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Battle of Chawinda Second Largest Tank Battle.

Umair Nawaz

Sep 10, 2012
Major Shamshad’s excellent and thought provoking articles published in the Defence Journal in 1997-98 on the Battle of Chawinda, inspired this scribe to redraft parts of his book “The Pakistan Army till 1965” and present them in form of an article devoted exclusively to the Chawinda Battles. The article is a humble attempt to integrate the picture incorporating viewpoints of both sides and to analyse the Battle of Chawinda in its larger perspective.


The tank battles fought in the area between Charwa and Chawinda from 8th to 21 September 1965 were the most decisive battles of the 1965 War . Initially the Indians were very close to victory while in the last stages the Pakistan Army was in a relatively better position to launch a counterstroke which could have forced the Indians to abandon all gains made inside the Shakargarh Bulge from 7th September.

The Chawinda Battles also gave birth to many myths as far as the Pakistan Army was concerned. Many conflicting claims were made about ‘Military Effectiveness’ ‘Martial Fervour’ etc citing the ‘Battles of Chawinda’ as an example. The Indian commanders were also criticised for phenomenal incompetence, but somehow they rationalised their failures as a case of normal failure in face of technically superior tanks.

Pakistani Dispositions

Pakistani dispositions in Ravi-Chenab Corridor where the battle of Chawinda was fought were as following:– (ONE) 8 Division consisting of four infantry brigades (24,101,104 and 115 Brigades) four armoured regiments (20 Lancers,25 Cavalry, 31 & 33 TDU 1) defending Sialkot-Pasrur Sector and Jassar. The total frontage that this division had to defend was approximately 180,000 yards. 2 But this was only a theoretically awesome figure, because till 1965, keeping in view the force to space ratio in terms of divisions available, the Indians were not in a position to be effective as a threat all along this frontage. (TWO) 6 Armoured Division in Chenab Ravi Corridor3 to defend the area from any Indian incursion. The 6 Armoured Division was not a full strength division and consisted of a divisional headquarter, three armoured regiments (one of which was in Chamb for Grand Slam) two artillery regiments, two motorised infantry regiments and had no brigade headquarter. Initially it was placed at Gujranwala but later placed at Pasrur4. This Division according to Musa was placed at Pasrur with the express intention of dealing with enemy’s main attack which was expected on the Jassar-Sialkot approach.5

Indian War Plan

The Main Indian Attack was aimed at decisively disrupting the Pakistani defensive layout and resultantly forcing Pakistan to commit its main armoured reserves for defence was to be launched by the newly formed Indian 1 Corps comprising the 1st Armoured Division and three infantry divisions (6 Mountain Division 14 Division and 26 Division) in the Ravi-Chenab Corridor from Samba area on the general axis Samba-Chawinda-Phillora-MRL Link and eventually secure line Daska-Dhallewali-Mandhali6. In other words the Indian aim as stated by another Indian military writer was to ‘cut off Sialkot from Lahore’.7 As per the wording of the decisions taken at the planning conference of the Indian Chief of Army Staff held on 9th August the object of the 1 Corps attack aimed at Daska was ‘with a view to relieving Jammu’.8 This meant that the Indian Army Chief viewed a Pakistani attack on Jammu with a view to severe the Indian line of communication as most likely. This attack was rightly termed as ‘Riposte’ by some Indian authors.Riposte has been defined as ‘Striking a vulnerable point thus forcing the enemy to abandon his attack’.9

The Battle of Chawinda

The main Indian attack against Pakistan was launched by the Ist Indian Corps opposite Chawinda in Sialkot Sector. The Sialkot Sector was defended by the Pakistani 1 Corps comprising 15 Division and 6 Armoured Division. From 1956 onwards the 1 Corps was the only corps of the Pakistan Army. Till 1965 its area of operational responsibility extended from river Chenab till Sulaimanke in the north and it consisted of 1st Armoured Division, 6 Armoured Division,10,11 and 15 Divisions. The 1 Corps since soon after its creation in 1956 was commanded by Lieutenant General Bakhtiar Rana10 whose basic qualifications were described as extreme loyalty and limited intellect by many contemporaries! In early September the frontage of the corps was reduced to the area between Ravi and Chenab rivers or simply the Ravi-Chenab Corridor, and its under command formations were reduced to the 6 Armoured Division and 15 Division.

Pakistani Dispositions and Plans:- 15 Division (four infantry brigades, four tank regiments) was designated to defend the area of responsibility while the newly formed 6 Armoured Division (previously known as 100 Armoured Brigade) was the main strategic reserve in the area. The total frontage of 15 Division was 180,000 yards and the distribution of forces/dispositions/tasks were as following11:–

15 Division:- This division was commanded by Brigadier Sardar Mohammad Ismail Khan from the ASC. Its defences were organised as following:-

115 Brigade:– The main task of this brigade was to defend the area along the river Ravi with special emphasis on Jassar bridge over river Ravi. The brigade had two infantry battalions, one tank regiment (33 TDU), one R & S company and two artillery batteries (one field and one mortar).

24 Brigade:– Defend area Chobara-Phillaura and be prepared to attack an enemy force which seek to attack the Sialkot Sector (i.e. 15 Division area of responsibility). It was a sort of a reserve/counterattack force. The brigade had two infantry battalions, one tank regiment (25 Cavalry), one R & S company, and one field artillery regiment less a battery in direct support.

101 Brigade:– Defending Sialkot city against enemy attack along main Jammu-Sialkot road and also to be prepared to go on the offensive in case of an enemy concentration in Phillaura area. The brigade had two infantry battalions,one R & S company, one tank squadron (ex 31 TDU) and one field regiment and a mortar battery less troop in direct support.

104 Brigade:– This was a reserve brigade but had just one infantry battalion, one tank regiment (31 TDU) minus one squadron and a field regiment less battery in direct support.

One infantry battalion in an independent role to defend the crucial Marala Headworks.

Covering Troops/Advance Positions:–

One tank regiment (20 Lancers) less squadron deployed in front as covering troops from Chaprar till main Jammu-Sialkot road. 20 Lancers was the corps recce regiment.

One tank squadron (20 Lancers) with one infantry company, one R & S company deployed as advance position on main Sialkot Jammu road in area Raspur-Kundanpur.

One R & S company as screen on border to cover the front from Bajra Garghi to Charwa.

One R & S platoon with R & S Battalion Headquarter in Shakargarh area.

Rangers (border police) to keep the border between Chaprar and Marala Headworks under observation.

12 Mujahid Companies (Militia) and rangers all along the border subdivided into small posts for observation/local defence.

NOTE:– There were a total of 24 Rangers/Mujahid Companies in 15 Division area. These were of limited military value and could not face regular Indian Army.

6 Armoured Division:- 6 Armoured Division was not an armoured division in the full sense but did have a large number of the organisational ingredients of an armoured division. It was commanded by Major General Ibrar Hussain. It was the 1 Corps reserve and was the main Pakistani armoured reserve in the Ravi-Chenab Corridor with the primary role to take on an enemy strike force attacking 1 Corps area of responsibility. According to Musa the most expected line of Indian approach in 1 Corps defended area was the Sialkot Jassar Corridor12 and the 6th Armoured Division was to be used in a defensive role against an enemy offensive in 1 Corps area.According to Gul Hassan it was also visualised that the 6 Armoured Division could be used to attack the Jammu sector but later on this idea was dropped13. The 6 Armoured Division was a curious division for it had no brigade headquarters! On 6th September 1965 it was in dispersal in Gujranwala-Nandipur area. It had the following units14:-

Guides Cavalry (10th Cavalry)
22 Cavalry

11 Cavalry (On loan to 12 Division/7 Division for Operation Grand Slam since late August 1965 and in Chamb area on 6th September 1965.

Two infantry battalions one of which was in Kharian as defence battalion with the 1 Corps Headquarter.

One self-propelled field artillery regiment and one medium battery. Later on from 6th September onwards the formidable and extremely well organised 4 Corps Artillery Brigade consisting of one field, one medium, one heavy and one locating regiment was also affiliated with it.
One engineer and one signal battalion.

Indian Dispositions and Plans:- The Indian 1 Corps was deployed opposite the Pakistani 1 Corps. The 1 Corps consisted of one armoured division (1st Armoured Division) and three infantry divisions (6 Mountain Division,14 Infantry Division and 26 Infantry Division). The 1 Corps was the principal Indian strike force and was tasked to launch the main Indian attack inside Pakistan.The main task of this corps in words of K.C Praval was to ‘cut off Sialkot from Lahore’ and this was to be done by attacking from general area Samba east of Jammu and advancing in a southwesternly direction cutting the Sialkot-Jammu road around Daska15 as already discussed in the earlier part of this chapter. Gurcharan Singh described 1 Corps task as ‘secure a bridgehead extending to line Bhagowal-Phillora cross roads junction south of Tharoah with a view to advancing to the eastern bank of the MRL canal’ with the possibility of advancing further to line Dhalewali-Wahulai-Daska-Mandhali’16. The initial objectives of this attack were capturing Phillora Chawinda and Pagowal areas.Distribution of forces/dispositions and formation tasks were as following17:–

1st Armoured Division:– It was the spearhead of the Indian offensive. This formation was much weaker in numerical/organisational terms from the 1st Pakistani Armoured Division i.e. having only four tank regiments and lorried infantry battalions and two brigade headquarters. 62 Tank regiment was therefore taken from 26 Division and assigned to it as the fifth tank regiment.It was tasked to advance inside Pakistani territory on general axis Ramgarh-Phillora-Pagowal-Chawinda-MRL from first light 8th September after the 6 Mountain Division had secured the bridgehead in Maharajke-Charwa area.As per the Divisional plan this advance was to be conducted on two axis with 43 Lorried Brigade on the right and 1st Armoured Brigade on the left. The 1st Armoured Division was organised as following:–

1st Armoured Brigade:- It consisted of two tank regiments (17 Poona Horse, 16 Light Cavalry) one tank squadron (from 62 Cavalry), and one and a quarter infantry battalion (lorry borne) etc which was tasked to advance in the first phase on axis Ramgarh-Harbal-Sabzkot-Chobara-Phillora. Tasks/Groupings for operations till MRL canal after capture of Phillora were to be given later.

43 Lorried Brigade:- Grouped as one full tank regiment (2 Lancers), one tank regiment less squadron (62 Cavalry) and two lorried infantry battalions tasked to advance on axis Salehriyah-Saidanwali-Cross roads-Mastpur-Ahmad Pur-Pagowal.

Divisional Reserve:- One tank regiment (4 Hodson’s Horse) and one lorried infantry company.

6 Mountain Division:- This division was the principal infantry component of the 1 Corps offensive battle and was tasked to secure the bridgehead inside Pakistani territory from where the 1st Armoured Division was to be launched on the thrust towards MRL canal.Its initial task was to secure the bridgehead in area Maharajke-Charwa and exploit till line Ahmadpur-Nauni.It was tasked to commence the attack at 2300 hours on 7th September 1965.18 It had the following troops for the bridgehead operation:-

69 Mountain Brigade:- The right forward assaulting brigade in the 6 MountainDivision bridgehead operation. It had three battalions and a tank squadron from 62 Cavalry and was tasked to capture Maharajke area in the first phase of the 1 Corps operation.

99 Mountain Brigade:- The left forward assaulting brigade in the 6 Mountain Division bridgehead operation.It consisted of three infantry battalions and was tasked to capture Charwa in the Corps phase one.

35 Infantry Brigade:- Originally from 14 Division, this brigade consisted of three infantry battalions and was placed under command 6 Mountain Division specifically for the bridgehead operation. It was the reserve brigade of the 6 Mountain Division and was earmarked for unforeseen tasks.

14 Infantry Division:- In the initial Indian attack plan this formation was supposed to take full part in the I Indian Corps offensive in Sialkot sector. However the peculiar developments of events in September 1965 dictated otherwise and this formation played a limited role in the 1 Corps operation. These reasons are explained in detail in note 146.19 The Division played no role in the initial battles of 8 to 10 September 1965 as its 35 was under 6 Mountain and 1st Armoured Division but was assigned a limited role from 11/12th September to attack Zafarwal. Its 116 Brigade reached Samba area from Pathankot on 10th September and became the first brigade to function under command 14 Division opposite general area Zafarwal.20

26 Infantry Division:- This formation consisted of three infantry brigades (19,162 & 168) and one tank regiment (18th Cavalry).19 Brigade had two infantry battalions while 162 and 168 Brigades had three infantry battalions each. It was assigned the mission of containing Pakistani forces at Sialkot so that these could not create any problem on the northern flank of the 1st Armoured Division’s line of advance. To achieve this aim 162 and 168 Brigade with a tank squadron each,162 Brigade on the right and 168 Brigade on the left were to carry out a limited advance into astride Sialkot Jammu road in the direction of Unche Wains-Niwe Wains-Bajragrahi areas from 2330 Hours night of 7th September onwards. The third brigade i.e. 19 Brigade was to be the reserve brigade.21 It appears that this brigade was brought particularly against the Pakistani Marala Salient which was called ‘ Dagger Salient’ by the Indians. All the Pakistanis had in this dagger salient was one simple infantry battalion! The main malady with which the Indians suffered was having too much infantry and not knowing how to use it while the Pakistani problem seems to have been having too many tanks and not knowing how to use them!

