the four fighters jettisoned their spare tanks to get ready for the fight. Except Amanullah, No 4 in the formation, nobody had yet sighted the enemy. On guidance by his wingman, Jilani now spotted the approaching enemy and recognized them as Hunters. The two Sabres peeled over like graceful birds of prey and slashed down, angling towards the enemy. Changezi, the leader, was on the climb when suddenly he spotted two Hunters at 12 O’clock diving towards Jilani at about 3000 feet. Followed by Malik, who was keeping his ‘tail’ clear, Changezi streaked down towards the two Hunters.

It was an interesting situation: Two Hunters pursued by two Sabres which in turn were followed by two Hunters, and the end of the line was made up by two Sabres again. The calm air over Lahore was filled with thud-thud of machine-guns and hissing tracers from the fighting aircraft and thousands of Lahorites, despite the air raid warning, came out of the houses to witness the show of death. The formations clashed with a high screaming reaching its crescendo as the fight developed into a melee. The sky over Lahore was a jumble of crisis-crossing, diving climbing fighters. Changezi braced his controls. With eyes fixed on the gun-sight and his spine slightly arched, he veered sharply to the left as his quarry went through a high-G turn. The silhoutte of the ‘bandit’ had started filling his gun-sight and as it came within range he pressed the button letting out a short burst. The bullets went home and hit the fuselage of the Hunter.

The enemy wavered slightly but continued pursuit of the Sabres ahead. Changezi waited for a brief moment and fired again with the old tenacity of a pilot who feels a kill in his bones. He did a steep turn left, flicking over and then climbing all the time chasing the Hunter as if glued to his tail. The enemy tried all types of evasive tactics but could not throw away the determined Changezi. The diamonds of the gun-sight again closed on the silhoutte and he squeezed the firing button, for about two seconds. This was the end of the Indian. Giving out big plumes of smoke and flames the enemy reeled away and went straight down to his doom. The pilot could not bail out.

In the meantime Changezi’s Wing-man, Malik, stopped giving radio calls of ‘tail clear’. Changezi called him but could not hear anything. There was lot of radio talk going on between Jilani and Amanullah. He called out but again ‘no contact’. At that time Malik was engaged in another death struggle with two supersonic Gnat fighters which had suddenly come out of the blue and pounced upon him as he was keeping Changezi’s ‘tail’ clear. One of the Gnats sneaked near him and gave a long squirt with his guns, and as the bullets landed straight into his right wing, the Sabre lurched. Surprised at this sudden turn of events Malik, who had shot down a Mystere during the historic Battle of Sargodha on September 7, now looked into his mirror and saw another of Gnat fast closing on him with leaders’ guns blazing. The Sabre was badly hit but Malik kicked the controls and banked hard. The Gnat cut across and got his fire converging at an angle and then veering to meet his line of flight from below, giving Malik another burst, a long burst, sending the Sabre into a threat to spin. Malik brought it straight but dense fumes had started filling his cockpit. He put the aircraft in a shallow dive. Fumes had started getting worse and the controls were not answering properly. The R/T was dead and he set course for the base.

However, on the way the conditions worsened and he had to bail out. By evening he reached his base safely.

The grim dog-fight went on between three Sabres and five enemy fighters (three Hunters and two Gnats). Jilani and Amanullah maintained their chase of the two Hunters despite continuous pecking by Gnats. Amanullah was keeping Jilani’s ‘tail’ clear when suddenly he spotted two Gnats closing on him. He broke and after manoeuvring hard he kept himself clear of the attack. While containing the Gnats, one of the Hunters which was being chased by Jilani banked hard and manoeuvred to get behind Amanullah. He closed in and opened fire but the tracers went wide as Amanullah veered sharply to the left. The Hunter shot ahead.

In the meantime Jilani had grimly maintained his chase of the other Hunter. The enemy seemed to be a good pilot and took various evasive tactics through high Gs but Jilani kept his pursuit gradually getting nearer and nearer. His persistence paid off when the shouter of the hunter filled his gun-sight.

As it came within range he moved his finger on top of the firing button and held it down. The Sabre shuddered at the recoil of six machine-guns and a stream of armourpiercing and incendiary bullets slammed into the fuselage of the enemy. The Hunter started spitting smoke and flames as it careered down towards the ground.

Flight Lieutenant Jilani, who had mortally damaged a Gnat in an earlier combat near Ferozepur on September 13, was later awarded Tamgha-e-Basalat.

With two Hunters gone the Indians thought it better part of valour to disengage and leave for home. The three gallant fighters returned to their base safely.



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Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam

Last edited by Princess Royal; Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 03:58 PM.
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Old Thursday, October 20, 2005
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The Spirit of 6th September

PATRON Lt Gen (Retd) SARDAR FS LODI recalls the spirit that symbolises September 6 for Pakistan

6th of September is celebrated each year as the Defence of Pakistan Day. It was on this day in 1965, that India launched her forces and attacked Pakistan across the international border without a warning or a declaration of war. this action of India, which claims to be the largest democracy in the World, was in utter violation of International law, charter of the United Nations and norms of civilized behavior among states. India arrogantly swept aside her international commitments in her desire to subjugate the region.
Even after a lapse of 34 years when a new generation in Pakistan are the decision makers, the memory of India’s treachery is vivid and uncompromising. At dawn on 6th September Indian forces crossed the border, pushed back the Pakistan Rangers and advanced towards Lahore on two axis. The Indian Army Chief, Gen. J. N. Chaudhry was so confident of defeating the Pakistani troops guarding the area and capturing Lahore that he announced to all and sundry that he would have a large peg of whisky at the Lahore Gymkhana Club in the evening of the 6th. He had reason to be confident as he was known in India as the “conqueror of Hyderabad in Deccan”. It was 17 years earlier that Gen Chaudhry had attacked the princely state of Hyderabad in Deccan, at the head of an armoured division. This was part of India‘s multi-pronged attack by three divisions, inspite of a stand-still agreement that India had signed with the state. But Nehru’s (First Prime Minister of India) new-India had started to proclaim that her agreements and commitments national and international could be violated at will to suit her purpose.

India’s attack against Lahore was held and beaten back with heavy losses to the attackers. The Pakistan Army units defending on the ground, supported by the Pakistan Air Force were able to blunt the Indian offensive and roll it back. Two days later on 8th September India launched its main attack against Sialkot using its armoured division and other strike formations. What ensued has been described as the largest tank battle since the second World War. It was a hard and bitter struggle fought over many days and night’s resulting in casualties on both sides. In the end the Indian main attack was held and severely mauled. Its armoured division was force to withdraw owing to very high losses in men and material. South of Lahore, Pakistan launched its own counter attack and captured India’s Khem Karan and beyond. This posed a serious threat to the rear of Indian troops facing Lahore.

In the South Pakistan took the initiative to push back Indian troops and enter Indian territory. During the operations India captured about 400 square miles of Pakistan territory but lost around 1600 square miles of its own to Pakistan. The war ended with the mediation effort of the USSR and a peace agreement was signed at Tashkent.

During the 1965 war every citizen of the country was solidly united behind the government, although it was a military one, of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. The national priorities were clear and unambiguous in those days, any danger to the country called for unity and unstinted support to the government and the armed forces. There was no question of any political party or leader taking advantage of the war to berate the government for political or personal gain. This came much later when President Ayub’s health suffered a set back and personal ambitions of those he had brought into prominence came to the fore.

