1971 War – Memories of another day

Written by Ranjit Bhushan

Book Name: War Despatch 1971 Edited and compiled by Brigadier BS Mehta

Published by Occam – An impression of BluOne ink

Page: 368

Even as the country celebrates the 51st anniversary of its victory over arch-rival Pakistan in 1971, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, there is a plethora of ex-servicemen’s writings, reminiscences of several successful campaigns and war memorials.

While War Despatch 1971, edited by Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta (retd.), Differs from other major 1971 war accounts, it has a few features that make it unique. One is that, as the cover blurb says, ‘commissioned to fight from young army, navy and air force officers’. In other words, most of the authors of the book were junior officers, serving four to five years or less, or more specifically, the 28th course of the National Defense Academy, Kharagwasla, which was later enlarged to include army officers. Was part of a batch commissioned in June 1966.

Second, in the excitement of the biggest military victory since World War II, the reader can be forgiven if they ignore the northern sector, where there was also a war in 1971 and which was far more horrific than the Pakistani surrender. Eastern Sector.

The book contains other stories of young naval officers strapping India at the port of Karachi, daring air raids in what was then East Pakistan, and the bravery and commitment of those who were not involved in planning the high course of the war, but they were nevertheless successful. In operation which ultimately shaped the course of the highly successful war.

So, you have Air Commodore Casey Kurvilla describing his days as a prisoner of war in Pakistan, Air Commodore Arun Karandikar operating a transport plane at night and Captain SS Sethi reconsidering the naval war that crippled the Pakistan Navy that the country could never fully recover.

Others, such as Colonel KK Nanda, Major Pradeep Sharma, and Lieutenant General PPS Bhandari, have described the astonishing details of their provincial flight during the war, proving – if proof is really needed – that war is a risky business that requires a lot of fighting. . Plan and the ability to think on your feet and a large dose of luck; Mere bravery is not enough for a soldier to win the day.

In the opening chapter of The War in Retrospect, well-known TV commentator and writer Maruf Raja highlights Pakistan’s background – Islam was not a strong bond between the two entities in West and East Pakistan, which separated them. India has a huge land mass. The King’s internal account of India’s and Pakistan’s military tactics for reaching and defending Dhaka is troubling – the events are well-known, but described in style, including Maj. Gen. JFR Jacob’s luncheon discussion with Gen. AK Niazi, which agreed to surrender. Finally, but not before some tough military hugging.

The editor of the book, Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, reflects on the battle of Burinda and Garibpur, which took place in the third week of November, long before the hostilities officially started on December 3, 1971. “It simply came to our notice then. Since the war no country has officially declared. The veterans of the Eastern Front are lost because the recognition that came their way came decades later … ” Mehta notes.

Nevertheless, the tank war, especially in Garibpur, was the initial indication that Pakistan would face music in the days ahead.

Lieutenant General RSK Kapoor, in his ‘My Most Memorable Learning Experience’ chapter, one of the greatest Indian military commanders of all time, Lt. General Sagat Singh, who rose to prominence at the time of the liberation of Goa, was the first Indian general. Arrived in Dhaka and “Nathu La and Cho La taught the Chinese army a lesson in their lives during the conflict, where he defeated the Chinese forces in this conflict and gained decisive strategic advantage.”

Major General Birendra Badhwar reflects his close interaction with the Liberation Army, laying the groundwork for close cooperation between the Indian security forces and the then East Pakistani locals who were hell-bent on expelling Pakistanis from their country. This help came in handy when the Indian forces rushed to the west to reach Dhaka.

Brig. There were people like him who had just graduated from Khidki College of Military Engineering in Pune, who made all the difference when they became important.

The narrative of Brigadier Shimi Kanbergimmeth provides an excellent personal inclusion – ‘Letter to My Wife’, which shows the human side of the war; Yet they shed light on the day-to-day movements of the military in combat, which gives good exposure to those wishing to build a career in the armed forces.

Air Commodore Arun Karandikar’s ‘The Kilo Flight’ tells us the story of a secret unit made up of some Pakistani Air Force pilots – apparently Bengalis – who had defected from East Pakistan. His single sortis in Dakotas among the things made by the legends. This included the airlifting troops and the wounded from the well-equipped airports on both sides of the border, and just in time to witness Dhaka’s historic surrender. “The war is over! I flew a total of 49 aircraft in Dakota in 14 days, including five as a single pilot, 15 in one day,” he said, describing the excitement and excitement of the time.

Major Pradeep Sharma’s ‘The Solitary Sapper’ tells us about the lives of those involved in the war. “The main lesson the war taught me is that war will be a time of confusion and lack of information. Resources will be expanded, if available,” he said. Is considered a symbol of national honor.

This book should be considered unique because it covers most aspects of the war – in this case the intelligence of the 1971 war. Lieutenant General Arvind Sharma’s account of the war in the East – through the ice of a pigeon, writes of a plot to launch an airstrike at Maulvi Bazar. The number of casualties.

As the operation began, the front air controller realized that his stomach was throbbing and he quickly ran behind a bush. “The pilot called soon and I had to answer. The officer shouted and gave instructions from where he was sitting. I was instructing the pilots! ” Some way to fight!