Battle of Chawinda-6th to 22nd September 1965

Jassar Bridge Crisis:- At 0315 hours on the night of 6th/7th September Indian artillery shelled the Pakistani 115 Brigades positions on both sides of the Jassar Bridge.It was ironical that both the 115 Pakistani Brigade (two infantry battalions,one R & S Company and one TDU tank regiment) and the 29 Indian Brigade(three infantry battalions and one tank squadron) opposing each other in Jassar area were commanded by two extremely timid and highly nervous commanders. The task assigned to 29 Indian Brigade originally from 7 Division but now operating in an independent role directly under 11 Corps Headquarter was to capture the Pakistani enclave across river Ravi which was a potential Pakistani jump off point inside Indian territory. The Indians launched their attack at 0400 hours 6th September and by 0415 hours reached the southern end of the Jassar bridge which was a few hundred yards from the Indian border. 115 Brigade launched a counter attack using tanks and dislodged the Indians from the southern end of the bridge by 0800 hours. The Pakistani GHQ, influenced by nervousness at Headquarter 1 corps, took the situation opposite Jassar very seriously and ordered the 6 Armoured Division in dispersal in Gujranwala-Nandipur area to move to Pasrur on night 6/7 September.22 The Indian brigade commander sent exaggerated reports about Pakistani success to 11 Corps Headquarter and requested permission to withdraw. 11 Corps Headquarter instead sent their Chief Engineer Officer and another staff officer to revive the morale of 29 Infantry Brigade Commander. These two officers on arrival were able to put some spirit in the 29 Brigade and under their supervision the 29 Indian Brigade launched another attack on night 06/07 September 23. This attack was successful and the Indians recaptured the southern end of the bridge by 0800 hours 7th September 1965. In response to this development the 115 Brigade blew up a span of the Jassar bridge which was already prepared for demolition since 6th September at 0800 hours 07 September 1965. In reality the situation had stabilised now with river Ravi in between and both the brigades positioned north and south of the river. Brigadier Muzaffar was unfortunately for Pakistan Army of a different stuff. At 1130 hours on the same day i.e. 7th September without reconfirming he sent a report to Headquarter 15 Division that an enemy infantry battalion had crossed the ravi river and established a foothold on the northern side of the river 24. All this was happening at a time when Headquarter 11 Indian Corps had ordered the 29 Brigade on 8th September to leave a battalion and revert to its parent formation 7 Infantry Division’s command in area Bhikiwind on the night of 8/9th September25, in response to the developments in 4 Mountain Division sector as a result of the 1st Armoured division’s offensive in Khem Karan. 115 Brigades alarming report naturally caused grave apprehensions in the Pakistani High Command from 15 Division onwards till the GHQ. Headquarter 15 Division despatched 24 Brigade less one battalion opposite Chobara-Phillora alongwith one tank regiment (25 Cavalry) to 115 Brigade area (Jassar). 25 Cavalry spearheading the fire brigade sent to extinguish the exaggerated fire at Jassar reached Jassar at 2200 hours on 7th September and found out that the situation was not a fraction as serious as reported by 115 Brigade and at 0200 hours on night 7/8 September to return to his original location Pasrur which 25 Cavalry reached at first light 8th September26. Meanwhile the 6 Armoured Division which had started moving from Gujranwala to Pasrur on 6th September evening and whose leading elements had reached Pasrur by 2345 hours was ordered to return to Gujranwala by 0500 hours 7th September!27 Contrary to the porevalent thinking in Pakistan Jassar was no Indian deception but a sheer defensive action aimed at eliminating a dangerous enclave from which the Pakistanis could threaten Amritsar. It was the fog of war that made the Pakistani GHQ and 1 Corps imagine the shadow at Jassar as that of a giant ! Interestingly the Indian brigade commander at Jassar was as much afraid of the Pakistani troops opposite him as the Pakistani 1 Corps and GHQ were afraid of the Indian threat opposite Jassar. If Major Shamshad a direct participant who went to Narowal (Jassar) is to be believed then only one squadron of 25 Cavalry was sent to Jassar.28

The 26 Division Fixing Manoeuvre against Sialkot from 7th to 8th September:– The aim of 26 Division attack against Sialkot was not to capture Sialkot but to contain the Pakistani forces in Sialkot so that they could not pose a threat to the northern flank of the main Indian attack force consisting of the 1st Armoured and 6 Mountain Division.Keeping in view the Indian superiority in this sector this was an easy to achieve objective.The Pakistani 15 Division had relatively better mobile forces in the shape of one tank regiment, one TDU tank regiment and one R & S Company but just three infantry battalions (two from 101 Brigade and one being from the divisional reserve i.e. 104 brigade) against one Indian tank regiment and eight infantry battalions. The Indian attack commenced two brigade up against the border villages of Niwe Wains, Bajragarhi etc from 2330 hours night 7/8 September. Both the brigades captured their insignificant objectives.In any case the troops opposite Sialkot were too weak to interfere with the advance of the main Indian attack. The Indians however remained obsessed with defence of Jammu and later brought a fourth brigade i.e. the 52 Mountain Brigade(three battalions) on 11th September 1965.29

The Main Indian Attack and 25 Cavalry (24 Brigade) Counter actions 0n 8th September 1965:–We have already discussed that 25 Cavalry and 24 Brigade minus one unit in defence opposite Charwa was despatched to Jassar on 7th September and that 25 Cavalry returned to Pasrur at approximately 0500 hours on 8th September. While 25 Cavalry and 24 Brigade were moving to Jassar and moving back to Pasrur the third battalion of 24 Brigade i.e. 3 FF which was holding defences opposite Maharajke-Chrawa extended as a screen for over 10,000 yards30 was overrun by the concerted attack of the 69 and 99 Mountain Brigades on the night of 7th/8th September. This news about the overrunning of 3 FF was received at 0600 hours at Pasrur by the 24 Brigade headquarter which had just reached Pasrur from Jassar at 0500 hours on 8th September. The news was shocking! Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik the 24 Brigade Commander knew little about tank warfare and had no idea of the quantum of troops opposite him. However the Commanding Officer of 25 Cavalry Lieutenant Colonel Nisar, was a capable armour officer. In adition 25 Cavalry was,to Pakistan Army’s good luck, a newly raised but extremely fine tank regiment, having on its strength some very outstanding officers, not merely on paper but in terms of bravery in face of enemy and in extraordinary situations. Malik who like Nisar had no clue about the situation in his front and asked Nisar to do something.31 Thus Malik abdicated the conduct of battle to the commanding officer of a tank regiment which was under his command! The regiment was refuelling at this time having poofed up all the fuel going to Jassar (Major Shamshad, a direct participant and later referred to, states that only Charlie Squadron went to Pasrur) and coming back. Nisar immediately ordered tank squadron (B Squadron) commanded by Major Ahmad (originally from Guides Cavalry and an extremely brave leader of men) to advance in an extended order towards Charwa the reported point of enemy breakthrough!After tasking one of the squadrons to advance towards Charwa Nisar alerted the remaining part of the regiment to move towards Chawinda. At 0730 hours Nisar sent another squadron (A Squadron) towards Tharoah on receiving reports that Indian armour was seen opposite Tharoh area. At 1130 hours Nisar sent ‘A’ Squadron to area west of Gadgor.In short by 1200 hours the whole of 25 Cavalry was deployed three squadrons in line abreast opposite the Indian 1st Armoured Brigade leading the advance of the Indian 1st Armoured Division. ‘B’ squadron of 25 Cavalry came in contact with the advancing tanks of the Indian 1st Armoured Division near Gadgor.The Indian 1st Armoured Division which had commenced its advance from the bridgehead secured by the 6 Mountain Division in Charwa-Maharajke area after crossing the international border at 0600 hours on the morning of 8th September.It was advancing two regiments up;with an inter regiment gap of approximately 3500 to 4000 metres in between,each regiment one squadron up, 16 Light Cavalry supported by a Gurkha infantry battalion on the right,advancing towards Phillora 17 Poona Horse on the left advancing towards Tharoah cross roads.Both the tank regiments had a clean run during the first 15 kilometres of their advance inside Pakistan.According to the Indian armoured corps historian the Pakistan Airforce aircrafts attacked the leading Indian armour elements at about 8.40 Am. at Chobara but were unable to hit any tank. The Indian 16 Light Cavalry advancing two troops up came in contact with 25 Cavalry’s tanks advancing in extended order towards Chobara without a clue that the Indian 1st Armoured Division was just a few miles away. 25 Cavalry ‘s ‘Bravo Squadron’ commanded by Major Ahmad ,suddenly at approximately 50 to 200 metres ranges at about 0900 or 0945 hours came into contact with two leading tank troops of 16 Light Cavalry. Some of Ahmad’s tanks had taken firepositions while some were in the open .The Indians were on the move. A confused firefight followed in which both sides lost tanks, Pattons burning on being hit while Centurions getting shot through both sides! Both the Indian leading tank troop leaders were killed, thus leaving the leading squadron commander of 16 Light Cavalry clueless.32 Major Ahmad of 25 Cavalry carried the day by fighting from the front, thus inspiring his men to fight till death, rather than withdraw an inch. It was during this firefight that Major Ahmad, who had already changed his tank once was also severely burnt after having personally destroyed four tanks.33 There is no doubt that it was Major Ahmad who saved the Pakistani position at Gadgor by fighting from the front and injecting in his men real steel. He was the only squadron commander in 25 Cavalry who led from the front and was the only major who proved himself equal to the crisis in 25 Cavalry! Major Shamshad one of the direct participant in that battle gave the same verdict.34 16 Light Cavalry CO tried to bring up another squadron, commanded by an Indian Muslim officer Major M.A.R Shiekh to outflank the Pakistani position in front from the the east. The space for manoeuvre was however extremely limited Poona Horse the left forward Indian unit being just 4000 metres away from the right forward unit. In the process of manoeuvring this second squdron exposed its broadsides to 25 Cavalry tanks of ‘ Alpha Squadron’ losing many tanks including that of Major Shiekh who received a head injury35 and died on the spot. Finally this second squadron was held up having lost its squadron commander and unable to manoeuvre due to limited visibility and lack of space to manoeuvre. As per General Gurcharan Singh once the second squadron was held up CO 16 Light Cavalry passed ‘exaggerated’ reports to the 1 Armoured Brigade Commander who in turn ordered 16 Light Cavalry not to advance any further36. We will not go in the details of what 25 Cavalry or 16 Light Cavalry did since this in itself would require a whole book.In brief 16 Light Cavalry’s advance was checked at Gadgor by 1000 hours 8th September. 17 Poona Horse which was advancing on the left towards Tharoah commenced its advance two squadrons up but soon changed to one squadron up because of the limited fields of fire and observation that made command and control, extremely difficult.It came in contact with 25 Cavalry at 0945 hours in Tharoh area and was also checked like 16 Light Cavalry. According to Gurcharan Singh some firing took place in between the tanks of 16 Light Cavalry and 17 Poona Horse37. This happened because the inter regiment gap between both the regiments was too less. ‘C’ Squadron 62 Cavalry which was tasked to provide left flank protection to the 1st Armoured Division’s advance was delayed as its tanks got bogged down while inside Indian territory .When half of this squadron did finally got going and crossed the border at 1000 hours it went south towards Zafarwal by some misunderstanding after crossing the Degh Nala instead of advancing parallel and north of the Degh Nala as originally ordered!This squadron crossed the Degh Nala and reached Zafarwal in Pakistani territory absolutely unopposed and later recrossed the Degh Nala to go north once it probably realised that it was supposed to stay north of Degh Nala!Once this squadron was recrossing the Degh Nala it was engaged by an Indian artillery battery providing fire support to the 1st Armoured brigade,which naturally mistook it for Pakistani tanks seeing it approach from south of Degh Nala.In turn this squadron also opened fire on the Indian battery which they thought to be a Pakistani battery destroying several guns and vehicles!38 By 1300 hours Brigadier K.K Singh Commander 1st Armoured Brigade was a mentally defeated man.He reached the conclusion that ‘He was held up by at least two Patton regiments and that there was no possibility of advancing direct towards Phillora without suffering unacceptable losses’.He was further unnerved by reports of a ‘raid by enemy tanks on guns and soft vehicles’ (which in reality was the firing between 62 Cavalry’s tanks coming recrossing Degh Nadi!)39 Commander 1 Armoured Brigade concluded that ‘his line of communication was not secure’40 and ‘decided to adopt a defensive posture for the security of his command at 1400 hours issued orders withdrawing the brigade into a ‘box’ around Sabzpir cross roads! The 17 Poona Horse which had encountered opposition but was taking positive measures to deal with it was also withdrawn and deployed to cover the eastern flank in the area,and the 4 Hodson’s Horse was also detailed to defend the southern flank41. All this was happening at a time when there was just 25 Cavalry in front of the whole 1st Indian Armoured Division! The readers may note that the Indians were not lacking in valour as cheap propaganda conducted in Pakistan after 1965 claimed but phenomenally incompetent at unit and brigade level. Their right forward unit 17 Poona Horse could have easily outflanked 25 Cavalry’s ‘Alpha Squadron’. Major Shamshad a direct participant thus rightly observed in his article that ‘There is a big gap, about six miles wide, between Hasri Nala and Degh Nala which could have provided a safe passage to 17 Poona Horse up to Pasrur. No troops were deployed to defend this area. It appears that they did try to advance but the higher headquarters held them back. I say so because I saw trackmarks of Centurions in Seowal on 19th September.’ 42 It may be noted that the 43 Lorried Brigade advance on the other axis also went diasastorously, less due to enemy opposition and more due to poor as well as inefficient execution.The 43 Lorried Brigade which was supposed to commence advance at 0600 hours commenced advance five hours late at 1100 hours because its leading unit 8 Garhwal reached the start line much later than planned,and got delayed as soon as it commenced advance due to poor traffic control ! No men with landmines tied to their chests were needed in face of such phenomenally incmpetent staff and battle procedures! 43 Lorried Brigade led by 2 Lancers finally reached Sabzpir cross roads at 1530 hours where tanks of the Indian 1st Armoured Brigade opened fire on Indian Armoured Corps’s 2 Lancers mistaking them for Pakistani tanks and in the process destroyed two Indian tanks including CO 2 Lancers tank!43 Thus 43 Lorried brigade also harboured at Sabzpir cross roads.Gurcharan Singh’s verdict on the Indian 1st Armoured Division’s performance is worth quoting and is also a tribute to 25 Cavalry, the only unit of the Pakistan Army that did on 8th September 1965 what no other unit of Pakistan Army ever did and most probably would ever do again.44 Gurcharan thus wrote; ‘The first days battle could not have got off to a worse start. The Armoured Brigade had been blocked by two squadrons of Pattons and in the first encounter the brigade had lost more tanks than the enemy had….whole of 1 Corps had gained a few kilometres… The worst consequence of the days battle was its paralysing effect on the minds of the higher commanders. It took them another 48 hours to contemplate the next offensive move. This interval gave the Pakistanis time to move up and deploy their 6 Armoured Division with five additional armoured regiments.In fact the golden opportunity that fate had offered to the 1st Armoured division to make worthwhile gains had been irretrievably lost’.45 Harbaksh Singh also accurately summed up the Indian failure; ‘both 16 Cavalry and 17 Horse failed to determine the strength of the opposing armour and displayed little skill in outmanoeuvring it… the Brigade Commander made the unfortunate decision to withdraw 17 Horse from Tharoah for countering an alleged serious tank threat on the Left flank. This was a grave error of judgement as 4 Horse which by this time had been released to the Brigade by GOC 1 Armoured Division, could have been used to meet any flank threat posed by the enemy armour. The blunder cost us dearly.We made an advance of only four miles beyond the bridgehead when a much deeper penetration could have been achieved. The fleeting chance that could have been exploited to gain a striking success, was lost forever…. and while we were fumbling about ineffectively in a chaotic situation of our own creation, the enemy had that vital breathing space so essential for a quick rally round from the stunning impact of surprise. We courted a serious setback through faulty decision and immature handling of armour which the enemy was not slow to exploit. From now onwards,the thrust intended to keep the enemy off balance and reeling until the final blow by sheer speed of advance, turned into a slow slogging match—a series of battering-ram actions’.46 I have not come across any finer summing up of the Battle of Chawinda than the one done by Harbaksh Singh. I have specifically quoted it to show that 8th September was the most critical day of the otherwise long series of actions around Chawinda which dragged on till cease-fire on 22 September 1965. It was on 8th September or 0n 9th when the Indians could have easily outflanked the Pakistanis at Chawinda,had their higher armour commanders not been paralysed into a state of inertia indecision and inaction because of 25 Cavalry’s memorable extended line stand in Gadgor area. Major Shamshad states that ‘Instead of wasting two days in planning, If Poona Horse had advanced from Dugri to Shehzada and captured Pasroor on 9th we would have been in serious trouble.Alternatively, 2 Royal Lancers could have moved unopposed from Bhagowal to Badiana and cut Sialkot-Pasrur Road’.47 After 9th September when the Pakistani 6 Armoured Division and later the 1st Armoured Division beefed up Pakistani strength it was no longer a question of valour or superior generalship but simple,unimaginative frontal battle with both sides having equal number of tanks.Keeping this background in mind we will not waste much stationery on the battles around Chawinda after 9th September.48 These battles like Phillora etc are good motivational topics for indoctrinating the other ranks but little else. The real issue was decided on 8th September 1965 and not by Tikka Khan 49 etc but by Nisar and his officers and men around Gadgor!

