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Saga of Courage

A.M. Vohra

By Major General Abrar Hussain
Army Education Publishing House, Rawalpindi, 2005, pp. 153, price not stated.


The book narrates the operational performance of Pakistan’s 6 Armoured Division in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. Pakistan had inducted its Special Services Group personnel in J&K in August1965 to stir an uprising and later launched an offensive in the Chhamb Sector on 1 September 1965. India retaliated by launching an offensive across the Indo-Pak international border in the Lahore Sector on 6 September: India’s Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had warned—retaliation at a place of its choice. As a part of this retaliation, India also launched an offensive in the Pathankot-Sialkot front; between ‘Aik’ Nullah and ‘Degh’ Nadi on the night of 7-8 September 1965. General Abrar Hussain was in command of the Division and has given a day-to-day account of Pakistan’s response in the Sialkot Sector.   The day-to-day account is from 6 September 1965 onwards when the Division was ordered to move from Gujranwala to Pasrur. Indian forces, a corps of one armoured and three infantry/mountain divisions, crossed the international border during the night of 7-8 September in the Degh Nadi-Charwa area with its main thrust towards Philloura. Abrar Hussain recounts the adjustments carried out to the deployment of his Division in the Badiana, Pasrur, Philloura, Zafarwal area. Their task was “destroying Indian penetration”.   By 0500 hrs on 11 September “heavy concentration of artillery fire heralded the launching of the next phase of the Indian offensive against Philloura”. “Indian tanks got within tank gun range” 9FF and 11 Cavalry of Pakistan were unnerved. 14 FF and Guides Cavalry were inducted to stabilize the situation. They were unable to prevent Indian forces reaching Philloura cross roads. Advance to Chawinda and Badiana was expected. On 15 September, there were tough battles at both these places. The narrative states that after 3 days of hectic fighting at both Chawinda and Badiana, Indian forces gained a salient between these two objectives but suffered heavy losses. Orders were received at 2200 hours on 22 September that ceasefire had been agreed upon.   There are accounts of other battles, e.g., Zafarwal as also Fatehpur and Chawinda: General Musharraf has, in his Foreword, called the battle of Chawinda as “the greatest tank battle since World ar II’. Tank losses of Pakistan 6 Armoured Division are given and it is claimed that 150 tanks of the Indian Army were destroyed. Making some allowance in both figures, it is likely that about 200 tanks were lost by the two contesting formations.   A book of this nature has a limited appeal and ...

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