Pakistan emerged from the September 1965 war with India, a strong and self-confident nation, proud of itself and its armed forces. It was a nation that was united in facing the danger from India. National unity and full support for the armed forces in the field is essential for success in war. With the nation’s support the Armed Forces of Pakistan repulsed India‘s naked aggression across the international border and made her pay a price for it by capturing four times more territory than India and forcing her to accept a ceasefire, return to the negotiating table and to vacate each others territory. It was certainly their finest hour of glory and a day to be remembered by future generations of soldiers and civilians.

After the September 1965 Indo-Pakistan war and the Tashkent Agreement Pakistan relaxed, as peace had been restored. But India prepared anew and six years later in 1971 again attacked across the international border, this time in the Eastern Wing of the country and succeeded in dismembering Pakistan while the World and the United Nations stood by and watched. India has consistently used force as an instrument of her foreign and domestic policy against all her neighbours including China, and internally against her own small states and occupied Kashmir to the detriment of her religious and ethnic minorities. This has been reflected by all the main Human Rights organizations of the World. Recently the New York based Human Rights Watch released its report condemning India for its atrocities in Indian-held Kashmir. This was released during the Kargil fighting a few months back.

This year we celebrate Defence of Pakistan Day after the recent fighting in Indian occupied Kashmir near Kargil. There has been some criticism within the country of the government’s handling of the situation particularly of the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington. Unfortunately all the criticism emanates by and large from those political parties in opposition to the government and as such the credibility of their arguments is reduced to that extent. Some writings have appeared, particularly in the English press who fail to understand the Kashmir issue in its proper perspective and there are others who may well be inspired from within or without for reasons better known to them.

Kargil has added a new chapter to the Kashmiri’s 52 years old struggle for emancipation from the suppressive and brutal Indian rule. They have demonstrated their ability to force a decision on Kashmir. Any form of status quo is not acceptable to them any more. It is the opinion of neutral experts at home and abroad that the Kashmir dispute cannot be forced back into cold storage again in view of the determination to fight and die as shown by a few hundred Kashmiris on the outskirts of Kargil under the shadow of a larger conflict. It should now be the concern of the World community to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute under a democratic process, of the will of the people of Kashmir.

During the Kargil conflict the Pakistani troops deployed on the Line of Control in the area came under constant Indian pressure and repeated attacks. They gave a good account of themselves and many were killed defending the frontiers of Pakistan and the honour of their homeland. They fought with great determination and courage blunting and repulsing every enemy attack with considerable losses to the Indians. Pakistan Army COAS has recently mentioned Indian Army losses at about 1700 killed and therefore 3 to 4 times that number wounded. The officers and men of the Pakistan Army and para-military forces fought with the spirit of the September 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, and should be included in our prayers on the 6th of September alongwith all those officers and men of the Forces killed in action since 1948.

The 6th of September should also be a day of thanksgiving. We should all pray for the safety and solidarity of Pakistan and also that God gives us the strength, courage and determination, to protect and safeguard at all costs, the freedom and honour of our homeland.




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Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam
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Old Thursday, October 20, 2005
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The Magnificent Bomber Operations of PAF in Indo-Pak 1965 War

A Bomber Pilot reminisces about PAF operations during the 1965 war

A country without a strong Air Force is at the mercy of any aggressor. Pakistan must build up her Air Force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient Air Force, second to none”. This advice by the Father of the Nation, the Quaid-e-Azam has been the principle for those who have built the PAF into what it is today and continues to inspire the young generations which follow.

It was an arduous task to build a strong and potent air force made more difficult in the case of Pakistan due to its political, technological and, above all, economic constraints at the time of its birth. Pakistan Air Force since its first day; had to, therefore, strive hard and long to develop into a modern and effective air force. The ability of our airmen was amply tested in two major wars and today we can say, with reasonable confidence, that we are in a position to meet any challenge that may come our way. But, it must be understood that in this day and age of fast-changing technological environment, the struggle ahead may be even harder, more uphill than what was faced by our predecessors.

In 1965 war, the world has seen some historic bombing operations by PAF pilots against different enemy locations. The B-57 bomber wing which was located at Mauripur Base contributed in the war by performing classical bombing operations at Jamnagar, Adampur and Pathankot. All these operations were mostly carried out at night, and required a great deal of concentration and high precision. The sole aim of these operations was to deny the enemy, the use of its airpower, by destroying the airfields from which they were supposed to takeoff.

On 6th September 1965 at 4:30 p.m., a quick twenty minutes final briefing was conducted for the B-57 attack against Jamnagar to be carried out at 6: 00 p.m., the same day. This was the second attack at Jamnagar which had earlier been attacked by six F-86 aircraft.

The six B-57 set out in two waves of three aircraft each, flying at 200 feet above ground level. Following the coast line, they soon crossed over into Indian territory, descending even lower to avoid radar detection. Mandvi lighthouse beacon shining brightly, helped the B-57s to fix their position for final approach at Jamnagar, now some four minutes away. A mile short of the target the aircraft pulled up and each was able to deliver its load of 4,000 lbs of bombs on to the target. All aircraft were carrying a full load of rockets as well, and for this reason only internal bombs had been taken. The last minute orders for the mission had not allowed time for the rocket to be replaced by external bombs. The leader, however, discharged his rockets at a hangar and set it ablaze. No fighter interceptors and anti-aircraft fire were encountered.

Thereafter a ‘shuttle service’ to Jamnagar was kept up all night with single aircraft sorties. During these operations, one PAF aircraft was lost which was attributed towards fatigue and bad weather. A photo intelligence report of Jamnagar after the war confirmed that a total of about fifteen bombs landed inside the airfield complex destroying two Indian Air Force Vampires on the technical area.

In another operation, four of B-57s aircraft from Mauripur were ordered to report at Peshawar. On landing at Peshawar, the leader of the formation was informed about his mission to strike Adampur at 5:30 p.m.. The aircraft had left Mauripur with internal bombs only and were to have the external stations loaded at Peshawar. However, Peshawar that evening was crowded with aircraft and arrangements had not yet been made to meet the unforeseen commitments that had suddenly arisen for the base. While the maintenance staff struggled to refuel the aircraft, time was slipping by and in order not to delay their mission further, their leader decided to drop his demand for the external bombs.

It was already dusk before they took off and pitch dark when the B-57 crossed into India flying at low level. The Initial Point, ten minutes from their target, was the bridge over the river Beas — a darker streak on an already dark canvas; but they made no mistake about the attack. The anti-aircraft swung in action but the bombers repeated the attacks regardless of its hazard. Except for one aircraft, that had its left wing pierced by a 40 mm shell, no other damage was sustained. The formation landed back at Peshawar at 9: 00 p.m. and was tasked for another mission against a bridge at 4: 00 a.m. The formation, encouraged the success of the first mission, accept the task willingly and destroyed the target as required.

The non-stop nature of PAF’s airfield offensive was indicated by the fact that, as the Adampur strike force was landing back at Peshawar, the other five B-57s were taking off for a follow up strike against Pathankot. The operational signal indicated four aircraft, but as five were available, so all took off. The discussed airfield at Pasrur was the IP (Initial Point) for run-in for the target. The new moon was giving a faint light and the visibility was fairly good. The Indian black out was quite good even in small villages.