Operational Situation on 9th and 10th September:– The Indians had not suffered a physical defeat on 8th September.It was their higher command that was afflicted by paralysis and in this state they ‘exaggerated’ dimensions of the force in front of them and imagined something much larger than one battered regiment in front of them! On 9th September they had two absolutely fresh regiments (4 Horse and 2 Lancers), one reasonably fresh regiment (62 Cavalry), and two regiments with relatively weaker tank strength against 25 Cavalry whose tank strength was down to two tank squadrons.50 In infantry they were vastly superior having twelve battalions against one. Had they possessed a resolute general nothing could have stopped them, not even Tikka Khan projected by Shaukat as ‘one ‘known for his firmness and endurance’.51 But their brigade divisional and corps headquarters was paralysed due to the trauma of Gadgor! In words of the Indian armoured corps historian on 9th and 10th September ‘The 1st Armoured Brigade with its three Centurion regiments and its motor battalion remained ‘boxed’ in its defensive position during these two days’.52 25 Cavalry found the Indian Operation Order regarding ‘Operation Nepal’ (the 1 Corps Offensive) in one of the abandoned/hit tank of 16 Light Cavalry and came to know that the formations opposite them were the Indian 1st Armoured Division, 6 Mountain Division and 14 Division and that these were functioning as part of 1 Indian Corps.53 This operation order enabled the Pakistani High Command to understand the entire Indian plan aimed at destruction of the 6 Armoured Division and the fact that Chawinda was on the axis of the main Indian line of advance. The 6 Armoured Division whose headquarters were located at Bhalowali east of MRL 54 was alerted in the evening of 8th September and assigned the mission ‘be prepared to destroy enemy penetration in area east of MRL canal, on further orders’.Shaukat Riza’s account of what followed on 8th and 9th September is not reliable and therefore extremely vague. No sane reader can make head or tail of what Shaukat assisted by his team of GHQ’s so called cream officer material was trying to say about 6 Armoured Divisions actions in the aftermath of the Indian attack. In all probability Shaukat was trying to put a smokescreen on the Pakistani High Command which was as unnerved as the Ist Indian Armoured Brigade and Division! Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry who did not become a general and therefore did not belong to the trade union of Pakistani generals had a better explanations per Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry ‘the presence of the Indian 1st Armoured Division was discovered from the copy of the operation order found in an Indian tank which had been knocked out in the first encounter. This information was immediately transmitted to GHQ. The GHQ took 48 hours to decide upon their next move. Our operational plans had perhaps not taken into consideration all the options open to the aggressor’.55 GOC 1st Armoured Division issued the following ‘ be prepared’ contingency orders at 2200 hours 8th September 1965:– (1) Guides Cavalry to move to Badiana extending northwest towards Sialkot. (2) 11 Cavalry to move to Pasrur to deal with any outflanking enemy move towards MRL from east of Degh Nala.(11 Cavalry at this stage was moving from Chhamb back to 6 Armoured Division’s command and reached Pasrur on night 9/10 September) .56 (3) 22 Cavalry to stay in concentration area and send its recce troop to screen area north of Badiana (4) 9 FF (Motorised Infantry) to deploy in area Phillaura-Degh Nala with at least one platoon at Zafarwal. 57 It may be noted that Shaukat did not describe what 6 Armoured Division actually do on 9th and 10th September!Nor did Shaukat state the precise location of 6 Armoured Division between 7th and 9th September. The period 9th and 10th September can be very exactly described by a Clausewitzian term ‘SUSPENSION OF ACTION’ which has been defined by Clausewitz as a situation when ‘Action in war temporarily stops for a variable duration due to a variety of reasons which may be broadly classified into four distinct categories; ie; firstly—want of resolution in the military commander; secondly—imperfect human perception;thirdly—inherent strength of defence and fourthly—imperfect knowledge of the situation.58

We have already seen that the Indians were immobilised due to primarily the first factor identified by Clausewitz.During this period the various units of 6 Armoured Division were slowly arriving in general area Chawinda-Badiana-Pasrur and various advisors were thrust upon GOC 6 Armoured Division like Brigadier Riaz ul Karim who was made deputy GOC 6 Armoured Division and Major General Sahibzada Yaqub Ali Khan who was appointed Deputy Corps Commander 1 Corps59 (probably keeping in view the fact that General Bakhtiar Rana however reliable and effective in the drill square type requirements of the Ayubian army, would not be able to understand the subtleties of armoured warfare!!!!). It appears that the GHQ realised the need to intellectually improve the performance of the eminent corps headquarter after seeing its deplorable performance during the Jassar Bridge panic when the corps headquarters was paralysed by inertia ! Brigadier Riazul Karim narrates an interesting incident about this advisor business. Oonce the war started Riaz volunteered for command of troops but was told by the VCO type Chief of General Staff Sher Bahadur ‘not to be unnecessarily excited as we had already got good commanders with the armoured formations’. Riaz narrates that ‘ as soon as news of failure of 1st Armoured Divison’s failure was confirmed, I was suddenly called up by General Musa who said that I should go immediately to join 6 Armoured Division and guide the GOC on armoured operations’. The role of the corps commander was nominal. Riaz states that ‘ Another senior armour officer was detailed by the GHQ to join corps headquarter….the general officer was reported to be discussing on telephone plans and events directly with C in C over the head of the corps commander and furthermore, also passing GHQ orders regarding even minor armour operations direct to GOC 6 Armoured Division ‘. There were too many cooks trying to prepare the Pakistani broth! Thus in words of Riaz ‘Whenever I advised the GOC on any matter,he told me that he had already received orders from C in C/CGS/DMO to do something else.My GOC was therefore usually in a flat spin.Fortunately however, there,was never any divisional battle as such’.60

During this period the Guides Cavalry was stationed in general area Bhureshah-Alhar while 11 Cavalry reached Pasrur on night 9/10 September. 22 Cavalry was in general area Badiana and 25 Cavalry alongwith 24 Brigade was holding general area Gadgor-Phillora and not in contact with the Indians who as we discussed earlier had gone temporarily on the defensive in box formation from the afternoon of 8th September. The 6th Armoured Division was not given any operational responsibility on 9th September and at this stage 24 Brigade and 25 Cavalry were still functioning under command 15 Division. Finally on the night of 9/10 September the much needed change in area of responsibility was made by Headquarter 1 Corps assigning the area expected to be soon threatened by the 1st Indian Armoured Division;ie area Charwa-Phillaurah-Chawinda-Chobara-Badiana-Pasrur; to the 6 Armoured Division;alongwith 24 Brigade and 25 Cavalry.61 At this stage GOC 6 Armoured Division made a plan to contain the Indian main attack which was based on the rationale that either the Indians would attack on axis Phillora-Chawinda-Pasrur-Daska or on axis Bhagowal-Badiana and west of Sialkot towards general area Ugoke-Umman with the aim of isolating Sialkot.Based on this assumption about enemy intentions Major General Abrar issued the following orders:– (1) Phillora-Gadgor to be continued to be held by 24 Brigade-25 Cavalry battlegroup (2) Chawinda to be prepared/earmarked as alternative position for 24 Brigade or as depth position for reinforcements (3) Badiana to be covered by one tank regiment (4) Zafarwal to be thinly masked by elements of the R & S Battalion (13 FF) (5) Pasrur to be held by 14 Para Brigade which was previously Corps Reserve (5) Artillery Brigade 4 Corps to support 6 Armoured Division Operation.62 At 0900 hours on 10th September Shaukat Riza claims that the Indians attacked 25 Cavalry opposite Gadgor and lost seven tanks 63, but the Indians did not mention any such attack! GOC 6 Armoured Division was called to 1 Corps Headquarter at 0900 hours on 10th September and asked to make the following amendments to his plan on the recommendations of Major General Yaqub in the capacity of Deputy Corps Commander:– (1) Zafarwal to be held by 14 Para Brigade with one TDU tank squadron from 33 TDU and one company R & S under command (2) 11 Cavalry and 9 FF to hold Phillauarah (3) Guides Cavalry and 14 FF to hold Badiana area (4) 22 Cavalry in area track junction (5) Pasrur to be held by 24 Brigade and 25 Cavalry.64 In the afternoon on the same day Yaqub arrived in 6 Armoured Division Headquarter to ensure implementation of his amendments in Abrar’s plan, with particular emphasis on 11 Cavalry relieving 24 Brigade and 25 Cavalry at Gadgor.This decision was criticised by both Shaukat Riza and General K.M Arif who was grade two operations staff officer in 6 Armoured Divisional Headquarter during the war.65

