• Thursday, April 25, 2019

East Pakistani Soldiers during Operation Searchlight

Discussion in 'Bangladesh Defence Forum' started by kobiraaz, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    i am starting a thread on EAST PAKISTANI SOLDIERS during operation search light. please avoid any discussion about atrocities made by both. I have carefully omitted them. This thread is about course of battle event occurred during operation search light. My purpose is just to let pdf members know "once these soldiers took training together, loved each other... and Fate led them fight each other....."


    Dhaka

    Pakistani plan of action for Dhaka, as drawn up by Maj. Gen. Farman, was:

    13th Frontier Force to stay in cantonment as reserve and provide security
    43rd Light Ack Ack regiment was to secure Tejgaon airport
    22nd Baluch regiment would disarm the EPR and seize wireless at Pilkhana EPR HQ
    32nd Punjab was to neutralize Rajarbag Police line
    18th Punjab was to fan out and secure Nawabpur and old Dhaka
    31st Field was to secure Second capital, Mohammadpur and Mirpur
    A platoon from 3 SSG was to capture Sheikh Mujib
    22nd Baluch and 32nd Punjab was to neutralize Dhaka University “rebels”
    22 Baluch would be reinforced at Pilkhana

    Bengali EPR officers were detained by the Pakistanis in Pilkhana and the troops were mostly ordered to stand down and relax, while 22nd Baluch took over security duties at Pilkhana on March 25 morning hours. Pakistani troops moved out at 11:30 PM from Dacca cantonment as the Pakistani field commander wished to cut the reaction time of the Bengali forces.The army was given a 6 hour deadline to achieve its goal in Dhaka. Pakistani Army troops quickly shut off all communication channels in Dacca before commencing the operation.

    The 10th Bengal was easily disarmed in the cantonment and later eliminated. The 31st Field was deployed in the second capital of Dacca city itself and secured the northern part of the city. The commandos, accompanied by Major Belal and Lt. Col. Z.A. Khan easily captured Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the beginning of the crackdown. The capture of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was announced to all units (perhaps) "The big bird has been caged". The death of Commodore moazzem Hossain was announced in Urdu. The military were searching for Tajuddin and Bhuiya and they were announcing that any building shown hoisting black flag or Bangladeshi flag will be knocked down.

    22nd Baluch at the EPR HQ attacked and subdued the disorganised resistance of the mostly disarmed EPR after an all night battle. Pakistanis captured the EPR troops posted at Mirpur, the President House and the Governor house without resistance, but many managed to flee while some were executed.

    The Police at Rajarbag put up a stout resistance, but were eventually overcome and most survivors were captured or scattered.The city was secured before dawn and a curfew was imposed. Surviving EPR and police fled the city, some crossed the Buriganga river to gather at Jingira. Sporadic attacks on the army took place during March 26-April 5, but barring the failure to arrest Awami league leaders, the army had achieved its objectives.

    From March 26 to April 6, in an operation dubbed "GREAT FLY-IN" PIA Boeings and C 130 Transports would fly the 9th (made of the 27th, 313ed and 117th Brigades)and 16th (34th and 205th bdes) divisions (a total of 5 Brigade Hqs, containing 16 infantry battalions) to Dacca,and elements of these formations would be flown to various locations in East Pakistan to reinforce Pakistani garrisons. 2 Mortar batteries and 2 wings each of EPCAF and West Pakistan Rangers, accompanied by a considerable number of Tochi and Thal Scouts were also deployed.

    Pakistan army lifted the curfew for 2 hours on 27 March, when thousands of civilians left Dacca for the countryside. Pakistani troops began to move out of the city after March 26, taking up positions at Demra to the east, Tongi to the north and Narayangaung to the south to block road access to the city. By April 10, Pakistani Army had taken over the area between the Padma River to the south and Tangail-Narshindi to the north.

    [​IMG]

    Mymensingh-Joydebpur

    The 2nd EBR was posted in Joydebpur to the north of Dhaka, and had detachments posted in the Gazipur Ordnance factory (which had a small arsenal)and Rajendrapur Munitions factory (also housed an ammunition depot). Pakistani planners had feared that this unit could launch attacks on Dhaka Airport or the cantonment itself and disrupt the operation during the early hours of March 25/26, when Dhaka garrison had no reserve forces to spare.Although Lt. Col. Masudul Hasan had informed Maj. K M Shafiullah (EBR) of the Pakistani crackdown on March 26 via telephone, the unit did not take any action until March 27. Pakistani troops took control of the Rajendrapur factory on March 26 and began to replenish munitions from that depot.

    EPR 2nd wing (4 companies, one in Mymenshing, while other were posted to the north at Naqshi, Karaitoli and Lengura) was HQed at Mymenshing, along with a company of 2 EBR and a mixed company of W. Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani unit attacked the EPR company on March 27 but was wiped out on March 28, while other 2nd Wing companies neutralised Pakistani soldiers (either arrested them and sent them across the border or killed them) and deployed in towns to the east and west of Mymensingh by March 29. The 2nd EBR, under Major Shafiullah, revolted on 27 March, partially looted the Gazipur armory and regrouped at Mymensingh on 30 March. Shafiullah took command of 2nd EBR and 7 EPR companies (4 from 2nd wing and 3 made out of EPR, police, Mujahid and Answer personnel), and deployed his forces at Tangail, Bahadurabad, Sirajgaung, and Gaffargaon by March 30.3 EPR companies were sent to Dacca to conduct sneak attacks, while the 2nd EBR moved via Kishorgaung and Narshindi to attack Dacca. Maj. Shafiullah canceled this plan on 31 March and joined the forces of Khaled Mosharraf north of Comilla with the 2nd EBR troops. Major Shafiullah deployed his forces as follows: 1 Company each at Narshindi, Ashuganj, Azabpur, Brahmanbaria, Sarail, Taliapara, 2 EBR Hq at Teliapara, and 1 company sent to Shadipur in Sylhet, and 1 to Chittagong to help Major Zia.

    Pakistani forces (27th Brigade) moved north from Dacca on April 1, one column headed for Tangail while the other for Narshindi. EPR forces ambushed them near Tangail, but Pakistanis broke through despite heavy casualties and Tangail fell on April 9. Two columns headed north from Tangail, one towards Jamalpur and the other towards Mymensingh. Despite being repeatedly ambushed by Bengali forces, Jamalpur fell on April 14 and Mymensingh by April 22.

    PAF bombed Narshindi on April 6, dispursing the EPR forces, and the army column (31st Baluch) attacked EPR positions near Narshindi on 8 April. This was repulsed, but the next attack, aided by artillery and Saber jets, broke through on April 9 and Narshindi fell on April 12. Mopping up action was conducted by the 27th Brigade, which secured Mymensingh, Sylhet and part of Comilla division by June.

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  2. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    Chittagong

    Chittagong housed the only oil refinery in East Pakistan, had a large fuel depot, was the largest seaport and MV Swat, with 9000 tons of arms and ammunition was in port. Bengali units substantially outnumbered the West Pakistani Chittagong garrison, which was a cause of concern for Pakistani planners. Bengali officers of EPR and EBR had discussed a preemptive strike on Pakistan forces, but the senior Bengali officers (Lt. Col M.R. Choudhury -Chief Instructor, EBRC) and Major Ziaur Rahman (2IC, 8 EBR), dissuaded Captain Rafiq (Sector Adjutant, EPR) from rebelling in the belief that the Pakistani army would not take action against civilians, but confirmed that they will revolt in case of any Pakistani attack. Attempts to unload arms and ammunition from MV Swat were a partial failure during March 20-25th, as civilian protestors blocked any attempt to take the arms to the cantonment and many were shot by the army. Brig. Mazumdar was relieved of his post because of this failure.

