Pakistanis 1965 Push to "the Gates of Delhi"?


 "...a major battle the
west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and
thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of
Delhi without much resistance." 1965 WAR-The Inside Story by R.D. Pradhan                                    


As Pakistanis honor the memory of  their 1965 war heroes on Defense of Pakistan Day today, let us review some snippets of how the war looked from the other side. R.D. Pradhan and Harbakhsh Singh were both insiders who participated in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. While Pradhan was a civilian working for Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan, General Harbakhash Singh was commanding Indian troops on the front-lines. Both have written books drawing upon their first-hand knowledge of how the war started, unfolded and ended in September, 1965.




In Chapter 8 titled "Of Cowardice and Panic" of his book "1965 War-The Inside Story", R.D. Pradhan describes the cowardice of Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad, the
Indian general commanding officer in Lahore sector.  When Pakistan Defense Forces counter-attacked the intruding Indian military and the general
was fired upon on Sept 6, 1965, he "ran away".  Here's an excerpt:


"On learning that,
Lt. Gen. Harbakash Singh and the corps commander drove in a Jonga (Nissan P60 Jeep) to
the battlefront. Army commander found that the enemy (PAF) air attack
had created a havoc on G.T. Road. (Indian) Vehicles were burning and
several vehicles of 15 Division abandoned on the road, the drivers
having run away, leaving some of the engines still running. Maj. Gen.
Niranjan Prasad was hiding in a recently irrigated sugar cane field. As
described by Harabakash Singh: "He (Prasad) came out to receive us, with
his boots covered with wet mud. He had no head cover, nor was he
wearing any badges of his rank. He had stubble on his face, not having
shaved." Seeing him in such a stage, Harbakhash Singh asked him:
"Whether he was the General Officer commanding a division or a coolie?
Why had he removed badges of rank and not shaved? Niranjan Prasad had no
answer." 


Chapter 12 of Pradhan's book is titled "Retreat to Beas"
in which there is detailed discussion of Indian COAS's proposal for the
Indian Army to retreat behind Beas in the face of Pakistan's fierce
counter-attacks after India's attempted incursion in Lahore. Pradhan argues in this chapter that during the 1965 war with
Pakistan, Indian COAS General Chaudhuri feared that "a major battle the
west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and
thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of
Delhi without much resistance"
.




Pradhan's book contains many different entries by Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan. A Sept 9, 1965 entry reads:  

Had a very hard day on all fronts. Very fierce counter-attacks mounted
and we are required to withdraw in Kasur area. COAS was somewhat
uncertain of himself. I suggested to him that he should go in forward
areas so that he will be in touch of realities. He said he would go next
day.



In Line of Duty: A Soldier Remembers, according to Shekhar Gupta, the editor of Indian Express, Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh reveals that not only "did Gen Chowdhury play a
very small role in the entire campaign, he was so nervous as to be on
the verge of losing half of Punjab to Pakistan, including the city of
Amritsar. Harbakhsh describes, in clinical detail, how our own offensive
in the Lahore sector had come unhinged. The general commanding the
division on Ichchogil canal fled in panic, leaving his jeep, its
wireless running and the briefcase containing sensitive documents that
were then routinely read on Radio Pakistan during the war. Singh wanted
to court martial him, Chowdhury let him get away with resignation".


According to Shekhar Gupta,
Harbkhash Singh recounts that a bigger disaster struck a bit to the
south where the other division cracked up in assault, just as it
encountered a bit of resistance. Several infantry battalions, short on
battle inoculation, deserted and Singh gives a hair-raising account –
and confirmation of a long-debated rumor – that Chowdhury panicked so
badly he ordered him to withdraw to a new defensive line behind the Beas, thereby conceding half of Punjab to Pakistan. Singh describes the
conversation with Chowdhury at Ambala where he refused to carry out the
order, asking his chief to either put it down in writing or visit the
front and take charge of the battle.




 Beyond the Indian insiders quoted above,  here is how several non-Pakistani journalists have covered the war:

The London Daily Mirror reported in 1965:

"There is a smell of death in the burning Pakistan sun. For it was here that India's attacking forces came to a dead stop.

"During
the night they threw in every reinforcement they could find. But wave
after wave of attacks were repulsed by the Pakistanis"

"India",
said the London Daily Times, "is being soundly beaten by a nation which
is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one
in size of armed forces."


In Times reporter Louis Karrar wrote:

"Who can defeat a nation which knows how to play hide and seek with death".

Pakistani President Ayub Khan (R) and Indian Prime Minister Shastri




USA - Aviation week - December 1968 issue:

"For
the PAF, the 1965 war was as climatic as the Israeli victory over the
Arabs in 1967. A further similarity was that Indian air power had an
approximately 5:1 numerical superiority at the start of the conflict.
Unlike the Middle East conflict, the Pakistani air victory was achieved
to a large degree by air-to-air combat rather than on ground. But it was
as absolute as that attained by Israel.