Battle of Phillora– 11th September 1965:- The Indian 1 Corps/1 Armoured Division finally gathered greater resolution and recommenced their advance on 11th September. It may be noted that by now two more infantry brigades i.e. 58 and 116 Brigades (Originally on the ORBAT of 14 Division) moving up from Pathankot had joined the Indian attack force.116 Brigade minus one battalion joined 14 Division for operations opposite general area Zafarwal while 35 Brigade and one battalion of 116 Brigade were placed under command 1st Armoured Division.58 Brigade was placed under command 6 Mountain Division.66 The Indian plan of attack was based on a preliminary deception plan to impress upon the Pakistanis that the main Indian attack was coming from the direction of Sabzpir, while the 1st Armoured Brigade was to mount an attack originating from Rurki Kalan67. Details of this plan were as following:– (1) 43 Lorried Brigade (two battalions) to capture area Rurki Kalan by first light 11 September .In the next phase it was assigned the be prepared task of assisting 1 Armoured Brigade in reducing Phillora (2) 1 Armoured Brigade (three tank regiments) to break out at first light 11 September with two regiments i.e. 4 Horse and 17 Poona Horse encircling Phillora from both flanks by a pincer movement (17 Poona Horse isolating Phillora from the west and 4 Horse from the east) while the third regiment 16 Light Cavalry was to advance towards road junction area near Khakan wali on Phillora-Sialkot road with the aim of intercepting any Pakistani armour from interfering with the main armour attack against Phillora.(3) 62 Cavalry and one infantry battalion functioning as a separate battlegroup directly under command 1st Armoured Division were to function as right flank protection force against any threat from Sialkot. The whole brunt of the Indian tank attack was directed against 11 Cavalry and 9 FF who had just relieved 25 Cavalry and 24 Brigade during the night of 10/11 September and had had no opportunity to orientate themselves with the terrain during day time. The assault on Rurki Kalan commenced at 0600 hours and Rurki Kalan was captured by 0640 hours. The main tank battles took place on line Libbe-Nathupur-Saboke and 11 Cavalry with two tank squadrons of Pattons and one of obsolete Tank destroyers and not knowing the area ,was no match to the overwhelming Indian superiority68 of six squadrons of Centurions with intimate infantry support of two battalions. 6 Armoured Division ordered Guides Cavalry and 14 FF to mount an attack from Bhagowal-Bhureshah area against the right flank of the Indians aimed at area Libbe-Chahr at 1130 hours on 11th September. The aim of this attack was to relieve pressure on 11 Cavalry. This Guides had a severe firefight with 16 Light Cavalry losing many tanks as well as destroying some enemy tanks but was unable to make any impression and the main Indian attack against 11 Cavalry holding Phillora proceeded smoothly .Phillora was captured by the Indians on 1530 hours on 11th September. I1 Cavalry fought well and lost so many tanks that from 11th September onwards it ceased to function as a complete tank regiment. The Indians fought well but in the overall strategic context capture of Phillora was of little consequence. Had the Indians shown similar resolution and a little more coup d oeil and modified their plans at the brigade and divisional level on the 8th of September, by 11th September they would have been leisurely holding the east bank of MRL. Gurcharan Singh accurately described the situation from 11 September onwards as one in which; ‘there was little hope of a battle of manoeuvre any longer’.69 The Pakistani position on the night of 11/12 September was serious but luckily Pakistan possessed an extremely resolute man in the person of Major General Abrar Hussain (an MBE of Second World War). Abrar remained calm and unperturbed and luckily the Indian higher commanders opposite him failed to understand that by remaining inactive on 11 th and 12th September they were losing their last opportunity to inflict a decisive defeat on Pakistan at a time when fresh tank regiments from the 1st Pakistani Armoured Division had not yet reinforced 6 Armoured Division.

Operational Situation 12th and 13 September:– Swiftness in decision making was certainly not the cardinal command attribute of personality of higher commanders in both Indian and Pakistan Armies!After capturing Phillora the Indian higher headquarters again wasted 48 hours in planning their next move.The Indian troops at this stage were motivated and they had some excellent commanders at regiment and squadron level like Colonel Tarapur who was as brave as any Pakistani. Subconsciously higher commanders on both sides were still behaving like platoon commanders and company commanders;the primary role of Indians in the British Indian Army; rather than brigade divisional or corps commanders.It never occurred to them that Phillora in itself was of little military value and every day that they were wasting was enabling the Pakistanis to reinforce their defence opposite Phillora.GOC 6 Armoured Division Major General Abrar Hussain now firmly resolved to make the final stand at Chawinda.Abrar made the following readjustments on 12th September:- (1) Remnants of 11 Cavalry to collect south of Chawinda (2) 25 Cavalry to move forward to Chawinda (3) 14 FF to move to Chawinda (4) 24 Brigade to move to Chawinda (5) 14 Para Brigade to move to Zafarwal from Pasrur.70 Luckily for Pakistan the Indians did nothing like advancing on 12th as well as 13th September! During this Godsend period of much needed rest and recuperation the 3rd Armoured Brigade (one tank regiment and one self propelled artillery regiment) arrived at Sambrial near Chawinda at 1500 hours on 12th September and was designated as 1 Corps reserve.71 Its tank regiment 19 Lancers was absolutely fresh as far as having participated in actual combat was concerned and was equipped with brand new Pattons.In afternoon 12 September as per Gurcharan Singh the Indians captured Zafarwal employing a tank squadron of 2 Lancers which was withdrawn back across Degh Nala by 116 Brigade the same day. Harbaksh Singh however states that this tank squadron ‘ made no attempt to push forward to Zafarwal and having idled away the rest of the day returned to Kangre’.72 Once the Indians tried to recapture Zafarwal on 13th September it was already strongly held by six tank troops,one R & S Platoon and five infantry companies.What had happened was that on 12th September after getting the correct report from army aviation’s air observer at 1500 hours (which Shaukat Riza has naively dismissed as questionable and doubtful ) 6 Armoured Division had directed 14 Para Brigade to send an infantry battalion and tank squadron (ex 22 Cavalry) to Zafarwal. Brigadier Niazi (of East Pakistan fame) commanding 14 Para Brigade sent a report later that day that Zafarwal was occupied by Indians and requested the GOCs permission to recapture it.We have already seen that Zafarwal was not in enemy occupation and this report of Commander 14 Para Brigade was not correct.In any case even if the Indians occupied it for a short duration as Gurcharan claims but Harbaksh Singh (a relatively more reliable authority denies) it was not occupied by the Indians when according to Shaukat Riza 14 Para Brigade (employing one infantry battalion less one company-4 FF) secured it by 0100 hours night 12/13 September.73 At 0600 hours 13 September i.e. five hours after 4 FF (14 Para Brigade) had occupied Zafarwal (without any enemy holding it) a squadron of 22 Cavalry (with one infantry company of 4 FF tank mounted) which had been ordered at 1335 hours on 12 September from Pasrur also reached Zafarwal. Shaukat Riza has repeated another false claim regarding capturing of Zafarwal which in reality was held by none other than ghosts by an R & S company and a tank troop of 32 TDU sent to Zafarwal by 115 Brigade entirely on its own initiative! According to Shaukat 115 Brigade commander came to know through unspecified sources (probably some angels helping 115 Brigade)Indians on 12th September had squandered their last opportunity to outflank the Pakistani 6 Armour that the Indians had captured Zafarwal at 0800 hours 12 September and sent the above mentioned force which recaptured Zafarwal at mid day 12 September. Later Shaukat claims that this force was ordered to withdraw to Dhamtal!74 Shaukat has repeated a claim which appears to be as false as the one advanced by Gurcharan Singh regarding the 2 Lancers squadron having occupied Zafarwal on 12th September and later withdrwaing from it on orders of the 116 Indian Brigade! The Indians squandered 12th September in inactivity and failed to exploit the last opportunity to outflank the Pakistani 6 Armoured Division from the open flank of Zafarwal and thereby again regain the initiative and employ their armour in a meaningful war of manoeuvre rather than the medieval methods of frontal ramming as they were employing at Phillora!Harbaksh Singh hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that ‘These piecemeal and disjointed attempts on Zafarwal in which the armour had shown no interest,were our undoing.For while we were making ineffective jabs at the objective the enemy had reinforced the town with armour and infantry’.75 Finally on 13th September the Indians did launch an attack on Zafarwal with an infantry brigade and a tank squadron (116 Brigade and squadron 2 Lancers) but in words of Harbaksh Singh ‘the squadron of 2 Lancers in keeping with its performance all along came to a halt in the Degh Nadi when opposed by some recoilless gun fire and hence failed to contact 5/5 Gurkha Rifles (the battalion attacking Zafarwal) and the attack fizzled out short of the objective’. Harbaksh Singh is by no means exaggerating when he said that; ‘What could have been a cheap victory,was thrown to the winds by dilatory tactics and a want of proper coordination’.76 Shaukat Riza in a bid to glorify the odds faced by 14 Para Brigade in beating the Indian attack on Zafarwal states that some Indian tanks came to within few yards of the forward defended localities. Harbaksh Singh’s findings prove otherwise and even Gurcharan Singh does not glorify Indian tanks so much as to have reached ‘within few yards’ from the Pakistani defences!77 Shaukat’s account is good as a motivational speech for other ranks or for school children or may be a good citation for getting gallantry awards but definitely not good military history! Another development on 13th September was the capture of Pagowal (Bhagowal) by the 69 Mountain Brigade assisted by a tank squadron. The last major development of this period was the arrival of the 4th Armoured Brigade comprising one tank regiment,one motorised infantry battalion and one self propelled artillery regiment (5 Horse,1 FF and 15 SP ) from Khem Karan adding yet another fresh tank regiment to assist 6 Armoured Division. This brigade had been pulled out from Khem Karan on 11/2 September and reached Sambrial a little west of Sialkot by train on the night of 12/13 September 1965. It was commanded by Brigadier Riaz ul Karim an MC from Burma who had taken over from Brigadier Lumbs on 11th September 1965 and was also deputy GOC 6 Armoured Division.78