    Pakistani units were given the following objectives in Chittagong:

    Disarm EBRC units, 8 EBR, EPR and police units
    Seize police armory, radio station and telephone exchange
    Liaise with Pakistani Navy
    Arrest Lt. Col. MR Chaudhury and Awami League leaders.

    The Chittagong garrison was to be reinforced by the bulk of 53rd Brigade troops from Comilla on March 26.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    Course of events:
    March 25

    The daytime witnessed nothing unusual, Pakistani and Bengali troops continued normal activities, while civilians barricaded streets to impede army movements. 1 Company of Bengali soldiers unloaded the MV Swat, all day and night, which would be finished by March 26 midday. Pakistani navy secured the airport just after dusk, capturing all EPR personnel stationed there. Commodore Mumtaj prevented any massacre of Bengali Naval personnel at the naval base but also ensured they cause no mischief.The port facility was secured by a Pakistani infantry company by 9:00 PM. Communication networks were partially shutdown.

    Around 8:30 PM, Captain Rafiq (Sector Adjutant, EPR) was informed of troop movements in Dhaka. He immediately went to the EPR HQ and successfully took control of the facility by 10:30, imprisoning about 300 Pakistani EPR members, then sent a prearranged signal to all Bengali EPR companies attached to the Chittagong EPR sector to imprison all Pakistani soldiers and come to the city. This is the only instance where Bengali units launched a preemptive strike against the Pakistanis during the operation. Captain Rafiq deployed his troops in Agrabad (100 soldiers), Railway Hill (150) and Court hill (a platoon). The rest guarded the EPR HQ. The EPR Ramgarh contingent was told to blow up the Shuvopur bridge. As per his discussions with Lt. Col. Chowdhury and Major Zia, he had assumed they would take over the cantonment – an assumption that would have fatal consequences.

    20 Baluch, under Lt. Col Fatami, sent 6 truck loaded with troops to secure EBRC around 11:30 PM. They achieved total surprise and killed over 1000+ Bengali troops and secured the area by 3:30 PM. (Islam pp. 105–106) Lt Col. M.R. Chowdhury was among those killed, while surviving Bengali personnel were scattered. Pakistani forces had partially achieved their objectives by securing the cantonment, the port and the airport, and they awaited reinforcements from Comilla before taking further steps.

    8 EBR troops at Sholoshahar were unaware of the attack on EBRC. Major Ziaur Rahman was away, making his way to port to unload ammunition from MV Swat around 11:45 PM while Major Mir Shawkat Ali had been ordered to take a company to the port. When some of the EBRC survivors reached 8 EBR lines begging for help, Captain Khalekuzzaman raced to find Zia while Captain Oli Ahmad began recalling EBR troops to Sholoshahar and arrested all Pakistani soldiers and officers of the unit. Captain Khalek managed to find Maj. Zia and get his escort of Pakistani troops back to 8 EBR lines, where Zia managed to arrest his escort and order Bengali troops to move out. Bengali officers were divided in their opinion, some wanted to take on the 20 Baluch at EBRC to save Bengali lives, but ultimately it was decided that such a move would be suicidal. 8 EBR left the city and took position across the Kalurghat bridge around 1:15 AM.Bengali troops killed all Pakistani prisoners including the CO, Lt. Col. Janjua prior to moving out.

    Pakistani troops from the Naval base launched an unsuccessful attack on the EPR HQ in the early hours (2:00AM – 4:00 AM) of March 26. Around 4:00 March 26, Major Bahar (CO 53rd Brigade Signal Company -Bengali), warned Captain Rafiq of 80 to 100 vehicles bearing the bulk of 53rd Brigade troops under Brig. Iqbal Shaffi was moving towards Chittagong. Captain Rafiq sent a EPR Machine gun platoon under Subadar Musa, with a mortar and rocket launcher to delay the Pakistani column near Kumira, 12 miles north of Chittagong.

    By 11:30 PM Captain Haroon (2IC 17th EPR Wing) had taken control of the wing, put Pakistani personnel in jail, and had signaled EPR troops in border areas to move to Chittagong by 3:30 AM. Captain Haroon with his troops reached Kalurghat Bridge by 26 March morning, where Major Zia ordered him to stay with the 8 EBR troops, along with 2 EPR companies coming from Teknaf Rangamati EPR Company imprisoned their Pakistani members and took position to the north east of cantonment by the early hours of March 26. Bengali plan of resistance had fallen apart, EPR troops were to remain without the expected reinforcements throughout the battle.

    March 26

    53rd Brigade detachment had moved out around 3:00 AM from Comilla, but was repeatedly faced delays on the way because of barricades, damaged culverts and other obstacles thrown up by civilians during their 100 mile journey to Chittagong, forcing them to stop and make makeshift repairs and diversion roads before moving on. They captured the partially damaged Suvapor Bridge intact around 10:00 AM then stopped to make repairs. Brig. Shaffi was ordered to make for Chittagong, so he resumed his advance with the infantry, commando troops and some mortars after midday, when his engineers put up a path across the ravine, leaving his engineers and mortar battery at Shuvopur. By 7 PM, March 26, this group had reached Kumira (Comeera), by which time Captain S.A. Bhuyan (after talking with Captain Rafiq over phone) of EBRC had reinforced the EPR Platoon at Kumira with 70 soldiers, and had divided his forces in 3 platoons to set up an ambush.

    20 Baluch with some tanks had secured the area immediately around the cantonment in the morning. During the day Pakistani troops from naval base and EPR soldiers had several clashes inside the city, especially around the Agrabad area and the Railway hill resulting in Pakistani soldiers being bottled up in the naval base. Bengali positions in the city came under shellfire from Pakistani Naval ships and artillery, while Bengali troops at the port facility were disarmed around midday and shot before dusk.

    Around 7 PM, Brig. Shaffi’s troops were ambushed near Kumira, losing 10 killed, and suffering almost 100 casualties, including Lt. Col. Shahpur Khan (CO 24 FF). Brig. Shaffi himself had to flee for the hills, and 2 truck full of arms were recovered by the Bengalis. Half the convoy was outside the ambush firing range and Pakistanis, commanded by Major Amzad Hussain (Bengali!!!) fought back, and a 2 hour long battle ensued. The mortars were handled by Captain Fazlur Rahman Bhuyan (Bengali), who ironically was a Kakul Academy batch mate of Captain S.A. Bhuyan, leading the Bengali ambush. The Pakistani column lost all contact with Comilla and the GHQ at Dhaka, raising fears that it had been wiped out, which, if true, might have crippled the Pakistani effort.

    The EPR HQ and Railway hill came under intense bombardment by Pakistani naval ships (PNS Jahangir and 2 gunboats) and artillery during the day. Pakistani troops launched two attacks on the Railway hill and EPR HQ after a 2 hour barrage around 8:30 PM, but both attacks were repulsed. Pakistanis continued to shell both areas throughout the night.

    At the end of March 26, both Pakistani and Bengali troops had been denied land based reinforcements. Pakistani troops were stuck at Kumira, while Major Zia was keeping any EPR troops heading to the city at Kalurghat. Pakistani troops were in control of the northern and southern part of the city, and they were getting reinforcements through the air. The 2nd SSG (CO: Lt. Col Sulayman) was flown to Chittagong, while ammunition was flown out to replenish Pakistani forces around the province. Bengali troops were stuck in the middle (literally and figuratively) so the lack of communication and coordination between Maj. Zia and Captain Rafiq meant Bengali positions would come under intense pressure. Maj Zia had decided not to enter the city until his forces were all organized, so 1000+ Bengali soldiers remained at Kalurghat. EPR troops from Ramgarh could not reach the city as Pakistanis stuck at Kumira barred their way, and the troops from Rangamati were stuck outside the cantonment. The Bengali soldiers in the city were in dire need of supplies and reinforcements.