There was no sign of any fire etc. of the previous F-86s attack. In fact there was a probability of missing the target. Thanks to an Indian who was kind enough to forget putting the airfield beacon off. It provided accurate pinpoint direction for the destruction of Pathankot. The enemy heard the attack and opened up with everything he had. It further assisted our pilots to see the airfield clearly. A large concentration of ground defences was reported at Pathankot. The PAF pilots were clear in their minds that once they were in an attack, they had to accomplish the mission. The enemy suffered a heavy loss. Next morning our troops intercepted an enemy radio message which said, “Pathankot burning, immediate help needed”.

To conduct counter air offensive mission against enemy airfield, and to remain out of reach of their fighter aircraft, the PAF bomber wing remained elusive throughout the war. The pattern repeated was to take off from home base, strike inside Indian territory and recover at another airfield. The B-57 operations called for great skill, concentration, stamina and dedication. These qualities were found in abundance in the ever-eager crew of the wing and no task seemed impossible for them.



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Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam

Last edited by Princess Royal; Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 04:00 PM.
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Old Thursday, October 20, 2005
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Operation Gibraltar - Role of SSG Para Commandos

Col SG MEHDI, MC who commanded the SSG till just before the 1965 war, gives a fascinating account of SSG operations during the conflict

Mian Arshad Hussain, a former Foreign Minister of Pakistan had demanded a judicial probe in the events leading to the 1965 war. On Oct. 23, 1977, Mian Sahib addressed the nation through a statement released to the Pakistan Times, Lahore. I quote;
Following Col. Mehdi's articles on the 1965 war, there has been an expression of interest in this momentous event as can be seen from the letters which appeared in this columns. In my opinion, the 1965 war bred the 1971 war and is thus an important contributory cause of the latter and the tragic events that have followed the conflict. Is it not time that a full-fledged inquiry was held into the causes, the conduct and the consequences of 1965 war?

Mian Arshad Hussain had excellent reasons to demand a probe into the concept, conduct and consequences of 1965 war' as he was Pakistan's High Commissioner at Delhi during that fateful period. He sent a warning on 4th September 1965 to the foreign office of Pakistan through Turkish Embassy that the Indians were planning to attack Pakistan, on 6th September. Mr. Aziz Ahmed, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary through a press statement acknowledged that such a warning was indeed received by the Foreign Office. But the debate on this warning issue' remained inconclusive, in that Aziz Ahmed maintained that the warning was received two days after war had already started! Only probe by a high powered judicial commission can separate shadows from the substance.

1965 war - 'Without deliberate intent'

In 1965, the Pakistan Army found itself at war with India without deliberate intent which achieved a measure of surprise....'This is the opening sentence of the foreword by General Zia-ul-Haq, written for The Pakistan Army, War 1965' compiled by Major General Shauket Riza from hundreds of interviews and documents.

General Mohammed Musa who commanded the Army in the 65 War, gives a graphic account of how the Indians surprised the GHQ, the C-in-C and the Supreme Commander Field Marshal Ayub Khan on September 6, 1965. Narrates Musa Khan on page 48 of his book My Version'.

India launched her ignominious, undeclared and blatant aggression on our homeland at about 0330 hours on 6 September. The Supreme Commander was informed about the invasion by Air Commander Akhtar of the Pakistan Air Force, who was on duty at the Air Defence Headquarters at Rawalpindi on night of 5/6 September. Indian troop movements across the frontier had been reported to him by the border posts of the PAF Wireless Observer wing. The President then rang me up to ascertain whether or not GHQ had received any information about the Indian attack and the whereabouts of the field army that morning'.

How did the GHQ allow Indians to Achieve Surprise?

Let General Musa describe the genesis of the surprise' Indian attack on 6th September in his own words.

The then Foreign Minister Mr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and the Foreign Secretary, Aziz Ahmed spurred on by Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik, who was commander of our troops in Azad Kashmir, pressed the Government to take advantage of the disturbed situation in the valley and direct the Army to send raiders into Indian held Kashmir for conducting guerrilla activities there and to help, on a long term basis, the locals in organising a movement with a view to eventually starting an uprising against the occupying power.

Continues the former C-in-C on page 6 of his book, the sponsors and supporters of the raids had at last succeeded in persuading the President to take the plunge that led to an all-out armed conflict with India' ....... To the extent that the concept of sending infiltrators in the Indian held Kashmir, code named Gibraltar' was the brain-child of the ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the simple truth and nothing but the truth. But General Musa, the C-in-C, assumed full responsibility for the development of the concept, its planning and coordination of the entire operation. This is graphically stated by him on page 35 of his book: After the Government finally decided that deep raids should be launched in Indian-held Kashmir, I directed Commander 12 Division, Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik, to prepare a draft plan for the operation, code-named Gibraltar' in consultation with GHQ and within the broad concept we had specified. GHQ approved it after making certain changes in it. With the help of sand model, he went over the final plan in Murree before it was put into effect on 7 August, 1965 under our overall control. The Supreme Commander and his Military Secretary were present. He also agreed with it. I was accompanied by the CGS (Major General Sher Bahadur) and the Directors of Military Operations and Intelligence (Brigadiers Gul Hasan and Irshad Ahmed Khan respectively). No civil official attended this briefing.

Broadly the plan envisaged, on a short-term basis, sabotage of military targets, disruptions of communications, etc. and, as a long-term measure, distribution of arms to the people of occupied Kashmir and initiation of a guerrilla movement there with a view to starting an uprising in the valley eventually. The push towards Akhnur was not part of it. However, it was considered as one of the likely operations that we might have to undertake, as we felt our activities would have an escalating effect.

When Akhtar Malik was pointing out on the sand model the various targets of the raiding parties of Gibraltar, the President did say why don't you go for Akhnur also? Akhtar Malik replied that, too, could be considered, but it was not raided because no Gibraltar force had been organised for that purpose.


Nevertheless, when the Indians started attacking and capturing Azad Kashmir territory in Tithwal and Haji Pir Pass areas, we decided to hold them in these places and retaliate by threatening Akhnur through the Chamb valley in order to release the pressure in the north.

The simple truth emerging from the preceeding statement of General Musa is clear cut, in that, while the concept of Gibraltar' did originate from the ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Musa, whatever he might say after the event, went along with it in a half heartedly and non serious manner.

Operation Gibraltar and the SSG Involvement

This writer is a personal witness to the unfolding of this tragedy as I had the honour to command our Army's Corps de elite, the Special Service Group (SSG) at this critical juncture.

In late May 1965, I was directed by the Vice Chief of General Staff, (late Major General Abid Bilgrami) to go to Murree and see GOC 12 Division, Akhtar Hussian Malik. The GOC's briefing of the outline plan of Gibraltar operation left me stunned. The plan was so childish, so bizarre as to be unacceptable to logical, competent, professionally sound military persons anywhere in the world.

I frankly told General Akhtar Malik that the Operation was a non starter and that I would render the same advice to the Chief and Vice Chief of General Staff. At GHQ, the same day I briefed the CGS and VCGS, who listened to me patiently. The result of my presentation however was barren of the result. Major General Malik Sher Bahadur (The CGS), posed only one question. You (Mehdi) say that operation Gibraltar as planned stands no chance of succeeding, but Akhtar Malik (COG 12 Division) feels confident of its success. My reply to the Chief of the General Staff was that, the conflicting view point of Mehdi and Akhtar Malik not withstanding, as Chief of General Staff of Pakistan Army, he should also have an opinion on this important matter as we were not playing a peace time war game, but with the destiny of Pakistan itself. To this date I remember the reaction of the CGS. He went red right up to his ears, and after a painful pause got up, extended his hand to shake and brought the interview to an end with the remarks that it is always interesting to listen to you!!

