handling of armour at and beyond brigade level in all Indo Pak Wars fought
from 1947-48 till 1971 stands out as the principal cause of stagnation and
lack of decisiveness in the final outcome of all three Indo Pak wars. On
the face value this may appear to be an oversimplified view , however a
dispassionate study of the British-Indian military tradition proves that
this assertion is far more closer to truth than many military observers
and analysts may have realised in actual on ground military analysis as
far as military history writing in the Indo Pak scenario is concerned.
this brief article, we will survey the entire canvas of British-Indo Pak
military tradition from the eighteenth century till to date and endeavour
to arrive at certain analytical conclusions which may help us in improving
doctrine operational philosophy and handling of armour in a future war, or
at least in military training.
was the decisive arm of battle till at least the 1740s in India. It may be
noted that the “superiority of the infantry-artillery team based
European way of war, over the cavalry charge based Asiatic way of
warfare”1, was, for the
first time demonstrated at the Battle of Saint Thome in 1746,
where the French-Native troops of the French East India Company,
under the Paradis, a
Swiss soldier of fortune on the French East India Company’s payroll,
brushed aside the much
larger and at least outwardly awesome cavalry heavy army of, Anwaruddin,
the Nawab of Carnatic. Thus in words of the Cambridge historian “Cavalry could make no impression on troops that kept their ranks and reserved their fire” The
terror of Asiatic armies had disappeared2! Cavalry, however, retained its
own decisive role at the tactical level as a flank protection and limited
attack role on the battlefield and as a protective element and strategic
screen /raiding and harassing force at the strategic level. Since the
Marathas and Mysore forces of Hyder Ali relied heavily on cavalry as a
strategic screen and as a raiding force the British were also forced to
raise regular native cavalry regiments. This process started from 1672 but
was assumed a significant shape from once the Moghal Horse was raised at
Patna in July 1760 under Sardars Mirza Shahbaz Khan and Mirza Tar Beg3. It
may be noted that this unit was officered entirely by Indians. The British
attitude at this time was that “cavalry was a rather flashy
extravagance”4 and they preferred getting it on loan from native rulers
rather than having their own Native cavalry
units. Thus, in the south the Nawab of Arcot and in the north the Nawab of Oudh were asked by the
British to supply cavalry and raise cavalry units for war service with the
English East India Company. The British discovered that cavalry taken on
loan from the Nawab of Arcot and Nawab of Oudh was unreliable under fire
and raised their own native cavalry units in Bengal and Madras officered
by Europeans from the mid and late 1770s.5 Cavalry was first seriously
recognised as an arm of decision once General Gerard Lake who was
basically an infantryman arrived in India in
1801 as C in C Bengal Army . General Lake
for the first time organised cavalry
as brigades of two units 6. Lake decided to do so since he felt that
Maratha cavalry was too efficient vis a vis the company’s cavalry and
there was a need for reorganisation and reform. Lake thus
gave serious thought to cavalry training and the first major
cavalry training manoeuvres in the Company’s military history were held
in 1802. Cavalry units were trained hard and the standard set was 45 miles
in 24 hours. Lake also increased cavalry’s
firepower by attaching two six pounder galloper horse artillery guns to
each cavalry regiment.7
reader may note that while the Bengal Infantry from the beginning was
Hindu dominated, cavalry at the outset was a wholly Muslim arm. Such was
the Muslim dominance that even the British C in C of Bengal Army8 (also C
in C India) Major John Carnac declared that “The Mughals ( Muslim of
Central Asian/West of Khyber ancestry) .....are the only good horsemen in
India”9. The Bengal infantry from the very beginning had no Bengalis
since the English Company had the choice to recruit soldiers of fortune of
“Jat” “Rohilla (Hindustani Pathan or anyone with a Pathan
ancestry)” Buxarries (Hindu Bhumihar Brahmans from Buxar area in modern
Bihar province who had been recruited in Mughal Army also10) Jats
(largely Hindustani Hindu but possibly some Muslims) Rajputs (mostly
Hindustani Hindu from Oudh and Bihar) and Brahmans11. Even in Britain
cavalry was seen as a feudal dominated arm and known as the “arm of
fashion and wealth”.12
was decisively employed by General Lake in the Second Maratha War, notably
at Fatehgarh which was an all cavalry battle.13
Lake brilliantly used cavalry as a lightning leading force to
reconnoitre otherwise impregnable Maratha defensive oppositions so that
infantry and artillery were used with maximum effect at the decisive
moment. Lake often used cavalry to the point of rashness. At the Battle of
Delhi he brilliantly employed his cavalry in a feint withdrawal tempting
the French trained and led Marathas to leave an otherwise impregnable
defensive position to attack the supposedly withdrawing cavalry, while
Lake brought up his infantry to counterattack the overconfident Marathas!
The Maratha War was a lesson for the British in cavalry’s capabilities
as well as limitations. At Laswari where
Lake finally decisively defeated the Maratha main army under the
Hindustani Pathan Sarwar Khan14, he advanced single-handed with his
cavalry against a Maratha army which Lake thought was retreating . His
cavalry initially achieved a breakthrough, but was then held up by Maratha
artillery fire and Lake was able to finally defeat the Marathas only after
his infantry joined him at midday.15 Laswari once again proved that
cavalry was not as much of an arm of decision as infantry, for it was the
British Indian infantry that finally saved the day at Laswari.
was again significantly employed
in the Third Maratha/Pindari War. This was essentially a cleanup operation
covering thousands of miles and was essentially a war of movement suiting
the cavalry. Cavalry was used to locate the Pindaris while infantry was
later used to attack and destroy
them. The most notable cavalry action of this war took place at Sitabaldi
where the 6th Bengal Native Cavalry defeated a much larger combined
Maratha-Arab Muslim force singlehandedly.16
importance started declining from 1817 onwards . Although it performed
important reconnaissance and protection duties in the First Afghan War the
mountainous terrain and poor logistics limited its role severely. The Sikh
Wars were also wholly infantry dominated wars in which Sikhs dug
themselves up into entrenchments which were stormed by the British at
great human cost. The Second Sikh War
was particularly unfortunate for Indian cavalry because of flight of a
cavalry brigade of two British and two native units at Chillianwalla which
led to a serious British reverse. Cavalry’s role by 1857 was reduced to
escorting artillery siege trains, supply convoys and flank protection.
