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Indian Air Force Failed Even in East Pakistan in 1971 War

Windjammer

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With single Pakistan Air Force squadron equipped with 16 obsolete F-86 Sabres grounded within 48 hours of war in Eastern Sector due to runway damage, the Pakistani forces faced the onslaught of Ten Indian Air Force squadrons in that sector. Three of these IAF Units were equipped with their latest Russian fighter the MiG-21, while the other 7 squadrons were a mix of SU-7s, Hunters and Gnats. On top of that the IAF had Canberra bombers as well as Caribou transport aircraft converted to bombing role.
One of the main task for the IAF during the closing days of the war was to hit the Head Quarter of Pakistani Commander, General Niazi and to take him out but as history tells us that with PAF grounded and IAF enjoying complete air superiority in the Eastern Sector, the IAF failed to achieve this objective. It's also interesting to note how the IAF used the MiG-21 liberally in the East, where as in the Western sector, the MiG-21 was brought out as a top cover after the IAF formations of SU-7s and Hunters were decimated. One of the reason given for the IAF failing to hit the HQ and the grounded a dozen Sabres was the intense ground fire put up by the Pakistan Army gunners, it's said to have accounted for 17 of the 28 IAF aircraft destroyed in the Eastern Sector. The rest were shot down by PAF before it got grounded.


 

Kyusuibu Honbu

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In the Eastern front both IA and IN were very dependent on IAF

Given East Pakistan's terrain consisted of several streams and rivers. IA advance over these streams was at risk of being halted by destruction of bridges on them. To bypass this issue IA adopted US army Vietnam war tactic of deploying troops by helicopters and also paradrop troops behind enemy fortifications and natural barriers. This was only possible with IAF ensuring the skies being clear and enemy AA units being neutralized.


For IN, deploying an aircraft carrier close to East Pakistan shores was big risk as long as PAF was active. IN completely relied on IAF to ensure enemy aircraft do not target the Carrier battle group.

All this while I assumed IAF was responsible for IA's stride towards Dhaka in 15 days and IN bombing of Cox Bazar and Chittagong harbors

Now I realize it was not IAF's capability but PAF's mercy. Hopefully future conflicts PAF will continue to show such mercy.
 

Skywalker

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In the Eastern front both IA and IN were very dependent on IAF

Given East Pakistan's terrain consisted of several streams and rivers. IA advance over these streams was at risk of being halted by destruction of bridges on them. To bypass this issue IA adopted US army Vietnam war tactic of deploying troops by helicopters and also paradrop troops behind enemy fortifications and natural barriers. This was only possible with IAF ensuring the skies being clear and enemy AA units being neutralized.


For IN, deploying an aircraft carrier close to East Pakistan shores was big risk as long as PAF was active. IN completely relied on IAF to ensure enemy aircraft do not target the Carrier battle group.

All this while I assumed IAF was responsible for IA's stride towards Dhaka in 15 days and IN bombing of Cox Bazar and Chittagong harbors

Now I realize it was not IAF's capability but PAF's mercy. Hopefully future conflicts PAF will continue to show such mercy.
the last mercy was shown on 27th feb, 2019 with a cup of tea.
 

Windjammer

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If the Indian Army sitting on the ground can spot and track Chinese satellites for six months then it's not beyond IAF to detect some UFOs and confuse them for PAF aircraft. Either that or the Indian soldiers never left their bunkers and IAF pilots were running scared to notice that no PAF aircraft were active after 6th December as they were all grounded due to the single runway being out of service... So not sure what the IAF was protecting or what the IN carrier feared. Poor creatures tell so many lies that they lose the plot.
 

Bilal Khan (Quwa)

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I think the PAF had ordered the second Mirage III/5 batch around 1967-1969. Had the 1971 War not happened, I suspect the PAF would've deployed a Mirage III/5 squadron to East Pakistan alongside several F-6 squadrons. In fact, the PAF would've also added an attack unit -- possibly A-5 -- there too. Remember, both East & West Pakistan had a combined defence budget, so the key military programs would've run faster thanks to more funding.