Undaunted by the rebuff at Murree and later at the GHQ, I decided to reduce my arguments in writing, as to the reasons why Gibraltar shall fail. These, in brief, were:

1. No ground had been prepared before launching of the operation, in concert with people of the valley.

2. The raids were to be launched in total logistical vacuum relying exclusively of what the troops would carry in their packs or living off the countryside. Without any covert support across the Ceasefire Line, this living off the land proved fatal to the security of the guerrillas. Most of them were betrayed.

3. GHQ had mixed up classic guerrilla operations with Commandos raids.

4. All SSG and other officers, responsible for training and later leading groups across the ceasefire line were critical of the soundness of the plan, unsure of the means and uncertain of the end.

SSG records at Cherat shall substantiate the points made above

The simple truth emerging from the narrative is, that neither the C-in-C Army nor General Staff had the guts to stand up to the President, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, and tell him that his advisers in the ministry of Foreign Affairs supported by GOC 12 Division, Akhtar Malik were taking him on a long ride commencing with Gibraltar, leading to his downfall via Tashkent, as it eventually proved! The loser in the final analysis was Pakistan, described so feelingly by General K.M. Arif in an analysis carried by daily Dawn', 6th September 1990. How and why Pakistan blundered into war .......... At that time, the policy making in the country was highly personalised. The institutions were weak and by-passed. Pakistan's Foreign Office with Mr. Aziz Ahmed as the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Z.A. Bhutto as the Foreign Minister called the martial tunes. It had miscalculated that despite operation Gibraltar, the fighting was likely to remain confined inside the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Foreign Office is on record to have assessed that India was not in a position to risk a general war with Pakistan......for inexplicable reasons the General Headquarters based its operational plan in Kashmir on a wishful logic. The misplaced ego, the high ambition and the naive approach of a selected few plunged the country into an armed conflict. The outcome of the war, or the lack of it, eclipsed Ayub's position.

S.S.G. COMMANDO PARA DROPS

The 1965 War cannot be worthy of study unless the story of Pakistani commando drops on Adampur, Helwara and Pathankot air bases are briefly recounted. John Fricker calls this operation as an unmitigated disaster'. This operation conceived initially by PAF Chief who obtained the nod' of Ayub Khan in May/June 1965 while planning for operational contingencies in the event of an Indian aggression. Such advance operational planning is normal to all service HQ in peace time. GHQ passed the buck on to the commander of SSG- this writer. On being told by Vice Chief of General Staff Brigadier Bilgrami who had these instructions conveyed to him from Musa and Sher Bahadur the Chief of General Staff, I emphatically pointed out that the concept of operation was faulty as no raids of this nature, after the breakout of war, could have even a remote chance of success against fully alerted targets.

On my persistent refusal, GHQ told me that I should give my reasons for not undertaking the envisaged operation direct to the HQ, PAF. At a briefing arranged at SSG Parachute Training School at Peshawar in the presence of two senior officers of my command, Lt. Col. Abdul Matin, the Commander of No. 1 Commando Battalion, now retired and the brilliant Operations Staff Officer Maj. E. H. Dar, (Late Major General E. H. Dar) Air Force Chief were told that only a pre-emptive operation like the Israeli crippling raids against the front line Arab State's air bases as in 1956 Arab Israel War, could have probability of success. To this, the Air Chief observed that a decision to carry out pre-emptive operation as suggested could only be taken by the Government-meaning the President. Technically the observation made was correct but in that case the operation should have been based on the hypothesis of pre-emptive' alone. I had also objected to the para-commandos after being dropped, just left there in the void, in the heart of 100% hostile population with no equivalent of French Maquis to hide, feed and organise the escape of commandos.

That this was an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end is correct but for no fault of the brave band of commandos or their officers. I have already rendered a full account of this in my testimony to Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission, besides submission of a report to the Chief of General Staff and C-in-C in 1967.

Tribute

No objective study of this war would be complete without paying tribute to the great fighting spirit and unparalleled heroism of all ranks of the Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force and notably of the SSG. The war of 1965 into which the country stumbled, with GHQ Surprised' and the army, its 25% of its strength still on leave, thus became a series of stray and isolated battles without any strategic concept and perspective. The Ghazis of the army, janbaz of the SSG, Shaheens of our Air force and Barbaroosas' of Pak Navy fought against the betrayal within and India's regimented hordes to an honourable draw. They also fought against international conspiracy of Anglo Saxon powers.

Conclusion

Had our Government initiated a probe into concept, conduct and consequences of 1965 War', and raised the curtain from the acts of gross omission or that of the criminal commission, the ignominy of 1971 could have been avoided.





--------------------

Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam

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BATTLE OF BUTTAR DOGRANDI(16 - 17 Sep 1965)

SEPT 16 - Deployment of Troops

After having spent a night in the area of Chawinda Railway Station, where BHQ 3 FF was also located in a Bunker, two troops of C squadron moved out to occupy the battle locations. Khaliq's troop took up position in area 15R on the northern outskirts of Chawinda while my troops went accross the Railway line. Lance Dafadar Ghazanfar's tank was positioned at the northern outskirts of Buttar Dograndi. It had under observation area up to track chawinda - Jassoran in the north and area from Jassoran up to Mundeki Barian in the west. Lance Dafadar Mohammad Khan's tank was deployed in the western part of the village which effectively covered area from Jassoran to Mundeki Barian and Khurpa. Other two tanks were deployed in the area of hut about 100 yards from the Railway Station building in the west. The hut also had few trees around it. Aslam's tank was placed under the umbrella tree facing north . My tank was placed south of hut under another tree facing towards west. The hut was located between the two tanks and there was no visual contact between us although we were few yards apart. Between four of us only myself and Ghazanfar were in visual contact. All my tanks were so placed that our line of sight was clear up to 2000 yards and more in the north and west where from the enemy could approach. I may mention here that we seldom cared for camouflage and concealment. We normally positioned our tanks where we could have maximum field of fire without realizing that we were providing opportunity to the enemy to locate us through binocular much before they reached our killing range.

Activity

As the sun came up I saw the movement of enemy tanks at a distance of 3000 yards in the north in the direction of Kot-Izzat. The armour column was moving from east to west. I could count each tank when it negotiated a gap between two clumps. I counted two squadrons of tanks and reported to my Squadron Commander accordingly. The same tanks were also reported by Khaliq. My Squadron Commander Major Raza Khan asked me to direct artillery fire on tank column. I showed my inability to do that. I thought that it would be waste of ammunition because I could not have directed the fire accurately. if it was so easy to direct artillery fire there was no need to attach artillery officers as observer and earmark a tank for them in each squadron. I requested to send Major Chaudhry forward, who was the Battery Commander to engage the target. Eventually Major Raza Khan ordered Khaliq to direct artillery fire on enemy tanks. He did that to no avail. The shells were falling short of the target and he could not correct the fire. In fact these shells created a screen between myself and the enemy. The enemy tanks moved behind that screen. At about 0800 hours elements of 3 FF passed my tank. They were moving cross country towards Pasrur. They were shaken and demoralized. They told me that the whole company had been run over by enemy tanks. I must mention here that I had no knowledge of the extent up to which 3 FF was deployed.