Indian attack on Chawinda-14th & 15th September:– By early morning 14th September the 6 Armoured Division was deployed as following:– (1) Guides Cavalry, 22 Cavalry and 14 FF organised under a headquarter known as Combat Command-Colonel Wajahat from Gunna Kalan west of Pagowal till Jassoran in the south a frontage of 12,000 yards (2) 24 Brigade comprising three infantry battalions,one R & S Company and one tank regiment (2 Punjab,3 FF, 14 Baluch, B Company 13 FF and the indomitable 25 Cavalry) was holding the pivot of the whole battle i.e. Chawinda area (3) 14 Para Brigade with three and a quarter infantry battalions,one R & S Company and a tank squadron holding Pasrur and Zafarwal79. The Indians who thought in steps and at the tactical level now decided to capture Chwainda. Salient features of the Indian plan to capture Chawinda, which was to be put into execution at first light 14th September were as following:– (1) 4 Horse to advance from Chahr to Fatehpur and cut road Badiana-Pasrur in area Buttar and then swing Southeast towards Sarangpur with a view to destroying Pakistani armour which may try to escape from or attempt to reinforce Chawinda (2) 17 Poona Horse to thrust toward Kalewali-Chawinda and be prepared to support 43 Lorried Infantry Brigade’s assault on Kaliwal-Wazirwali and later Chawinda if ordered (3) 69 Mountain Brigade Group (including 16 Cavalry) to ensure that Pakistani armour was prevented from joining the main armour battle in area south of Phillora and Chawinda from direction of Sialkot (4) 43 Lorried Brigade with under command one infantry battalion from 35 Infantry Brigade to advance and attack Chawinda from firm base at Phillora. (5) 1 Artillery Brigade to concentrate in area Saboke in support of 1 Armoured Division 80. As it was obvious the Indian assault being frontal did not make much progress and by last light 14th September the Indians made nominal progress capturing the villages of Kalewali, Wazirwali and Alhar. The area captured was so limited that the tactical pre condition of an infantry assault was not satisfied due to limited space for manoeuvre and the planned infantry attack on Chawinda was not launched. Harbaksh Singh who unlike Shaukat Riza and some other Pakistani historians does not distort history to prove that the Indians were intrinsically superior to the Pakistanis by virtue of belonging to some superior religion or some martial race (particularly the north of Chenab races!) is honest enough to admit that in the attack of 14th September ‘Inspite of our superiority in forces,we had failed to capture Chawinda and with that 1 Armoured Division threw away a cheap success and added another failure to its spate of lost opportunities’81. It should be noted however that Harbaksh’s criticism though to some extent valid, does not take into account the fact that even three tanks against one in defence cannot succeed. This is so not because the defender is a Hindu or a Sikh or a Muslim but because of the devastating power of modern weapons. Tank as a weapon is not meant to be used as a ramming device because the lethality of modern munitions reduces this ramming device into chunks of scrap within few minutes. The second aspect dealing with comparative strength is also debatable. The Indians being attackers had naturally suffered more casualties than the defenders. The Pakistanis had three tank regiments in Chawinda and surrounding country against four Indian regiments involved in the attack on 14th September.In addition two fresh tank regiments had reached Sambrial close to the battle area by the morning of 14th September. In any case by 14th September the battle had degenerated into futile frontal bloody clashes of armour at close ranges and were an apology of real armoured warfare. In this regard Harbaksh’s criticism was to some extent influenced by an anti armour bias which was common to both the armies. A dispassionate analysis of all tank battles till 14th September clearly prove that it was not the Indian armour which failed at the troop squadron and regimental level, but the Indian commanders at Brigade and Divisional level.No evidence proves that there was any difference in Pakistani and Indian armour in terms of valour,tank gunnery or tactical proficiency at the regimental and squadron level. There was another aspect in the fighting of 14th and 15th September. More casualties were caused by artillery and air attack than in actual tank to tank battles!It is but natural that the tank corps men on both sides will never agree that any such thing happened.In this regard the Pakistani artillery being qualitatively superior to the Indian artillery by virtue of having the most modern US guns and by virtue of having the qualitatively superior 4 Corps Artillery Brigade 82 led by Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry, described by many contemporaries as one of the finest artillery officers that the sub continent produced played a crucial role.15th September did not bring much change in the situation and the Indian I Corps Commander reached the conclusion that unless more infantry was brought in the built up area terrain of Chawinda and surrounding villages tanks wont be able to make any headway.Thus the Indian I Corps Commander instead of dynamic modification of plans aimed at achieving a decisive decision remained obsessed with Chawinda which had become sort of a mini Verdun; and issued orders that Chawinda was to be captured by 6 Mountain Division assisted by 1 Armoured Division,Badiana by 1 Armoured Division and Zafarwal by 14 Division. During the afternoon of 15th September 19 Lancers also joined the battle.It was deployed in area west of Mundeke Berian.83

Indian bid to capture Chawinda-16 September 1965:– The Commander of 1st Indian Armoured Division had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to outflank Chawinda before attacking it with infantry and selected Jassoran-Buttar Dograndi area to the west of Chawinda for this purpose 84. The Indian plan for conduct of operations on 16th September was as following:– (1) Poona Horse with under command one infantry battalion to first capture Jassoran and then advance to Buttur Dograndi, (2) 4 Horse to cross the railway line and secure area Sodreke crossing covering roads Chawinda-Badiana and Badiana-Pasrur (3) The places captured by Poona Horse and 4 Horse were to serve as firm base from where 6 Mountain Division would mount a night attack on Chawinda on night 16/17 September85. The Indian attack commenced at 0600 hours 16th September and Buttur Dograndi was captured by 1030 hours. After this the Indians did not make much headway and at 1615 hours abandoned Buttur Dograndi since they did not have sufficient infantry to hold it. Later an attack was made to recapture Buttur and it was during this attack that Colonel Tarapur of 17 Horse died as a result of artillery fire. The Indians recaptured Buttur Dograndi again on the same day late in the evening but failed to make any more progress. The planned attack on Chawinda on the night of 16/17 September was not launched because the Indian 6 Mountain Division was not yet ready for the attack due to lack of recce and other reasons.86 Artillery fire played a major role in defeating the Indian armour whose failure was made 100 percent certain thanks to singularly unimaginative orders for headlong advance in area of extremely limited dimensions!Shaukat Riza describes the situation on 16th September in the following words; ‘Indian armour must have been particularly inept (it was the 1 Corps Commander who was inept) that with the support of six artillery brigades (there were three artillery brigades) they managed to advance only 3000 yards in 15 hours. And they must have been particularly thick skinned to continue advance while being hit by 90 artillery pieces including twelve 8 inch howitzers for 15 hours. In fact Indian artillery was scattered all along the front. There was hardly a place where it could provide the quality of concentrated fire necessary for blasting a hole in our defences. Indian armour scattered whenever hit by the concentrated fire of our 4 Corps Artillery’.87 The Indian failures in making any worthwhile progress on 15th and 16th September had a more intimate connection with poor higher leadership that pigheadedly insisted on a modern charge of heavy brigade of tanks, than with Pakistani artillery, which off course took advantage of the errors of enemy leadership at brigade and divisional level in the employment of armour, which was unnecessarily sacrificed in a suicidal manner, rather than being employed in a dynamic war of movement. Amjad Chaudhri the man who had trained the 4 Corps artillery brigade in peace and handled it in a most masterly and resolute manner at Chawinda noted that ‘most of the attacks mounted by the enemy were broken up by artillery fire…. On the east of Chawinda, the enemy was prevented from coming close to our positions by our artillery though he made repeated efforts to outflank Chawinda from this direction…. The nearest he came to this position was approximately 600 yards when he was forced to withdraw after his leading tanks had been destroyed and accompanying infantry badly mauled…. On two occasions the enemy succeeded in partially overrunning the western flank of our defences but these attacks too were repulsed with massed fire of all the guns… casualties inflicted on the attacking troops by our shelling were so heavy that in one of the actions even after he had left our main defensive position behind him,the enemy’s will to continue the attack was broken and he was forced to withdraw… Up to 16 September the Indians concentrated their tanks and infantry and attacked on a narrow front….’88 Despite unimaginative leadership the Indians did come close to a breakthrough on the 16th September. General K.M Arif who was a general staff officer in headquarter 6 Armoured Division at Chawinda in 1965 described the critical situation on 16th September in the following words ‘The battle raged with considerable intensity on September 16. After its failure to capture Chawinda the enemy attempted to envelop it by a two pronged attack. In the process the villages of Jassoran and Sodreke fell and Butur Dograndi came under attack. The severe fighting resulted in many casualties. The situation was confused and the outcome uncertain. So fluid became the battle situation that at 1630 hours 24 Brigade requested permission to take up a position in the rear. Abrar (the GOC) told the brigade commander on telephone, ‘You know what is there in the kitty. There is no question of falling back. We shall fight till the bitter end from our present positions’. His words provided a timely tonic. 24 Brigade fought gallantly. Soon the danger subsided.89 Major Shamshad who participated in the Buttur Dograndi action ascribed poor unit and brigade level command as the principal reason for the Indian failure. Shamshad states that he never saw a general officer in the entire war ! Shamshad states that the Indians could have carried the day by just pushing one tank troop supported by artillery fire to the railway line ahead of Buttur Dograndi or simply moving to Chawinda Railway Station which was undefended , thus winning the ‘Battle of Chawinda’.90 However Shamshad states that ‘the enemy was no good or in other words the enemy squadron commander felt contended after capturing Buttur Dograndi without any losses and destroying eight of our tanks in the process’.91 Shamshad states that the Indians remained inactive for one hour and this lull was fatal for the Indians.

The Operational Situation from 17th September till ceasefire:– The Indians withdrew from Buttar Dograndi at 0600 hours on 17th September because of heavy casualties caused as a result of artillery shelling.Gurcharan Singh states that it was decided that Jassoran would suffice as a firm base for launching an assault on Chawinda and it was decided to abandon Buttur Dograndi. At 1200 hours 17 September 4 Armoured Brigade’s 19 Lancer was ordered by 6 Armoured Division to clear line Buttar Dograndi-Purab-Mundeke Berian. This was done by 1600 hours since the Indians were demoralised due to heavy casualties suffered on 16th September. By the evening of 17th September the Indians withdrew their armour north of the railway line; and took up the same dispositions as on 15th September. There is considerable confusion about why the Indians withdrew their tanks north of the railway line while there was no significant reason to do so. Harbaksh Singh thinks that tanks were withdrawn north of the railway line, ‘Through an inexplicable misunderstanding from Jassoran’ on 18th September. It appears that the Indian Army was afflicted by an almost as serious inter arm bias as the Pakistan Army and this withdrawal was a clear proof of this bias.Infantry and armour commanders did not see eye to eye and the Indian armour was not interested in fighting the infantry’s battle. Indian general Menezes admitted the existence of this inter arm rivalry and lack of communication. Menezes thus said; ‘A regrettable lack of understanding between certain commanders often thwarted cohesive action so essential in achievement of a common goal. There were misunderstandings galore between the infantry and armour commanders in the Second Battle of Chawinda’.92 Harbaksh states that 1st Armoured Division was asked to recapture Jassoran as it was intended to be used as the firm base,from where Indian infantry was to mount the main infantry attack on Chawinda. At this stage it appears that the Indian 1 Armoured Brigade Commander who was ordered by the GOC 1st Armoured Division to recapture Jassoran had lost all the will to fight.Harbaksh states that the 1 Armoured Brigade Commander gave a plea that he could not recapture Jassoran at such a short notice but would be able to do so on first light 19th September (8 hours after the planned assault time of Indian infantry attack on Chawinda!) .This left the Indian 6 Mountain Division Headquarter which was tasked to command the infantry attack on Chawinda with no other option but to recapture Jassoran without Indian armour’s support…This was done by employing one infantry battalion of 35 Brigade and Jassoran was recaptured on the evening of 18th September.Finally the long planned and many times postponed infantry attack on Chawinda was launched on night 18/19 September employing 35 (two infantry battalions) and 58 Infantry Brigade (two infantry battalions) under command of the 6 Mountain Division.Both the brigades were to attack Chawinda from the west simultaneously with the railway line as interbrigade boundary.At this stage the Indian troops were demoralised more because of a perception that their higher commanders were employing them in senseless as well as futile frontal attacks.Any army in this state of mind ceases to function like a well oiled military machine and there comes a point when it becomes extremely difficult to prod the under command units into action. The same was the fate of the planned Indian attack on night 18/19 September. Harbaksh Singh praised the efficiency of Pakistani artillery in dislocating the Indian attack from the very beginning by effectively shelling both the assaulting Indian brigades in an extremely decisive and effective manner. Harbaksh Singh thus wrote praising Pakistan artillery’s performance in the following words; ‘Enemy shelling created such confusion that all control was lost. The leading troops lost direction and 14 Rajput barged into our own neighbouring position in Wazirwali held by a company of 5 Jat and a squadron of 2 Lancers of 43 Lorried Brigade. There was a brisk exchange of fire between our forces. 5 Jat taken completely by surprise, abandoned their positions!14 Rajput equally stunned by the unexpected opposition en route to their objective also dispersed in confusion…next morning 5 Jat reoccupied their positions-14 Rajput were still out in the blue. Two companies of 4 JAK Rifles (the second infantry battalion of 58 Brigade) which managed to reach Chawinda were thrown back by the enemy’s combined infantry and tank fire.By that stage all control at battalion and brigade level was lost and the formation (6 Mountain Division attacking Chawinda) ceased to be a cohesive force’.A similar fate befell the other assaulting brigade i.e. 35 Infantry Brigade. First its ‘ Forming Up Place’ was effectively shelled by the Pakistani artillery while the Indian troops were in the process of deploying in the formation of attack. This caused significant dislocation but one of its battalions reached Chawinda while the other was repulsed half way.After first light the battalion which had reached the outskirts of Chawinda was also forced to withdraw to Jassoran in face of heavy Pakistani pressure93. As per Shaukat Riza both Pakistani artillery and armour played a major role in defeating the Indian infantry attack on 19th September. According to Shaukat ‘C Squadron 25 Cavalry saw some men of 3 FF and 2 Punjab (in face of Indian infantry attack of 35 and 58 Brigade) moving towards the rear….at 0400 hours 19th September Lt Col Nisar (25 Cavalry) ordered his tanks to engage the area of railway line west of Chawinda….the combined fires of 25 Cavalry and artillery 4 Corps broke the enemy attack’94 Thus ended the last Indian major attack on Chawinda.This was followed by a counter attack by the 6 Armoured Division employing 19 Lancers and two infantry companies which forced the Indians to abandon Jassoran by 1800 hours 19th September. This counterattack was launched when some Indian tanks were observed advancing towards Jassoran. These were tanks of two squadrons of 4 Horse which had been already ordered by 1Armoured Brigade to position themselves in Jassoran and Sodreke area by first light 19 September to protect the western flank of 6 Mountain Division which it was thought would have occupied Chawinda by then. 6 Mountain Division had not informed 1st Armoured Division about failure of its infantry attack and the 1st Armoured Division sent 4 Horse to Jassoran as earlier planned to protect 6 Mountain Divisions flank against a Pakistani counter attack. The Pakistani 6 Armoured Division resultantly ordered 19 Lancers to attack Jassoran as it thought that the Indians were again launching a major attack involving tanks.95 After 19th September fighting in and around Chawinda was reduced to routine exchange of fire rather than any more futile frontal assaults. On 20th September the Indian High Command finally realised that it was impossible to achieve a decisive breakthrough in Chawinda area.Keeping this in mind they decided to hand over the defence of the area opposite Chawinda to the 6 Mountain Division (with two tank squadrons of 1st Armoured Division under command 6 Mountain Division) and to relieve 1st Armoured Division. 1st Armoured Brigade was to be in the rear of 6 Mountain Division at Rurki Kalan while 43 Lorried Brigade was to hand over its defended area to 99 Mountain Brigade and withdraw to area cross roads.Nothing significant happened till cease-fire at 1410 hours 22 September 1965 96