That said, a big failure on our part was not finalizing the purchase of Kockums SSKs from Sweden in the 1960s. Ayub Khan wasn't convinced about the PN's value at the time so NHQs programs weren't given much support. However, NHQ was apparently close to buying the Swedish SSKs. I think absorbing those before years ahead of 1971 would have given the PN a strong grasp of sub-surface warfare (that it eventually got via the Daphne SSKs). IMO stationing 2 modern SSKs at East Pakistan -- plus a reinforced PAF --- would've provided a credible A2/AD element.

Granted, none of the above absolves Pakistan of its wider political failure and refusal to give East Pak its agency, but some stuff to keep in mind. @SQ8
 

Huffal

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In the Eastern front both IA and IN were very dependent on IAF

Given East Pakistan's terrain consisted of several streams and rivers. IA advance over these streams was at risk of being halted by destruction of bridges on them. To bypass this issue IA adopted US army Vietnam war tactic of deploying troops by helicopters and also paradrop troops behind enemy fortifications and natural barriers. This was only possible with IAF ensuring the skies being clear and enemy AA units being neutralized.


For IN, deploying an aircraft carrier close to East Pakistan shores was big risk as long as PAF was active. IN completely relied on IAF to ensure enemy aircraft do not target the Carrier battle group.

All this while I assumed IAF was responsible for IA's stride towards Dhaka in 15 days and IN bombing of Cox Bazar and Chittagong harbors

Now I realize it was not IAF's capability but PAF's mercy. Hopefully future conflicts PAF will continue to show such mercy.
AA units werent completely neutralised in East Pakistan. They were too few of them to turn the tide of the battle, same with the air force. 16 jets against 150 jets and you still think you are number one. You aint robbie rotten.

Air force despite being at a significant ificant disadvantage was active through out the entire war. 5 sabres shot down for some 19+ IAF jets (figures vary).

Rest were scuttled before enemy capture. As for IN... PAF lacked anti shipping weaponry. So please. Your supposed bravado of muh Indian military so strong and powerful is dumb.

The only strength you have is numbers. Its been your only strength. Now thats been offset.

Remember 27th of february? Quality will always rule over quantity
 

Silverblaze

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AA units werent completely neutralised in East Pakistan. They were too few of them to turn the tide of the battle, same with the air force. 16 jets against 150 jets and you still think you are number one. You aint robbie rotten.

Air force despite being at a significant ificant disadvantage was active through out the entire war. 5 sabres shot down for some 19+ IAF jets (figures vary).

Rest were scuttled before enemy capture. As for IN... PAF lacked anti shipping weaponry. So please. Your supposed bravado of muh Indian military so strong and powerful is dumb.

The only strength you have is numbers. Its been your only strength. Now thats been offset.

Remember 27th of february? Quality will always rule over quantity

Quantity does have its advantages it changes your doctrine to be more offensive. After the painful and tragic fall of EP, Pakistan actually worked on countering indias numerical preponderance.

In EP, imagine if the military commanders had what they asked for at least the ignominious surrender would not have happened.

Today, if we want Kashmir, we have no choice but to completely neutralize and even surpass indias numerical superiority at least in the context of PAF and PN.
 

Bilal9

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With single Pakistan Air Force squadron equipped with 16 obsolete F-86 Sabres grounded within 48 hours of war in Eastern Sector due to runway damage, the Pakistani forces faced the onslaught of Ten Indian Air Force squadrons in that sector. Three of these IAF Units were equipped with their latest Russian fighter the MiG-21, while the other 7 squadrons were a mix of SU-7s, Hunters and Gnats. On top of that the IAF had Canberra bombers as well as Caribou transport aircraft converted to bombing role.
One of the main task for the IAF during the closing days of the war was to hit the Head Quarter of Pakistani Commander, General Niazi and to take him out but as history tells us that with PAF grounded and IAF enjoying complete air superiority in the Eastern Sector, the IAF failed to achieve this objective. It's also interesting to note how the IAF used the MiG-21 liberally in the East, where as in the Western sector, the MiG-21 was brought out as a top cover after the IAF formations of SU-7s and Hunters were decimated. One of the reason given for the IAF failing to hit the HQ and the grounded a dozen Sabres was the intense ground fire put up by the Pakistan Army gunners, it's said to have accounted for 17 of the 28 IAF aircraft destroyed in the Eastern Sector. The rest were shot down by PAF before it got grounded.