At this time I also observed movement of tanks in Jassoran. I then observed that four tanks appeared from a clump located on the eastern side of Jassoran and started movement in extended line formation parallel to the track towards my position. I ordered my troop to engage the enemy tanks. Four tanks of my troop simultaneously fired at them. Smoke was produced from the enemy tanks and they stopped. My gunner Gulzar was too happy thinking that he had hit the target. In fact he said so on Intercom. When the smoke disappeared I could not see enemy tanks. They had gone back to the clump and behind cover. It was on 17th when we captured colonel Tarapur's tank that I came to know about centurions having smoke dischargers fitted on top of the turret. Range was too great to be accurate, more than 2000 yds and thus we missed the target. The enemy was too quick to notice our fire and immediately released smoke bombs to withdraw behind smoke screen. We should have allowed them to come closer. But there was every possibility of their locating and engaging us before we could do that because we had positioned. There after, one squadron took up position on the outskirts of Jassoran on either side of village mosque and fire fight ensued between opposing forces. The enemy called for Artillery and Air support. Enemy aircraft could not locate my tanks as they were parked under trees. All enemy tank gunners proved as inaccurate as my gunner. My tank fired 16 rounds from one location. I could not observe the fall of shot because no dust was raised due to ploughed field. Same was the case with enemy shots which were falling all around my tank. This battle continued up to 1200 hours without any significant losses on either Side.

I may mention here that in 90 percent cases of direct hit the tank does not catch fire. Driver mostly remains safe because normally upper portion of the tank is hit and turret gets damaged, crew in the fighting compartment gets injured and even killed. But the driver, if he is safe, should try to take disabled tank to safety. This had happened in our squadron several times. the only loss up to 1200 hours in my troop was that the turret of Mohammad Khan ‘s tank got locked due to direct hit. The shot hit the tank at turret ring and recochetted. He wanted to go back but I did not allow and ordered him to remain in position and fire when ever the enemy tank come in his line of fire. It was an unwise decision on my part and the squadron commander had picked up my transmission. He ordered me to move Mohammad Khan backwards and gave me two other tanks in return. One tank was commanded by LD Flaksher while other was commanded by LD Kamal Khan (Turnet No. 1 CO's tank). At one time Ghazanfar reported that he could see some enemy tanks but was not in a favourable position to engage them. I ordered him to leave the village and advance 200 yrds take up position under a tree and fire at the enemy. He did that, I saw him reaching under the tree I had indicated. As he took up position he was fired upon be a troop of tank from Jassoran. He flashed back the message that shots were being recochetted from his tank. I immediately realized that by sending Gazanfar 200 yrd up I had placed him within the effective range of enemy tank guns. He was lucky that Indians were no good and they missed the target. I ordered him to reverse and take up old position. Had Gazanfar been killed I would have repented all my life. L.D. Ghazanfar and Mohammad Khan occasionally reported to me that enemy tank had been hit. After some time they would again report that the damaged tank had been pulled back by another enemy tank in spite of heavy fire from their side.

Ghazanfar was deployed north of Buttar Dugrandi to cover the area in the North up to track, and area east of Jassoran. This area was also being covered by my tank alongwith Aslam's tank. I, therefore, moved these tanks to take up position on the western edge of the village and cover area east of Jassoran including MundekiBairan - Khurpa.

At this point of time the RHQ and my Squadron Commander were located at Nogaza. After 1200 hours the enemy tanks moved to southern outskirts of Jassoran and established an base of fire with a squadron of tanks, and started shooting at my troop. I returned the fire. After some time another enemy squadron started moving towards south of Jassoran. every thing was happening under my nose. I passed frantic messages that my position was being out-flamed by enemy tanks. Our Artillery fired to stop that move but only with approximation because there was no artillery FOO with us to correct the fire. The fire fell short and provided cover to enemy tanks. I was also told by my Squadron Commander that our friends would look after the enemy's move and I need not worry. The enemy did not use Artille ry during this manoeuvre.

At about 1400 hours I received a massage from Major Raza Khan that situation in Buttar Dugandi was not favourable. He was located at Nogaza. I looked left towards Buttar Dudgadi and saw that my tanks were moving back wards. I called my tank commanders on wireless but received no reply. At this time I received a message from Khaliq that he could see heavy concentration of tanks in Jassoran and south of it. He also said that I need not worry as he was coming to my help. Since the situation was obscure, three to four tanks were burning between Buttar Dugrandi and Railway line. I decided to reach that village. My tank was facing Jassoran. I ordered the driver to reverse and then face Buttar Dugrandi. As my tank started moving towards the village, I saw that a centurian appeared from behind the village and took up position under the sole kikar tree north of village. I order the driver to halt and Gulzar laid his gun on that tank. But the enemy gunner was faster, he fired first. I saw the flash with open eye. The shot hit the gun tube of my tank and then the gun shield. It did not pierce through the tank armour. Before I could react my gunner pushed me from underneath. I looked down in the turret, it was full of smoke. The operator had already abandoned the tank. I got out of the tank followed by the gunner. I straight went in front of the tank and found the driver bleeding form his face. Splinters had injured him. I encouraged Sawar Fazal Hussain and told him to reverse the tank and take it behind the hut which was only 10 yards away. The enemy again fired at the moving tank but missed the target. I then told Fazal Hussain to cross the railway line, reach the main track and head for workshop at Pasroor . I then turned to Dafadar Aslam's tank who was unaware of what had happened. He was concentrating towards Jassoran and Kot Izzat. I told him that enemy had reached our rear in Buttar Dugrandi and he should engage them. His tank was placed in such a position that on his left was a hut, on the right was a tree. To locate and fire at the enemy which had reached his rear he had to change his position. As he reversed and came in view of enemy tank in Buttar Dugrandi, he was fired upon and hit. Sawar Anwar turned the tank towards Railway line, enemy tank fired again on the moving tank. Three to four shots struck the tank but none of them was fatal. The tank crossed the railway line and went away. Half an hour later I saw that tank standing near MS 5 badly damaged and with one track duty.