    March 27

    Captain Rafiq and EPR troops withdrew from the Railway Hill position, and planning to join the EPR troops on the north of the cantonment before sunrise. Captain Rafiq planned to attack the cantonment and take over the supply dumps, but his troops moving towards the cantonment were taken to Kalurghat by Maj Zia enroute, scuttling this risky plan. Pakistani troops from the naval base moved through Agrabad towards the EPR HQ, but EPR troops managed to beat back the attack.

    General Khadim, GOC East Pakistan flew to Chittagong cantonment in the morning and conferred with Col. Fatami, then tried to locate Brig. Shaffi’s troops flying along the Comilla-Chittagong highway by Helicopter. The helicopter was hit by small arms fire near Kumira, and returned to Dacca without making contact.Gen Khadim moved his HQ from Dhaka to Chittagong cantonment next, and sent a column of 20 Baluch to locate the 53rd Brigade troops, but this column clashed with the EPR troops north of the city and got bogged down. General Mitha arrived in Chittagong around midday via Helicopter and planned to send a commando platoon from 2 SSG under Lt. Col Sulayman to link up with 20 Baluch before going on to locate Brig. Shaffi.The platoon raced north from the naval base in 2 jeeps and 3 pickup trucks, but were ambushed near Double Mooring, losing 13 members including the CO.

    Meanwhile Brig. Shaffi had regrouped his forces at Kumira, and the Pakistani soldiers from Shuvopur had joined him after leaving a rearguard on the bridge. He sent a column east to bypass the Bengali position and linkup with the 20 Baluch, but it was ambushed and forced to withdraw. Another column moving along the seashore was also ambushed, and some Pakistani soldiers lost their way and were killed by Bengali mobs. Bengali civilians had provided warnings which were crucial for setting up the ambushes. The EPR troops at Kumira were almost out of ammunition and fell back 5 miles south to Bhatiari. Captain Bhuyan left for the city to get supplies, but could not return to Kumira. Captain Rafiq finally managed to re-supply the troops, but it took 7 long hours. Later that day Capt. Rafiq left for Ramgarh to seek Indian assistance. In the meantime, EPR troops took control of Feni, thus cutting off the road link between Comilla and Brig. Shaffi. EPR troops at Ramgarh split in two groups, one moved to join the Bengali soldiers near the Chittagong cantonment, while the others made for Shuvopur.

    At the Chittagong naval base Brig. Ansari formed a task force of 2 tanks, one infantry battalion and mortars to hold the port area, supported by the 2 SSG commandos and naval ships. He was later reinforced by another battalion flown from Dhaka. Pakistanis made another attack on the EPR HQ without success later in the day.

    Major Zia kept his troops at Kalurghat bridge, broadcast a declaration of independence with himself as the provisional head of state in the evening. He later amended the message and declared independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after consulting with Awami League leaders, and arranged to broadcast the message hourly.The impact of this broadcast, which were picked up by the civilians and isolated Bengali units fighting the Pakistanis, was significant. Gen. Mitha planned to send another commando platoon to blow up the station, but the fate of the first platoon convinced him to send this in speedboats instead of overland.

    EPR troops attempted to capture the Shuvopur bridge without success. Pakistani troops had failed to take control of Chittagong as planned, but they had access to airborne reinforcements and no lack of supplies, while Bengali troops were running out of supplies, needed reinforcements and the lack of coordination between Maj. Zia and Captain Rafiq meant their effort were not fully effective. By 27 March, most Bengali troops outside Chittagong city had assembled near the Kalurghat bridge, away from the battle in the city, where Major Zia had set up command.

    March 28

    Pakistani forces at Kumira launched a 3 pronged attack on Bengali forces in the morning, supported by mortars and PNS Rajshahi and Balaghat from the sea. The attack broke through and surviving EPR troops retreated to Fauzdarhut, were they were joined by an EPR platoon. Brig. Shaffi soon began attacking the area around 8 AM. After a clash of 3 hours, Bengali troops fell back to a position near the Haji Camp, which soon came under attack from Brig. Shaffi’s troops.

    The Pakistani commando platoon sent to blow up Kalurghat Radio station was cornered in the Agri Building near the river and wiped out. Gen. Khadim then ordered the 20 Baluch to attack the station, which was repulsed. 20 Baluch also unsuccessfully attempted to dislodge the EPR troops positioned to the north of the cantonment around midday. Pakistani troops managed to push south from the cantonment and take control of the Circuit house (this became the HQ for Gen. Khadim). Pakistani ships and artillery continued pummel Bengali positions, but Pakistani attempts from the naval base to drive the EPR from Agrabad and link up with the 20 Baluch failed, although 20 Baluch and Brig. Shaffi’s group made contact with each other later in the day.

    Captain Bhuyan, who was posted at Kalurghat Radio station by Major Zia, made two Radio announcements. The first one was to observe a blackout, the second was for all Bengali armed forces personnel to gather at Laldighi Moydan. Realizing the danger from the PAF in an open air gathering, the second announcement was cancelled, which was mainly given to gather scattered Bengali troops in the city. Major Zia had not finished his reorganization so 1000+ Bengali troops still sat at Khalurghat. At night, nervous Bengali soldiers at Kalurghat radio station opened up twice at thin air, wasting much of their ammunition. EPR troops from Ramgarh, now commanded by Maj. Shamsuddin (CO 14th EPR Wing) attacked the Pakistani guard on Shuvopur bridge in the evening, wiping out the Pakistani contingent and capturing the bridge.

    March 29

    Brig. Ansari sent a Pakistani detachment from the naval base bypassing EPR positions at Agrabad and captured New market and DC hill in the morning, but they were repulsed at Court Hill. Brig. Shaffi, who had taken control of the Haji camp and linked up with the 20 Baluch, now pushed south to the edge of Agrabad and made contact with Brig. Ansari’s detachment around evening, much to the relief of Pakistani HQ in Dhaka then captured the Medical college and Pravartak hill as well. Bengali troops fell back to Halishahar, while small groups continued to make hit and run attacks around the city. Bengali forces now held EPR HQ, Dampara, Kalurghat Radio station, Chawkbazar and Court hill, but were isolated from each other and had almost exhausted their ammunition. Major Zia kept bulk of his forces at Kalurghat, while small groups were sent to the city to make hit and run attacks. The initiative now fully rested with the Pakistan forces after 4 days of bitter fighting.

    March 30

    Brig. Ansari began organizing a task force to clear the city, while Brig. Shaffi took overall command with the task of taking out the Radio station, EPR HQ and the Dampara police line immediately. While Pakistan Navy and army shelled Bengali positions, Gen. Mitha again sent a commando platoon to attack Kalurghat Radio Station, which failed. 20 Baluch next attacked towards the station but was repulsed after heavy fighting. Finally the PAF bombed the station, and the transmitters were removed to another location by Bengali personnel. Sporadic clashed took place around the EPR HQ, while Major Zia left Maj. Shawkat in command at Kalurghat Bridge (1000+ Bengali troops were still positioned there) and left for Ramgarh around 7:30 PM to seek Indian assistance.