Since most of the battles of the Sepoy Rebellion were fought in built up
areas cavalry had a limited role.
most decisive change in Indian Cavalry which started from 1858 was the
mixing up of the class composition by the British with a view to reducing
chances of any further rebellion. This was done because the Sepoy
Rebellion was largely led and sparked by the Hindustani Pathan/Ranghar
Muslim units of the Bengal Army. Most notable of all being the seizure of
Delhi in the early hours of 11th May 1857, by the 3rd Bengal Native Light
Cavalry (raised in 1776) after reducing into shock and inertia a British
garrison of one Royal British Army infantry and one cavalry regiment at
Meerut on 10th May 1857. The
British adopted a firm policy not to have a Muslim dominated cavalry. Thus
Cavalry was made a mixed arm
after 1857 with almost equal proportions of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in
each unit The only exception to this rule being
two one class units of
Muslims and one of Hindus.17
remained an arm dominated by rich men more interested in polo and pig
sticking from the 1860s till the First World War. Two Indian
cavalry divisions were sent to France as part of the allied cavalry
corps, but remained largely unemployed with few exceptions like the
Hodson’s Horse which was used in mounted infantry role18. One
controversial albeit tangible way of gauging Cavalry’s contribution in
WW One and Two may be the fact
that the lone Victoria Cross won by an Indian cavalry man/Tankman in both
world wars out of the total 35 won by Indians was won in France by a Hindu
Rajputana Rajput in WW One while performing the duties of a despatch
rider19! Indian Cavalry was relatively more decisively used in the
Mesopotamian and Palestine Campaigns notably in the final allied offensive
in 1918 when General Allenby successfully used
cavalry with great effect in the battles of Gaza, Beersheeba etc
along with eight British manned tanks20. The Turks were heavily
outnumbered in the Palestine Campaign of 1917-18 and there was far more
freedom of manoeuvre for cavalry to be employed for carrying out raids and
outflanking marches21. The main fighting was, however, done by the
infantry and cavalry remained an important but essentially second
First World War marked a turning point in warfare. Infantry failed to
achieve a breakthrough on the Western Front and its place as the arm of
decision was challenged seriously for the first time since the Battle of
Crecy (1346). Introduction of tanks in 1916 broke the stalemate despite
faulty employment doctrine. However, tanks despite their relatively
significant role in the German defeat in World War One failed to achieve a
major victory because of mechanical failures and poor employment
doctrine.22 The British Army was an infantry/cavalry
dominated army and till the end of WW One tanks were still viewed
as an important but not as decisive an arm as infantry23. Tanks found an
antidote soon. It was at Battle of Cambrai where tanks for the first time,
at one of the five points of breakthrough, were effectively engaged and
destroyed by a single German Field Artillery Battery which destroyed many
tanks by direct fire.24 Tanks played a crucial role at Battle of Amiens in
1918 which was termed by military analysts as turning point of the war and
as the “Black Day” of the German Army by General Ludendorff. The true
worth of tanks, however, was still not appreciated, since the Germans were
able to stabilise their front, thanks to conservative British doctrine of
exploiting breakthroughs.25 Although the Royal Tank Corps was created from
28 July 1917, 26 Tanks as an
entity did not have any Godfather in the British military hierarchy and
this ensured that their true significance was not appreciated at least in
the British and Indian Army. Once the allied armies were demobilised the
tank was forgotten and the old generals once again elevated infantry to
the role of arm of decision.
World War brought very few changes in the Indian Army and the Indian Army
remained an infantry cavalry army retaining twenty one Horse Cavalry
regiments27 after the 1920-21 reorganisation. Indians thus had nothing to
do with tanks till 1937-3828 when, keeping in view the growing German
military threat and relative backwardness of the Indian Army it was
decided to mechanise two Indian cavalry units i.e 13 Lancers and 14 Scinde
Horse29. Both were given a squadron each of Vickers Light Tanks and
Crossley Armoured Cars, phased out from British units 30 . The reader may
note that the main problem in mechanisation of Indian cavalry in the
interwar years was not essentially conservatism but lack of funds. Three
of the five Indian Army chiefs in the inter war years were from cavalry31
and wanted to mechanise the
Indian Cavalry. Their efforts to do so failed because of lack of funds and
economic depression of the inter war years.32 Thus on the eve of WW Two in
1939 just two Indian cavalry units were mechanised. The outbreak of World
War Two forced the British to speed up mechanisation but initially
mechanisation for Indians meant only trucks or armoured cars. There was
one important measure which the British undertook and which most probably
attracted the best available manpower to try to enrol in the Indian
Armoured Corps.This was an almost doubling
of the pay of the Armoured Corps soldiers from around 18 rupees
to 33 rupees per month.33 This was done in October 1942, once
General Martel who was visiting India in order to reorganise the Indian
Armoured Corps was told that “India had a mercenary army” and that the
best men in India would not join he Indian Armoured Corps if they were
paid Rs 18 per month which was the average monthly pay of an Indian
was Burma where the Indians for the first time thanks to US military aid
to Britain were given the latest tanks of World War Two. Both the Indian
tank brigades i.e. 254 (which
led 33 Corps advance) and 255 (which led 4 Corps advance) were equipped
with Grant and Sherman tanks.These brigades however had a limited infantry
support role. It cannot be said that the Indians who fought as tankmen
learnt anything really worthwhile about modern armoured warfare. The tank
warfare conducted in Burma was a one sided show with the British Indian
Army having 300 most modern Grant and Sherman tanks34
against just one
Japanese Tank Regiment35 consisting of
tanks which could not have the firepower or
capability to destroy the Grants and Shermans of the Indian tank
brigades!36 Mostly they were in support of infantry and the Japanese in
front of them had hardly any tanks to match the heavy Shermans etc with
which the Indian cavalry regiments were equipped. Thus there were hardly
any tank to tank fights since
the Japanese hardly possessed anything to oppose the latest Sherman and
Grant tanks. The only resistance that these tanks encountered was from
Japanese anti tank guns and artillery at very close ranges and these were
relatively rare since the British always enjoyed numerical superiority in
the later stages of the Burmese campaign and the British Indian infantry
was always in close support of their tanks. In war once the enemy is
vastly undergunned and underequipped to oppose you, little can be learned
in terms of tactical or operational lessons. Brigadier Riaz ul Karim whose
unit 5 Horse was equipped with Shermans in Burma has claimed that he was
the only Indian who commanded a tank squadron in actual action in Burma
and also won an MC. If this is true then the only Pakistani officer who
actually commanded a tank squadron (not armoured car or tracked carrier)
in WW Two was a sidelined man in the Ayubian era before 1965 war broke
out!37 In any case Indian or Pakistani officers could have learnt little
about armour tactics in Burma which
was essentially an infantry man’s war and in which the enemy was vastly
outnumbered both qualitatively as well as quantitatively as far as the
tanks were concerned.
the North African theatre the Indian armour experience was also quite
limited. The Indian 3rd Motor Brigade that reached North Africa in early
1941 was equipped with soft skinned wheeled vehicles and did little except
evading getting captured by the tanks of Rommel’s Afrika Korps!38 Even
their British masters were so inept in handling of tanks that the Germans
inflicted various major defeats on them despite the fact that the British
were numerically as well as qualitatively superior to the Germans! In such
an environment Indians could have learnt little about armoured warfare.
The British tanks in North Africa were famous for doing one of the two
things. Either they would recklessly charge a well prepared German or
Italian position, without any deliberate support from the despicable
artillery, and return with a bloody nose or would exercise extreme caution
once restrained by “Take no Risk, do nothing till you enjoy overwhelming
numerical superiority” policy of commanders like Ritchie or Montgommery
as happened in various operational situations throughout the North African
campaign from 1941 to 1943, thus allowing the enemy to counter attack
decisively and turn the scales or to disengage and occupy another sound
defensive position. In any case the Indians were organised as infantry
divisions or as Light Recce elements in motorised brigades and did not
have tanks in this sector, which ensured that their experiences were
limited as far as true armoured warfare was concerned. The Indian whose
battle performance was most distinguished in this sector in tangible terms
was Major Rajendarsinhji then a squadron commander of 2nd Gardner’s
Horse who was awarded a Distinguished Service Order
in 1941 for breaking out and capturing 300 enemy troops as
prisoners.39 The South
African official historian correctly observed that “.....the armoured
car regiments were employed almost exclusively in observation which they
performed with commendable efficiency, but there was little else in the
desert campaigns that they were equipped to do. The armour of their cars
was inadequate, being vulnerable to everything save rifle fire, and their
armament a machine gun at best was useless save for shooting up thin
skinned and defenceless transport”. 40
armour was deployed in other theatres like Italy, Sudan Malaya etc but
here too their role was scouting and observation rather than anything more
significant and the few armour officers who served in these theatres could
have learnt very little about real tank battles even at squadron and unit
level. The operations in these areas were infantry dominated in any case
and in Italy warfare had degenerated to the positional battles of WW One.