DEFENCE NOTES

Aslam's tank was crossing the railway from line west to east while Khaliq's tank was crossing the line from east to west. True to his words he was coming to my help but it was too late. He was advancing towards me standing in Cupola. He had covered only few yards when the same centurian fired a shot which was fatal and Khaliq's tank went into flames instantly. There was no time for the crew to bail out. All four of them were burnt to ashes. All this happened in few minutes. I looked around, there were no own troops except myself, my gunner and operator. There were no enemy troops either to be seen except that one deadly tank which had destroyed our three tanks within five minutes. The remaining tanks of Khaliq's troop did not cross the railway line. In fact he alone had come for my help while remaining tanks of his troop stuck to their position area 15 R. I decided to go back and report the situation to my Squadron Commander. We crossed the railway line and walked over the platform. At this time enemy was subjecting the railway station to tremendous Artillery fire. Through that fire we were able to reach the main track Chaiwanda-Pasrur. There was panic in Chaiwanda, HQ 24 Brigade had moved out but HQ 3FF remained steadfast in the area of tall trees. Our troops were moving on the track towards Pasroor in a disorganized manner. RR Jeeps were loaded with men. This was the second most depressing situation, the first being on the 11th. Since my aim was to reach the RHQ quickest, I suggested to my crew to jump in one of the jeeps and reach Nogaza as soon as possible. My gunner Gulzar disagreed with me with the reason If we go back in Infantry Jeep these people after the war would say that armour people used our jeep for running backward. I considered his argument valid and started running. As we reached short of milestone 5, I saw Captain Raheem Shah of 3 FF (later colonel) dug in with his company in reserve. I told him what had happened to my troop. He looked confident. He had been teaching us CBR warfare in School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta. I reached Nogaza and contacted my Squadron Commander Maj Raza Khan and Col. Nisar. The two of them were sitting between Railway line and Nogaza facing Buttar Dugrandi. I could see five of our tanks destroyed, few of them were burning, between Railway line and the village. Two of my troop belonging to Ghazanfar and Flak Sher and the other three belonged to 33 TDU. I could see that Indian tanks were milling around in Buttar Dugrandi. Few RRs and tanks were deployed on Railway line facing Butter Dugrandi to stop the enemy advance. Situation was extremely grave and as I reported the death of Khaliq, Col. Nisar started weeping. I caught hold of his shoulder and said please do not weep, what will happen to us if you start weeping. Call some tanks from B Squadron and we shall attack Butter Dugrandi,. Major Raza interrupted and asked me to go away and rest. If at this point of time, the enemy had subjected Nogaza to heavy Artillery fire and at the same time pushed a troop of tank to the Railway line, they could have won the battle of Chawinda.

But the enemy was no good, or in other words the enemy Squadron Commander felt contended after capturing Buttar Dagrandi without any losses and destroying eight of our tanks in the process. Alternatively, if, after the destruction of my troop and capture of Buttar Dugrandi, the Squadron which had established the base of fire at Jassoran had moved on to the Railway Station, there was no one to stop them. The enemy would have carried the day but to our good luck this was not to happen. There was a lull in the battle for about an hour. At about 1500 hour four Centurians appeared from Buttar Dugrandi and advanced eastward in the direction of Sarang Pur (8699 old map) . I was lying under big Banian tree when some one came running to me and indicated the tanks. Dafadar Awal Sher's tank was in hull down position behind the track. It was ordered to open fire. Apart from Awal Sher's tank there were few other tanks and Rrs in the area. Two Centurians were knocked out and the other two swiftly reversed and went into the village. I felt that our performance was no good. If the fire was coordinated and controlled we could have destroyed all the four tanks. The range was 1000 yrds, the tanks were presenting broad side and their guns were not pointing towards us. However we were satisfied because we had stopped advance of the enemy any further.

At about 1630 hours I was called by Major Raza. He told me that we had to attack Buttar Dugrandi. He gave me four tanks, one of them was turret No. 1 CO's tank commanded by Lance Dafader Kamal Khan. My other two tanks commanders were LD Amin and Dafader Ismail. He gave me the following plan verbally.

I was to form up left on Nogaza along the Railway line. Will cross the line and attack Buttar Dugrandi on order which were to be passed after our Artillery had stopped bombardment on the village. I was to charge (southern) left side of the village and take up position west of it. A troop was called from B Squadron which was commanded by N/Risaldar Akbar, the same Akbar who according to Col. Nisar had chased the Indian tanks up to Mehrajke on the morning of 8th. This troop was to form up right of Nogaza along the Railway line and was to charge the northern side of the village. The Squadron Commander was to charge in the centre. I called my tank commanders and briefed them verbally on the ground. I decided to advance in Box formation. I placed my tank on the right. On my left was LD Amin's tank . The other two tanks were to follow. I instructed my tank commander to fire continuously at short halts on the village, after crossing the railway line. Artillery fire started at about 1700 hours. Major Rasheed of I SP was in the area to control the fire. The fire was accurate and tremendous. No house was visible, it was all dust and smoke in the area. As soon as the fire stopped I heard the message from Major Raza, Charly - charly - 60 Advance Out, I may mention here that Major Raza had a peculiar way of making wireless transmissions which I admired and enjoyed during my 3 year service with him. I ordered my driver to move and simultaneously hand signalled LD Amin to advance. There was no need for me to make a collective call to the troop because each one of us heard the Squadron Commander. After crossing the railway line I did not look left or right my eyes were fixed on the village which was nothing but dust and smoke. I peared through the smoke in search of enemy while crew was acting automatically i.e. halting for a short while and letting off a shot or two on the village. Before the dust raised by Artillary fire and our shots could settle down we had reached the village. I crossed the line of two centurians which Awal Sher had destroyed from railway line an hour ago south of village and advanced further to the west. Area of Butter Dugrandi was plain, flat and not even a tree in sight upto 1000 yard in the direction of jassoran and Mandiki Barian. I knew that Jassoran and south of it was infested with enemy tanks and expected my tank to be shot up any movement. I was standing in Capula ever since we crossed the railway line. As my tank reached in the effective range o enemy tank in Jassoran and south, It was fire at and I noticed three to four shots whizz passed my tank one after the other. I could not locate the enemy yet I ordered the gunner to fire and the driver to halt and reverse. At the same point of time LD Amin yelled that few shots had rechocheted off his tank. I looked left for the first time after crossing the railway line and found Amin's tank on my left, other two tanks were behind us. I ordered him to reverse and get behind a clump next to the village. I ordered my driver to get behind the houses. After reaching to safety I looked around. All my four tanks were in the village. The tool box of turnet No. 1 was on fire. I informed the tank commander accordingly on wireless. Ghazanfar's tank which was destroyed at noon was burning on my right. Several bodies of soldiers (enemy and own) were lying dead. At this time intense Artillary fire also started on the village. The fire must have been from enemy side because Major Rasheed of 1 SP would not have engaged us. I was standing in the Copola with empty mind and not knowing what to do when heard a massage from my Squadron Commander.

Hello three for one one, Shamshad has not crossed the railway line.. ask him to advance .. I am under heavy fire,

Before one could reply I went up on the air Hello, 61, I have crossed the Railway line.. went ahead of the village..was fired at from Jassoran and now in Dograndi.. out , In return I received a dressing down for not reporting the situation earlier. I must mention here that leading troop leader must report the situation but he can not always do that when suddenly confronted by the enemy. Instinctively he will act to save himself first and then do anything else. It is for the Squadron Commander to keep himself up to such an extent from where he can observe his leading troop which is going in attack or advancing to contact. In these two operations of war the leading troop leader will seldom get a chance to report the situation because there are vast chances of his tank getting knocked out and will need immediate help. A Squadron Commander who remains in the rear or keeps his cupola closed will not only deprive the leading troop leader of the help he would need so badly and immediately but will also remain blind to the situation on battle field.

