Monday, March 25, 2013

The Blunders of The Indian Army in the 1965 Indo-Pak War

General Ayub Khan launched ‘Operation Grand Slam’ in Kashmir. The Pakistanis were cocky with their new Patton Tanks with their IR vision device. The attack commenced on 02 September at 07 am. The Indians were expecting the attack, but to oppose the onslaught of Pakistan armor the Indian only had some obsolete AMX and Sherman tanks. At that time general JN Choudhry the Chief of the Indian army panicked and recommended a retreat beyond the Beas River. General Harbaksh Singh refused this order. In panic to relieve the pressure in the Akhnur sector where the Pakistan armor was advancing a decision was taken to open a front on the Lahore Sialkot sector. This was a good decision, but no adequate planning was made for this operation. Perhaps it was a spur of the moment plan. The result of this advance was not good. The India army advanced just a few miles into Pakistan territory and the twin cities of Lahore and Sialkot could not be touched. The Pakistanis fought hard and the Indians could not cross the Ichigol canal. In fact an entire battalion was lost while attempting a crossing. This clearly showed that the Indian General staff had made no plans for an advance into Punjab. However the attack served one purpose in that the Pakistan assault in Akhnur got bogged down and the Pakistan army floundered and almost 70 M-47 (Patton Tanks) were captured. Another blunder that the Indian general staff committed was its inaction on the eastern front with Pakistan. The PAF operating from airfields in East Pakistan attacked IAF planes in kalaikunda and a dozen aircraft were lost on the ground. Pakistan then just had one division in East Pakistan. Yet the Indian army bereft of any operational plan did nothing. Now is the time to come out and give facts. The 1965 war was a war of blunders and both India and Pakistan gave a poor account of the Principles of War. Both countries claim victory, but in the over all scenario the Indian generalship was poor and the army Chief JN Choudhry out of his dept. In fact there is a good chance that the entire Punjab would have been lost, but for General Harbaksh Singh. The Indian army made amends in the 1971 war and General JS Aurora poured the midnight oil at Fort William for an invasion of East Pakistan. One wonders why the Indian General staff made no such plans in 1965. Also read