India was the first to accept UN sponsored ceasefire (page 100 of RD Pradhan's bo... on Sept 21 followed by Pakistan on Sept 22, bringing the 1965 war to an end on Sept 22, 1965. As the ceasefire took effect, Indian Defense Y.B. Chavan wrote in his diary as follows:

"The ball is now in the political court again--where it should be--and not in the military one. I hope we have the vision and courage to (our) political leadership."
  
Alas, the core issue of Kashmir still remains unresolved 47 years since Mr. Chavan wrote his words of wisdom.


Here's a Coke Studio video of a popular Pakistani song from 1965 war:


Ae Wattan Kay Sajeelay Jawanon, Amanat Ali,Coke Studio Pakistan, Se... from Coke Studio on Vimeo.

Related Link:

 Haq's Musings

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India-Pakistan Military Balance

Assessing Pakistan Army Capabilities

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech

Views: 840

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 7, 2013 at 9:22pm

Here's the BBC story from Sept 1965 on Indian military invasion of Pakistan:

1965: Indian Army invades W Pakistan
Indian troops have invaded West Pakistan, crossing the border at three points in an attack which appears to be aimed mainly at the city of Lahore.
Authorities in Delhi say their action was intended to prevent a direct attack by Pakistani forces against India.

On 25 August, Pakistani soldiers launched a covert operation across the ceasefire line, established in 1949 after the first Indo-Pakistani war, into Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

Since then there have been a number of clashes along the ceasefire line, but this is the first time Indian troops have crossed into West Pakistan in what is being seen as an act of war.

Air attacks

Since the first Indo-Pakistan war, both countries have continued to lay claim to the entire state of Kashmir. Currently Pakistan controls the smaller, northern sector of Azad Kashmir and the remaining area of Jammu and Kashmir, known commonly as Kashmir, is held by India.

Details of today's invasion are sketchy. There have been reports of the Indian Air Force in action, striking against military targets, including an oil tanker train, a group of military vehicles, a goods train carrying supplies, an army camp and some gun positions.

A spokesman for the Indian government said: "Our policy is that when Pakistan has bases from which it is mounting attacks on our territory we have to destroy those bases."

The Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan blamed recent attacks by Pakistani forces for the invasion.

Although there have been a number of air attacks against Indian installations in Punjab, these seem to have been mostly by single aircraft.

But Mr Chavan said: "It was quite apparent Pakistan's next move was to attack Punjab across the international frontier."

Reports from the Pakistani city of Karachi say forces have beaten back the Indian Army from Lahore.

They said advances at the border towns of Jasar, Wagah and Bedian had all been "fully stopped".

Pakistani officials say the number of Indian dead in the Lahore sector is 800, their own casualties are reported to be "very light".

The Pakistani President Ayub Khan has made an emergency broadcast to the nation saying, "We are at war".

He said the Indian attack was proof of the evil intentions which India had always harboured against Pakistan.

Reports from Delhi say Pakistani paratroopers have landed in the Punjab. Small groups have dropped in three places, Pathankot, Patiala and Ambala in an apparent attempt to damage military installations.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/6/newsid...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 29, 2013 at 7:46am

Here's Hindustan Times on Indian Army lies about the Battle of Logewala in 1971 in Rajhastan:

One of the most glorious moments of the Indian Army, the victory in the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 war with Pakistan, is based on blatant falsehood, claims an upcoming book by a general decorated in the same operations.

The battle was immortalised by the 1997 Bollywood blockbuster "Border", starring Sunny Deol as victorious army hero major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri. In a tell-all account of one of the first engagements in the western sector during the 14-day war, major general Atma Singh (retd) has alleged that the army's version of the battle is built on "exaggerated claims" when it had little to do with crushing Pakistani forces.

Atma Singh, then a major, has credited the Indian Air Force for saving the day for the country. He was commanding the No. 12 Air Observation Post (AOP) flight, tasked with directing close air support firepower toward enemy targets. AOP units were under the IAF. "If our own troops had vacated the post (Longewala) at first light on December 5, then when and where was the big battle of Longewala fought?" he questions in his book, "Battle of Longewala: The Real Story", which will hit the stands on December 3, the day the war began 42 years ago....

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/chandigarh/new-book-claims-to-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 20, 2015 at 9:48pm

#India Army ad admits its defeat at the hands of #Pakistan Army in 1965 war. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Major-Embarrassment-Army-Adv...

A full-page advertisement published in major Hindi national dailies on Thursday came out with major blunders in its text. For instance, the text mentioned the role of the 15th Infantry division during an attack near west of Ichhogil canal, saying that Indian Army responded to the Pakistan attack with fear (darkar muqabala kiya). The English version of the advertisement, published in leading national dailies were no better. “Pakistan’s 1st Armoured division pushed an offensive towards Khem Karan and by 10 September nearly 100 tanks lay destroyed in what is now known as the Battle of Asal Uttar.” It takes away the credit of the Indian Army as there is no mention of the Indian Army’s role in the famous battle. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Major-Embarrassment-Army-Adv...