    March 31

    Brig. Ansari launched a battalion sized attack on the EPR HQ at Halishahar (a strongly fortified area), supported by another battalion and 2 tanks, with PNS Babur and Jahangir and 2 gunboats, plus a mortar battery lending fire support. The buildings at the HQ were leveled by shellfire - inadvertently leading to the death of Pakistani POWs. The battle raged from 7 am to 2 PM, and when the attack stalled around midday, PAF jets bombed the area, and another 3 hours were needed before the base was secured. Bengali survivors fled north through by lanes and left the city altogether.

    Aftermath

    Brig. Ansari next attacked the Dampara police line on March 31 with his task force which fell after a sharp firefight. On April 1 the Pakistani attack on Court hill was repulsed with the loss of a tank. Brig. Ansari launched an attack with 2 companies on April 2, which got stalled. He then sent 4 companies from two directions at Court hill, and captured the place, leaving Bengali troops with control of Chawlkbazar only in Chittagong city. For his services the superseded Brig. Ansari was awarded the ‘‘Hilal-i-Jurat’’ and the rank of Major General.

    Between April 3 –April 6, Pakistani troops carried out mop up operations and fought several sharp street battles in and around Chawlkbazar, and by April 10 they had secured the city. Captain Rafiq and Maj. Zia had secured aid from BSF by April 6, and were busy organizing Bengali forces around Ramgarh. Bengali troops had captured 18 Pakistani officers near Ramgarh including Lt. Col Sheikh and Major Iqbal, all of whom Maj. Zia surrendered to the Indian authorities. Major Shafiullah and Major Khaled Musharraf sent 1 company each to Ramgarh, while Maj. Zia was busy attending the meetings at Teliapara and was absent from Chitagong front. All Bengali troops had left the city to regroup in 2 areas, at Kalurghat (1,000+ Bengali troops of the EPR and EBR), and at Kumira to the north of the city. By the 10th of April, Pakistani troops were poised to launch a three pronged coordinated attack to drive the Bengali troops from their positions.
     
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  3. somebozo

    somebozo ELITE MEMBER

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    Very detailed info
     
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  4. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    Comilla

    Comilla is on the strategically important Dhaka-Chittagong highway and a crucial road link. Pakistani objectives were:

    Disarm 4 EBR, EPR and police
    Secure town, telephone exchange and arrest Awami League leaders

    [​IMG]
    Pakistani plan was to have one 31 Punjab company ambush Maj. Khaled’s detachment as it moved to Shamshernagar while another company neutralized the remainder of the 4 EBR at Brahmanbaria. The plan was foiled because Maj. Khaled took an alternative rout to Shamshernagar, thus avoiding the ambush, and the other company was delayed because of barricades on the road. Major Shafat learned of the Pakistani crackdown on March 26 morning from people fleeing Dhaka and managed to warn Major Khaled, who ordered Jamil to remain vigilant until Khaled arrived in Brahmanbari to lead the revolt. An unknown person warned Majoe Jamil of the approach of the 31st Punjab detachment on March 27 early hours, and Major Jamil managed to arrest all Pakistani personnel prior to the scheduled 10:00 PM meeting. Major Khaled arrived later that day and deployed his troops to the north and east of Comilla.

    The Pakistanis easily arrested and imprisoned or executed Bengali troops in Comilla cantonment, then wiped out the police in Comilla city on 26 March. The EPR HQ wing was warned of the attack and most EPR personnel managed to escape. A convoy of 80 to 100 vehicles bearing the 24th Frontier Force, the mortar batteries, commando troops and the engineers started for Chittagong after Comilla was secured. An engineering company had been sent to Feni on March 25 to secure the road. This column was ambushed by the EPR 12 miles from Chittagong on 26 March evening. The 3rd Commando battalion attacked and eliminated the 4th EBR rear party in the cantonment on 29 March.

    Pakistanis maintained control of the city and the airfield throughout the operation. By April 10, Bengali troops still controlled major cities in Comilla, Noakhali and Syhlet. Pakistani 27th, 313th, and 117th Brigades were attacking these positions. Comilla was reinforced by helibourne troops from April 2, but their efforts to breakout from the city were foiled by Bengali fighters. The first major success of the Pakistani Comilla contingent came on April 19, when Akhaura fell to them.

    Sylhet

    Pakistani objectives were:

    Secure Radio station and exchange
    Secure Kean bridge and airport
    Disarm EPR and police, arrest Awami league leaders


    Pakistani troops took over Sylhet city on March 26 without resistance, while Bengali EPR troops from 3rd wing and EPR Sector HQ managed to escape capture because Major Javed Barkat aided them. 31st Punjab companies sent to neutralize 4 EBR took up platoon size defensive position at Sherpur, Sadipur and Shamshernagar after being foiled by the 4 EBR revolt in Brahmanbaria. EPR 12th wing troops began to gather at Sunamganj while 3rd wing troops began taking over the BOPs after learning of the Pakistani crackdown from March 27 onward.

    [​IMG]
    Initial clashes

    An EPR company attacked Samshernagar on March 27 and drove back the Pakistani platoon towards Sylhet. Another EPR company attacked 2 Pakistani platoons at Maulvi Bazar on March 27 and occupied the town. EPR troops also repulsed a Pakistani platoon sized attacked on Sunamganj on March 29, while remaining 12th wing companies imprisoned W. Pakistani personnel of the wing and joined the resistance, some joining Major CR Dutta in Habiganj while others joined Maj. Khaled Musharraf near Comilla. A 31st Punjab company attacked and captured Shamshernagar on March 31 early morning with PAF assistance from the EPR forces. Some EPR troops took up position at Khadimnagar by March 31.

    Bengali resistance solidifies

    Major C.R Dutta (Frontier Force – on leave) was at Habiganj on March 25 and with the aid of Lt. Col. (ret) M.A. Rab (M.N.A 70 and future COS Bangladesh Army) had gathered a mixed force of EPR, police and volunteers totaling 2 companies by March 27. This force moved to Maulvi Bazar on April 1.On April 4 EPR troops from Sunamganj attacked Pakistanis in Sylhet with inconclusive results. While the Pakistanis began to reinforce Salutikar airfield, Major Dutta advanced on Sherpur on April 4, crossed the river at night with civilian assistance, and launched a 3 pronged attack on Pakistani forces on 5 April around 5 AM. After a 7 hour firefight surviving Pakistanis fell back to Sadipur.

    Major Shafiullah had sent a 2nd EBR company (CO Captain Aziz) to aid Major Dutta. While Major Dutta advanced north along the Sylhet-Comilla highway, Capt. Aziz took an easterly route towards Sylhet. On April 6, he arrived within 3 miles of Sylhet, and after a sharp fight with some Pakistani troops, managed to take control of the south side of Surma river. By this time Major Dutta had driven the Pakistanis from Sadipur to Sylhet and joined Capt. Aziz on April 7, augmenting his forces to 4 infantry companies. Captain Aziz took position on the Southern end of Keans Bridge in Sylhet city, cutting off road access to areas south of the Surman river. Pakistani planes carried on strikes at EPR on Khadimnagar on April 6, doing considerable damage. Pakistanis evacuated Sylhet city on April 7 and took up defense around Salutikar Airfield. EPR companies from Sunamgaj entered Sylhet on the same day, while 2 platoons occupied Khadimnagar. An attack on the airport by 2 platoon EPR troops from Khadimnagar on April 8 was unsuccessful, after which 1 EPR company reinforced the troops there. Bengali forces had by this time gathered 4 companies of regular troops and EPR and 2 mixed companies around Sylhet.