Army, as a result of the division of the pre 1947 British Indian Army on a
communal basis, inherited six armoured regiments at the time of transfer
of power and partition of India. These six units were constituted from
Muslim manpower of units transferred to Pakistan and those transferred to
India as the following two tables indicate 41:—
deficiency of 10 Muslim Squadrons was made up by inter unit transfers from
the following units allotted to India:—
above thus made the class composition of the Pakistan Armoured Corps as
OF ARMOUR IN 1947-48 WAR
3rd Armoured Brigade was equipped with Shermans, Pakistani General
Headquarters did not employ any Pakistani tanks in the 1947-48 Kashmir
War. Mr Jinnah the Governor General wanted to conduct the war
aggressively,and had the vision but not the energy . He was a dying man
and had too many things to do. Unfortunately he was
not supported by his ethnically divided as well highly incompetent
and irresolute cabinet of weak men who had neither the vision nor the
resolution to function as a war cabinet! The Pakistan Army on the other
hand was commanded by a non interested Britisher.
11 Cavalry equipped with armoured cars were the only unit employed in the
war. The GHQ assigned the unit an essentially defensive and passive role
but the indomitable Colonel Tommy Masud commanding the unit
was too resolute a man to be restrained 44. The unit thus took a
prominent part in operations in Bhimbhar-Mirpur area under Tommy Masud,
but its role remained limited since it was not allowed to conduct any
major offensive operation to support the militia by an over cautious
Indians on the other hand employed their armour much more aggressively and
imaginatively in Kashmir. Armoured cars of the 7th Light Cavalry saved
Srinagar in November 194745. The Indians also employed tanks decisively in
recapture of strategic towns like Jhangar and Rajauri of which the latter
was captured single-handedly by a tank squadron of Central India Horse46.
The greatest Indian strategic success by employment of tanks was the
recapture of the otherwise impregnable 11,578 feet high Zojila Pass on 1st
November 194847 which enabled them to relieve Leh and recapture the
vast bulk of Ladakh. These areas without
Zojila Pass were for all
purposes lost to the Indians. Today the Pakistan Army is still paying the
price for loss of Zojila with approximately three infantry brigades
committed in Pakistan held Kashmir opposite Indian held Ladakh.
rule of the thumb of the 1947-48 War
was the fact that all Indian successes had a deep connection with presence
of tanks or armoured cars while all Pakistani failures were attributable
to the absence of tanks or armoured cars! Indians stopped only where
either the gradient became too steep for their tanks or where there were
bottlenecks like the Indus or the Jhelum valley and tank or armoured cars
could not make an impression.
Pakistani GHQ finally moved the 3rd Armoured Brigade near Bhimbhar, for a
projected counterstroke at Indian communications to Poonch, but was glad
and relieved, at not employing it, when the Indians made a unilateral
offer of ceasefire on 30 December 1947.48
DEVELOPMENT’S DURING 1948 -1965
Pakistan Armoured Corps was equipped almost wholly with
US tanks. These tanks as earlier discussed were supplied by the US
in WW Two for the defence of Burma. The armoured cars were mostly of
British origin but had proved obsolete even in WW Two and were slowly
phased out in the period 1950-58 as US aid enabled the armoured corps to
wholly switch to tanks from 1954 onwards. It appears that the policy
makers in the Pakistan Army in 1954 did not really appreciate the
importance of tanks. The first US military team, which came to Pakistan
and surveyed the Pakistani military requirement ments after liaison and
discussions with Pakistani officers thus, reported to the US Joint Chiefs
Committee that the Pakistan Army needed equipment for one armoured brigade
and four infantry divisions. The US Joint Chiefs added another armoured
division to this estimate making the proposed four and half division plan
the famous “Five and Half Divisions Plan”49.
developments and changes that took place in Pakistani armour can be gauged
from the following table:—
have seen that the Pakistani armoured division was a gift of the US Joint
Chiefs of Staff since the US Military advisory group had recommended a
four and half division plan, which included, only
one armoured brigade. There is little doubt that in the hearts of
their hearts the senior Pakistani lot, with men like Musa, described by
Gul as selected for “dependability rather than merit “50 feared
employing this division, in actual operations, more than the Indians! The
problem with the army of that time, was not as Gul suggests, that it was
infantry dominated. This as a matter of fact is the case with
all armies, since infantry is the largest arm and thus has the
maximum number of officers. The problem was that historically, by virtue
of conservative British traditions and the colonial legacy, there were
very few officers, armour or non armour, who really understood tank
warfare beyond squadron level. Whatever the reason, the only major
armoured divisional training manoeuvre with troops, as per General Gul,
held before the 1965 war was one
in 196151 (Gul has probably got the year wrong since both Musa and A.R
Siddiqi cite 1960) as to test
the 1 Armoured Division and this as per Gul’s description was a Quixotic episode.52
The exercise was nicknamed “Tezgam” and according to both Gul
and A.R Siddiqi was an utter fiasco,53 in the sense that despite ample,
warning time the armoured division being exercised did no reconnaissance
and tanks were launched in boggy country as
a result of which a very large part of the armoured division got bogged down.54
The reader may note that “Exercise Tezgam”
was no haphazard affair, having been planned in advance and
mentioned by Fazal Muqeem as one which “will be held”55
at the time of writing his book on the army.
only positive aspect of this exercise not mentioned by Gul was reduction
of the size of an armoured regiment from 75 to 44 Tanks56.
This was a positive improvement since an armoured regiment with 75
Tank was an administrative nightmare and difficult to tactically control.
The tanks rendered surplus were used to raise four more armoured regiments
which were allotted to the infantry divisions and certainly improved their
battle potential. As a result four more armoured regiments (22,23,24 &
25 Cavalry) were raised in 1962.57
the period 1954-65 various Pakistani armour officers were sent to attend
courses at the US Armour School Fort Knox . These courses however played
limited role in the development of the Pakistanis since the US way of
warfare was lavish and totally different from that of the Indo Pak
scenario in terms of terrain, comparative level of infantry mobility etc.
However, some officers who were assigned to revise tank manuals did employ
US manuals apart from British tank manuals to good use as this scribe
discovered while serving in the Tactical Wing of the School of Armour in
the period 1990-91! 58
during the same period professionalism in tank regiments varied from unit
to unit. There was the case of a unit that painted the muzzle ends of the
barrel of its main gun where cuttings are made to bore sight the guns and,
would have been not very effective, had it been employed
in the 1965 war! There were cases of newly raised units led by some
excellent officers like the 25 Cavalry. Thus on one side there were units
who were as as non professional as British cavalry who were notoriously
incompetent in fame for lopping off their own horses heads59 instead of
the enemy’s, because of
poor cavalry swordmanship standards. On the other hand
there were units where professional efficiency was higher due to
force of tradition or by virtue of having excellent commanding officers.