23 Mountain Division and Pakistan’s Operation Windup

In the last stages of the war the Indian GHQ had decided to employ 23 Mountain Division initially designated as ‘Army Reserve’ in the Western Command area.As per Harbaksh Singh initially the Indian GHQ had contemplated during the period 15-18 September, using this formation in Kasur area with the aim of ‘wearing down Pakistani military potential’ in the Ravi-Sutlej Corridor. Later it was decided to use 23 Division in Dera Nanak area for an offensive across the Ravi on axis Dera Nanak-Narowal-Pasrur and orders for this offensive were issued on 20th September 1965 directing 23 Division to concentrate for the proposed operation in area Dera Nanak by 26 September 1965 but the planned operation was abandoned in the end. It is doubtful whether the Indian High Command possessed any resolve to launch this formation whose success keeping in view the lack of sufficient armour and hesitation to attempt any operation involving an assault across a major water obstacle by both sides would have succeeded.As a matter of fact at this stage the Indian Army was as keen as cease-fire as Ayub Khan! This can be imagined from the following incident. As per General Menezes the Indian Army Chief had already portrayed a picture of ammunition shortage, a pet excuse of soldiers, once the Indian Prime Minister asked General Chaudhry whether ‘the Army would be able to achieve significant results on the ground’ whereas later as per Menezes it was discovered that only 14 to 20 percent of the Indian ammunition stocks had been used! 94

The Pakistani GHQ behaved in a remarkably similar way. General Musa thus vetoed the proposed Pakistani Counterstroke against the Indian penetration at Chawinda codenamed ‘Operation Windup’. According to the Pakistani C in C the operation was cancelled since ‘both sides had suffered heavy tank losses……would have been of no strategic importance….’ and above all ‘the decision…was politically motivated as by then the Government of Pakistan had made up their mind to accept cease fire and foreign sponsored proposals’.95 Musa was definitely in no mood to attempt any further manoeuvre that would test Pakistani generalship at strategic or operational level, just like General Chaudhri!


The real heroes of Chawinda were Colonel Nisar and his unit ∏ whatever their perception or misperception,not knowing what was in front of them , and thankfully so,for this may have reduced their resolution to make a resolute stand, saved Pakistan on 8th September by their most heroic resistance in Gadgor area. General Ibrar who entered the scene albeit after the really decisive engagement of Gadgor had been fought played a decisive role in keeping the Pakistani position intact after fiascos like Phillora and by prodding Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik not to panic on the fateful 16th of September. The Indians made the Pakistani task easier by pure and unadulterated military incompetence at unit and brigade level ! There is no doubt that nothing could have stopped them from reaching the MRL on 8th 9th 10th and 11th September, had they possessed, an armoured brigade or divisional commander of even a medium calibre! The Indian failure commenced from division and brigade and not from troop and squadron level. At tank, tank troop and tank squadron level, both sides fought equally level ! It was at brigade and divisiona level that the Indians failed on 8th 9th 10th and 11th September , and thank God there was no brigade headquarter (Abdul Ali Malik having nothing to do with Gadgor) controlling 25 Cavalry on the Pakistani side.I say this with conviction with what I saw of the Pakistan Army and this is true till 1993 when I left service ! From what I have assessed the Indians are equally illustrious to date at brigade and higher levels ! This mutual incompetence has saved both the countries in all three wars ! Abrar later played a decisive role in saving Pakistan by his most resolute leadership during the highly critical period from 11th to 19th September when the Indians came close to victory on at least three different occasions. During one of the most critical moments of the Battle of Chawinda , on 16th September , Abrar as we discussed earlier dismissed the request of 24 Brigade Commander to abandon Chawinda. This if done would have seriously jeopardised the Pakistani position ! And yet after the war Abrar was superseded and 24 Brigade Commander promoted to general rank finally retiring as a three star general! The third factor in the Pakistani success was 4 Corps Artillery Brigade under the indomitable as well as extremely able leadership of Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry. All three were sidelined. Abrar never went beyond Major General’s rank since Yahya Khan did not like his face, and Abrar was not from Ayub’s unit !Chaudhry also suffered on the same count and retired as a brigadier while the much more mediocre gunner Tikka rose to the highest rank!Nisar did become a brigadier but was sidelined even before the 1971 war broke out, since he was not from the infantry, and did not have the right push and pull or patrons in higher positions after 1971! It was an irony of Pakistani history that Abrar since he was on the wrong side of the army chief was placed on a much lower rung in the heroes of 1965 war than men like Tikka Khan (in whose area of responsibility no major fighting took place) etc.On the other hand many like Niazi (14 Para Brigade Commander) etc rose to the rank of Lieutenant General by virtue of push and pull based on parochial and personal relations with Ayub being from his unit, while the real heroes were sidelined.


1Shaukat Riza does not says anything about the TDUs or Tank Delivery Units. All evidence indicates that TDUs were full fledged tank regiments. Theoretically a TDU was organised at the scale of one TDU per armoured division. A TDU consisted of a Regiment Headquarter and two ‘Holding Squadrons’ with a Squadron Headquarter and two tank troops of six tanks each and a Signal Platoon and Maintenance Detatchment known as the LAD or the Light Aid Detatchment (Page-288 & 289-Armoured Regiment in Battle-1980). The theoretical aim of a TDU which was mistakenly called a Tank Destroyer Unit by the Indians was (a)-Receive manpower from reinforcements camps and tanks from the vehicle depots (b)- Impart limited refresher training to tank crews and to form them into a well knit team (c)- Deliver the tanks with crews to the divisional administrative area (d)- Maintain, Inspect and conduct limited field repairs to the tanks. These units were raised shortly before the war and in Musa’’ words (in case of TDUs Musa has been far more truthful and straightforward than Shaukat Riza) ‘Integral Armoured Regiments (Tank Delivery Units-TDUs—as they were called for deception purposes) allotted to the infantry divisions provided the divisional commanders concerned with a powerful armoured unit directly under their command. They did not have to request higher headquarters for for close armoured support. Nor did the need arise for us to fall back on our armoured divisions for this purpose, thereby dissipating their resources, and diverting them from their main tasks. All the units were used with very good results, in particular against the enemy tanks supporting their Infantry. In the Sialkot and Kasur sectors integral armoured regiments already deployed their effectively co-operated with 6 and 1 Armoured Divisions respectively when the latter went into action and thus we achieved an accretion of armoured strength in these areas.The presence of the regiments on the fronts held by infantry formations,and as they were available for immediate deployment there had a favourable effect not only tactically but also psychologically‘ (Pages-107 & 108- My Version -General Musa Khan-Wajid Alis -Lahore-1983).Compare this with Shaukat Riza who is practising deception more than two decades after 1965 war and hardly gives any importance to the TDUs in his book on the 1965 war. See The Pakistan Army-War 1965 -Major General Shaukat Riza (Retired)-Army Education Press-Rawalpindi-1984. This was Shauakat’s first book on the history of Pakistan Army and was, in fact it was more of an official version of the events of the 1965 war as the dictator and usurper Zia wanted to be written. Considerable part of the book was thus devoted to anti Bhutto diatribes, since Bhutto’s People’s Party was Zia’s main political rival!Despite being having official blessings and full support of the Pakistani GHQ the book was an extremely poor specimen of all that a book must be in order to be graded as a serious military historical work.The meticulousness or lack of meticulousness of the so called blue eyed GHQ Staff officers who assisted Shaukat Riza who was described as semi senile by one staff officer who assisted him, can be gauged from the fact that there is no map,depicting the on ground battle dispositions of the main 1965 War except one(which is highly inaccurate and a horror of a military map in terms of having no relevance at all to the ground that it sought to depict-there are some maps showing battle dispositions of battalion level of the Rann of Kutch which was an insignificant part of the pre war skirmishes).In addition this marathon effort of the GHQ does not have any figures about casualties suffered by the Pakistan Army in the 1965 War.Perhaps it was thought that they were too martial to suffer any casualties!

2 Page-21-Musa Khan and Pages-139 to 144-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit.

3Page-175-Memoirs of General Gul Hassan Khan- Lieutenant General Gul Hassan Khan-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1993.

4 Page-21-Musa Khan-Op Cit.

5 Page21-Ibid.

6 Page-19-War Despatches- Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh-Lancer Books-New Delhi-1990.

7Page-395-The Indian Army Since Independence-Major K.C Praval (Retired)-Lancer International-New Delhi-1990.

8Page-18-Paragraph no-33 (a)-War Despatches-Op Cit.

9Page-39- An Introduction to Strategy-General Andre Beaufre-Faber and Faber-London-1965…This attack was a ‘Classic Riposte’ in the sense that it forced the Pakistan Army to abandon both the attacks i.e. ‘Grand Slam’ as well as the ‘Counter Offensive’ in Khem Karan.In this respect the Indians achieved their strategic object but without having captured any significant objectives on ground!

10 Gul Hassan has thrown some light on this heavy weights possession or lack of decisiveness, intellect etc in considerable detail in his memoirs .(See pages-192 , 194-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit).

11Pages-139 to 145-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

12 Page-21-Musa Khan-Op Cit.Musa ‘s words cannot be taken on the face value since he stated these in a book written 18 years after the war.

13 Page-175-Gul Hassan-Op Cit.

14Pages-140,141 and 147-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

15 Page-395-K.C Praval-Op Cit.

16 Page-385- The Indian Armour-History of the Indian Armoured Corps-1941-1971-Major General Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books-Delhi-1994.

17Pages-141,142,163,164,165-War Despatches-Op Cit.

18 Page-136-War Despatches-Op Cit.

19Pages-61,129,136 & 135-War Despatches-Op Cit.The Indian High Command was greatly unnerved by the swift Pakistani thrust towards Akhnur and on 3rd September 1965 was forced to rush the 28th Infantry Brigade which was originally responsible for defence of Pathankot/Madhopur Headworks to Akhnur.As a result the 14 Division was forced to leave its 58 Infantry Brigade for defence of Madhopur .As per the original Indian plan the 28 Brigade was to be 6th Mountain Division’s third brigade for the bridgehead operation.But 28 Brigade was forced to move to Akhnur due to the Grand Slam thrust scare.As a result the Indian high Command placed 14 Division’s 35 Infantry Brigade under 6 Mountain Division command in lieu of 28 Brigade for the bridgehead operation while 58 Infantry Brigade was temporarily left at Madhopur since the main Pakistani attack location was not known till 8th September and the Indians feared that Madhopur/Pathankot area was one of the likely areas of the expected Pakistani thrust.Thus for the offensive the 14 Division was left with just one brigade i.e. the 116 Infantry Brigade.In addition the rapid pace of events in first week of September forced the Indians to shorten the move period of concentration of the I Corp’s formations from the actual planned period of ten to four days.As a result it was not possible for 14 Division to concentrate in time for taking part in the offensive as far as the initial two days were concerned.

20Page-395-The Indian Armour-Op Cit and Page-144-War Despatches -Op Cit.

21Page-135,138 & 141-War Despatches-Op Cit.