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 29, 2016 at 10:07am

#Pakistan Air Force pilot M.M. Alam among 7 of the Greatest Flying Aces in World Aviation History - http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/g2323/greatest-flying-aces/ … via @PopMech


A dogfight between two aircraft is perhaps the most fascinating type of combat. The technical knowledge and precision required to operate a fighter aircraft combined with the physical and mental strain of a dogfight make the fighter pilots who excel at them truly exceptional.

Unofficially, a flying ace is a fighter pilot who shoots down at least five enemy aircraft, though the number a single pilot can achieve has steadily decreased because anti-aircraft and tracking technology has made dogfights rare in modern warfare. From Erich Hartmann, the Nazi fighter pilot credited with the most aerial victories of all time, to Giora Epstein, the ace of aces of supersonic jet pilots, these men are among the most skilled fighter pilots to ever enter a cockpit.


Muhammad Mahmood Alam was a Pakistani Air Force jet fighter pilot in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He was the last fighter pilot to become an ace in a day, shooting down five Indian Hawker Hunter fighter jets in less than a minute on September 7 1965, the last four of which he downed within 30 seconds. A national hero in Pakistan, Alam holds the world record for becoming an ace in the shortest amount of time. This bold feat also makes him the only jet pilot to become an ace in one day. Alam was already a respected leader and proficient pilot and gunner when the war started in April 1965. He piloted an F-86 Sabre and downed a total of nine Indian Hawker Hunters in the 1965 war, as well as damaging two others.

Top 7: 

Manfred von Richthofen - World War I

Erich Hartmann - World War II

James Jabara - Korean War

Muhammad Mahmood Alam - Indo-Pakistani War

Charles B. DeBellevue - Vietnam War

Giora Epstein - Arab–Israeli Wars

Cesar Rodriguez - Gulf War

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 19, 2019 at 3:35pm

#Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney: Fighting tactical battles for one-upmanship. #Rafale and #S400 would certainly help Indian Air Force, but would not tilt the operational level balance in #India’s favor in conflict with #Pakistan https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/fighting-tactical-battles... via @thetribunechd

The issue, thus, is about tactics and operational level of war. The Pakistan military, learning from the Soviet Union, has always given importance to the operational level. This is why in the 1965 and 1971 wars, despite being more in bean-counting of assets, India never won in the western sector. Proof of this are the ceasefire line and the Line of Control, which otherwise would have been converted into international borders.

The situation, regrettably, remains the same today. Separate doctrines of the Army and the Air Force, and with each service doing its own training is evidence that no amount of modernisation would help if the focus of service chiefs remains on tactics. For example, after the Balakot operation, a senior Air Force officer told me that the PAF would not last more than six days. He believed in tactical linear success. What about the other kinetic and non-kinetic forces which impact at the operational level?

This is not all. Retired senior Air Force officers started chest-thumping about the Balakot airstrike having set the new normal. Some argued that air power need not be escalatory, while others made the case for the use of air power in counter-terror operations like the Army. Clearly, they all were talking tactics, not war. Had India retaliated to the PAF’s counter-strike, what it called an act of war, an escalation was assured. It is another matter that PM Narendra Modi had only bargained for the use of the IAF for electoral gains. 

Talking of tactics, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa spoke about relative technological superiority. Perhaps, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would not have strayed into Pakistani airspace if his MiG-21 Bison had Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Operational Data Link (ODL). The SDR operates in the VHF, UHF, Ku and L bandwidths and is meant to remove voice clutter. The ODL provides the pilot with data or text, in this case from the ground controller. The officer, separated from his wing-man, and without necessary voice and data instructions, unwittingly breached the airspace and was captured by the Pakistan army. There are known critical shortages of force multipliers in addition to force levels in the IAF. Surely, the IAF Chief can’t do much except keep asking the government to fill the operational voids. But, he could avoid making exaggerated claims since his words would only feed the ultra-nationalists, and support the Modi government’s spurious argument of having paid special attention to national security.

The same is the case with Rafale and S-400. These would certainly help, but would not tilt the operational level balance in India’s favour. For example, the IAF intends to use S-400 in the ‘offensive air defence’ role rather than its designed role of protecting high-value targets like Delhi, for which it was originally proposed. For the protection of high-value targets, the Air Headquarters has made a strong case to purchase the United States’ National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS). This is ironic, because while S-400 can destroy hostile ballistic missiles, NASAMS can’t do so. It can only kill cruise missiles and other aerial platforms. The thinking at the Air Headquarters is that since there is no understanding on the use of ballistic missiles — especially with Pakistan — both sides are likely to avoid the use of ballistic missiles with conventional warheads lest they are misread and lead to a nuclear accident. So, NASAMS may probably never be called upon to take on ballistic missiles.

Given the direction of the relationship between the India and Pakistan, this assumption may not be the best to make when procuring prohibitively expensive high-value assets.

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