In this regard the British system of each tank regiment having its own
idiosyncrasies worked mostly in a negative manner! As I discovered much
later that each tank regiment was as distinct from another as one Hindu
caste from another and this was even in terms of training, operating
procedures etc! The point is that the transformation from cavalry to
mechanisation was thus not fully incorporated neither in the British Army
nor in the British Indian Army, and the Indian tank experience against the
hopelessly undergunned and ill equipped Japanese tanks in Burma in WW Two
also was not helpful in developing levels of professional competence
necessary in mechanised units.
period 1951-1965 i.e the Ayubian era, was a period when one man dominated
the army and as history has proved, dictators prefer working with men they
know, and can trust. This was not helpful for the tank corps since the
ruling clique was infantry dominated. I am not hinting that armour as an
arm suffered Vis a Vis infantry as Gul’s memoirs imply. Nor I am
suggesting that there were no potential Guderians or Von Thomas. The point
that is being driven home is, that
the emphasis was on thrusting men on the armoured division who were not
very imaginative or professional, but were essentially , loyal and
dependable men. The same was true for infantry too, but armour despite
being a highly specialised arm was treated as no different from infantry.
In the process some relatively gifted armour officers without good family
connections and without having the advantage of belonging to the ruling
cliques regimental groups were sidelined. War record for promotion to
higher ranks was no criteria at that time as has remained the case till to
date, since its Godfather had the most dubious war record in the Indian
Army of WW Two!
Pakistan Armoured Corps thus remained a ceremonial but much neglected arm
during the period 1951-65. No serious thought was given to developing a
special Indo Pak doctrine of employment of the armoured division in the
framework of a corps. The emphasis in the Ayubian army was on the “New
Concept of Defence” which revolved around the infantry division and as
per one general officer of that time “did not last even for the first
day of 1965 War”!60 The
ideas of the senior officers of that time about armour were vague but it
was generally thought that Pakistani armour would perform roles similar to
those of the German armour of 1940! The concept of friction and the
independent will of the enemy was not really understood by these men who
were of the firm conviction that by virtue of having martial races and
better US tanks, it would not be very difficult to teach the Indians a
good lesson in case of war! It was fashionable to read or pose to read
“Rommel Papers”61 and Liddell Hart’s “Strategy the Indirect
Approach” 62 but no
serious attempt was made in the armoured corps ,as the tank manuals and
journals of that time amply prove, to
understand the real mechanics of tank warfare or the essence of
at the armoured brigade level no credible doctrine/tactics of the armoured
battle at brigade level was developed . Each unit jealously guarded its
traditions and remained a closed entity for other armoured units even
within the same brigade. The armoured brigade commanders developed a
similar to infantry brigade commanders with fixed field headquarters with
reliance on despatch riders and liaison officers whereas mobile operations
demanded that the armoured brigade commander stayed close to the leading
regiment while his staff looked after the brigade headquarters.
emphasis thus remained on the thinking that each unit must increase its
battle honours while training at brigade and divisional level was
neglected. Gul states that many of the armour commanders who performed
miserably in 1965 were never tested in peacetime training. Thus while
commenting on the pathetic handling of armour in Khem Karan in 1965 Gul
said “It seems (commenting on Khem Karan operations) that the two
Headquarters (11 Division and
1st Armoured Division) were paralysed by the very dimension of their
undertaking........Had they physically handled their commands on
manoeuvres in more normal times,they would have been either found out, and
should have been sacked, or the enormity of the task that
confronted them later in the war would not have benumbed them”.63
the eve of 1965 war the Pakistan Armoured Corps was organised as
WAR OPERATION GRAND SLAM
Grand Slam i.e the plan to capture Akhnur via a major divisional
level attack supported by two armoured regiments was the first
major tank battle of Pakistan Armoured Corps. Chamb had always been a
sensitive area since 1947 and in 1948 war the Indians had taken special
care to station tanks here . However, in 1965 due to some phenomenally
incompetent thinking at the higher level the Indians ignored this
important sector and wishfully believed that the main Pakistani attack in
the area will come in Jhangar area. As a matter of fact as early as
1955-56 the Indian 80 Brigade commander had appreciated the importance of
Chamb-Jaurian-Akhnur area and had identified it as a weak area65
which needed to be defended in greater strength. In 1956 an Indian
Corps exercise setting was based on the scenario that Pakistanis had
captured Akhnur66. The Indian
High Command was as naive as the Pakistani GHQ in thinking that the
Pakistanis will “not cross the international border
(in Chamb area) because that would constitute an attack on
India67”, thus in words of Gurcharan
the southern half of the Chamb border (opposite the internationally
recognised border) was rendered “sacrosanct”68. Chamb was held by a
lone infantry brigade and was reinforced by a tank squadron of AMX-13
Light Tanks only in August 1965 69.
armour enjoyed a marked qualitative and quantitative superiority over
Indian armour in this operation. There were two Pakistani Patton regiments
against one Indian light tank squadron in the battle . The single Indian
AMX-13 squadron defending the area possessed relatively effective
firepower (in terms of armour penetration)
but was far inferior to the five Pakistani Patton squadrons in
terms of protection (armour thickness) and was further dispersed since its
area of responsibility was more than even that of one tank regiment. Thus
while too wide an area of responsibility nullified the chances of its
concentrated employment, poor armour protection gravely increased its
vulnerability and seriously reduced its ability to manoeuvre or even
jockey. The principal Indian advantage was bad terrain which enabled their
anti tank guns (recoilless rifles) to engage Pakistani armour. However,
this was balanced by surprise since the Indians were not expecting an
armoured brigade size force in the sector.
of all rhetoric about Grand Slam’s brilliance, armour was under-utilised
and poorly employed. The vast numerical advantage of six to one in armour,
was partially nullified by dividing the two tank regiments between two
brigades who in turn dished out each tank squadron to one infantry
battalion. Thus instead of using the armour as a punch it was used like a
thin net, as a result of which its hitting power was vastly reduced while
the Indians were able to engage tank squadrons made to charge them in a
piecemeal manner! Thus while the Pakistani victory, thanks to tank
numerical and qualitative superiority was a foregone conclusion, the cost
in terms of equipment and loss of manpower was too high as the table
included in the footnotes indicates.
Shaukat Riza despite being granted limited autonomy to use his independent
mind was forced to very tactfully admit while only citing the artillery
aspect, that the attack plan lacked concentration. Shaukat thus wrote, “
The guns had to be distributed to support attacking troops on a front of
30,000 yards. The Indians had only covering troops on the border outposts.
The distribution of our artillery fire enabled them to delay our crossing
of Munawar Tawi on 1st September”.70
events have led to some oversights in analysing “Operation Grand Slam”
and writers have only talked about the change of command of the division
which led to a literal “suspension of action” of full 24 hours in the
division’s advance. The first serious failure, however occurred on the
first day of attack i.e 1st September due to faulty execution and lack of
understanding of the key operational concept within 12 Division at brigade
level. It was as a result of this misunderstanding that 12 Division failed
to cross Tawi the first day despite the fact that it had reached it
opposite Chamb at 0830 or 0855 hours on the morning of 1st September
1971.71 The Pakistani failure
in crossing Tawi on the first day and securing Pallanwalla thereby
throwing the Indians off balance can be squarely ascribed to poor
execution of plans at brigade level and
divisional level. Brigadier A.A.K Chaudhry states in his book that the
unnecessary delay occurred since the infantry brigade commander insisted
on capture of Burjeal despite the fact that Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik had
categorically ordered him to bypass it .72 This serious lapse led to delay
of one day in crossing of Tawi and enabled the Indians to conduct an
orderly withdrawal across Tawi during night 1st/2nd
September 1965. Thus the Indians were pushed back but not routed
which was within 12 Divisions capability had the infantry brigade
commander not got obsessed with Burjeal .
beauty of the Grand Slam plan i.e the
fact that the Pakistani Commander had the benefit of overwhelming
numerical superiority of 6 to 1 in armour and the additional advantage of
having no natural obstacle between the start line and Akhnur was thus lost
on the very first day .Speed was the essence of the issue since the
frontage of advance became narrower as the attackers advanced eastwards
with the river Chenab closing in from
the south, and the
high mountains closing in from the north making the defenders task easier
and the attackers task more difficult.