22False Alarm at Jassar :–Page-147-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.According to Gul Hassan Headquarter 1 Corps was the main culprits responsible for the exaggerated reports sent toGHQ.Gul thinks that it was not Brigadier Muzaffaruddin i.e. 115 Brigade Commander who was unnerved but GOC 15 Division (Brigadier Sardar Ismail and his Colonel Staff Colonel S.G Mahdi known with the nickname of Killer Mahdi) and Commander 1 Corps.Shaukat Riza who had a better access to war diaries/records however maintains that it was Brigadier Muzaffaruddin who was the main reason for the false alarm at Jassar.(Page-191-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit and Page-147-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit). Musa placed the entire blame for the Jassar false alarm on the shoulders of GOC 15 Division and his Colonel Staff Colonel S.G Mahdi.According to Musa ‘During this period,the headquarters of this division (15 Division) appeared to be in a state of delirium.Its Colonel Staff (a Military Cross from Burma) was sending messages to GHQ and its lower formations that enemy commandos had infiltrated and were operating behind Sialkot town….it regained sanity only after the acting Divisional Commander and the Colonel Staff were relieved of their jobs’ (Pages-65 & 66-Musa Khan-Op Cit) . It may be noted that HQ I Corps was commanded by one who was not famous for any intellectual prowess but owed longevity in his post as Corps Commander to proven loyalty,yesmanship and extreme lack of imagination.This was the opinion of about fifteen different officers who had served with Lieutenant General Bakhtiar Rana in various capacities and who were interviewed by the author during the period 1985-99.In the opinion of Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry a relatively more reliable authority than both Gul and Shaukat, and one who was present on the spot as Commander 4 Corps Artillery Brigade Lieutenant General Bakhtiar Rana said ‘the Indians had established a bridgehead with one infantry battalion (a tribute to the level of thinking of Ayub’s handpicked and Pakistan Army’s only corps commander !!!!) and his assessment was that they would build it up to a brigade strength by next morning…he ordered me to get corps artillery into action to support the counterattack to be launched next morning to destroy the bridgehead…when I reached the brigade headquarter in Narowal I found Commander 15 Division (Brigadier Ismail) and Brigadier Abdul Ali commander 24 Brigade already there.We were all surprised to learn from the local brigade commander Brigadier Muzaffaruddin that the situation on his front was nothing like what it had been made out to be (Amjad does not explain who made it out,why and how on earth did GOC 15 Division was in 115 Brigade area if no alarming report was sent or why was General Bakhtiar convinced that the main Indian attack was coming from Jassar) and that after demolition of the bridge (only one span was demolished) only four or five Indian soldiers had managed to crawl up to the near end of the bridge and he was taking action to deal with them (!!!!)’ (Page-73- September 65 -Before and After -Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry-Ferozesons Lahore-1977). Amjad Chaudhri and Musa Khan as late as 1976 and 1983 respectively, mistakenly thought that the Indian effort opposite Jassar was the part of some grand deception plan ans that the Indians were trying to ‘make us look towards Jassar while they crossed the international border at Charwa from the direction of Samba (Pages-73 & 74-Ibid) or that the Indian move at Jassar was a ‘Feint’ or ‘Diversionary Effort’ (Pages-65 & 66-Musa Khan-Op Cit).According to Harbaksh Singh no such grand strategic deception was intended but all that happened at Jassar was a figment of the 115 Brigade Commander,15 Division Commander and 1 Corps Commander’s extremely disturbed and nervous imagination as on 6/7th September!Compare the comparative lethargy of Pakistani Commander 1 Corps with Harbaksh Singh. While Harbaksh personally went to revive the spirits of local commanders in face of perceived or real enemy threats Bakhtiar Rana preferred forwardly reports received from lower formations without moving out of his headquarter,to check the situation in person as Harbaksh Singh that indomitable Jat did!It must however be remembered that before the war the Pakistani GHQ had a preconceived notion that the Indians would go through the inconvenience of crossing the Ravi at Jassar and launch their main offensive from Jassar (Page-18-Ibid) . It is quite possible that both 15 Division acting GOC and Commander Pakistani 1 Corps were influenced by this preconceived notion in currency in the Pakistani GHQ and passed on this false report without rechecking.Later once the perceived threat petered out Brigadier Ismail was made a scapegoat while Rana escaped Scot free by virtue of having closer bonds with Ayub-Musa and his higher rank.Musa in his book (informed sources think that it was beyond Musa’s capability to write a single page without assisatnce!!!!) criticises GOC 15 Division for ‘demolishing the bridge (Jassar Bridge)’ on page- 65 of his book but also states on page-18 of the same book that before the war he as C in C had assessed that one of the two important aspects of the Indian invasion plan in case of war was to ‘Capture Jassar and the railway bridge intact’ (Page-18-Ibid). Musa nowhere explains the royal lethargy of his handpicked man i.e. 1 Corps Commander Lieutenant General Rana who as per Musa ‘Ably Commanded’ I Corps (Page-64-Ibid) in not personally checking the actual situation at Jassar or even sending a senior staff officer from Headquarter 1 Corps for doing so.

23Page-111-War Despatches-Op Cit.

24Page-146-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

25Page-111-War Despatches-Op Cit.

26Page-147-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit


28Page-28-Article- “A Subaltern in Action-1965 War”- Major Shamshad Ali Khan Qaimkhani (Retired)-Defence Journal-October 1997-Karachi-1997. Shaukat Riza claims in his official acount that the whole of 25 Cavalry was sent to Jassar and the unit was recalled when its head (i.e leading troops had reached Narowal).

29Page-147-War Despatches.

30Page-148 & 149-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.Shaukat Riza has painted an exaggerated picture about the extreme length of 3 FF defences. The reader must note that in the initial pre war plan 3 FF was supported in depth by a whole tank regiment i.e 25 Cavalry .Firstly 15 Division did not have sufficient troops to man the entire area of responsibility.Secondly thanks to the extremely incompetent Pakistani intelligence agencies both military and civil of that time (as well as now) who were/are good only in petty reporting against their own officers and in making personal fortunes,no one in the Pakistani GHQ had the slightest idea that the Indian 1st Armoured division was in Kashmir

31Page-150-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

32 The description of the fight is based on Gurcharan Singh‘s account.Refers Page-392-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.

33Pages-150 to 154-Ibid.There are various conflicting accounts about who in 25 Cavalry did what.These are largely irrelevant in the broader context.There is one thing in this whole affair about which all historians whether Indian or Pakistani completely agree;ie it was ‘25 Cavalry alone which stopped the Indian 1st Armoured Division on 8th September from advancing towards MRL’.It was 25 Cavalry’s show alone and it is historically irrelevant whether some one says that it was Nisar or Ahmad or Shamshad who saved the day.

34Page -46-Article – ‘A Subaltern in Action’- Major Shamshad Ali Khan Qaimkhani (Retired) -Defence Journal— November 1997-Karachi. The level of interest in military history in Pakistan may be imagined from the following incident. A close friend of this scribe asked a senior Pakistan Armoured Corps officer whether he reads the ‘Defence Journal’ or not.The armoured corps officer replied, ‘ I don’t read magazines which publishes trash written by people like Major Shamshad’. This senior officer and many like him have never written anything to do with military history but have highly inflated egos,probably based on their peactime records,good ACRs ,good career appointments and course reports!

35 Page-392-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.

36Page-392-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.




40Ibid.This false and factually totally incorrect misconception about threat on the flank or that the Indians advanced too fast on 8th September was advanced by various authors like Verghese, Kar etc and repeated as late as 1999 by Cloughley.The 1 Armoured Brigade had not dashed forward rashly as mistakenly asserted by Verghese (Pages-120 & 121- A History of the Pakistan Army-Wars and Insurrections- Brian Cloughley- Oxford University Press-Karach-1999-). The 1 Armoured Brigade had advanced reasonably cautiously despite the fact that keeping in view the overwhelming Indian tank strength vis a vis Pakistani tank strength on 8th September the Indians could have taken the risk of advanced much more rapidly; and could have easily outflanked 25 Cavalry by simply pushing their third regiment from east of Degh Nala.In reality as we have seen the Indians did not even use their two complete regiments advancing in front and two others (62 Cavalry and 4 Horse) who were free did nothing at all.Cloughley has even modified history by asserting that the force which struck on 8th September (i.e. 25 Cavalry) was under direct command of Headquarter 1 Corps! (Page-120-Ibid). In reality 1 Corps, or even 15 Division Headquarter had nothing to do with what 25 Cavalry did on 8th September.The only two men who acted with considerable coup d oeil and saved the situation were Nisar and Abdul Ali Malik.Another Indian author Kar was under the false impression that the Indian 1st Armoured Division had exposed its flank on 8th September (Page-664-A Military History of India- Lt Col H.C Kar-Firma KLM-Calcutta-1993) . There was no Pakistani force on 1st Armoured Division’s flank on 8th September except some ‘Jinns’ which were the product of Indian 1st Armoured Brigade Commanders extremely graphic and fertile imagination!

41Pages-393 & 394-Ibid.

42Page-47-Major Shamshad Ali Khan Qaimkhani (November 1997 Issue) -Op Cit.

43Page-394-Indian Armoured Corps-Op Cit.

44People in Pakistan even today do not know how much Pakistan owes to 25 Cavalry.It is ironical that the myopic brains of Ayub and Musa in line with their anti armour bias ignored 25 Cavalry when gallantry awards were distributed. 25 Cavalry should have received at least one NH. But then 25 Cavalry was not the Punjab Regiment and had no Godfathers ! Nisar later retired as a brigadier while none of the squadron commanders and troop leaders (those who were in tanks on 8th September) went beyond brigadiers rank!Only one who was sitting many miles behind at the regimental headquarters did go beyond brigadier.During Zia’s time some officers from armoured corps were promoted because of family connections and sycophancy with Zia or for baby sitting Zia’s mentally retarded daughter.

45Page-394-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.

46Page-143-War Despatches-Op Cit.

47Page-47- Article- ‘A subaltern in action in 1965-Critique’- Major Shamshad Ali Khan Qaimkhani (Retired)-Defence Journal-February 1998 – Karachi.

48We will discuss more of this aspect in the next chapter.The battles around Chawinda were later portrayed in Pakistan as a propaganda theme to illustrate that the Indians were defeated despite their massive numerical superiority.While useful to a reasonable extent as a propaganda theme;this assertion is conceptually incorrect and a partial distortion of facts of history.This is good opium for the cheap popular imagination but trash in terms of real military instruction. The issue or the deciding factor at Chawinda was not Islam versus Hinduism,but an excellent unit consisting of a large number of excellent officers who by their resolute stand imposed a severe check on the imagination of an irresolute and intellectually myopic leadership. At unit level both the Indian units i.e. Poona Horse and 16 Light Cavalry fought as bravely and heroically as 25 Cavalry losing in the process more tanks than 25 Cavalry. But these units were handicapped by an incompetent and irresolute higher headquarter who became mentally paralysed.The rot in the Indian command structure started from brigade headquarters downwards and not from squadron or regiment upwards.At this time commander Indian 1st Armoured Brigade had the liberty to employ the third unit i.e. 4 Horse and two squadrons of Poona Horse and one squadron of 16 Light Cavalry.It was the 1st Armoured Brigade Commander who lost his nerve and stopped the advance.The conclusion is that at regimental and squadronlevel both the Indians and the Pakistanis fought equally well!Tarapur leading the Poona Horse was as good and as brave an officer as Nisar (and both had served before partition at the same station Aden), the difference being We must not forget that the same Hindus under British officers humbled many tough foes including the Afghans, the Sikhs ,the Turks,Japanese Germans.The factor which went against the Indians on 8th September was not that Hindus were less brave, or the Pakistani (or Punjabi Muslims braver) as is foolishly propagated in Pakistan, but the fact that their higher headquarter, the brigade level in particular and divisional in general failed to preserve their mental equilibrium in face of the stress of battle and the friction of war.Luckily for Pakistan there was no brigade headquarter,controlling 25 Cavalry, with a timid,equally cautious (like the Indians) brigadier more concerned with his personal safety in the immediate present and promotion in future than with taking any dynamic decisions in battle.Thus while on the Indian side higher command was poor, no such comparative armoured brigade headquarter existed, luckily I would say;keeping in view similarly mediocre performances on the Pakistani side as amply proved in 4 and 5 Armoured Brigades,and the whole show was that of Colonel Nisar and his squadron commanders and tank commanders.Brigadier Malik the 24 Brigade Commander only told Colonel Nisar to do something but after that it was Nisar alone who did everything.All the so called heroes later projected after the war like Tikka Khan had nothing to do with all that happened on 8th September.