    Reinforced through air by 2 infantry battalions and a mortar battery (possibly the 22 Baluch, 30 Frontier Force and the 81st Ind. Mortar Battery) of the 313st brigade, a Pakistani column attacked Khadimnagar on April 9 night, and drove out Bengali troops by 3:00 AM after a hand to hand battle, who retreated to Haripur. Another detachment attacked Sylhet city and occupied the area after a 4 hour struggle.Pakistani planes bombed Keans bridge around 2:00 PM April 10, then launched a 3 prong attack on the bridge, outflanked the position by crossing the river both upstream and downstream, and by dusk Captain Aziz retreated south to Sadipur. Aside from sporadic fighting, no major clashes took place near Sylhet until April 18.
     
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  5. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    Jessore

    Pakistani army Jessore contingent were given the following objectives:

    Disarm 1st EBR, EPR sector HQ and police
    Secure town, telephone exchange and arrest Awami League leaders
    Maintain control of cantonment and airfield
    Reinforce Khulna if required.


    Pakistani soldiers entered Jessore city around 11:30 PM on March 25, took up positions on several locations and began patrolling the city. A few shots were exchanged near the EPR HQ but no major clash took place that night. ERP Bengali troops took up arms and began patrolling inside the HQ. Sector CO Lt. Col Aslam requested Bengali troops to stand down on March 26, assuring them that he would stand with them in case of an army attack, and Bengali troops reluctantly surrendered some of their weapons around midday. Major Osman (CO EPR 4 Wing at Chuadanga) tried to contact Bengali officers of the wing on March 26 but the officers refused to talk to him. The situation in Jessore remained calm until March 30.

    From January 1971 1st EBR was training at Chaugacha (13 miles west of Jessore) near the Indian border and was unaware of the events taking place around the country. This unit was scheduled to relocate to West Pakistan and 50% of its troops were on pre-embarkation leave. On March 27 and 28 Major Osman had requested Col. Jalil to join the resistance but he had refused and warned Major Osman not to bother him further. On March 28 1 EBR reached the cantonment on March 29 4:00 PM. 7th Field Ambulance soldiers requested 1 EBR troops not to deposit their arms to the armory, but this request was disregarded. Around 8:00 AM on March 30 Brig. Durrani himself came to 1 EBR barracks and ordered all arms to be surrendered and took away the keys of the armory. Bengali soldiers then revolted, broke arms out of the kotes and began firing at the nearby Baluch barracks around 9:00 AM. The EBR line immediately came under mortar and automatic weapons fire from entrenched Pakistani soldiers from 3 sides.

    Lt. Col Jalil refused to join his soldiers, and on his request the Pakistani soldiers and officers attached to 1 EBR was spared, while 50 Bengali soldiers surrendered to the Pakistanis and were shot as traitors.Lt. Hafiz and Lt. Anwar took command of the Bengali troops and led the firefight until 4:30 PM, when Bengali soldiers began an orderly retreat from the cantonment in small groups after losing nearly half the unit present strength and leaving their families behind. Lt. Hafiz managed to regroup his surviving troops 11 miles west of the cantonment around 8:30 PM. The retreat was carried out through heavy interdiction fire and majority of the surviving troops made it, except Lt. Anwar, who was shot while leading a group out, and 40 soldiers. 7th Field Ambulance troops also revolted and were wiped out.

    EPR troops received news of the cantonment clash and readied their defenses by 9:30 AM on March 30. All Pakistani personnel were imprisoned, but the Bengali officers left the HQ after the revolt started, leaving command to the JCOs. The city police also joined the revolt and began attacking army positions all around the city, while arms kept in government installations were distributed among civilian volunteers. EPR troops ambushed a Pakistani convoy coming from Khulna on March 30 evening, despite suffering heavy losses, surviving Pakistani troops managed to reach Jessore cantonment.

    A confused battle erupted around the city, and on March 31 3 companies from the EPR 5th Wing cut off the Jessore – Khulna highway link. Pakistani troops abandoned the city and withdrew to the cantonment on March 31, to the anger of Pakistan Army Eastern HQ. 2 EPR companies coming from Chuadanga got stuck just east of the city and failed to arrive. However, Bengali fighters managed to take up positions with 6 miles of the cantonment and began shelling Pakistani outposts with 3 inch mortars.

    Pakistani reinforcements began arriving from Dhaka via C-130 planes and helicopters from April 2. Jessore Airfield was inside the cantonment area and Pakistani troops maintained control of both throughout the operation. A Pakistani column moved towards Kushtia, but was ambushed on April 3 and driven back, although Pakistanis took up positions in the Bihari colony in the city suburbs the same day. The Pakistanis made several unsuccessful attempts on April 5 to move towards Jhenida. On April 6, the Pakistan army simultaneously attacked all Bengali position near Jessore and recaptured the city. A Pakistani column moving towards Jhenida was ambushed and driven back on April 7. Bengali troops regrouped at Narail and moved towards Jessore, but were scattered by Pakistani air attacks on April 9. On 11 April several Pakistani army columns left Jessore, one heading for Jhenida, one towards Khulna, and one towards Benapol. Pakistani 57th Brigade crossed over from Rajshahi and began attacking Kushtia. By the last week of April, Bengali resistance had been driven across the border by the converging attacks of the 57th and 10th brigade.

    Khulna

    Pakistan army Khulna detachment had the following objectives:

    Secure town, Telephone exchange and Radio Station.
    Disarm EPR Wing HQ and police line
    Arrest Awami League and Communist leaders.

    Pakistani forces maintained their positions throughout the operation, and had arrested the Bengali EPR personnel in Khulna on 25 March. Some of the political leaders had also been arrested. There were sporadic clashes in the city, but by March 28, Khulna was under firm Pakistani control. A Pakistani troop column from Jessore had reached the city after brushing aside two clumsy ambushes by a mixed force of volunteers and police on March 28. Operation Searchlight had anticipated Jessore garrison reinforcing Khulna, but ironically the Khulna detachment was requested to provide reinforcements for Jessore.

    [​IMG]
    March 28- April 10: Khulna cut-off

    EPR forces outside the city learned of the crackdown on March 26 and revolted. Many of the captured EPR personnel managed to escape from Khulna and joined their compatriots. One company from Kaliganj joined the EPR 4 wing, while the other 3 took positions on the Khulna - Jessore highway. EPR troops ambushed a Pakistani column heading for Jessore on March 30, a few individuals managed to reach Jessore. On April 4, Bengali fighters from Barisal launched an unsuccessful attack on the Khulna Radio station located outside the city. Khulna garrison remained isolated until the end of April.

    Kushtia

    Pakistani objectives were to secure the town, establish a presence and take control of the telephone exchange.


    27th Baluch company moved to Kushtia, which is about 54 miles north from Jessore and sits on the Rajshahi - Jessore highway, around 11:30 PM on March 25 in 13 vehicles from Jessore cantonment. They first took control of the Police lines and disarmed 500 police personnel. The CO then spread out his forces and set up outposts at the Town Police HQ, VHF Radio Station, Telephone exchange and District school, and disabled the phone and telegraph lines. By 26 March 6 AM a curfew imposed and the town was calm for the next 48 hours. Some of the police managed to escape on March 28 and join the EPR at Chuadanga.

    Bengali resistance forms up

    Major Abu Osman Chowdhury managed to escape from Kushtia on March 26 and reached Chuadanga via Jhenida. The EPR wing had learned of the crackdown through the EPR wireless net and had imprisoned all W. Pakistani personnel by this time. Major Osman met with political leaders, government officials and at 2:30 PM raised the Bangladesh flag at EPR HQ – signaling the start of revolt. The other companies were alerted via radio and they began to set up roadblocks on the roads around Kushtia.