2050 Hours 1st September 191
Brigade defending Chamb started withdrawal towards Chamb while the 41
Mountain Brigade was ordered to occupy the Troti-Jaurian intermediate
position. The Pakistani position despite all these imperial blunders was
formidable when change of command was ordered and the Indians got another
24 hours to prepare their intermediate defence position at Troti-Jaurian.
From 3rd September onwards progress of operations became slower although
qualitative advantage in tanks enabled the Pakistanis to capture Jaurian ,
surprise was lost and the Indians were able to reinforce the sector with a
third infantry brigade and a third AMX squadron. Surprise was lost and
armour’s freedom of manoeuvre became more and more limited as the total
available frontage of advance became reduced by one sixth due to Chenab in
the south and the mountains in the north.
is not the proper place to go into further details, which are the subject
of an article, devoted entirely to Grand Slam in a future issue.
Indian anti tank rifles caused maximum armour casualties on the first day
of the battle. These were entirely avoidable had the bulk of the armour
been concentrated and tasked to straight go for Pallanwalla rather than
distributing it till battalion level. The real hero of the first day of
Grand Slam was the rank and files both infantry and armour on both sides.
The Indians were saved from total riot by the sheer grit and determination
of their anti tank gunners and the most vulnerable AMX crews while
Pakistanis lost their chance to rout the enemy because of inability to
concentrate and obsession with Burjeal.
BATTLE OF CHAWINDA
tank battles fought between Chawinda and Charwa from the 8th to 16th
September are fit to be made subject of a Shakespearean comedy of errors.
The Indian armour, at brigade level and divisional level, was handled in a
highly incompetent and irresolute manner on 8th September ,despite the
fact that both the commanders were from the armoured corps! The Indians
enjoyed a five to one superiority, but unlike Grand Slam it was in number
of tank regiments rather than number of tank squadrons , which makes the
superiority thrice as much
was saved by sheer coup d oeil by one man i.e Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of
25 Cavalry who in the classic Clausewitzian description was guided by a
spark of purpose and a ray of hope in an intensely obscure situation at a
time when no Pakistani headquarter, brigade, divisional or corps was
aware, and I would say with conviction, thankfully so, of the exact
operational situation. The Indians fought as bravely as the Pakistanis
till tank regiment level but their rot started from brigade and division
downwards! Nisar deployed two of his squadrons between Gadgor and Degh
Nala in an extended line and his regiment engaged the Indians in such a
terrific manner that the Indians in words of their tank corps historian
lost more tanks that day than were held in total by 25 Cavalry opposing
them and were blocked by just two tank squadrons!73 These are words of
praise from the enemy, for a man who was promoted to the rank of brigadier
with great difficulty and was dumped later, while many far more
incompetent and clerk type men rose to much higher ranks after both 1965
and his regiment, some of whom are now bent upon taking the whole credit
while portraying Nisar as an innocent bystander at best, imposed such a
caution by their 8th September stand that the Indians withdrew their
entire tank division and sank into total suspension of action from 8th to
11th September. The Pakistanis thus got three valuable days to bring up
more tank regiments and the battles from 11th to 16th September were
fought under conditions which commenced with near parity in tanks and soon
transformed by 16th September into superiority in tanks in favour of
Pakistanis . The fact that Indians enjoyed superiority in infantry was
largely irrelevant since Pakistani tanks had limited their space for
manoeuvre and the Indian infantry superiority could have been effective in
only a post breakout phase. But breakout after 12th September was not
possible since Pakistan’s 1st Armoured Division had reinforced the
of Khem Karan-Valtoha proved that although politically Pakistan and India
were two nations, intellectually both were one nation composed of highly
incompetent men beyond colonel level. Here Pakistani armour enjoyed a
seven to one superiority in tanks in terms of total troops available but
were unable to pump their armour inside the enemy territory in time thus
enabling the Indians to recover from surprise from 8th September onwards.
The Indians were initially so demoralised that their infantry division
commander requested to be relieved by another division.74
5th Armoured Brigade could have outflanked the Indian 4th Mountain
Division on the 7th and 8th of September had it concentrated its tank
strength and developed the battle from one direction. Instead one tank
regiment was sent towards the right while one was sent towards the left
and centre, thus reducing the potential superiority to near parity. All
gains made by armour during the daytime were squandered since the armoured
brigade commander insisted that all tanks be parked in front of his
brigade headquarter after last light! This as a matter of fact was a
British tradition 75 but even the rationale why the British did so mostly
in North Africa was not applicable in the Indo-Pak scenario. (See Analysis
for further elaboration). By 10th September the Indians had reinforced the
sector and although they were outnumbered in tanks by five to two till the
end, bad terrain and inability of the Pakistani armour to breakout of the
bottle neck between Nikasu Nala and Rohi Nala while the Indians were
demoralised in vastly outnumbered in number of total available tanks from
6th to 8th September led to a stagnation and stalemate by 11th September.
Thus all the advantages of initial surprise and superiority in numbers
were nullified due to poor staff work, poor initial planning, faulty
execution as a result of which numerical superiority was not fully
realised due to poor terrain and lack of freedom of manoeuvre.
BATTLE OF LAHORE
role of armour in the battle for Lahore was limited . Indian armour was
divided down to squadron level and played a negligible role on 6th and 7th
September. In any case their Shermans were no match to Pakistan’s
Pattons of which the 23 Cavalry held two squadrons.
Pakistani tank/infantry counterattack on 8th September however produced a
crisis of operational level in the 15 Indian Division. On 8th September as
a result of Pakistani armour/infantry counterattack an Indian infantry
brigade became so demoralised that two of its units simply abandoned their
defences and bolted away, leading to a situation where the Indians had to
reinforce it with a fresh
infantry brigade76, however certainly did cause an operational crisis in
the 15 Indian Division on 8th September thereby seriously
weakening the Indian resolve to capture Lahore. The Indian armoured
corps historian did not take a similar view77, however as cited earlier
this fact is well attested in the “War Despatches” of General Harbaksh
Singh. Absence of Pakistani tanks at Dograi due to poor map reading and
confusion in orders78 however
played a major part in Indian recapture of Dograi on 21/22 September 1965.
In short, tanks played a relatively significant but limited role in the
battle of Lahore since the BRB strictly limited their mobility.