As I finished my transmission a platoon of Infantry appeared from behind the houses. They were advancing in extended line towards my tank with rifles on guard. I waved at them to find out who they were. Since the surrounding was hazy due to dust and smoke I could not make out whether they were friends or foes. I just could not visualise that enemy infantry could advance on my tank. I thought they were own troops. I tried to stop them at a distance with hand signal but they continued advancing. Artillery fire was still falling. I was double minded and confused. I ordered the gunner to fire machine gun on their feet and not kill them. They could be own troop. By that time they had reach as close as 20 yards from my tank, I suddenly noticed a turban and olive green uniform which looked khaki from a distance due to smoke and dust. I ordered the troop to open MG fire on the enemy. My machine gun developed fault at that crucial moment. I do not know whether my other tanks opened fire or not but I saw some soldiers taking position on the ground and others still advancing. More and more Infantry was coming from behind the houses Time was very short. I spotted a rocket launcher, ordered the gunner to fully depress the main gun and fire few HE round on the Infantry. The gunner fired three or four rounds rapidly. When the dust settled, I saw several soldiers laying dead, no living soul was visible. Meanwhile my squadron commander had ordered my troop to withdraw to railway line. I looked back, my three tanks were already moving backwards.

I ordered the driver to reverse. The tank reversed a distance of 1000 yards and reached behind the railway line from where we had started 20 minutes back.

What happened to the squadron commander and the other troop? After issuing orders to attack, Major Raza crossed the railway line and took up position under a lone tree about 20 yards away from railway line. He had closed down his cupola and therefore could not track my movement. He remained in this position and did not attack the centre of the village. N/R Akbar did not leave FUP ( railway line) at all. After few minutes I saw that enemy Infantry appeared from the village and started advancing towards railway line. We fired all weapons, artillery fire was called. The advance was halted. We remained pitched against the enemy till late at night when we were ordered to move back and leaguer in Matteke. As far as I know there was nothing between Buttar Dugrandi and Nogaza once we left that place for leaguer. I wonder if H Q 3 FF remained deployed on Railway station during night 16/17 September. I also do not know where Capt Rahim Shah was deployed during night 16/17 September. However, we met again at Nogaza on 17th September to Attack Jassoran that morning the details of which will appear in D.J. of May 98.






--------------------

Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam

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IN THE DESERT

Brig (Retd) MUHAMMAD TAJ, SJ & BAR, one of the authentic heroes of our time, recounts a small unit action in the Thar Desert during the 1965 war

In a recent issue of the 'Defence Journal', I briefly covered the battles of Shakarbu, Kharin and Dali fought gallantly by 18 Punjab (Desert Hawks). In this article the battle of Kalraon-ka-Talao shall be described. In this battle the enemy was so badly defeated that he had to re-group the battalions and never dared to face Pakistani troops again during 1965 war.

During Dali Operation, 18 Punjab had captured three Indian tanks in serviceable condition and probably is the only proud battalion that had used these very tanks against the Indians.

Indian commanders in desert after suffering a humiliating defeat at Dali Area tried to capture isolated Rangers Posts to save their face. One of their targets was Kalraon - Talao occupied by our Rangers. Brigade commander, having obtained the information that Indians are concentrating some infantry and artillery against this Ranger's Post, ordered the Desert Hawks to reinforce Kalraon - ka -Talao. 18 Punjab had hardly reached this area when at dawn the Indians attacked the post with 4 Marhattas supported by artillery. As the flanking company Commander, having concentrated at night. I heard the artillery and small arms fire and moved to the forward sections to observe the direction of fire and the enemy's intention. The forward elements were under enemy's machinegun fire. I tried to see through the binoculars the direction of fire, when the intensity of fire increased and the Section Commander insisted that I must get into the trench. I hesitated and continued observing the movement of the enemy. The Section Commander came out of his trench saying that if you do not take shelter we have no right to be in the trenches. So I jumped into the trench and ordered the platoon to occupy the feature on the left which was overlooking the direction of enemy assaulting elements. I along with the platoon and machine guns, reached this position and found at least two companies advancing towards the Ranger's post. I immediately ordered the machine gunners to open fire. 4 Marhattas got totally surprised on being fired upon from the flank.

This flanking fire and fire by the captured tanks slowed down the momentum of the attack.

The enemy's battalion suffered heavy casualties and the attack failed. 18 Punjab and captured tanks played their role so effectively that 4 Marhattas ran back in all directions leaving behind their dead and wounded. It was later reported by intelligence agencies that 4 Marhattas was so badly mauled that it had to be regrouped and was no more an effective unit during the '65 war.

Next day the Indians again tried to reinforce this failure and this time used 3 Garhwals to assault the post. This unit also received the same treatment from the gallant Pakistani troops and the attack failed. 3 Garhwals suffered heavy casualties and were withdrawn. After this, the Indian forces never tried to face Pakistani troops anywhere in this desert and 18 Punjab in recognition of its achievements was permitted to use 'Desert Hawks' with it's name. This action further confirms the fundamentals of War i.e. a well thought- out maneuver by a small force can always defeat a major force.

The loyal, well trained and highly motivated troops, without caring for their lives, can endure and show outstanding courage in times of danger despite fatigue. The Section Commander's reaction to come out of his trench seeing his senior outside the trench is a typical example of well trained, dedicated and loyal soldiers that make a proud unit.

It is said that ten good soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without head. Here the Indians launched both the attacks (one after the other) without proper analysis and intelligence and got badly defeated.

Lastly, one must not forget that the war makes extremely heavy demands on the soldiers strength, therefore train your men during the peace time under adverse conditions so that their mind is in peace in the battle.

At the end we must not forget the brave, gallant and dedicated soldiers who had laid down their lives during the '65 war. Let us hope that their sacrifices shall not go waste and the cause for which they made supreme sacrifice of their lives shall be honoured. They had proved their worth in 1965 and we must strive harder to be worthy of them.


--------------------

Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam

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DEFENCE OF CHAWINDA

Maj (Retd) SHAMSHAD ALI KHAN gives an authentic first person account of the defence of the pivotal town of CHAWINDA in the SIALKOT SECTOR in the 1965 war

On 12th morning C Squadron was left with two troops due to loss of Sultan Bahadur on 11th at Phillorah. My squadron had lost only one tank so far as battle casualty, others were mechanical breakdowns and therefore only two troops were available to defend Chawinda. Khaliq’s troop was sent to Area 15 R on the northern outskirts of the village where Col. Shanwari’s Infantry had taken up position in the evening of 11 Sept. My troop was deployed along the railway line facing Jassoran with a task to stop enemy advance on Chawinda from that direction. Major Affendi’s Squadron was deployed on right of Chawinda. The exact location and extent is not known to me. Raccee troop with six recoilless rifles and six .30 brownings was also deployed independently, of which I have no knowledge. However, throughout the war, this troop did not suffer any casualty.

12th September was a peaceful day for my troop but not for Khaliq. The enemy did make probing attacks which Khaliq handled successfully. I heard unpleasant transmissions when a driver on one of his tank was killed through direct fire.

Somehow our deployment of tanks differed from Indians. They used tanks only for offensive action. Always concealed and camouflaged when deployed in static roll. They made good use of foot soldiers. Tanks seldom moved without infantry as per dictates of ground. In our case we did otherwise. Although our infantry was always around but we, as tank commanders, did not know their location nor did we know the forward and flanking extents of our defences. We also did not care much about concealment and positioned tanks which could be picked up by the enemy from long distance.