    Pakistani troops from Jessore made probing attacks near the border from Jessore but did not push on after meeting resistance near Courtchadpur on March 27. All EPR troops at the border were ordered to Chuadanga on the same day, while Major Osman sent a letter to Lt. Col. Jalil (CO 1 EBR – Bengali), then at Chaugacha with his battalion, informing him of the Pakistani crackdown and requesting him to take command. He sent a messenger to Col. Jalil the following day, Col Jalil dismissed his suggestion as insane babbling and warned not to bother him again. All EPR companies assembled at Chuadanga on March 28. Major Osman had gathered a force containing 600 EPR troops and 400 mixed volunteers, and deployed to attack Kushtia. A mixed group of 200 troops were kept at Kushtia, another similar group under Jhenida SDP Mahbubuddin took position near Kaliganj south of Jhenida. 2 EPR Platoons were sent to Courtchandpur while a company was posted at Jhenida. Captain AR Chowdhury led a company directly from Chuadanga to Kushtia, while another company advanced from Pryagpur towards Kushtia.

    Assault on Kushtia

    Major Shoaib was warned of the coming Bengali attack by the local police but his forces failed to take it seriously, they did not bother to entrench themselves. Captain Chowdhury planned to attack Kushtia from 3 directions. A EPR company was to attack the District force from the south-east, while another struck the radio station from the east. The main group, reinforced by 2 mixed companies, would attack the Police line. About 5,000 civilians were to raise as much noise as possible to confuse the Pakistanis. Bengali forces began shelling Pakistani positions and skirmishing around 3:45 PM on March 29. Around 4:00 AM on March 30 the Bengalis struck all Pakistani positions simultaneously after a mortar barrage, preventing the Pakistanis from reinforcing each other.

    The force attacking the police line took over an adjacent three storey building and sprayed the Pakistanis with bullets, a Pakistani troop section tried to hit the building with Recoilless rifles around 1:30 PM but were cut down. Around 5 PM Pakistani survivors retreated to the company HQ after losing 20 men. Pakistanis at the Radio station and Telephone exchange also retreated to the company HQ at the District School. Bengali assault on the school was repulsed and sporadic fighting continued throughout the night. Major Shoaib had requested reinforcements and air support via Radio from Jessore, both requests were denied. Pakistani forces held out the following day, then 65 survivors tried to escape in a 3 ton truck, one dodge and 6 jeeps after dusk. This convoy was ambushed 25 kilometers south of Kushtia, losing 2 jeeps and the dodge. The survivors scattered in the countryside, Bengali mobs killed all but 2 Pakistani soldiers. Lt. Ataullah Shah and another were rescued by the EPR, given medical treatment and surrendered to the Indian authorities later. Kusthia would remain under Bengali control until April 16
     
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  6. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    Rajshahi

    The objectives allocated for the Pakistani garrison in Rajshahi were:

    Disarm police and EPR Sector HQ
    Secure Radio station and telephone exchange
    Arrest Awami League leaders and secure University/Medical college


    The CO of 25 Punjab, Lt. Col. S. Baluch was away and joined his unit on 25 March. As per the plan, he sent a company to Pabna, a town to the east of Rajshahi sitting on the vital road link to Dhaka, on the same day to establish Pakistani presence. Pakistan troops began patrolling Rajshahi from March 25, and the situation was normal, if tense the following day. Bengali police had dug bunkers expecting an attack, but nothing happened. EPR 6 Wing troops at Nawabgaung did not face anything unusual during March 25–26. The situation at Naogaon was different. Bengali troops at Rohanpur had clashed with Pakistani troops on March 23, and on March 26 soldiers at Naogaon revolted after receiving news of the countrywide Pakistani crackdown. The Bengali troops managed to imprison all Pakistani personnel while they were at dinner.Major Nazmul Huq joined his troops and began assembling the wing companies at Naogaon.

    [​IMG]

    Situation explodes: March 27

    25th Punjab took defensive positions near the Rajshshi police line and EPR HQ on March 27. Although a truce was negotiated between the police and Pakistani army, an attack was launched on the police lines after 12:00 PM, which fell after a 3 hour battle. Rajshahi police had contacted the EPR at Naogaon prior to the Pakistani attack, but received no help as EPR troops could not cover the 60 mile distance in time. But as the news of this Pakistani attack alerted the Bengali EPR soldiers, and they began to take measures. Pakistani EPR troops relocated to the cantonment the same day with most of the arms from the sector HQ, while some took position at the circuit house. Warned by the non Bengali sector adjutant Captain Ishaq, some Bengali EPR troops revolted, armed themselves, and sporadic clashes took place after dark which led to nothing. Bengali EPR personnel left Rajshahi the following day. The situation during March 28 – April 2 was uneventful.

    Pakistani EPR troops suddenly attacked Bengali troops at Nawabgaung on the same day, but were forced to surrender after a 3 hour battle. The 6 wing soldiers contacted Major Nazmul Huq at Naogaon and also joined the revolt.

    Escalation of hostilities: March 28 - March 29

    The 25 Punjab company in Pabna was deployed in small detachments around the town. A mixed force of Bengali EPR, police and volunteers attacked the company on March 27, and which caused casualties on both sides (including the company CO Captain Asghar and Lt. Rashid, 3 JCOs and 80 Pakistani troops). After a botched Heli evacuation attempt, Major Aslam led 2 platoons from Rajshai to Pabna on March 28 and extricated the survivors.This column was ambushed near Ishardi on March 29 by a Bengali force under Captain Rashid, lost 40 soldiers including Major Aslam,and only 18 soldiers ultimately reached Rajshahi after 3 days.

    The 23rd Field company in Bogura was deployed in 2 groups, one guarding the ammunition dump while the other patrolling the town without incident during March 25 – March 29. Attempts to reinforce this group from Rangpur had not succeeded. A Bengali EPR company under Captain Gias moved to Bogura, 35 miles from Naogaun on March 28 morning, reaching the place in the evening. With the aid of 200 armed police and several hundred civilian volunteers, a Pakistani patrol was ambushed on March 29, and surviving Pakistanis fled to Rangpur. Captain Gias left Bogura the following day. Local Bengali fighters attacked the ammunition dump on April 1, put surviving Pakistani troops in jail and freed the town.

    Ring around Rajshahi

    After securing Pabna and Bogura, Major Nazmul Huq focused on Rajshahi, around which Bengali fighters had been gathering since March 28. After keeping a small reserve at Naogaon, Major Nazmul Huq concentrated a mixed force of EPR, Police and volunteers around Rajshahi by April 1. Captain Gias commanded a mixed force of almost 1,000 fighters from Nawabgaung while Captain Rashid led another 1,000 from Panba to Rajshahi. Sporadic clashes with Pakistanis started on the following day. A three pronged attack was launched on the town, with Captain Gias attacking from the south, Captain Rashid from the east and another group from the northwest on April 4. After a fierce 4 hour battle causing severe casualties on both sides, Pakistani forces left the town and took up a strong defensive position around the cantonment at Sapura, using minefields and barbed wire to beef up the place.Between April 1 - April 5, the PAF had launched airstrikes to little effect on Rajshahi. Bengali fighters launched several attacks on the cantonment between April 6 - April 10, and although the Pakistanis were ultimately confined in an area only 800 yards square, the Punjab regiment managed to survive.Rajshahi town remained free until April 15. On April 10, 3 EPR companies took position to block the Pakistani 57th infantry brigade at Nagarbari. Pakistani forces softened the position by airstrikes on April 10, a launch borne forced probed it the following day. At night Pakistani assault force crossed the Jamuna River and secured the position, forcing the battered remnants of Bengali fighters to flee towards Pabna. Brig. Arbab began cleaving a path of terror and destruction as he headed for Rajshahi with the 57th brigade.