REFERENCES AND ENDNOTES
Introductory Note:— Many details may not be accurate since the author does not have access to historical records. The author welcomes any positive suggestions/corrections/pointing out of any factual errors. The author welcomes any battle account from any veteran of WW Two pertaining to combat administrative or other issues like man management relations between officers and ranks etc. Any account received by the author will be sent to the Imperial War Museum and some other universities where military historians of international repute can make use of them .This is important, author feels that in few years time all valuable records will be destroyed in case no effort is made to preserve them; since the major interest in Pakistan and India seems to be in other non military pursuits. Maps which have been conceived and drawn by the author in free hand are based either on Survey of Pakistan maps or on Map Number TPC G-7D, Scale 1:500,000 , as far as Chamb-Jaurian area is concerned, prepared under the direction of the Defence Intelligence Agency and published by the Aeronautical Chart and Information Centre.US Airforce, St Louis ,Missouri-63118. Compiled from maps and intelligence information available as of November 1967. These maps are available to public on nominal payment and are used by civilian pilots.
1 Page- 14- Pakistan Army Till 1965- Major A.H Amin-Strategicus & Tacticus- 17 Aug 1999-P.O Box 13146- Arlington- VA-22219-U.SA
2 Page-326-Ibid and Page-122- Cambridge History of India-Volume Five-British India-1497-1858 -H.H Dodwell-Reprinted by S.Chand and Company-New Delhi- 1987.
3 Page-451- A Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Army- Lieut F.G Cardew-Revised and Edited in the Military Department of the Government of India- Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing-Calcutta-1903.
4 Page-140-A Matter of Honour - Philip Mason- Jonathan Cape-London-1974.
5 Page- 141-Ibid and Pages-109 & 110 -So they Rode and Fought - Major General Syed Shahid Hamid (Retired)- Midas Books- Kent-UK-1983. Two native cavalry regiments were raised by the Nawab of Oudh on the Company’s orders in 1776 (Refers-Page-451-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit) under British officers and transferred to the English East India Company’s service in 1777 and designated as 1st and 2nd Bengal Native Cavalry. (Refers-Page-110-Shahid Hamid-Op Cit ) .Similarly 16 Light Cavalry the oldest surviving Indian Cavalry unit was raised in Carnatic by the Nawab of Arcot for service with the Madras Army. It was taken over permanently by the East India Company in 1784 and became the 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry (Refers-Page-147-Ibid ).
6 Page-159 and 160- A Concise Dictionary of Military Biography - Martin Window and Francis. K . Mason-Osprey Publishing Limited-Berkshire -GB-1975. Page-79-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit.
7 Page-76-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit and Page- 23-Maj Gen Shahid Hamid-Op Cit.
8 Page-470-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit and Page- 532 -Fidelity and Honour- Lieut Gen S.L Menezes-Penguin Books -India-Delhi-1993. There were three armies but the C in C Bengal Army was also overall C in C India although the other two C in Cs of Bombay and Madras Armies enjoyed a very large measure of autonomy bordering on virtual independence of command. Initially however the Madras military establishment was seniormost (Refers -Page-327-Chapter Eleven- Imperial Gazetteer of India-Volume Four-Administrative - Based on material supplied by Lieut Gen Sir Edward Collen-Published under the authority of His Majesty’s Secretary of State for India in Council at the Clarendon Press-Oxford-1907) but by 1758 following Clive’s great victory at Plassey Bengal became the seniormost and supreme military establishment. Lord Clive , then Colonel Robert Clive was the first C in C of the Bengal Army from December 1756 and 25 February 1760 while also holding the charge of the Governor of Bengal (Refers-Page- 470-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit). Bengal had been a “ Presidency “ English East India Company since 1699. (Refers-Page-3 -Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit).
9 Page-23-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit. As per William Irvine in the Mughal Army the cavalry was largely composed of respectable Mohameddans and Rajputs (Refers-Page-162- The Army of the Indian Moghuls- William Irvine-London-1903 . See also A History of the British Cavalry-1816-1919-Volume Two -The Marquess of Anglesey-London-1975.
10 Page-167-William Irvine-Op Cit and Pages-84 & 85- The New Cambridge History of India-Volume-II.1-Indian Society and the making of the Indian Empire-C.A Bayly-Cambridge University Press-1988.
11 Page-5-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit and Page- 328-Imperial Gazetteer -Op Cit . Many Hindustani Pathans of Shinwari Yusufzai Sherwani and Bangash ancestry from this scribes maternal grandfather Sultan Khan’s family village Sikandara Rao in Aligarh District, (which has the notoriety of remaining loyal to the English East India Company albeit for pragmatic reasons as done by the Punjabis in 1857), served in the cavalry of the Nawabs of Oudh Farrukhabad , the Raja Scindia of Gwalior and the East India Company’s Bengal Army. The village did produce at least one general, (who was a noted member of the Riding Club of Aligarh Muslim University ), who served with distinction in Pakistan Armoured Corps. There were countless such villages from Hissar in the West till Allahabad in the east of Hindustani Pathan Muslims who supplied recruits to the cavalry units of the Marathas , the Nawabs of Oudh and the English East India Company’s armies.
12 Page-243- Britain and Her Army- Correlli Barnett- Penguin Books-London-1974.
13 Page-141-Philip Mason-Op Cit.
14 Page-169-The Battle Book- Bryan Perrett- Arms and Armour-London-1996.
15 Pages-82 to 90-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit.
16 Page-33- The Maratha and the Pindari War” - Lieutenant Colonel R.G Burton - Compiled for the General Staff - India -Government Monotype Press, Simla - 1910.
17 See Class Composition tables on Pages-329 & 405-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit.The Muslims dominated all ten regular units of the Bengal Army which rebelled or were disbanded in 1857. (See History of British Cavalry-Op Cit).The following table taken from Page- 45-Pakistan Army Till 1965-Op Cit.Calculated by the author from details given in the appendix of the Royal Commission on the reorganisation of the Indian Army-London-1858, shows the Muslim preponderance in cavalry right till 1857:-
ARMY TOTAL MUSLIM MUSLIM TOTAL MUSLIM TOTAL MUSLIM
STRENGTH TROOPS % age INFANTRY TROOPS CAVALRY TROOPS
MADRAS 45,341 17,880 39.43 % 45,725 OR 52 15,856 2,616 OR 7 2,024
ARMY REGIMENTS REGIMENTS
BOMBAY 26,894 2,630 5.8 % 25,433 OR 29 2,159 1,461 OR 3 471
ARMY REGIMENTS REGIMENTS
18 Pages-44, 46, 47 & 48- The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies-1900-1947- Charles Chenevix Trench-Thames and Hudson-London -1988.
19 Page-49-C.C Trench-Op Cit. The reader may note that the newly formed Royal Tank Corps did win four Victoria Crosses (Refers-Pages-22 & 23- Tank Commanders- George Forty-Firebird Books-Dorset-UK-1993) in WW One from 1917 till armistice and played a decisive role in the defeat of Germany.
20 Page-213- A Concise History of World War One- Brig Gen Vincent . J.Esposito-Pall Mall Press- London -1965.
21 Pages-91 to 99-C.C Trench-Op Cit.Pages-432 to 440-History of the First World War- B.H Liddell Hart-Pan Books-London-1972.
22 Page-941 & 942- Brassey’s Encyclopaedia of Military History and Biography- Edited by Col Franklin.D.Margotta-Brasseys-Washington-1994. Page-73- A Dictionary of Battles- David Eggenberger- George Allen and Unwin-London-1967.