In ‘A Nation Is Born’, Brigadier Trigunesh Mukherjee recalls his entry into Chittagong as “an important occasion to welcome the flag of India and Bangladesh, flowers, garlands, and all of us to the happy people.”

Colonel Tarlochan Singh Kalra takes the 1971 war to a different, familiar geography – Pool Kanjari, near the Attari-Wagah border in the Punjab, a landscape completely different from that of wet Bangladesh. Located on a high ground, it was a close and deadly battle until Major Coke and L / NK changed direction with Shanghara Singh and others. The Pakistanis waved their white flags and during a post-war flag meeting, Lt. Col. Mohammad Iqbal, CO of 43 Punjab, Pakistan, told his Indian counterpart, Lt. Col. SC Puri: Your people fought valiantly and were clearly the best in the war. “

The colors take us to the icing of the cake. Although the defeated Pakistani company commander “who, despite five counter-attacks, could not retain an orderly territory or remove the invading 2 Sikh soldiers, Pakistan awarded him Sitara-i-Jura, Major Coke still deserves much and is waiting for a long delay. Cycle. ” Speaking of the fog of war.

Hudson’s Horse Lieutenant General PPS Bhandari is followed by an imitation account of Captain SS Sethi’s account of how the Western Navy demonstrated its complete dominance in the Arabian Sea to ensure maritime control and fulfill its three objectives: search and destruction, invasion, and It crippled the port of Karachi and completely blocked the entry of tankers and any other ship entering the Pakistani port from the Gulf. The story of how this was achieved has been comparatively less acted out than the conquest of the land.

Wing Commander S Balasubramanian recalls the days when their Hunter 56A took off at 3 a.m. after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared war; Sadly, he was posted to a remote airfield in Punjab where the planes were not designed for night flights. “In the absence of any lights on the taxi tracks, the other pilots in the squadron and I had to drive a taxi with the help of the Air Force and guide us with hand-held torches all the way to the runway!” And then to get better at the situation, reveals the courage and intelligence that the Indian youth had.

Lieutenant Colonel Ram Chandra Chhetri discusses the role of the Ordnance Corporation, which manages inventory and stocking, without which no military force can fight successfully.

Brigadier Ujjal Dasgupta described in detail an army advance; It can be taxing when hundreds of villagers in Punjab crowd into their carriages to give them what they have – three thick loaves of bread and steamed pulses, the common man willing to do something to get them brave by sacrificing their precious little things.

Brigadier ML Jaysinghani, a hard-core artillery man, the famous battle of Shakargarh and the fact that they were 21 kilometers inside Pakistani territory for more than a year where troops were engaged in planting and cultivating enemy soil.

Air Commodore Casey Kuruvilla was a POW. Shortly after taking off from Halwara, Kurvila and his entourage were surprised to see a heavy camouflage convoy of Pakistani military vehicles southwest of Baba Dera Nanak. His 1971 war ended when his ill-fated sort was shot and he fled to No-Man’s Land, where he was able to hide until a Pakistani search team found him.

During routine interrogations at various locations, the arrival of an international Red Cross team, accompanied by senior Pakistani officers, saved the day for Kuruvilla, who was given warm clothes and better food. However, this was followed by an escape attempt, which was almost postponed as three Indian ‘bachelor’ prisoners of war were able to escape but were detained in Peshawar while trying to reach Afghanistan. One morning in November 1972, Kurvilla recalled, the prisoners had an unlikely visitor – Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who told them, “Gentlemen, I want you to go home. Tell your country that we want peace with India and please return the prisoners of war.” Thus, it was time to return home.

Most of the other chapters are reminiscent of warfare and the adventures of the devil, including declarations and utterances; Brigadier Satish Kumar Kukrezar Some Recollections of 1971’; Lt Gen Mohinder Puri’sA flashback ‘; Colonel K. K. Nander The Capture of the Southern Mamdot Bulge’; Lt Col CPC Nath, who reflects on another aspect of warfare, signal intelligence or SIGINT; Col Mahendra Singh Joon’s historic Battle of Jarpal; Brig Vijay Rai’sThe Capture of Mamdot Bulz, which includes the capture of Husseiniwala by the Pakistanis, is not a particularly significant chapter for Indians in 1971; Major General PJS Sandhur The War as I saw it’ and Maj Gen Subhash Bindra’s searing narrative ofThe plight of the supply chain in war ‘- highlights the importance of the supply chain in war as much as they do in peace.

The appendix contains three memorabilia of the brave heart who died in the line of duty, including two sapper Captain RN Gupta and Captain Gigi Panicar, whose son was able to identify his memory as a naval biker during an expedition to Kargil decades later, where he was lost. His father. Third on the list of casualties is Captain Daljinder Singh.

The book ‘Honors, Awards and Achievements’ does well to cover various quotations and quotes.

It is a textbook full of political rhetoric for those interested in the internal affairs of the 1971 war, which eventually led to the surrender of more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers. This book is about the nuts and bolts of how it happened.

(The reviewer is a senior independent journalist. The opinions expressed do not reflect the official position or policy of Personal and Financial Express Online. Reproduction of this content without permission is prohibited).

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