49After the war much projection was given to Tikka Khan since he was the same drill square type ex serviceman breed like Musa and Ayub and both must have seen in him one who was unimaginative and intellectually mediocre enough to be groomed for higher command ranks in line with the Ayubian philosophy of ‘Goof Selection Syndrome’.Luckily for history Tikka took over 15 Division from afternoon of 8th September;when Gadgor was already being fought;otherwise all the glory for what 25 Cavalry did would also been laid at his feet!Tikka survived the 1971 war and the notoriety in the genocide of the Bengali Muslims in 1971, because he was viewed by Bhutto as a good pawn and a yes man!

50Page-154-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.


52Page-395-The Indian Armoured Corps-Op Cit.

53Page-154 & 155-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit

54Page-4-Article-Abrar’s Battlefield Decisions-General K.M Arif (Retired) — The Pakistan Army Green Book-1992-The Year of the Senior Field Commanders-Pakistan Army General Headquarters-1993.

55Page-75-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.

56Page-159-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.11 Cavalry as we have already discussed in the section dealing with Grand Slam had received orders to move to 6 Armoured Division concentration area on 6th September.Between 6th and 9th September these orders were amended and Shaukat Riza has used the term ‘fragmentary’ for these orders amending 11 Cavalry’s final destination which is a polite way of saying that the GHQ and 1 Corps were quite confused and nervous.It may be noted that 11 Cavalry has been much criticised (and that too most unjustly) for not having done well later at Chawinda.11 Cavalry had already seen some very hard fighting in Chhamb and had already suffered more than 50 casualties by 6th September including 19 killed,one of which was 11 Cavalry’s finest officer Major Mian Raza Shah.In addition one squadron of 11 Cavalry consisted of M-36-B -2 tanks which were quite obsolete by 1965.

57Page-155 & 156-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

58Page-115,290,291,292-On War-Carl Von Clausewitz-Edited by Anatol Rapoport- Pelican Books London-1974.

59Page-155 & 158-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.Both Yaqub Ali Khan and Riaz ul Karim were recipients of ‘Military Cross’ of Second World War and were Hindustani Muslims.Yaqub Ali Khan was one of the most intellectually gifted officers of the army and one who later created history by agreeing to military action against the Bengali Muslims in 1971 and resigned his commission when ordered to take military action.

60Page-12-Article- ‘Higher Conduct of 1965 Indo Pak War- Brigadier Riaz ul Karim Khan, LOM, MC-Defence Journal-Special Issue-Volume Ten-Numbers-1 & 2-1984- Karachi.


62Page-157 & 158-Ibid.


64 Page-158 & 159-Ibid.

65Page-159 -Ibid and Page-5-Pakistan Army Green Book-1992-Op Cit.Arif while criticising Yaqub, at one time his Commanding Officer in 11 Cavalry in the 1950s has just stated that the ‘plan had been jointly evolved with some experts’, meaning Yaqub.This relief of 25 Cavalry by 11 Cavalry was very unpleasant for 11 Cavalry since it had no idea about the area, while 25 Cavalry knew the area like the palm of their hand, but was not as serious an error of judgement as portrayed by both Shaukat and Arif.After all 25 Cavalry deserved some rest after all that it achieved on 8th September and in any case remained available as a valuable reserve with the 6 Armoured Division!

66Page-144 & 145-War Despatches-Op Cit.

67This illustrates the narrow vision of basically glorified JCO type armour commanders of the Indo Pak regardless of the fact whether they were from Indian or Pakistan Armies.This new Indian armour operation which was supposed to be a grand deception was being mounted from just four or five west of the old location of the Indian 1st Armoured Brigade; but it was thought that it was a major change of direction and would disorient and confuse the Pakistanis.On the Pakistani side already everyone in the 6 Armoured Division was clear that Phillora was the next major Indian objective.Even the Indian armoured corps historian was visibly amused by this few kilometres sideways shift of armour and drily noted; ‘The 1st Armoured Brigade moved from Sabzpir crossroads on the evening of 10 September in order to get to the southwest of Maharajke.The move took time because of heavy going due to rain and the enemy shelled the regiments throughout their move. The Pakistanis were apparently fully aware of the new location of the formation. They must have wondered what the purpose of a sideways shift of a few kilometres,which could have been covered in minutes by day, was’ (Page-395-The Indian Armour-Op Cit). Gurcharan Singh very correctly pointed out that ‘ there was little possibility of either side achieving surprise because shifting the point of thrust a few kilometres this side or that hardly matters where half a dozen armoured regiments were deployed in defence…it was a head on encounter….’ (Page-398-Ibid).

6811 Cavalry has been most unjustly criticised for not fighting well at Phillora-Gadgor on 11th September. The Indian attack on 11th September was a very deliberate and well planned affair with full artillery support and overwhelming concentration of force against Phillora.Unlike 8th September when the Indians and 25 Cavalry just unknowingly crashed into each other; on 11th September the Indians had a fair idea about the extent of Pakistani armour’s defensive dispositions and had made detailed artillery preparation.25 Cavalry had been in the area before the war since it was integral armoured regiment of 15 Division.11 Cavalry had never served in this area being a part of 6 Armoured Division based in Kharian and had reached Phillora-Gadgor after last light 10th September having fought for six days in Chhamb, where it had suffered more than 50 casualties including 19 killed; and having carried out a long journey on tracks and train all the 80 miles distance from Chhamb to Gadgor.The Indian armoured corps historian described the odds faced by 11 Cavalry at Gadgor-Phillora in the following words; ‘The weight of fire brought down by a whole regiment of Centurions was to much for the enemy who started to withdraw….the enemy left behind 23 tanks destroyed or burnt’ (Page-397-The Indian Armour-Op Cit).

69 Page-396-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.

70 Page-164-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

71Page-164 & 165-Ibid.

72Page-398 & 399-The Indian Armour-Op Cit and Pages-148 & 149-War Despatches-Op Cit.It appears that Harbaksh was right since Shaukat Riza also did quote an air observer who saw some Indian tanks moving towards Zafarwal on 12th September,but never reached Zafarwal (Page-165-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit). Shaukat thought that the air observer made a false claim (Shaukat’s assertion being incorrect as is proved by Indian account), but it appears that 2 Lancers made some token movement towards Zafarwal on 12th September. Gurcharan and Harbaksh were both Sikhs but Gurcharan was defending armoured corps motivated by espirit de corps while Harbaksh Singh not being from armour was being more factual!Personally I would believe Harbaksh Singh since he had greater integrity as a historian than any other Indian or Pakistani participant including all Pakistani generals who wrote any books on 1965 war.

73 Page-165-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

74Pages-165 & 166-Ibid.

75Page-149-War Despatches-Op Cit.


77Page-166-Shaukat Riza-Pages 399 & 400-The Indian Armour and Page-149-War Despatches-Op Cit

78 Page-171 & 172-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.


80Page-151-War Despatches-Op Cit.


82The Pakistani Chief of General Staff General Malik Sher Bahadur was a man of limited vision and had little understanding of the decisive role of artillery in modern warfare!The outcome of Battle of Chawinda may have been different had Sher Bahadur succeeded in disbanding 4 Corps artillery as he very much wanted! Gul Hassan has described in his memoirs in some detail Sher Bahadur’s myopic wish to disband Headquarter 4 Corps Artillery and distribute its units piecemeal to other formations, just before Grand Slam in which this headquarter played the most decisive role. Luckily two men Brigadier Reilly the Anglo Indian Director Artillery and Brigadier Amjad Choudhry convinced Gul to take a stand in his capacity as DMO. (Pages-171 & 172-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit). Amjad stated in his book without naming Sher Bahadur (since it was 1976) that it was the intention of GHQ to make headquarter artillery 4 Corps do the work of a ‘traffic control centre’.Amjad stated that ‘I argued with him (Gul Hassan) that our corps artillery should not be employed in penny packets. I suggested to him that if the Corps Artillery was used as a GHQ reserve of firepower, it would enable the GHQ to influence the course of battle in any sector which needed reinforcing. Brigadier Gul Hassan saw my point and agreed with me and and ordered us to concentrate between Wazirabad and Sialkot’ (Page-35-Brig Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit) .

83Page-170-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

84Page-401-K.C Praval-Op Cit.

85Page-402 & 403-The Indian Armoured Corps-Op Cit and Page-152 & 153-War Despatches-Op Cit.

86 Page-404-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.

87Page-171-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

88Page-75 & 76-Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.Pakistani armour and infantry officers will never admit this fact.See how armour and infantry fared without artillery support at Bara Pind in 1971 in the same Sialkot area in a scenario where about one Indian tank regiment and three infantry battalions humbled three Pakistani tank regiments and two infantry battalions!

89Page-6-Pakistan Army Green Book-1992-Op Cit.Major General Mitha in his book/polemic against Gul also mentioned that the senior armoured corps attached to 6 Armoured Division Headquarter as advisor advised Abrar to withdraw from Chawinda.Mitha has however neither named the officer who gave this advice nor mentioned the date on which this incident occurred (Pages-38 & 39-Major General A.O Mitha-Op Cit). Brigadier Zaheer Alam Khan in an article stated that on 15 or 16 September Brigadier Hissam-el Effendi an otherwise colourful and flashy personality (reputed to have married his British commanding officers wife) ‘ ordered withdrawal of the divisional headquarter (of 6 Armoured Division) when the news about Indian tanks at Badiana was received.Z.A states that Abrar on hearing about this order countermanded it and removed Brigadier Sardar Hissam-el Effendi from 6 Armoured Division’s Headquarters (Page-59- The Way it was-Brigadier Z.A Khan – Defence Journal – Karachi-May-1998).

90Page-22- Article- “Battle of Buttur Dograndi-16/17 September 1965”- Major Shamshad Ali Khan Qaimkhani (Retired)- Defence Journal-April 1998- Karachi.


92Page-404-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.Gurcharan does not state the ‘inexplicable misunderstanding’ as Harbaksh had stated why the tanks were withdrawn north of the railway line. (Page-155-War Despatches-Op Cit). See page-496- Fidelity and Honour-Lt Gen S.L Menezes-Viking-India-1993.

93Pages-154 & 155-War Despatches-Op Cit.

94Pages-173 & 174-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.

95Page-174-Ibid and Page-405-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.

96Page-406-The Indian Armour-OpCit and Pages-158 & 159-War Despatches-Op Cit.

94Page-492 -S.L Menezes-Op Cit.

95Page-70-Musa Khan-Op Cit.

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May 24, 2011
1. I must say this article has been unkind on Gen Bakhtyar Rana. This Rajput General had won MC in WW II for bravery. He was a cool and unassuming person who disliked throwing his weights around. A truly simple soldier who was harassed by the array of so called intellectual advisers set around him. These hampered his taking command decisions as he would wish. Let us also not forget that this was the only Corps in PA and as such all attention and pressure was on this HQ which could hardly function because of interference by GHQ.

2. Let me explain how simple he was. After retirement he was contacted by the owner of Lawrencepur Woolen Mills and offered a job. Rana was getting bored doing nothing and the salary was fat. So he accepted. Apparently there was no work for him. He sat the whole day in his posh office next to the owners at Sudder, RWP. One day the owner came to him and requested him very politely to accompany the car that was going to pick his daughter room the Cantt Girls School since there was no one reliable available.Simple man Rana was happy to oblige. And this was repeated few more times till somebody informed Ayub that Rana had a job to chaperon somebody's daughter. Soon it was discovered that this owner had been slapped by a PA Capt when ML was promulgated. So he was taking his badla on the army. A new Corpn, Small Industries Corpn was formed and Rana was made its Chairman.

3. I shall come back with few more anecdotes later.


Mar 28, 2009
capturing one post and loosing 20 won't favors the war on your side.
True, but that depends on the weightage of the posts.

Its like saying making one deal and losing 20 make you look bad..but if your 20 deals lost were of £20000 and the one of £420000.. then you still had the better luck.


Nov 6, 2010
True, but that depends on the weightage of the posts.

Its like saying making one deal and losing 20 make you look bad..but if your 20 deals lost were of £20000 and the one of £420000.. then you still had the better luck.
the only point is , the objectives of your military were remained un-achieved and Indian Military succeeded in aggressive defence of India.
Jun 23, 2010
I have read in text books that pakistani faujis were doing suicide blasting in chawinda against indian tanks......who said tamil tigers started this trend?


Jan 1, 2010
I have read in text books that pakistani faujis were doing suicide blasting in chawinda against indian tanks......who said tamil tigers started this trend?
The japanese also did it... watch the movie "letters from iwo jimma" ... its not the same as suicide attacks killing people...they did it to blow tanks not people... troll.
Jun 23, 2010
The japanese also did it... watch the movie "letters from iwo jimma" ... its not the same as suicide attacks killing people...they did it to blow tanks not people... troll.
And people are sitting in the tanks....
Suicide is haram in islam, you wont be shaheed if you commit suicide.

Umair Nawaz

Sep 10, 2012

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