My dad recounted from 1971 that he saw Su-7's come in from the West (probably based at Kalaikunda AB near Calcutta) at tree top level to evade ground radar, get near Tejgaon Airport (in Dhaka), and rise up to bomb the runway by diving. A good number of these Su-7s never came out of those strafing/bombing dives, probably jammed hydraulics/pneumatics as typical of Russian stuff under Indian maintenance.

IAF Su-7's and MiG-21FLs were too speedy and not nimble and agile enough for dog-fights either - above Dhaka's skies. The F-86's held their own in cannon enabled dog fights before the runway got out of commission, then they retreated to other airports. I don't recall him talking about Hunters, Gnats or Canberras, those were not used over Dhaka skies possibly. He was an avid aerospace buff so he knew his stuff.
 
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False statistics.
In this list made by PAF historian Kaiser Tufail only 18-19 IAF jets lost in E. pak dueing entire war of which only 3 were in air combat.
PAF Tezgaon runway was destroyed on 5th Dec itself halting all F-86E ops.

E3mz7knXwAgjx_k
 

Bilal9

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In the Eastern front both IA and IN were very dependent on IAF

Given East Pakistan's terrain consisted of several streams and rivers. IA advance over these streams was at risk of being halted by destruction of bridges on them. To bypass this issue IA adopted US army Vietnam war tactic of deploying troops by helicopters and also paradrop troops behind enemy fortifications and natural barriers. This was only possible with IAF ensuring the skies being clear and enemy AA units being neutralized.


For IN, deploying an aircraft carrier close to East Pakistan shores was big risk as long as PAF was active. IN completely relied on IAF to ensure enemy aircraft do not target the Carrier battle group.

All this while I assumed IAF was responsible for IA's stride towards Dhaka in 15 days and IN bombing of Cox Bazar and Chittagong harbors

Now I realize it was not IAF's capability but PAF's mercy. Hopefully future conflicts PAF will continue to show such mercy.

I have read IN accounts of attacking Chittagong (CTG) Harbor. Utter and complete chest-thumping BS/Poppycock to lift morale.

Placing IN Aircraft Carrier near East Pakistan Coast (and even more fictitious, launching air ops against PN installations in CTG successfully) would have been possible only if the US Seventh Fleet was not in the Area, which it actually was. Your IN commanders were the biggest BSers the world has ever known. Looking for glory somehow and anyhow!!

Oh what stories we weave - when we aim spuriously to deceive !!

Indian Navy which can't even coordinate safe maintenance of its own ships and subs in its own yards, will launch coordinated air ops against enemy installations and actually hit something....wake me up when you actually have some proof Kumar.

Keep the hatch open and then DIVE - is the IN mantra!!
False statistics.
In this list made by PAF historian Kaiser Tufail only 18-19 IAF jets lost in E. pak dueing entire war of which only 3 were in air combat.
PAF Tezgaon runway was destroyed on 5th Dec itself halting all F-86E ops.

E3mz7knXwAgjx_k

What happened to the other pages? Dog ate them?
 
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SaadH

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There is also a very famous footage of PA AD forces shooting down a SU-7 in Dhaka in front of all the international journalists:

 

S.Y.A

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IMO stationing 2 modern SSKs at East Pakistan -- plus a reinforced PAF --- would've provided a credible A2/AD element.

Granted, none of the above absolves Pakistan of its wider political failure and refusal to give East Pak its agency, but some stuff to keep in mind.
Add to that 3-4 additional runways at least.

A few big ticket losses, and India would have lost the appetite for further war.
 

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