    Rangpur-Saidpur

    Pakistani Army objectives for Rangpur were:

    Secure both towns, Telephone exchange and Radio station in Rangpur.
    Diasarm 3 EBR at Saidpur and EPR Sector HQ at Dinajpur
    Secure Ammo dump at Bogura
    Arrest Awami League leaders in Rangpur

    As part of a pre arranged plan 3 EBR companies had been posted away from Saidpur to minimize their threat,and it’s anti tank weapons were given to the 26 FF company in Dinajpur for training purposes,further diminishing it’s firepower. 26 FF planned to disarm the EPR troops at Dinajpur during a Bara Khana on March 23, which failed because Bengali troops protested the presence of armed Pakistani soldiers in the dinner area and refused to eat until the Pakistani contingent put away their arms before sitting down to eat. Pakistani troops moved into Rangpur on March 25 around 12:00 AM and took up positions around the city. Capt. Nawajesh had barely escaped from the EPR HQ with some men, but the Pakistanis neutralized the police and remaining EPR troops easily. Pakistani troops also took control of Saidpur without any resistance. The situation in Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Saidpur remained calm. Pakisrtani troops from 23rd Field and 29th Cavalry began regular patrolling in Rangpur from March 26 onward, aided by local non Bengali police members.On March 27 a group of Bengali civilians, armed with spears and such tried to enter Rangpur cantonment and were mown down by automatic fire.

    Captain Ashraf, after persuading 3 EBR 21C Major Akthar of his desire to stay loyal to Pakistan, was sent to Thakurgaon with a 3 EBR company from Saidpur on March 26 morning. There were no clashes between Pakistani and Bengali forces although the situation remained tense. At Thakurgaon the EPR troops did not react to the martial law declaration. The following morning EPR troops entrenched themselves at the wing HQ.Things remained unchanged until March 28, when EPR companies deployed on the border became aware of the countrywide Pakistani crackdown from radio intercepts, and began to neutralize Pakistani EPR personnel in their midst. Capt. Nawajeshuddin met with EPR company commanders of the 10th wing and decided to take control of the Tista bridge, thus cutting off all territory north of the Tista river from Pakistani control on March 28.

    On March 28 around 11:30 AM a rumor spread among EPR troops in Dinajpur that they might be attacked, and clash with the 26th FF company erupted around 3:00PM. The combatants began shelling each other with anti tank weapons and mortars and began exchanging fire from entrenched positions at their respective HQs. EPR troops posted in the city rushed to the EPR HQ, the police also joined the EPR troops, while Bengali EPR officers were captured by Pakistani troops and Pakistani EPR personnel and officers joined the 26th FF. The battle raged throughout the night and continued for the next 3 days. An EPR company took up position at Phulbari on March 29 while the other companies made for Dinajpur, including some EPR 10 Wing troops from Rangpur. EPR troops at Phulbari fought a series of battles on March 29 and 30, and managed to retain their position. A group of Pakistani EPR troops retreating towards Saidpur were also ambushed on March 29, leading to the death of 2 Pakistani officers but Pakistani survivors managed to reach Saidpur.

    As the situation grew serious for the Pakistani troops at Dinajpur, a detachment from the 26th FF (CO Captain Fida H. Shah) was sent to Dinajpur.They ran afoul some Bengali EPR enroute but managed to reach the city by nightfall. Unable to linkup with the Pakistani detachment at Dinajpur, this column resumed their advance the following morning, advanced slowly through the town. By this time Brig. A.K. Malik had decided to evacuate Dinajpur, but a communication mix up prevented a concerted action between the two groups. The beleaguered Pakistani troops left the town using one avenue while Capt. Fida’s group raced to the Pakistani base to find it empty and fought their way out. The retreat was disorganized and some Pakistani troops were killed in an ambush enroute. EPR troops freed the captured Bengali officers. By March 31 Dinajpur was in Bengali hands.

    Thakurgaon EPR troops learned of the Dinajpur clash on March 28 evening, and attacked the Pakistani EPR troops around 10:30 PM that night. The Pakistanis, however, were prepared and a firefight raged throughout the night and the following day around a 3 story building housing the Pakistani personnel. 9th Wing EPR companies at the border were requested to come to Thakurgaon via Radio on March 29, while the police joined the EPR. On March 30 the Pakistani troops at Thakurgaon were wiped out. EPR companies from the border arrived the following day.

    Lt. Col. Hakeem was almost ambushed while leading a detachment towards Bogra at Palasbari on March 30 (or March 28, according to other sources)around 1:30 PM by a 3 EBR platoon and some EPR troops. Col. Hakeem fortunately managed to avoid the trap by calling out Lt. Rafiquddin Sarkar, 3 EBR platoon leader and keeping him in his jeep before opening fire, and returned to Saidpur after a firefight erupted.Lt. Rafiq was executed by Pakistanis later. Brig. Malik decided to disarm the 3 EBR and 29 Cavalry Bengali personnel on the same day.

    Disarming Bengali soldiers

    29 cavalry Bengali troops were divided into small groups for patrolling on March 28, and their return was staggered from Rangpur. Pakistani troops first disarmed Bengali guards at Rangpur cantonment, then each Bengali patrol group was surrounded by waiting Pakistani soldiers on their return and disarmed. Bengali officers and soldiers of 23rd Field and 29 cavalry was neutralized this way and most were executed.

    3 EBR companies were at Parvatipur (CO Maj. S. Shaffat Hussain – Pakistani), Thakurgaon (CO Captain Ashraf – Bengali), Ghoraghat (2 companies, CO Maj. Nizamuddin – Bengali) and Saidpur (Rear party and HQ company, OC Capt. Anwar). 3 EBR companies conducted routine work during March 26–28, when the news on Pakistani attacks on Bengalis caused all except the one in Saidpur to revolt. Bengali troops at Ghoraghta were the first to react by setting up the failed ambush under Lt. Rafiq at Palashbari on March 28. Other EBR companies stayed in their positions until March 31.

    26 FF attacked the 3 EBR barracks on March 30 (April 1 3:00 AM, according to other sources) with 23rd Field regiment guns providing fire support. Captain Fida was killed at the beginning of the battle, and the surviving EBR was finally forced to retreat after a bloody firefight that took a heavy toll on both sides.The initial attack on the Bengali positions was launched from the north, the second from the north west,while small groups of Pakistani troops infiltrated the positions to take out defensive strong points. After a few hours, surviving Bengali troops decided to retreat and left their position in 2 groups, having suffered 55 casualties out of 120 soldiers. Families were left behind and after some Pakistani soldiers abused them (including raping the wives of officers),they were moved to the Saidpur and Rangpur jail. Several Bengali officers attached to the 23rd Brigade were executed while several Bengali officers were sent to West Pakistan.

    Securing the air-link

    EPR 10th wing troops had taken control of the Tista bridge on March 28, and had deployed 2 companies near the bridge, 1 at Lalmanirhat airfield and the other 2 at Kurigram and Mogolhut. No clashes with Pakistani troops took place until April 1.