23 Page-38-George Forty-Op Cit.
24 Page-102-Brig Esposito-Op Cit. Liddell Hart insists in his book that there were several German batteries who did it , however Liddell Hart is a Britisher and a tank enthusiast , I have not relied on his judgement since both national feeling and personal likes may have influenced his judgement in this case. The legend went that one German artillery officer knocked out sixteen tanks although Liddell Hart insists that only five tanks were knocked out. (Refers-Page-344-Liddell Hart-Op Cit).
25 Page-18-Eggenberger-Op Cit.
26 Page-22- George Forty-Op Cit.
27 Page-55-Shahid Hamid-Op Cit.
28 Page-135-C.C Trench and Page-56-Shahid Hamid-Op Cit.
29 Report of Auchinleck Modernisation Sub Committee -Ministry of Defence-Historical Section-New Delhi-1938.
30 Page-135 - C.C Trench -Op Cit.
31 Page-135-Ibid and Pages-534 & 535-Lieut Gen S.L Menezes-Op Cit.
32 Page-135 & 137-C.C Trench-Op Cit.
33 Pages-187 & 188- Our Armoured Forces- Lieutenant General G.L.Q Martel-Faber and Faber-London-1949.
34 Pages-277 & 278-C.C Trench-Op Cit.
35 Page-3 & 4-Campaign of the 14th Army in Burma-Compiled by 14th Army Headquarter-1945-Printed in Government Printing Press-Calcutta.Presented by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, Chief of the Imperial General Staff for use by the Pakistani Armed Forces. General Francis Tucker a veteran of WW Two admitted that the Japanese in Burma were “weak in armour and motor transport”. (Refers-Page-73-The Pattern of War- Lieutenant General Sir Francis Tucker-Cassell and Company Limited-London-1948.
36For the relative inferiority of the Japanese tanks see-Pages-240 to 251- Hand Book on Japanese Military Forces-US War Department-Technical Manual-TM-E-30-480 -1October 1944-United States Government Printing Office-Washington-1944-Reprinted by Louisiana State University Press-Baton Rouge-1995. Slim does not tell us anything about the overwhelming British tank superiority in his otherwise excellent book Defeat into Victory.Neither does General Gul Hassan who was then serving as an ADC and was to later lament about the anti armour bias in the Post 1947 Pakistan Army.
37Page-9- Article-Higher Conduct of 1965 War-Brigadier Riaz Ul Karim Khan, LOM, MC-Defence Journal-Volume Ten-Number-1-2-1984-Karachi. Riaz ul Karim was Director Armoured Corps in the General Headquarters once the 1965 broke out . Director Armoured Corps at that time or even now a post occupied by those in the run! This claim made by Riaz ul Karim may or may not be wholly accurate.The author welcomes any gentleman who is better informed and can point out any factual errors so that these can be incorporated for the sake of historical accuracy.
38 Some Indian cavalry units did have tanks at time like the Central India Horse ( Refers-Page-317-The Sidi Rezegh Battles-1941- J.A.I Agar Hamilton and L.C.F Turner-Oxford University Press-Cape Town-1957
39 Page-483-Rajendarsinhji later the Indian C in C was a remarkable man in many ways .He was offered to be the first Indian C in C but refused voluntarily stating that the decision should be taken on the basis of seniority as a result of which Cariappa became the first Indian C in C of the Indian Army (Refers-Page-448-Lieut Gen S.L Menezes-Op Cit) .Rajendarsinhji was also the first Indian to command an armoured regiment, although in a peacetime location from November 1943 to May 1945 (Refers-Page-557-The Indian Armour-1941-1971- Major General Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books -Delhi-1990).
40Page-432-J.A.I Agar Hamilton-Op Cit.
41Pages-190 to 194- The Pakistan Army-1947-1949- Major General Shaukat Riza-Wajid Alis (Private Limited) -Lahore-Printed for Services Book Club-1989.Pages-59 to 105-Sons of John Company-John Gaylor-First Published in UK by Spellmount-1992-Reprint-Lancer International-New Delhi-1993.Pages-559 to 561-The Indian Armour-1941-1971-Op Cit. This table may not be wholly accurate.The author welcomes any gentleman who is better informed and can point out any factual errors so that these can be incorporated for the sake of historical accuracy. The reader may note that the second table may also not be wholly accurate . The author welcomes any gentleman who is better informed and can point out any factual errors so that these can be incorporated for the sake of historical accuracy.
42 Page-153-Shaukat Riza-Op Cit.
43 Pages-178 to 187-Shauakat Riza-Op Cit. This table may not be wholly accurate.The author welcomes any gentleman who is better informed and can point out any factual errors so that these can be incorporated for the sake of historical accuracy. Facts in the column “Remarks” are based on Annexure-”A”-Page -307-Ibid.
44 He lacked the qualities of slavishness or diplomacy to become a general officer in the Ayubian army ! This explains why he did not go beyond a brigadier! Tommy Masud who was a very famous figure in Lahore Gymkhana finally settled in Lahore where he died in the late 1990s. The unit conducted very aggressive actions under his able leadership , one of the proofs of which i.e two captured Indian Armoured cars of the 7th Light Cavalry still adorn the front of the unit quarter guard . Till 1983 when this scribe joined the unit Tommy Masud was remembered with great respect and admiration by many reservists and old timers both from the officers and the rank and file who were attached with or visited the unit .
45 Pages-275 to 277-The Indian Armour-Op Cit.
46 Pages-284 to 286-Ibid.
47 Page- 295-Ibid.
48 Pages-296 & 296-Shauakat Riza-Op Cit.
49 Refers-Pakistan MDA Programme- Memorandum for the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Arthur Radford by the Special Assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for MDAP Affairs Major General Robert.M.Cannon dated 23 November 1955. Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-Washington D.C.
50Page-134-Memoirs of General Gul Hassan Khan-Lieutenant General Gul Hassan Khan-Oxford University Press-Karachi-1993)
51Page-24-My Version-Indo Pakistan War 1965-General Musa Khan-Wajid Alis Limited-Lahore-1983.and Page-66- The Military in Pakistan-Image and Reality- Brig A.R Siddiqi-Vanguard Books-Lahore-1996.Gul Hassan cites 1961 (Page-142-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit) as the year but both Brig A.R Siddiqi and Musa cite 1960
52 Page-142-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit.
53 Page-142-Ibid and Page-66-Brig A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit.
55 Page-143-The Story of the Pakistan Army-Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan-Oxford University Press-Lahore -1963
56 Page-25-Musa-Khan-Op Cit. Brigadier Zaheer Alam Khan states that these changes in the organisation of the armoured regiment took place after “Exercise Milestone” held in 1962 (Refers-Page-126-The Way It Was- Brigadier Z.A Khan-Dynavis Private Limited-Pathfinder Fountain-Karachi-1998) and that these were taken on the initiative of Brigadier Bashir , the then Director Armoured Corps. Gul is unfortunately no longer alive to correct us but in all probability it appears that the changes in tank regiment organisation were initiated based on Exercise Tezgam held in 1960 as per Musa and Siddiqi or in 1961 as per Gul Hassan. As per Gen Mitha “Exercise Milestone” in 1961 in addition to the armoured division exercise (i.e Exercise Tezgam) was held to test the “New Concept of Defence” and 10 Division Plus took part in it. (Refers-Page-33-Fallacies and Realities-An Analysis of Gul Hassan’s “Memoirs”-Major General Aboobakar Osman Qasim Mitha-Maktaba Fikr O Danish-Lahore-1994.