On the morning of 13th Major Raza Khan came back from rear and assumed command of the squadron. Khaliq was again deployed in area 15R and my troop along the railway line facing Jassoran. My tank was located behind high ground Nogaza grave, Grid reference 881012 (as per old maps). Regimental HQ was also located in the same area. At about 1200 hours I heard rifle bursts being fired at short intervals. I saw that an Indian soldier was firing at my tank from the direction of Dograndi. He was about 500 yards away. I called ‘Wurdee’ Major N/R Akhtar Hussain Shah and showed him the enemy soldier. His green uniform was clearly visible. We decided to catch him alive. A party of the men was formed including myself and N/R Akhtar Hussain Shah. We advanced in the direction of enemy infantry man with our stens on guard. We reached the point from where the enemy rifleman was firing, searched the entire field but there was no trace of enemy soldier, neither our infantry was deployed there. We came back disappointed. I can therefore conclude that enemy did send out patrol in order to probe our defences. I wonder if our infantry did the same. Khaliq’s troop remained under pressure on 13th September also but he remained steadfast.

On the morning of 14th we went into our positions as on 13th. At about 1600 hours I received orders to move and take up position in Mundeke Berian. I was told that enemy was advancing to that village from Jassoran.

I crossed the railway line and moved toward Mundeke Barian. When I reached near Butter Dugrandi I saw that a Shernam II was approaching from track Chanda-Jassoran. The tank Commander stopped me with hand signal. He was an elderly JCO with big mustaches from 33 TDU. He told me that he had gone across track Chawinda-Badiana, of which I had no knowledge. In fact I did not know that TDU was also operating with us. He further told me that his two tanks had been hit by enemy tanks short of Janewali. He requested me to accompany him and destroy the enemy tanks across the railways line. He further told me that there was good hull down position for me on the home side of railway line.

I asked for the permission to go with the JCO. The permission was not granted. I felt sorry for the JCO who had approached me with all the hope but I could not help him. I feel even today that I should have been allowed to go with the JCO who had seen the enemy tanks and could have directed me to a position from where I could destroy them.

From Buttar Dugrandi I was called back to Nogaza and was told that I was going to a wrong place. From the high ground I was shown a village on ground as Mundeke Barian and was ordered to reach there urgently. I reached that village and deployed my tank under a prominent tree. The troop was deployed in front of the village facing Jassoran and reported to the Squadron Commander. My Squadron Commander in turn reported to the Commanding Officer that his troop had reached the right destination. After some time I observed a civilian moving around in the area and inquired from him the name of the village. It was village Khurpa where I had taken up position. I wonder even today as to whether I had to defend Khurpa or Mundeke Barian. In any case map reading in the plains of Punjab is quite difficult specially in green season. In fact initially I was moving in right direction. After sometime I saw a troop of tanks coming out of Jassoran and moving parallel to the track facing Chawinda. I looked through my binoculars. Only the turret and gun was visible due to crop. To me they appeared to be M-48s. I passed the message accordingly to my squadron commander. I received the reply from Major Sikander that anything in front is enemy and I must open fire immediately. I ordered my tanks to open fire. The range was too great (3000 yards) to be accurate. The tanks in front did not return fire, instead they went north of track and disappeared. I remained deployed there for rest of the day with no activity.

Night fell and I was ordered to form a troop leaguer and stay there. I did not welcome this order and disliked to be left alone in the wilderness. I requested my squadron commander not to abandon me in the darkness of night. My request was not accepted and thereafter I collected my four tanks to form troop leaguer. No replenishment was to come.

Late at night I received orders to reach the high ground and join regimental leaguer there. It was a problem to reach the high ground because map reading was not possible at night. I requested Maj Raza Khan to show me a torch light signal from the high ground so that I could take direction. He did show the light which I could not locate. I then requested him to fire a very light to show me the direction which he refused to do and asked me not to bother him anymore and find my own way. I may mention here that north of my location very lights were being fired extensively.

I felt that enemy troops faced the same problems as myself, the direction problem. As I tried to line up one of my tanks failed to start. I ordered my other tank to toe the non starter. When the tank commander displayed reluctance, I decided to toe the non starter behind my tank. Keeping a safety margin I started moving towards east followed by other tanks. I hit Mattock instead of high ground where I happened to find Risaldar Riazul Hassan who was escorting few tanks, which were released from workshop, to regiment leaguer. I followed him and reached the leaguer at a time when Capt Rashid our quarter master, was leaving after replenishing the regiment. On the morning of 15th Khaliq was sent to 15R as usual and I was ordered to deploy along the railway line facing Jassoran.

At about 1200 hours pressure developed on Khaliq’s troop, thereafter I was ordered to move up for his support and stop enemy penetration between Jassoran and Chawinda. This was to prevent out flanking move from that direction by the enemy. I was also told to coordinate with the Battalion HQ of 3FF which was positioned in the area of tall trees little ahead of railway station in the north.

I ordered two tanks, Ghazanfar and Mohammed Khan, to take position in Butter Dugrandi. I along with Dafadar Aslam moved along the railway line keeping my tank west of the line and that of Aslam on the east. There was no visual contact between myself and Aslam due to intervening Railway station building. As I reached near the hut about 100 yards west of Railway station I spotted a centurion firing from area in the direction of rest house on Railway station. At the sametime I received uneasy messages from Dafadar Aslam. Gulzar, my gunner immediately engaged the enemy tank but he missed the target. The tank quickly reversed and went into the grove. I called for Aslam but there was no reply from his side. I could feel that something had gone wrong. I left my tank in position and ran towards rest house. There I saw that Aslam’s tank was standing rammed into a railway quarter Railway Station was under heavy artillery fire. The engine was under the debris which the crew was busy removing.

What happened was that as Aslam advanced ahead of rest house he came in the open and was engaged by the enemy tank which was already in position. The shot hit the rear left tool box and ricocheted. The driver reversed in hurry and hit the quarter in the rear. The tank stopped, meanwhile I engaged the enemy tank and Aslam’s tank was saved.

I helped them in clearing up the debris and started the tank. After placing Aslam in a suitable position I contacted CO 3FF in his bunker who was in good mood and high spirits. I briefed him about the location of my tanks which would remain in his support.

I may mention here that I did not ask him about the forward and flanking extents of his battalion nor did he brief me about that very important point of coordination for which we had to pay heavily the next day. Throughout the day my two tanks in Butter Dugrandi did not fire. However myself and Aslam did fire shots whenever the enemy tanks showed up in front of us. By now I had reached the conclusion that it was waste of ammunition to fire when the enemy tank is far too away. Mostly we kept them under observation and they were also doing the same. On this day the enemy also used air force in support of ground troops. My tank was rocketed several times but each time the rocket hit the ground few yards away from my tank. For rest of the day my troop remained in position with out any serious fighting, the enemy appeared occasionally in front of us. We fired at him and he disappeared every time in the grove.

At night we were told to leaguer close to front line and deploy next morning in the same position myself and Khaliq got together in the area of railway station close to 3FF battalion HQ who provided protection to our tanks. That night we spent together under one shelter and compared notes. Khaliq was quite bitter about the way his troops were being employed since last four days. He was being battered since last four days at the same location. He expected relief.

He was being used in anti tank role in static position while 106 recoilless rifles were available in plenty for that role. After few hours rest we were back again in our position at the first light 16th September.

For four days i.e. 12-15 September the enemy did not launch a determined attack on Chawinda which is evident form the casualties sustained by both sides, wich was almost nil.

However, the enemy did launch limited amend probing offensives frontly on Khaliq troop and also trying to fines flanks towards west of Chawinda. They did not attempt to prove the eastern side of Chawinda.

--------------------

Quran 23:110

Persistence commands success : Quaid e Azam

Last edited by Princess Royal; Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 04:06 PM.
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