    Helicopters began ferrying 48 Punjab and 4 FF troops began to Rangpur after the disarming of Bengali troops. On April 1 a 4 FF platoon probed the area around Tista Bridge, and in the ensuing clash Maj. Ejaj was killed. The following day an infantry company with 29 cavalry reconnaissance troops moved to the bridge. They directed artillery on the Bengali position and with the aid of air strikes and tanks managed to force the Bengalis to fall back slightly by evening. Another Pakistani column moved north and crossed the river at a different point and attacked and captured Lalmunirhat airfield. The outflanked EPR troops abandoned the bridge, and by 4 April the airport was fully operational, with troops and supplies being flown in and families flown out. Apart from small hit and run attacks, Pakistani position remained secured north of the Tista river. On 11 April around 3:30 AM 4 EPR companies attacked the airfield, but Pakistani resistance forced them to break off the attack at daybreak.

    Bengali deployment around Saidpur April 1

    EPR troops at Thakurgaon began to take up positions north of Saidpur from March 31. On April 2, Bengali officers and EPR JCOs of 8 and 9 wings decided to deploy troops around Saidpur. Thakurgaon EPR contingent moved to Nilphamari to the north of Saidpur, Bhushibandar to the west of it. Small contingents were deployed in areas in between these two positions. Pakistani troops moved to Parvatipur, south of Saidpur after 3 EBR company had gone south to Phulbaria on April 2. On April 4 Bengali commanders held another near Bhatgaon and decide to attack Saidpur, after which 1 EBR and 3 EPR companies (CO captain Ashraf) dug in at Bhushibandar, another EPR company (CO Capt. Anwar) went to Badarganj (west of Parvatipur), and another company stayed at Bhatgaon. 3 EBR companies attacked Parvatipur on the same day, the Pakistani troops and armed Biharis retreated to Saidpur.The significance of the deployment of the Bengali forces in the west, south and north of Saidpur in a semicircle, with the road east to Rangpur open, was not lost to the Pakistani commanders.

    Pakistani counterattack from Rangpur/Saidpur

    Bengali troops lacked proper communication equipment for coordinating an attack on Saidpur and although Indian authorities had been contacted for help, none had been received. Pakistani troops, reinforced through the air after the capture of Lalmunirhut, began to attack Bengali positions from April 6 onwards. Task forces were created from the 26 FF, 48 Punjab and 4 FF battalions, accompanied by a squadron/troop from the 29 cavalry and a artillery pieces from the 23rd Field regiment, several Pakistani infantry columns backed by air support begun to attack Bengali positions simultaneously from April 4. Bhushibandar was taken on April 5, Parvatipur was taken on April 6, Nilphamari was unsuccessfully attacked the same day. 3 EBR troops attacking Parvatipur from Phulbai on the same day met with bloody repulse and retreated to Phulbari. Pakistani troops attacked Nilphamari on April 7, Bengali troops left the town the same day and Pakistanis took the town the following day. By April 10, Pakistani troops were poised to attack Bengali positions at T-Junction to the west of Bhushibandar, and areas to the west of Nilphamari and south of Parvatipur. By April 27 the division was secured, and the area north of the Tista river was retaken by Mid May.
     
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  7. A1Kaid

    A1Kaid PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Please note the information is from Wikipedia. Though I'm sure there is some truth to some of the information. Foot notes/sources seem okay.

    When you really think Op. Searchlight was a very comprehensive and elaborated military operation, very thorough.

    We may need an Operation Searchlight in Waziristan, and an Operation Searchlight against foreign IA's and hostiles operating inside Pakistan.
     
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  8. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    yes. references are given from both side... hence i think it is believable........

    Sources

    Salik, Siddiq (1997). Witness to Surrender.
    Jacob, Lt. Gen. JFR (2004). Surrender at Dacca: Birth of A Nation. The University Press Limited.
    Qureshi, Maj. Gen. Hakeem Arshad (2003). The Indo Pak War of 1971: A Soldiers Narrative. Oxford University Press.
    Islam, Major Rafiqul (2006). A Tale of Millions. Ananna.
    Shafiullah, Maj. Gen. K.M (2006). Bangladesh at War. Agamee Prakshani. .
    Rahman, Md. Khalilur (2006). Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan. Shahittha Prakash.
    Mukul, M. R. Akthar (2004). AMI Bijoy Dekhechi.
    Niazi, Lt. Gen A.A.K (1998). The Betrayal of East Pakistan. Oxford University Press.
    Hassan Khan, Lt. Gen. Gul (1978). Memories of Lt.Gen Gul Hassan Khan. Oxford University Press.
    Ali Khan, Maj. Gen Rao Farman (1992). How Pakistan Got Divided. Jung Publishers.
    Ahmed, Col (ret.) Oli (2008). Rastrobiplob Samorik Bahinir Sadashsbindu Abong Bangladesher Muktizuddah. Annesha Prokashon.
    Jones, Owen Bennet (2003). Pakistan Eye of the Storm. Yale University Press.
    Bangladesh war of liberation | year = 1998 | author = Shamsul Arefin, A.S.M | publisher = The University
    Jamil, Col(ret.) Shafat (2000). Ekaturrer Muktijuddho Raktakto Moddho August o Shorojantromoy November. Shahitta Prokash.
    Bhuyan, Maj. Gen.(ret.) MSA (2000). Muktijuddhay Noi Mash. Ahmed Publishing House. I
    Major Nasir Uddin (2005). Juddhay Juddhay Shadhinota. Agami Prokashoni.
    Islam, Major Rafiqul PSC (ret.) (1995). Muktijuddher Itihas. Kakoli Prokashoni.
     
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  9. Musalman

    Musalman FULL MEMBER

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    Nice thread Bangla fighter. I would suggest only technical matters be discussed so that it should not become a troll thread. Indian Pakistani members below the age of 30 should not be allowed to discuss in this thread :-)
     
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  10. MBI Munshi

    MBI Munshi PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    A very good and useful thread Bangla fighter.
     
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  11. kobiraaz

    kobiraaz ELITE MEMBER

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    yeah. Thanx. I didnt know about these skirmishes and it was worth reading. So shared it here.... Anyway i came to following conclusions that -
    1. EPR AND EBR tried to remain loyal untill they were attacked. 2. Bangladesh is geographically aggressor's hell and defender's heaven... EPR and EBR got home advantage and fought well though they had no artillery or air support and limited ammunition. So any future aggressor will have to think twice before attacking BD. 3. It is easy to imagine from these course of actions... India only managed to defeat Pakistan that was fighting against its own army far from it's own land.....
     
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  12. Desert Fox

    Desert Fox ELITE MEMBER

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    Indeed we were once one, brothers who fought shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy during the 1965 war. But sadly due to racism, power hungry politicians, and propaganda of enemy brothers began to kill brothers, but in the end it was destined to happen, Bangladesh had to become a independent country because for how much longer would the Bengalis bear the racist nature of the West Pakistani politicians, the PA was dragged into a political mess, the soldier had to clean the politicians sh!t, the soldiers had to pay with their lives for the mistakes that arrogant power hungry politicians made due to their greedy nature. But alas, the past can't be reversed.
     
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  13. DADU

    DADU FULL MEMBER

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    It was inevitable sooner or later it would have happened!!!!
    Any common sense person should know how difficult it is to govern a place divided through 1,600km

    Many of us don’t like it but you have to admit in hindsight: Clever move by angrez and Indians 1947-71!!!!

    But I’m glad it happened because it opened up the senses to Bangladeshis to determine their own future and know their friends and foes.
     
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  14. Desert Fox

    Desert Fox ELITE MEMBER

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    True, which is why i said the breakup was destined to happen.
     
  15. Oscar

    Oscar ADVISORS

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    On seizing the opportunities... one must hand it to the much vaunted "tiger" niazi for making their(indians) job a lot easier.
     
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