57 Page-117-Brig Z.A Khan-Op Cit.
58 Comparison of Tank Platoon and Tank Company-FM-17-32 -Department of the Army-Field Manual-United States Government Printing Office-Washington D.C-1950 as discovered by this scribe in the store room of Tactical Wing Nowshera one very notoriously cold evening in January 1991 and General Staff Publication Number-1622- Troop Leading in Armoured Corps -1967 and General Staff Publication Number-1851- Troop Leading in Armoured Corps-1991-GHQ Rawalpindi. One glaring example is one of the ugliest and shabbiest map of a tank counter attack taken from the 1950 US manual and reproduced without any improvement in both the Pakistani publications of 1967 and 1991 ! Even a ten-year-old can draw a better and far neater map! There are pencil cuttings on the US manual which once incorporated by a typist typing a new draft , exactly match with the typed final proof of the Pakistani tank manual!
59 Page-243-Correlli Barnett-Op Cit.
60 Page-493-Article-Infantry Thinking-Lieutenant General Atiq Ur Rahman - Soldier Speaks-Selected Articles from “Pakistan Army Journal”-1956-1981 - Army Education Press-GHQ-Rawalpindi-1981.
61 See Page-42-Brig A.R Siddiqi-Op Cit. Brig Siddiqi states in his excellent and thought provoking book , that General Azam “carried with him a copy of the newly published ‘Rommel Papers’ and was full of it”.
62 Page-26-Brig Z.A Khan-Op Cit.Brig Z.A Khan states that Liddell Hart’s book was given to all cadets in the military academy. I hold Liddell Hart in very high esteem and as a matter of fact started my study of military history with this book and Palit’s essentials of miltary knowledge .However it is not clear what purpose Liddell Hart could serve for cadets in a military academy learning the basics of infantry tactics. I may add that I met very few officers during my entire military service who had read this particular book of Liddell Hart from first to last page.
63 Page-209-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit
64 Based on orders of battle of various divisions given in - The Pakistan Army-War-1965-Major General Shaukat Riza (Retired) - Army Education Press-GHQ-Rawalpindi -1984.
65 Page-126-Behind the Scene-An Analysis of India’s Military Operations-1947-1971-Major General Joginder Singh (Retired) - Lancer International-New Delhi-11993.
66 Page -126-Ibid.
67 Page-343-Gurcharan Singh Sandhu -Op Cit.
70 Page-123-Shauakat Riza-Op Cit.
71 According to the 11 Cavalry history it was 0855 hours while according to Brigadier A.A.K Chaudhry it was 0830 hours .See Page-49-September 1965-Before and After-Brig Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry-Ferozesons Limited-Lahore-1977.Page -Page-43-Short History of 11 Cavalry (FF)-Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Khalid -Quetta Cantonment-1999.Published by the unit and distributed only to selected list of serving and retired officers. The readers may note that 11 Cavalry’s history was compiled only 42 years after independence through sole voluntary efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Khalid , despite the fact that the unit produced many two three and four star generals from 1947 to date. Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry’s book soon went out of stock after its publication in 1977-78 .Interestingly this scribe found it at a outwardly most hopeless looking bookshop at Kohat some “Aziz News Agency” on Monday 30th March 1981 on the evening of the fourth day of the ISSB at Kohat . At that time the ISSB used to last for five days.
72 Page-49-Brig Amjad Chaudhry-Op Cit.
73 Page-394-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.
74 Page-101- War Despatches- Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh-Lancer International-New Delhi-1992.
75 Page-10 and 11-Brigadier Riaz ul Karim-Op Cit. Mishandling of the 5 Armoured Brigade is a well confirmed fact and there is a consensus in Pakistani military analysts and direct participants that it was mishandled on 7th, 8th and 9th September 1965. Refers:— Page-56-Musa Khan-Op Cit. Musa thus observed “Twice in two days,5 Armoured Brigade reached Valtoha railway station and Assal Uttar,approximately 12 and 6 miles respectively beyond Khem Karan,but for inexplicable reasons,the brigade commander issued confusing orders on it on both occasions to return to Khem Karan and leaguer there at night,instead of arranging to send up motorised infantry to hold the ground his armour had captured”. Also see Page- 200-Gul Hassan Khan-Op Cit. Also pages-238 & 239-Pakistan Meets Indian Challenge-Brigadier Gulzar Ahmad-Al Mukhtar Publishers-1967 and Reprinted by-Islamic Book Foundation-Lahore-1986 The Leaguer is a formation adopted by an armoured regiment or squadron after the battle. Leaguer was a conservative British countermeasure adopted after last light to secure tanks against night raids by tank hunting parties.The Germans noted this serious British failing in North Africa (See Pages-109-The North African Campaign -Captain B.H Liddell Hart-Reprinted by Natraj Publishers-Dera Dun-1983) which led to loss of initiative as well as time and space.The Germans on the contrary did not adhere to this ridiculously cautious drill or battle procedure but occupied the same area that they had occupied in the days fight at night.But Bashir following the typical British tradition was concerned more with safety than with rapid progress of operations. After all “Mission Oriented Approach” had no chance in the “Orders Oriented “ army of that time and with my thirteen years service from 1981-1994 even of this time ! In all fairness to Bashir it may be said that he was at least on papers among the best and he did what was taught or interpreted at schools of instruction as such . He was a product of that age and must be viewed with this perspective. Innovation , dynamic thinking and serious professional study had limited room in the old polo playing ceremonial British Indian Army. Even Gul who so vehemently criticised Bashir, had no tank experience in WW II having been from infantry and an aide de camp throughout the war . So no one can never know how Gul or any other armour brigade commander may have behaved in that situation. There was one man who may have behaved differently , but he was from infantry i.e the indomitable Brigadier Eftikhar Khan , a half Pakistani/Janjua who was at least technically a non Muslim ,had he lived in Mr Bhutto’s time being from the Ahmadiya community!Later around 1950s emphasis on ceremonial and polo playing was largely substituted by sycophancy once all patronage was concentrated in the hands of one man from 1958 to 1988 whether a civilian or an army man . The situation today is that the army is composed of more educated ( professionally) but more ambitious, far more calculating and careerist type men. Men who would make good bankers and excellent peace time decision makers when all is well , but certainly not men of crisis, which unfortunately occur rarely .These are the typical hole punching men well described in “Crisis in Command by Gabriel and Savage. Of all the people above cited Brigadier Riaz ul Karim, MC , who never became a general is definitely the most competent in his criticism since he was the only one from armoured corps who commanded a tank squadron in Burma and also won an MC . All praise to the Ayubian selection boards that this most professional man was not promoted while men like Bashir and Nasir became Major Generals . After all Riazul Karim was neither from those indomitable martial races north of Chenab,nor did he have that pleasing sycophantic personality that gave the south of Chenab races a waiver to enter general rank ! I had the opportunity of meeting this very fine gentleman and officer on various evenings in Lahore’s Polo Ground where he used to come to refresh himself with an evening walk in the 1990s. The jogging track of that Polo Ground on Sarwar Road apart from the other more sensually refreshing spectacles is a military historians paradise since one gets the opportunity to meet many retired officers of all ranks and types. Alas that old breed is fast vanishing and many historical records will be lost since Pakistani officers are not interested in writing.
76 Page -94-Harbaksh Singh-Op Cit.
77 Page-357-Gurcharan Singh-Op Cit.
78 Page-206 & 207-Shaukat Riza-1965-Op Cit and Page-180-Brigadier Z.A Khan-Op Cit